Author Topic: Solarus Engine Roadmap?  (Read 655 times)

mbombe

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Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« on: February 18, 2018, 01:43:39 pm »
Hi,

I was wondering what the actual vision and roadmap for Solarus is for the mid- to far future?
I saw the "Situation Review" blog post from mid-2017 [1], but this is more like a snapshot and does not really answer where the engine project is going.

Suggestion:
To put my question into perspective, I have a few ideas of my own. Disclaimer: However, please let me start with underlining how amazing Solarus already is and how much joy I had in particular with Mystery of Solarus DX. Further I am fully aware that any of the points below probably mean month or years of work. Therefore please just treat it as general suggestion / idea source.
I would love to see many more games like MoS DX, even would love to create my own zelda-like ARPG, but time-requirement to create such games even with the amazing Quest Editor seems astronomical. I just can't spend 1000h+. And I assume many other can't as well. Therefore I suggest to add an "additional layer" on top of the Solarus Quest Editor to hide away more of the (needed!) complexity underneath to simplify game creation and focus more on story and puzzle creation - at the cost of flexibility.
What I have in mind is a "standardized" Solarus zelda-like game set where for example >20 weapons/items are pre-defined, >50 enemy types are pre-defined, mutiple tile sets with preconfigures tile-functionality and pre-configured entities (e.g. NPC house) etc. Yes, this already there but mixed with all the customization possibilities and level of detail the Quest Editor has. Yes, of course I will eventually need to touch some lua code to create my custom events. Yes, of course I will eventually need to manually change some wall tiles to passable to create a secret entry, etc. But unless I'm at that level of polishing I would love to see that hidden away behind GUI elements and drag&drop to further ease creating games. Somewhat (a very bit) like RPG maker but with the full power of the Solarus Quest Editor underneath if needed.
In short: I would love to have a "Simple Mode" available in the Quest Editor so I can just drag and drop standard enemies and maybe even standard rooms and puzzles together. Of course one size does not fit all, but I imagine it would be a great way to reduce entry level skill needed and maybe get more people into creating games - and who knows, maybe the best puzzle designers and story tellers are not the best coders and therefore hiding the coding more would maybe increase not only quantity but also quality? To run the thought even longer, at some point this website could even host dozens or hundred of Solarus games, maybe community rated and such... (now I get carried away).

Thanks!
Marcus

[1] http://www.solarus-games.org/2017/08/29/situation-review-for-solarus-projects/

Diarandor

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 05:52:23 pm »
Hi,

I was wondering what the actual vision and roadmap for Solarus is for the mid- to far future?
I saw the "Situation Review" blog post from mid-2017 [1], but this is more like a snapshot and does not really answer where the engine project is going.

Suggestion:
To put my question into perspective, I have a few ideas of my own. Disclaimer: However, please let me start with underlining how amazing Solarus already is and how much joy I had in particular with Mystery of Solarus DX. Further I am fully aware that any of the points below probably mean month or years of work. Therefore please just treat it as general suggestion / idea source.
I would love to see many more games like MoS DX, even would love to create my own zelda-like ARPG, but time-requirement to create such games even with the amazing Quest Editor seems astronomical. I just can't spend 1000h+. And I assume many other can't as well. Therefore I suggest to add an "additional layer" on top of the Solarus Quest Editor to hide away more of the (needed!) complexity underneath to simplify game creation and focus more on story and puzzle creation - at the cost of flexibility.
What I have in mind is a "standardized" Solarus zelda-like game set where for example >20 weapons/items are pre-defined, >50 enemy types are pre-defined, mutiple tile sets with preconfigures tile-functionality and pre-configured entities (e.g. NPC house) etc. Yes, this already there but mixed with all the customization possibilities and level of detail the Quest Editor has. Yes, of course I will eventually need to touch some lua code to create my custom events. Yes, of course I will eventually need to manually change some wall tiles to passable to create a secret entry, etc. But unless I'm at that level of polishing I would love to see that hidden away behind GUI elements and drag&drop to further ease creating games. Somewhat (a very bit) like RPG maker but with the full power of the Solarus Quest Editor underneath if needed.
In short: I would love to have a "Simple Mode" available in the Quest Editor so I can just drag and drop standard enemies and maybe even standard rooms and puzzles together. Of course one size does not fit all, but I imagine it would be a great way to reduce entry level skill needed and maybe get more people into creating games - and who knows, maybe the best puzzle designers and story tellers are not the best coders and therefore hiding the coding more would maybe increase not only quantity but also quality? To run the thought even longer, at some point this website could even host dozens or hundred of Solarus games, maybe community rated and such... (now I get carried away).

Thanks!
Marcus
[1] http://www.solarus-games.org/2017/08/29/situation-review-for-solarus-projects/

My personal opinion: if you cannot spend 1000+ hours on a project, then you cannot make a good game like MoS DX. It does not matter which engine you use, making a good game from scratch takes too much time. Your ideas are welcome, but unfortunately we are busy working on many ideas and projects, and we will be busy with them for a long time. People can always help with donations to the team, to support our work (and the websites), and also to motivate us and work slightly harder when we can.

But be patient, because there will be many new things soon: Solarus v1.6 will be probably released before the end of this year (Christopho has been working a lot on it, with help of some other people who worked on the engine and the quest editor). Some of the new features of v1.6 will be shaders (including the pseudo 3D known as Mode 7), custom properties on the editor, blend modes (already done in the development snapshots), and many many many more things. We will also include updated and clean versions of my recent art in some art pack, as well as in the sample quest and initial quest (but this cleanup is a lot of work too, so it will take a while). You can read the official blog from time to time to see some news. I only work on free art and some scripts (enemies, custom weapons like the custom shield, weather scripts, etc), but I am sure that this free art will attract more people who will start using the engine. Chris and many others are working on several projects: Oni Link Begins SE, Mercuris Chest, A Link to the Dream, and Children of Solarus (the latter one will have 100% of free art, and will be not just a replacement of graphics of MoS DX because some weapons will be improved for a better gameplay, which includes a custom jump, custom shield, and many other surprises in the plot and combats).

Your suggestions of simplifying the editor don't have a place here because Solarus was born to allow doing things that RPGmaker didn't allow to do with its limitations, and the only way to do that is through code (and more buttons/properties in the editor). Hiding features in the quest editor would not help developers, but the opposite. The new (and not so new) features and tools are there to help devs, so if you don't need them, then just ignore them and let others do marvelous things with them. If you want something simpler, use RPGmaker, and have in mind that a simpler engine will only allow to do simple things. I would say that Solarus is well balanced in features, flexibility, complexity and difficulty, something in between RPGmaker and Unity, and that is something intended by the devs.

EDIT: it would be nice if someone can help translating into English our last fan-project: Mercuris Chess XD2 (not Chest), which might be the coolest project of the team so far. It only has 2 dungeons and it's shorter than MoS DX, but it's quality is awesome.

EDIT2: it would also be great if someone with much free time could create new video tutorials adapted to the last versions of the engine. That would allow Chris to work faster in the projects. Otherwise, be patient.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 06:05:15 pm by Diarandor »
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Diarandor

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 06:20:05 pm »
@mbombe: I was planning on translating Mercuris Chess XD2 into English and Spanish (because no one so far has offered help on this matter). Would you translate it into German after the English release? You would be one of the first testers of the English version, so you could help a lot pointing out issues with the English translation. Thanks in advance!
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Christopho

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 06:39:09 pm »
I need to add something after Diarandor's answer: we already had dicsussions about a GUI that would allow people program their events without Lua scripting. It should be possible to do it without losing the power of the Lua scripting, if we simply make it optional. Basically, it would be a GUI that generates Lua code. But we don't do that soon, it is a long-term idea :)

mbombe

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 11:10:56 pm »
Hi,

thanks a lot for taking the time to answer, Diarandor and Christopho!
There's actually a few things here, so let me tackle them one by one:

TRANSLATION
Would you translate it into German after the English release?
Actually Yes, I would :) I will probably not be able to spend more then 2-3hrs a week, but assuming it is fine if it takes a couple weeks, sure, yes, let me help. I did not yet do any game translation, so you might need to help me a bit at the beginning, but I think I'm up to the task as I'm native in German and my English is well practiced. I'll send you a DM with my e-mail address - contact me once the English translation is done and I'm happy to both test and translate. Should I play MoS XD before that?

DONATIONS
People can always help with donations to the team, to support our work (and the websites), and also to motivate us and work slightly harder when we can.
I'm actually glad you bring this up. Yes, Solarus absolutely deserves donations. But with THAT page? http://www.solarus-games.org/community/donate/
Let me be direct please. At least for me, the donation page is very unattractive and discourages me from donating as it shares next to no information. Suggestion: Make actual costs visible (e.g. what's the hosting cost?), write down a wish list what you would want to do with the money (and list how people can contribute besides sending money, e.g translating, how about free hosting, etc.), maybe let the donor even chose for what to contribute. Show how many you got donated already and how you used that. Can I specifically donate for development of the Engine? What would X€ do if donated for development of game Y? Who actually gets the money and how are you distributing it?
You don't need to go full "kickstarter", but a handful more of sentences and transparency would do wonder, I believe.

ROADMAP QUESTION
I was wondering what the actual vision and roadmap for Solarus is for the mid- to far future?
Thanks Diarandor, you partially answered this by saying 1.6 will include more technical features. But still, what's the vision for the Solarus Engine and Quest Editor? Is it mostly done? Does the team have explicit goals? Is there a "Vision Statement"? Any plans for expanding plattforms or amount of users?

MY SUGGESTION
My personal opinion: if you cannot spend 1000+ hours on a project, then you cannot make a good game like MoS DX.
I've expected that retort - and I believe you are right. In the end, great games will always need great dedication. But right now, this is very discouraging to start with. If more can be achieved in less time, this may get more people into creating quests and some of them will maybe stay and invest those many hours for great games. But as the initial start saying "1000+hrs required" is a huge turndown.

On the technical aspect of what I'm suggesting, Christopho got it:
we already had dicsussions about a GUI that would allow people program their events without Lua scripting. It should be possible to do it without losing the power of the Lua scripting, if we simply make it optional.
Yes, of course optional. The power of Solarus needs to stay for where it is needed. The idea where I'm coming from is basically a standardized subset of Solarus (defined Items, enemies, etc) where such GUI-only would quickly get me somewhere. And afterwards creators can still polish and tweak in full detail with Lua.

I'm dreaming of smaller dungeons and quests people can "quickly" create (whatever that means), are hosted here with public rating, with tags like "puzzle focused" or "hard fights". And as the player, I can download the "dungeon of the week" and have 2hrs of fun on the weekend. If they are based on the same standardized subset, maybe it even could be modular part of an overarching story-line where creators contribute optional dungeons and areas.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to take anything away from Solarus and MoS DX is absolutely amazing. But I feel Solarus could maybe also be an engine not only for 1000+hr games but smaller games (or modular parts of it) and for those, it needs to be less effort. Does this make any sense? Of course, this would be very long down the line. I just wanted to share the thought.

Thanks,
Marcus

Christopho

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 12:07:04 am »
Yes the donation page is terrible. We are currently working on a new version of the whole website, by the way :)

Neovyse

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2018, 07:35:49 pm »
Yes a new donation page is in the works.

Diarandor

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2018, 07:53:49 pm »
The Solarus Team has released the English version of "Zelda Mercuris Chess XD2"!!!

@mbombe: you can already start the German translation. Thanks!
We have a channel on Gitter for this project, where you can ask any question about the translation. It is gonna take you many hours of several weeks, so take your time (there is no rush to finish this).
“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you. But if you really make them think, they'll hate you.”

Diarandor

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 10:22:47 am »
It would be nice if others can test the English translation of Mercuris Chess XD2. Report any typos or wrong translations you find.
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wrightmat

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2018, 08:10:28 pm »
I'll do my best to give it a try this week. I definitely want to play it!

Max

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2018, 09:17:17 pm »
I tried playing it some today. I didn't see any typos- some of the sentences in english were phrased a little bit weirdly, but it all made sense  ;D

I also noticed a bunch of things felt broken. For example, the pegaus shoes would run in a random direction and were completely useless, the feather often made me jump diagonally instead of straight and fall into holes, which killed me a few times, and it seemed like I was supposed to keep feeding zelda's cat, cutting the grass, and getting her mail forever, which wasn't really any fun to do. Are these things bugs, or intentionally designed to make the player frustrated? I couldn't figure out how to get further than those jumping miniboss guys in the castle, and I kind of gave up because the game felt so broken. But maybe that was part of the joke? I'm trying not to seem mean, maybe this kind of humor just isn't for me. I thought the joke about Zelda taking away Link's lightsaber was funny though.

Anyway, as far as I could get, even if the game felt like it was either full of bugs or designed to make it frustrating to play, the translation at least seems fine! The menus and items that did work worked very well too.

PhoenixII54

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2018, 09:29:54 pm »
Broken items are indeed part of the joke, and for Zelda's repetitive tasks, you can just skip them after doing the first full loop, unless you ant to read all the variants of the letters she receives.

Concerning the 4 jumping Arm... err attorney-like guys, there might be something you missed near them... And remember, things are not always as they seem <leaves discretely before spoiler police comes>
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 09:31:53 pm by PhoenixII54 »

Christopho

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2018, 10:39:49 pm »
The broken feather and the broken Pegasus Boots are like this intentionally, actually that joke comes from the first episode (Zelda Mystery of Solarus XD). But in this game, they can both be fixed :)

brlmnd

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Re: Solarus Engine Roadmap?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2018, 11:31:05 am »
We definitely need a resource pack and video tutorials on how to edit/manipulate each section like the hud, entities, enemies, dungeons maps etc.

As more people are complaining about it http://forum.solarus-games.org/index.php/topic,1139.0.html