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Xoreos: An Open-Source Engine Of BioWare's Aurora

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  • Xoreos: An Open-Source Engine Of BioWare's Aurora

    Phoronix: Xoreos: An Open-Source Engine Of BioWare's Aurora

    When writing a few days ago about the GemRB project as an open-source re-implementation of the Infinity Engine for Baldur's Gate and then OpenMW as an open-source re-implementation of the engine used by Morrowind, a Phoronix reader pointed out Xoreos...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTI1ODc

  • #2
    Neverwinter Nights 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and The Witcher.
    It was used in Neverwinter Nights 1 and its expansions, Neverwinter Nights 2 was developed by Obsidian and used the Electron Engine they developed in house for the game.

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    • #3
      Phoronix already mentioned this project, though at the time it was called Eos. I don't think it's been moving very quickly lately.

      Found the link: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...tem&px=MTAzNjg

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      • #4
        Hmm, interesting. I am replaying SWKotOR2 with TSLRCM atm. Would be awesome to be able to play it under Linux.

        Such complex projects scream for a community to recruit contributors imho (glancing across at openmw).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by zanny View Post
          Neverwinter Nights 2 was developed by Obsidian and used the Electron Engine they developed in house for the game.
          Not quite. The Electron engine is not a complete new in-house development; it's an extension of BioWare's Aurora engine.

          Originally posted by TheCycoONE View Post
          Phoronix already mentioned this project, though at the time it was called Eos
          Yes, "eos" was just too widely used by everyone else and their dog. In hindsight, I should have thought about that beforehand.

          Originally posted by TheCycoONE View Post
          I don't think it's been moving very quickly lately
          Unfortunately, that's true as well. RL interfered. Plus I have a lot (read: too many) of other projects going on; I keep hopping between them.

          Originally posted by log0 View Post
          Such complex projects scream for a community to recruit contributors
          I'd welcome any help.

          A general overview about what works can be found here: https://github.com/DrMcCoy/xoreos/wiki (the NWN screenshots are a bit outdated though, since NPC models and animations work a bit now)
          A long (non-exhaustive) TODO is here: https://github.com/DrMcCoy/xoreos/wiki/TODO

          But the big thing holding back further development is a complete overhaul of the graphics subsystem. Frankly, my OpenGL knowledge is very basic, and xoreos' graphics code is something I hacked together without much experience in how to do a proper 3D engine. It works, kinda, but not really efficient and without many of the features needed.
          Someone with knowledge in 3D graphics, and willingness and time to completely rewrite the whole subsystem would be very much appreciated.

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          • #6
            The open-source game engine recreation scene is just begging for an article or three. Exposure to existing projects can only be a good thing for any platform, especially with the Steam appliance coming. For example, Heroes of Might and Magic III has the VCMI project which at one point had an active N900 port as well. And there is also the XLEngine which supports Star Wars: Dark Forces, TES3: Daggerfall and a couple others.

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            • #7
              Been following this for a while. Especially in the light of NWN's multiplayer services being pulled offline (the online find-a-friend feature, not the self hosted servers, obviously), stuff like this is more and more important.

              Saddens me also that every single AAA developer I've had a conversation about this with has been on the opposite side of the line. My argument is that games are art, art must be preserved, and online services and closed-source software eliminates that from being possible. Their arguments boil down to the (incredibly flawed) set of arguments that (a) it's unfair to require companies to pay the costs to continually host or relicense their code, (b) you can buy old hardware and play games that way, (c) the community can recreate the code if they really cared, and (d) nobody cares. Obviously the first response is silly because even just dumping the code 5 years after release with all licensed code stripped out is a huge step in the right direction, the second response is silly because old hardware slowly disappears and emulating it is near impossible (we can't even accurately emulate the SNES today; emulating the modern PC or even current-gen consoles is essentially unfeasible), the third option is the one relevant to this thread (more below), and the fourth option is historically false by just looking at how much the loss of all early films (many of which were intentionally destroyed because filmmakers didn't think they had commercial value, and it was cheaper to recycle film stock or even to get the tax write-off for loss of assets) and the impact that has on the modern art and research communities.

              I still hold that FOSS is a horrible option for developing and releasing quality games, but I also still hold that all games should be required to be open sources ~5 years after initial commercial release. The tiny handful of properties/companies that continue making money off a game after that time span are vastly swamped by the numbers of abandoned games that are increasingly hard to play.

              Efforts like Xoreos -- both the fact that they exist, showing user interest, and the fact that they are so very far from usably complete, showing how untenable the "rely on the community" solution to abadoned games really is -- just highlight the problem. 50 years from now, everyone is going to agree on how stupid it was to keep game code in vaults and let them die out. 50 years from now, it'll be too late to fix anything. The game assets will have been lost, traded, or sold off so many times that even figuring out who has or who is responsible for releasing code will be too difficult. The foundation of so much of today's culture will be lost to commercial lack of foresight.

              ... that said, I'm proud of the Xoreous developers and hope they can get things up to a reasonably playable state, by getting some xtra exposure by articles like this and getting more developers.

              While we're on the topic, GemRB also coudl use some new blood.

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              • #8
                Cool video of the engine: http://youtu.be/WaRfBsZVO3Y

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by elanthis View Post
                  emulating it is near impossible (we can't even accurately emulate the SNES today; emulating the modern PC or even current-gen consoles is essentially unfeasible),
                  Hm, the SNES is not really a good example, since bsnes/higan offer pretty much 100% accurate emulation if you have a fast enough CPU, or 99.9% with a run-of-the-mill Core 2.

                  Also I thought that VirtualBox emulated a modern PC, but I guess I was wrong Still, it lets me install Planescape: Torment and Fallout 2, so I'm happy. Yeah, I'd love a modern open-source version of the underlying engines, but the amount of work involved is quite intimidating.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by elanthis View Post
                    to get the tax write-off for loss of assets) and the impact that has on the modern art and research communities.

                    I still hold that FOSS is a horrible option for developing and releasing quality games, but I also still hold that all games should be required to be open sources ~5 years after initial commercial release. The tiny handful of properties/companies that continue making money off a game after that time span are vastly swamped by the numbers of abandoned games that are increasingly hard to play.

                    Copyright must be reduced to 5-10 years.Companies get a lot of money of projects in this period and never open source the code and art.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lapis View Post
                      Copyright must be reduced to 5-10 years.Companies get a lot of money of projects in this period and never open source the code and art.
                      People talk about business without knowing anything. How funny. If you want to give orders and be the boss, go and:
                      1. Open you own company
                      2. Pay all the needed
                      3. Become friends of Banks
                      4. Hire people
                      5. Decide what to do tomorrow
                      6. Hope your work will return investment
                      7. If that doesn't happen, start doing some prayers and be sure Banks are still your friend.

                      And you come here telling a company WHAT TO DO AFTER 5 YEARS?

                      Get a life my friend. You're out of business.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
                        People talk about business without knowing anything. How funny. If you want to give orders and be the boss, go and:
                        1. Open you own company
                        2. Pay all the needed
                        3. Become friends of Banks
                        4. Hire people
                        5. Decide what to do tomorrow
                        6. Hope your work will return investment
                        7. If that doesn't happen, start doing some prayers and be sure Banks are still your friend.

                        And you come here telling a company WHAT TO DO AFTER 5 YEARS?

                        Get a life my friend. You're out of business.

                        Poor companies ,they need NINETY YEARS to pay all costs,because 5-10-15-20 years are not enough.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DrMcCoy View Post
                          But the big thing holding back further development is a complete overhaul of the graphics subsystem. Frankly, my OpenGL knowledge is very basic, and xoreos' graphics code is something I hacked together without much experience in how to do a proper 3D engine. It works, kinda, but not really efficient and without many of the features needed.
                          Someone with knowledge in 3D graphics, and willingness and time to completely rewrite the whole subsystem would be very much appreciated.
                          (Talking as someone completely ignorant, on a subject you already probably have though about)
                          Isn't it possible to use an already existing engine ?
                          I don't know, maybe the data is given in a non-classic way and it can't be adapted to a non ad-hoc engine ? I remember (when I contributed to neveredit - not the 3D part) that data was stored in some strange ways, but that was mostly the containers, I can't talk about the actual data.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
                            People talk about business without knowing anything. How funny. If you want to give orders and be the boss, go and:
                            1. Open you own company
                            2. Pay all the needed
                            3. Become friends of Banks
                            4. Hire people
                            5. Decide what to do tomorrow
                            6. Hope your work will return investment
                            7. If that doesn't happen, start doing some prayers and be sure Banks are still your friend.

                            And you come here telling a company WHAT TO DO AFTER 5 YEARS?

                            Get a life my friend. You're out of business.
                            Who needs a bank when you have kickstarter?


                            The truth is that for most works greater than 95% of the economic rents are extracted in the first ten years. The long tail is largely a myth except when your talking about blockbuster hits or a few classics, stuff that is so popular and successful anyways that they hardly warrant the extra protection.

                            Copyright's intent is not to benefit business, but benefit the general public by promoting creative works. Having a vital common stock of fairly relevant material is an absolute boon to the creative industry and gives stock and encouragement to artists to go on their own and make something.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mickabouille View Post
                              Isn't it possible to use an already existing engine ?
                              Not really that easily, unfortunately. Some features, like PLT, layered textures with variable coloring that can be changed on-the-fly; and different texture-levels that can be changed any time, are quite specific and difficult to put into an existing engine.

                              Also, the two engines I looked at, Irrlicht and Ogre, are seriously lacking:

                              With Irrlicht, you can't change a lot of things (like the window size) without completely shutting down and restarting the whole thing, which of course destroys all geometry and stuff. Not what I want and need, sadly.

                              And Ogre's plugin and config system is just completely brain-dead: You actually need to hard-code a path into your executable. Moreover, the SDL and the Mac OS X backends silently ignore the request to make the window fixed-size, and several other parameters. Ogre is basically only focused on being shipped with the executable, and that on Windows. I know I'm not polite here, but I practically spent the whole two days I looked at Ogre constantly shaking my head and sighing.

                              All in all, the short foray I took looking into adapting/using an existing 3D engine left me depressed, angry and confused. :/
                              Last edited by DrMcCoy; 12-24-2012, 06:03 PM.

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