Not News, A proposal. spiritual successor from old assets?

Started by VsaintJ, February 10, 2020, 10:34AM

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 With pretty much everything ripped out of the game by now, and with all the outright skill on hand here...
Would it not be much more feasible at this point ( Game engines are easier and cheaper than ever to come by ), to reuse the old xml1/2, mua assets, and build a new Ultimate Alliance game from them? 
Ideally you'd want to avoid an IP C&D from Disney to be sure, but that's easily enough remedied by using only Original Characters for the main game, and slightly changing the name. Marvel, DC, etc, ( heroes / villains / bosses / enemies / NPCs ) could be added later. Mods would be much easier to make since you wouldn't have to reverse engineer anything. Full documentation would be available from the outset.

Tools / apps for organizing custom movesets / Powersets like they did in WWF No Mercy for the N64 would be possible. Choose your own idle pose, run / jump style, combo chain, grab finish, and / or powerset from a selection of prefabricated animations. If the animation you want doesn't exist, rip it from another game, or make it yourself. share it with the forum, and add it to the list.

Bored with the main story mode? Miss your favorite level from the old games? Just want something new? Expansion scenario / campaign creation tools / apps would now be possible. Bring back breakable walls, alternate routes, secret areas, and hidden items / Equipment. levels too short and arcade-like for you? make a top down Metroid. 

I think the biggest hurdles wouldn't even be the work involved. More so it would very likely be getting everyone to agree on naming / numbering conventions, and figuring out how to implement some form of fair quality control.
Do you guys have any thoughts on this? positive or negative are fine.
Nothing ever gets done without a little dreaming, brainstorming, and criticism involved. Love to hear your opinions.

This is an idea that's been thrown about a lot in the past, but at the end of the day, it's really not worth it. For starters, everyone would need to learn an entirely new system/engine/coding language. A lot of us aren't programmers, so having to learn an entirely new system would likely discourage a lot of veterans.

Second, you have the problem of copyright claims. Completely recreating any of the existing games or using licensed characters could lead to us getting some serious heat. We've been lucky that this game is old enough and the community is small enough that this goes unnoticed, but if we were to create our own game, it would be a different story. To get around that, we would have to create everything from scratch, which leads me to the next point.

We aren't developers ourselves. While we have some authors among us, even published ones, a video game campaign is not easy to write. You have to maintain a certain flow and distribution of action to keep it interesting, and that's something not a lot of us could do without a lot of practice. While we have model converters, the number of people who have actually built character models from scratch is extremely small. Asset creation would be rather difficult, since modelers would have to learn how to make new things from scratch, which not everyone could be so motivated to do. On top of that, you have to get artists, voice actors, animators, and the like to finish it all off. While there are a handful of community members who are able to do this, it's not nearly enough people to achieve a project even close to that scale. We're just fans, not a game studio.

Coordinating a community effort on that scale is next to impossible. Someone has to be in charge, which becomes difficult to agree on. Everyone is a hobbyist, so schedules ebb and flow for everyone differently. People gain and lose motivation at different times. Some people may want to pursue a project like this, but some don't. And on top of that, creating a new game involves a lot of clashing ideas that we may not be able to hash out. Every game in the series is slightly different from the other ones, and reconciling those differences would prove next to impossible.

The reason that a lot of us are on this site is because we love the X-Men Legends and Ultimate Alliance games. We want to be able to play those games, mod them, and improve on them, not work on some other game. Sure, the game engines have limits, but we've been able to overcome an astounding amount of limits time and time again. The amount of work that goes into breaking a game limit is less than what would go into finding a new engine and developing an entirely new game on it.

In short, maybe something like that could be possible, but because of the sheer level of work that goes into it, the amount of learning it would take, and the fact that a new game wouldn't even be the games we love, it really isn't worth it.

Thank you for the reply BaconWizard17!

To try and effectively address some of the concerns you brought up:
(If i forget something, call me on it so i can fix it please.)

How do we avoid getting hit with killjoy buzzkill copyright claims?
Just don't add established characters to the base game. The only official mugen character is karateman. Despite the engine itself absolutely bursting with representation from every form of media you can think of. Same thing goes for OpenBoR and its modules. Its an engine with no characters or story of its own. Can't C&D you for a blank engine. Unity not only allows for this, but is also free, and will work on all modern computers.

I DO (very much so) understand all the work an undertaking like this entails. I already design AND Deploy, 2D retro-games on my own for fun and profit, but that's not the point. The point is, what you're saying is 100% valid, but needlessly over-complicated. Lets simplify this down to  it's absolute basic first steps, and no more. We don't have to climb Everest fresh out of the gate. That's crazy. We're just gonna try and cross the street.

A Full on story mode would be wonderful to have, but not entirely necessary. To actually see this game in action you'd only really need 3 original entities, and a level. I'm talking about a simple product demo. Or, for this example :

1. A playable hero -

2. A fodder enemy to knock around. Like a henchman -

3. A Boss entity that spawns after you KO a set amount of fodder enemies. Doesn't even have to be a different
    enemy. a palette swap of fodder henchman dude would do just fine. Scale factor it up a little if you're fancy. -

4. A level for them to inhabit and interact. Honestly, one small rectangular shaped room is absolutely serviceable.
    Add two walls, and two doors, BOOM! Spawn room, Battle room, Boss room. Done, roll the credits. -

Next, those original entites would have to be created from scratch... Wouldn't they?
The short answer is no. Not, really. While there are some excellent Model creators and editors here, their numbers are far too few. It wouldn't be fair to ask a tax on their hobby time like that. It would also be much more difficult to achieve uniformity in art design. I think most of us are just hobbyists who really enjoy this thing we've got. To address this, I'll try and better explain what i stated earlier.

Pretty sure everything in these games has been ripped at this point. Characters, Environments, Effects, Baubles, Odds / Ends, etc. An effort is already underway to bring these models over to 3ds max, maya, blender, and the like. if pre-existing models have been exported to these modern formats, We can just reskin them like we do now. Keeping the art style and charm of the original game, while simplifying the process of character mod creation in the future. Again, we'd only need two reskins at bare minimum for a complete working demo.

How do we overcome the huge hurdle of community coordination?
we really don't have to honestly. You don't need an entire community of chefs in the kitchen to make a turkey.
Again, Mugen and OpenBOR have been doing this successfully just under around two decades. It's not impossible at all really. You guys have been injecting new fun into an old game, time and again ON YOUR OWN for how many years now? Outsider's catalog alone is absolutely PROLIFIC at this point.
Realistically, what I'm proposing (with the plethora of free to use tools available these days) can be, and has been done by one sufficiently educated person numerous times over. That's how an Earthbound romhacker made Undertale. Unfortunately, I am NOT that sufficiently educated virtuoso. I'm making the jump from 2d Game design to 3d game design, but I need a little more time to study. When that time comes, I'd like to put together a group of 5-10 people, work out a product demo that will be simpler to mod for, and leaves expandability open ended for futute fun and development. If you're a person reading this, who thinks this is a terrible idea. Sound off on why you think so. I'm using this experience as my sounding board. If you stump me, then there's very obviously more studying i've got to get done. Just try and keep decorum, and civility in mind. I wont assume what you do or don't know / understand. I'd ask for the same simple respect. Capiche?

Except you failed to grasp one of the bigger points BaconWizard brought up VsaintJ.

We AREN'T game developers nor are we interested in making the trancession to a custom engine (as most here simply want to mod in their dream custom teams into established titles we're all fans of, preferably not wanting to re-learn everything from scratch). Modders & game devs are at entirely different levels of content creation experience and levels of interest.

You don't know what you're asking for and greatly underestimate consumer reach, as well as the monolithic task staring you right in the face (despite telling yourself otherwise). So for all intents and purposes, I'd quit while you're ahead as no-one is likely to join ya in this ultimately fruitless venture, especially when we've already got a established, solid core that's continued to serve us well for the past 16 years.

If you're just going to make 1 room with 1 character and 1 enemy type, then I feel like it's really not worth the effort to go off of MUA. MUA at least has a full cast and story, and an established game engine made for this play style

I re- edited my original response to reflect what I'd intended to say originally, as i didn't leave myself enough time to elaborate the first go around.

To be clear, my proposal is to build the basic infrastructure of a new thing. From there, community input would be necessary moving forward. including, but not limited to ideas, opinions, and feedback (positive or negative are equally important.)

I've already cemented for myself a few things. Not the least of which is bringing back health / energy potion management, ability to use both MUA and XML jump attacks, retaining the grab attacks / grab finisher system, and retaining individual ATK 2 charge attacks. Some people might like things differently. Gotta make sure they can have that too. I can do it 2D, a little practice should hopefully achieve the same results.

New ideas, Like collectible AND equip-able bolt-ons would be fun too. Prestige leveling and caps could help replayability, and game balance, but would need to be greatly incentivized to be worthwhile.

February 11, 2020, 05:44AM #6 Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 06:26AM by BaconWizard17
If this is something you're interested in doing, no one is going to stop you. But for the rest of us, it's not worth the amount of work to completely drop everything we know and start anew on something else. This community is almost 15 years old, and it would likely take us just as long to learn a new engine and port all the existing content over. Why take all that time to port the content when we already have it? It's not worth the effort

VsaintJ, while we can certainly appreciate your enthusiasm towards this proposal, realistically it's not going to happen for various reasons that were pointed out. However, if you want to pursue this yourself, feel free. No one is discouraging you from attempting it, just don't expect community-wide help, as a lot of us are short on time/availability. Some of us have retired from modding or skinning altogether, while some (like myself) will retire from modding once my projects are done.

That said, I am going to lock down this topic to avoid more back-and-forth. I hope you understand.