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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:52 pm 
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Hello ZZT fans,

I am Raymond Doerr, owner of SixtyGig Games, and developer of my flagship game, Rise to Ruins. I've recently obtained permission from Tim Sweeney and Epic to remake ZZT and publish it on Steam. The game will be called "UZZT", and be a faithful to the original modernized version of ZZT.

ZZT holds a special place in my childhood, it was one of the first games I ever played where I could create my own worlds, puzzles, and play around with basic concepts of programming. It's one of the games that eventually lead me to becoming a game developer, and I'm extremely excited to be able to work on the game in an official capacity.

Some of the currently planned features:
- All officially released original worlds will be ported in full faithful original mechanics.
- There will be two graphics and sound modes, original true-to-original ASCII that will be indistinguishable from the original DOS release, and a completely revamped version with 2D pixel art graphics, lighting, shadows and particle systems. The revamped mode will still retain the same "charm" as the original to the best of my abilities.
- Music will be added to the game, but can be disabled.
- The entire scripting system will be ported, as well as the map editor.
- Time permitting, the map editor will be expanded, limitations removed, and I'll do my best to implement similar features that many of the third party tools have provided to the community over the decades.
- Steam workshop support for sharing worlds.
- Also time/tech limitations permitting, I will make an effort to write a converter, to play old ZZT maps in the new engine. Although I can't make any promises, as there may be technical feats that make this impossible or unrealistic.
- 100% DRM free. No DLC, no microtransactions, no frills.

The game will have a price tag attached to it, but it won't be expensive. I would like to shoot for $4.99, but I can't make any promises at this stage until I get a better idea of the complexity and scope of the project.

I'm not here to advertise my flagship game, but if you're interested in who I am and where my skill sets are, checkout some screen shots for Rise to Ruins. Hopefully it'll bring you all some confidence that I have the skills (both art, and programming) to bring UZZT to life not only in a way you all want, but in a way that has never been possible before.

The game will take some time to develop, and likely will not go into full production until 2018. But until then, I would love to hear your guys wishlist for a "perfect ZZT remake". ZZT is a special game for everyone here (You wouldn't be here otherwise, right?) and I want to make a game you'd be proud to use as a successor to the original engine/game.

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- Developer of Rise to Ruins and UZZT.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:03 am 
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Hi. Sounds like an interesting project. As you may have noticed I also have an interest in breathing new life into the (good) old concepts of ZZT. As for what you say about the possibility of making a converter to port existing ZZT maps to your engine, my advice would be this. Essentially, make the degrees of freedom in your engine a superset of those in the original engine. Applying this approach to the scripting language would mean designing a backwardly compatible equivalent to ZZT-OOP with extended functionality, as I understand Chris Allen has done in his Ultra ZZT engine. You could then have a single compiler that transformed this source code into a bytecode that your engine runs, which would work for both legacy and new maps. How you would apply this approach to the map structure / geometry would depend on how you intend to extend this, of course. It's certainly possible and, given the relative simplicity of the original game I would say very do - able.

Could you explain how you intend to use shadowing and lighting effects in a 2D world? Are you planning to use a pseudo 3D isometric approach?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:34 am 
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Mushy-pea2 wrote:
Hi. Sounds like an interesting project. As you may have noticed I also have an interest in breathing new life into the (good) old concepts of ZZT. As for what you say about the possibility of making a converter to port existing ZZT maps to your engine, my advice would be this. Essentially, make the degrees of freedom in your engine a superset of those in the original engine. Applying this approach to the scripting language would mean designing a backwardly compatible equivalent to ZZT-OOP with extended functionality, as I understand Chris Allen has done in his Ultra ZZT engine. You could then have a single compiler that transformed this source code into a bytecode that your engine runs, which would work for both legacy and new maps. How you would apply this approach to the map structure / geometry would depend on how you intend to extend this, of course. It's certainly possible and, given the relative simplicity of the original game I would say very do - able.


That was something I had in mind for converting old maps. My first goal was to clone ZZT-OOP almost exactly, that will make it easier for ZZT vets to jump into map making, as well as bring back in new remade versions of the original worlds. It's a bit too soon to tell how complicated it'll be to pull off though. My logic is it has been done before, so I should be able to do it again. But, I also want to add a ton of improvements to the base game, that *may* break the way old maps load/function. Honestly, it's simply too soon to really say for sure if I can pull off full support of the old maps, because of what I have planned for the new game. I really, really want to support all the old ZZT games, because it'll instantly give everyone literal decades of content. I just can't confirm I'll be able to yet.

Mushy-pea2 wrote:
Could you explain how you intend to use shadowing and lighting effects in a 2D world? Are you planning to use a pseudo 3D isometric approach?


The shadows and lighting will be based on the same custom lighting system I designed for Rise to Ruins, it's a bit hard to show how it will look in the context of ZZT though. But I do happen to have an older version of my lighting system working in a small side project I toy around with in my spare time, called Half-Baked Rogue. It'll probably be a better illustration of the lighting in-action because it's a more simple 2D game with less going on.

A few screenshots (too large to embed):
http://risetoruins.com/junk/devshots/Ha ... 6-19-4.png
http://risetoruins.com/junk/devshots/Ha ... 6-19-3.png
http://risetoruins.com/junk/devshots/Ha ... 6-19-2.png

and some short videos, with the lighting and some particles scattered around;
http://risetoruins.com/junk/devshots/Ha ... adows1.mp4
http://risetoruins.com/junk/devshots/Ha ... ngine1.mp4
http://risetoruins.com/junk/devshots/Ha ... ombat3.mp4

Now, the 2D pixel art I plan for ZZT won't look this "gritty" as that isn't in the spirit of ZZT's cartoony-ASCII-feel, I'll go with a cleaner looking style, but the lighting and particles styles are pretty close to my goals.

But, I still want the game to "feel" like ZZT, a lot of that will involve using the proper color palettes, similar tile size ratios (so, something like 16x32 or 16x24px tiles?) and non-animated sprites that "bounce" as they move as a subtle animation, but accurately duplicate ZZT's controls. I'm still in the early phases, and Rise to Ruins is still my flagship game so it has to take priority. But once development starts, I think we'll see a lot of progress very quickly. As you said, ZZT is a fairly simple game. The challenge will mostly be duplicating ZZT-OOP and visual aesthetics while also modernizing/expand everything.

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- Developer of Rise to Ruins and UZZT.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:30 am 
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I'd like to see a new zzt. There would be more people playing this if there wasn't a barrier. Like the fact that 16bit isn't supported anymore and people are like 'wtf is dos'. Just make zzt.js. It's gotta be a web app
and it must actually be called zztly in the spirit of app names. I thought about doing this but I need someone behind me using a cattle prod while I'm programming.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:48 pm 
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A "cattle prod" to program? Blasphemy! You should program without fear.

I'm working on the HTML 5 version of ZZT Ultra. Nearly all of the AS3 code is converting nicely to JS code, so this super-accessible, embedded-within-web-page version isn't too far off.

To Rayvolution: You should be careful about wanting to charge money for your project. ZZT for the last several decades has not been something people have had to pay for, so wanting people to pay for it now works counter to the philosophy the biggest fans have come to expect. There is also the issue of commercial hosting of others' intellectual property--that's a minefield even Captain Raymbo wouldn't want to traverse. Note that Bethesda did this not long ago and got all their limbs blown clean off.

What people would pay for are high-production-value games. We don't have a lot of those in the ZZT universe; it would come down to the most dedicated of people to create them.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:16 am 
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Appetite4 wrote:
A "cattle prod" to program? Blasphemy! You should program without fear.

I'm working on the HTML 5 version of ZZT Ultra. Nearly all of the AS3 code is converting nicely to JS code, so this super-accessible, embedded-within-web-page version isn't too far off.

To Rayvolution: You should be careful about wanting to charge money for your project. ZZT for the last several decades has not been something people have had to pay for, so wanting people to pay for it now works counter to the philosophy the biggest fans have come to expect. There is also the issue of commercial hosting of others' intellectual property--that's a minefield even Captain Raymbo wouldn't want to traverse. Note that Bethesda did this not long ago and got all their limbs blown clean off.

What people would pay for are high-production-value games. We don't have a lot of those in the ZZT universe; it would come down to the most dedicated of people to create them.


I shouldn't have a problem selling the base game, since I have Tim Sweeney's blessing. But, this isn't really just an engine line:line code port. My plan was to completely rebuild the game from scratch, line by line without reusing any of the old code. My grand plan isn't to bring old ZZT players in (Although, I naturally want to), the real goal is to revitalize the game and introduce a whole new group of players and hobby game/world makers. But to do that, I need to do more than just make a ZZT that runs on modern machines, I need to update the entire experience, from controls, to graphics and tech like proper lighting, shadows and particles.

Problem is I'm extremely invested in my flagship game, so I probably won't even start any meaningful work until the middle of next year. But I hope to fool around with some prototypes before then, and get an idea of what people think.

Once I have some prototypes I'll give you guys some screenshots, and possibly a link to the build (if it's usable). :)

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