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The Star Trek Excalibur project gives a big update on the state of the game. If you are interest check it out!

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Recent Update Delays:

Due to unforeseen, real-world circumstances, Rob and Luke are unable to contribute their free time to the project until further notice. Please note that this is not a formal departure on their part, but rather a leave of absence. While this turn of events is unfortunate it is not altogether unprecedented, as projects like Excalibur are both taxing and time-consuming, and the real-life commitments of volunteer developers must always take precedence. We have already restructured our current staff as necessary to continue development, and anticipate expanding the team very soon.

Our PR Approach:

We have learned the hard way that building up hype in typical PR fashion only to fail to deliver content in a timely manner is unacceptably frustrating for the fans, and it also heaps additional pressure on the team. We have come to the conclusion that conventional approaches to PR are not working for us, simply due to the fact that generating PR material takes significant time away from developing the project. Subsequently we are suspending "headline" PR updates until further notice, though we will endeavor to post snippets of dev discussions, screenshots and videos as often as we are able. Please bear with us as we focus all of our resources on a transition to an exciting new phase of development...

The Evolved Engine:

Many of you have probably wondered why you haven't seen true gameplay footage in our updates. The answer is quite simple: the Evolved Engine never reached a complete, fully functional stage of development (no Data-inspired puns intended). Unavoidable team departures and leaves of absence by developers who were integral to the completion of the proprietary engine have made the continued development of Evolved an insurmountable task. The demands of simultaneously creating both a complex engine and game content have overtaxed our already strained resources. This has led us to only one logical conclusion...

The "Big" Announcement:

In the spirit of complete transparency, we are formally ceasing use of the Evolved Engine.

This has been an incredibly bittersweet and difficult decision, as we are consciously giving up years of hard work by many team members. However, we sincerely believe this decision is the correct one for the project as a whole, and that it is the only realistic option if we wish to stay the course and see Excalibur through to completion.

We have already begun working with a battle-tested engine, and this transition has finally allowed us to focus on making a game rather than merely the underlying tech. Our primary objective is to get gameplay up and running as soon as possible.

Unreal Engine 4:

At this time we are working on a prototype in Unreal Engine 4. This does not mean that UE4 will be our final choice, though current tests have been very promising, and the prototype should take a relatively short period to complete, by which time we will know if Unreal suits all our needs for the full game. If it exceeds expectations, we may be able to release the prototype for initial playtesting!

It is absolutely critical to note that we are not losing all our progress with this switch to UE4. Our web-based LCARS UI remains intact thanks to a free open source add-on called BLUI. While we are not able to continue creating our UI with the existing LCARS framework, we will be able to render a revised version onto consoles and displays inside of our levels in UE4, which is a massive step forward compared to the old arrangement in Evolved.



Many of our art assets are also staying in place, though some updates will obvoiusly be needed. We are going to have to convert our models for Unreal compatibility, and we are unfortunately going to lose the Evolved-based Hardpoint Editor...which will affect illuminators and modability. One of our major goals is to restore extensive mod support at a later date, as that has always been a feature near and dear to our hearts as longtime fans of Bridge Commander. Rest assured that we will make every effort to achieve an equivalent level of modding flexibility as was planned for Evolved.

Simply put, everything that has been holding us back on the engine-side has been resolved virtually overnight by this transition. We are enjoying many new features that are already opening up development of elements such as dynamic space environments, screen-canon visual effects, and even interior (FPS) content! For example, the model errors we were facing when porting Bridge Commander models to Evolved have disappeared, which means models we don't currently possess (or have time to produce from scratch) can be ported...assuming we aren't denied permissions to them.





Here is a small list of some of the effects which are already available with UE4, which we are evaluating via the prototype:

Star Effects
Dynamic Grass
Gas Giant FX
Procedural Sky
Dynamic Weather
Procedural Buildings
Procedural Forests
Planet Shaders
NVIDIA PhysX Flex
Ocean/Water Shaders

The learning curve for Unreal is considerably less steep than Evolved...an added bonus which has already become apparent. Some of our less technically savvy team members have already developed impressive content with very little support or previous experience by using UE4's integrated tools.

The general consensus among the team is sheer excitement. The possibilities presented by the new engine are countless, and fresh ideas are constantly being discussed. After a tortuous period of slow development, Excalibur is finally seeing a resurgence of energy and imagination, and we expect that trend to continue as we pursue development on Unreal Engine 4.

Unreal Announcement Footage:

For those who have been patiently awaiting an update for the past few months, here is a short video excerpt from our current prototype, showcasing a mere fraction of the potential of the Unreal Engine. Thank you for your continued patience and support. We hope that you are as excited about this new phase of development as we are. Unreal Excalibur Video



~ Excalibur Team

Comments
jonsin1459
jonsin1459

I'm sorry you lost so much work with your engine guys. You have been at this for years and the pressure on your lives yet you still keep going. Hope your dreams get realized.

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Wookienator
Wookienator

These guys represent the true spirit of Starfleet!

"Never Give Up, Never Surrender!" - Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart, NSEA Protector xD

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

We lost a lot of work, but development will be much faster in UE4 ;).

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SirTorgrad
SirTorgrad

I have a question: There is this guy with his Project called Enterprise 3d Project (http://www.enterprise3dproject.com/) it is quite awesome. Also he seems to act in a similar direction as you guys and also develops on UE 4, maybe you want to get in contact with him?

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

We may attempt to collaborate with Enterprise 3D and Voyager Game Project in the future. As of now, we are fleshing out the core of the game, we'll move from there.

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Chetech
Chetech

I'm really glad you people did the change.
I had a discussion a week back with a friend regarding Excalibur compared to other Indie titles such as Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous (I mean Indie due to their self published nature) and the way Excalibur got stuck into development hell despite having a passionate team. We both agreed on the hypothesis that the engine was holding you people back just like the team of Overgrowth (if you've heard of it).
We both came to the conclusion that Excalibur would have probably never seen the light of the day due to the complexities of the Engine.
I was worried because I've followed you people for a really long time and it would've been a shame to see the project go. Anyway, I'm hyped as hell now and I know you guys will deliver.

Keep up the good work.

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

You're exactly right. Stay tuned in the near future. PR may go dark a little bit as we flesh out the core of the game, but rest assured, we're still here :).

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ArbiterN7
ArbiterN7

Is the game really going to play and be as detailed as the latest vid or is the vid just showing off the graphics of UE4

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

All video footage was straight from the engine. All gameplay will have the same detail, if not more. Textures are being updated for Unreal as we speak. Unreal is very beautiful :).

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Darklord42
Darklord42

Personally, I think this is the right decision. It doesn't make sense to make your own when the wheel as already been invented, perfected and easily available for use. Take a look at Unknown Worlds, with Natural Selection 2. Being a commercial endevour, they had the ability to have people work on it full time. They made their own engine with their game, and it almost sunk them, twice. It was before UT4 and Unity, but if such engines were out at the time and they had a chance to do it over again, they said in the post mortem report they definitely would have gone a different route. At least now you can start making a game.

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XavierAgamemnon
XavierAgamemnon

OMG! PLS MAKE THIS GAME!

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GoofyRS
GoofyRS

Nice one

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{HEROIC}Doci
{HEROIC}Doci

I have a question!
Why does it look so awesome ? :D

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

It looks awesome because it is :D

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fomah
fomah

So basically, you've given up on reinventing the wheel and are instead using an already proven variant. Too bad, reinventing the wheel is almost always a good thing.

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

We were not "reinventing the wheel". It was a good concept to start with, but it became too complicated as the engine was developed. The switch to Unreal is the best choice that this project has made in a couple of years. We look forward to producing more content than the previous years and pumping out a release in the not-so-distant future :).

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fomah
fomah

Hey I'm not complaining, and what I meant was that you were trying to do it yourself when there already existed engines that could almost accomplish what you wanted anyway.

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

It's alright, I'm not implying that you were complaining. The Evolved Engine was actually built to be better than what was available at the time. However, as we moved along, we were stuck with an engine that was becoming outdated, which promoted the switch to Unreal along with other complications.

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fomah
fomah

Ok.

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Da-Fort
Da-Fort

The lack of engine progress explains a lot. I hope the U4 engine will prove to be a better engine overall. If this means that we can play this game than so be it. Please do not feel disappointed by detractors, if I were in your spot I would do the same thing.

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Treki26
Treki26

Is there the possibility of a mac port now that the game is being developed on unreal? It makes it relatively easy to port.

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

Yep, one of our directors, Luke, is actually a Mac user so we definitely have a Mac port in mind. It is not confirmed yet, but we're definitely considering it.

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Expack
Expack

What benefits do you forsee PhysX Flex providing for Excalibur? Yes, what is effectively a unified physics model is pretty cool and makes complex physical interactions (i.e. a cloth laying over a wooden bridge with wide slats being overburdened and breaking from the weight of collected rain) easier to do, but I'm interested to hear what sort of usage ideas have been tossed around.

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

I'm sure we will find a lot of uses, exterior and interior ;). We'll elaborate further when that point comes, but right now, we have to flesh out the core of the game. Stay tuned!

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TALON_UK
TALON_UK

Sorry to hear of your development woes, sometimes that is just the way it goes. But I guess as your team seems to have already realised, switching to UE4 might just be the best decision your team could possibly make. Have done some work in it myself, and to say it is a powerful tool is a major understatement. Best of luck with continuing development of this, I look forward to seeing what you guys release next.

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Aurel_Tristen
Aurel_Tristen

Congrats on the move to UE4! I think this is nothing but good news for your project, and I'll bet you folks won't be able to leave that engine once you get settled in. I've played with quite a few in my time, and UE4 is the most artist-friendly and flexible engine I've ever seen.

UE4 Model Pipeline: Export as FBX, Click import.

Other engines: Get special tools for your 3D or 2D software. Conform your work to the engine's expectations. Fight to use the over-complicated tools. Import your asset just to find it is horribly broken because you missed step 314.

Have fun!

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BenjiTheWalrus
BenjiTheWalrus

Hey Tristen, if you would like to help out anytime, we always have extra spots open :D.

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TALON_UK
TALON_UK

Yeah, user friendly doesn't even begin to cover it.

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