Converting the game into using higher game engine, possible?

i was thinking, what if someday there is one user in the forum with programming and game-making skill fully dedicated to convert this game into using higher game engine such as Dunia Engine (Far Cry’s game engine) or Unreal Engine (most AAA games used nowadays) ?

is it possible? because i believe with enough code-tinkering and some skill in programming, every kind of games can be converted into any engine and thus will increase the game’s quality. but of course with its own risk.

so… is it possible?

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because i believe with enough code-tinkering and some skill in programming, every kind of games can be converted into any engine

This is a very brave assumption, and very likely won’t hold true. Different engines have different assumptions and expectations. I doubt it’d be literally impossible, but it’d be less of a conversion and tinkering task, and more of a “literally rewrite it from scratch” type of task.

and thus will increase the game’s quality

That’s not how it works at all. There’s rarely such a thing as a ‘better’ engine for everything, but rather a best engine for the situation. By all accounts, the Frostbite engine used for Battlefield is a great engine for shooters, yet Bioware struggled hard to get it to work for their RPG shooter hybrid Mass Effect: Andromeda, as the engine wasn’t natively suited for RPG mechanics and dialog tree’s.

As far as Unreal or Dunia goes, they’re not going to be very well equipped for CDDA’s needs. The effort spent making it work as CDDA needs it to would be better spent either making a brand new game, inspired by CDDA to take advantage of the engine, or just continuing work on the existing engine.

I’m not aware of any hard limiters in the current engine, most of the work is limited by the volunteer time contributed that meets the standards of the project. I don’t see how such a migration would be worth the effort.

I’ve thought of this quite a bit.

One possible way to do it is to not use a standard operating system to host the game. You need to do it for a game this large(in 3D) similar to how Ultima 7 was created. That game had the user just boot the whole computer into the game. At the time I did it that way and other folks thought it was crazy. But it just worked better.

The world space would have to be one open large place. Almost everything would be live unless it was behind a mountain or something like that. Then in those instances, the stuff not graphically depicted would be simulated.

This would probably require a pretty hefty machine with a ton of RAM and a lot of cores to keep all that stuff active. Keep in mind that every object and item in the game would also be interactive. Nothing in the game see to be for “show”. So a 3D variant would require the same level of detail. Except more work for adding crap due to 3D models and such.

Plus, damaged variants of everything or do the items have the scripting and coding to be morphed with texture changes on the fly?

That would be some seriously bad ass program-fu my fellows! Would be the best game ever. But a head ache.

What you’re all describing would probably be a completely different game. I’m not sure Cataclysm even has a game engine by classical definition, so I don’t think moving it to a different one is going to do anything other than massively increase the required resources. Unless you wanted to remake it in 3D, but that would be a completely new project.

Ahahaha, no.

The question is, what is it the game engine provides? In most cases it provides a scene and rendering code to integrate with graphics acceleration hardware. That cones with some heavy requirements though, you then have to model and sprite everything that goes in the game, which is a prohibitive amount of work.


Yep, I’ve worked with unity and unreal, I wouldnt even attempt the colossal task that would be cataclysm, even to clone it exactly would take years for a dedicated team, it would faster rewriting the cataclysm engine to incorporate 3d graphics or a 2d animation system which is pretty much all those engines provide out of the box (I’m downplaying there usefulness a bit here, they are great tools) over the current engine. And let’s not forget cata has already been in development for 8+ years with a large number of contributors working towards each element present.

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The very reason cataclysm can do most of it’s unique features is that you do not need any animations (or textures, or even sprites) to introduce a new functional element. You can literally just define something in .json with a few lines of code and it will work right away.

I guess purely theoretically you could use a 3D engine as a “tile-set on steroids”, i. e. as something that simply renders a visual with no feedback back into the gameplay, but then it would literally be just a 3D tile-set, and it would be times and times more difficult to create as instead of static sprites you would need to create textured 3D models.


now this is one big hit of true, yes i missed the part where you have to create bunch of animation, sprite, and some big folders of material for the game to be converted on game engine. a massive chunk of work must be done then and that’s just unnecessary effort but then i imagine if one day Cataclysm DDA has its own 3D version in the future using modern game engine, would be damn good and fun.

but of course you guys are right, even thought this game looks simple and retro-classic, it is already far much better and no need any convertion to any modern games, i was just thinking that if someday, a game dev company create a game inspired by CataDDA, how does its look like? how much effort should be put into the development to make it similar to CataDDA? and is it going to be "better than CataDDA itself? i don’t know… great feedback guys…

this also answer my curiosity of gaming development too, as i confused about possibilty to convert existing game into another game engine.

We already know the answer to that, It looks like DayZ or Left4Dead or 7 Days to Die or CoD:Zombies.

i.e. game companies don’t make indie games.

my bad habit to mix and shufffle my word…

yes i’ve played some of those games but the lacks of sandbox and crafting on some of them is just different, which is why i love CataDDA (i’ve even believe CataDDA has unique mechanism for simulating living environment)

How about we just focus on these years of work instead of think about dropping them for some popular engine?
All CDDA really needs is multithreaded FoV/lighting calculation and it’d run great.
The engine isn’t the issue, if you want to improve the game, you’re always welcome to.

Hell I’d love prettier, more dynamic lighting for a focus on SDL builds and other nice looking shit, smooth tile-based movement with a sliding animation to transition between tiles, that’s possible, go for it if you want the game to look or sound nicer.

But this is all perfectly possible within the current great engine, honestly only single core CPU use is really what’s limiting the game largely in scope right now.

But that’s hell to deal with and would likely introduce many bugs, so I’d just separate visual FoV/lighting stuff into other cores personally and be mostly done there.


true there… but i just don’t have skills to do it, just thinking the possibilities this game can be in the future.

If you want the engine to be better, improve the existing engine.
The game would be basically a totally different game with a different engine, look at all of the first and third person survival games on steam to see why.

Well. It would be unique with all the objects. By far the most populated game in object terms. The irony is also having to make everything interactive and 3D.

We can do those things with the current engine, there was a 3d version before but I cant remember what happened with it. On a side note if anyone wants to take another crack at 3d I wouldnt mind doing some 3d models for it (also have a large group of aspiring 3d modelers who would like to get practice) xD

I guess XCOM EU/EW and XCOM 2 both give a good example of now 3D engine can work for a tile-based turn-based game.
I. e. 3D layer is just visualization, gameplay is still tile-based.

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Hmm yes and no. Xcom is built differently than CDDA, and I don’t think CDDA has its Z-levels fully worked out yet.

Isometric tilesets/‘versions’ still exist and allow for the kind of 3D play you are referring to.

Don’t think the ability to see/ interact with lower/ higher Z-levels does however. Aside from stairs which are basically teleporters.

That means XCOM engine has (optional) feature (Z-levels) CDDA does don have (yet).
XCOM engine would still be perfectly capable of rendering everything if you never used Z-levels in it. So it still works as a perfectly valid example of how 3D engine could work with CDDA game-mechanic.

P. S. For that matter, it also works as an example of how Z-levels can work in tile-based turn-based game.

Again yes and no. It works as a surface level example. I’m sure if any amount of code diving was done, SURPRISINGLY little of the X-com code would be usable with CDDA (which would be illegal infringement of copyright law anyways.)

It works on a vague- ‘this is kiiii…iiddnaa the look were going for’ way. Not to mention its probably in a different language built for its engine.

So basically non of it would be usable even as example(except as visual reference) because CDDA treats EVERYTHING different from how something like X-com does.

It’s a proof of principle that 3D engine can be successfully used to render tile-base turn-based game with similar game-mechanics.
Nothing more, nothing less.
It completely agree that it does not, in any way, shape or form, make the actual engine XCOM runs somehow intrinsically “compatible” with CDDA code. Or somehow “more” compatible than numerous other engines.

It does, however, give you a pretty good idea of the sheer amount of assets that would be required to even try: 3D models for everything, textures for everything, animations for every action, a extra layer of code to choose the facing of every model (non-issue in 2D), etc, etc.