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FIFE - a next generation Fallout-like engine


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This is my first post here so I hope this is the right part of the forums for this kind of discussion.

 

Fact sheet:

License: Open source GPL 2.0

Platforms: Win32, Linux, Mac

Libs: SDL, OpenGL, boost (and some more)

Suited for: all kind of isometric 2D games

Costs: Free

 

About FIFE:

FIFE stands for Flexible Isometric Fallout-like Engine. Just like the name of our project suggests we work on a new open source engine for all kinds of isometric games. The people working on it got a RPG background but it should be possible to customize the engine so it even works for other ISO games like RTS. The engine started as a Fallout-only project but we recognized very fast that it offers the potential to be used as a general 2d ISO engine for the development of cross platform RPGs.

 

Why FIFE?

Half-life 1 revolutionized PC gaming back in 1998. The most important part of Half-life wasn't the great game with the story but the engine behind it IMHO. HL1 was the first game that offered good modding support combined with a company that provided useful tools to support the new growing modding community. Today there are a bunch of good open source 3D engines out there like Ogre or Irrlicht. However there are several problems:

1. These are mostly GFX engines. That means they focus on gfx code while they provide just few code that is needed to make a fully working game with them.

2. More important: they've been made for the creation of 3D applications. But unfortunately there is no flexible 2D ISO engine (that I know) that is comparable to what Ogre and Irrlicht are for 3D games.

 

So our aim is to "revolutionize" 2D ISO games as HL1 did it with 3D games quite some years ago. We want to create a platform for the creation of isometric games that all indie developers can use for their games so they don't need to create something from scratch. We focus on good modding abilities so we'll bundle the engine with an easy to use and full featured editor tool called FIFEdit.

 

The advantage over other engines is that FIFE is meant to become a full game engine. So we don't only provide 2d gfx code for the rendering but also feature code that allows the modders to easily script game logic. FIFE supports SDL & OpenGL rendering modes and is uses different open source cross platform libraries. This way the engine and the editor (that uses Qt4) will run on Win32, Linux and Macintosh. So we can ensure that game developers can easily provide their games as FIFE mods that run all kind of platforms without needing to care about writing cross platform code themselves.

 

Our editor will support a plugin system so you can easily add new features that are needed for specific kind of games; e.g. RPGs or RTS games.

 

The current status of the project:

The FIFE project is about 9 months in development now and we have released three public pre-alpha versions of the engine on sourceforge / freshmeat in January and May 2006.

 

The gfx part of the engine is the most "mature" one at the moment. The rendering code is encapsulated well with a "renderbackend" approach; so you can easily work on the OpenGL part of the renderer without being afraid of breaking something on the SDL side. Our coders are currently working on the map model to be able to integrate some first game logic code later. You can already script a GUI using lua code; lua will be used as scripting language for all game logic too.

 

The second part of the team is working on the new FIFE editor FIFEdit. The design phase has been just completed and the work on the code started. You can view the design document with all planned features for FIFEdit here:

FIFEdit design document

 

You can also already access Fallout 1 / 2 .dat archives and display maps, view animations and listen to the original .acm sound files. But I guess this information is just important for the Fallout fans here. The Fallout maps just serve as example implementation to show what's already possible.

 

Intention of this post:

We would like to know what you think about our idea of a flexible isometric engine that focuses on modding abilities. Do you think this concept will work out or isn't it worth the hassle? Are there other projects that want to achieve something similar? Do you think that our engine is worth being used later or is it easier to create an engine from scratch for indie teams that plan to create ISO games?

 

Are there ISO fans out here that really like the idea and want to support us working on the engine? What kind of features would be really needed to make this engine attractive? Which parts of our design documents are well worked out and what's missing? Feedback is really appreciated :thumbsup:)

FIFE design documents

 

More information:

FIFE help wanted thread @ Gamedev

FIFE homepage

FIFE development wiki

FIFE screenshot section

 

Screenshots:

These screenshots were taken using FIFE with the original maps from Fallout 1 / 2. You'll need a valid copy of the Fallout games to load and display these maps; FIFE doesn't come bundled with copyrighted material!

 

2006.1.004_t.jpg

 

2006.1.003_t.jpg

 

editor_002_t.jpg

 

gui_001_t.jpg

 

pre-alpha_002_t.jpg

 

prototype1_015_t.jpg

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How easy will it be to create things in this engine? Inevitably, comparing it to the Fallout 2 Editor:

 

-> Is placeable placement (heh) any different, and if so, how? That was a big pain in Fallout, and very time-consuming.

 

-> And scripting. How user-friendly will it be, and how much coding experience would one need?

 

I assume, after all, that there are some significant changes here, otherwise it would just be a repackaging and a graphics engine, which you said it is not.

 

(and is it polish? :thumbsup:)

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Man, this looks great. I was thinking to code my own SDL-Based 2d game engine to use with my "totally amateur" game project. You've saved me.

 

One question.. Is it possible to make commercial products with FIFE?

centinexx.png
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I have only one criticism, at the moment; the name.  Please do not call it FIFE.  That is the name of a sissy dog.

We actually found "FIFE" really cool. An easy to remember name and quite unique :-)

 

 

How easy will it be to create things in this engine? Inevitably, comparing it to the Fallout 2 Editor:

 

-> Is placeable placement (heh) any different, and if so, how? That was a big pain in Fallout, and very time-consuming.

 

-> And scripting. How user-friendly will it be, and how much coding experience would one need?

 

I assume, after all, that there are some significant changes here, otherwise it would just be a repackaging and a graphics engine, which you said it is not.

 

(and is it polish? :p)

The main problem was that the FO2 editor just supported 640*480 px. You can't really get a good map overview with such a low res. You'll be able to run FIFEdit with 1920*1440 and even higher (if your gfx card and your display does support it).

 

We'll try to make the editor as easily usable as possible. You should consider participating in the FIFEdit beta test to help improve the editor once we've released a first version:

http://wiki.fifengine.de/index.php?title=FIFEdit_beta_test

 

Scripting will be done with LUA. If you're familiar with basic programming principles, learning the needed parts of LUA will be a cake IMHO. You won't be able to create FIFE mods without learning at least some LUA basics; there are other newbie-friendly solutions that offer the creation of RPGs without scripts but we feel that this approach takes away a lot of flexibility just to make it easier for the lazy guys.

 

FIFE scripting will be totally different to Fallout scripting and all in all the whole engine will be totally different. You CAN use FIFE for Fallout-like mods but our aim is to create an engine that is suitable for for all kind of 2D ISO RPGs.

 

And no: we're not from Poland, at least not all of us. The team is pretty international though quite a bunch of developers are from Germany (including me); but to make you happy: we've got a Polish gfx coder on the team :-)

 

Man, this looks great. I was thinking to code my own SDL-Based 2d game engine to use with my "totally amateur" game project. You've saved me.

 

One question.. Is it possible to make commercial products with FIFE?

It's possible in theory but this is giving us some headaches. The problem is that we're using the GPL license. That means if you create a game based on FIFE and modify the C++ sourcecode, you would need to offer your sourcecode for download. But your media files (scripts, videos, audio files, maps, etc.) will still be copyrighted.

 

That means you could create a FIFE based game and sell it without any problems. But we don't know if this is really likely. I've never heard about an open source game engine that has been picked up by a big publisher. So let's see how it evolves.

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Total Man hours invested in the projects development?

A lot :-/

 

I haven't counted the endless hours our coders put into the project but I can say that I'm (as project manager) working about 10-15 hours a week on it. And we're far from being finished. We're around for 9 months now and I thought that we start to get into a state where FIFE can be shown to a bigger audience.

 

We hope to have the editor beta version ready in about 3 months; that would be around the first project birthday :-) We're currently working on the map model code to be able to integrate scripting as next step. We've already added some map geometry code to allow modders setting up their own maps that are different to the ones from Fallout. So you can support diamond-shaped tiles like in FO: Tactics or the normal FO tiles. You could even support totally different tiles; that's why it is called Flexible Isometric Fallout-like Engine.

 

We're still in the need of new developers to push FIFE forward. So if any of the Obsidian devs reads this and suddenly fell in love with the idea, feel free to contribute to this project :-)

 

The sourcecode can be found in our SVN public SVN repository, you can even browse it online:

https://mirror1.cvsdude.com/trac/fife/engin...core/src/engine

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And different sizes of tiles? Height recognition of any form (e.g. for combat bonuses)?

It's hard to imagine for me how different tile sizes on one map should work. But we're thinking about supporting large painted background like the Infinity Engine games offered.

 

We haven't really decided about the height level support yet. ATM we're trying to work out a map model with just one elevation. But as one of our lead coders is a huge Diablo 2 fan, we'll think about a way to support height differences later. ATM it's just important that we design the map class flexible so we can add support for height levels later.

 

But these kind of advanced features often depend on the number of devs which got time to work on them. ATM we're lacking the resources to bring this into FIFE but let's see what happens in the next months :-)

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Oh, we sure could have used something like this for our winter project :ermm:

 

 

 

( Trying to create a 2D isometric adventure game using Flash is a BAD idea )

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Most impressive. Keep up the good work. :ermm:

 

Also, I assume this can be used to play Fallout at higher resolutions. Is this true?

 

 

One thing I'd like to do with this would be a Jagged Alliance type of game.

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Total Man hours invested in the projects development?

A lot :ermm:/

 

I haven't counted the endless hours our coders put into the project but I can say that I'm (as project manager) working about 10-15 hours a week on it. And we're far from being finished. We're around for 9 months now and I thought that we start to get into a state where FIFE can be shown to a bigger audience.

 

We hope to have the editor beta version ready in about 3 months; that would be around the first project birthday :)) We're currently working on the map model code to be able to integrate scripting as next step. We've already added some map geometry code to allow modders setting up their own maps that are different to the ones from Fallout. So you can support diamond-shaped tiles like in FO: Tactics or the normal FO tiles. You could even support totally different tiles; that's why it is called Flexible Isometric Fallout-like Engine.

 

We're still in the need of new developers to push FIFE forward. So if any of the Obsidian devs reads this and suddenly fell in love with the idea, feel free to contribute to this project :-)

 

The sourcecode can be found in our SVN public SVN repository, you can even browse it online:

https://mirror1.cvsdude.com/trac/fife/engin...core/src/engine

 

Give me a few days to mull over the source code, I'll get back to you... Not an obsidian dev mind

 

Edit: EEK! Singletons! Is there a zipped version or a project file I can get my hands upon?

Edited by @\NightandtheShape/@

RS_Silvestri_01.jpg

 

"I'm a programmer at a games company... REET GOOD!" - Me

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Most impressive. Keep up the good work. :ermm:

 

Also, I assume this can be used to play Fallout at higher resolutions. Is this true?

At least in theory. The problem is that Interplay still holds the IP rights so this could become troublesome. As we don't want to run into problems, the FIFE team WON'T recreate Fallout 1 / 2 on FIFE. If any modder wants to do it: fine; but he needs to take the risk in this case.

 

There is a first FIFE-based Fallout mod in development and the guys mailed Interplay about using some ideas from the Fallout games (e.g. pipboy, vault-boy, stimpack, etc.). Here is their mail:

Hello,

 

It seems, that this is the only available E-mail adress at the whole Interplay hompage.

 

I hope, you are able to redirect this E-mail to the right person.

 

I am the lead designer of a hommage to the Fallout-Series. We want to create a freeware computer game, that transmits the unique Fallout into a new (european) setting.

 

To reach this goal, we are very interested in using some content, that is covered with intellectual property rights by Interplay.

 

Namely, we want to use the design of the Vault-Boy and some item-designs (for example the stimpack). Furthermore we want to use the name of 'Fallout' as part of our game's title.

 

So we want ask, if Interplay would agree in using these content in a respectful freeware game or deny any fanbased use of their property.

 

Interplay answered:

Topic: Out of Office AutoReply: a Question to Interplay

 

Thank you for your interest for Interplay.

 

Please be advised that technical support and customer services are currently unavailable. Interplay will post an announcement as soon as it becomes available.

 

So with Interplay don't really being able to reply, we simply don't really know if you would be allowed to recreate the Fallout campaigns on FIFE.

 

Here is a first screenshot from this Fallout Zero mod:

screen01.jpg

(and yes: we know that the tiles are still repetive; we just did not have the time and skill to create something better back when we published these first pics)

 

Give me a few days to mull over the source code, I'll get back to you... Not an obsidian dev mind

 

Edit: EEK! Singletons! Is there a zipped version or a project file I can get my hands upon?

Normally we would just send you to SVN repository, but here we go:

http://members.fifengine.de/mvbarracuda/FIFE_2006_06_07.rar

 

You should check out trunk/core; this is the current work in progress code. Unfortunately the new map model that is featured there is still not completely finished yet. So check out tags/core/2006.1 too; this is our last stable released version. It features the old map model; you should compile the 2006.1 version instead of trunk/core if you want to see the engine in action. If you want to see how the engine will look in the future: trunk/core is the way to go.

 

If you really like the code, you should read our dev introduction to learn about the most important basics:

http://wiki.fifengine.de/index.php?title=Getting_started

 

After that you should grab the compile SDK (if you're on win32) and simply compile the sources like described in this tutorial:

http://wiki.fifengine.de/index.php?title=W...s_compile_guide

 

We would really like to welcome new devs so I hope you give us a chance :))

Edited by mvBarracuda
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*Snip*

 

Thanks for the info I'll take a read and a closer look!

 

I do have one question, why use singletons at all? Most of the coding practice is sensible (Just read it on the wiki).

 

Edit: Just to clarify I have limited WIN32 knowledge (but it seems I have more than the rest of the team from the wiki) I also have no openGL knowledge, but advanced DX9.0c. (The transfer from DX to OPENGL should be rather quick, but it would take me a while)

 

Currently I'm awaiting information about a paid position at a company, so I don't want to confirm anything with you guys until I know more in regards to that.

 

Here are some screen shots of a project I wrote previously, took me two weeks:

DraupnirPic.bmp

post-778-1149712058_thumb.jpg

post-778-1149712080_thumb.jpg

Edited by @\NightandtheShape/@

RS_Silvestri_01.jpg

 

"I'm a programmer at a games company... REET GOOD!" - Me

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*Snip*

 

Thanks for the info I'll take a read and a closer look!

 

I do have one question, why use singletons at all? Most of the coding practice is sensible (Just read it on the wiki).

Seriously: I've got no clue. The main reason is that our old lead coder liked singletons and our new one likes them too. So I guess they're useful although I know that singletons aren't the solution for all problems and can become a real problem in certain cases.

 

So if you really intend to discuss this with our developers: the mailing list is the right place for it:

http://wiki.fifengine.de/index.php?title=Public_mailing_list

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*Snip*

 

Thanks for the info I'll take a read and a closer look!

 

I do have one question, why use singletons at all? Most of the coding practice is sensible (Just read it on the wiki).

Seriously: I've got no clue. The main reason is that our old lead coder liked singletons and our new one likes them too. So I guess they're useful although I know that singletons aren't the solution for all problems and can become a real problem in certain cases.

 

So if you really intend to discuss this with our developers: the mailing list is the right place for it:

http://wiki.fifengine.de/index.php?title=Public_mailing_list

 

Thanks....

RS_Silvestri_01.jpg

 

"I'm a programmer at a games company... REET GOOD!" - Me

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The screenshots look really nice. Do you think you could add a little "perspective" effect to the view (as in Diablo 2), instead of being completely orthographic? I don't think D2 used any 3D transforms, yet they managed to get the feel of a perspective transform (this was an optional feature that you could enable IIRC).

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I have only one criticism, at the moment; the name.  Please do not call it FIFE.  That is the name of a sissy dog.

 

Other than that this looks interesting.  I'll have to look into it more when I have some time.

Ya change the final name. FIFA sounds like the name of a pooddle.

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Fifi is a popular poodle name, FIFE is different enough.  Apparently it's the name of a town, a battleship, a lake, an engine, and Barney Fife.  >_<

Totally right *g*

 

Seriously: we really like the name. Maybe that's because we pronounce it like the number FIVE and not like FIFI.

 

But IF Interplay ever gets angry and threatens to sue us (because of the "Fallout" in the name), we already got a good alternative name for the project. But as I said: till anybody sues us, the name will stay the same.

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It's hard to imagine for me how different tile sizes on one map should work. But we're thinking about supporting large painted background like the Infinity Engine games offered.

 

Actually, I meant do all maps / mods / worlds created with FIFE have to use, say, the same size squares? There's the question of artwork, too, as you can't just take, say, Fallout artwork and use it on square / triangular tilesets.

 

Anyway, this will be on my long-term watchlist.

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