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Antilia Update, Toi Engine to Become Open Source

jeff
Lead Developer
Jen: M
First off, please let me apologize for the long delay in updating this blog. I have a rule that I always accompany new blog posts with fresh images and screenshots, but lately that's served more as an obstacle, or dare I admit it, an excuse. As we continue development that won't continue to be the case, especially as we start building the new Forra and become anxious to show off that progress.

Project Update


The past several months I've been focusing primarily on improving the Toi Engine. Some of that progress is documented in the Technical Blogs, but not all of it is noteworthy enough for public discussion. As Antilia is no longer targeting an MMO, it was important to take a step back and reassess what game features we really wanted in Antilia - including features we had previously removed from consideration. In the process we've created a document listing all potential gameplay features, and this discussed what we want in the game, and what needs to be in the game. It's been a great opportunity to bring back some of those ideas we've had and really loved but couldn't fit into the mmorpg.

Moving forward my current priority is to continue improving the Toi Engine - which I plan to make available as an open source project. While sharing the world of Forra is an important goal in my life, another goal I have is to continue helping other artists and writers share their stories via the interactive medium. I've looked at the other game engines available, but I have yet to see anything else out there that provides a single solution for building a sizable story-based game with a small distributed team.

My next step is to update Toi's aging DirectX 9 based renderer with a more modern DirectX 11 rendering system built to take advantage of multi-core systems. Rendering performance has improved some since the last mmo build thanks to a new rendering pipeline, but the new DirectX 11 solution will help even more.


(Additional progress on the Toi engine and Toi Studio include an improved "Scene Management" system, a new camera system, a new GUI editor, improved terrain engine, and progress on the new terrain editor.)

Single-player Campaign


It's still too early to confirm what gameplay features will or will not be in the game, but I do want to convey that a significant amount of effort is going into designing a proper single-player campaign. The mmo alpha never got as far as proper "quests" - the closest it came was a half-dozen NPCs that you might interact with repeatedly to unlock a skill.

Now that we are building Antilia with a single-player mode, we have the opportunity to present Antilia's lore not just through books and side-quests, but interactively with the characters themselves. A considerable amount of effort has been put into developing a satisfying story with interesting characters, and while I wouldn't want to spoil anything - I really cannot wait to share it. I think we chose a great place to start exploring the world of Forra, I really like the way the story structure is turning out to include both linear and non-linear elements, and I believe we have a great cast of characters. I realize that's a bit of a tease, but I wanted to confirm for those that are specifically interested in the prospect of a single-player mode, it will not be an afterthought.

That's all for this post, I appreciate everyone's patience and hope you all continue lurking!
Saturday, November 21, 2015 6:32pm
Jeff Leigh - Lead Developer - Right Brain Games
Spyred

Jen: 76
*Lurking intensifies*


Seriously though, it's good to be able to read your blog posts again. ^_^ Regardless of how much content or how much has changed, it's always good to have some sort of update, in my opinion.

I think the biggest thing out of this post, at least for me, is the engine going open source. Not only can it help Antilia develop, whether it be mods or actually creating the main content, but it also opens the door to other developers to make their own works and I think that's pretty cool. ((I'm also kinda secretly hoping that I might be able to get to try it one day just to learn how it works and maybe actually manage to make something decent.))

So, as usual, just take your time and don't rush. ^_^
Saturday, November 21, 2015 10:56pm
ArgonFox

Jen: 22
The biggest thing I'm getting out of this, is the confirmation that this will be much more than just a sandbox set in an interesting world. You were already hinting at a good narrative with the alpha events, and I am really looking forward to playing through a full storyline. ((Or dare I say, write up my own once everything is released?))
Sunday, November 22, 2015 9:35am
Anadais da'Lantros, Wanderer.
Timesheart
Jen: 11
I see a lot has changed since I last logged in here (2011-2012.) Single Player now, is it? Will look forward to seeing it done regardless.
Sunday, November 22, 2015 1:08pm
"Remember kids: There's always time for caring unless you're a producer; they only care about money."
Kris

Jen: 19
"The mmo alpha never got as far as proper "quests" - the closest it came was a half-dozen NPCs that you might interact with repeatedly to unlock a skill..."

The bar is very low for the quality of RPG quests!

Although you've said Unity isn't suitable for your particular needs, I wonder why you think it's not well suited for a small development team building an open world in general.
Sunday, November 22, 2015 2:21pm
My science fiction novel "Thousand Tales": AI, griffins, transhumanism, transformation, and Fun*! http://www.amazon.com/Thousand-Tales-How-Won-Game-ebook/dp/B00Z2Y2AF2/
jeff
Lead Developer
Jen: M
Quote by Kris:
Although you've said Unity isn't suitable for your particular needs, I wonder why you think it's not well suited for a small development team building an open world in general.

Not quite what I was trying to say, but as far as I know it's not something that just works out of the box in Unity. It can and has been done, but doing so requires custom solutions to organize, edit, and stream world data in, and another solution to solve floating-point precision errors that creep in as you travel away from the origin and such.

Likewise, there are plenty of things that Unity will do better "out of the box". They are just different engines with very different design philosophies.
Sunday, November 22, 2015 3:07pm
Jeff Leigh - Lead Developer - Right Brain Games
WWWWWWWW
Jen: 47
Generally I find games made by Unity to have a certain 'feel' to them that I find off putting, kinda like anything made with Ogre3D (Yes even Earth Eternal).

Jeff, Did you ever find Ogre 3D rather limited?
Sunday, November 22, 2015 4:17pm
jeff
Lead Developer
Jen: M
Quote by WWWWWWWW:
Generally I find games made by Unity to have a certain 'feel' to them that I find off putting, kinda like anything made with Ogre3D (Yes even Earth Eternal).

I largely feel the same. The only exception I've found to that is Cities Skylines, which if nobody told me I would never have guessed it was a Unity game. (Subnautica also looks nice, although last I read Unity was great getting the game started but later became the source of some serious problems as the game grew in scale and complexity.)

Quote:
Jeff, Did you ever find Ogre 3D rather limited?

It's hardly fair to say now, as I haven't touched Ogre in years and I know it's changed since then. The thing about Ogre is that it is only a graphics engine - it is not a game engine. Which means finding a solution for audio, input, physics, and even GUI elements up to the developer.

My biggest gripe against Ogre (at least back in 2009 era) was just how incredibly bloated it was. Early on I enjoyed submitting patches for Ogre (which really should have been plugins, but there was no plugin system at the time), but it became impossible to create anything that wasn't broken in some version of shadow rendering or scene management. We abandoned using Ogre for Antilia and built Toi entirely because of how ridiculously bloated Ogre became.

I just checked GitHub and currently the Ogre engine sits at over half a million lines of code, which I believe makes it bigger than the Toi Engine... plus all our editors... plus all the code for the Antilia MMO Server and Client... and all it provides is graphics. (No editors, no audio, no physics, no input, no gameobject or gameplay systems. What on earth is all that code for?!)
Sunday, November 22, 2015 4:59pm
Jeff Leigh - Lead Developer - Right Brain Games
Liska

Jen: 43
Nice to finally see a progress update Jeff. You have definitely been busy for sure. Can't wait to see what you guys have done with Antilia so far. No rush of course! Definitely interested to see how the new story additions play out.

Edit: Good lord, I had no idea Ogre 3D's code was that big, and JUST for graphics. Yeesh. Least Toi is nice and slim compared to that thing.
Sunday, November 22, 2015 5:10pm
Alpha Characters - Argentii da' Ariiel and Tiiani da' Tasiiama
blueslyster

Jen: 99
Quote by Jeff Leigh:
(...What on earth is all that code for?!)

Stuff and Things...

Can we expect in-side joke quests...?
Sunday, November 22, 2015 5:11pm
Sly da' Talikus aka LongSly
I will mallet all who question me! O.O
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