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this was on july-13-08
Wow! It has been a long time since I’ve had a chance to write to everyone. So much has happened and so much is currently going on that I’m almost at a loss where to begin.
One thing I must say. This has proved to be one of the most challenging projects I have ever worked on. The dedication of the people who have contributed to Adellion over the very rocky road it has been on amazes me on a daily basis.
So, where are we now? I’d like to say, “Almost done”, but that would have people jumping up and down a bit too soon.
Besides, that sort of answer rarely satisfies the truly curious. And most of our fans are truly curious. I’m sure I would be receiving questions for weeks on, “Just how soon?”
So I’m going to give you a more general answer and a bit of a hint as to where we have gotten. Then I’m going to try to get back to completing those final steps.
The engine has gone through numerous changes. We started with the original TGE engine, back when it was first released to the public. We followed as it went from the “v12” game engine to, “Torque”, to the “Torque Game Engine”. We worked on adding multiple smooth scrolling terrains, we added features until the system would break if I tried to add any more.
Ignoring the magic, let’s run down why it is still not possible.
Then came TGEA and the promise of huge terrains and shaders. It was a difficult decision and we debated it for weeks. Eventually, we decided to go for it. It was a very hard road, with large portions of our code needing rewriting. But we persevered and gradually we began to see real improvements over our earlier efforts.
Then came the release of Prairie Games, MMOKIT. A new debate started. Should we merge our code with the MMOKIT? It was a proven application and building from it we knew that we had a much better shot at getting the game we wanted (with a higher degree of robustness) than we would coding from scratch. Many of the timing and client issues we still had to test were already solved with the MMOKIT.
It meant some backtracking, especially in the early stages, when it meant learning a new language - python, and beginning the process of understanding how the MMOKIT handled many issues.
That learning curve has paid off for us. It showed us problems we were not going to encounter until much later in our development process and, in many cases, it solved them for us. We now have a much firmer base on which to complete our work.
In recent weeks the latest version of the TGEA engine came out. It is very fast. It is much more robust than previous versions. The layout is much more professionally done, making both enhancing and debugging code easier. The new documentation is a vast improvement for all the development team because it carefully explains many of the arcane areas of the engine and how they interact.
At this point we are moving onto the final version of the code as we begin closing in on a series of long overdue alpha tests before our first public beta begins. There is a lot of work ahead, but for the coders the end is clearly in sight.
There is so much that could be said about the artwork for Adellion, how it has changed and evolved as we tested and learned. Our earlier models were very good, but we lacked a consistency of vision. That turned around as the artists began to understand the cultures that our characters are expected to live in.
As that vision improved the artwork began to change and to grow.
It is hard to show how much our code has improved, but it is easy to show how much our artwork has changed. Here are some examples of older and newer artwork for Adellion.
Here is a shot of a character model in 2004
Here is a shot in 2005
Here are a couple shots from 2006, we are continuing with the same basic character style, but the questions are now getting to specific changes in their clothing and faces
A monk vs. an abbot? Could be
In 2007 things began to really change. TGEA’s support of normal maps brought a whole new level of detail possibilities to the character models. There was a long learning curve, and lots of trials and errors.
Which brings us to today
Our current characters are more detailed, with smoother animations, and quite frankly, they are hot!
Here’s one of our most recent shots of a male Salan character.
And finally here’s an early shot of a Dalmite female… Tattoos to follow…
There’s a lot more to say, and a lot more to show, but I think that a comparison of the technical detail between the first and last pictures shows the degree of commitment we have all developed towards Adellion.
Well, not really a conclusion… Actually it’s just a stopping point for this article. I’ve got a lot more to say, and I will be showing a bit more of where we have gotten to in the near future on our new website.
For those who have been so patient – you will be rewarded.
Now, for me, it’s back to work.
David Dougher - Adellion Technical Director
I just found out about this game today and it looks like its gonna be a good game.It is still alive as you can read and the character models look like they have come a long way.