Just a quick update for you. I am returning to work on Thursday. Once I catch up a little, I’ll get stuck back into the DFTFU 1.3 release. I’m also working on a new technical post for the Workshop Blog that should be up before the weekend. The 1.3 release is shaping up nicely, with lots of great new features for developers to play with. I can’t wait to have it ready for you guys.
Something I mentioned on Twitter a few weeks back is that I would like to talk more about my game projects outside of anything related to Daggerfall. Sometime in the next month or two, I’m going to launch a new site to share my progress and learning experiences creating my own game. I have always enjoyed watching people go through the journey of game development, even way back in the Zzap!64 days when the likes of Martin Walker detailed their process month by month. In turn, I enjoy sharing my experiences with everyone and I value the feedback I receive. I’ve never been fortunate enough to work in the game industry proper, but it has always been a passion for me that I don’t think I could ever abandon.
This may or may not be something you are interested in, so I will keep it separate from the Workshop. I also hope you will understand this will take some time away from my Daggerfall hobby, but hopefully not to its detriment. I promise not to abandon Daggerfall Tools for Unity, but to be an active part of the community and making contributions long into its maturity. Exciting progress is being made by everyone, and I hope to be as much a part of that as possible well into the foreseeable future.
With all the great contributions lately, I can see Daggerfall Tools for Unity becoming self-sustaining. There will come a time when the community here will take things much further than I ever could by myself – in fact I believe that process has already started. Daggerfall has been on my mind for almost 18 years (wow!) and I need to start looking for my next passion. I want to start something original and use everything I have learned to create something of my own, something I can be proud of no matter how feeble it is. If any of you are interested in this new journey, I look forward to seeing you there soon.
I have decided to fast-track 1.3 into release status, as currently Unity 5 compatibility is in Developer Preview 1.3 only. A lot of new Unity 5 developers are downloading the latest 1.2 release version and experiencing problems, which leaves a bad first-impression of the tools.
As a result, the promised text and translation features will be only partially completed in next release. I’m going to bump text and translation to 1.4, and bring some of the material changes planned for 1.4 down into 1.3 which relate to Unity 5 improvements.
There will also be a refresh on the documentation and tutorials for Unity 5, now that features like Deferred Shading are available to all.
Look for the release to be ready sometime within the next week.
I’ve said it many times: Daggerfall Tools for Unity is a platform. Besides helping to recreate the game, DFTFU can be used to remaster and re-imagine Daggerfall, or create whole new games in a similar style. Merging Daggerfall’s content with a powerful engine like Unity provides limitless potential.
Nothing shows off this potential more than mods created over the last several weeks by Nystul, LypyL, and Uncanny_Valley. These range from graphical enhancements and world improvements to silly fun like turning Daggerfall into a flight simulator. I’m so very proud to show off their hard work in the below video and to provide a playable demo for you to experience their work first-hand.
If you are planning to start a project for texture replacement, model replacement, etc. let me know about it, I’d be happy to feature your work. I can also create a new forum room for larger projects to help discussions and organisation.
Another graphical mod by Uncanny_Valley, who showed us foot tracks in snow not long ago. This time he’s added animated grass to the world on top of full grass tiles. I think this perfectly enhances the look without breaking aesthetics. Great work Uncanny_Valley!
Recently posted on the Workshop Forums, here are 15 beautiful terrains from Nystul using his terrain enhancements. Also shown is LypyL’s wonderful dynamic sky system. Daggerfall has never looked so good!
Daggerfall Workshop is expanding today. I’d like everyone to welcome Nystul,InconsolableCellist, and LypyL to the site!
Over the last several months, I have been amazed by the contributions these three have made to Daggerfall Tools for Unity. They have all selflessly offered code, reported bugs, raised ideas, and generally helped to refine the vision of these tools. But most importantly, they demonstrated the power of open source at work inside a passionate community. They have each shown what is now possible with Daggerfall and Unity.
Anyone following me on Twitter or watching the DFTFU Subreddit may be familiar with their work already. Here’s a sampling, just to be sure.
Nystul created a Terrain Extender script for the default Streaming World terrain. This enlarges the default draw distance of a few miles out to insane distances. Nothing shows this better than a couple of screenshots.
Below screenshot was taken just above Direnni Tower using the default Streaming World setup in Daggerfall Tools for Unity.
Not bad! Definitely a huge improvement over the painfully short draw distances in vanilla Daggerfall. But check below for how this same spot looks with Nystul’s Terrain Extender.
That popping sound you heard was my brain exploding. You can see clear across the Isle of Balfiera archipelago to the mainland. Simply amazing! And here’s another lovely far terrain screenshot.
LypyL is the creator of the jaw-dropping Multiplayer Demo. This was literally a Daggerfall world-first, allowing you to explore the Illiac Bay and its thousands of locations with other players. If you missed out dungeon crawling with mates, I strongly recommend you give it a shot by clicking on that link!
Besides multiplayer and other enhancements (e.g. climbing and flying), LypyL has also proved to be a fearless experimenter, showing us the mad fun you can have with an open source Daggerfall. The below videos put me in mind of the vast mod potential enjoyed by later Elder Scrolls titles.
This kind of spirited tongue-in-cheek modding is exactly what I was hoping to empower everyone with from the outset. Not only can we remake Daggerfall, you can use Daggerfall Tools for Unity however you like!
Oh, and LypyL has also been working on a dynamic sky system for Daggerfall Tools for Unity.
Speaking of remaking Daggerfall, this last contributor is by no means least. With the stated goal of creating a fully playable version of Daggerfall, InconsolableCellist is working towards the outcome I think everyone wants to see the most. He has also proven to be a great contributor, expanding the default tools and building all the scaffolding of a real game.
Obviously there’s a fantastic amount of work to do, and much of it is hard to show off visually. But InconsolableCellist has been working very hard indeed, building GUI systems, a text console interface, monster spawners, timers, quest logic, and much more. Best of all, he is continuing the spirit of open source by keeping everything available to the community on his Daggerfall Unity GutHub repository.
Below is an early look at InconsolableCellist’s quest system back-end in action.
And here is a screenshot of the text interface a bit further along, looking more like Daggerfall.
InconsolableCellist has also experimented with running Daggerfall on the Oculus Rift. This was simply a proof-of-concept (and based on a much earlier version of Daggerfall Tools for Unity), but it demonstrates that we can one day play Daggerfall on VR headsets.
What Happens Now?
Daggerfall Tools for Unity is an interesting project all by itself, but the real story is what other people do with those tools. We have finally reached a point where the story becomes less about me and more about those who build on what I started.
InconsolableCellist, LypyL, and Nystul are now full posting members of Daggerfall Workshop. This means they can show off their progress right here and entertain us with the occasional blog post.
For my part, I will continue working just as I have been in the past. I will keep on reverse-engineering bits of Daggerfall, adding new features, fixing bugs, and help oversee the continued vision and quality of code changes. My job as tool creator is to help keep the tools useful and free for everyone.
The real story of Daggerfall Tools for Unity is just beginning! The more people who contribute, and the more this community grows, then the more amazing stories we’ll have to tell. I look forward to seeing what this all means for Daggerfall in the future.
Stay tuned! There is more exciting news still to come this week.
I’m working through code changes required to transition Daggerfall Tools for Unity to Unity 5. The first priority is full compatibility then I can look at taking advantage of new features.
Here is a summary of compatibility tasks I am working on and those which have been completed. I will update this list as I progress and release a Unity 5-compatible Developer Preview of 1.3 when ready. This should be available within a week.
Initial Unity 5 compatibility update is now available on git. I still need to do more work and testing but it should be mostly good to go. Just avoid the new Deferred Shading path for now.
Fix billboard batch shaders self-shadowing in Deferred Shading path.
Update Streaming World Demo with effects now available to all users.
Fix default reference changes.
Fix white terrain textures.
Fix MIDI synthesizer not running.
Fix MIDI synthesizer sample speed.
Fix sound effects based on audio changes.
Fix obsolete methods/properties and other warnings.
Fix DaggerfallActionDoor collider errors.
Fix PlayerMouseLook exploding/bugging out.
Update integrated iTween to latest version.
Fix fog in Deferred Shading path. (N/A. Requires new Global Fog effect). This will be part of new demo scenes in future update.
Unity 5 has been released, and with it comes the new Personal version with all the same core engine features as Professional. This is great news for Daggerfall Tools for Unity! Here’s why.
Deferred path for everyone. Daggerfall uses many small dynamic point lights, ideally suited for deferred rendering. Up until now Free users were limited to the Forward path, which struggled with Daggerfall’s lighting. As an added bonus the new Deferred Shading path is even sexier than the old Deferred Lighting pre-pass (now called Legacy).
Render-to-texture. There are many real-time effects that can only be accomplished when rendering direct to a texture. This feature was completely absent in the old Free, which means I couldn’t make use of it in the tools.
Post processing and advanced water. All of these Pro-only features are now available to everyone, and we can finally make use of them as standard.
64-bit editor. The new editor performs substantially faster on city imports and in many other areas.
Improved physics. As in, hugely improved! Moving static colliders now incurs almost zero cost, which fixes several problems around a floating origin in streaming world.
Physically Based Shading, real-time shadows on any light, and general sexiness. Now there are even more ways to spice up Daggerfall’s boxy models to look their best.
And that’s just the main stuff. There are also improvements to audio system and throughout Unity as a whole.
Considering the number of awesome features now available to all Unity users, I will be shifting Daggerfall Tools for Unity up to 5.0 and dropping a 1.3 Developer Preview as soon as possible.
Get the most recent version of Daggerfall Unity:Live Builds