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The XL Engine is and will remain free, donations are purely optional but greatly appreciated.

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I have recently taken a quick break for the Daggerfall specific work towards the Beta to change and improve the non-game specific UI system. I have integrated a Webkit based browser/UI system into the engine using the Awesomium library. Before I talk about specifics, I’ll show you a preview – running in DaggerXL:

(click to see the full size image)

NewUI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be using this to build cross-platform elements for XL Engine specific UI using HTML5/CSS/Javascript controls. This has several benefits:

* Anyone with knowledge of web technologies can edit or build UI elements using this system – no proprietary new systems to learn.

* I can embed useful elements directly into the engine such as in-game access to the IRC channel, documentation from the Wiki, the ability to search the forums to resolve issues or post about a problem while in game, tutorial videos built right in and more.

* Robust UI, text, language, formatting, layout and animation – all built in.

 

I am also planning on rolling the launcher into the main executable, allowing you to start the engine and switch games without having to exit out first. The flexible, robust UI system that this allows will be vital later, when its time to start working on the editing tools again as well. Another thing I am planning on doing is allowing game specific code/script to be edited and updated right inside the engine (WYSIWYG) – using CodeMirror.

Here you can see an early version of the code editor (still incomplete):

(click on the image for a larger view)

CodeEditor_1

22 Responses to “New UI System”

  • I can only nod vigourously at this decision. I’ve never been a big modder, mostly because wallowing for days into proprietary XML or weirder data format to mod a button or a dialog has always been a big turn off for me. Using embedded Webkit will make building custom UIs a piece of cake.
    +1 for using ingame code editor, also. CodeMirror is excellent. And if we can have a web frame opened on the API docs in game, even better :)

  • Damanslaya:

    So we will be able to chat with other players when we play the game? That is so awesome!

  • Blue Footed Booby:

    Editing scripts while in the game and immediately seeing your results is one of the major bullet-points for the upcoming fourth version of the Unreal Engine. I find it ironic and amusing how ahead of the curve this engine is when it’s entire purpose is remaking games from the nineties.

    Not that I’m complaining. It’s hella useful and a great piece of work, but I’m still sitting here making the psyduck face.

  • Dagganticipation:

    I agree with Blue Footed Booby, this engine is seeming more like a full-featured game engine and less like an update to an old engine, which is amazing!

  • prog:

    Will this work in the software renderer as well? I read a little about Awesomium just now and it sounds like you can get it to just give you bitmaps to display, so I’m betting the answer is a yes…..

    I just thought that a pic of the blog open on the software renderer would be so cool, so I had to ask if it were even possible :)

    • luciusDXL:

      The software renderer still uses OpenGL for the final blitting when possible – as an accelerated way of getting the image data rendered using the CPU to the hardware. So there’s no reason that this wouldn’t work just as well for software rendering as hardware rendering, assuming you have at least OpenGL 1.1 of course. :)

  • Sigmundr:

    Still can’t wait for this, it will hopefully help my lonely summer be less boring.

  • Taiko Shinoji:

    Awesome, since Daggerfall is so buggy! I always wished games had their own web browsers, I was pissed when I figured out the computers in GTA IV didn’t have internet, when I had Xbox LIVE.

  • HiPhish:

    I took a look at Awesomium and from what I understand it’s neither open source, nor free, nor is it available for OS X (yet), it’s just free of charge for non-commercial and indy projects, much like Unity3D engine. I might be mistaken, but wasn’t XLEngine supposed to be made open cource once it reaches a certain point? Couldn’t this be problematic?

    • luciusDXL:

      Older versions of Awesomium do support OS X. I’m not sure when the latest version will be available but it should be released relatively soon (I think). Just to be clear, I have a copy of the 1.6.5 version for OS X – so this isn’t guessing. :)

      Anyway, yes Awesomium currently only supports 32 bit executables – a limitation of Chromium (or so they say). However that shouldn’t be too much of a limitation for this engine, I believe the benefits outweigh the limitation.

      As for the free “indie” license – it stipulates that it will remain free as long as the project brings in less then $100k, which obviously isn’t a problem for this project.

      • Dyrver:

        Once Garrys Mod for the Source engine hits Steam for Mac, you can be sure the new version of Awesomium is supported and can be utilized by this nice little engine. :)

  • Jon Clark:

    The disadvantage of Awesomium is that it’s closed-source. They grant a free license for indie developers, but the platform support really isn’t there (no 64-bit binaries for Windows or Linux, no OSX support at all). Linux cross-compile issues were enough to drive me away from it.

  • Anon:

    So, it’s like “YO DAWG WE PUT A UI SYSTEM IN YOUR DAGGERFALL SO YOU CAN BROWSE THE NET WHILE YOU PLAY DAGGERFALL”?

    Nice.

  • dc:

    Nice idea, but i think the web browser included in game engine colud be serious problem in many ways. For one way speed and memory consumption and second is stability of engine. Chrome is quite huge, i feel it’s like shooting flies with the cannon.

  • BPzeBanshee:

    I hope the inclusion of Awesomium doesn’t result in a lack of a Mac port of the XL Engine in the future. Having a Mac target was one of the goals for this in the long run was it not?

    • Klasodeth:

      I don’t see how that would be a concern. I just checked the Awesomium website, and the Mac version of Awesomium is at the same version as the Windows version. Even if the development Mac or Linux versions end up lagging behind the Windows version, all Lucius needs to do is select a version that is supported on all three platforms. As long as the version he chooses does what he needs, it really doesn’t matter what happens with later versions.

  • Chris:

    Haha, how exciting! I can’t wait to try this new version out :)

  • Alvin:

    No news in over a month? Not surprising. But I hope LuciusDXL isn’t dead. That’d be terrible.

    • Marco:

      He’s still alive, fret not. Been a bit more active on the forums; IIRC he said he’d try to get a blog post in this week.

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The XL Engine is and will remain free, donations are purely optional but greatly appreciated.