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

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Progress

This post will discuss some of the recent progress made towards the Beta. For now I will focus on the UI and Engine and talk about the games themselves in a future post.

I have been using one of the games to ensure that the engine provides all of the necessary services and to implement the core features of the engine. When you start the application, by default, a UI comes up where you can select the game to play, change video settings, setup controls and so forth. While most of the UI is only semi-functioning and placeholder – the settings are stored in text based ini files which can also be edited outside of the application. Of course everything will be editable by the UI for the release. It is possible to launch a game directly and exit immediately but even when this is the case it is always possible to bring up the UI, change settings and switch games. This is useful if you wish to play a single game or to create shortcuts and bypass the UI.

Each supported game is implemented as a dynamic library (DLL on Windows) which can be loaded and unloaded dynamically. You can even pause the game at any time to bring back the UI and change settings as desired or switch games. The game is rendered into a virtual screen which can run at a different resolution then the window – right now a multiple of 320×200 (16:10 in 4:3) but normal 4:3 and widescreen modes will be supported. Proper aspect ratio is automatically maintained with letter/pillar boxing, though stretch to fit will be an option.

I am currently re-working the sound support in order to provide all the necessary features for the variety of games but otherwise all of the engine services needed to support the games is complete – input, graphics, file manipulation, etc.. The UI still needs work but is functional enough for testing.

First Look at the UI

Below is a first look at the UI, as you can see you can click on a game to start playing or click on various icons to bring up settings menus (video, controls, engine settings, game settings and so forth). The aforementioned menus are incomplete, placeholder and not shown but the main view works as intended. When pausing a game a thumbnail view of the game is shown in the UI.

Even the versioning has been retrofitted – it is now structured as MajorVersion.MinorVersion.Build and given a name though only major changes will warrant new names. The initial releases will simply be “Beta.” The build version is now incremented automatically, so even if there are two releases made in quick succession, the version order is always clear. Obviously I started the automatic build number very recently (and even now its out of date, the current version is 0.2.161).

 

Final Words

I still have a lot of work to do before the release but I now have a strong foundation to build on with a fully featured engine and a solid build process – no more copying around files and manually updating build numbers, etc.. So now I can focus on finishing the game support for the Beta. :)

6 Responses to “Progress and First Look at the New UI”

  • Kachoudas:

    As always I’m extremely happy to hear news regarding this project. Thanks for taking the time to inform us about the progress you are making. I have always enjoyed reading these posts and am hoping many more are going to come.

    Good luck with everything and please take your time to enjoy the upcoming Christmas holidays ;)

  • Thanks for the update Lucious. We know it has been a long hard job to get up to here and waiting a bit more is worth it to have such great games working native with better resolutions and less crashing (looking at you Daggerfall).

    Keep up the good work!

  • Lava Croft:

    Thank you for the update! I’m super happy to read that you are still on this.

    <3

  • Fantastic news! Greatly looking forward to the release :)

  • Metron4:

    Your perseverance is greatly appreciated. I can hardly contain my glee! Hopefully we will see Outlaws up on that interface as well.

  • Austin:

    Great to hear that you’re still working on this Lucius. I had given up hope a while ago, but now that I see that you are busy working on it again, it is exciting :)

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