UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

General debates and discussion about the Guild of Writers and Age creation

Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Christian Walther » Sun May 13, 2018 12:58 am

Hey, that’s interesting, thanks for the pointer. I’m going to have to take a look at this. It looks like a clone of Oculus Medium at first glance, does it do anything better than Medium, other than multiplayer mode and running on more platforms?
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Afalstein » Sun May 13, 2018 7:57 am

Haven't played Oculus Medium (I have a Vive) so couldn't say, but promo material suggests not--there's a post the creator made saying SculptrVR is like Oculus Medium, but for your phone and with multiplayer. Some of the forum discussion on it suggests it's better at handling data and doing fine detail also, but the person saying that admits they're not super technical.
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Sirius » Wed May 16, 2018 4:23 pm

Updaaaaaaate ! Been a while, hasn't it ? ;)

So, I didn't get a chance to say it earlier, but SteamVR's home feature is compatible only with Valve's own engine (Source), contrarily to the engine I'm using (Unity). So no Uru Age as default VR environment. For now. Maybe one day you'll be able to use your own application as VR home - sounds rather likely to me.

But hey, either way this doesn't mean you can't play Uru in VR. Speaking of which....

Show Spoiler


Just needed to load the old models and textures. Piece of cake.

...No it wasn't. Really not. That was rather hard, actually. Unity's rendering is completely different from Plasma, and getting a new engine to behave like an old one is HARD, since they do a lot of things differently. Which is also the reason I'm only showing you the Relto for now.
But hey, now it matches almost exactly the Plasma version. Even dynamic objects are lit correctly !

And that's not all. Under the hood, it has toggleable per-pixel lighting, works in both Forward and Deferred, and complex materials don't need extra passes to be rendered. As for compatibility, Unity can work on any device and OS, as long as HSPlasma can be compiled to it.

What else... What you can't see in those pictures is that most animations are working correctly, and sounds are imported. However they both need more improvement before being as good as they were in Plasma. And next will be coding all the logic so you can click on stuff. More on this later. It's a big project, so it will take another while.

(Oh, and I'm working on the KI, too. Will be pretty useful as an in-game debug console...)
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Afalstein » Wed May 16, 2018 5:34 pm

Dude. You're amazing.
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Chacal » Wed May 16, 2018 10:02 pm

Awesome.
I can't even begin to think about how you do that.
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Deledrius » Thu May 17, 2018 5:27 am

Impressive! :shock:
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Emor D'ni Lap » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:33 am

Beautiful work, Sirius!
Your adaptation of Relto to the Unity renderer really seems close enough to the Plasma "look" that seasoned explorers would feel at home there. And that's what it would take for players to migrate to another engine: it would have to look as-good-or-better-than the Plasma version, without being a jarring transition.

It makes perfect sense that a direct import to Unity would render with very different results than Plasma. I can imagine the number of adjustments to lighting and texture values necessary to get the Relto match you achieved!
And I can imagine the amount of such tweaking that would be necessary to convert all the existing Ages. Down the line, when you feel your converter is nearer completion, I'd like to volunteer to assist with some small portion of that specific work.

Not because I dislike the Plasma engine, in fact I really do like the soft, painterly "look" it renders as opposed to the ultra-sharp, "edgy" look that seems standard to Unreal, for instance.
But I don't need to list the advantages of more modern engines to anyone here, and I applaud your choice of Unity, having dabbled a bit with it already.
One reason - among many - for moving to a different engine: our Age projects are essentially self-contained games unto themselves, but if you want to offer an Age to the public, they currently would have to download and install all of URU in order to play your one project. But with Unity, the engine can be packaged with your Age independently if you like; much more self-contained.
And there's a lot of appeal to making improved versions of some of the original low-res textures, fixing UVs that were misapplied in the original, and even making additions to some areas (Ae'gura!), with far less concern about memory overload etc.

At one time, I was skeptical that the (cough)*community* would ever do the considerable work of a complete URU conversion to another engine. Though I'm still skeptical, after seeing your work I am much less so - and I'm quite serious that I'd eventually like to assist in some small way.

But....
At some point, the gorilla in the room needs to be acknowledged:
would releasing URU content in another engine, with the necessary manual intervention and perhaps optional modification mentioned above, raise any I.P. issues?
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Deledrius » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:14 am

Emor D'ni Lap wrote:One reason - among many - for moving to a different engine: our Age projects are essentially self-contained games unto themselves, but if you want to offer an Age to the public, they currently would have to download and install all of URU in order to play your one project. But with Unity, the engine can be packaged with your Age independently if you like; much more self-contained.

This feels like two different ideas. If we're talking about standalone Ages that are part of an independent Uru story, you can make that in Unity without needing the baggage of converting an entire game. The only reason for encasing it in a Unity-ready Uru is because you want to integrate your ideas into that game, right?

Emor D'ni Lap wrote:At one time, I was skeptical that the (cough)*community* would ever do the considerable work of a complete URU conversion to another engine. Though I'm still skeptical, after seeing your work I am much less so - and I'm quite serious that I'd eventually like to assist in some small way.

For me, there's a point at which it feels like doing something completely new in a new engine is the better route than doing something old in a new engine, or else trying to make the old engine better... if that makes any sense?

Emor D'ni Lap wrote:would releasing URU content in another engine, with the necessary manual intervention and perhaps optional modification mentioned above, raise any I.P. issues?

I think the currently-accepted model for this is not to release the content, but provide an installer that would automatically convert the Cyan-provided files, and apply your enhancements on top of that. This sidesteps most of the direct IP issues. Doing this would take a lot of work to get it all right, and even more work to make it all go smoothly, but it seems like a viable project if you had enough people working on. Sirius would know more about the technical viability, as far as format-conversion goes.
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Emor D'ni Lap » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:06 pm

Deledrius wrote:This feels like two different ideas. If we're talking about standalone Ages that are part of an independent Uru story, you can make that in Unity without needing the baggage of converting an entire game. The only reason for encasing it in a Unity-ready Uru is because you want to integrate your ideas into that game, right?
1. Yes, in one way it is two separate ideas.
2. No, an Age can both be encased in a Unity-ready URU and it can stand on its own, shipped as a playable Age unto itself - best of both worlds!
The very nature of our Age-writing limitations states that we cannot alter canon storylines if we intend to integrate our work with URU, so pretty much all Explorer-created work so far can stand on its own...whether it was planned to tie in or not.

For me, there's a point at which it feels like doing something completely new in a new engine is the better route than doing something old in a new engine, or else trying to make the old engine better... if that makes any sense?
Sure, and though we don't have to list the advantages here, we know Unity will continue to be developed, whereas...you get the point.

I think the currently-accepted model for this is not to release the content, but provide an installer that would automatically convert the Cyan-provided files, and apply your enhancements on top of that. This sidesteps most of the direct IP issues.
Going back over the first page of this thread, I can pick up the clues for this premise, though I didn't see it stated so clearly before. It's possibly a fine point, legally. But I think if the conversion was done respectfully (and Sirius' images thus far look pretty damn respectful to me!), the I.P. could be considered protected. Any actual mods would probably have to be performed as an entirely separate step, and considered as a separate matter.
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Re: Idea: Play Plasma from another engine

Postby Deledrius » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:15 pm

Emor D'ni Lap wrote:Sure, and though we don't have to list the advantages here, we know Unity will continue to be developed, whereas...you get the point.

That's a very good point. And, most notably, not by us. Someone else is doing that work. Phew!

Emor D'ni Lap wrote:Going back over the first page of this thread, I can pick up the clues for this premise, though I didn't see it stated so clearly before. It's possibly a fine point, legally. But I think if the conversion was done respectfully (and Sirius' images thus far look pretty damn respectful to me!), the I.P. could be considered protected. Any actual mods would probably have to be performed as an entirely separate step, and considered as a separate matter.

Respect is important, but legally the big deal is whether we (or anyone) is distributing Cyan's assets without their explicit permission. As long as you avoid that, you avoid the largest concern. Most people are comfortable with the concept of running an installer, so it's not a bad place to do all of the heavy lifting to make this transition, as long as you can fully automate your conversion and modification application. :)
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