Saturday, March 16, 2013

Alien Breed goes Odamex, interview with XDelusion

Very, very long ago when Doom started a new era of gaming on PCs, some brave coders decided that first person shooters weren't for Intel machines and consoles only, but that also good old Amigas - maybe with some acceleration here and there - could afford a decent FPS. Those people where the coder of Alien Breed 3D, which become a little classic for the platform. Tempus fugit, anyway, and nowadays we can get great 3D graphic engines even in the open source planet, which can be modified and "dressed" as we like. So, why not adding to a popular "anternative" DooM engine some new graphics inspired from Alien Breed 3D, to create an amazing remake of the old Amiga classic? User XDelusion from AROS-EXEC.org had exactly this idea and showed a little video of his progress here. Here at AROS PlayGround we all agreed it was great, and we decided to talk a little with him about his project. Here's the interview.

- when did you get involved in AROS, and what were your former projects?

I have had my eye on AROS since the idea was first proposed on the Internet back in the mid 90's, but I did not start using it regularly until the past three years. Thus far this is my only AROS project, unless begging BSzili to port Odamex counts as one. :)


- I guess you were a fond player of Alien Breed 3D, when did you play it, and what were your dreams at the time?

If I recall correctly, I was able to play a little Alien Breed 3D sometime shortly after its release. I think it was at a friends or at an Amiga show, I forget. From that point on all I could dream about was having an Amiga powerful enough to run a DOOM clone and of some day making my own FPS game, though by nature I was a huge RPG fan at the time.

- Would you have imagined, at the time, that many years after you'd start "backporting" the classic on a newer engine?

Back in the day when Alien Breed 3D was still relatively new, all I wanted to do was learn how to make maps for DOOM, but I didn't think I was smart enough at the time to teach my self. I ended up finding an Amiga program called 3D Construction Kit and would sit around all day tinkering with it, creating rooms, populating, them, gliding around them slowly, and dreaming about virtual reality head sets. Needless to say, I never imagine that I'd be merging Alien Breed with a DOOM engine, as I said I didn't think I had the capacity to self teach as I did, but some time later I found myself doing just that, but I never imagined I'd be creating a new Alien Breed chapter within the engine, that was actually and idea of Fishy Fiz's to be honest.


- why did you chose Odamex? Are there any particular feature that drove you to this decision? Were there any other option available?

Originally the project was intended to be a clone of the original Alien Breed 3D and was being designed for Nova's port of BOOM for the 68k Amiga. Fish mentioned it one time in passing, and I ended up staying up all night thinking about it. The next morning the projekt was born but it was some time later that I realized that BOOM did not have all the features necessary to pull off my vision.
Around this time, BSzili was kind enough to port as much of Odamex over to AROS as he could. Having this particular engine is a giant step over having BOOM. In short is allows for the majority of ZDOOM 1.22 and 1.23's features to function just fine, this includes nearly every mapping feature available to Hexen, an advanced scripting language, sloped floors, swimmable water, controllable gravity, new Railgun weapon, on-line or networked co-op or death match, the list goes on.
Without using GzDOOM which is Windows only, I probably won't be able to create a perfect or near perfect clone of Alien Breed 3D, so instead I am going to take advantage of those features unique to Odamex and am in the process of creating and entirely new chapter for the Alien Breed saga, though instead of drawing influence just from the 3D titles, I am using all the games of the series as inspiration.


- What are the main problems and difficulties you're encountering during the process?

Three of the hardest aspects of the project is staying inspired, staying in a good mood, and making the time. I of course had to take a crash course in the ZDOOM engine that Odamex is based upon. Then I had to take time to figure out which of those features Odamex supported and which ones were not, or were broken.
I had a lot of experience with the DOOM Legacy and PrBOOM engines, so that came in handy, but learning how to edit in Hexen mode took a little while to adapt to as well. Other than that the only other struggle has been the fact that so far I've been working alone.

- Are you planning to release your total conversion in a particular time frame?

I'm going to have to go with the AROS motto here, but idealy I would like to have a polished up 1 to 3 level teaser released before summer.

- If anybody would help... how can he get in contact with you?

I am very open to help from the outside, especially from those interested in pushing pixels as I could use some custom weapon sprites for the game, as well as some extended work on the enemy sprites I am currently using. The AB3D resources on Aminet were kind of lackluster to say the least. Some of the enemies only have frames facing the player, but none facing backwards, to the side, or at angles. The more frames the better so if anyone has the skill the project could certainly use help in that department!
If there are any seasoned mappers who are familiar with ZDOOM in HEXEN mode, then please by all means, get in touch! We also urge programmers. And last but not least, a port of the server and a nice GUI for the program would also be a boon because as I said, I want to emphasize multi-player with this project and little features like that would make it easier for AROS users to contact each other, set up their own servers for Odamex., and just launch custom pWADs without command line.
Also I would like to call upon any Alien Breed veterans who have features they would like to see in this project, or who have seen the project and see something about it that they don't like. I consider the Amiga to be holy territory and I want to stay as true to the spirit of the originals as I can, but without keeping the atmosphere and level detail back in the 90's, so if anyone has any ideas they would like to shoot at me, I'd be open to listening to them at the very least.
I can be contacted here or at AdvertAndEntice AT gmail DOT com

- How can we follow your progresses?

To follow the project, you can just watch for my posts on AROS-EXEC.org and on Amiga.org, GBATemp and EmuExtras, as I have put additional focus on making sure this runs well on the classic XBOX and hopefully some day the Wii too.



5 comentários:

Very awesome interview! This guy sounds like he knows his shit!

Thankx guys for the interview. It means a lot to me! :)

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