Author Topic: Free version of vanilla-like assets?  (Read 8761 times)

Offline Amunak

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Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« on: August 15, 2013, 01:11:04 am »
We cannot, for legal reasons, distribute the original X-com assets. But when I saw such a great work on the music, a thought crossed my mind... Would it be possible to remake all the original assets to a point where the game would be playable? Would there be a desire for such thing? I believe there are many creative people in this community - both programmers, artists and designers - to make this happen.

It would be a different game, but the mechanics already are there, so it would play like (open)xcom, it'd just look a little bit different.

I'm afraid though, that such project would require some work of the programmers to make it possible. Some user-friendly way to edit all those assets, maybe finally add PNG support? Invent a usable map/tile editor? Things like this would make this much easier. And they'd open opportunities for patches (if it was implemented right). And for modding.

What do you think?

Offline luke83

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 11:10:35 am »
I would like to see this long term, with my fantasy project i was planning  (Codename FOXC), i really wanted to move away from all the original game assets overtime ( once i work out the basic mechanics that is), i have been doing alot of 3D Mechanical stuff as part of my training this year, Next year i would like to take that back to Blender and make higher Res images for FOXC and eventually have it playable without any reference to Xcom.

Make models in Blender, render out some images , use them for Tile Sprites...
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 11:13:22 am by luke83 »

Offline moriarty

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 02:07:13 pm »
We cannot, for legal reasons, distribute the original X-com assets. But when I saw such a great work on the music, a thought crossed my mind... Would it be possible to remake all the original assets to a point where the game would be playable? Would there be a desire for such thing? I believe there are many creative people in this community - both programmers, artists and designers - to make this happen.

It would be a different game, but the mechanics already are there, so it would play like (open)xcom, it'd just look a little bit different.

I'm afraid though, that such project would require some work of the programmers to make it possible. Some user-friendly way to edit all those assets, maybe finally add PNG support? Invent a usable map/tile editor? Things like this would make this much easier. And they'd open opportunities for patches (if it was implemented right). And for modding.

What do you think?

PNG support is already in, so no problem there. I'm still against it... the primary goal of openxcom is to give a better version of the original game, and it's just not the same if you change the graphics. and if you don't change them, but "re-create" them so that they are next-to-identical, why bother at all? to save 5$?

a long-term project could be high-resolution graphics, but I think that's a lot harder than it sounds. simply up-scaling the models won't work, because the higher your resolution, the more detail you need, leading to insane amounts of new graphics, which all have to stay clear of the uncanny valley. with the original blocky lo-res graphics I am more than happy. :)

I'm sorry, the idea sounds nice at first, but I don't think it's worth the trouble :)

Offline luke83

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 02:42:37 pm »
PNG support is already in, so no problem there. I'm still against it... the primary goal of openxcom is to give a better version of the original game, and it's just not the same if you change the graphics. and if you don't change them, but "re-create" them so that they are next-to-identical, why bother at all? to save 5$?

a long-term project could be high-resolution graphics, but I think that's a lot harder than it sounds. simply up-scaling the models won't work, because the higher your resolution, the more detail you need, leading to insane amounts of new graphics, which all have to stay clear of the uncanny valley. with the original blocky lo-res graphics I am more than happy. :)

I'm sorry, the idea sounds nice at first, but I don't think it's worth the trouble :)

Other opensource projects have moved away from original assets and provided the player with a community built alternative so why note openxcom , I dont think ultra realistic images should be the ultimate goal, but more detail is always welcome.

The Questions is what else has to go to make the Community version "SAFE" from copyright, Is the Xcom mechanics enough to still capture that same feeling of Fear and Hoplesness, even if there is no Reapers& Etherals in the game?  ( I think it is )

We have a nice little Engine here,so right now, i would be happy if i could just replace my existing . PCK files with a image twice it size ( Pixel Wise) and have the engine Scale it down into the engine to fit the existing tiles, Yanks mentioned a method to do this a long time ago and i would love to see it implemented...

Offline Amunak

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 05:00:46 pm »
I wasn't necessarily thinking of remaking all the assets and/or making them in higher resolution. Though it would be really nice if the option finally was there. What I thought was making a free version of openxcom that runs without the original files. You don't have to have it superior to the original. There's no need to replicate all variation of soldier skins (heads), making all the map-sets and tiles perfect, and making dozens of them. Just implement it so it works. If there is desire, it can be improved later. But it would be a great starting point for modders. And it would also mean that people could try openxcom for free and buy the original for the assets later.
It'd also mean that openxcom is actually ready to use modified assets. And by that I mean easy-to-use assets, not those terrible, hardly editable original joint asset files.

I also do understand the uncanny-valley problem. I believe that it was Project Xenocide that also suffered from this (among other) problems. But if you look at something like FTL, you can see that high-fidelity graphics can be made in a way that it is not creepy, it looks nice, has this retro style and is also comfortable to use. Current (original) x-com graphics has all of this except for the comfort of use. We play in this little window in the center of the screen, we have pointlessly gigantic buttons, but we can see only a tiny bit of the battlescape.

The Questions is what else has to go to make the Community version "SAFE" from copyright, Is the Xcom mechanics enough to still capture that same feeling of Fear and Hoplesness, even if there is no Reapers& Etherals in the game?  ( I think it is )
Exactly.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 05:06:39 pm by Amunak »

Offline Yankes

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 05:07:25 pm »
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,1436.0.html
this editor can create easy graphic that could replace original one, but right now it isnt 100% compatible with OpenXcom.

Offline moriarty

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2013, 01:33:55 pm »
I wasn't necessarily thinking of remaking all the assets and/or making them in higher resolution. Though it would be really nice if the option finally was there. What I thought was making a free version of openxcom that runs without the original files. You don't have to have it superior to the original. There's no need to replicate all variation of soldier skins (heads), making all the map-sets and tiles perfect, and making dozens of them. Just implement it so it works.

so you're thinking about something that can be used to show people how it works, but without all the detail? full GUI, but maybe only one type of soldier, one species of aliens, only a few different UFOs? that might actually be a nice idea.

although, come to think of it: there was a demo for the original game, which is still available on strategycore. maybe somebody could hack up a ruleset that simply uses those assets (I think it features a snakemen/chryssalid terror mission, the files appear to contain basic soldiers, urban map tileset, skyranger, snakemen, chryssalids and zombies)? the demo file should basically be public domain, it's only 1.44 MB (ah, the old times...), so no big deal :)

Offline Amunak

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2013, 11:29:49 pm »
so you're thinking about something that can be used to show people how it works, but without all the detail? full GUI, but maybe only one type of soldier, one species of aliens, only a few different UFOs? that might actually be a nice idea.
Yes, exactly. and if it was outsourced/simple enough to edit all those assets, it could be later expanded. And maybe at some point we'd have something legally fine, and as good as x-com. Do you want the original graphics? You'll have to buy the original then. Or you can play our high-res, better polished, more detailed game. :)

although, come to think of it: there was a demo for the original game, which is still available on strategycore. maybe somebody could hack up a ruleset that simply uses those assets (I think it features a snakemen/chryssalid terror mission, the files appear to contain basic soldiers, urban map tileset, skyranger, snakemen, chryssalids and zombies)? the demo file should basically be public domain, it's only 1.44 MB (ah, the old times...), so no big deal :)
This looks amazing. It'd be a really good starting point. Now how to cut out the necessity of all the files the game requires? :D

I think tha this brings us to a slightly bigger problem - there's like no proper resource management in openxcom, is it. It just loads and parses the original files. Ideally you should be able to define everything in rulesets. With units/races/whatever you should be able to just define where are their resources or how they are named. The separate files can then just be named using some descriptive convention.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 11:32:30 pm by Amunak »

Offline xracer

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2013, 01:13:14 am »
Yes, exactly. and if it was outsourced/simple enough to edit all those assets, it could be later expanded. And maybe at some point we'd have something legally fine, and as good as x-com. Do you want the original graphics? You'll have to buy the original then. Or you can play our high-res, better polished, more detailed game. :)
This looks amazing. It'd be a really good starting point. Now how to cut out the necessity of all the files the game requires? :D

I think tha this brings us to a slightly bigger problem - there's like no proper resource management in openxcom, is it. It just loads and parses the original files. Ideally you should be able to define everything in rulesets. With units/races/whatever you should be able to just define where are their resources or how they are named. The separate files can then just be named using some descriptive convention.

It is not too hard to use new resources and although they are hardcoded they can be easily replaced, furthermore the units/race/etc are already part of the ruleset and as such they can be easily modified, currently there are a few people amending (changing/adding) content as independent mods since they want the mods to be compatible with teh main fork. However it would be somewhat trivial (for an experienced programmer) to make the changes, personally i am not a programmer, but asking a lot of question (to many people) i have been able to make significant modification to the code, clearly my fork is no longer compatible with Supsuper's main, but it goes to show that the changes can be made to improve the artwork.

I think if someone has the time, all the aliens names can be changed,modify the research tree, adjust object names and include the new artwork and simple release it as a fork of OXC not OXC.


Offline Amunak

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2013, 01:41:37 pm »
xracer: true, but there's a huge difference between forking the code, changing it and compiling yourself, and just editing few rulesets/resources and sharing them around. I'd also love to see all the today-artificial limits (like map size, tile (type) amount, color palette) lifted. It's a great achievement that you can now play openxcom with the original assets without the original bugs and with great improvements. But It'd be really nice to have openxcom just as a framework where all those crazy ideas, remakes and maybe completly different games can be implemented. I still think that this style of engine (battlescape/geoscape/basescape) is really unique and could be abused to make different awesome games. Like this one.

Offline SupSuper

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2013, 06:13:34 pm »
I do agree with your point that OpenXcom should be abstract enough to support different assets (we already have some support for this in place, like being able to use your own PNGs/WAVs/etc) and be rid of limitations like 8bpp, and it is something I am working towards in the long-term (although I love .

However, I don't agree to the point you can just "abstract everything away" to make the game more moddable. While programming might be seen as more complicated and scary than editing some YAML, abstracting and generalizing features to support everyone's whims is a lot more complicated than just specifically implementing what you want yourself. as xracer has seen. There is only so much you can externalize to support everyone's crazy ideas until you reach a point of "diminishing returns" and the engine becomes so complex and barebones (like real game engines are) that implementing a feature outside code takes as much work as inside code.

Offline Amunak

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2013, 10:53:42 pm »
However, I don't agree to the point you can just "abstract everything away" to make the game more moddable. While programming might be seen as more complicated and scary than editing some YAML, abstracting and generalizing features to support everyone's whims is a lot more complicated than just specifically implementing what you want yourself. as xracer has seen. There is only so much you can externalize to support everyone's crazy ideas until you reach a point of "diminishing returns" and the engine becomes so complex and barebones (like real game engines are) that implementing a feature outside code takes as much work as inside code.

I don't think it's necessary to abstract everything. Just make it so we can get rid of the obligatory loading of original xcom files, give us maybe even some in-game option to switch rulesets (maybe you could just start the game, then choose a ruleset, and only then the game would load whatever it'd need), and please, please give us some real mod support. Some system which could handle multiple "overlapping" mods is, I feel, necessary. I'd suggest using some sort scripting language (so mods don't have to be compiled) and event system. Or can the game be abstracted enough to make this kind of modding unnecessary? I don't know. Would it be hard? Well... I'm afraid it would. But you probably already know that, since things like this already were suggested.

Offline SupSuper

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2013, 07:02:14 am »
I don't think it's necessary to abstract everything. Just make it so we can get rid of the obligatory loading of original xcom files, give us maybe even some in-game option to switch rulesets (maybe you could just start the game, then choose a ruleset, and only then the game would load whatever it'd need), and please, please give us some real mod support. Some system which could handle multiple "overlapping" mods is, I feel, necessary. I'd suggest using some sort scripting language (so mods don't have to be compiled) and event system. Or can the game be abstracted enough to make this kind of modding unnecessary? I don't know. Would it be hard? Well... I'm afraid it would. But you probably already know that, since things like this already were suggested.
We already support setting rulesets in the options.cfg, multiple modular rulesets, etc. Check the Modding forum sometime, it's not very polished but it's there. We do plan on keep improving modding and making it more user-friendly and accessible.

I can't really comment on scripting since I have 0 experience with it though, would need to do a lot of research.

Offline Yankes

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2013, 04:43:23 pm »
Some work for better modality was done in AndO3131's TFTD branch. one thing that AndO3131 changes was lift requirement of 8bpp in most of surfaces in openxcom. Only problem I see with TFTD is that its very experimental work and it will require lot of work to remove rough edges.

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Re: Free version of vanilla-like assets?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2014, 02:36:46 pm »
Well i suppose i disagree because there's already a great open source clone that is to say UFO: alien ivasion, and guess what, supports mods itself!!! Type the gsme name in google and check it out!!