OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

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OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Post by Crypton » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:25 am

A few weeks ago, someone have asked me a several questions about the OpenArcanum project, and one of the questions was about if there is some kind of project overview, because that person couldn't find anything related at our website. After that I've realized that there is no such thing at these forums, I told that person that I'll make one, so everyone might be able to find their answers in the overview. Today I found some free time, so I'm going to spend it on writing this overview.

Before you read anything, please note that my English isn't great, so please excuse any grammar errors and other mistakes you find here.

1. General

What is the purpose of the OpenArcanum project?

The OpenArcanum project is game engine recreation project, which is going to provide a brand new game engine for the original game - Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. The new engine is going to have same features as the original engine, except it's also going to be a open-source, cross-platform, modding-friendly and feature rich.

Is the OpenArcanum going to be a freeware game?

Yes. Its completely non-profit project, so it's a freeware. The only thing you will need, in order to be able to play, is to own the original game - Arcanum. It's also possible to play a demo version, in this case you'll need to download Arcanum's demo version from the internet.

Is it going to be a standalone game?

No. We can't distribute any of the original game assets, since we don't have a license for it, thus consider this project as some kind of modification. This means that you'll need to own a copy of the original game.

Will I be able to play a original Arcanum campaign in OpenArcanum?

Yes. Everything you know from Arcanum is going to be in OpenArcanum as well.

What new features are being planned?
  • New 2.5D graphics and gfx effects. More info: Plans to switch from 2D to 2.5D
  • Coop mode. You will be able to play singleplayer campaign over the internet
  • Enchanted Enhanced multiplayer. Increased number of players up to 100 or even more
  • New multiplayer modes, such as Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, etc.
  • Fixed/Improved/tweaked combat system. For example NPC's will cast spells more often
  • Weather system. Advanced ambient, raining, thunderbolts, snowing, etc.
  • Real water. Rivers and seas with dynamic and real looking water
  • Fully destroyable world
  • Random map generator. A new locations, quests and other stuff like that
  • New items, npc, quests and voices
  • ...and many more!
If there are going to be so many new features, does it means that I won't be albe to play original Arcanum campaign?

No. You'll be still able to play original Arcanum campaign as before. There will be a two gameplay modes in OpenArcanum. First that will allow you to play Arcanum as you know - let's call it a vanilla mode, and second mode, the extended one, that will try to improve the gameplay system by providing a new features, so you'll be able enjoy this game even more.

How far is this project from being finished?

The engine is still under extensive development and so is the game itself. It's hard to tell the exact numbers, but if we're allowed to guess, then it's 50% finished.

What is already finished?

Basic engine implementation, that includes client-server architecture, networking, rendering, map and object loading, and other stuff. A lot of more advanced features are already implemented as well. A detailed list of tasks that were successfully completed will be posted later, as soon as it gets assembled.

What still needs to be done?

A gameplay system, artificial intelligence, sound subengine, and other stuff. A detailed list of current and planned tasks can be found at our page.

Is there any way I can help?

Yes, there are several ways. If you're interested, then please read The ways how to help, contribute and donate topic.

Is this a open-source project ? Is the source codes available?

No, not yet. At this moment, the engine is currently developed privately, as closed source. Source codes are going to be released some day (probably when a first tech demo or beta gets released), under some non-profitable open-source license, and if not, the engine will be greatly scriptable anyway, so it will be possible to modify (almost) anything you want. The reason for such decision is that this project is completely non-profiting and doesn't want to support other projects that are going to profit on you.

Is it possible to make a sequel or prequel for Arcanum?

Yes. Anything like that is possible after AGate and OpenArcanum gets finished. However, everything needs to be released as modification for original Arcanum.

Is it possible to play other modules and fan-made mods?

Yes. It will be possible to convert other modules for the OpenArcanum by using a converter tool which is going to be released along with the OpenArcanum.

Are there any screenshots or videos from the OpenArcanum?

Yes. Some screenshots and videos can be found at our website or here at our forums, but you need to search for them. Also some pictures are posted at our facebook page. Latest video, a one year old, can be found here.

Are there any legal concerns?

No. There are a plenty of very similar projects that are perfectly legal. As long as we release it as modification for the original game, everything should be without any problems. No copyright infringement intended!

Who's currently working on the project?

At this moment, only one person is working on the project. This person, a one man army, is currently doing everything that needs to be done, including programming, designing, webmastering, writing such things like this one, and any other stuff you can ever think of. Hopefully, someone talented and experienced is going to join to this project soon, so this project may progress much faster.

When was the OpenArcanum project started?

All began in 2008, exactly at 18th of November, which means that project is running for over two 4 year!

Are there any other projects similar to OpenArcanum?

Yes. There is at least one, the Arcanum: Revolution. More Arcanum related projects can be found in topic List of Arcanum related projects.

2. Technical

What platforms are going to be supported?

As usual - MS Windows, Linux and probably also Mac OS X.

What engine does the OpenArcanum use?

It uses the AGate engine, which is our custom built engine that is specifically designed for role-playing games.

In which programming language is the engine and game written?

Everything is written in C/C++, but doesn't use any C++ standard libraries such as STL and Boost.

What third-party libraries are going to be used?

Very few when compared to other projects that are similar to this one, since a lot of stuff was written by me, Crypton. The list contains: OpenGL, OpenAL, lua, zlib, nedmalloc. That's all. (Also freetype2 is used, but not directly in OpenArcanum, because its used in a FontGen - tool that generates fonts for OpenArcanum.)

What are the planned features?

The OpenArcanum will be:
  • Crossplatform
  • Multilingual
  • Extremely modder friendly
The OpenArcanum is going to have:
  • Better support for both fullscreen and window screen mode, for any screen resolution, including dual monitor settings
  • Native support for 2.5D rendering (mixing 2D and 3D graphics together) and advanced camera & viewport capabilities
  • Hardware acceleration for both 2D and 3D graphics
  • Full OpenGL support, up to version 4.0, including shaders, framebuffers, antialiasing, anisotropic filtering, etc.
  • Support for more sprite and image file formats
  • Advanced GUI system, also very modifiable via gui and lua scripts
  • Better and easier scripting system that use Lua language
  • Well designed client-server architecture, for both singleplayer and multiplayer
  • Integrated IM client, including IRC protocol
  • Possibility to create a dedicated server, for multiplayer gameplay
  • Build-in map editor, with possibility to edit and play at same time
  • Developer console, advanced debugging and logging
  • ...and many more!
3. Multiplayer

You mentioned a 100+ player capacity per server. Is it going to be a MMORPG?

No. Not in the way you would probably think of. The gameplay style stays same, only player capacity is going to be increased.

Is multiplayer going to be compatible with Arcanum?

No. There is no reason for doing it, as the original multiplayer is quite flawed and unfinished, so it won't be possible to connect these two games together.

Will it be possible to start a dedicated server?


Post change-log:

2012/10/20 - Completely rewritten

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Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Post by BeSlayed » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:14 pm

This is great! Especially the news that it will be available for Linux! Is there any sort of email list for updates on the project?

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