What would it take to get SMC going again?

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What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 03 Jan 2014 05:50

This is strictly a hypothetical question. What would it take to get Secret Maryo Chronicles going again?
I was thinking about eventually contributing some (after things calm down in grad school for me), but I don't know that anyone else is actively developing the engine or game assets. My skills are more on the programming side.

I'm thinking about getting involved with Super Tux, since I have a passion for 2D platformers. That one is moving really slowly due to a loss of developers, but there are some people working on it.

I like some of the features that are implemented in SMC. Honestly, the art style isn't as much for me overall, but it does look professional. Super Tux really needs a power up to offset the platform jumping like the Raccoon suit in SMB3. Is there anything like this in Secret Maryo Chronicles?
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby Quintus » 21 Jan 2014 20:43

I really hope you enabled email notification, otherwise you will probably not notice this post...

datahead wrote:This is strictly a hypothetical question. What would it take to get Secret Maryo Chronicles going again?
I’m working on SMC since some time now. My fork’s code is available on GitHub. If you want, fork away and make PRs.

datahead wrote:but I don't know that anyone else is actively developing the engine
You can talk to me if you want to contribute to SMC. I’m working on the code in my free time.

datahead wrote: My skills are more on the programming side.
Great! If you want, start tackling these issues: https://github.com/Quintus/SMC/issues

Further note: These forums are rather dead. Come join the last of us™ over at http://smc.quintilianus.eu. And join #secretmaryo on IRC at freenode.net.

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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 22 Jan 2014 07:56

I would assume that if you could get the attention of one of the dev team members on this site that you could run the project through secretmaryo.org. Have you tried PM'ing them? If you could just get forum access (and additional GitHub access), you'd probably have the power you need. To your point, though, having a separate forum is better than having no forum access in the meantime.

Have any graphic (or audio) artists expressed interest in working on the game recently? From what I've heard, a LOT of the work that can be done is in code, but ultimately graphic artists help with things like new enemies, etc.

I'm going to be pretty swamped with grad school and a departmental exam through March (and this madness may end up shoved all the way till August). On the bright side of things, I'm studying lots of computer science in the process :)

I'd obviously have to get the code compiling if I did any work. I don't have a workstation with Linux installed on it. The options in the short term would be 1) Get it comping in Windows (I see they have MinGW instructions, but I'd be interested in using Visual C++ if it's possible) 2) Remotely connect to OSU's Linux environment and attempt to develop off that - I think you can run a desktop remotely 3) Attempt to use Virtual Box to run Linux. Long term I want to partition my laptop between Windows (7?) and a Linux distribution.

The multiple exits feature on your list is a really good idea; there were a lot of things I didn't like about Super Mario World, but multiple exits was something I did like.
Two other features I'd suggest long term are:
1) A power up that helps with platform jumping - I heard an old version used to have the Mario cape. The new power up wouldn't have to allow flight (or could do flight differently), but it would need to have something that allows the user to manipulate how they fall to help with platform jumping. New sprites would be needed, and they would need to not look like Mario.
2) It would be interesting if the set of levels that people have posted on the forum were rounded up and if the ones that met a minimum benchmark were included in a User-Submitted world. Perhaps they could be grouped by difficulty and/or theme and have maps eventually built for them.

I'd also be interested in seeing an alternate implementation of the sprites in a little bit more of a "realist"/"serious" style - the art in Secret Maryo is a bit different style than I'm used to. I'm not really the person for this job, but it's something I would enjoy. It could be made configurable as a skin :)
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby Quintus » 22 Jan 2014 18:10

datahead wrote:Have you tried PM'ing them?
FluXy, the old project lead, has made his position clear in this forums, and answering a question of mine clarified even more that he will not contribute any more code to SMC. He is the person running the server secretmaryo.org runs on, but he shows up very, very rarely and is hard to reach.

datahead wrote: If you could just get forum access (and additional GitHub access), you'd probably have the power you need.
Why should I want GitHub access to the original SMC repository? GitHub is made for forking, at it works just fine. As for the stuff on secretmaryo.org, this would require FluXy to grant me shell access to his server, which is probably not what he wants. I’m fine with the spinoff forums running on my own server, and porting all the existing stuff from e.g. this forum is a tedious task. As for the other devs, I’m in casual contact with Luiji, who seems to apreciate my work (and will start coding again sometime I hope).

datahead wrote:Have any graphic (or audio) artists expressed interest in working on the game recently?
mrvertigo is still around sometimes. Last he showed up he wanted to take a look at the red armadillo which is missing from 2.0 yet.

datahead wrote:Get it comping in Windows (I see they have MinGW instructions, but I'd be interested in using Visual C++ if it's possible)
My fork compiles just fine with MinGW using CMake. I use Arch Linux as a development platform and cross-compile from there over to Windows, but compiling on Windows itself should not be too hard. I don’t support building with the proprietary MSVC, but if you want to add and maintain support for that, go ahead.

datahead wrote:1) A power up that helps with platform jumping
There is no time for new features right now from my side. I’m mainly working on SMC legacy dependencies at the moment (porting its XML access to libxml++ instead of being dependent on CEGUI’s XML stuff which is undesired), but again, you can implement this if you want. Please open an issue about it and then start implementing. When the libxml++ code has been finished, we shall determine which features make it into SMC 2.0.0 and then implement that. After the 2.0.0 release, switching to CEGUI 0.8 and SDL 2 must be top-priority so we have our dependencies up-to-date. Alternatively, Luiji dreams from abandoning CEGUI altogether (which will be a lot easier after the libxml++ integration has been completed).

datahead wrote:I heard an old version used to have the Mario cape.
It is still in the game. When you enter Debug mode and press F4 (I think), you’ll get upgraded to Cape Maryo. The code on Cape Maryo is unfinished and has not been touched by me since I started working on SMC. I’ve not tested it, so it may or may not work.

datahead wrote:It would be interesting if the set of levels that people have posted on the forum were rounded up and if the ones that met a minimum benchmark were included in a User-Submitted world.
I agree absolutely. Good user levels should be included in SMC itself when quality and licensing allows it. This is a task I intended to do just before the 2.0.0 release.

datahead wrote:I'd also be interested in seeing an alternate implementation of the sprites in a little bit more of a "realist"/"serious" style
I doubt that a "realistic" style fits SMC. It is a game intended to be also played by children, who could be scared by too realistic styling. Developing new sprites is a very laborous task we would need talented graphic people for. As long as the dimensions match, replacing existing sprites in SMC is quite easy; however, personally I do like the graphics style SMC currently uses.

Do you want repository access on https://github.com/Quintus/SMC? If so, please tell me your GitHub name so I can add you.

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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 23 Jan 2014 06:32

Quintus wrote:Why should I want GitHub access to the original SMC repository? GitHub is made for forking, at it works just fine. As for the stuff on secretmaryo.org, this would require FluXy to grant me shell access to his server, which is probably not what he wants. I’m fine with the spinoff forums running on my own server, and porting all the existing stuff from e.g. this forum is a tedious task. As for the other devs, I’m in casual contact with Luiji, who seems to apreciate my work (and will start coding again sometime I hope).


I appreciate that you're still developing SMC. I just figured it'd be good if everything could be in one place -- I was completely unaware of your fork, and most people who search for SMC will be, too. If it ultimately gets merged or posted on a public website, this will eventually accomplish that goal.

Quintus wrote:I don’t support building with the proprietary MSVC, but if you want to add and maintain support for that, go ahead.


If I do any amount of work on SMC, this might interest me, but we'll have to see how things turn out.

Quintus wrote:I’m mainly working on SMC legacy dependencies at the moment

The API that caught my attention was that I understand the fixed function OpenGL pipeline is used in SMC. I posted on this a long time ago, and Fluxy didn't think support would be dropped for it by vendors. I just attended a rendering class where the professor said that vendors are planning on dropping support with future graphics cards, and all fixed function pipeline code will be broken. He says he has talked to people from these companies. Only glsl will be supported. I'm not very fond of this either, but it's worth thinking about long term.

Quintus wrote:I doubt that a "realistic" style fits SMC. It is a game intended to be also played by children, who could be scared by too realistic styling. Developing new sprites is a very laborous task we would need talented graphic people for. As long as the dimensions match, replacing existing sprites in SMC is quite easy; however, personally I do like the graphics style SMC currently uses.

Realist/serious were probably the wrong words. Yoshi's Island on the SNES is a good example of a style I was referring to. It has a bit of a pastel style. I think the SMC game art looks professional, and it has several aspects I like. Overall, though, it's just not my kind of style; I recognize that about all of the dev team probably disagrees with me. I think about the art every time I play the game, so I figured it was worth discussing. As you said, a complete overhaul probably isn't going to happen, but some things that are possible don't hurt to talk about.

I created user id datahead8888 on GitHub. I can't make any guarantees about what I can/cannot do with the project, but at some point I would like to compile and dink around with the code.
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby Quintus » 27 Jan 2014 09:41

Sorry for the delay, I’m right before univerity exams, which tend to cut down my free time to a minimum...

datahead wrote: If it ultimately gets merged or posted on a public website, this will eventually accomplish that goal.
I’m sure I said it somewhere on these forums, but yes, when I’m done with what I want I’ll make a PR against the original SMC repository so tristan can merge it. Then it could also be published on secretmaryo.org I think.

datahead wrote:If I do any amount of work on SMC, this might interest me, but we'll have to see how things turn out.
Then it is probably better for you to fork my repository and make every once in a while a pull request whenever you added something so I can review and merge. This is the way GitHub works, anyway.

datahead wrote:The API that caught my attention was that I understand the fixed function OpenGL pipeline is used in SMC.
We will have to look into this, then.

datahead wrote:I created user id datahead8888 on GitHub. I can't make any guarantees about what I can/cannot do with the project, but at some point I would like to compile and dink around with the code.
As said, if you just sometimes contribute, it’s probably better if you fork and make PRs. If you want to stay longer with the project, granting direct access is still possible.

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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 27 Jan 2014 19:09

I later saw that you're planning on merging your changes into the main line of code, but thank you for confirming it. I just wanted any changes I do to get used if possible.

A friend of mine thought that Open GL 1.1 support isn't going to drop on Windows any time soon because Microsoft has an interest in providing the driver for it (which I understand converts 1.1 calls into shader programs) in order to prevent the breaking of programs. I would imagine that the Linux community will have a similar philosophy. Given that a computer science professor said Open GL 1.1 is going to break in the future, this is something worth looking into, though; it is considered deprecated.

I might be interested in targeting some features I'm interested in like alternate level exits and some variation of the cape power up, though it really depends on time. In the long term, I'd like to start up a new open source platformer project; maybe I can get some experience from SMC and Super Tux before then :)

Out of curiosity, is there any use for bezier curves or b-splines in the engine? I've been having that shoved down my throat in a course...
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 13 May 2014 08:55

If you're interested, these are the major things that are deprecated in the old Open GL and that must be changed if they're in use in order not to have deprecated code:
*All matrix transformations must be done with GLSL (ie do not use glRotate3f or glTranslatef)
*Lighting must be done through GLSL (ie do not use glLightfv)
*Textures must be done through GLSL (ie do not use glEnable(GL_TEXTURE_2D); )
*All drawing calls must be done using vertex buffer objects and not immediate mode (ie do not use glBegin or glEnd function calls)

I'm sure many of you are already well aware of this, but I thought I'd put it here for discussion's sake.
If it's not already planned, I wouldn't suggest putting it in the current set of changes, since I expect the old fixed function pipeline will be supported for a while longer.
I think GLSL and VBO's end up being more of a pain than I wish they were; but they do have their obvious advantages on graphics cards.

What do you know...I just installed Ubuntu Linux and QT creator -- looks like I might be in a better chance to mess around with SMC code in the near future (if research demands aren't overwhelming).
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby Quintus » 13 May 2014 19:12

datahead wrote:I'm sure many of you are already well aware of this


Don’t assume such things. I’m happily working on SMC without ever having written a line of OpenGL code. I’ve not touched that part of SMC since I started developing. If you are very lucky, Luiji has a rough idea of how the OpenGL stuff in SMC works, but as all other devs are gone, there is nobody who knows that code. It’s a gap you could nicely fill if you want to.

datahead wrote:If it's not already planned, I wouldn't suggest putting it in the current set of changes,


To deal with this, you should open a ticket over on GitHub. That way we won’t forget about it. Then we can always tag it with any milestone when someone starts working on it. But yes, we have much to do already for the 2.0.0 release, so I don’t think this should be corrected until then. Maybe next release.

datahead wrote: looks like I might be in a better chance to mess around with SMC code in the near future (if research demands aren't overwhelming).


You can always ask here (in the "development" subforum) or on IRC in #secretmaryo on freenode.net. Feel free to ping Luiji and me. If you only occasionally want to contribute, send pull requests. If you want to regularly contribute, you need a GitHub account we can grant repository access to.

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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 13 May 2014 22:40

Don’t assume such things.

Sorry, I was afraid I'd offend people if I said the opposite. What you said makes sense - different people have different skills. I'm more of a graphics guy myself and am about to become a GPU guy.
I'm also intersted in the physics systems.

To deal with this, you should open a ticket over on GitHub.

I'll try to open one when I get a chance later. It will probably look very similar to my post on this thread.
I'd really like to know how well GLSL is supported on older out-of-date graphics cards. It's worth posting some questions about this on other graphics forums.
Of course, you can't support all old graphics cards and eventually have to go with the mainstream technology.

If you only occasionally want to contribute, send pull requests.

Yeah, I can't make promises on deliverables by any means with my being in grad school still.
I'd like to get it compiling and start slowly playing with the code over time.
I might see if I can talk my math department friend into looking into it, since he's really, really excited about getting into computing right now... Then again he's probably swamped himself.
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby Quintus » 14 May 2014 11:43

datahed wrote:Sorry, I was afraid I'd offend people if I said the opposite.


Maybe I was a bit rough. Sorry for that :-)

datahead wrote: I'm more of a graphics guy myself and am about to become a GPU guy.


This is very nice, as I don’t have experience in this area. I’m sure SMC’s graphics code can be improved.

datahead wrote:Of course, you can't support all old graphics cards and eventually have to go with the mainstream technology.


Yes, we should try to support what is most common. Neither we want to enforce too new graphics cards, nor too old ones. It’s a game you always loose because due to Murphy’s law sooner or later somebody with an unsupported card appears. We can’t prevent that, but we should do our best.

datahead wrote:I'd like to get it compiling and start slowly playing with the code over time.


Probably good idea. As said, if any questions arise, we are here and try to answer. But the old devs are gone, and we probably have to figure out what a given part of SMC’s code actually does. :shroom:

datahead wrote:I might see if I can talk my math department friend into looking into it, since he's really, really excited about getting into computing right now...


The more people we have, the better. Also, come join the IRC channel #secretmaryo on freenode.net so we have a more instant communication platform.

Btw. what system are you using? Luiji and I are both on Arch Linux, so we may accidentally create code that does not run on other versions of Linux (but I of course will test at least on the current Ubuntu LTS). penguin has a Windows system for testing we can crosscompile for, but everything regarding Mac OS is currently dead. SMC is therefore unsupported on Mac OS currently due to lack of developers.

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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 16 May 2014 09:16

You can find the new issue at:
https://github.com/Quintus/SMC/issues/55

Btw. what system are you using? Luiji and I are both on Arch Linux, so we may accidentally create code that does not run on other versions of Linux (but I of course will test at least on the current Ubuntu LTS). penguin has a Windows system for testing we can crosscompile for, but everything regarding Mac OS is currently dead. SMC is therefore unsupported on Mac OS currently due to lack of developers.

I'm using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. My graphics card is an NVidia GeForce GTX 765M, which runs on a laptop.
I also regularly use Windows 8. I'd be just as interested in seeing SMC supported here (and even with Visual Studio).

It seems I have a hard July 8th deadline for something else I have to do, so I guess we'll see how much free time I really get in the next month or two...
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby Quintus » 16 May 2014 20:59

datahead wrote:It seems I have a hard July 8th deadline for something else I have to do, so I guess we'll see how much free time I really get in the next month or two...


Don’t hurry. There is no need to incorporate this into SMC 2.0.0, it can well be added in a later release. :star:

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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 17 May 2014 03:59

Are any artists engaged in SMC now? Have any of the old artists popped in for a while? Ultimately a lot of development features depend on this.

Getting releases out there probably is the best way to attract the attention of new artists (along with website content corresponding to the releases).

Has anyone considered allowing 3D models to be used interchangeably with sprites? I realize this is a lot of code changes, but 3D models can potentially be programmed for different animations without the need for tons of sprites. For example, a 3D model could be programmed for a new boss and used instead of generating sprite sheets for him.

Don’t hurry. There is no need to incorporate this into SMC 2.0.0, it can well be added in a later release.

Thanks
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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby Quintus » 17 May 2014 10:30

datahead wrote:Are any artists engaged in SMC now? Have any of the old artists popped in for a while?


mrvertigo27 seems to have a look on these forums every half a year or so.

datahead wrote:Has anyone considered allowing 3D models to be used interchangeably with sprites?


No, not yet. But this is something that should be discussed with artists, because this is much more than a little feature and would probably mean a rewrite of SMC’s entire graphics system. If there is no need for it, this should not be done. But if there is, it is of course an interesting option.

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Re: What would it take to get SMC going again?

Postby datahead » 17 May 2014 11:05

No, not yet. But this is something that should be discussed with artists, because this is much more than a little feature and would probably mean a rewrite of SMC’s entire graphics system. If there is no need for it, this should not be done. But if there is, it is of course an interesting option.

Yes, I know it's by no means minor. I had figured the old sprite system could run side by side with the 3D model system. There would also be the question of how to implement proper walking for 3D characters - good code would be needed so that it doesn't look like robotic sticks moving along. Walking is a deep subject as far as I know; though we could probably get away with more in a 2D platformer game like this.

If there's a major lack of artists, that might mean there's a need. Once you have a good model and have some sort of framework for the code, it could eliminate a lot of sprite management. This would best be used on characters with a lot of animation variety. I've used Maya a little myself but am not very experienced with the free alternative, Blender. It would be good to see what artists in general think on this.

I don't think it should be slated for development anytime soon, either. It would require a lot of planning not to mention that GLSL should be done first. It's just good to think on it.
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