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    Recreate UT2004

    Since UT4 seems to have stagnated / gone in a completely different direction than the UT2003/UT2004 series I was really wanting to see refreshed, I have a couple of questions:

    1.) Would it be possible / practical to reimplement the old UT2004-style interfaces on top of the UE4 engine and end up with something compatible with the existing UE2 maps / mods / etc.?
    2.) If not, could the core game engine be replaced entirely and the UT2004 assets and U-Script re-used? It's not like UE2 is a very complex engine by modern standards; its strength was mainly in the modding scene its design allowed. There are several open source game engines nowadays that could easily re-implement a UE2 style system.

    Would either of these options be interesting to other folks here? If so, I wonder if we would be allowed to stay on this forum or would need to move development elsewhere.

    Anyway, just thinking out loud. UT4 is taking a different path, and that's OK, but I really want to see my old favourite UT2k4 back with a more modern and portable engine. It's a real shame Epic won't ever release source code to the UT2004 series, even under NDA, for fixes and further development.

    #2
    It would never be compatible without some kind of system that automates the conversion of the maps, and even then it would probably be buggy as hell. But such an integrated converter might still be useful anyway. As I see it, the main problem is vehicles. There is no infrastructure for that in place. UnrealScript can't be used anymore, all of that would need to be re-coded from scratch. But coders / modders would know more about that than I would.

    I'm also not sure how 2k4 in UE4 would be any more compact. 2k4 was 4 gigs. This project would balloon in size pretty quickly, I'm quite sure of that. IMO if you want to do something like this you are better off building your own game "in the spirit" of 2k4. Make some improvements. Then you own your own work at least. I learned my lesson remaking 99 in 2k4. It's thankless and more trouble than it's worth.

    UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
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      #3
      Good point. Not to go too far off topic, but I've been looking at a few of the open game engines, Godot looks promising since it has some of the features that made UT2k4 and UE2 interesting like built-in scripting support, along with a decent 3D renderer. Might look into that and see what adding proper vehicle physics would take.

      I'd have loved to see a UT2k4- style game in terms of gameplay on the (visually stunning) UE4, but it just looks like the required support won't arrive before UE4 is long obsolete. Furthermore, it looks like Unreal is taking UT4 in a completely different direction than the early 2000s strategy game / arcade shooter I'd want to see. UT2k4 was always an odd mix of those two; you could have the twitchiest trigger finger around and still lose to someone that could generate the required strategies "on the fly". I'm honestly not interested in what UT4 has become, aside from a nice graphical demo.

      At the end of the day, it's the core gameplay, not so much the graphics, that counts. Of course visuals remain important, but there is a point of diminishing return where that ultrafine detail you see fly by at 120FPS has taken time and effort away from getting the core gameplay complexity up. Onslaught was massively complex, and loads of fun with the hundreds of community maps. I just don't see this happening on the static visual focused UE4 engine and the small, cramped maps that it encourages. Plus, with the lack of anything like the UE2 scripting, and encrypted map packs, etc. it really seems that UT4 is intended to be a centralized game, not the sort of distributed, community-supported "happy accident" UT2k4 ended up being.
      Last edited by madscientist159; 02-03-2018, 09:49 PM.

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        #4
        That's where I disagreed with the team's direction on the game the most. The visual style. I always felt it shouldn't be afraid to go for something stylized and semi retro. Retro futurism. They disagreed. Meanwhile, look what happened. Synthwave and 80s fever blew up right at the same time. Instead of being obsessed with spectacular visual cluttered nonsense just to sell their engine, UT4 could have basically been done already (at least in beta) and cashing in on a trend that UT was made for from day one. But hey, it's their game.

        And btw... look what's succeeding: Fortnite. A HIGHLY stylized game.
        Last edited by HenrikRyosa; 02-03-2018, 10:09 PM.

        UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
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          #5
          So, checking back on this I see zero progress has been made. Not surprised, sadly.

          I still wonder if there's a way to effectively reuse the old assets and UScript code from the original UT2004 series on the UE4 engine. Just regaining compatibility with the old maps and mods would tap right back into the fun that the old game was, something UT3 never captured again IMHO and UT4 is decades away from ever reaching (if at all). Even if it's a matter of "transpiling" the older assets to the modern formats, we know the formats of both files already AFAIK (?). Hardest part might be the UScript hooks and the still-absent vehicle physics.


          It's getting to the point that I wish someone could fix up and recompile the UT2004 software stack to just keep it alive, but alas Epic doesn't seem to care. This is also why IMHO open source is the only way forward, there's no incentive for anything other than flash-in-the-pan PC games with zero long term support or monetized, microtransaction centralized games that also go offline permanently once the playerbase moves only. Very sad situation overall.

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            #6
            Originally posted by HenrikRyosa
            That's where I disagreed with the team's direction on the game the most. The visual style. I always felt it shouldn't be afraid to go for something stylized and semi retro. Retro futurism. They disagreed. Meanwhile, look what happened. Synthwave and 80s fever blew up right at the same time. Instead of being obsessed with spectacular visual cluttered nonsense just to sell their engine, UT4 could have basically been done already (at least in beta) and cashing in on a trend that UT was made for from day one. But hey, it's their game.

            And btw... look what's succeeding: Fortnite. A HIGHLY stylized game.
            This is 6 months late, but I absolutely agree. Looking back at the earlier UT games, 99 and 2003, feels refreshing. It's dated in some ways for sure, but there is a timelessness to its art style that makes it still look good. The rise of RetroWave and things such as BladeRunner 2049 further made me really wish for something in the vein of the original UT, which of course was itself riffing off of the original 80s action & sci fi tropes.
            Stylized would have been a better move from a community perspective too -- Simply much easier to create, animate, texture a model of 500-1000 polygons than one with 100,000 polygons and every graphical whizzbang on top. I kept arguing for it as well, but I suppose the argument of using UT as a showcase for high end graphics was too strong.

            Originally posted by madscientist159
            So, checking back on this I see zero progress has been made. Not surprised, sadly.

            I still wonder if there's a way to effectively reuse the old assets and UScript code from the original UT2004 series on the UE4 engine. Just regaining compatibility with the old maps and mods would tap right back into the fun that the old game was, something UT3 never captured again IMHO and UT4 is decades away from ever reaching (if at all). Even if it's a matter of "transpiling" the older assets to the modern formats, we know the formats of both files already AFAIK (?). Hardest part might be the UScript hooks and the still-absent vehicle physics.
            Porting the UScript code over, for the base gameplay, would be straightforward. The only issue is whatever may be going on behind the scenes in native code (usually nothing, but there is some in terms of the base level classes). On the other hand, there's plenty of UE4 code that's available for inspiration on similar problems.
            Unfortunately the assets themselves can't be used (legally), but honestly that's a minimal concern compared to the overall effort of recreating everything new. Your instincts on making something open source is correct though -- Pretty much going to have to go that way to actually deliver on what fans want.
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              #7
              For me UT2k4 originally has the definitive potential to become a MMO
              if there could be more engagements besides the obligatory fragging!
              GOod STUff HERe <<

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