The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

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The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Captain Dreamcast » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:34 pm

Hey there friends, enemies and colleagues!

As you may or may not have guessed, I have come here today, to announce my current game developing project: The Dolmexica Engine! Well, the title kinda gives it away, but the engine is a moddable engine, similar in style to Senile Team's Beats of Rage, which allows creative people without programming experience to create new games with ease. Quite unlike BoR, The Dolmexica Engine is a 2D fighter, probably best compared with Elecbyte's M.U.G.E.N. However, keep in mind that the genre definition is the only similarity between these two moddable fighters, since the Dolmexica Engine was written from scratch by me using KallistiOS, C and my trusty Hex Editor.

Most of you have probably never heard of me before and might thus be doubting the D-Engine (abbreviation for hipsters), but all I can tell you for now is that it is indeed real and the basic things are up and working.
Which brings us to the reason I am announcing the engine despite its unfinished status: Now that all the engine's basic functions are working, but can still be changed with relative ease, I would like to get some feedback from modders and gamers to see what I could possibly improve or add.

To start with something, let's talk about the gameplay. Most of the gameplay is influenced by Capcom fighters, most notably Street Fighter III, my personal favorite. Since releasing the engine just like that would be pretty lame, the current plan is to release it along with a crossover called Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat. Not only is it the only Street Fighter crossover that has yet to happen, in addition to that The Dolmexica Engine might be able to fix some of Mortal Kombat's rather grave gameplay errors, such as the hit detection.

Oh, before I forget: Naturally, the engine will be published under the GPL and have its source code released. In fact, some of the dependencies of my code do not allow me to do otherwise. More on those dependencies in a later post.

I'll post some more technical things over the next few days. For now, do you believe an awesome new moddable engine is a worthwile addition to the Dreamcast's library?
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Juan » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:29 pm

Captain Dreamcast wrote:For now, do you believe an awesome new moddable engine is a worthwile addition to the Dreamcast's library?
Sure :)
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by mouZ » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:14 pm

Cool but videos or screenshots possible :?:
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Captain Dreamcast » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:08 pm

mouZ wrote:Cool but videos or screenshots possible :?:
I originally wanted to post something about the gameplay style first, but I guess I might as well share some screenshots.

It sure was a lot of trouble to get those screenshots. Making the demo disc was pretty easy, but when I tried to run it on Chankast and NullDC, it seemed like the romdisk and ramdisk used by the engine clashed with each other, probably due to some emulation error. This resulted in brown sprites on top of a brown background and an equally brown GUI. The romdisk will be removed in the final version, so I believe this error will no longer exist and discs can be checked with NullDC before burning.

Uhh, it took me several hours to find an emulator capable of displaying the engine, but managed to find the Linux/Mac-only lxDream. Even though the game was displayed correctly (apart from some graphical glitches like flickering), there seemed to be some problem with the controller emulation. Man, and I sooo wanted to show off the special attacks I managed to implement today. TIGER UPPERCUT!

Maybe next time... In case you know about a good emulator please let me know. I have tried NullDC 1.6 and Chankast with no success and couldn't get Demul/MAKARON working properly.

Well, here is what you came for, the first screenshots. Please note that this is still an alpha build.

Image

Image

Image

Next I'll talk a bit about the gameplay style the D-Engine is going to have. For now, I hope you enjoy the screenshots! :P
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by PH3NOM » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:42 pm

Looks cool man. Keep at it!
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Stormwatch » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:10 am

"Domain unregistered." People, STOP using this Imageshack crap!
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Chilly Willy » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:18 pm

Imageshack works fine here. It's the best photo dump place on the net. Much better than that crappy Photobucket. :P :lol:
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Juan » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:26 am

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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by mouZ » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:03 pm

Juan, Chilly Willy and Stormwatch, please talk about it anywhere else.
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Captain Dreamcast » Tue May 03, 2011 8:56 am

For those of you having problems, try the direct link. Oh, just so you know, I have tried a lot of image hosting sites and imageshack has proven to be the most reliable. But mouZ is correct (thanks bro!), this is neither the place nor the time to discuss that.

So let us talk about gameplay. Regarding that, the Dolmexica Engine uses s a simple set of guidelines:
  • Quick gameplay. (like Street Fighter III)
  • A hit detection with an inaccuracy of no more than 2 pixels.
  • 60 Frames per Second.
  • A character resolution of at least 128x128.
  • Different styles of Gameplay (Capcom, Mortal Kombat, SNK, etc...)
  • No Loading Before/After Continue Screen. (Hellz Yeah!)
  • No maniac Fighter like Killer Instinct. Pick up & play but hard to master.
Currently, all of these points are still achieved. Well, or not yet fully implemented as is the case with the different gameplay styles. Do not get me wrong on this point, all of the basic physics options are controlled directly by the modder. Selecting a style only defines things like "D-Pad-Back-Blocking or Button-Blocking" and specials like Fatalities in Mortal Kombat.

Oh well, so much for that.

Despite its awsomesausetacular gameplay, the D-Engine's main catch is and will always be the moddability.

Here is how creating a new character is supposed to work:


Okay, so you've gone through the process of ripping/drawing the sprites.
The Dolmexica Engine uses two semi-independent files for new characters: One .CHR file, which stores all the media related to the characters and one .MVT, which is best compared to a manual which tells the game what the character is supposed to do, more on that later.

First you have to create a .CHR file. Since the engine is optimized for use with the Sega Dreamcast, the individual frames are stored in the RGBA 4444 KMG format, compressed with the QuickLZ compression archive, resulting in a file format called .PKG (Portable KallistiOS Graphic). Currently I employ 128x128 PNG textures (which are then converted and compressed before using them with the game). You might wonder why someone would want a texture with a width of 128 pixels, the thought behind that one is that the all close combat moves take place in this box, so even long-range attacks like Dhalsim's stretching attacks fit in there. Just in case you wonder, those 128 pixels may look a bit small at first, but it's enough to contain even the detailed Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike characters. Also keep in mind that they are stretched to 256x256 pixels on the screen, which is a lot comparing it to the overall screen size of 640x480. One thing that I am still unsure about is wether the engine should use RGBA4444, RGBA5551 or both, with RGBA4444 being my current favorite.

After you have successfully converted your PNGs to PKG, it is time to work on the hit detection. The Dolmexica Engine uses a fifth image layer for that one, colloquially dubbed the Crash Layer and is stored in a .CRA file, which is nothing more than a 128x128 array of ones, zeros and other funky numbers, afterwards compressed with QuickLZ. Since writing 16384 numbers is nothing but a pain, I have also written a tool which converts a normal (24bpp) .BMP image to the .CRA format. White (0) is nothing, Black (1) is vulnerable, Red (3) is the area which HURTS, Blue (2) is blocking. In case you haven't noticed, this hit detection is pixel perfect.

Regarding Sound effects and other small sounds, I am currently evaluating the possibility of using some ADPCM format. Or just the normal .WAV one, the most important thing aspect is that the sound effects will be streamed.

Those three filetypes will be merged into the aforementioned .CHR archive. It probably sounds very confusing right now, but believe me, thanks to the automatic tools I have written, a new attack or animation can be added in less than five minutes.

The .MVT file is a tad more complex. As mentioned before, it serves as a manual to the game, which tells the game which moves are available. First we have to differ between two different types of manuals: The one used by the CPU and the one used when the character is controlled by a human player.
Should the character be controlled by the evil CPU, the .MVT is ordered by the type of Attack, whereas the Humanoid .MVT is ordered by the input buttons which trigger the animation.
Both types are being "compiled" from a readable .TXT file. For normal attacks, values which have to be declared are the overall amount of frames, the speed of the animation, the strength (attacks only), the Enemy Acceleration, how much the enemy gets knocked back (attacks only), sound effects and the AnimationType (attack, throw, blocking...).
Then there are also special attacks like throws, combos and so on, which have values declared for each individual frame, including some new variables: How much the Enemy's or the own Char's Position change, how much damage each individiual frame does and others. This is the stuff I'm working on right now, so expect a lot to change in the special moves department, but this is how I am expecting things to work.

Naturally you can also fiddle with things like the character's jumping height and speed. The physics are something I really put a lot of emphasis on and a lot of work into. My primary goal is to make it feel like Street Fighter III, which in my opinion is the very best 2D fighter on the DC.

Anyway, when you are done with creating the .TXT and converting it to .MVT, you have everything you need to have a new working character. My two testing characters right now are Sagat (Street Fighter II ver.) and Johnny Cage (Mortal Kombat ver.), replacing my previous test char, Stickler (The Best Game Ever).

Now, that was a long post. If you have any suggestions, ideas or feedback, please let me know about them. :)
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by cube_b3 » Wed May 04, 2011 6:03 am

Wow, I can't believe I missed this thread.
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by mouZ » Wed May 04, 2011 9:27 am

When the release ??? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by Captain Dreamcast » Wed May 04, 2011 3:29 pm

cube_b3 wrote:Wow, I can't believe I missed this thread.
Now that I have updated the thread with my huge wall of text, it must have gotten kinda hard to miss. :mrgreen:
mouZ wrote:When the release ??? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Like most developers, I feel obliged to say something along the lines of "When it's done!" or "To be announced". That being said, the release date is August 5, 2011. Unless my toolchain of doom breaks again or something like that. :lol:

Seems like a lot of homebrew developers feel comfortable working without a "deadline", I just prefer to have one. Each to their own, I guess. :P
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by mouZ » Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:12 am

jannypana wrote:Cool but videos or screenshots possible :?:
We want the videos and the screenshots !! Plllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaassssssssssseeeeeeee :mrgreen:
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by PH3NOM » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:24 pm

Since no one else has posted yet, this project has seen a alpha release.

I saw the post over at dreamcast.es
http://dreamcast.es/news.php?readmore=476#comments

Good work so far, Captian Dreamcast! Looking forward to checking out the next build 8-)
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by law56ker » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:46 pm

Update looks great.
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Re: The Dolmexica Engine [Moddable 2D Fighter for DC]

Post by LyonHrt » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:44 pm

It just shows unless you mention certain words *coughmugen*cough it gets missed by so many people! When I have time I will certainly look at this.
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