With FIFE`s current release 2007.0r1 it is time to have a look into the modding qualitys of the engine.
The Zero-Projekt has been going along with FIFE since February 2006 and tested several parts of the native formats.
Because we were very active with the scriptlanguage of FIFE (LUA), we made many experiences with building GUIs or script driven gameplay features.Scripting
LUA itself is an easy to use language, which comes with an uncomplicated syntax - which allows quick starts even if you don`t know language yet.
Within FIFE, LUA is used for the GUI and all the gameplay (ruleset etc.)GUI
Up to now, there are 14 different GUI widgets:
These widgets already allow you to display graphics, buttons (text or with graphics) and text (via textbox or labels). The buttons can be connected with actionlisteners, which itself allows to react on the players input.
So you already can create a skeleton of your GUI, which let the player controll several aspects of your game (main menu, loading and saving dialogs, HUD etc.). As modder or game creator, you`ll have enough possibilities to work and test - and to have fun. Complex GUI elements like charakterscreens could provide an enormous interactivity. An example:
The log from Fallout (left bottom corner) can already be refactored. You then can tell your scripts to post messages there.Ruleset
The character sheet of a RPG is one of the most important interface between player and game. And I tell you what - it is already possible to create this with FIFE.
The Zero-Projekt uses LUA classes for the ruleset. The methods of these classes calculate the attributes of the characters - and all values which depend on them.
Items, weapons and armors can be implemented which similar classes as well - you just have to design them. When your content is ingame, you can call it e.g. by an ID system and use it for displaying it with the GUI or for combats etc...
All these classes are pure LUA - and therefore independent of the current status of FIFE. You can work on them, test them via konsole or in the FIFE by writing some additional GUI-code.An example:
The Zero-Projekt uses a combat simulator written in LUA to test the ruleset.
There we can test different styles of combat - melee and ranged weapon fights. The more our ruleset is developed, the more we can put into our simulator and test it.
Later, when FIFE allows to visualise combat results, we can use our results to call something like PlayDeathAnimation(CritterID) - and that`s it. Working step-by-step, you can already work on your game mechanics. At least, this is my opinion.Music
FIFE also already has the ability to play ambient music - unfortunately this part isn`t that well developed. You can change the volume via LUA and theoretically, there is also a way to change the current track. My version did nothing when calling this function - I can`t tell you, why.Mapping
In addition to the Fallout mapformat, which can be made with all the falloutmappers out there, FIFE can load XML-maps as a native format.
Up to now, you have to create these maps within a simple texteditor, but that is as easy as writing HTML-pages. The following points are already possible:
* include tiles (FO-geometry; 80x36)
* include objects (gfx)
* placing tiles
* placing objects (gfx)
If you place the tiles manually, you can create soft transition by using several different tiles (check wild_qwerty`s tutorial
). And you can test the perspective of your ingame graphics by placing them on the map. (we do that to test our camera settings for Blender)Summary
The current release of FIFE shows me, that FIFE is already capable of keeping a modding team busy. The Zero-Projekt adjusted it`s organisation to fit the progress of FIFE. Will say: We don`t make up our minds on creating animations only, because we can`t use them in FIFE yet. So we concentrate more on things like ruleset, locations and graphics.
Creating a mod or a new game isn`t a simple task. It will take a long time and you can`t claim to be finished after one month or two. Sure, seeing FIFE ready would be nice - but it is not necessary. Just concentrate on the available features, and everything will be fine.
Our scripts now have an amount of ~ 3000 lines - and this is not the end.
Just as a food for your thoughts: If someone decides to recreate Fallout with FIFE, then I`ll have to say that this is already possible. You can use the original Fallout mapper (or whatever your tool of choice is named) to create maps and load them with FIFE. You can create graphics by using all the Fallout file formats like *.frm - and you can start with refactoring the GUI and the ruleset. I guess you will be very busy by doing so.. ^^
I made a first try to rebuild the Fallout GUI a few months ago. You can see them in our FIFE-gallery
. I also started to write a basic ruleset, which you can find here
. If someone of you decides to rebuild Fallout, I would be glad to send him my current code as kind of a starter kit. Just contact me