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LBA Prequel The goal of this project is to make a prequel of LBA1 using the original engine. (homepage)

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  #1  
Old 2009-08-15, 22:16
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All Quiet on the Prequel Front

If all of the LBA fan projects that never came to pass were a collection of dead bodies on a cart, we might be considered to be the unfortunate bloak over younder.

You've probably been thinking that he died a long time ago, but the truth of it is that he's still sort of, kind of alive and may need some major heart, liver and kidney transplant surgeries to survive. Some of you probably know that our little big project has suffered some critical issues over the past... four years. But we're definitely not dead -- yet. You've got questions? We may have answers. Here be a wee summary of what went wrong, why, and what lies ahead on that yellow brick road.


How it all started
LBA Prequel, as it's called, birthed as another one of those random LBA game ideas by Alexfont back in 2004. The concept being from the very *very* begining that he would use a new LBA1 engine. No story was set at the time although in a year or so the plot would be focused on what we know today as the story of fabled, barely mentioned Hegesippe. I myself had wanted to see a game about this character since I played Relentless and many others had visions of fantastic, 1800s setting placed in the world of LBA. Who wouldn't want to see what Twinsun would be like filled with pirates (Aarr!) and shwashbuckling adventures?

Well, folks worked hard and by 2006 a lot of very amazing tools were made by you-know-who to make LBA1 mod-able. Double-J had drafted a script and a small playable demo was also made. At that point, progress began to dwindle since a lot of the project depended on a single person -- Alexfont, who had to essentially develop the engine alone. Herein lies the first banana piel that tripped us.


How it all came crashing down
Even in the early stages of development, the LBA Prequel engine went through a number of permutations. First idea, unless I am mistaken -- and I probably am, was to use LBA1 engine with slight modifications to make it work. Soon enough the team came across a number of complications that would make life hard for everybody. Double-J attempted to contact Fred in order to get all of the original software that Adeline used to make Relentless. If this had succeed, you can be assured that we wouldn't be in the position we are today. Fred was never able to provide the said software on the account that it would be impossible to use, and at that point the team was already considering using Twin-E (an already modified version of LBA1 engine).

SO -- after this mayham Alexfont decided to do what only madmen are capable of doing: he would reconstruct the LBA1 enginge from scratch -- using Twin-E as the basis for his work. And ladies and gents, let me tell you, he kicked some major baloney. Alexfont's work went quite far and what he achieved was quite impressive. There were, however two issues afoot.

1) He was a one man programming team.
2) We didn't have a way to create unique models and animations (without some very, very serious restrictions and complications).

A few months before I joined, Lewi-G (our fantastic former CG artist) saw the work that Link and RobG did on LBAOnline. He was impressed and pitched the idea to Alexfont and it was rejected immediately on the account that as impressive as LBAOnline was, it would still need an absurd amount of work to mold it into what we needed for our game. In the six months that followed, the idea to use Ogre (what LBAOnline is based on) was proposed two more times and some very serious arguements and hair pulling took place.

We went so far as to split the project in two: with half of us experimenting on developing a FULL 3D environment! For a while things there were going pretty swell until we came across the old age issue that plagued the project from day 1 -- we only had one programmer. Alexfont couldn't work on the 3D stuff and RobG was a little scarce when it came to help (no grudges against you, bud). In a few months, the project came to a complete stop. Nobody was doing anything for nearly half a year. And this brings us to the present day.


So what now?
There is a third major reason why LBAPrequel crashed and burned which I neglected to mention for the benefit of dramatics.

3) The story.

The story began as a rather tiny little thing. Barely anything at all. It was picked up by Double-J, a big fan of creative writing, and given a great deal of characters as well as a story long enough to rival the original game. A good deal of voice actors had auditioned for our project and even provided extended recordings of Double-J's script. It was impressive stuff and we were pretty excited. The story bits sat in the closet for a while after that and weren't touched for many, many years until LukeNoNumbers and I came on the scene and literaly MUCKED everything up.

Actually, if you want to know the REAL reason why this project failed, I'll put it down for you right now:

4) Luke and Lightwing.

Luke and Lightwing took what Double-J made and with a handful of narcotics devised a series of changes that would turn LBAPrequel's seemingly big plot into a goliath. What used to be a 14 chapter plot was multiplied tenfold (not actually tenfold -- but I'm going for disgusting exaggeration here), and our main cast of 12 characters were joined by over 60 additional personalities (thanks to Luke's fantastic imagination). What we have at this point is a story that is so long it could probably make Hironobu Sakaguchi raise an eyebrow. And it's not even fully complete yet.

So what the two of us decided to do, with Double-J hopefully providing a sexy threesome, is create a comic book. Yes, the once anticipated LBA1 engine based game is going to live on as a graphic novel and we hope, eventually, a voiced storyboard. This is not to say that our pace will pick up and we'll start knocking out webcomic pages one after another, but the chances of us actually FINISHING the project this way is about 1000 times more likely to happen.

Luke is currently devising the first draft of the first chapter and once a lot of that is polished we hope to push the beast forward and update it on a regular basis. It isn't the fabled dream we all hoped for, but it's something. And at the end of the day, you have to appreciate the little you have.

Last edited by Lightwing; 2009-08-15 at 22:59.
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Old 2009-08-15, 22:48
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I want to say this because I don't believe I made it clear enough in the original thread.

The people who worked on this project from the begining to the end did a fantastic work, even if it will never flurish into a bombastic video game. But they did great and many went above and beyond the call of duty. I want to thank all of these gents for putting forth the time AND effort into our little big project.
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Old 2009-08-15, 23:52
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I'm not surprised. The TGR has similar problems - the story is a mess here, though. We hope to aim for mod that's smaller than OBrasilo originally thought, in an attempt to actually get anything done.
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Old 2009-08-15, 23:56
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Good luck. LBAPrequel aimed for a 4 minute demo once we got to our lowest benchmark and the most we could get was a 3d environment, which I think we should make public at this time.
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Old 2009-08-15, 23:59
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We have tons of environment - more than we can hope to code unless you give us some additional years.
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Old 2009-08-16, 00:04
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A few shots of our 3D environment in progress














The top 3 are by RobG and the bloomblurr was exaggerated like that for testing. We made good progress on the scene, but alas, the programming assistance fell short. (No blame put on anyone here, just the facts).

EDIT: For future reference, RobG didn't make the art assets (those were done by Bot13 and myself). RobG did however put them into his own little engine and lit them.

Last edited by Lightwing; 2009-08-16 at 00:11.
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  #7  
Old 2009-08-16, 00:57
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Its simply a case we need to work more together. I really hope purhapes LBAScript stuff could really make more projects....like the prequal...very achievable.
Comprimises might have to be made, but having an engine for lba games gives us a massive step towards...well..anything.
As does the recent "technology" we have to import lba iso maps and edit them into full 3d ones.

Anyway, as for comics...I like comics.
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Old 2009-08-16, 01:08
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That's... sexy !

How about the Prequel game project, does it mean it's actually, officially "dead" ?
I mean, the idea of "recycling" the story into a webcomic is nice, but why giving up the project ?

Personally I think using a custom engine is way too ambitious, not only because coding a complete WORKING engine is not trivial, but also because creating 3D art for a modern engine for a whole game is simply impossible to achieve by few (maybe just 1) artists in their free time.

What gave me confidence in this project and let me believe it had good chances not to die is that it was actually a mod, and not a completely different project.

I think having a LBA1 modified engine with usable tools, as a working set, is not unachievable, and even if it takes time because - as you mentioned - Alexfont made something like 95% of the work in this direction, this is certainly not a dead project, and will certainly be a reality sooner or later.
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  #9  
Old 2009-08-16, 01:09
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HOLY SHIT!

RobG that's freaking awesome
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Old 2009-08-16, 01:16
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For me the project isn't dead. I know we aren't make any progress and few was done as we aspect, but I'm hoping for LBAPI to help us in this task.

I didn't give up for prequengine and even if I did, I would merge my work with twin-e so we can have at least a better twin-e version. I also thought about it some time ago to boost a bit all the work. I still want to make a LBA1 mod.

Anyway, will see what we can do in future.
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  #11  
Old 2009-08-16, 01:46
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As Lightwing says, the Prequel is living on in the comic book, which will fuel our (okay... mostly my) megalomaniacal inclinations.

Meanwhile a simpler focus for the game can be honed in on by those more in touch with reality - going back to the original focus of the project before we essentially hijacked it. Its development runs parallel to other projects - progress in TGR would also benefit the Prequel, for example.
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Old 2009-08-16, 02:25
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The reason why we went 3D is because we needed a way to easily create unique character models and animation without having any numerical restriction on either.

If anybody here has an idea regarding that or is willing to work on it, I think the project could be revived again.

Otherwise we have characters with different colored clothing and a limited number of them as well. 3D modeling completely new characters can be done except that you have to use existing models and remodel them and you don't have nice tools like you do in Maya or 3DsMax. Moving every vertex is a pain and I wouldn't do it unless somebody paid me a lot of hard cash. And that's really the primary issue why the whole Ogre arguement occurred half a year ago. Not that Ogre ended up being a much better solution, though.

Last edited by Lightwing; 2009-08-16 at 02:36.
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Old 2009-08-16, 02:39
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I would like to somehow help, but my programming skills are poor. Also, my 3D modelling skills are...none. But I have big imagination and I like to write new stories. Want my CV? But seriously, I would like to help. In any way. With the game itself, of course, not the comic book.


With love,


Jareth Ferringttonn
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Old 2009-08-16, 03:11
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Thanks Jareth. However, unless we actually get some programming strength, we're sitting ducks.
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Old 2009-08-16, 04:23
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You could at least use the iso-translated 3d files as a base no? Saves a lot of time having complete old maps, even if you do have to fix the back-facing stuff.
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Old 2009-08-16, 05:50
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The issue there is that, well if you follow the LBAPrequel plot and even if you dumb it down, all of the artwork is meant to be original.

Unless by "old maps" you something very different.
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Old 2009-08-16, 13:01
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Thanks for all the compliments. This map however, has been in this stage for over 3 months. We've actually created it in quite a record time. I don't think we've worked on it for more than 2 weeks in our spare time.

I never even saw RobG's realtime renderings untill Yev showed me yesterday. I was quite amazed! He did better then my realtime version (in 3dsmax viewport)

I suggest we all think this through once more, because Yev, Luke, JJ and I are enjoying making this stuff and the community enjoys seeing it/playing it.
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Old 2009-08-16, 13:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwing View Post
Double-J had drafted a script and a small playable demo was also made.
?? I don't knkow of any playable demos of the Prequel. Maybe you're talking about a playable demo of the Prequengine, that I barely recall (not sure if it ever existed, or had been released to the public).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwing View Post
So what the two of us decided to do, with Double-J hopefully providing a sexy threesome, is create a comic book.
Wait a minute... It was you who proposed going high-quality-full-3D because "using the original engine is just a quick and mediocre mod that won't give us all the glory we deserve". Something like that. So what a comic book is in comparison? I'm not against you, I just like to point out stuff .

I haven't seen your super-dooper new story, but may I kindly ask you to make some meaningful modifications, so the DJ's story can still be used by us if the miracle happens and we end up making the actual game. It wouldn't be good if our game was a summary of your comic book, I mean.
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Old 2009-08-16, 13:53
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Personaly I think the way to go is;

a) Make a decent engine, preferably working together with other fan projects.

b) Make a small demo in that engine as proof of concept.

c) Continue the game with eppisodic releases. (obviously, lba being an adventure game, this would be more a case that each eppisode adds to the enviroment/whole game, rather then being seperate and independant).
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Old 2009-08-16, 13:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwing View Post
The issue there is that, well if you follow the LBAPrequel plot and even if you dumb it down, all of the artwork is meant to be original.

Unless by "old maps" you something very different.
Oh, I assumed the landmass's would be the same, but with different buildings.
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Old 2009-08-16, 17:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zink View Post
Wait a minute... It was you who proposed going high-quality-full-3D because "using the original engine is just a quick and mediocre mod that won't give us all the glory we deserve". Something like that. So what a comic book is in comparison? I'm not against you, I just like to point out stuff .

I haven't seen your super-dooper new story, but may I kindly ask you to make some meaningful modifications, so the DJ's story can still be used by us if the miracle happens and we end up making the actual game. It wouldn't be good if our game was a summary of your comic book, I mean.
I'm not really certain what you're trying to say in the first paragraph. Lewi-G proposed doing Ogre, then it was me, then it was Bot13. Full 3D stuff was never set in stone as we were still debating whether we would make it isometric or not. If you're asking why I went down from doing that to a comic book, well I think I've explained that plenty of times already -- we don't even have the programming power to pull off a 4 minute demo. But also, Bot13, DJ, and myself agreed to ditch the 3d and go for 2d isometric.

Quote:
While the final decision is still up in the air and Rob is experimenting with various engines, I would like to announce my support for 2D based environments.

I am personally in favour of full 3D scenes, but I understand that Zink and Alex have put a lot of work into LBArchitect. After seeing what Rob has been able to accomplish with the LBA1 advanced engine, I'm willing to support 2D environments as long as we can:

--Import higher poly rez / textured characters
--Our own visual effects
--Our own gameplay mechanics

My main primary concern is still having an engine that can support those elements, above all else. I'm not saying full 3d is out of the question, but that if it comes down to a vote, I'll raise a hand for LBArchitect.
As for witholding publishing the comic in the event that the actual game will be produced....well, all I can say is, it's been nearly 5 years. If you folks think you can realistically start making progress within the next 4 months or so, I'll happily withold publishing the comic. In all likelyhood it will take 4 months before we actually start putting anything for the public to see (I want to post it once an entire full chapter is completed).

If you can't budge in a four month's time, I think the chances of any kind of game are nonexistant.

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I haven't seen your super-dooper new story...
Your post makes me feel as if you have never been on the Team forum, ever. We posted about 3 pages worth of bran new story material last November. The reason why we didn't make more of it public was for the very reason that nobody provided any feedback, and we assumed that such publications were of no interest to others.

http://forum.magicball.net/showthread.php?t=14171

This was posted almost a year ago and the story team has accumulated much more material since then. I'm not saying this to show off, by any means. We just did what we loved to do. Now with 5 years gone, we are looking at a very dark future. The graphic novel is our last push to finish something in this project. I mean, we just can't sit waiting for years and years with hands tied behind our backs. Track record shows that 99.9% of all LBA fangame attempts ended up dead. I would spit on all of those statistics if our own project wasn't suffering the same fate after 5 years.

Last edited by Lightwing; 2009-08-16 at 18:50.
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Old 2009-08-16, 17:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkflame View Post
Personaly I think the way to go is;

a) Make a decent engine, preferably working together with other fan projects.

b) Make a small demo in that engine as proof of concept.

c) Continue the game with eppisodic releases. (obviously, lba being an adventure game, this would be more a case that each eppisode adds to the enviroment/whole game, rather then being seperate and independant).
Yes, that was precicely the idea. The issue is the first 4 words of point A -- "make a decent engine."

We need programmers. At this point I'm willing to accept almost anything as long as it's not LBA1 in-game characters with different colored t-shirts to represent our own.
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Old 2009-08-16, 18:36
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Well, this is why I can only point to the LBAScript as the best-last-hope. It might not be feature packed or have much options yet, but its something.
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Old 2009-08-16, 21:43
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Ok, forget that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwing View Post
If you folks think you can realistically start making progress within the next 4 months or so, I'll happily withold publishing the comic. In all likelyhood it will take 4 months before we actually start putting anything for the public to see (I want to post it once an entire full chapter is completed).

If you can't budge in a four month's time, I think the chances of any kind of game are nonexistant.
I'm 99% sure we won't have anything "visual" in 4 months. Because you seem to pass the non-visual progress over. Yes, there is a non-visual progress. Unfortunately, there can't be much visual progress before the non-visual one is almost done. I have explained that at least couple of times recently. You can't consider the project dead or nonexistent while there are people that know what must be done and are doing it.

I'm not asking you to withhold publishing the comic. Actually, I like the comic idea. What I'm asking you is to modify the comic story so that it won't be almost identical to the game's story. This way you won't make the story unusable for us. And since it has been written for the Prequel game, the game takes precedence over everything else. At least unless all of the team members agree that the game won't happen, which probably won't happen .

BTW: We're waiting for LBA 3 for over 10 years now, and it is far less advanced than the Prequel. Would you ask Fredrick for the LBA 3's story and make a comic book out of is, since LBA 3 doesn't seem to happen at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwing View Post
Your post makes me feel as if you have never been on the Team forum, ever. We posted about 3 pages worth of bran new story material last November. The reason why we didn't make more of it public was for the very reason that nobody provided any feedback, and we assumed that such publications were of no interest to others.

http://forum.magicball.net/showthread.php?t=14171
Ah, that one. I thought you were talking about different kind of additional material.
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Old 2009-08-16, 22:58
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Isnt it possible to compromise?
Simplify the games storyline, by "exporting" part to the comic, so effectively the comic and the game are two different views on the same story?

Or, you could even have the comic / game done in tandem, with the start of the comic acting as a prequal-to-the-prequal, then the first part of the game, second part in comic, third part in game...etc.
So the comic kinda acts like very long "cut scenes" to the game.
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