Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Theory crafting and design discussion about a theoretical Dark Reign Remake and Dark Reign III.

Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby Satz on Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:57 am

I have always been of the train of thought that if there was ever a Dark Reign III that a Dark Reign 1 remake should be included as well.

From a design point of view, Dark Reign 1 has many areas that could be improved upon, from a lack of Hotkeys to AI programming.

However, where do we draw the line and say enough is enough, this is not going to be Dark Reign 1 any more.

This is seen from the purists of Starcraft vs Starcraft II. They are unhappy that you can hotkey more than 12 units at a time, and that your workers automatically mine minerals - or that you can set a rally point to the mineral line. Changes like these are in my opinion much needed, however purists tend to disagree.

So if we remade Dark Reign 1, what would we do? Where would we draw the line? In the end it comes down to what engine we chose to use.

Do we program our own engine, one that would take years to finish if people stayed true to the project and committed time? This option, whilst staying the most true to Dark Reign 1, also is the highest risk, as people can easily lose motivation to finish such a large undertaking.

Do we use a third party open sourced engine or an engine with an SDK? (like Spring or Source)? Both these would require an immense overhaul to suit our needs, and we would find that it could indeed take too long to complete.

Or do we use a closed sourced engine like Starcraft II, and port the game?

The problem with porting the game to a closed source engine like Starcraft II, is that whilst it would require very little in terms of commitment, and could theoretically be created quite fast as compared to the other options, it would be the less 'true' one to Dark Reign 1. This means, you would have control groups, you would have a right click based gameplay instead of left click based (which I believe we should follow anyways because it has become almost industry standard). Replicating the UI would be easily done though.

Regardless of what system we used, we need 3D Models of all the units and buildings. This is the most time consuming part.

I am partial to using the Starcraft II Engine.

The reasons for this is that it is definitely the most advanced RTS engine to date and most easily mod-able. On top of this, by the end of the year or early next year, it will be completely free to play for Mods, which means you can develop your own game for the platform and allow anyone to play it. Add on top of this streaming technology - you only need to download what you use (in game), so you don't have to download say 8gb to play a mod.

It is also owned by Activision Blizzard, so we would essentially porting their game within their own software.

So we need to choose an engine to use if we were to remake Dark Reign or create a Dark Reign III.

Now comes the big part, we need 3D Models with animations. Whilst I can texture the UI and program it in, I am not a strong modeller. I along with my development partner, if we choose Starcraft II, will be able to add all the units into the game, with their special effects, program the UI and AI amongst other things. The only issue I see is the hover part and water, but if we chose this path I will fire of an email or two to the developers of Starcraft II and see what support we could get for it.

As I said before, before we create a Dark Reign III we should focus on a Dark Reign 1 remake, simply because Dark Reign III would take place after Dark Reign 1, and we would need all the original units regardless :) However, I would still like to theory craft a Dark Reign III, if anyone is up for the discussion.
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby Xan on Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:06 am

A remake could be awesome, but as mentioned above, it wouldn`t be DR1 anymore. But a remake sounds intresting ans a state of the art version of this classic would definitaly be awesome. Great missions, great storyline, geat balanced sides, I`ll keep my eyes on news of this :)
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby Chosker on Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:35 pm

oh, lots of thoughts and ideas here :)

Satz wrote:I have always been of the train of thought that if there was ever a Dark Reign III that a Dark Reign 1 remake should be included as well.
[...]
As I said before, before we create a Dark Reign III we should focus on a Dark Reign 1 remake, simply because Dark Reign III would take place after Dark Reign 1, and we would need all the original units regardless :) However, I would still like to theory craft a Dark Reign III, if anyone is up for the discussion.

are you saying DR3 would be DR1 with new missions? no new units/factions?
partly the reason I wouldn't go for DR3 is because it'd be really hard to come up with a story followup and design (units/buildings/sides) that would please the DR purists (including ourselves), fitting the lore and feeling like a 'natural' sequel. if you only make a new followup story and missions it'd feel more like an expansion.
as you can see I'm up for the discussion :D

Satz wrote:From a design point of view, Dark Reign 1 has many areas that could be improved upon, from a lack of Hotkeys to AI programming.
However, where do we draw the line and say enough is enough, this is not going to be Dark Reign 1 any more.
This is seen from the purists of Starcraft vs Starcraft II. [...] Changes like these are in my opinion much needed, however purists tend to disagree.

from my point of view, redoing a pretty 3D version of Dark Reign wouldn't be enough. RTS's have advanced quite some since DR1 and leaving all of the input/interaction and game mechanics intact would mean neglecting 15 years of game design improvements. I believe even the purists would recognize the gameplay would feel a little lacking and outdated.
where do we draw the line? I say on a case by case basis, we design and decide for every feature. my own criteria would be that the feature should 'stay true to the core of DR1, but improves and modernizes the gameplay' (of course "staying true to the core of DR1' is the tricky part because the pieces that make up the core are probably different in my opinion than others')
some of my cases:
  • Right-click based gameplay should be in it
  • Setting the rally point of a building should be done with a single click (DR1's way was horrible)
  • Waypoints should be easier to create/use (ctrl+click to add a waypoint or something similar). with this I believe the whole 'Paths' menu becomes useless (or does anyone ever save/reuse paths?)
  • Unit orders should be improved: merge Scout/Harass/Search&Destroy with PursuitRange/DmgTolerance/Independence
  • DR1's elevation and LOS complexities should make a proper transition to 3D
  • Game Speed should be more universal (presets like 1x/1.5x/2x/etc before starting the game), maybe keep it fixed for the rest of the game?
on top of that I'd consider a few features from Dark Reign 2 (not-so-clunky HUD, having the unit-creation buildings on the HUD for easy access, day & night system that affects line of sight)

Satz wrote:So if we remade Dark Reign 1, what would we do? [...] In the end it comes down to what engine we chose to use.

I disagree a little. you can decide upon these changes regardless of the engine and the engine would only limit us in the reach and looks of the implementation. but I think the decision is still ours to make.

Satz wrote:Do we program our own engine,
Do we use a third party open sourced engine or an engine with an SDK? (like Spring or Source)?
Or do we use a closed sourced engine like Starcraft II, and port the game?

I like the idea of a partly open sourced engine myself. takes longer but allows more flexbility and like you say, more up to us to stay true to DR1.
for me making an RTS prototype/base with UnrealEngine4 is something I want to do for learning purposes anyway, but like I said in my other thread it's a very low priority project.
Just please don't even look at Spring, I know what I'm speaking of :D

Satz wrote:Regardless of what system we used, we need 3D Models of all the units and buildings. This is the most time consuming part.

agreed.
I could do the 3D models myself (5-year old proof, I can do better now), but I lack the time.

Satz wrote:I am partial to using the Starcraft II Engine.
So we need to choose an engine to use if we were to remake Dark Reign or create a Dark Reign III.

again I'd say we have 2 project prospects.
for the reasons you mentioned, using SC2 sounds quite good for yours. I'm up to being involved in both in terms of discussion and design but I don't really have the time to commit to the actual development. if I ever make some art for my own you could have it. and you can also have my old models if you want them (maybe for testing)
and I'll work on my own version very slowly and quietly :D
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby Satz on Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:51 am

Chosker wrote:are you saying DR3 would be DR1 with new missions? no new units/factions?
partly the reason I wouldn't go for DR3 is because it'd be really hard to come up with a story followup and design (units/buildings/sides) that would please the DR purists (including ourselves), fitting the lore and feeling like a 'natural' sequel. if you only make a new followup story and missions it'd feel more like an expansion.
as you can see I'm up for the discussion :D


No, my vision for a Dark Reign III would be new factions, or reworked factions, and new units. You would have your Freedom Guard, Imperium, Osiris and Togran factions, but as a starting point you would obviously start where Dark Reign 1 ended, and introduce new units and factions as the missions progressed.

There is a story thread above this one that contains all the storyline information that we were discussing a few years ago.

Chosker wrote:from my point of view, redoing a pretty 3D version of Dark Reign wouldn't be enough. RTS's have advanced quite some since DR1 and leaving all of the input/interaction and game mechanics intact would mean neglecting 15 years of game design improvements. I believe even the purists would recognize the gameplay would feel a little lacking and outdated.
where do we draw the line? I say on a case by case basis, we design and decide for every feature. my own criteria would be that the feature should 'stay true to the core of DR1, but improves and modernizes the gameplay' (of course "staying true to the core of DR1' is the tricky part because the pieces that make up the core are probably different in my opinion than others')
some of my cases:
  • Right-click based gameplay should be in it
  • Setting the rally point of a building should be done with a single click (DR1's way was horrible)
  • Waypoints should be easier to create/use (ctrl+click to add a waypoint or something similar). with this I believe the whole 'Paths' menu becomes useless (or does anyone ever save/reuse paths?)
  • Unit orders should be improved: merge Scout/Harass/Search&Destroy with PursuitRange/DmgTolerance/Independence
  • DR1's elevation and LOS complexities should make a proper transition to 3D
  • Game Speed should be more universal (presets like 1x/1.5x/2x/etc before starting the game), maybe keep it fixed for the rest of the game?
on top of that I'd consider a few features from Dark Reign 2 (not-so-clunky HUD, having the unit-creation buildings on the HUD for easy access, day & night system that affects line of sight)


Yep, I was thinking the same lines. All of this (theoretically) is possible and easy to do if we used an engine like Starcraft II.

Chosker wrote:I disagree a little. you can decide upon these changes regardless of the engine and the engine would only limit us in the reach and looks of the implementation. but I think the decision is still ours to make.


Indeed.

Chosker wrote:I like the idea of a partly open sourced engine myself. takes longer but allows more flexbility and like you say, more up to us to stay true to DR1.
for me making an RTS prototype/base with UnrealEngine4 is something I want to do for learning purposes anyway, but like I said in my other thread it's a very low priority project.
Just please don't even look at Spring, I know what I'm speaking of :D


The way I look at it; we have to reduce the amount of man hours we put into the project, whenever we can. Getting people involved with this project is going to be quite difficult, and whilst it stays a fan remake and not for profit, meaning we don't licence the story line etc, it will always have to come second to everything else - simply because people have to put paid work ahead of work for love.

I am not a fan of Spring. I think creating an RTS game in UDK is going a bit over our heads. The likelihood of us failing or giving up is extremely high, where as if we used Starcraft II there is actually less than say a month's work to create and integrate the UI and all the units if we had the models completed. The only problem I foresee is the Hover based Tech with Water as the Starcraft II Engine does not actually natively support it, but there are always work arounds to integrate this.

All the complicated units like EMP and Powerstrikers are actually very easy to implement in. A day / night system is easily integrated and I already have the functions to do it, as the UI I created for my Indi project was heavily based upon the UI Mockups I created for a theoretical Dark Reign III about 5 years ago - as such, the ground work is already implemented.

Chosker wrote:agreed.
I could do the 3D models myself (5-year old proof, I can do better now), but I lack the time.


And that is where we hit our wall in a remake / Dark Reign III, simply a lack of time to work for free.

Chosker wrote:again I'd say we have 2 project prospects.
for the reasons you mentioned, using SC2 sounds quite good for yours. I'm up to being involved in both in terms of discussion and design but I don't really have the time to commit to the actual development. if I ever make some art for my own you could have it. and you can also have my old models if you want them (maybe for testing)
and I'll work on my own version very slowly and quietly :D


That is understandable mate. That sounds like a good plan. I definitely believe in your abilities to do UDK RTS, but as you said, it would be very slow :) For me personally, if I was to dedicate time to this, I would want the end result to be to make my Game Design Portfolio a lot stronger, as I am sure you would want to do as well, and for that, we need a completed and shipped product.

Don't think I am trying to rush the project, it is just that if as a community we decide we want to do this I would like to see it through to completion. Previously a few years back we started on a Python remake, things happen (in real life) and people get pulled away from the project. But as always, it comes back down to art assets.
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby -=soc=- on Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:36 am

Sorry I'm late to the game on this one. Thought I would post some of my thoughts on this.

- DR I has a very unique storyline. I remember I would just sit and read the story and the unit descriptions before I would go to bed as a kid. The concept of the Imperium and Togra was fascinating to me.

- DR I deserves a remake. The story, and maps, and the campaigns are AWESOME and their own little worlds to explore (you now what I'm talking about)! If you follow DR I, you don't need to think about storyline or anything like that. The storyline is tried and tested. Stick with that. Once you have income from that, then move on to DR 3. Yes, you should charge money.

- DR I has one of the best soundtracks of its time. Make sure to use that if at all possible. IMO the music was expertly designed to fit the feel of the game, enhancing the storyline and the gameplay. Even to this day I listen to the soundtracks of the original, shadowhand and the DR II while I work.

- What engine to use? My vote is to use the engine that will make this venture possible with the resources and time at hand, balancing the quality of the end-product. I think the SC II engine is nearly ideal for that if hovering over water can be worked out and game-defining, non-annoying game dynamics of DR I can be preserved.

- Not sure if there was a way to distribute the game through Steam, but that would probably be the best channel to get a return to fund future projects.

- Where to draw the line? Meaning, at what point are improvements destroying the identity of the game? I think the easiest way to tell if a change is going to injure the game identity is to make a list of what non-annoying game dynamics gave the game its identity. Then just use that as a key or legend to follow as a 'game profile'. Maybe make this list public for the community (use a google spreadsheet and embed it on Darkreign.ws. Consider allowing the some or all of the community to edit it). Granted, a feature that was annoying to one might have been a game-defining positive to another, but those need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. I'm sure the community would be happy to help with this. Having the game profile organized in a community document can help disambiguate any issues surround game identity

- Being a "purist" with regards to video games is like holding on to old technology because of pride. It's not like games were designed with limitations because the game developers thought it was best for the game play. Sometimes they were designed like this because of time, hardware or software limitations. Some of these limitations, although they may have made some aspects of the game fun at some points, can seriously hamper wide-spread adoption of the game. Economics are important to consider. But, I don't think we need to worry about this destroying Dark Reign. Look, Dark Reign was cutting edge at its time because of the power you had over your units - you know, the whole search and destroy, scouting, complex patrols, etc... I think it will fit right in with the modern games today if it was remade with some modern tweaks to make it compliant with industry standards. If the purists had their way with StarCraft II, I guarantee it would not be as successful. Being a purist with a game is a lot like being a pharisee in the bible, or an academic snob - blind to the possibility that there is a better way while preserving the original intent of the game. Just because the textbook says so, doesn't mean it's true or the best method.

TLDR In summary, I think remaking Dark Reign I would be in your best interest. Make some money off of that remake, then move on to DR 3. I'm sure the entire Dark Reign community would pay for this. I know I would, with gratitude. Make a list of what made DR I so freaking good with regards to game mechanics. This list can serve as a guide to know if development is crossing the line and destroying the identity of the game.
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby Fatexbluvx on Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:50 pm

To share information, you can make me learn more.
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby -=soc=- on Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:56 pm

Fatexbluvx wrote:To share information, you can make me learn more.

Dude what's your problem? You just resurrected this thread with the lamest comment ever.
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby Abakiz on Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:59 am

If you got the money I can remake it. Game developer here; also grew up with Dark Resign, CnC, Seven Kingdoms, etc.
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby -=soc=- on Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:31 am

Abakiz wrote:If you got the money I can remake it. Game developer here; also grew up with Dark Resign, CnC, Seven Kingdoms, etc.


Do you think it's a viable KickStarter project? I don't personally have the money.
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Re: Dark Reign Remake vs Dark Reign III

Postby Tankumus on Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:53 am

First post on here. I would be interested in a Dark Reign 3 project. Don't think I could help financially, but I would be willing to lend a hand to anyone developing it.
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