Post news RSS The mind of the developer

This is less of a news update and more of a insight on me as the developer of TK: Singularity and the path in which the mod is going down.

Posted by on

While I try to talk to all of you guys (and possibly girls) as much as I can as to me your thoughts are just as important as my own this post takes a bit of a break from the norm and lets everybody get to know the mod on a more personal level. I'm sure whatever I say may not answer everybodys questions so by all means just ask.

I'm sure all of you are aware of the origins of TK and what it was originally intended as along with my motivation for bravely soldiering on with development largely by myself (though, it has to be said while our mods are separate meltac goes out of his way to make sure his mod looks great when combined with TK and of course all the playtesters - Loner85, katot0n1k, seeker_of_strelok, mrmohamed2001 and rickpnick and not forgetting my little bloodhound d4v33edz) all help make things easier too.

Questions I mull over are all the types of questions you would expect any developer who genuinely deeply cares about what they are making to be, but even then I probably take things to a whole new level. Even after adjusting various aspects I'll see how it all holds together in-game and if it doesn't feel right I'll change things down to the smallest detail until it is right. This level of attention goes for anything I do in the mod, textures, normal maps, gameplay aspects, etc. To me everything has to be perfect, if its not, its not good enough and I haven't done as good of a job as I could of.

I also consider just what is worth doing and what isn't - which is why you will find gorgeous lighting and weather but might wonder why I've not gone and done any editing to NPC meshes. The answer to this is simply that while it would look nice if I did, the time involved with editing the meshes is just something that would take a lot of time away from something else that would improve the overall look more, at 7 years old, X-Rays life expectancy is fast approaching the "death" stage even with all the vast improvements I have already made. The engine is old, theres only so much it can do and furthermore even hardcore stalker fans like me realise soon it won't be long before even the most devoted of fans will soon start to lose interest for one reason or another, probably a combination of several reasons, so what I choose to do now I have to choose wisely while the devoted fans are still around.

That all leads to the big question - just what is there still time to put into TK before X-Rays life expectancy is up? If we are to be realistic about things X-Ray possibly, maybe, has 18-24 months left of life, in other words, right around the time the next gen consoles should be hitting their stride will be the time X-Ray dies, by then every engine - and I do mean every engine, will be able to do what X-Ray boldly pioneered and/or attempted, with a select few engines being vastly superior to any other such as Cryengine3, Frostbite 3, Unreal Engine 4 and if its ever made Glacier 3. Glacier 3 may well even be a un-nerfed Glacier 2, the Xbox360 and PS3 crippled the crap out of Glacier 2 but thats a story for another day.

So, amidst all my ponderings, eccentricities and the reality of technological progression where does that leave TK? Well, time is running short for X-ray and fans deserve to see all that stalker should of been. Graphically, TK shows the best X-Ray has to offer, but its still not the full experience of what stalker should of been. Over the next 12 months this is what I'll be looking to do but I won't be able to do it without help;

Expand (explain) the story for the main plot
Include various new levels
Tie in some tasks to both the new levels and story

Thats a very simplified shortlist, but essentially thats all that needs doing. While the list is short the time involved can be described as nothing short of colossal to accomplish these remaining things at least one person who can decompile / compile levels will be needed. I can't promise by myself I'll be able to finish everything each and every one of us devoted stalker fans craves and is deserving of but I will complete TK to what I call the finished vanilla experience, or a term which many may be more familiar with, the fabled "final" tag for TK. I've spent many years modding stalker, 7 since the game released and even before that with some of the betas I'm one of very few people that are truly aware of what X-Ray can and can't realistically handle along with its bugs, quirks, and how to work with them or get around them.

Its almost time for this old stalker to retire, leave the zone and enjoy life more.

Seeker_of_Strelok - - 338 comments

I'm sure that I wouldn't be the only one to say 'Thank You' for the work you've put into this mod over the years. Though X-Ray is an older engine when compared to others of today's age and has its limitations, it's what S.T.A.L.K.E.R. runs on, and will keep doing so.

As for help, well.. you already know the limited bit I could offer. I could perhaps try some story expansion or something, probably wouldn't be too great at all.

Regardless, here is another 'Thanks' for your time, effort, and stay in this ( S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s ) digitized portion of the world.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes
d4v33edz - - 3,070 comments

I have to agree with all the points made by Seeker_of_Strelok, perhaps if Lost Alpha is ever released with it's "newer X-Ray" it may breath new life into ShoC and lets hope it is and does, alternatively the attempts to port S.T.A.L.K.E.R. onto Cryengine may again increase the lifespan of the game.
Again I will offer any help and support in developing your new build that I am able or capable of.
Everyone has a life outside of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and moddb and as such things in life happen, work, relationships etc and they take priority. Perhaps I am fortunate in the being the (probably) oldest member of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. community on moddb and look forward to retirement in about 6 years and I know how I plan to spend some of that time, no matter what engine is powering the game.

So again thanks for all your efforts about these new levels :)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
loner85 - - 3,281 comments

I would like help you with ideas for the main plot/story, I might have some cool ideas :D PM me again, ket.

I still don't have any idea about what you mean with "X-Ray engine dies". It doesn't make sense to me, an engine can't die, and I agree with Doyle there. There are much older games and graphics and people still love it! Why do you think Minecraft has such a big community? Not because of the graphic engine, believe me that :D

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Amoch - - 1,541 comments

Interesting thoughts. Although I agree that the X-Ray engine is showing its age, the latest mods (AA2 etc.) show that there's still plenty of life left in the engine (several years easily). The point I would make is that the sum of all STALKER's elements, that is something very special. I got into STALKER rather late, early this year. After playing STALKER nothing else gives me the same sense of immersion, even a game like Bioshock Infinite feels hollow and pointless in comparison. I'm playing SGM 2.2 now (with AF3 and AN3), and I actually love the graphics. I'd rather have unpredictable and dynamic environments (AI, weather, day/night-cycle etc.) from 2010+, than the static and glossy/gaudy hi-def graphics of the usual mediocre AAA-titles. Hell, I've even stopped playing those titles completely after I discovered STALKER.

To keep the community going we need both great mods (like yours), and brand new games with new levels/environments, so I really hope Lost Alpha is able to live up to the expectations (and thus become the starting point for even more mods based upon LAs levels). Even though SGC sold the license to another company today, it would still take 4-6 years before the next STALKER was out. So yeah, I think STALKER as a commercial franchise is completely dead. Needless to say, I'm very disappointed at GSC, and how he was able to create (with his team) such an amazing franchise, and then just let it die for selfish reasons.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Amoch - - 1,541 comments

I meant I'd rather have STALKER from 2007-10 + mods vs. the cellophane-wrapped graphics/textures and the less dynamic/immersive environments from the usual dumbed-down AAA title from 2013/2014+. I couldn't care less about new consoles, and those silly zombie games or COD or whatever. (short edit time..)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
ketxxx Author
ketxxx - - 1,288 comments

Theres no need to worry yet my retirement from SoC isn't imminent but after another few years at most it will be time to just accept that X-Ray will be a decade old and anything that could be done with it would of been. The last thing that would breath new life into X-Ray without a complete engine overhaul (but still require a lot of time) would be a total renderer overhaul and total shader re-write to bring everything to current modern standards. X-Ray just lacks the capabilities of engines such as cryengine3 to do much more with it worthwhile, but ultimately, the goal now is to explain the story, add some new quests and try to slot in some new levels but the levels won't come until as many ends as possible have been tied so theres a reliable base to work from.

Reply Good karma+3 votes
ΤWiST3D - - 377 comments

Stalker has much more life than just 18-24 months easily, I don't know why you think that it doesn't. Imo, the community just keeps growing, and right now it's doing pretty darn well. I sure know I'm sticking around for a long time, there's always something to improve on, and always a reason to do it. I wouldn't worry about this community going anywhere soon.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
ketxxx Author
ketxxx - - 1,288 comments

I've been around a long time, being around for so long you get a feeling for these kinds of things, the original modders with the exception of me and a select few others have all but moved on now. I won't totally vanish but after the next 18 months or so I will take a backseat kind of role. I never started making TK for the "fame and glory" like so many other mods, I just wanted to make something every stalker fan deserved based on what was promised to us all. Its only now I start to see that TK is far more appreciated than I thought, I never thought it was that popular as I never really promoted it I just quietly went about doing my thing with it :)

Reply Good karma+3 votes
5thHorseman - - 1,380 comments

Indeed, many of the old regulars have up and vanished, some have even died.
People come and people go, still, kind of sad, there were many decent folk and not just among the modders.

On a brighter note, your attitude on modding is spot on at least

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Meltac - - 1,138 comments

Even if X-Ray will be dead within the next one or two years, the concepts and approaches that we modders developed in order to make Stalker look, feel, or behave better will survive. They will be usable with and useful to other games as well. At least some of them will. And probably only the best ones ;)

Many thanks for your outstanding work, btw !

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
ketxxx Author
ketxxx - - 1,288 comments

Ah I'm sure nobody will miss me that much when I do call it.

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.