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 Post subject: About the plasma engine
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:44 pm 
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I would like to know if the plasma engine currently used in MOULa is the same as the previous instalations of uru or if it is the newer one used in Hex Island.
Also as anyone else noted that Magiquest uses the plasma engine? It almos looks like uru.. in every single way.. Character creation is just like uru with diferent GUI colors but the same beards and faces and etc.. The gameplay itself, the places there everything is just like uru.. With the exception of some magic wand thingy they wave to interact with objects.. Oh and i've seen a talking tree there that actualy moves the lips and eyes while talking.. A lot of things done under the same engine as Uru.. I was wondering if new content like that could be implemented in uru once it goes open source.. Like changes to character interactions and movements.. etc.. You should go check out the video in Magicquest website under About: online game. I don't have the link right now but you can always google it.

The plasma engine still has much more to give that we could all use to improve not only in ages but in interections also. To really expand it with new possibilities other than just ages and puzzles.

Can anyone confirm if the plasma engine version of magicquest is the same as the currently MOULa?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:15 pm 
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What we have in MOULagain is just the same codebase (with some minor tweaks) as existed in the GameTap edition of MOUL.

I suspect MagiQuest Online uses something newer (I'm pretty sure some of the tools used to create MQO are more recent versions that the ones used for Uru), but probably the best person to answer outside of Cyan is JWPlatt, since he works for Creative Kingdoms who commissioned Cyan to do MQO. It'll depend on what he feels at liberty to share, since there's no doubt an NDA involved there.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:28 pm 
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And could the improved plasma version be implemented in uru or would it be under restrict licencing for Magicquest?
For what i've seen from that sneak peek video in their website, those engine improvements could really really expand the possibilities in the URUverse beyond those we currently have..

By the way when the open source comes to life is the complete plasma engine used in uru going open source?
I read somewhere that the only thing not going open source would be some of the textures.
So if the engine goes open source too even if a previous version to the one being used by magiquest, the fans would be able to change and improve it with new possibilities too for uru right?

I just don't see the engine going open source with a version of it that doesn't seem very changed under license to another company.. And also the myst V license to ubisoft that also uses a slightly improved version of urus plasma engine.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:37 pm 
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zehl wrote:
I just don't see the engine going open source with a version of it that doesn't seem very changed under license to another company..


Well, regarding MQO, we have been told by an employee of Creative Kingdoms that the use of Plasma in MQO will in no way affect the open sourcing of Uru. Everything else, you'll have to ask someone else.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:10 pm 
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kaelisebonrai wrote:
Well, regarding MQO, we have been told by an employee of Creative Kingdoms that the use of Plasma in MQO will in no way affect the open sourcing of Uru. Everything else, you'll have to ask someone else.


Wow that's nice! I guess most worries are gone then. I just wish now that someone could tell me if we will be able to improve the engine a little bit by ourselfes. To implement stuff.. Like for example.. Creating item based puzzles that would require us to take objects and use them elsewere or combine them with other objects.. We would need a pocket, or a bag, something more than the feather collection "pocket", something more graphical.. That for example would require some tweeking in the game engine.. But i think it would be very nice.. It would expand the possibilities in puzzles and other things a lot. Thats just one example to make my point about improving the engine.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:16 pm 
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zehl wrote:
And could the improved plasma version be implemented in uru or would it be under restrict licencing for Magicquest?
For what i've seen from that sneak peek video in their website, those engine improvements could really really expand the possibilities in the URUverse beyond those we currently have..

I'm not sure if it'd make a whole lot of difference, besides maybe being a bit more productive for the developers. I don't think that preview video actually shows anything radically "new" over Uru. Other people would maybe be able to make a better call on that.

zehl wrote:
I read somewhere that the only thing not going open source would be some of the textures.

I think the only things Cyan is holding back is the actual Cyan created Ages themselves (and the assets like textures that go with them). Probably, some textures, etc., will be made available under a different licence from the Open Source code and possibly under special arrangement selected Ages might be made available for re-work. I think that was the gist of things, anyway.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:34 pm 
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Mac_Fife wrote:
zehl wrote:
And could the improved plasma version be implemented in uru or would it be under restrict licencing for Magicquest?
For what i've seen from that sneak peek video in their website, those engine improvements could really really expand the possibilities in the URUverse beyond those we currently have..

I'm not sure if it'd make a whole lot of difference, besides maybe being a bit more productive for the developers. I don't think that preview video actually shows anything radically "new" over Uru. Other people would maybe be able to make a better call on that.


Well there were some things there that uru hasn't got the capability, There were some light effects that seemed completly new. The tree thing.. Was very well done, the tree waking up and talkinga and stuff.. There was this women talking on some pool of water.. Kinda reminded me of Myst's dock imager, when atrus records the messege to cathryne. And also there was this flying talking sparkling fairy moving around. There are some examples of features in that revision of the engine that aren't available in uru version of it. Well the video imager thing i think it was available in Uru:CC or maybe Myst V, can't really be sure.. So i guess for that if it was in Uru:CC it is in MOULa's engine, it's just not used.. I see the imagers all around in the cavern, i remember back then they had a button and played some messages from yeesha. They are still there only without the buttons.
But if you look onto it even in Myst V the engine had some features that aren't present in Uru engine, The bubble around the bahro pedestals in Myst V had a graphical effect i'm pretty sure the uru engine can't do.. And the slates themselfes and the effect they had, it was something the current engine is unprepared to do. Also I think the NPC model for Yeesha and for the D'ni guy were improved in comparisson with the ones that URU can use. The lips and hads being the most notorious improvements. Even upgrading to the engine used in Myst V would greatly give more oportunities for fan developers. There is a lot of code there that would make the creation of new better puzzles possible.

I know that porting everythin from one engine version to another is not easy. But for what i've read about it, the myst V engine is basicly the same as uru's with some graphical improvements, some new codes for puzzles and the network code striped out. It would be a matter of putting in the networking code again and make sure everything was compatible with the new codes. I don't know however how is the licencing for that particular version of the engine, since Myst V is still under ubisoft. It would be nice if the agreed to let some things into open source uru.. The myst island and the great shaft from myst V would be other two things i would like to see ubi let be put in Open source uru.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:04 pm 
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You can think of MQO as a forked, Total Conversion of the MOUL engine. A Total Conversion is when you use an engine, but totally new content. MagiQuest liked how Cyan and Uru represented the feel MagiQuest wanted for it's multiplayer online game.

I don't really know if there's a new Plasma version assigned to the MQO code from MOUL. The only real engine improvement that comes to mind besides our server integration is line of sight action for casting a wand. That was a basic necessity for MagiQuest so that MQO works more like the live action game. There was an improvement to SmartSeek so the avatar could cast the wand from any location and not be forced by SmartSeek to a specific location. In Uru, that's never a concern because the avatar has to physically manipulate things like levers, doors, and switches. The gun on Teledahn, which does aim and shoot, simply locks you into the gun sight. Now, I suppose with such an improvement, you could bring your own rifle and shoot. But I don't think that'll happen. ;)

Most of the effects zehl notes are from the use of video animations, not real time renders in Plasma. Those look like new effects because Uru uses almost no video, but Uru can already project a video onto any Plasma surface. There's the logo, the Yeesha intro and the KI/imager interference pattern, and that's about it. Videos are expensive all-around from production to bandwidth (bigger downloads). Videos use up more storage with the MQO client that anything else. We might consider using more real time rendered content in the future.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:39 pm 
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Did anyone else notice the players dancing on the bridge?! Made me feel quite at home... :wink:


Anyone prepared to guess how long before someone organises Karaoke night in MQO once its up? :D

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:19 pm 
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Wizards can sing? :shock:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:42 pm 
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Yes uppon further investigation I see that the latest plasma release for myst online is a newer version than the one used in myst V.

This is from mystlore wiki article on plasma engine:


[edit] 1 (10, 1.0)

Based on: Headspin code

* Initial version, progressed directly from Headspin Plasma

DirectX version: 7.0

Implemented in: early pre-releases of DIRT and Mudpie; realMyst


[edit] 2 (20, 2.0)

(Public release version 63.11)

Based on: 1

* Major rewrite, some incompatibilities
* Fewer graphical features due to limited resources
* Bindings to Havok physics engine
* Massive multiplayer networking support
* Python-based support for scripting

DirectX version: 8.0

Implemented in: Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, Uru Live (2003), Uru: To D'ni


[edit] 2 + CC

(Public release version 63.12)

Based on: 2

* Additional support for more graphics chips, especially various Intel integrated chipsets

DirectX version: 8.0

Implemented in: Uru: The Path of the Shell, Uru: Complete Chronicles


[edit] 21 (2.1)

(Public release version 6.10)

Based on: 2 + CC

* Replaced Havok physics support with ODE
* Removed networking
* Removed scripting
* Added support for pixel shader model 1.0

DirectX version: 9.0

Implemented in: Myst V: End of Ages, Crowthistle


[edit] 205 (2.0.5)

(Public version 69.1 to 70)

Based on: 2 + CC

* Replaced Havok physics support with PhysX
* Completely rewritten, optimized networking
* Backported support for pixel shaders from 21, possibly model 2.0[Verification requested]

DirectX version: 9.0

Implemented in: Myst Online: Uru Live


[edit] 3 (30, 3.0)

(Public version 9)[Verification requested]

Based on: 2.1

* Uses the ODE Physics engine
* Has better material and lighting support, including fake (blurred) bloom (Wikipedia) lighting effects
* Uses a special scripting language to create tiles in the world-space

DirectX version: 9.0

Implemented in: Hex Isle

So yes if they are using the latest engine release used in myst series games than the one we are using is the newest.
There is also the 3.0 version used in Hex Isle, wich would actualy improve the game, since for what i've read online the ode physics engine is better than the physX since uru can't make use of the physX features and only uses so it has a basic physics engine, ode seems to be more stable and in the case of uru give better performances, the lighting improvements would also be welcome in uru since lot's of people, me included, have stability and performance problems with the current lighting and bloom rendering even in lowest setting (and i do have a reasonable graphics card when it comes to playing uru).
Now it would be hard to adapt the 3.0 version to uru since we only see it in hex island and it is a very diferent game.
But then it comes Magiquest, we don't have the information on the version of the engine used, but somewhere in a game review website i read that cyan had improved the latest release of plasma they had by a little to make the engine for Magiquest, now that one is really very similar to uru as far as we can tell, so maybe it is possible to have uru running on 3.0.
It would really give more stability to the game for what i've seen in the changes has of the version used in hex isle. And going back to ODE physics engine would really be a benefit to all of us. PhysX doesn't really work with uru even if you have a nvidea card because although uru uses physX for the phisics engine, it does not have support for the physX features.

Now the problem with this would be that porting Uru to the newest plasma release would have to be something done by the guys at cyan, who we know that although they try very hard, they do not have the time nor the funds to make a total conversion of the game engine unless they already had something cooking..
We could then change its and bits after, but the main conversion could not be made by us..

I really do hope the engine gets some work on it though.. It really needs some polishing with problems that seem to be very persistent so far..


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:57 pm 
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zehl wrote:
There is also the 3.0 version used in Hex Isle, wich would actualy improve the game, since for what i've read online the ode physics engine is better than the physX since uru can't make use of the physX features and only uses so it has a basic physics engine, ode seems to be more stable and in the case of uru give better performances, [...]

I wouldn't be quite so quick to sing the praises of ODE - I'm no expert on it, but there is a post on OpenURU.org (albeit for a different application) that suggests that ODE can be difficult to work with, since it was not written for gaming use.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:14 pm 
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Yes you are correct, in the case of more than 50 simultanious colisions. ODE only handles about 50 simultanious colinsions at a given time, but for URU purposes I do not think that limit will ever be passed, just look at Myst V. The good of ODE is that it is completly open source.. So the physics engine would also be open source as well as the rest of URU.

But yes for complex physics processing PhysX is better, The thing is that I do not believe those complex processes can be achieved in URU and anyway URU doesn't take full advantage of the PhysX engine..
So i guess either ODE because of the open source or fully functional PhysX would be nice.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:51 am 
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I'm running ODE in my OpenSim region... while that is not the best example... it shows problems.

Fifty collisions is very limiting. Remember the avatar collides with the ground to walk.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:10 am 
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Nalates wrote:
Fifty collisions is very limiting. Remember the avatar collides with the ground to walk.


Still, in Uru all you really do is collide with the ground, collide with regions, and collide with kickables. The kickables collide with the ground.

However, if you start calculating collisions for all the avatars in an age for all of the regions, kickables, etc. You would hit that limit very easily in the city during a major IC event (think Scars and Wheely). That would rarely happen in MOULa though.

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