Nomad Mod and a requiem for FPSCreator

Hey!

If you are reading this chances are that you used FPSCreator in the past or are still using it and you are either viewing this for information or a tiny dose of nostalgia. If you are new to FPSCreator and want to check it out I will dedicate a whole paragraph with everything you need to know to get started too. Then you’ll also be informed about what you can or can not do with it.

The first thing I want to address is Nomad Mod and some other useful tools you might find enjoyable. After that I’ll recap a bit of FPSC’s history, what made it special and how it died eventually. Now, you can disagree with me that its “dead” and there are certainly still uses for it but more on that later. Now we will talk briefly about Nomadmod.

Nomad Mod

What is Nomad Mod?
Nomad Mod is a high end graphics modification for FPS Creator which provides unified dynamic lighting, flashlights and other graphics enhancements.

Nomad Mod Features:

* Unified Dynamic Lighting
*Bump, Specular, Illumination
*Water / Window Refraction
*Cinematic Bloom / Motion Blur
*Depth of Field / Cell Shading
*Film Grain / Sepia / Noir
*HUD Damage / Health System
*Camera Movement Effects
*Light Shaft Effects / Fog Effects
*Animated Texture Effects
*Improved Blood Effects
*Fully Working Flashlights
*Support for Dual Wielding
* Compatible with S4Mod Zeta

Which version of FPS Creator does Nomad Mod use?
Nomad Mod uses FPSC v1.20 BETA17A however this is not a source modification so you can apply it to other mods providing they are built on a recent version of the source code.
http://files.thegamecreators.com/betafiles/FPS_Creator_V120_BETA17A.zip

Why use Nomad Mod?
Nomad Mod provides a fully integrated dynamic lighting solution to allow consistently realistic lighting effects throughout your game from static and dynamic lights with static and dynamic objects. You can also use a number of post process effects such as cell shading or film noir to give your games a totally unique look.

How can I get Nomad Mod?
Nomad Mod has now been added to Black Ice Mod and will no longer be supported as a standalone package. You can download Black Ice Mod here:
http://www.blackicemod.org/

Nomad Mod License:
Nomad Mod is free to use for commercial and non-commercial projects. There is a license restriction on the music track provided and this can only be used in games made using this mod unless purchased separately.

Credits:
Original Shaders – Bond1, CoZ, Dark Goblin, Uzi Idiot
Models – Errant AI, Jon Fletcher, Maniac Modeler, Uman
Textures – Rolfy, Madcow, Shim Kangrey, Xplosys, Starmind
Scripts – KingofMk98, Ncmako
Music – Nickydude (MadLadDesigns)

Commentary

With Nomadmod, FPSCreator becomes the easiest to use game maker out there. So many complex features are available out of the box and it rivals Game Guru or other packages by just the sheer amount of (theoretical) possibilities. Nomad Mod adds FPS features that where previously either not available or worked only to a degree, such as Armor, Player Body, Allies and usable dynamic lighting.

Sadly FPSCreator has been broken from the start. It has a memory cap of about 2 gig that can not be worked around. This makes creating a game nearly impossible. Now, you might think 2 gigabyte is plenty of space but its not harddrive memory but system memory. Meaning that an empty map with a gun and a skybox already takes up nearly one gig. The rest is just enough for about 4 rooms and a hallway (if decorated properly.) Good luck loading more than 3 levels without at least a crash too.

Nomad, the author of the mod, put it far better:

“The problem is as the FPSC community grew in size and talent, we kept pushing the boundaries and expecting more from the engine but the fundamental memory cap / management issues were never properly addressed so you have the promise of great looking games with lots of levels but not the reality. Also whilst this was going on other game engines started offering free versions and becoming more accessible which gave FPSC more competition from larger developers.”

Here are screenshots of my attempt to push the memory cap and see how much the last and best version of FPSC can handle. It all collapsed as soon as I added scripts and enemies. Getting a one or 2 level game of this quality working fine? Sure! You’ll have a whopping 4 minutes of gameplay then. Anything more does not seem feasible. Notice that I only used specular mapping, no normalmapping.

Final Words

I’ve used FPSC for years. I had a lot of fun tinkering whole evenings away and as you can see here I also actually released quite a few games. I never got confirmation on this but I always suspected that FPSC was originally designed to be a small product for teens who could drag and drop themselves a corridor shooter together in it. As an entry to proper game development. However, it ended up attracting an older demographic too that saw the potential and the engine has kept evolving, however having subpar memory managment that would eventually kill it for me, and many projects with it.

As I grew older I came to have a better understanding of how a game engine works and eventually realized that these flaws are so deeply ingrained in FPSC that only a complete recode could touch on them.

As disappointing as that was and I have a whole library of vaporware projects to prove it, FPSC was a blast back in the day. The community during its golden age (about 2008 to 2012) was just a joy to be around and I met many people online that I am still friends with to this day.

Okay great! Now you might wonder why I am writing this. Well its because of this: I told a few people and veteran fpsc users from back in the day that I would make a whole archive of released FPSC games that where good. Kind of a repository. However, I decided against it for several reasons:
Number 1: Most games are simply gone. Filehosters went down, users took them down themselves or websites that used to host them are expired. Remember in the early 2000s when they told you that once something is on the internet its doomed to be there forever! You only need to browse old 3D sites or forums and oggle at all the dead links, dead image hoster icons and missing forum avatars to see how fucking wrong they where.

Number2: Its over. It seems redundant and almost a decade too late. As cool as many of these projects where, they had their day and they are quite obviously relics of a by gone era in game design. Where things better back then? Yeah, a lot of them where.

Number3: I don’t want this to be a resource for people to loot other peoples games for scripts and textures only to quickly cobble together a steam cash grab.

Recommendation?

Häääh …no.

Alright…its not that simple. If you really strip back the gameplay features and level size, you can make a horror themed corridor shooter like this. Among the most impressive work arounds are seen in this. It will even kinda, sorta work sometimes. Other uses for FPSC are first person adventure games. You might have seen those on steam. Here are 2 developers that have quite the library.

Peace on Steam

GDnomad on Steam

shameless plug: These games use a ton of my media 😛

Keep in mind that getting these normalmaps and other shaders all set up is wonky and involves a bit of trial and error. So yeah, you can make these types of short adventure games and some are even quite decent! Like Phobia by JonezGames.

Alternatively you can really lower the poly count and texture resolution as well as game logic to the level of a PS1 game. But even then you might encounter unexpected issues.
(Keep in mind that you will also have to not use the segment system then. It might look blocky and simplistic but even a small level can easily have a whopping 30 000 Polygons if made with it.)

However, if you are able to do that, your time might be spent more wisely learning to use a different engine. Especially given that FPSC’s one vibrant community has largely decreased to half a dozen active users. If you want to try it out, Nomad Mod is where you get started.

As it stands. This is the point where I will no longer cover FPSC related content on this website. Thank you for reading.

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Arkane Studios – Half Life² Episode 4

Howdy!

I am fully aware that this is old news but I only recently found out that valve has outsourced the development of Half Life² Episode 4 to french dev-team Arkane Studios.

Half Life² is among my favourite FPS games and with Arx Fatalis, Dark Messiah and Dishonored under their belt, Arkane is also among my favorite developers….especially when it comes to creative vision. Now Dishonored 2 and the new Prey didn’t strike my fancy but thats another story.

Sadly, the project got cancelled but I’d still like to feature the little screenshots we have and later link to a video that also offers some early animations. I have compiled some screenshots from other sources, most notably “valve time”. However, as this is an unreleased project and you happen to read this, let me know if one of these is from another mod or game. I tried my best to make sure to assemble som impressions of what could have been:

Video by youtuber 32 megabytes showcasing some animations and other screenshots:

 

 

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Acythian – Horror Themed UrbEx level

It’s there in your eyes
Like diamonds ablaze
Sleepless we walk
Through the valley of dreams
We live life long enough
Like silent machines

Hello!

I’ve made some progress here and there and also started working on a new map. This will be an optional side mission but I promise that if you enjoy the game otherwise, you will not want to miss it

Here is the 10 mm SMG from the game. Its design is a Kriss Vector. Granada made the model, Errant AI the Hand Rig, Bugsy animated it and I textured it. A true community effort if you will.

Now I decided to add the optional side mission. I was inspired by games like the Thief series and Vampire: The Masquerade. These games all have one spooky horror themed adventure part and I want one in this game. So here it is: I will not reveal how its going to be spooky because I also want it out as a demo for halloween.

I had some problems at first with the engine refusing to render the models in “highest” but that somehow solved itself. Its nice when random evens in game guru actually go my way for a change.

I think its easy to see that the area is abandoned for decades. I designed these textures for the modelpack2 drink machines to go with that look.

While most of the gameplay takes place in those buildings I decided to have a convincing nature scape around it. There will also be a constant feverish buzzing of crickets here

Thank you for checking this out and feel free to let me know what you think. I am always happy to see feedback to my work

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Acythian – November Update

Hello!

Development has been slow once again so I can only leave you with a few changes to level 1. (previously in a different article. LINK )
Basically, in the first draft the complex was on an island and I changed that to a lush forest. I also changed the amount of decay the player will encounter in the complex.

But first, I am also remaking a lot of the media I have to work with this game. For example, I have retextured and edited the female peasant character from the “classics” media pack to go with the title. Sadly, the result is kind of awkward which is why I made here a sniper character. You know, you only see her from a distance
I also didn’t manage to get that blank facial expression out of the model so strapped on a gasmask.

Here you’ll see what the first level will look like in the final game (unless there are major changes in the rendering pipeline along the way.)

Thankfs for viewing! Feel free to drop me some feedback, its always appreciated 🙂

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Acythian – Ventshafts/Maintenance Area – Cyberpunk/Noir FPS Game

Start up from a solitary planet; again
but there’s a language that I never spoke
And it’s clogging up inside my throat
Electric connections
that were dormant now ingite
It’s like another part of sight
A second eyelid that was closed before
What did I say?
I never felt this way before
Is that what they say?
It’s a defect in my core

Developing a game is a very slow process but it speeds up as you go along. There is a certain groundwork that’ll really tie you down but once you’re over that hill you can really steam roll ahead. I’m not over that hill just yet but at least I can show you some screenshots from the air filtration area.
This is a string of very maintenance/industrial looking places connected through vent shafts. One of the beautiful things about Acythian is that this level is entirely skip-able. They way I see it only about 50% of the players will see it as the other half will likely use a different point of entry for the citadel. (An overgrown sewer level)

As this game requires a lot of custom models and media to really sell the rusty, gloomy cyberpunk atmosphere I’ll also make a lot of more simple stuff.
I’ve decided to give a set of fuse boxes away for free. You can download these here.

I’ve had a few set backs with this levels as a lot of my older, animated models use vertex animations and I didn’t get these to play in-game. This means that I’ll have to rig and animate a bunch of machinery. I suppose thats also interesting about this level, it has quite a lot of more dynamic, moving parts. This does of course require some more finesse when it comes to lighting the scene.

If you could give me feedback on what you like and dislike about this level I’d really appreciate it. Especially since its much easier to respond to criticism before I’ll do the 2nd detail make over. (Animated rats, bugs, dirt decals, the soundscape.)
This game has very little backtracking to hunt a key or activate a switch to progress, I’ll try to reduce tedious gameplay that is only there to artificially lengthen gameplay as much as possible. If you need an item or a key its always in a somewhat near and logical location for it to be.

I know that this is all looking similar to work I’ve shown before. I want the citadel to be consistent in look and tone and…as you know…making a game takes a lot longer than playing it

I’ve been settling on using the “stock” characters for this game and I’m pleasantly surprised that just by applying a little tinkering, they look enjoyably shady. They really fit the setting and I like the quality on them. I’ve just thrown a few into the map to test them. Face textures aren’t yet 100% aligned and you don’t actually meet these folks in these locations. I’m pretty sure fine tuning and texturing all the chars for this will be a long venture.

A ventshaft entry point: There used to be a time where this kind of screenshot was quality material in indie fps developing. That seems so distant now.

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Acythian – Fun in the Sewers

“What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

Heyho Hello!

A lot of progress on this project I have 2 maps halfway done and 2 more that are slowly getting to that point.
I’m far enough with this project to works towards finer gameplay elements such as items. I want this game to have a lot of adventure elements and gathering items is part of that. Plus, having loot that the player can find and use makes the levels more engaging and the game more attractive.
I don’t aim to make this an RPG hybrid akin to Deus Ex, the game will be too short to really benefit from that and I dont want it to have any clunky interfaces or micromanaging. If there’ll be an inventory in this game it’ll be very simplistic. I have a few ideas on how to approach this.

Neurotoxicity

An element I really want to have in this game are several cyberdrugs that enhance your character. There should be a variety of those with different effects. For example: Your health regenerates in this game due to the reconstructive nanites in your blood stream, however, I want you to be able to boost your health above 100% if you find power-up items. Here I’ll have to look into getting the health to only regenerate up to 100% again once you lose that boost. I’m not explaining it well, but I hope it makes sense!

However! All power-ups add to your characters neurotoxicity level. The higher this value, the more impaired your character. If it reaches a certain point you’ll die. There will of course be other collectables to decrease that value. If you spin the idea a little further you can also have contaminated areas or weapons that would increase that value. So many things you could do!

All of this is still in early stages. I did however model such a power up item: Check it out:

There has been a lot of sarcasm on the internet about how so many FPS games tend to send you into the sewers at some point. Me however, I’ve always enjoyed the sewer level … and I’m usually including it in my projects ever since.
The sewers are your second option to infiltrate the compound. This is a large, maze like level. While its pretty derelict and partially overgrown, you’ll still find operational maintenance areas. Plus it has a crossing where the level branches out in 2 different paths. Its designed in a way that you can either go left or right but not backtrack and go both.

When polishing this level I’ll add rats and bugs that crawl around in certain areas! I’m pretty happy with how this early version looks and plays.

I’ve been debating wether or not I should throw mutant rats into the mix as enemies. they could rush out of these overgrown areas. I’ll have to see if thats cool or silly during the beta test. Thats when you get a better picture of the general mood and atmosphere of a game.

The G36 here is the heavy weapon of the kyanic orders security forces. You won’t have it in this level though. Acythian won’t have too many weapons despite being a longer game. I aim for it to have less than 9, but those’d be rather diverse in how they play. I’m not dead set on this yet though.

Early version of the female lead.

A lot of this level are ghostly, dingy branching corridors.

I’m fond of the normal mapping on this floor.

This is all I got for you today! Next step will be spreading the game on the usual plattforms, let people know it exists (indiedb, itch.io and what not)
I think I’ve made enough progress to show it to a general audience.

But I’m as always way more interested in hearing what my fellow devs think about it! Please drop me a line and thanks for visiting!

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Acythian – A rocky coast/Outdoor level

all the lights came
down
long ways from machine towns,
high wire put me down
the sky is on fire
oh the oceans yet to cross
i’m so tired i’m so tired,so tired
of waiting wait for the bomb to drop

Hello all! I’m proud to say that I made quite a bit of headway in developing this game. If I can keep this up I’ll easily make the deadline (christmas day.)

My girlfriend enjoys making puzzles and I find making videogames to be simply an elaborate puzzle as well. The kind where you have to craft most pieces yourself. I was facing quite a few problems, lots of them performance related but I think its time to present some of the levels I have been working on:

This is a generator room in level 4. I’m quite happy with how it looks but its not quite there yet, the entire level is still lacking some spark and I’m still trying to add the gameplay a bit more smooth. Its a rather packed level. Lots of narration, a friendly NPC and a puzzle.
NPC’s are voiced, except for the multiple choice dialogue if you activate them, this is text similar to the dialogue system in Morrowind or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
I think this is the best compromise between immersion, story and technical possibilities.

Rocky coast vista!
I have to say that this level was quite some work. Not only is it huge and very interactive, it also plagued me with performance problems and visual glitches. (Working with dynamic lighting is quite effective if you know how to handle it… I had to find out how to handle it first )

As this is the first level, it has to engage the player. While I clearly used a lot of work I’ve done for Shavra I did give most of it a strong make over to look more appealing an immersive.

Here you can see the Kyanic Citadel. That is the place you’ll have to infiltrate. While scouting the coast you’ll find 2 ways to do so. The sewers and the ventilation shafts. Depending on which way you’ll choose you will spawn in one of 2 entirely different following levels.

Not only is the citadel a gigantic complex, its also ancient. The grounds have been used by various groups throughout the centuries with the cult being only its most recent residents. This results in a maze like complex where old and new architecture and machinery collide.

The citadel island is surrounded by remnants of the sunken city. A nameless metropolis that is sunken after heavy bombardment in the third world war.

More material from level 4! Nevermind the dead guy

A little playing around and planning and your In-Outdoor transitions using dynamic light will look more seemless and less forced

Once you leave the coast you’ll find yourself in a small yet lush forrested area.
This path will lead you to a hermit! He has a small shop set up where you can trade in valuables you might find on the island.
He is an elderly fellow and quite possibly insane. I hope y’all be entertained by this encounter (He and his quest are also entirely optional)

Being able to do levels like this is why I really don’t miss FPSC!

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