Thursday, March 22, 2018

Xeen there, done that

After all the time spent both in development, and in hiatus, work on the Xeen engine nears it's completion. Last weekend, I finally considered the engine finally stable enough to start my first playthrough of the game. Though, unfortunately, that idea rapidly crashed and burned.. I immediately discovered a variety of bugs in my exploration of Vertigo that my previous casual testing hadn't revealed, particularly with the Guild display and purchase of spells.

Thankfully, I fixed all those, and over the course of the week so far I've also since discovered further minor issues that I've also been fixing as I identify them. As of today, I'm once again at a point where I'm not aware of any other bugs, so I'm once again going to restart my playthrough and start playing my way through the game. As last weekend showed, it's better for me to finish my own playthrough first before I announce official testing, since it will be a chance to fix all of the more obvious errors that crop up, and ensure anyone else that tests the game will have a smoother, more enjoyable experience. And speaking of testing, some good news.. rather than concentrating on just getting World of Xeen working, I've also implemented the necessary extra functionality and main menus for Clouds and Dark Side individually, as well as for Swords of Xeen. That means three separate games as well as the combined World will be playable using this new engine.

Recent discussions on the GOG forums have also got me to thinking about what the future could hold for this engine. Whilst I'm definitely going to move onto working on other games after this, and likely take a break to play some games, there are some fertile areas someone with a knowledge of C++ could work on and submit patches to the ScummVM group for. First of all, this GOG thread talks about "Ludmeister's mod". It seems to have been abandoned by the author without ever having an official release. But it did have a description of all the changes it introduced. Since ScummVM also allows for game-specific options in the launcher dialog, someone could add checkboxes for enabling/disabling the functionality and add relevant code to the engine to implement them. Some of the mod's changes sounded nice, particularly regarding the passage of time.

Another thing I'd love to see is for this to revive some interest in creating new areas and/or content. Not to spoil things too much, but I couldn't resist adding some new content of my own. I'll leave it up to players to see if they can discover it. If we're lucky, maybe it will help spur others to create further new content for the game. After all, Swords of Xeen was original a mod done by fans. With the engine source code as a guide, maybe someone can cannibalize the scene rendering code and build a visual world editing tool around it.


Michael D said...

Great work on the Xeen engine! I can hardly wait to play through the game once again myself (for some reason it keeps crashing on me randomly in DosBox when I enable MT-32 music)

Two issues that are probably still in there:
- when leaving the tavern roster, ScummVM quits
- Rendering of walls directly in front is not working correctly (see e.g. if you start a new game, kill the slime, and move 1 or 2 steps forward: the door to the blacksmith appears only when you step an additional tile closer)

If you need another betatester, feel free to contact me ;-)

Victor said...

I can't understand why some more people don't code Editor tools around SCUMMVM.

You can code AGI/SCI games and they works but you can try it with SCUMM, or any other engine SCUMM support. I would love an update in the RPG games that SCUMMVM supports.