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A Brief History

Monday, August 20, 2007 4:17pm
Lead Developer
As a sort of addendum to the previous post, I thought I would share a quick overview of the project and what we have done in the past that succeeded or failed.

True Honor

There have been several attempts to build Antilia, but actually the game didn't start as an online game at all, it started in 1996 as a real-time strategy game for MS-DOS. At the time, windows gaming was not entirely practical yet, and certainly not very fast.

By 1998, I had mostly abandoned DOS programming, as well as the original True Honor. I came across a new idea, to create a graphical MUD using 3D technology, which with DirectX7, was finally within my reach. Like many young developers, I quickly gathered together a team of roughly 15 people to work on the game, but without anyone with the skills necessary to complete the game, the team lost interest and we went our separate ways.

For the next few years, I spent a lot of time developing various 3D engines using DirectX 7 and 8.

The First Antilia Demo

In 2002 I abandoned c programming in favor of C++, and in the process, abandoned my existing engine. In it's place I began working with the Ogre engine, which gave me a pretty good jump into object oriented programming.

With Ogre in hand, I began my first real attempt at building Antilia. Ogre was fairly young at the time, and I was eager to fill in the gaps where needed. The first attempt at Antilia was fairly functional, and I began allowing members from the Antilia forums to test the game.

The Second Antilia Demo

As Ogre matured, it eventually implemented a few changes that completely broke the first Antilia Demo. I took the opportunity to fix one nagging problem with the first Antilia demo... that there was only a single large terrain for players to play on. The second Antilia demo featured a portal-based rendering system that could render indoors and out completely seamlessly, with terrain and whole buildings streamed in the background as needed. While the system was quite impressive (and indeed, coveted), it was also very complex, and care had to be taken to ensure building portals did not cross terrain portals (an rather unorthodox concept).


As the 0.2 alpha neared completion, Shane Parker grew an interest in the project, and joined Jeff as a full time developer. In 2004 another set of interface breaking changes in Ogre left the portal engine broken, and the added features to Ogre were not of use by Antilia. Other aspects of Ogre, and general dissatisfaction with the nature of the architecture became the ire for both developers, and in early 2005 we began work on our own engine, Toi.

Through 2006, Shane lived in Colorado and worked full time developing Toi. While the engine became feature rich, and certainly well polished, there was significant loss of direction, and Toi become a general purpose engine rather than an engine for Antilia.

The Third Antilia Demo

After a few stressful conversations, Shane and I realized we had lost sight of what we set out to do. We don't want to be engine developers, we want to be game developers. We were working hard, but not in quite the right direction.

Now we are starting again, and with our experience designing Toi we have carefully laid out where we are starting, our goals along the way, and our destination.
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