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Suule
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2004, 02:53:04 PM »

Yes. I'm aware of all the things you've mentioned. In my years of programming I've encountered such issues, especially when I started writting a game that featured isometric 2d graphics. The Z-ordering in 2d mode is frankly easy. You just need few things to be worked out (You can do it by applying: Foreground/Backgrouund Layers, dividing areas into 'walk-behind' areas). Sprite lightning effects is easy in 16 and 32-bit colour modes, you have to use SHL and SHR on specific data nibbles in order darken, lighten the pixels... etc. etc. I'm projecting an engine for a DM-style game and I've encountered such issues, there's no problem in solving them.

I'd rather NOT use 3D graphics to build a 2D game on. The slowness of the graphics you're saying are really acceptable in the terms of speed. IF the engine properly optimized.

And when it comes to engines. You don't need a swiss knife to peel the apple. You just need a common knife.

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Yeah, that's right, I'm the pessimist; deal with it!

Slow down dude.
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Kay
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2004, 10:27:04 PM »

I've mailed the "WyrmMaster" about Wyrmkeep's thoughts on the game, and managed to make only one spelling mistake in the process.

Since my first two tries at this message got deleted -- the last time because an OGRE demo crashed my computer -- I'll rest for now and write more later.

But briefly, I'd like isometric tiles if we can do them as opposed to square tiles or pre-rendered scenes. (ItE used all three.) Some cool camera effects would be possible "for free" with a 3D engine and isometrics. I'd probably go insane trying to learn Microsoft's compiler; see my .NET ravings in the Technical thread. (But did Threed say OGRE has Python "hooks?") I'm not sure which is better between a 2D engine and a 3D engine emulating 2D, but I'm wary of trying to write a whole new engine. My AI stuff has been so slow partly because I've had to keep reinventing the pixel.

So, would it be any easier to learn a free 3D engine and adapt it to our needs than to write a new, simple 2D isometric engine that actually looks nice? If so, does the 3D engine also support (at no $ cost) music and the other basics a game needs?

If you can do concept art, Suule, that'd be cool. It sounds like we want isometrics regardless of the graphics engine, so maybe a four-way isometric sketch of a villager or potential hero character? (I'm thinking otter, Rennaissance, a traveler; maybe a wanderer's broad-brimmed hat and a staff? And RPG/adventure heroes need backpacks.) We were saying it'd be best to have several races to choose from, so a sketch of any race would be useful. We could always use it for a PC or an NPC race. Best if they're designed like paper dolls, so one fox can be customized with different clothes and colors. "Portrait" sketches like our sigs are also useful, and can be displayed alongside dialogue. We could also use concept sketches of locations, preferably not using proprietary ItE place names or features. A village of otters, or raccoons, or rats? A multi-species marketplace full of crazy disjointed architecture? Preferably anything that's distinctly original-furry-Rennaissance-fantasy rather than generic-Tolkein-ripoff fanasy. Even a chair designed by and for crazed ferrets would be more interesting than some spiky sword. If you haven't seen "Rym" (http://www.fur.com/~ollie/rym3.html, such as the items at http://www.fur.com/~ollie/three.html), I suggest looking there for inspiration.

We can rip off Furcadia art as placeholder art, if we have to. It already has walking animations of various characters, plus objects, walls, and floors.

Check out some amateur music at http://www.vulpine.pp.se/fmf/.

...Of course he'd want a more advanced graphics engine -- even his name is Threed!

Enough for now.
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Suule
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2004, 12:59:44 AM »

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But briefly, I'd like isometric tiles if we can do them as opposed to square tiles or pre-rendered scenes. (ItE used all three.) Some cool camera effects would be possible "for free" with a 3D engine and isometrics. I'd probably go insane trying to learn Microsoft's compiler; see my .NET ravings in the Technical thread. (But did Threed say OGRE has Python "hooks?") I'm not sure which is better between a 2D engine and a 3D engine emulating 2D, but I'm wary of trying to write a whole new engine. My AI stuff has been so slow partly because I've had to keep reinventing the pixel.

I'd really want the 3-view engine like in ItE. The isometric graphics for outdoors and large labyrinths, while pre-rendered graphics for indoors. Since 60%-80 of the game would happen outdoors or in large labirynths.

Why I oppose using a pre-made engine. First of all there will be some big programming issues when it comes to coding isometric graphics. I did isometric graphics engine in high-school and I managed to spit out a very simple but fast alpha (I used assembler code in 90%). I really can help you there with my expirences.

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So, would it be any easier to learn a free 3D engine and adapt it to our needs than to write a new, simple 2D isometric engine that actually looks nice? If so, does the 3D engine also support (at no $ cost) music and the other basics a game needs?

First of all... we have a wonderful new library called SDL which not only have the basic pixel plotting, sprite managing procedures as well as music output. It resembles in some way the DOS graphics library I've once coded. Using that library to write a good 2D engine is a good choice sine we don't have to 'rediscover the pixel' and we still can get fast graphics.

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If you can do concept art, Suule, that'd be cool. It sounds like we want isometrics regardless of the graphics engine, so maybe a four-way isometric sketch of a villager or potential hero character? (I'm thinking otter, Rennaissance, a traveler; maybe a wanderer's broad-brimmed hat and a staff? And RPG/adventure heroes need backpacks.) We were saying it'd be best to have several races to choose from, so a sketch of any race would be useful. We could always use it for a PC or an NPC race. Best if they're designed like paper dolls, so one fox can be customized with different clothes and colors. "Portrait" sketches like our sigs are also useful, and can be displayed alongside dialogue. We could also use concept sketches of locations, preferably not using proprietary ItE place names or features. A village of otters, or raccoons, or rats? A multi-species marketplace full of crazy disjointed architecture? Preferably anything that's distinctly original-furry-Rennaissance-fantasy rather than generic-Tolkein-ripoff fanasy. Even a chair designed by and for crazed ferrets would be more interesting than some spiky sword. If you haven't seen "Rym" (http://www.fur.com/~ollie/rym3.html, such as the items at http://www.fur.com/~ollie/three.html), I suggest looking there for inspiration.

Don't worry about 'Tolkien-fantasy' repetitions. I HATE Tolkien so I wouldn't want to repeat it in any way. Well I think I have some ideas I can put on paper before I leave to the labs.

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We can rip off Furcadia art as placeholder art, if we have to. It already has walking animations of various characters, plus objects, walls, and floors.

I don't think it would be good in terms of copyright. Plus. Furcadia uses REALLY out-dated technology (it's still 256-color graphics. And I reckon that we want to use 32-bit graphics)and it's all too simple for an adventure game. Floor tiles can be used as a basis for better quality graphics, while the sprite/object graphics should be done from scratch.
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Threed
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2004, 11:26:14 AM »

@Suule, on the issue of me being too fast, bai-bee!

The reason I code is generally born out of necessity* - I want something and there's nothing else that suffices, so I general subscribe to the more pragmatic view of software engineering: "Ok, someone else wrote an acceptable <INSERT WORDS HERE> library, I'll use that instead of reinventing it myself." Its why I use high level languages like Boo (Python-esque for .NET), C#, Python, Ruby, etc - using C++ means I have to go through agonizing loop-holes to reinvent stuff that is available by default in those higher level languages.


*I'm not interested in the beautiful simplicty of the fibonacci algorithm, for instance, and I wouldn't bother playing with it unless I needed it for a project.

@Kay, on OGRE and why I'm incredibly lazy: Yeah, OGRE has a Python wrapper. The scene graph engine is still in C++, but the PyOgre wrapper lets you do the logic and control the library in Python. I only advocate 3d scene graphs because (I, uh, think I listed these somewhere else, but I'll parrot myself):

  • 3d pipeline architecture in most video cards has far exceeded 2d pipeline architecture. AKA, "its still going to be faster if you use a card's 3d functions." Why care? Faster pipeline = more stuff you can do. Remember the scene where Riff's on the mountain ridge and you can see the tempest in the background? ;0
  • Scene graphs are a higher abstraction - they don't deal with pixels, just meshes. Instead of having to massage your own entity view abstraction into place (you'll need a data structure that keeps track of X, Y coordinates, current animation state, and a built in function, either global or static, that erases that image when its time to move to the next frame), you just create a 2d polygon with the texture you want to draw, and attach it to your data model. Tell the scene graph to move the polygon to X, Y, (Z), and that's it - there's no crazy bit blitting, the scene graph jsut moves the polygon and changes the texture if you tell it, and it looks like magic. Again, Gish (because Gish is cute and I'm high on a cherry Icee).

  • Free lighting. Add a new light source and everything in range instantly becomes affected without any additional coding. Along with this, free special effects - again, recall the storm scene that I mentioned earlier. You knew someone spent hours doing all that junk by hand, trying to make sure that the algorithm lit just the right pixels.
  • Free, as in, I don't have to pay for it, its a library, and my language can use it, so what the heck to do I care? =D


That's the pragmatic person in me talking. Wink

@Suule, on the issue of Furcadia graphics:

Regardless, you still need place holder graphics or you'll run into a ton of trouble down the road when you're trying to track down a visual artifact - is it a rendering bug, or is it the way you parse and load image files, is it the way you use a coordinate system onscreen; maybe it has something to do with the transformation effects you're applying for per-pixel lighting? You need place-holder graphics - even a simple stick figure - to ensure that things are not broken before you move deeper into the codebase.

I mean, writing a game isn't going to be some easy pa-cheesy 500 line thing, man.



Below is a completely uninformed ranting session that I started to write. There is absolutely no point to it, and I wouldn't read it unless you want a good chuckle or to be offended.
----
I was writing a Furcadia client, from scratch, in C#- C# - and its 32 source files, not including the unit tests I started tacking on later (I broke a previously working function and couldn't figure out where the regression was for, like, hours, so that taugth me a valuable lesson)!

That's a lot, for an application which has very little logic processing (most of that junk happens server side, and the server simply informs the client what to draw on the rendering pane, and what to display in the text pane).

I'm not harshing on anyone in particular, I'm just saying that *a lot* of thought needs to go into it before a line of code is written, or you will end up with Furcadia's graphics engine (its been so intricately woven into the code that there's no way to rip it out and start over; the guys producing it stopped or went out of business awhile ago), the way Felorin architectured Furcadia's protocol, or, worst of all, you'll end up with what I did on my first pass at packet parsing: parsing each packet individually "by hand" and generating nested switch-case trees that are impossible to maintain (I later went back and refactored all of this into a simple polymorphic PacketBase object, but its still not very clean, because Furcadia has different command packets that begin with the same syntax and have variable length - '@' means something, but '@...(some variables here)' means another thing entirely, so now you've gotta lump two completely seperate packet-types into one parser).

AKA, unnecessary work.

The one thing that my keyboarding class in high school brought me was the ability to type all of that in less than five minutes. I'm the champ, baby.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2004, 11:28:14 AM by Threed » Logged
Suule
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2004, 03:01:15 PM »

Okay. To sum it all up, You want to rely on some 3D engine cause: 3D is fast, the engine is cheap, you're lazy and you don't know many things about 2D graphics.

There has been a GREAT leap since old VESA cards and VESA modes. Now we are capable of 32-bit modes that can reduce the problems with (excuse my language) shit like transparency, color changing, lightning and stuff to almost zero. I have numerous books on graphics. Some of them from Pre-Win era and I really can write most of the procedures for ultra-fast scaling, color transformations and lightning with few modifications of the code I have. I'm AWARE of all problems I could encounter cause I did graphics engine in DPMI DOS mode and reach the very edge of what DOS could do without playing with swap-files and writting a memory<->resource manager that greatly slowed down engine. In it's final stage the engine was capable of 800x600x64kb double buffering as well as 640x480x256 triple-buffering fully synchronized with the VSync or 1/2 of VSync.

I'm just stating that 2D stuff should stick to 2D engines while 3D stuff should stick to 3D engines if you want to archive the best quality. Emulating 2D stuff on a 3D engine woul require workarounds and workarounds are messy and CPU-power consuming, so the 'speed' of the 3D pipeline would be balanced by the slowness of the workarounds.

Now why I want to work on our independent engine:
We could profile the engine to our uses. Like Kay proposed: the multi-viewing engine, capable not only of static backgrounds with sprites but isometric view as well. The sprites are really not a bad choice. The difficulties can quickly be overcome by some basic logic and a bit of thinking. It's really not that hard. All you need is a bit of WORK ! Look at DM scene for example. There are so many clones but none of them base on an engine that was already released, instead they're written from scratch. Just because they want the engine that suit their needs instead of using a commonly used engine and trying to get it to suit their needs.

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I mean, writing a game isn't going to be some easy pa-cheesy 500 line thing, man.

I title thee Lord Of The Obvious
 
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WyrmMaster
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2004, 03:29:19 PM »

Hi, everyone. I have been asked to comment on this thread (and the other Technical thread). I have refrained from commenting up to this point because the discussion was about an ITE sequel, something on which Wyrmkeep Entertainment has its own plans. Since the discussion is now moved on to about making a game that is just similar to ITE, I can now comment constructively.

First off, I do recommend looking into the cross-platform Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) library. We used it to create the Linux version of ITE and are using it for the simultaneous port of The Labyrinth of Time to Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. SDL has support for both 2D and 3D (OpenGL) graphics. See the SDL home page for details.

On the topic of design process, there is no reason why you can't write code during the design process. This can help determine the design contraints for the game. What you have to accept is that the code may have to be discarded if it doesn't match the final requirements given by the design.

I will have more comments later.
 
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Kay
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2004, 09:41:41 PM »

Posted some material to the Technical thread.

Minor details we need to work out, besides the code system:
-What races are available? (I nominate Foxes, Raccoons, Rats, and Otters at least, but any artists get first choice of what goes in!) Any races with special features like flight, weird sexes, or being "taurs?"
-Why do the furry races exist? Are there still humans? If not, why not?
-Is the general cultural style Rennaissance, or something else? (I think it's fine, but would like to throw in random non-Western styles of clothing, architecture etc. for variety.)
-Main "hook" or selling-point of plot. Should be more than "it's a game with furries in it!"

Re: the last point, what I've heard of Nintendo's design theory is that they focus on a gameplay element and build the story around that, while Square (of Final Fantasy) seems to use a generic gameplay system with an emphasis on telling the story. I'm a writer, yet I side with Nintendo lately. "Is this fun to play?" is more important than "Does the villain have an interesting motivation?" On the back of a Final Fantasy box you see: "The world is on the brink of destruction / Only a select few may be able to save it." (FFX, almost exactly quoted.) Yawn. On the back of a Nintendo box you see something like: "Sail a magic boat through a flooded world! Transform with masks and loop through time to stop the moon! Warp between Light and Dark dimensions!" (Zelda series)

So what's on the back of our box? "Control ultra-tech weather sattelites in a Rennaissance world?" Good AI and the ability to interact with random objects (see Technical) could be fun selling points, but a "hook" is still needed. Does weather control sound good? Can we justify it without calling it the Orb of Storms etc.? Other ideas? Unless we don't mind being in a niche, we need to appeal to people who don't automatically buy games because the hero's got a tail!
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Threed
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2004, 08:25:54 AM »

Oki doki! Wink
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Suule
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« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2004, 03:04:55 AM »

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First off, I do recommend looking into the cross-platform Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) library. We used it to create the Linux version of ITE and are using it for the simultaneous port of The Labyrinth of Time to Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. SDL has support for both 2D and 3D (OpenGL) graphics. See the SDL home page for details.

Yes. I'm quite aware of the existence of that library, I've read the docs and I'm slowly learning how to adapt it to our needs. It's very similar to the things I've once written way back in the old DOS days.

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So what's on the back of our box? "Control ultra-tech weather sattelites in a Rennaissance world?" Good AI and the ability to interact with random objects (see Technical) could be fun selling points, but a "hook" is still needed. Does weather control sound good? Can we justify it without calling it the Orb of Storms etc.? Other ideas? Unless we don't mind being in a niche, we need to appeal to people who don't automatically buy games because the hero's got a tail!

I think the main emphasis should be on the 'solving the mysteries' thing. Orb of Storms can be one of the many artifacts you can encounter. Remeber the 'big darts' when Rif explored the hanger in the abandoned human 'base'? The PC should be able to learn the proper names/uses of the artifacts he could encounter. Some of the technology could be non-existant in our world and could have something to do with the origins of the Morphs. Again. Would the PC be ready to know that the races the humans have created was a 'genetic experiment'?


 
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Kay
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« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2004, 10:40:39 PM »

A quick sketch from an artist at MFF. It's tough being a courier!
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Suule
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« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2004, 01:07:06 AM »

*Yawn* Sorry for being AFK for that long. I had too much work for the past two weeks. I'll update the sketches I've done so far by the end of the week, before more work sets in.
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Kay
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2004, 10:28:47 PM »

Comment on gameplay, cross-posted from a longer post in "Technical":

What confuses me is the idea of party members. If the player creates a fox PC and we have all this tile-based movement and item-manipulation gameplay, the player is going to expect that they can leap Mario-style across pits with their whole party, even though they've got the big tough boar NPC carrying fifty pounds of armor.

I would rather have NPCs following the PC, and limit the game to the more sedate pace of an adventure/RPG, than make the PC a loner and throw in platform-jumping gameplay. I don't know how to do good action physics or combat AI beyond "charge at the PC and run when you're hurt," but I know how to tell a story and create interesting characters.

I want to explore a graphical world meeting characters who remember me, react to the character I've created and portrayed, have thoughts beyond their scripted dialogue, and give the impression that they're alive. I want to be convinced that my sidekick is following me because he likes me, and not because the story gods ordered him to. Secondarily, I'd like to choose from multiple character races, solve puzzles, walk around interacting with objects for fun, and uncover an interesting story. Other gameplay elements are less important to me. What's your main vision for this project?
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Maus Merryjest
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2005, 12:55:17 PM »

Well, there are several things herer I have observed during my lurking...

One: The engine? Some want a fancy 3D engine, some (like me) would like to see this game sticking to the old 2d ways. Instead of building an engine from the ground up, why not take into account the fact that we already have a very powerful little program at our disposal called Adventure Game Studio? (http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/), which -at the hands of the right team- can create wonderful games. There's no need to reinvent the wheel, after all. I am an artist and I find the engine and the programming language rather easy to use, so I don't see how real programmers would find many issues with it...

Second: Concerning the Sequel vs. Similar Game discussion... I am for making an unofficial fan-made game. That is, nothing that happens in the game itself would be considered canon IF Wyrmkeep ends up publishing a sequel to ITE. As it is, WK has been very ambiguous about the sequel, and we could end up losing quite a while of time working on a game that deviates just enough from ITE so as not to be the same game, only to find out WK has decided not to publish the sequel and that we could have been working on the unofficial sequel all along. Considering none of us would be making any money off the production of this fan game, would it still be a problem?

Now here's the question...

What if one or two humans had survived? perhaps in some form of cryo? (Scientist's kids?)

And Tycho talks about humans on the moon, if I recall correctly. What if a small group of humans actually escaped whatever fate befell the race, and are currently on the moon? And what happens when they want to return?
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Kay
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« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2005, 06:21:47 PM »

Just saw this after ignoring the board for a long time.
First off, check out my cubes. This is the result of a few days of learning OpenGL, used through Python/Pygame (and therefore SDL). Translation: a spinning, tilting, 3D landscape that would look good with 2D sprite characters, as in great tactical RPGs like Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Meanwhile, NISS the AI is progressing. I've also got an interesting idea for a "colony" game that would have you building a town while exploring a world; details are a few entries back in the AI journal. It could be an original RPG that's not about killing monsters or saving the world.

I'm also officially involved with The Wanderlust Project (moving Real Soon Now to here), a planned MMORPG, but so far it doesn't seem likely to have anything happen soon. That's an example of being too ambitious, I think. For a sillier example, see Dragon Fantasy Mystic Shadow Dungeon Horizon Event Online Sports Night 7.

As for the adventure game engine Merryjest mentioned, I would want to play something that's more of an RPG than a successor to King's Quest, and suspect that a standard engine would limit gameplay to the traditional adventure style. How about something different in mechanics as well as content?

Way back in this thread, I think, was some speculation about what'd happen if one human got revived and tried to save humanity by forcing the "natives" to rebuild the necessary technology before he dies. There'd be some interesting moral ambiguity.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2005, 06:24:51 PM by Kay » Logged
skbleader
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« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2006, 07:38:20 PM »

I just want everyone to realize that if it is going to be around Inherit the Earth at all, you need toi consider that in the first game, at the end the Orb says "dry period has been set in motion" or something and it doesn't receive an "end-date" for it, so obviously, going in alignment to the game, the setting would be that a drought is happening and water is becoming less abundant everyday.  Wink

Just felt like I need to remind everyone that.

And....I still want to be one of the concept artists possibly. I'd do more landscaping/technology that is involved in the game rather than the sprites and characters. Like more of the backgrounds and how the world would be set up. And I just want to do this because I like the game. Nothing of money would be even somewhat considered.

Oh and one last thing. Just so everyone gets everyone's input. I'd like the game to stay the nice old fashioned 2d design. I just can't see inherit the earth in 3d unless it has as good of graphics and dynamic lighting as the game Fable or the new Final Fantasy game for PS3. Haha, thats just my take. When I first played the game when I was about 6 years old, I was playing it off and on, and I could not get through the game. It took me over 3 years to beat it on my own. During that time, I played it trying to figure out puzzles and stuff. An example would be I just got stuck in the dungeon in Prince's castle. It literally took me like 3 days to open the rock. So with that kind of progression, trying out every angle everything over and over and over at a slow pace, I remember the game as a long, surreal, imaginative, adventure for the mind(partly due to the soothing music in corelation to the pixel-graphics). I honsetly don't think you can achieve that kind of pleasure/fun of Inherit the Earth 2 if it were to be 3D graphics like that of the "Cubes" link shown above. Just my opinion though.  
« Last Edit: April 06, 2006, 07:48:16 PM by skbleader » Logged
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