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Macross: Balance of Power (formerly known as Macross TC for Shogo, a total conversion for Shogo: Mobile Armor Division) is an attempt to bring the fantastic and widely-acclaimed Macross anime universe (owned and copyrighted by Big West) to the realm of the PC. The project was originally started as a Quake2 mod, then in 1998 we moved to the LithTech 1.0 (LT) engine as a mod for Shogo. Previously, we explained that the move to LT would "certainly help us deliver a better mod, faster." Well, we've had many setbacks and delays over the past few years, but we had made quite some progress during that time. And by taking a job working on the recently-announced Robotech game at Vicious Cycle Software, I have basically had to put this project on hold until further notice (but hopefully only a year or so). So then, if you're looking for news about this project, be sure to check out the archives and forums. But if you'd like to know more about this project, read on.
Please note that THIS PROJECT IS NOT A ROBOTECH PROJECT. This distinction is important, because as we are concentrating on the original japanese Macross storyline and data, you should not expect to see Robotech Masters, Southern Cross, or Invid mecha, etc, etc. As a courtesy, we do provide some links to some Robotech-related sites, but this is primarily for your reference when we talk about differences between the two stories.
Then in 1998, Shogo:MAD (Mobile Armor Division) was released as a FPS (first-person shooter) with an all new anime storyline that was heavily influenced by Macross, Patlabor, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and others. In keeping with the growing trend of mod-ability of FPS games, the company that developed it (Monolith Productions, in this case) released C++ sourcecode to all the client-side game-related dll's. But Monolith took this a step further and also released the server-side sourcecode as well. Additionally, some tools were released to facilitate the creation of replacement models, game levels, artwork, sounds, etc.
So then, Macross TC (Total Conversion) was just what the name implied. We planned to totally replace all the sounds, music, models, art, story, etc, in Shogo with material based on the original japanese Macross series. However, large portions of Shogo's code required a total overhaul to handle our new demands and programming style. Additionally, as time went by, the LithTech engine grew more powerful and flexible as it advanced to version 1.5, 2.0, 3.x, etc.
Therefore in late 1999, we decided to totally start our codebase from scratch, but use Shogo's code as an example of how to accomplish common tasks with the LithTech engine. And that's where we left off (after LithTech, Inc. changed their business model and Monolith Productions couldn't take another game programmer, I moved back to NC and joined the team at Vicious Cycle Software). We're totally writing everything from scratch, so that we know EXACTLY what every line of code is doing. Yes, this meant it would take longer than if it were just a mod of Shogo's code. But it also meant that we could make it cleaner and with less bugs (and bugs would be easier to find, because we wouldn't have to wonder if it was Shogo's code at fault). It also meant that we would have total design control over features, and so there would be no limitations (aside from the engine itself, and today's hardware).
Additionally, with the power of the newest version of the engine (LTDS 3.1), we could finally deliver jaw-dropping visuals with such effects as cel-shading, bumpmapping, etc. LT 3.x's networking is also considerably more efficient than previous versions, and the new physics architecture allows for more specialized movement code to be written on client and server.
Conditions of Release While Developing for the LithTech Engine
The bottom line is: Because we cannot release the engine executables (exe's, dll's, etc), and because there will probably never be a game/demo available that has a perfectly compatible engine (and because of a couple other restrictions that we won't go into right now), we will NOT be releasing a free public demo version of this project using the LT engine. We know this might come as a slight shock to some of the fans, and most of them will be very disappointed, but this situation was really unavoidable.
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