No one was more surprised than I was to find that there’s an updated Unreal Tournament going on right now, under our very noses. Epic is apparently getting all hip and following the recent trend of cozying up to the crowds by involving the community in the development of the latest entry in the evergreen arena blast-fest.
The site at UnrealTournament.com (duh) lists a whole lot of ways that the community can get involved, from downloading the source code to making mods and maps. Thanks to the free release of the UDK and the amazingly streamlined development process that UDK and Unity have brought to the masses, modding and side-development is a hobby pretty much anyone can get into these days.
I’ve not gone down that route just yet (although the idea of making maps for a shooter, like I did in the old Doom days, is a heady proposition indeed), I did install the game and have played a few rounds. UT is exactly the same as it ever was, and that’s pretty damn glorious, evoking fond memories of massive LAN parties of days gone by. It’s certainly a change of pace from my steady diet of Destiny, what with UT‘s lightning-fast movement and insane close quarters fighting. Modern shooters look elderly by comparison, and it’s taking me some time to re-learn the frantic UT pacing so that I’m doing more than just firing ineffectively at the walls and floors.
The game is currently in “alpha” stage, meaning that there’s a lot that’s just placeholder art, but the mechanics seem to be in place. Last night I was talking about it with Big Daddy T, and we went looking for our favorite UT maps from yesteryear. My favorite of all time was CTF Hall of Giants, which hasn’t yet made it into this newer version, though I’m sure there’ll be both official and several community variations on it at some point as it was a pretty popular map.
My updates re: Project Universe have fallen off suddenly, and that’s mainly due to the fact that I’ve gotten T-boned by other, more pressing concerns. Autumn is kind of when everything battens down the hatches for the impending winter here in the North East, so there’s a lot of last-minute happenings by way of get-togethers and birthdays and the like, not to mention the fact that my daughter is now in high school and is back on the homework treadmill that usually requires parental input after we get home in the evening.
When last we left the project, though, I was working on the pricing mechanism, and if I remember correctly it was working pretty much as intended. I do recall there being some flaws that I needed to address so that I could enact a test whereby I’d buy at one local station, fly to another local station, and sell the goods there for a profit. Being a victim of my own success, though, buying at one station and having the other station to sell to isn’t a guaranteee; I don’t know the buy/sell state until I get to the destination station, which is by design. I should make a mental note to create some kind of UI that will list the buy/sell status of all stations in the sector.
I’ve also managed to score a Blender course from Udemy.com, an awesome site for all kinds of tutorials. This class is from the same folks who created an absolutely mammoth Unity development course on the site, and I highly recommend both for folks who are new to either Unity or Blender (or both). I was spurred back to Blender after attending the high school’s annual open house. My daughter took a 3D modeling course at Harvard University this summer, and has a 3D modeling course at the high school this year. Both used Maya (and we have the free, three year student license for home use), so I figured that we could work at learning the basic modeling techniques together. Oddly enough, her semester project in the class is to create a space ship; I just happen to need a space ship for Project Universe. What are the odds?