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Tralaicious

Proposition for advancement of the game.

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I was thinking the other day... my, oh how neat it would be if we could update the engine, or the textures or the models...  The game is great, but it was murdered way too early and had so much potential for expansion.... 
 
So it got me thinking, I am just going to assume that EA is well aware of the emulator project, and may probably see it as a cost free advertisement platform as all the original EA content and logos are still in there...  And the lack of C&D's flying around (Thank God, because this is an awesome game and I love it)... 
 
But what if the emulator team approached EA with a proposition… Since the donations for the server are pretty well met every month and sometimes early, there may be potential to receive more donations than needed for the server’s cost. What if surplus donation money was pooled into an account which was directly linked to the forums so people could see it and there’d be no issues with transparency, and it could build to a certain amount in which it could be used for purchases.
 
Now it could be a total long shot as I doubt EA would want to spend a dime on this game, but what if they were to create either small patches or updates for the game, be it new logo’s up to date textures, models, scripting… what have you… For a price? 
 
Ex: Say they were interested in releasing a model pack to update all the game models for a set price.
 
In order for this to work, the forums can be updated to show the donation status, and beside that a list of features that EA would be willing to sell and their price. That way people will know what they could buy with the donation money and we’d have to raise the money through donations to buy that feature. When it came to the actual feature, it can be voted on or one a time or... That can all be figured out at a later time.
 
We would essentially be buying updated features from EA, to apply to their client. But in small small pieces so it’s actually affordable. This way they aren’t spending enormous amounts of money on Dev teams and all the other assets that go with an entire game team as they would if they were still running it and developing it.
 
But this way they are still making money, still getting free advertisements and… If the game started to pick up in popularity again because of updates, they would have a potential to expand the updates (more money for them) or even revive the game (wishful thinking but yah never know).
 
If they are not up to the idea of creating anything or spending any time or money on updates of any kind… Then perhaps they may be interested in selling select IP rights or ‘renting’ them so the emulator team developers can legally make updates or changes to the client.
 
I understand that EA will freak out if they see this game is making profit and it’s not going to their pockets, or they see that people are carving it up and changing things without authorization. But I also think they would jump in a second if they could make extra money off a dead game that has no sale value, and all for doing very little or even nothing. It just seems like a smart business decision. 
 
EA could also seize this opportunity to replace the ‘ads’ throughout the game with newer actually updated ads for their games or products (hopefully without taking out the actually game related content).
 
What do you guys think?
 
-Tral
 

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We're already updating such things behind the scenes as we recently ascertained some of those secrets, but we have approached EA before to be told various things including "code doesn't exist any longer" and "no" among other things. I don't think it's a possibility without a few million dollars or a well known name/accomplished studio which is either us, or we're being backed by.

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Well, I am not talking about buying all the IP and owning/developing the game. I am only talking about small updates of already existing content. The code may very well no longer exist along with any of their original assets, but I was more aiming towards asking if they would be interesting in just updating small fragments of preexisting content and to apply to the game for money. 

I just figured it makes sense from their perspective, if they were willing to do this, they would have income coming in from a retired title for little to no work.

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I hate to be the naysayer, but EA isn't interested in small potatoes.  They have a history of killing off anything that's just making small amounts of money.  EnB was making a lot more money at SunSet then it could possibly make them now.

 

However, I don't think there's anything to prevent paying someone else to create new models.  The tools to create new models are all out there on the internet for free.  Just takes time and someone with some artistic talent.

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Actually, creatiing new models for this client is fairly difficult. It uses W3D model format, whose animation bone structure is proprietary, and difficult to edit.

 

We've been able to inject brand new static objects (we can use these objects as mobs, such as a ship).

These objects are created and edited in 3ds Max, using a plugin someone created long ago.

However adding animations to them is probably outside of the realm of possiblity, without having the original tools Westwood used.

 

The models use a .dds format for their skin, which is a glorified PNG. The client only recognizes smaller sizes, such as 512x512 max.

Therefore, upgrading the pixel count of the existing models is out of the question.

 

I did extensive work on the model project, and we had a few professional moddlers tinker with it, but without the time or money, it isn't going to happen anytime soon.

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I've messed around in the past with updating textures on planets and importing a few test items, back in my EMU dev days early on. The biggest thing will be to get the game engine to render many items correctly. The challenge is making things appear as they should, using newer tools to create the items, while still placing them into such an old and outdated engine. So Darkk is right on the money that its a bitch without the Westwood internal art tools.

 

The advantage of using a direct draw surface (.dds) over the use of regular textures, simply put, is mipping. In a nutshell, its the ability of any direct draw game using a .dds file for a texture, to be able to use the lower resolution copies of the textures contained in the .dds file, at greater distances where the detail would be lost anyway. So the point is to reduce the load to the graphics engine to render those lower versions contained in the .dds file itself. Something that is still done in many if not all games today. So its not only a texture, the file should also contain the lower detail versions of the same texture applied to a model to be called by the game engine. Sometimes you see this when approaching objects you encounter in EnB. They appear to change when moving closer to them from a good distance out.

 

-Overt.

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How about making some suggestions?  Saying it isn't fun & has balance & content issues really does not help.

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Seeing as there are large portions of space, is it possible on the server to create new monster groups / drops / ect, even if it's just reusing texture resources that already exist?  Creating new models might be a bit difficult without someone willing to dedicate their time / effort into this but that doesn't mean we can't expand or modify what already exists.

 

Also, I'm just returning from a very long break.  I'm a systems engineer by trade and am willing to offer whatever expertise / resources are required.

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Saevel, 

 

Yes -we can (and have) created totally new sectors, mobs, and drops. We will also continue to do so. 

 

There are dozens of sectors already made and, in most costs, stocked with mobs. We just need to work them into the story line and start opening them up. 

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Got a question real quick.  Many years ago when I last played XP was higher then on the original game and I greatly enjoyed being able to advance at a reasonable pace without having to commit ridiculous amounts of time into the game.  Has things changed?  With everything else going on I ~really~ don't have a ton of time to sit there pew pewing thousands of space mobs to gain CL's or running trade routes for weeks / months for TLs.

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