Lets make PlaneShift Unreal

By PlaneShift Team, April 9th 2015      107 comments.

We would like to present you a new project we are starting, which may change our future.

During the last 15 years we have gone through some amazing technology changes and we have increased the quality of our models, nearly doubled the complexity of our characters, added bump maps to all levels, added reflections, improved NPC dumbness...ehm, I meant intelligence, created new importers for latest 3D tools, refined the UI and more. That's because we love technology and we love to make PlaneShift look as good as we can.

Since the beginning, PlaneShift has had Crystal Space as its 3D engine and they have been a great partner to bring PlaneShift to life. But this year the PS team has been considering the possibility of an alternative. We reviewed all options such as Blender engine, Ogre, Unity, and Unreal.

Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) is our choice. Just take a look at this video.

Now, don't get TOO excited. Yliakum isn't suddenly going to look like THAT. Afterall, the engine and artwork are two different things, but it gives you an idea of what's possible. It gives you a glimpse of the robust tools we'll have to work with, especially in the areas of animation, particles and effects. The entire tool chain will be greatly improved and we can have the support of a very active community with a lot of documentation and tutorials at our disposal.

This has the potential to take us to the next level, where forests are huge and mysterious, foliage is lush, shadows are dynamic and realistic, your clothes move at the rhythm of the wind, spell effects are as elaborate as magic is, where your character can make facial expressions, monsters realistically drop to the ground, objects bounce as you kick them, you can slice consumers in two pieces and see the inside, and where water looks real and you also swim in it!

So as of today, the PlaneShift team is starting a fork of the current code and we will try to port everything we have to Unreal Engine 4. This will be a long transition and it will not be easy, but aren't we the project that created a (nearly) complete MMORPG from scratch? We feel we are up for this new challenge.

To achieve this ambitious goal, we need help from our great community! If you want participate, contact us on chat, and together, let's build the best open source and free MMORPG. The more people we have working on this, even little things, the more discoveries and progress we can make.

As first demo, we are looking to port:

  • Our database plugin
  • Adding a console to the server
  • The character creation windows and logic
  • The basics of the in game UI
  • The particles we have for spells and level effects
  • Player movement

As a second demo, we would like to port:

  • Combat
  • Magic
  • Crafting
  • The rest of the UI

If any of you can focus on one piece and provide us feedback on how it's proceeding, it will improve our efforts to evaluate better how complex it will be to do the full port. We already made some tests such as importing Hydlaa and getting a Kran to appear and wave. Let's see what else we can do!