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Thread: Unity Remake

  1. #1

    Default Unity Remake

    This has been on the back of my mind for quite some time now, and I thought I'd open up discussions and see if this is something anyone else still here would be interested in.
    (Moderators, I presume I'm not breaking any rules, but please correct me if I'm wrong.)


    I spent a lot of time modding Third Age back in the day, and time and time again ran up against hardcoded limitations, unfixable bugs, impossible-to-implement features, and had to resort to the most convoluted and verbose workarounds imaginable... so what I'm proposing is a clean-slate, purpose-made, from-scratch remake.

    I'm nominating the Unity engine because I work with it professionally, and I like C#, and I figure it can already do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of sound, physics, possibly even terrain and pathfinding, etc. I'm pretty sure the engine can handle whatever we'd need to throw at it for this kind of project, but second opinions from experienced developers are welcome on this point.

    If there is enough interest and we can put together a skilled team of sufficient size, maybe we can finish it in 2-4 years, if we all put in a few hours a week.
    For most of the C# coding required, I've already done similar work. Some stuff I'd have to figure out, but that's always part of the job. That said, the project could definitely benefit from a senior professional programmer if one of those still happens to be around these parts. Moreover, it'd be nice to have several other people working on this side of things, would speed up development significantly.
    And we'd also need modellers, animators, artists, musicians, designers, content writers, etc.
    I know there is, or was talent here, in all of these fields.

    What say you?

  2. #2
    Veteraan's Avatar TATW Local Moderator
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Let's see if I get this right, you are proposing to remake TATW from scratch, coded in C# and using the Unity engine. If that is the case, it's on topic, as far as I'm concerned. Having said that, I would advice you to find at least one other place to advocate your project because traffic here has slowed down and you would need a lot of help to pull this off.

    Not exactly sure how you envisioned this though. Do you plan to code the MTW2 stuff that is needed also? And I wonder if this would be legal, presuming you would one day want to release this mod (for free I take it). Don't know much about Unity. Is it free to use, even when you release a mod to the public?

    This may be the most ambitious project I have ever seen proposed here. But if I'm being honest, I can't see it happening, perhaps 10 years ago it might. Best of luck to to you trying to pull this of though.
    Last edited by Veteraan; May 07, 2020 at 12:20 PM.

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  3. #3
    Araval's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Maybe instead make the engine more moddable via memory editing? https://www.twcenter.net/forums/foru...erhaul-Project

  4. #4
    leo.civil.uefs's Avatar nis que va bruxo!
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    This proposal is as absurd as cool.

    Im not saying its impossible, as we know a team of enthusiasts are recreating Battle For the Middle Earth in Unreal Engine.

    So everything is possible.

    As for someone like me participating on this (the OP contacted me via PM), I think people use to misunderstand what I really do in my mod.

    All my stuff consists in usage of other people's stuff. Except for my custom settlements but they also use 3d models from other sources, and the models created by me myself are nothing but a bunch of roughly made boxes and cilinders painted with textures I find on google and apply some editing.

    Im no artist I have no skills in any area related to game creation.

    Im just the person who loves TATW the more in this planet and hey... its incredible how passion can bring great results, despite the lack of talent and skill.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Veteraan, you have it right =)


    Your advice is sound, this definitely won't be the only tree to bark up.
    And your questions about licensing are absolutely critical.


    Gotta delve into the fine print, but my current understanding with the Unity licensing agreement is that if the legal entity is under an income threshold of 100,000 USD, then they pay no royalties, and 0 per cent of nothing is nothing. So far as I can remember, there's nothing in the Unity User Agreement requiring that end users pay for the product made with the engine. People make little unity games and distribute them to each other all the time... aside from the sheer scale of the project, I'm not sure this is materially different, and it's good advertising for Unity... their licensing agreement is one of the main reasons they have the market share that they do... and potentially another good reason for the nomination.


    If I get a lawyer to look at it and that's not the case and it's necessary to put a price tag on it, a potential plan B is make the base game with no copyrighted content whatsoever, sell it for 1$ a piece, and then turn it over to the modding community with all the tools we always wished we had here. A Plan C worth considering might be intentional commercialization, which I'm not entirely opposed to, but that isn't my motivation on this project.


    If it is possible to distribute for free, then I presume that in terms of Tolkien IP it'd be no different than making a non-profit fan mod or film, and whatever designers work on the project could just go right ahead and drop all that content in for the official shipped version.



    To clarify, yes, it would be necessary to replicate the services provided by the M2TW source code (that we always wished we had access to). Thankfully, Unity covers a fair portion of those services out of the box, but there remains all the most interesting code still to write.

    As for the scale of the undertaking, it's immense. If there aren't enough qualified contributors, it doesn't happen. But man would it ever be fun to work on!

    And if not... well... then I look at it again years from as a kind of retirement project =)
    Last edited by euskingc; May 07, 2020 at 12:37 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Quote Originally Posted by Araval View Post
    Maybe instead make the engine more moddable via memory editing? https://www.twcenter.net/forums/foru...erhaul-Project

    I remember hearing about that. It's not my area of expertise and it's not something that seems like it'd be fun to learn (to each their own though).
    And there were some architectural design decisions made when they created M2TW some 14 years ago that aren't necessarily the best approach for either the modern environment or the intended end product. Kind of like using a bandaid to try fit a square peg into a round hole... and after being spoiled rotten for years working in C++ and C#, I never, ever want to have to touch M2's scripting language to develop a product again...

    This proposal is as absurd as cool.
    Agreed
    But I believe that it can be done.


    All my stuff consists in usage of other people's stuff. Except for my custom settlements but they also use 3d models from other sources, and the models created by me myself are nothing but a bunch of roughly made boxes and cilinders painted with textures I find on google and apply some editing.
    Im no artist I have no skills in any area related to game creation.
    Im just the person who loves TATW the more in this planet and hey... its incredible how passion can bring great results, despite the lack of talent and skill.

    I was pretty sure you weren't a programmer or animator or modeller, but you are nevertheless a skilled and motivated designer, and that's a hat every project needs at least one person to wear. It's an absolutely critical role, and one that most programmers tend not to be very good at (nor have time for)... and I respect your work, and your opinion a great deal =)
    Last edited by euskingc; May 07, 2020 at 01:04 PM.

  7. #7
    nadalio's Avatar Civis
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    You are back man! Nice to see you again!
    The idea is absolutely cool!!

  8. #8
    Imperator Majora's Avatar What's under your mask?
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Vision, direction, leadership. A plan.

    These things tend not to be represented in fan projects at a glance if my forays into the battletech, total war and diablo realms are any indication among others, so I specifically mention them; without commanding voice and a singular, at least agreed upon vision, expect time and resources to be expended badly regardless of how much talent is thrown into the pot. Just for the record.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Quote Originally Posted by CommodusIV View Post
    Vision, direction, leadership. A plan.

    These things tend not to be represented in fan projects at a glance if my forays into the battletech, total war and diablo realms are any indication among others, so I specifically mention them; without commanding voice and a singular, at least agreed upon vision, expect time and resources to be expended badly regardless of how much talent is thrown into the pot. Just for the record.
    I'm not accustomed to working on teams of non-profit projects like this, and I've been considering what differences from commercial projects that that could entail, and the prospect of some of them is admittedly not pleasant.
    Though this does have the benefit that at least we know quite well what the finished minimum viable product looks like, and the initial game design document deviates from it only in terms of the variation in features desired, and the technology used to create it. I have my own wish list, but every modder here has their own as well, and I'd be curious to hear them. We are agreed that the core team must share commitment to the agreed upon vision, and must all agree on which items on those wish lists are to be included, and which are not.

    IF
    the source code is provided publicly, then anyone can modify the product to their heart's content once completed.

    All that said, any insights you have on the implementation of your advice is most welcome.

  10. #10
    King Athelstan's Avatar The Wheel Weaves
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Oh my, this sounds extremely ambitious

    How comparable do you want to make it to TATW? If the engines are different there's bound to be some differences, what're your goals for the end product here?
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  11. #11
    Imperator Majora's Avatar What's under your mask?
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Quote Originally Posted by euskingc View Post
    I'm not accustomed to working on teams of non-profit projects like this, and I've been considering what differences from commercial projects that that could entail, and the prospect of some of them is admittedly not pleasant.
    Though this does have the benefit that at least we know quite well what the finished minimum viable product looks like, and the initial game design document deviates from it only in terms of the variation in features desired, and the technology used to create it. I have my own wish list, but every modder here has their own as well, and I'd be curious to hear them. We are agreed that the core team must share commitment to the agreed upon vision, and must all agree on which items on those wish lists are to be included, and which are not.

    IF
    the source code is provided publicly, then anyone can modify the product to their heart's content once completed.

    All that said, any insights you have on the implementation of your advice is most welcome.
    In my experience, being able to answer/execute the following would result in a more clean setup.
    - Outline your project. Are you going to try and clone medieval 2, or make an interface that takes what you like of m2 features, but is its own creature? How far are you willing to go to change how medieval 2 does things, in specific? You mentioned an initial game design document, and that is a first step I find projects tend to miss. Have an agreed upon baseline for distance one these things and leadership - they can change over time, but it would be easier to change substance then fluidity, leading to the next point.
    - Design workflow in such a way people's efforts won't be invalidated shortly down the line. Obvious as this is, I just saw a mod invalidate someone's work on a descr_strat file because they jumped at a new map. It wasn't a terribly small amount of work. Conscious management of effort is universal advice I push when one works as a team, as compared to being an individual taking bits from others, leading to the next bit;
    - Teams of non-profit projects physically detached from each other on an ethos of 'we all wanna do this' are extremely vulnerable from a few factors. The random anonymous nature of contributors means one must find a way to make the persistent obligation while ensuring everyone still wants to do their part. If they don't, I'm not saying remmove them, but I would say make sure this is aware at some level at all times so people can be evaluated for what they do, and if you want to make good pace, possibly add extra talent to account for the unreliable portions. There's a lot of micromanagement involved in a team of randoms to make a project expediently. Not consciously managing the project can easily let the substantial work bog down to one or two individuals or result in conflict when folks get ahead of themselves. An RPG Maker game I followed was stuck in a decade long development loop thanks to the sheer variance and lack of cohesion in the team (and more than a few splinters and dramas), only to do more in the last year than over 5 combined because for better or worse, the random artist they brought on could kick asses in gear and stick to the project with these fundamentals.
    - As much as ideas are desired, things should be constantly reviewed for feasibility. Random idea giving should be curbed by practicality. Idea bins should be organized and not allowed to draw too far into theoreticals and random 'yeah lets do it' addendums to the project. The first step is making something that can run and integrate more. Getting on par with or just under the old project is a massive milestone. At that point one can see how much more is added with where the team is standing at that point.
    - A level of 'community obligation', ie, having a group to shadow you in development, may be a pain in the ass given they'd probably be just fans wanting to know where things are at, but it is my thought that having such a group might help in the motivation - a core of followers to whom you can prove you're doing something and carry on, as well as bounce ideas off, all the while keeping the above in mind. Completely optional, just an idea without too much experience beyond going 'gee, this might have helped a few people'.
    - Organized development. Trello is popular. It's certainly more adviseable than throwing a link to the project in discord, having people do what they want and then micromanaging who's editing what where at a given time. I guess you could do that too... so long as you know the system and can keep it clear not just for yourself, but everyone involved. Organization that others know works is a good morale booster over something that seems arbitrarily thrown together. I digress though, as such systems have been known to work, and success ultimately boils down to the long term motivation and passion of the core members. This thread gives me a little faith that such variables + actual competence are in greater supply than usual when I look at projects like these.

    I'd strongly suggest getting in contact with CA and making sure your open or closed source duplication of Medieval 2's game concepts is okay to go. Tolkien lawyers might get you, and that's to be considered too, but I can't stress enough that both are critical parties to keep in mind and ideally, have turn a blind eye to your project. If you think you can slip under the radar, you could try; just keep the risk of shutdown perpetually in mind.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Quote Originally Posted by King Athelstan View Post
    Oh my, this sounds extremely ambitious

    How comparable do you want to make it to TATW? If the engines are different there's bound to be some differences, what're your goals for the end product here?
    Welcome King Athelstan =)


    I keep referring to it as such too, but properly speaking, unity isn't merely an engine, but rather a "development platform". I've yet to encounter a situation where I can't bend it to my will (within the limits of modern appications generally); imagination is the sole limitation.

    All differences in the end product would be intentionally engineered, and that's what we're all here to decide upon =)


    It'd have to be sufficiently different, of course, to warrant going through all the trouble of making it, but personally I'd like it to be in the same genre (turn based strategy + real-time 3d tactical battles), as well as either:
    a) have the same theme and setting as Third Age, or
    b) engineered in such a fashion to gives 3rd party modders maximum facility to create a new and better Third Age


    Though I'm not married to any outcome here, and it's a theoretically discussion at present, so all opinions, wishlists, and advice are welcome at this stage.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Quote Originally Posted by CommodusIV View Post
    In my experience, being able to answer/execute the following would result in a more clean setup.
    - Outline your project. Are you going to try and clone medieval 2, or make an interface that takes what you like of m2 features, but is its own creature? How far are you willing to go to change how medieval 2 does things, in specific? You mentioned an initial game design document, and that is a first step I find projects tend to miss. Have an agreed upon baseline for distance one these things and leadership - they can change over time, but it would be easier to change substance then fluidity, leading to the next point.

    ...

    I'd strongly suggest getting in contact with CA and making sure your open or closed source duplication of Medieval 2's game concepts is okay to go. Tolkien lawyers might get you, and that's to be considered too, but I can't stress enough that both are critical parties to keep in mind and ideally, have turn a blind eye to your project. If you think you can slip under the radar, you could try; just keep the risk of shutdown perpetually in mind.
    I won't speak to this point by point for the simple reason that in principle I consider it all to be very sound.

    Personally, the technical requirements of the project are not at all what troubles me, nor the time required for completion... the part that I find daunting is the organization of such a part-time volunteer project if there are more than three people working on it at a time. At that point my contribution hours would be eaten up by administration and there'd be little left for actual hands-on programming.
    So either:
    - I quit my work and do this full time (and starve), or
    - find someone else to get neck-deep in the programming trenches, or
    - find someone with a sound theoretical knowledge of the various departments and sufficient administrative competence and leadership skills to wear the organizational hats, or
    - keep the active team size small and manageable, but increase development timeframes

    You are correct that if it were a duplication of M2's game concepts, that getting in contact with them would be a priority... maybe requiring folks own a copy of M2 to use this, and yet have a disclaimer that the product has nothing to do with M2 could appease them... but in all honesty, I suspect the final design doc will be the same genre, but have no more in common with M2 than StarCraft does with Command and Conquer. Time will tell what the team will decide upon for the document.

    Tolkien lawyers, however, do trouble me. Even if they have no legal basis to make things uncomfortable, that is no guarantee they won't try. The only surefire recourse I can think of is to develop the product without any specific theme, but as a general modding engine with placeholder assets. Any attempts to make a third age mod would be an independent venture, and honestly, if we built such an engine, and built it well, I'm certain a whole pile of unrelated modding projects would want to make use of it.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Unity Remake

    In the meantime, what I'd like to do for the next step is invite everyone here to put together their own wish-list / technical-grievance-list from their own experiences working on Third Age or related submods =)

    It can be as simple a list or comprehensive as you like, and you can edit it whenever you'd like.
    Any project volunteers can then comb through it, and as a kind of Council of Nicaea, we can then pick and choose what we're going to include in the minimum viable product's design document, and what we're going to put in the expansion pack ideas bin.

    There's no rush, Rome wasn't built in a day. But sooner is better than later.

    I'll give third age another play through to jog my memory, and put one together as well.

  15. #15
    Imperator Majora's Avatar What's under your mask?
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    If you want to minimize the possibility of legal trouble, create a platform that 'succeeds' medieval 2 in its intended gameplay and improves upon things, and is designed to appeal to a variety of designs ranging from conventional medieval to hero-driven fantasy, I came up with a host of concepts some time back that could be posted here if you like. I must say though, it would be long.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Quote Originally Posted by CommodusIV View Post
    If you want to minimize the possibility of legal trouble, create a platform that 'succeeds' medieval 2 in its intended gameplay and improves upon things, and is designed to appeal to a variety of designs ranging from conventional medieval to hero-driven fantasy, I came up with a host of concepts some time back that could be posted here if you like. I must say though, it would be long.
    Long is most welcome =)
    At this point, the more ideas the better.

    There are additional plus sides to appealing to a variety of compatible designs. Might generate more volunteers, for one thing. Pretty quiet here these days.

  17. #17
    Vifarc's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Unity Remake

    Quote Originally Posted by CommodusIV View Post
    I'd strongly suggest getting in contact with CA and making sure your open or closed source duplication of Medieval 2's game concepts is okay to go.
    They will never answer. They will wait for the release of the work, then keep a copy for them, then send lawyer to ask you to remove it (there at last you'll have your answer..).

    My dream is a MedievalTotalWar3 release on GOG, it should show the modding is at last freed from Steamworks drm, that CA no longer want to sell DLCs at all cost. We can dream...
    Last edited by Vifarc; May 13, 2020 at 08:46 PM.

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