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

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Progress Updates

It has been about 2 weeks since my last update but I have not been idle during this time. I decided to scale back on the rate of updates for a variety of reasons but work is ongoing and I check the blog/forums regularly so feel free to comment or ask questions. In the future I plan on posting updates about once a week or so, though the time between updates may occasionally be longer or shorter.

Also remember that you can see the full sized images by clicking on the pictures, they are scaled down to fit the blog format.

 

Decompiling

I have made good strides in the decompilation process, due to a variety of enhancements and fixes to my tools. Previously functions with multiple return statements or complicated flow control with dead code were problematic, resulting in sometimes non-nonsensical code, missing code or incomplete functions. The tool now properly follows the flow control and prunes unused code. Of course this results in functions were code is ordered based on when a branch was hit, so the resulting code must be reodered at the end of the process. Jumps with dynamic offsets are still problematic though, there is still more work to be done.

Next I fixed the “root function” determination code so it can successfully find “main” automatically. Previously I had to do it by hand which can result in errors. The unused function removal is now more robust.

Initialized static memory is now automatically mapped to the memory addresses used by the disassembled code, meaning that pre-initialized static data is now directly available. This is great for many reasons, including using the text referenced by the code to help identify the names and functions in many cases. This allows me to move a lot of the code to the correct files, so the structure of the source tree – in some cases anyway – can mimic what the original source might have looked like.

 

Unified Software Renderer

Recently I resurrected the software renderer I was writing for DaggerXL and start re-integrating it into the XL Engine. For the Beta 2 release, it will serve as a basis for the “unified 3D renderer” that can be used not just for Daggerfall but potentially other XnEngine games and for model-based elements of 2.5D games (such as Dark Forces). The “unified 3D renderer” will support both hardware and software rendering and – with the original code available – be able to functionally match the original visuals but with better performance for high resolutions and the ability to more easily add new features and fix bugs. Of course the original Daggerfall rendering will be available, at least until the new renderer can match it exactly (minus obvious bugs). Beta 1 probably won’t ship with this renderer but it will be available for Beta 2.

Below you can see some screenshots of Daggerfall using the cylindrically mapped sky and tweaked settings. Note that all of the 2D rendering has been disabled (weapons, UI, etc. – obviously not counting sprites in the 3D world). Also note that the rendering is not 100% correct but that will be fixed – including the wrong ground tiles being used, not a problem for the original renderer of course.

Build, Blood and the Newcomer

When working with the Blood code, one of the things I wanted to do was match up the decompiled source with the Build source in order to reduce the amount of work I had to do. I realized, however, that for best results I should test the Build source integration with something working and complete. So to that end, I added the first Рand currently only Рgame that uses the original source code: Shadow Warrior. The purpose of this integration was as follows:
* Get something working with Build in the XL Engine.

* Start refactoring the code and getting it ready for Blood.

* Test the XL Engine functionality, including game life cycle, XL Engine services, sound, input and other systems.

* Have a complete experience to test with the engine and UI.

* Test the performance and memory usage with a complete game running.

 

When, in previous updates, I mentioned matching up Blood code with the Build code – I already had this working in the engine. In fact Shadow Warrior is 100% playable, including sound, music, controls, memory management and so on in the engine and has been for a month or two.

So why play Shadow Warrior using the XL Engine instead of an existing port? Honestly there aren’t really any compelling reasons, the existing ports do a great job. Of course I plan on changing this with future releases and in the future there will be more reasons to play Shadow Warrior on the XL Engine. Regardless it has helped me tremendously with the engine and Blood – so its a worthwhile addition even if no one actually plays it. :D ¬†That said, when it comes time to build the unified sector engine it will be very useful – like Blood it pushes the Build and adds Room over Room, drive able vehicles and other features.

This is a surprise I’m sure but, if things go well anyway, Shadow Warrior will not be the biggest surprise in store for the release.

As you can see, the UI itself has gone through some iterations since I last showed it. Of course any effects are optional and only work if you have a GPU capable of OpenGL 2.0 or newer (see the fullscreen view to get a better idea of what I mean). In addition sound effects have been added to the UI to improve the experience.

And some screenshots of Shadow Warrior in the XL Engine. As said above the port is complete and playable now. But I’m still going to hold off on releasing anything until the other games are ready.

 

 

Final Words

The XL Engine is progressing nicely and all of the features needed by the games are already implemented (as shown with Shadow Warrior). In the next update I hope to show screenshots of some of the other games in action. Finally here is the XL Engine Readme file that will packaged with the release (XLEngine.txt). In it is the copyright notice, description and credits. Take a look and let me know if I am forgetting anything, I want the release to go smoothly when it finally gets here. :)

19 Responses to “XL Engine Update 3”

  • MrWhatsisname:

    The eduke32 engine has always given me weird issues. An XLengine version of that game wouldn’t be too odd. With Doom you can choose from seemingly hundreds of source ports, but with Duke Nukem and other build engine games there only seems to be one or two good options.

  • Axl:

    Looks amazing.

    I think adding Shadow Warrior is a good idea as there is (contrary to Duke Nukem 3D and eduke32) not a definitive source port for it (jfsw, proasm and redux all have various issues).

    • durvere:

      There’s also a compilation option “sw” in the eduke32 code, so there is another WIP one, low prio however. But just so anyone knows and would like to try it. I think it was refered as something such as void shadow warrior or something. Shame the netcode (using enet) in the eduke32 engine is still riddled with bugs. Also nice to see Blood being joined by its brethren in the XLengine! :)

  • Martin:

    I just wanted to tell you – what you are doing here is incredible! :)
    Not only doing this for Daggerfall but all the other games (Dark Forces!), is stunning!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Paul:

    It has been great to see this project back in active development (or at least visibly in active development). Thanks so much for all the work you’ve done!

  • Alex:

    I gotta’ say, I got a tiny bit teary-eyed. We are so, so close to open source Blood. It’s a long time personal favorite game of mine. Possibly my all time favorite FPS. And it’s a crime that the source code was never released and Atari just sits on the IP. We as fans have been prick teased so many times over the years with fan made projects and conversions and TC’s and the Jace Hall project that completely fell apart. And here we are, almost 20 years after the game came out, and it’s finally going to happen. Thank you so much.

  • POLE7645:

    I’ve been following this project for a while and it’s great.

    I just have one question. I’m looking at your screenshot and I’m wondering if you dropped support for Outlaws? Not only it’s absent from your UI screenshots, but it hasn’t been mentioned (unless I missed it).

  • Artyom:

    I know the first release will only support software rendering and either 4:3 or stretch-to-fit, but do you plan on adding proper widescreen support in the future?

  • Alex:

    Lucious I got a quick question, will you fix the “bug” in Blood where the doors kill you? Thanks.

    • luciusDXL:

      If you want to report bugs in the DOS version of Blood that you would like to see fixed, you can post them in the Blood (DOS Bugs) section of the forums.

      As for this particular issue, it is an issue that is shared by other Build games like Shadow Warrior (though it seems to be less common). It won’t be fixed in Beta 1 but in a future build.

      • Ebbpp:

        Speaking of… I just got a Steam version of Shadow Warrior Classic, can I use it with Xlengine?

      • Ebbpp:

        Ohh – and btw. there ware some works done with the Outlaws, I don’t see any mentioning about it here… Game has been removed from Xl Engine plans?

  • Daggerlol:

    Pics look amazing!

  • lecatmure:

    Keep up the hard work man, awesome job!

  • Striker:

    I’d totally be for Duke3D running on the engine when there’s working client/server netcode in Blood and Shadow Warrior. Something that EDuke32 sorely lacks.

  • How long until you get the first release? I cant wait :D

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