Daggerfall Unity Test Build

Sometime in the next 7-10 days, I will release a test build of Daggerfall Unity as part of my lead-up to first release. Everyone is welcome to try to the test build, but testers should be comfortable with editing INI files as this build will not include a launcher. I’m hoping to get valuable feedback and squash as many bugs as possible prior to first release. Test build will be available for Windows and Linux.

The first release of Daggerfall Unity will carry the moniker “Outer Loop” as this best describes the work so far. The outer loop is that essential framework of game startup, character creation, free roam, save/load, basic combat resolution, resting, and player death. With this framework out of the way, I can start work on individual systems that exist inside of the outer loop. For example, quests, inventory, and loot tables are systems that will be incrementally added over time. Systems with a high number of dependencies (e.g. quests rely on many other systems) will arrive later than more atomic systems with a lower number of dependencies.

Once the first release is available, I’m hoping to set a release schedule of every 4-6 weeks at most. I’m planning out the work in small dependency-aware chunks that should be achievable in those time-frames. This means releases will generally pendulum back and forth between small features and large features.

I have tried my best to create a versioning save/load system so that your saves from older releases can be loaded by newer releases, but it may become necessary at some point to set a minimum supported version for saves. I will mention this in the release notes if and when it happens.

As always, life has a habit of getting in the way despite best intentions. I will let you know whenever there will be delays due to personal issues or scheduled leave time.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement so far. I look forward to hearing your feedback if you decide to play with the upcoming test build.

Twitter Reminder

Just a reminder to anyone hungry for more news, my day-to-day progress is posted to Twitter @gav_clayton. I post small updates and screenshots almost daily (sometimes multiple times a day) whereas this blog is generally for detailed updates and major milestones Even if you aren’t on Twitter yourself and can’t follow me, the feed is visible to everyone.

I’m moving rapidly towards first release of Daggerfall Unity and will have more updates for you soon. Stay tuned!

Remastering Daggerfall

Less than 12 months have passed since I began work on Daggerfall Tools for Unity. In that time, my little project has grown substantially and attracted a lot of attention from around the world, including articles on Kotaku AU and Rock Paper Shotgun.

As word about Daggerfall Tools for Unity has spread, a lot of hopeful Daggerfall players have visited looking for word on a remake – only to find a set of development tools not aimed towards players. While everyone seems excited about the potential Daggerfall Tools for Unity offers, there’s a lot of latency between new developers coming on board and getting up to speed before they can offer their contributions. So as a developer community, we may be climbing a steady ladder towards remaking Daggerfall, but there’s very little for non-developers to experience and no clear direction from which a remake will come. I’m contacted by passionate Daggerfall fans almost every week and it breaks my heart that I don’t have more for them.

I want that situation to change. I want the average Daggerfall player to be able to experience progress and have a clear sense of direction that Daggerfall Tools for Unity can be used for remaking Daggerfall, and then some.

What this means is that I can’t just create a toolset. Raw building blocks aren’t enough. I also need to create a scaffold for remastering Daggerfall that includes everyone, developers and players alike.

So let’s get this out of the way. I will shortly release a burgeoning Daggerfall remake, proudly using the Unity engine and Daggerfall Tools for Unity.

For players, this means you will be able to download regular builds to experience the project as it grows. You will become part of the process, able to offer your feedback and constructive criticism to the betterment of the project. Developers win out as well, because you get a functioning Daggerfall remake – completely open source – to build on and change as you desire. For the first time we can all, developers and players alike, come together and contribute.

So where does this leave Daggerfall Tools for Unity? Nothing changes at all. My remake project will be built on the same Daggerfall Tools for Unity that everyone has access to. If anything, this will only improve Daggerfall Tools for Unity by creating a proving-ground for new features and increasing the number of testers.

I will soon release a new web site, solely for distributing the latest playable build of my Daggerfall remake. Daggerfall Workshop will remain as the hub of social activity and development news.

And the best news for players is there’s a swag of new features coming in Daggerfall Tools for Unity 1.4 and 1.5, all aimed at creating playable systems and filling in those blanks between a toolset and a game.

Feel free to leave your comments on this post, or head over the forum post where I’ve kicked off the conversation.

DFTFU Developer Preview 1.3.29

Edit: Release version 1.3.31 now available.

Daggerfall Tools for Unity 1.3.29 is now available to developers for testing. This is a close-to-final version that still has a few kinks to iron out. However it should be close enough for developers to start testing and migrating their work.

The key new features of this version are:

  • Full Unity 5 compatibility.
  • New material and texture system.
  • Using Standard shader everywhere possible.
  • Simplified custom shaders for tile maps and billboard batches.
  • Significantly improved batching and performance when using new Deferred path.
  • Improved billboard batching using geometry shader, now supporting animation.
  • Events at key locations.
  • Started using prefabs for layout of non-static items such as doors, lights, and enemies.
  • Many small bug fixes and improvements.

I did mention there were still a few kinks to iron out, so I value any feedback on this version prior to full release.

I am also working on a full documentation refresh and new tutorials for some of the new features (like events and prefabs). This will take a few weeks to complete. I am planning full online API documentation starting from release 1.3.

Happy testing! If you have any feedback, please use the following forum thread.

http://forums.dfworkshop.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=74

Almost There

The 1.3.x preview release will be up in a few more days, over coming weekend at the latest. I’m stomping more bugs than expected and making some last-minute improvements. This is also my busy time of year (end of financial year here in Australia) so I’ve got some heavy work on from all sides.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Github page as I’ll be checking in code frequently leading up to first 1.3.x preview build.

I also want to offer a partial retraction regarding my earlier statement about the number of batches being 10x improved over previous version. This turns out to be highly variable based on the number of lights affecting objects, shadows, time of day, etc. The real figure is closer to 5-10x less. It’s still a great improvement, but I don’t want to mislead anyone if possible.