Topic: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

Hey all,

The summer is over, and as most of us know, for student types that means free time. Alexandre is a student, but it seems as though he had no free time.
Meanwhile the community was also mostly stopped. Nothing about the game or engine was discussed (at least at a deep level), no assets were created, and the few active members were working only on their own things, which is not to blame, and is not bad at all.

The reason for this post is exactly that: Is Open Surge, as a whole (engine & game), frozen?

The community is since long not excited or much involved, and I believe that has many reasons, and one of them is actually how hard it is, for a non-coding type to integrate its creations in the game.

I really believe that before we focus on levels and gameplay and engine features, we should make it easy for content creators to put something in the game.

Let's take bricksets as an example. Bricksets have come a long way, since the hand-scripted solution, to the automatic-but-not-so-sensible RBE 1 & 2, to the both tools that bridge the gap between human and machine, the quasi-obsolete brickset tool for Open Sonic, and the new brickset creator, which I believe it is the right tool for the job.

Sure it could have some of RBE's automated features, but it does the job pretty well and lets the user choose the brick order, which is very important when working with many bricks.

For sprites, well, sprites are a pain, as there are no sprite tools AT ALL. It's an endless routine of typing the script, checking coordinates, running, testing, and repeating until you get it right. That's a huge time loss, and very demotivating for artist types.

Backgrounds fall in the same category. At least, by reloading the level you refresh the BG, but it's still unclear, with a given set of XY coordinates and scroll factors, where the image will land, especially because there is no preview in editor.

This is one of the many reasons why loyal users such as me are moving on to more advanced engines, and also the content creators are not inspired and/or motivated: The pipeline is too complex and time consuming.

I hope this is taken as constructive. I don't mean to say, by any means, that Open Surge is trash or archaic. But unfortunately, it won't make a big impression when there are better alternatives.

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

The problems that you outlined are precisely the reason I never ended up contributing much.  The game's performance is impressive, but I honestly have no idea how a brickset is properly formatted or what kind of enemies, etc might be needed, which makes even getting started a serious difficulty.

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

the type of enemies is a problem, figuring out what enemies for the game that is better is sort of a hard thing to do.
on top of that to program the enemy or players code is very hard especially when you have to test.
in other words, this is very time consuming, do you think we may have to teach people how to at least use some of the features?.

that's just my question.  Hasn't been updated anytime recently, don't bother.
I'm on SoundCloud: - I plan to upload one soon.
Name change from 24XFSAL coming soon. Currently studying for Information Technology and Game development. (Also studying game theory in spare time.)

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

KZR, thank you for the constructive criticism. I'm definitely considering it. smile

The project is frozen, unfortunately. Even though I'm a student, I'm no longer an undergrad with summers vacations. I'm finishing my master's in computer science, going to academic conferences, working part-time on a startup company, and so on. Remember how I worked on this game blatantly fast? Not possible at this moment: I predicted precisely this would happen in a post some time ago. I'll be working on the project again right after I finish the studies.

Regarding the assets, we use a 16x16 standard for bricksets. Proper documentation on the wiki is needed. Regarding what kind of items, enemies and so on are needed, this requires a time-consuming design effort on my part. It will be done as soon as possible.

Given our present situation (few active users and frozen development), it's wise to start over. That means: focus only on the Open Surge game, release it and then grow the community once again. Then we take it from there. Right now is a delicate moment. Modders have real, valid demands, but we have no people to resolve them at this moment (well, I can resolve minor/specific demands, yes).

On the bright side, svgmovement has made impressive efforts towards porting Open Surge to Allegro 5. All on his own. I'm going to take it from there and port it to mobile. Heck, with emscripten and asm.js, it's technically possible to port Open Surge to HTML5. cool

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

Oh god.. My dreams are coming true! big_smile big_smile big_smile big_smile big_smile

Last edited by MatheusRRR (2014-09-20 13:42:38)

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

Well, those are good news. And please bear in mind that I am not talking about those tools only for modding purposes. Even if you start the project over and focus on Open Surge the game, not having tools for semi-automated or assisted sprite, brickset and background script creation, is probably going to consume more time and keep the contributors at a distance.

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

My mod for android it would be good to. neutral

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

Well, I'd also like to give my thoughts on the future of the project.
I have been majorly absent from the forums for a few years already (time really flies), I know, and on top of that, I'm no artist and not a very good coder, so my contributions are limited.
However, I think that there's a way to generate interest on OpenSurge as it is: I'll try to explain, bare with me.

When I first heard of OpenSurge, I was looking (out of curiosity) for engines that could be used to make a Sonic fan game, on Sonic Retro.
What I noticed (and I'm probably being unfair many fanartists and coders) is that there's no common standard, and no true open source solutions (aside from OpenSurge). Every time someone makes a fan game, they either use something like GameMaker, they code a lock down “secret” engine, or they make a custom ROM. This is a waste of resources and can make fangames quickly become abandonware, or worse (the Sonic2HD “scandal” with the engine, proved my line of thought later on).

Therefore, I wanted to get involved in OpenSurge, as the dream engine for any Sonic fan: FOSS and configurable, so that you could use features present in any classic Sonic Game ranging from Sonic 1, to Sonic Advance 3 (not forgetting Sonic CD, or even Knuckles' Chaotix).

So, I started to make changes to the SonLVL project (a way to learn C# for me), so that it could export OpenSurge projects (in essence it would allow to run Sonic 1, 2, 3 and CD games on OpenSurge, albeit very dumbed down because all the baddies and bosses AI would have to be implemented in the state machine). I started to make some small contributions and suggestions, thinking about that premise, and base on what I felt was missing in the engine, as I tried to play those franken-levels based on the original Genesis Sonic games. Unfortunately I stopped due to mostly lack of time.

My idea would be that OpenSurge could be an excellent project to make Sonic inspired games. Instead of trying to complete the “OpenSurge Game” I think the focus should be to complete the engine, by playing Sonic levels on OpenSurge, as a sort of debug tool. For example, I noticed OpenSurge doesn't handle cloud platforms made with sets of 16x16 bricks (which is the way Genesis Sonic games are coded) very well, unless you recompile with a higher FPS support, and the OpenSurge physics engine doesn't match Sonic's just yet (for example, the spring jump distances aren't the same, and in some types of floors, the character won't stay still).

The builds of OpenSurge would never use copyrighted material (just include a small sample quest, as it is), but fans would know the potential, and would be up to them to distribute it with whatever artwork or levels they wanted. I'm sure that many Sonic fans (like the Sonic Retro crowd, and ROM modders) would start looking at it as a viable engine, and possibly even make contributions to the code.
It would be kinda like the way console emulator projects work. The project is 100% FOSS, and is up to the user to choose what they want to do with it.

Now, the interesting part is that I think the engine is almost there, but it needs a few things to make this approach viable:
- Implement Neon (Tails) and Charge (Knuckles) powers again.
- Add an easy way to add custom characters.
- Add an easy way to add custom item boxes.
- Add a way to increase the dpi value (I'm not sure if this is possible, but it would allow OpenSurge to be used as a FOSS alternative to Sonic2HD).

I know that two of the suggestions are mine and are in the TODO list already, but I made them thinking about that, back in 2011. I think this approach would greatly simplify the short term goals of the project, and doesn't imply scraping what is already done, just postponing the ambitious goal of making a full game, until the engine is really completed and properly tested against the “classics”.
On the other hand, this approach would attract coders that want to make a Sonic fangame, and that could contribute on improving the engine.

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

Alexandre wrote:

On the bright side, svgmovement has made impressive efforts towards porting Open Surge to Allegro 5. All on his own. I'm going to take it from there and port it to mobile.

I am probably not alone when I say "please keep us posted on the A5 progress, and let us test it"

Alexandre wrote:

Heck, with emscripten and asm.js, it's technically possible to port Open Surge to HTML5.

I always wondered how that emscripten thing worked. Maybe I'm not on a level to understand, and I would probably lack the skills to do something useful, but the idea to convert parts of Open Surge and adapt them to other language or engine is not totally impossible.

Re: [Opinions & Suggestions] is Open Surge frozen?

alright i guess one of the reasons we can't move for now is the lack of time, for some people i would say that is fact. so is it safe to say until something lets up we can move forward with the project?.

(Just a question. hmm )  Hasn't been updated anytime recently, don't bother.
I'm on SoundCloud: - I plan to upload one soon.
Name change from 24XFSAL coming soon. Currently studying for Information Technology and Game development. (Also studying game theory in spare time.)