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Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

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Leo T_C_K
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Leo T_C_K »

thanks for explaining

I hope that you will release the project though if something gets abandoned/you can't finish it due to irl reasons and there might be a danger of losing the data though. (just speaking of experience)

I'm especially curious at that mine map that was recreated based on that big layout screenshot where you could see most of it. You posted a gif of it even with the player looking down.
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

Leo T_C_K wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 6:39 am I hope that you will release the project though if something gets abandoned/you can't finish it due to irl reasons and there might be a danger of losing the data though. (just speaking of experience)
Of course, there's always a plan B, and as I said, I have more copies not only on my HDD, but on more cloud services.
Leo T_C_K wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 6:39 am I'm especially curious at that mine map that was recreated based on that big layout screenshot where you could see most of it. You posted a gif of it even with the player looking down.
Oh the factory themed map, that's one of my maps that is close to be finished. ;D

Also I'd like to say that you might seen some of the screenshots aren't loading at all, that's because I kinda messed up the Imgur pictures and their links, and I can't edit my previous posts to update them :P so I'm gonna create a photo album instead somewhere and post all the previous screenshots there + some new one.
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

Image New update:

-new logo as seen above (designed by yrex)
-new maps being added to the map list (23 in total now!)
-new decorations, pawns and pawn variations are being added

New Wooden Boxes!
ImageImage

Light Flares! (made by yrex)


They work as they're described in the UnBible.
The player always has them and can toss them out whenever, but only 5 can burn at a time, once one blows up, you can throw another one out.
(otherwise it says "Too many flares")


Two new selectable characters added!

1995 Woman:
ImageImage

1996/1997 Woman:
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Shout out and thank you for Skerion for remaking the model and skins,
Delacroix for providing me the model for Dark Earth,
And yrex for making it playable under 227!

(originally the model was made for UT99)


Underwater warp effect!


Check the video description for more info.


Recent screenshots:
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640x480 resolution for the more "authentic feeling"
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ImageImage
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Texture re-making in the process
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Editor shots too
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And of course, the '95 maps
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To everyone who is still excited about the project, thank you for your patience.
We're packing more and more into this mod to be the most authentic alpha/beta Unreal conversion.
Image
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Hellkeeper
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Hellkeeper »

Nice. I'm so glad we're living in 1995 again. :)
You must construct additional pylons.
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Leo T_C_K
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Leo T_C_K »

This is some incredible work.

Though I do regret that not more actual Unreal alphas got recovered or maps therefore. What is out there barely amounts to short demos/examples. There are even versions that we have a map or two from (albeit from another project like Circle's Torg map which was created by the late Ty Halderman) that can't just be played/opened under the recovered versions. The hope is getting thinner with every year and bad news of old drives/things not being rescuable, even when you go out of the way to reach developers who used to have the stuff stored. Unless Tim Sweeney or James Schmalz ever open their vaults that they usually never touch, we might never ever see those versions or the map repository to run with recovered versions.
And given latest Epic's track record when it comes to the Unreal series themselves, that's just not gonna happen it seems. I mean at this point we're at a point when Epic is backing down on their previous decisions (like that free UT3X version and abandoning other games/everything else related to Unreal).

Like what the heck is even going on there. But yea...that's such a stark contrast to the dedication and love for the Unreal game we see from projects like these even though it will never be 100 percent accurate to levels we simply never got to see in their whole... but at least it gets the feeling right.
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

Thank you both, and I agree.
It hurts to know that there's a great chance we ain't going to see what the actual beta maps looked like in their finished or unfinished states, but I'm always being optimistic about it too. Because miracles can happen, like the UT221 beta happened out of literally nowhere. I also believe that every game that licenced Unreal Engine 1 at the early times got many different beta Unreal builds, just like Emissary got. And there's always someone outside or inside of this community who has these kind of things, and it's always just a question of time. Sure, Epic abandoning their main title is just making things worse for Unreal (not only for beta content), and I honestly can't believe that the people who worked timeless hours on not just maps, but on whole PROJECTS, and at the end, those maps got cut and the projects got cancelled.
And their efforts, creativity and whatnot got cancelled too.
Take the crypt maps for example from the 1998 February beta. Nexus, Soledad, Morose... those maps are so incredibly complex and fun, and if the build wasn't leaked, we would have never seen them, and it hurts my soul that they didn't reuse them (though they planned to do so, but that project got cancelled as well, so...).
And it probably hurt the level designers too.
If I was a level designer for a gaming company, and they'd say my almost finished maps aren't going to be in the game, I would be mad and I would talk about it.

So these cut maps, textures, models etc. got wasted because they simply thought they weren't fit for the game, I don't think they deleted them and they are stored away somewhere (at least I really hope so). Remember when we asked some of the people who worked on Unreal? And they said "Ask Epic, they might have a clue" when we tried to recover their lost work. I don't think that's an option anymore...

I know Dark Earth can't be 100% accurate, but as I said at the end of my previous post
We're packing more and more into this mod to be the most authentic alpha/beta Unreal conversion.
Part of the reason why this development is slow because we're trying to make the beta feeling right.
And the development of Dark Earth is really becoming unintentionally just like Unreal's development lol
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Leo T_C_K
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Leo T_C_K »

Gamesharder wrote: Wed Jul 19, 2023 12:22 pm Thank you both, and I agree.
It hurts to know that there's a great chance we ain't going to see what the actual beta maps looked like in their finished or unfinished states, but I'm always being optimistic about it too. Because miracles can happen, like the UT221 beta happened out of literally nowhere. I also believe that every game that licenced Unreal Engine 1 at the early times got many different beta Unreal builds, just like Emissary got. And there's always someone outside or inside of this community who has these kind of things, and it's always just a question of time. Sure, Epic abandoning their main title is just making things worse for Unreal (not only for beta content), and I honestly can't believe that the people who worked timeless hours on not just maps, but on whole PROJECTS, and at the end, those maps got cut and the projects got cancelled.
And their efforts, creativity and whatnot got cancelled too.
Take the crypt maps for example from the 1998 February beta. Nexus, Soledad, Morose... those maps are so incredibly complex and fun, and if the build wasn't leaked, we would have never seen them, and it hurts my soul that they didn't reuse them (though they planned to do so, but that project got cancelled as well, so...).
And it probably hurt the level designers too.
If I was a level designer for a gaming company, and they'd say my almost finished maps aren't going to be in the game, I would be mad and I would talk about it.

So these cut maps, textures, models etc. got wasted because they simply thought they weren't fit for the game, I don't think they deleted them and they are stored away somewhere (at least I really hope so). Remember when we asked some of the people who worked on Unreal? And they said "Ask Epic, they might have a clue" when we tried to recover their lost work. I don't think that's an option anymore...

I know Dark Earth can't be 100% accurate, but as I said at the end of my previous post
We're packing more and more into this mod to be the most authentic alpha/beta Unreal conversion.
Part of the reason why this development is slow because we're trying to make the beta feeling right.
And the development of Dark Earth is really becoming unintentionally just like Unreal's development lol
Yes but here's a thing, the emissary stuff happened like 2012 and 2013. I had a few years back have the guy check the cds again the original ones, also for a repack with more dates preserved, but suddenly a lot of them didn't work anymore, so it was good that it happened in those years. If I only found him now we would have only fraction of that stuff and not everything like before.

Data corruption and losses in general are a thing.

Yea well, there are people still in Epic who are willing to talk about beta content while not having it anymore and the only hint they ever got me was that Tim would need to have it, there's no live repository, everything is stored in some vault or storage that only Tim himself can open if ever given his priorities, then there are also deniers like AW, who'd rather have us forget that there was cut content or even that tell someone like me that Epic didn't truly cut anything in the end...yea right. I initially believed that might have been case for UT for the most part, but even that is false. I mean the 222 beta doesn't have as much cut maps and some maps got re-made instead so technically that's less of a cut content, but we've seen that even in the phase where AW was part of the team already there was still a lot of cutting of entire maps at least early on....
Basically it tells me that even within the company they don't have a single opinion on the matter themselves. You get people who are open to talk about already released(and unreleased and never to be resurrected work) and you got people who would outright lie or not talk to you at all. But most of the people are outside of Epic. I had lengthy talks with people like Inoxx or Myscha though (who are outside of digital extremes and epic for a long while), Inoxx even more, he remembers the most about his maps too except the very early ones before he moved to Canada and US.

He does have an opinion though that many of the cuts were necessary for pacing and other reasons and that it was all for the best even if his maps didn't survive. Apart from perhaps expressing disapointment that some products didn't come out, the cuts and changes to the released maps he did agree with and said that some of the maps like those crypt maps from earlier versions, were just never too good in gameplay and were too generic (not talking specificaly about soledad, morose and nexus but more like that unknown map from middle of 1997 etc).

I am not sure I agree with him, after all the maps got cut often before they had a chance to be tweaked for a later more finalized version of unreal, so I don't find it a very fair comparison for that reason. But I do understand where he's coming from too. And also I suppose if they didn't make the decision the game would be just flooded with many maps that would never get chance to be properly tweaked, not having the time or even crew to do all that. Like Unreal PSX often feels that way to people, like there were seemingly too many maps (though it had a larger crew of LDs than Unreal) and very little got cut thorought the developement (plus the rework project even restores more of those cuts and more lol, so it ends up even bigger) unlike with Unreal, at most some level order got changed a little and few levels redesigned or assigned to different mappers and that's it, it kept still following the design document more tightly, again unlike with unreal which often really had just experimental phases like what delacroix described "throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks".

Also I did hear from some people that early on Epic still had several beta versions on their FTP but this already got removed during the early 2000s or so. With it no longer being accessible even to developers and what not. And there was a bit of an incident where a large portion got outright deleted from their FTP, with only surviving stuff being the physical copies made.
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mentalhunter
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by mentalhunter »

Just scrolled through the shots and watch the video on the first page. Is there any news as of yet about this project??
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

mentalhunter wrote: Thu Nov 23, 2023 5:09 pm Just scrolled through the shots and watch the video on the first page. Is there any news as of yet about this project??
Thanks for checking it out. It changed quite a bit from the first screenshots and showcase video.
The project is still work in progress, but it's coming, don't worry.
There's some things going on in the background and I don't want to spoil everything.

You can see the latest shots either here or on my Discord server:
https://discord.gg/wEkgFHcU

I post there sometimes, but here's some fairly new photos.
ImageImage
ImageImage
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Leo T_C_K
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Leo T_C_K »

recolored pupae and "shellbox" to match the other stuff? okay
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

Yeah, you like it?
It made the most sense to do that.
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Leo T_C_K
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Leo T_C_K »

Gamesharder wrote: Fri Nov 24, 2023 11:31 am Yeah, you like it?
It made the most sense to do that.
The pupae is kind of necessary since it was planned or in developement even in the unreal bible phase but the shellbox seems a bit on the unnecesary side, i mean shellbox got only developed for the minigun later with the ammo being compatible/shared with the automag.

But its fine otherwise.

But I'd suggest altering the bullet at the end of the shellbox "belt" a little more to match the one on the Clip graphic. I know the released game was even more inconsistent with this but why not make it even more similar to that?
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iLikeTheUDK
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by iLikeTheUDK »

How's this going? anything that I can help with here?
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

iLikeTheUDK wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 7:49 pm How's this going? anything that I can help with here?
That's kind of you, thanks.
The project's going well.
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Kewwsek »

ive been watching this for awhile and i just wanted to say overall amazing stuff yall have made so far, keep it up and take your time id love to see these maps fully realized even if it isnt the way the og devs intended them to be its still surreal in many ways, ill be patient for that eventual release bc i want to try this mod whenever its done.

also say are those playable 1995\96\97 characters available for download anywhere?(i ask bc you said about them being made for ut99 originally and id love to use them in the mod but id love to have em for normal unreal gold\ut99 play too if allowed)
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

Kewwsek wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 3:01 pm ive been watching this for awhile and i just wanted to say overall amazing stuff yall have made so far, keep it up and take your time id love to see these maps fully realized even if it isnt the way the og devs intended them to be its still surreal in many ways, ill be patient for that eventual release bc i want to try this mod whenever its done.
Thank you. I mentioned this before, but the maps are going to be very faithful to this era of Unreal, even with our own twists and turns both for the maps and for the mod itself.
I can't wait to show what we've been working on behind the scenes. A lot of things weren't shown or even mentioned.
But I think you will be satisfied with the end product.
It's getting closer and closer for beta testing and being released eventually.
Kewwsek wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 3:01 pm also say are those playable 1995\96\97 characters available for download anywhere?(i ask bc you said about them being made for ut99 originally and id love to use them in the mod but id love to have em for normal unreal gold\ut99 play too if allowed)
Well, Skerion converted the 95/97 woman skins into a UT99 model, I don't know if those were released publicly, but I only got them from Delacroix for Dark Earth specifically.
It's a modified PS2 Female Commando model (basically without the headgear and backpack), don't know if those PS2 models were even released either.
The UGold version was converted by Yrex also specifically for Dark Earth. Until the pack isn't released, I wouldn't want to release the models earlier, because I want to do a little editing on them.
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Kewwsek »

oh ok then I understand,I was just curious about those two models bc I do honestly love seeing them becoming fully realized/usable in some way as before this there was only the stone woman pawn thing(aka reskinned 95 amazon woman made into an enemy) and then someone made a simple skin for Gina based on the 96/97 woman and called it "kara" so this is still an amazing thing to see both models usable and I'd love to have them to complete my little character roster for unreal gold(cant wait to see them in action too hopefully in the next trailer).

Anyways again keep up the good work guys this is all amazing work you've done.
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Leo T_C_K
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Leo T_C_K »

Kewwsek wrote: Mon Jan 22, 2024 4:06 am oh ok then I understand,I was just curious about those two models bc I do honestly love seeing them becoming fully realized/usable in some way as before this there was only the stone woman pawn thing(aka reskinned 95 amazon woman made into an enemy) and then someone made a simple skin for Gina based on the 96/97 woman and called it "kara" so this is still an amazing thing to see both models usable and I'd love to have them to complete my little character roster for unreal gold(cant wait to see them in action too hopefully in the next trailer).

Anyways again keep up the good work guys this is all amazing work you've done.
That "Kara" I released within Unreal PSX Rework, I named it that way though the skin was made by Turboman quite early on based on the 1996/1997 woman skin.

I don't see why the models can't be released separately though, I suggest you ask Delacroix about them. Even if they will be changed for this project, the originals will probably use different package names and all.

The PS2 models were released and known for a while. Some of them ended up being released before, but alcapowned ported the entire rest of the PS2 models and it's been around for a while now.

I was speaking about the UT versions, not the Unreal conversions by yrex also. I don't see why they can't be released. Previously we had the 1995 unreal models and skins ported by bryan(now known as Baratus II) and trevor also, I believe I helped out with an issue there too.
Those are for UT also...but they are essentially the original models forced onto a skeletal animation (one of the default ones) so it is a bit weird sometimes, as there are some polygon gaps and the like. But its a fine basic port.

The Stone Woman was a pawn I worked on with CodeX(he was responsible for the game logic and the smooth way it falls into pieces and the sounds were mostly from him, as in chosen by him not created necesarily) that also got used in the upsx rework.
It was my idea and I also did the stonified skin, though I'm not sure if codex changed it or not its been a while, the details should be in the readme.
But that uses the original unmodified model. I saw a potential in it, because you know, without creating new animations you can do so much. So why not an inanimate (as in not living) pawn that can do all that? So why not...
It doesn't need anything, the script is simple, follows just the most basic pawn logic with just attacks and it doesn't need death animation as it crumbles to pieces.

That's the thing with being creative with resources you can be given and limitations...
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Kewwsek »

on regards to the model usage yea that's fair, they do have a potential even as the way they are by default for sure(and the way both that and the kara skin are used in the psx rework is certainly nice to see nonetheless honestly both of these versions are great),but also yea I'll go ask that guy who did these new versions bc they do look great overall, again thanks and do keep up the good work!
Kewwsek
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Kewwsek »

Back after 3 months,i hope things are going well
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Gamesharder
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Re: Dark Earth (Unreal Alpha Project)

Post by Gamesharder »

Kewwsek wrote: Sun Apr 14, 2024 2:25 am Back after 3 months,i hope things are going well
Hi, yes!
Things are going okay with the project, we are shaping it nicely.
Can't say when the next trailer drops, because I can't keep my promises, but I'll make sure it'll be good.
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