Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

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Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by mankrip » Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:23 pm

Posting this here since I'm not sure if anyone still reads the FPS Dev forum.

I have a few plans for an updated Quake engine for the Dreamcast. This time, focusing on speed rather than extra features. It would still be rendered via software, but with my current level of knowledge it should be significantly faster than the latest Dreamcast versions of Makaqu.

Here's a to-do list:
  • Faster BSP z-buffer rendering
  • Faster texture rendering (for BSP, SPR & MDL models)
  • Faster surface cache drawing
  • Lightmap dithering on surface caches - this is only calculated when lighting changes, so the impact on performance won't be noticeable
  • Faster sky rendering (with no blending and no fading)
  • Proper high-res underwater screen warping (this may not make much visual difference, but is also faster)
  • High-res turbulence on liquid surfaces
  • Stippled translucent liquids (water & slime only)
  • No alpha blending of any kind (to simplify the code and reduce RAM usage)
  • No cel-shading and no outlines (same reason as above)
  • A proper 8-bit video mode, through a twiddled 8-bit texture buffer.
There's a chance I could also include my improved particle renderer, but that depends on optimizing it to reduce RAM usage.

So far I'm planning to use the Makaqu 1.3.1 source as a base, backporting the DC controller code improvements & 50Hz support from Makaqu 1.6 and several speed optimizations from Retroquad (my current wip PC Quake engine) listed above.

I'm not sure how fast it should get, but there's a plausible chance of 640x480 being playable (at least on slower games such as Codename: Envenom and Prydon Gate), with 320x240 being well suited for fast-paced action. Maybe even fast enough for people interested in developing DC games using it (although the unfiltered software-rendered look can be off-putting). The speed improvements I've got in the PC are very significant, enough to make this kind of improvement possible in full HD: before & after lighting smoothing, and a texture smoothing comparison. Per-pixel dithering would slow down the DC too much, but lightmap dithering on surface caches can at least help on a per-texel level and is fast enough for the DC to handle.

The question is, I'm not sure if there is a community interest in this kind of project anymore. There will always be a couple of people interested, but I'm not sure if there's more than that. I've got a strong bad feeling about this.

The Quake single player community has been releasing many great maps in the last years, and several of them could work in the DC. I once helped to put together a pack of 300 Quake deathmatch maps for the DC, and something similar could be worked on for this engine, this time using single player maps & episodes. There's always new Quake maps coming out.

My next months will be busy, but I may get most of this engine work done by the end of the year. I'll leave this thread here to see if there's any interest.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by law56ker » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:43 am

Always interested in new developments, esp for one of the best games ever.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Segata Sanshiro » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:28 am

mankrip wrote:There will always be a couple of people interested, but I'm not sure if there's more than that.
There already is! Please do this, original Dreamcast fans are still around, just not posting as much (if at all)!
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by bogglez » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:19 am

Why did you decide to do this in software?
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by mankrip » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:48 pm

bogglez wrote:Why did you decide to do this in software?
Over ten years ago, there wasn't any hardware-accelerated graphics library mature enough to handle a port of Quake. The only one who tried was Bero, using custom libraries to make a DC port of Darkplaces which turned out to be full of bugs.

I kept improving all other aspects of Makaqu (input, CD music, VMU, etc.) hoping that someday someone more qualified would be interested in working on a hardware renderer for it. That never happened, and eventually I started learning so much about the software renderer that nowadays I don't see much point in using hardware acceleration for an indie game (in the PC, at least).

Software rendering has tons of untapped potential, which no other engine tried to achieve. There aren't many people in the world interested in researching such things anymore, so I'm doing it.

Most of the new features I've been developing in Retroquad requires a lot of RAM, but there are also some huge optimizations which could work on the DC, so I got curious to see how faster I can get the DC version of Makaqu to work. So, nowadays an updated Quake engine for the DC would be a small side project for me, not something big enough for me to invest time working on a whole new renderer. My main work is for the PC now.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Nico0020 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:25 am

Sounds like a good project. I'd love to see it.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Anthony817 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:24 am

I am trying to get more involved with the DC community again after a little hiatus. I would absolutely LOVE to see you continue to update this fork of the game! I was always eagerly following it a few years back so it is great to see you still work on it,. I have recently seen your improvements to it on Twitter and I really am liking how far you have gotten it.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by FaithY » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:42 am

Very interested. Good luck!
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by lerabot » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:08 am

Also super interested.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Christuserloeser » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:54 am

Very Interested! ;)
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by mankrip » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:58 pm

My mother died on November 16 and I'm currently very busy with family stuff. My family was very small already, and now my sister doesn't have anyone else in the world but me to help her.

Retroquad development is currently paused, and I've got no time to work on the DC version of Makaqu either.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Christuserloeser » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:33 pm

My condolences Manoel. :(
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by cube_b3 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:35 pm

I'm sorry brother. Praying for you to have strength to make it through this rough time.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by brmanuk » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:39 pm

Sorry to hear that. Definitely interested in this project :) Take care my friend.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Anthony817 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:28 pm

Oh man I am very sorry to hear about this. My deepest condolences mankrip. :cry:
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Nico0020 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:44 am

Hope everything is going well.

Bumping this, as I'm curious if you ever picked up the project again.

Nostalgia hits me hard in some gaming avenues these days, and quake was something I never finished as a younger man. Then I remembered this post from awhile ago. I was gonna download one of the older version, but I was curious if you ever made any headway in your own venture.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Doctor Dan » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:39 pm

Nico0020 wrote: Bumping this, as I'm curious if you ever picked up the project again.
same, but i'd like to nominate 56k multiplayer support, because back when makaqu quake was made, most people didn't have 56k ISPs, but now pretty much everyone here or on dc-talk owns a dreampi setup. it'd be fairly easy to get 8+ people online on a regular basis these days

quake 1 with multiplayer would be a great addition to the online library
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by mankrip » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:36 pm

Nico0020 wrote:Bumping this, as I'm curious if you ever picked up the project again.

Nostalgia hits me hard in some gaming avenues these days, and quake was something I never finished as a younger man. Then I remembered this post from awhile ago. I was gonna download one of the older version, but I was curious if you ever made any headway in your own venture.
There was no further progress, but Quake is fully playable in Makaqu 1.3.1. The 1.5 version has better control customization and automatic 50Hz PAL support, but it's less stable.

Nowadays I'm focusing my efforts in the Retroquad engine, which doesn't run on the Dreamcast.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by mankrip » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:00 pm

I'm working on Makaqu again, backporting all the good improvements from the 1.5.1 and 1.6 versions into the 1.3.1 version. Unstable and memory-heavy stuff like color management features (multiple fullbright settings, etc.) won't be backported.

The point is to create a more updated version of Makaqu without sacrificing stability and performance. This new version should be called 1.7.

Here's a simplified to-do list, copied from the first post:
  • Faster BSP z-buffer rendering
  • Faster texture rendering (for BSP, SPR & MDL models)
  • Faster surface cache drawing
  • Lightmap dithering on surface caches - this is only calculated when lighting changes, so the impact on performance won't be noticeable
  • Faster sky rendering (with no blending and no fading)
  • High-res turbulence on liquid surfaces
  • Stippled translucent liquids (water & slime only)
There are a few more changes planned.
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Re: Is there any interest in an updated Quake engine?

Post by Juan » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:46 pm

Cool to see you working on backporting features. A version bump would make it the go to makaqu version for any newcomers.
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