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OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:25 am
by Crypton
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

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:14 pm
by BeSlayed
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?

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:26 pm
by Crypton
BeSlayed wrote: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?
Hello, unfortunately there is nothing like that, you're first who asked for that. However there is a RSS channel available, both for forums and website, so you could use that if you really want to be updated. Also don't worry that you'll miss something, because I'll send all important emails through forums, so when tech demo gets release, you'll receive email to join testing stage.

Thanks for support.
Have a nice day :twisted:

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:03 pm
by the_GP
just a short question to verify ( i assume yes but asking costs nothing), will one be able to import the original assets from the game ( say bought from gog)? Especially the sound will be hard to recreate otherwise

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:35 pm
by Crypton

Yes, it will be required to own copy of Arcanum in order to play OpenArcanum. It won't be a standalone game, because we don't own the rights to distribute the original game assets with OpenArcanum, so consider this project as a modification to the original game.

Cheers ;)

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:27 pm
by Zeratchi

So you have started this once again?
Last time I asked you about this you replied with:

Computer/HDD crashed, everything is lost.
School takes to much time
Not going to work with this project any more because of the lack of support.

And out of randomness I find out that you are going to continue on with this?

So, you are really going all the way this time? I'm going to check out the 'help' section and see if there is anything I can contribute with.

Hall of attempters xD ha ha.. Yeah, changing line of work isn't always easy - and when I had the time once again, you left :(

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:25 pm
by Zeratchi
By the way, I just sent a e-mail request to activision (Who owns the rights/license) to Arcanum, hopefully they will see within reason onto selling it to me within reason.

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:14 am
by Blaze656
I like your optimism...but in my experience, most corporations, even the good ones tend to greedily hoard IP like dragons. They may never use it, but the idea that they might one day is enough. Especially given the length and murkiness of copyright in situations like this.

But yes, try for all us fans. God knows, it might happen!


Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:25 am
by Zeratchi
Blaze656 wrote:I like your optimism
Well, I lose nothing from asking, and if by some strange troika miracle, it can be bought within reason. Think of the possibilities Crypton can do with that :P he he..

Re: OpenArcanum - FAQ & Project overview

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:45 am
by Crypton
Zeratchi, PM wrote:Hi.

I'm back (once again), I must say that I'm shocked that you decided to continue on with this - considering the lack of support, hardware problem and so on.

I think it is great that you are going to try and make this happen!
And as always with my wishful thinking, I'm going to spend more time figuring out how stuff works when integrating new thing into Arcanum. (I'm not a programmer, but I'm moving forward slowly).

But, I wanted to ask you if you are available in short durations on some form of 'chat', in order to be a bit more productive, there are a few things that I would like to ask you of.
If I could get a few answers quickly, that would 'speed' things up A LOT. (If you have the time of course).

These questions would be related to how you implement new/edited and implement new stuff into Arcanum.
Like, can you copy a regular dagger, change the Icon/Attributes/texture so that it becomes a new object?

And what program do you use in order to do your testing, cause I've used WorldEd a bit, but for some reason it is so SLOOOW.

Hope you will continue on with this project.
See you around!

Best regards-

First of all, please, do not send me a private messages, if you want to discuss this project. Start a new topic or ask in any existing, and if I don't respond immediately, it means that I'm busy with other matters. ;)

To answer your question, I do not *chat* about this project. Any discussion regarding this project should be public, so anyone might find the answers to any questions they have.

And yes, this project was abandoned several times, but I did always announce the reasons why I couldn't continue. Leaving without even saying goodbye would a big rude, don't you think so? ;)

Have a nice day.