We haven't been very active in the forums or social media this year, though we tried to keep informed those of you, who showed interest in The Dark Pastime mod. You might remember, that I mentioned several months ago (at JKhub), that the main task was to complete Chapter I (which currently includes about 7 maps), and that due to technical aspects of the Jedi Academy, we came across multiple obstacles, when we started working with the last map in the Chapter, which was simply known to some as "the forest".
I also mentioned, that I would make an explanation, why it took us so long to deal with this map. Our silence made some believe, that we no longer work with our project, but that is untrue. Below are some news, facts and screenshots, so that you could see that the work never stopped.
But first is the so-called "Article", which includes the above mentioned news. I hope, it will answer some questions and help avoiding further thoughts about mod being frozen. So here it is.
The main idea, which you must read here and remember: the mod is alive and is in progress of major work.
It's been in development for so long, why haven't you released it yet?
Those, who've watched the project here and on moddb (or who contacted me personally), would know, that for the last seasons we've been working on Chapter I, specifically with one map (actually the last in the chapter), which created a lot of obstacles and headache due to technical issues from the Jedi Academy (which ones, see below).
- [Solved] Menu (UI) Limitations - you can have only certain amount of this, thus we had to minimize the number of datapads and infoboards in the mod.
- [Solved] Brushes per map limits - we were making a forest map, so making smooth hills and mountains was a difficult task, but we made it, though with some losses.
- [Solved] Models limitations - we had to replace all misc_model to misc_model_static or similar, due to issue #2 (misc_model converts into brushes after compilation)
- [Solved] Shader glitches 1 - this came up after we replaced misc_model with misc_model_static (changed shader code)
- [Solved] Shader glitches 2 - this came up after we changed the shaders; so we had to change the texture path (sometimes possible only through HEX editor)
- [Solved] Speeder Bike animation wouldn't work - we remade the model for speeder bike, but it wouldn't work with Cinematic animation for JA. Had to make model #3 for this. This caused another issue: the animation wouldn't play, due to map's name (had to change it).
- [Solved] GtkRadiant 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 contradictions - the basic idea is the same. The interface is slightly different, and 1.5. often changes entities within maps without you knowing that (e.g. renaming entities like dog1 to dog01, secretA to secretA02, etc).
- [Solved] Fx Files glitch - came out of nowhere, but gladly we fixed that.
- [Solved] Other tiny issues - there were so many caused by JA and the game engine, that I can't name them all. In one way or another we've overcome most of them.
There are other reasons too:
- the mod is made by fans, who do it for fun and joy, without getting any reimbursement.
- we work, when we have free time: most people have permanent jobs and families, and surely free time is divided between all of them, with the mod standing after people.
- the team is based in different geographical regions: which means we contact online each other and send messages, which also greatly affects the whole process.
- certain things looked good in the past, but seeing on them now – urged us to update them. So we changed these, including textures, models, scripts, locations, and even some dialogs and scenes.
The mod is divided into several parts.
You already know that. Basically these are the Chapters, the first one being the most important. It's a right decision, because: a) it forms sort of a plan for the project, and b) we can release the content and see the reaction.
However when we began the work, we were making different parts of it at once. Thus missions 7-10 are complete, while mission 6 caused so much trouble (see Technical Issues above), and so on.
I must say, that we changed in a manner we work with the mod. When we started The Dark Pastime, we had a basic idea for the plot, a scenario and three people, two of which were eager to work with Gtk Radiant, downloaded from Internet. We also had Jedi Outcast, the game with which we started, we had a few models and absolutely no idea about shaders, scripts, modelling, texture creation and other aspects. It took several years to leave the amateur ways and choose a more professional approach.
As time passed each of us learnt new skills, and new people came to our team. Thus now we know how to make good quality materials, be it textures or sounds, among other things. I myself wasn't able to do a lot of things, but due to changes in my professional fields, I learnt a great deal about game design, graphics, texture creation, photo and sound editing, modelling, scripting, typography, shading, etc.
You can help!
Our team has never been too big. It's actually the help and support from our friends, family and fans, which allows us to move further. Some people come and go, some work for a longer period of time, with only one thing in common – we all do it for the idea. We want to tell a story in our own way. Currently our team, even though consisting of only several individuals, has all we need for the most part.
Neutral Imperials such as this Technician is the result of the interaction with fans:
we specifically ask about the game experience and keep in mind suggestions from the JK community.
But we are always open for new talents and cooperation. If you like to be creative and ready to make things regarding a Single Player mod for Jedi Academy, don't hesitate to send us a message, either on www.JKhub.org or www.moddb.com
Before you go.
Below are a few things to look at. You might have seen them previously, but we changed each of the levels, but visually there is sometimes no difference. Other aspects in this section might also explain you the above mentioned problems and the tasks we put before us.
DP makes a lot of references to other stories. You can spot some in Chapter I.
The difficult part is to recreate the familiar places the way they should be and update them.
Some maps went through major changes 1-2 times and are under revision at this point.
Current trends in design required us to remake many original level design solutions, such as this archive.
Chapter I is just the beginning, but it ties the story to many subplots, as well as sets a mystery.
We had to abandon some ideas such as this Republic Senate Sentinel in favor of better ones.
Even the good looking maps leave the urge of making further changes. One has to stop at one point, but in some cases we kept the opportunity to update things even when the map is already released.
We made many new NPC models and skins, most with a small bio about them. And here is a page from the document, sent to our Actors, who provide the voice for the main characters and background NPCs.
Thanks again for your support and comments. We'll be glad to stay in contact and answer any questions. ;)