ZEQ2-lite was released to the public 4 years ago today (September 1st, 2009). The project was a summer’s worth of work from Zeth and MDave to get the 2005 iteration of ZEQ2 into more working order. The reasons and goal for release were the following :
- Though dated from later incarnations of design plans, assets, and rendering techniques, much of what existed was still part of the history of ZEQ2. One of the big pushes was to ensure the work done by past generations of developers saw the light of day in some form.
- Since there was no longer an active development team (nor organized development plans beyond the first release), the project was to be presented as an open-source (both code/media), community-driven concept that could be expanded upon artistically and programmatically.
Given that gameplay was largely config-driven, entry-level and experienced individuals alike were greatly encouraged to tinker with the system within to achieve their own creations. Over the years, a large number of new character, maps, addon packs, and even volumes of code changes came about from contributors of varied backgrounds.
While the artistic and config side of things continues to be very bountiful even to this day, the lack of committed programming contributors and internal design management has left the project short of an actual finished game experience worthy of mention or extended play.
This is something we’d like to change.
Currently, our proposal is a rekindling of the original ZEQ2 project using a more modernized game engine — namely Unity. The focus of this iteration of ZEQ2 is to mesh the 2007 ZEQ2 (Zios) gameplay & accuracy goals with much of the content & structure from the 2009 ZEQ2-lite release.
Alongside the continuation of the Dragon-Ball-Z-oriented ZEQ2 project will be a, as of yet unnamed, separate framework focused on creating a set of tools and utilities for building multiplayer fighting/arena based games in a simplified, yet robust, manner. This framework has many parallels to the initial Zios Config & Editor concepts albeit in a slightly less abstract fashion.
Bear in mind that this shift in development to either project is not set in stone and won’t be pursued if external interest isn’t great enough.
Design Note :The initial ZEQ2 project focused directly on creating an interactive simulation of an alternative fictional reality in terms of visuals, mechanical interaction, and overall physics rather than that of player experience and higher-level systems of “play” as a traditional game does. While this new Unity incarnation of ZEQ2 would preserve many of the advanced rendering techniques, desire for developer customization/flexibility through configs, and many of the mechanical insights/features, it will refrain from placing pure accuracy above all else and mostly serve a median between ZEQ2-lite and ZEQ2 (Zios). The avoidance of radical extremes in terms of accuracy are primarily to retain developer interest/appeal and create a playable experience as an actual game — rather than just an NPR-based technical research project.
The rationale for re-establishing ZEQ2 under the Unity engine comes mostly out of desire for a more controlled programming environment (in comparison to existing Quake 3 code) and access to features that have been available in modern engines for many years.
Unlike ZEQ2-lite’s community-driven development, ZEQ2 is poised to re-focus itself with a well-formed team of active developers with assigned tasks, weekly meetings, and established design goals. This would mean a much greater commitment and much more refined workflows. While this will effect the open-source nature of the project temporarily until a solid foundation can be built, the exposure of internal systems, tools, and assets will inevitably become open as well.
Granted it would be entirely possible to utilize a team and continue coding progress within ZEQ2-lite, the poorly structured and dated (almost 15 years) Quake 3 code design creates a convoluted workspace of traceback mazes and cross engine/game source inter-dependencies — all but pushing away the most blindly devoted of programmers. Although these issues are possible to address, entire system guts/rewrites would be necessary. As this is this case, we feel it would be more natural and progressive to build these systems anew in a more capable engine.
Design Note : The Zios engine would ideally have been a more prefered framework; however, its current level of completion and lack of developers of its own prohibits this.
Should there be enough interest, the first steps of development involve building a barebones framework in Unity and porting existing ZEQ2-lite content. Although there are definite plans to improve and refine existing assets, this will not occur until a stable environment can be established.
The purpose of this post is to determine if development interest exists enough to a committed degree to get the ball rolling once more. Developers with experience in C#, plugin/mod design, systems design, network programming, database/web design & programming, Unity editor usage, or file/asset/version control management experience are highly encouraged to make contact.
Every developer is expected to commit a minimum of 7 hours of work-effort weekly, offer contact availability (preferably realtime) on a daily basis through IRC or mediums of our choosing, have a fairly capable grasping of the English language, and have a degree of proficiency in the department in question (no neophytes, please)
Please use IRC to establish contact with one of our channel operators to apply or inquire about additional goals and details.