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So I want to stop and talk about my plans and progress.

DaggerXL Version 0.20

I plan on trying to get version 0.20 out this week, though I may delay something in order to get that done (probably the startup-time caching). There are several reasons to try and get this done, some of which you’ll see below.

One reason is to get a proper build packaging DaggerXL and DarkXL together with the launcher. This way the merging process can really become visible, the programs will be easier to use (no more text file editing, paths with problems with spaces, trying to figure out which directory to point things to and so forth). And extra validation before program startup will also make diagnosing issues easier. Basically something that’s long overdue. :)

(The Launcher, previously shown in an XL Engine forum thread)


DarkXL Beta

The next step is to get the DarkXL Beta finished and released, though it may be missing the Pure Renderer until after the engine merger, due to the decision to go to software rendering. On the plus side, the Pure Renderer will open up the software to a much wider audience of users. Due to the merger the source code will not be immediately released as previously stated, keep reading to find out more about it. Once the DaggerXL version 0.20 is released, the DarkXL Beta should follow within a couple of weeks. The OS X support will be delayed so that it can be properly implemented in the merged XL Engine.

XL Engine

The next step is merging all the shared code into the XL Engine, as well as refactoring the DarkXL/DaggerXL rendering systems to work well in the engine. At this point I will be dropping all D3DX reliance and using an alternate, cross platform library for image loading/saving (the main thing I was using D3DX for). In addition, due to the upcoming “Pure Renderer” (i.e. software renderer), the need to support old and crappy drivers has diminished. Therefore supporting two API’s to drive the GPU doesn’t make any sense anymore. At this point I will be switching from Direct3D to OpenGL. Fortunately I already have a shader-based OpenGL engine working for another project, so the transition will be quick.

At this point I will be releasing the source code for DarkXL but not the XL Engine immediately. The XL Engine source code will be released once it has time to mature and be optimized. BloodXL and OutlawsXL game source code will be released much sooner, probably after the first releases.
Once that is complete I will making an OS X port of the XL Engine (and thus all projects using the XL Engine). This won’t happen immediately, but soon afterwards.


Once the merger is complete I will begin a build per-week cycle, though the changelist may be small on busy weeks. The idea is still to work towards larger builds, but to release progress as I go. This will be complimented with the progress and goals listed on the Wiki under XL Engine Progress. I’ve talked about this kind of thing before, but it’s something that is really important now, given the scope of the XL Engine and projects.

BloodXL and OutlawsXL will get their initial releases once the merger is complete. Many things will not work correctly initially, but it’s important that I get things moving and builds out soon. The first goal is to get the visuals working completely in all the levels (all levels already load correctly). This includes things like translucent deep water in Outlaws, RoR, dual adjoins (i.e. 3D sector bridges and floors), texture scaling and alignment and so forth. Then comes weapons and enemies, I’ll talk more about this when the time gets closer.

For DarkXL I’ll start working on the next Beta build which will fix any issues left open by the first Beta. Then I’ll start working on making sure all the custom levels and mods work correctly.

For DaggerXL I’ll start working towards build 0.30 with all the previously discussed NPC interaction, shops, spell/ranged combat system, guilds and quests.

23 Responses to “Progress and Plans”

  • Valek:

    Wow, Lucius! This is really exciting! You’re doing a great job!!!

  • Shiruban:

    That’s good news, I can’t wait to play the 0.20 version of DaggerXL! Thanks for keeping this project alive!!

  • Simon Buchan:

    I guess for this project you don’t need a very late version of OpenGL? I’ve heard OS X has a very out of date version (2.x?). Also, is this image loading library the regular libpng or ijg lib? I’ve always found D3DX more helpful for handling all the wacky formats PNG can (thoretically) throw at you and picking sensible texture creation parameters than the pulling the image data out (PNG isn’t even that hard to read, it’s a loop over a 5-case switch statement mostly).

    • luciusDXL:

      PNG, TGA, JPG, etc. will still be supported. And, yeah, I realize that some of the formats are pretty simple and I could write my own saving/loading routines – but honestly reinventing the wheel just isn’t worth my time in this case, especially since I already have all this stuff working in my OpenGL engine anyway. :)

      OS X supports OpenGL 3.x (at least 3.2, though possibly higher). So I’m not going to have to make any major compromises to support OS X.
      Never mind, I was thinking of the upcoming “OS X Lion.” Anyway 2.1 is still sufficient and the XL Engine will support the new features as they become available or are available already in the case of Windows or Linux.

  • ecto:

    been following this project from the shadows for some time, not wanting to spoil anything i havent tried any versions so far. not sure if i can resist this release tho!

  • Talia:

    Good to get an update, Lucius!

  • Michel Renier:

    In addition, due to the upcoming “Pure Renderer” (i.e. software renderer), the need to support old and crappy drivers has diminished

    Does it mean that integrated video chips (like Intel GMA950 in laptops) will be compatible with XL Engine?

    • luciusDXL:

      The goal for the software renderer, after optimizations, is 60 fps at 1024×768 for a 1 GHz CPU. So as long as you have a decent CPU, you will be able to run the XL Engine games in software mode with good performance and render quality.

  • Pickle:

    Please consider making your opengl render ES 2.0 compliant this will be very beneficial to mobile devices.

  • Britefire:

    This project looks like it will be awesome! I am currently installing and about to play daggerfall for the first time, only thing been stopping me is some dosbox issues (now fixed) but after playing D&D i have been dieing to play daggerfall.

    Thank you for keeping this project alive, and this project will, I believe, bring a new lease on life to a classic game!

  • I just hope you’re not overextending yourself working on engine for FOUR different games simultaneously. :-/ Are the games similar enough to require no additional reserve engineering on your part or have someone else already reserve engineered and documented the various file formats used by them over the years?

    Good luck with the project(s)!

    • luciusDXL:

      Well part of it is that BloodXL and OutlawsXL will be ramping up as DarkXL is ramping down. That’s not to say that DarkXL development will cease but that all the major elements will be out of the way, leaving only elements that will be shared by all projects (tools, multiplayer). I’ve done a lot of work with DarkXL to make sure that adding and tweaking things like enemies/items/logics/weapons/UI and so forth is very fast and easy. In fact you can reload scripts on the fly to test out your changes as you are making them, among other things. To put it another way, developing BloodXL and OutlawsXL will take much less time then DarkXL, due to the sheer amount of ground work already laid, which is why I can work on both of them.

      Another thing that will help tremendously is the engine merger, allowing a lot of things to be implemented once only. Finally most of the formats are known, in fact I can already load textures, levels, models, sprites (and voxel models/sprites in the case of Blood) for all the games. This doesn’t mean that everything is figured out, but things have reached a “critical mass” where the additional projects become much easier. :)

  • keropi:

    what an awesome project!!!! keep it up man!!!!

  • Michel Renier:

    Excuse me, but is the project active?

  • Michel Renier:

    In this case, good luck to you. And thank you again for this project

  • CJ:

    This is looking absolutely excellent so far, can’t wait for .20 to come out!

  • Anthony:

    I’ve been following this project for quite some time and I’m quite impressed. Daggerfall was the game that started it all for me and it makes me happy to see it being brought back to life for all to play. Now I have bit of an odd question here. I just purchased my first smart phone (android) and while looking for a decent rpg game to play on the go, it came to me that Daggerfall would be nearly a perfect fit for an on the go gamer such as myself. Even the attacking would mach since you have to drag your mouse in the desired direction to attack. Now I’m not necessarily asking you to code the game, I’m just wondering if it would be possible to port it over to a touchscreen phone and just how hard would that be?

  • Levethian:

    Looking forward to 0.20! :D

  • Where did all the people following the project go? I mean the old DaggerXL forum was pretty active place and with the merge with DarkXL community I’d have expected increase, not decrease of forum activity and general interest. Especially modders seem to have all but vanished :-(. Hopefully people find their way here eventually. Maybe when DaggerXL 0.20 is released things pick up again, hopefully. :-/

  • Darwin:

    I was thinking about modeling but the problem is about one nudity, i don’t know it is not legit to model them or yes. >.>

    One question, what daggerxl can support? maya 3d, max studio or what? I’m experienced to model for 3d chars. If not, then nothing for daggerxl.

  • Darwin:

    For my apologies, I didn’t see that you have forum on site. My mistake.

    You dont have to accept my first message.

  • Darwin:

    nevermind, forget about 3d model for chars and npc, because you don’t have somebody to lead animation for npc and chars and indeed some weapons. :S

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