After The Fall: A New First Person Shooter For Dreamcast

If you're the type of gamer who prefers a mouse and keyboard to a controller, you're probably pretty au fait with the modding scene. And by extension, you're probably pretty familiar with the Quake engine and the notion of the 'total conversion.' For those not in the know, a total conversion is when you take the base engine of a particular title, and apply a whole new set of graphics over the top. Add new story elements, enemies, weapons and bespoke levels...and you have yourself a brand new adventure to enjoy.
After The Fall is one such example of this, and while the original game was released for the PC way back in 1997, the long mooted Dreamcast port drifted into message board obscurity. The good news is that After The Fall for Dreamcast is back with a bang, with technical obstacles removed and a full on release planned for the near future. The screens in this article are all taken from the Dreamcast version of After The Fall, and were supplied by Pip Nayler, the talented indie developer who has resurrected this long forgotten project.
The initial problem with getting After The Fall to run successfully on Dreamcast hardware came down to an issue with getting the game to fit into the console's RAM. However with work, Nayler has successfully managed to reduce the technical requirements and has the entire game now running on Sega's old warhorse. We spoke to Pip and asked what we can expect from this 'new to us' first person adventure:

"After The Fall is a total conversion of Quake that was originally released way back in 1997. It's been mentioned on Dreamcast message boards before, but nobody has ever really played it on the console as it doesn't fit in to the Dreamcast's RAM without modification. Also, the Quake community largely considers ATF fun, but hampered by bugs and some low quality artwork. My goal is to help the game gain some new recognition and give the Dreamcast community something new to play, whilst also also allowing me to get reacquainted with Quake modding.

"Lowering the texture resolution has allowed me to fit the game in to memory, and it is now playable from start to finish, but my aim is to build upon the original game and make it something really special for the community. As such, I'll be replacing some of the assets from the original game, bug fixing where possible, writing a new backstory for it, and creating some all new levels to help tell the story and make the game feel more connected."
- Pip Nayler, After The Fall Dreamcast developer

It's worth noting that like Rizzo Island, this Dreamcast port wouldn't be possible without the Makaqu engine from mankrip. From the screens we've seen so far, After The Fall looks like it's shaping up to be a pretty interesting shooter, and Pip has hinted that there could also be some online multiplayer aspects built in to the game. What's also worth noting is that After The Fall will be released for free, along with cover art mimicking all three of the main Dreamcast regions.
It's still relatively early days, but we're quite optimistic about this one, especially as the whole game is successfully running on the Dreamcast. As ever, we'll be keeping a close eye on After The Fall and when the time comes for us to take a look at a preview build, we'll let you know how it plays. You can find Pip Nayler on Twitter, so if you'd like to keep abreast of development, drop him a follow.

Does the thought of a new first person shooter for Dreamcast excite you as much as it does us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter or in our Facebook group.


DCGX said...

Ooph. That looks like an early PS1 game. By release, does this mean it's like a retail release, or will be freeware?

hoogafanter said...

The lower resolution is kinda rough on the eyes...

Might be a dumb question, but will it being in such a low resolution mess with VGA compatibility?

Anthony817 said...

@DCGX It will be a free ISO.

@hoogafanter, There is a new version of Quake coming called Quake World that looks really good. It will have fully working online multiplayer too. I am sure this could be ported to that version of the engine.

Also, not sure why he didn't go with the Titanium Studios port of Quake, it is fully hardware accelerated and has amazing 480p graphics. Mankrips Quake uses 100% software rendering, so it tends to not look as pretty as the PC version or the other port. Highlight the link below and press ctrl + C to copy the link and then press ctrl + v to paste it into your browser so you can download that from dcevo site. Just check it out for yourself ans see how beautiful Quake 1 can look on DC.

DCGX said...

Gotcha. Nice.

Maybe he isn't aware of the other Quake engines?

Tom Charnock said...

It will be released for free, as per the article. Pip tells me this is a way of brushing up on his modding skills with a potential view to creating a new retail game in the future.

pcwzrd13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pcwzrd13 said...

@Anthony817 The source code for the Titanium Studios port has never been released.

Anthony817 said...

That's right I forgot complex mods can't be ported to it. Still pretty sure Shouma's port of Quake World is going to be worth looking into to see how beautiful it can be. If he can get hardware acceleration working, and then fully working online, it will revolutionize the DC homebrew/indie/modding community.

Pip Nayler said...

I'm pleased to say that the game does indeed support the VGA cable, which is how I've been playing it.

I'm also happy to explain why the game is running on Makaqu over any of the other Quake Engine ports.

Firstly, Makaqu is the result of years of work, and I believe it to be a testament to the positives of the homebrew scene. It came after similar ports such as RADQuake and nxQuake, and includes features that they do not.

For Titanium's QuakeDC, the source was only made available to licensed Dreamcast developers and cannot be released publicly as it includes Microsoft libraries. And, as any release including the compiled binary needs to include it's source in order to comply with the license that the Quake source code was released under, I would be breaking the GPL were I to release with QuakeDC.

Also, the VM support in QuakeDC is highly inefficient, with a single save state able to fill a card in larger levels, and even crash the game in extreme circumstances. This is not very user friendly.

And though QuakeDC does make use of hardware rendering, which does look fantastic, it actually uses more RAM than Makaqu, due to it's use of Windows CE. As such, only select levels from ATF will load, and I am unable to split the larger maps in to separate smaller ones as the relevant files were never released, meaning that large sections of the game would need to be completely re-built.

HexQuake is a mod of QuakeDC that does free up some RAM, but not enough for ATF to run.

Whilst I am very excited to try Shuouma's port of QuakeWorld, it is a multiplayer only engine, with no support for single player games. In fact, I am more interested in his multiplayer enabled build of Makaqu, which would likely be better suited to low latency setups, but should allow for co-op and deathmatch modes to be added to ATF.

DCQuake, by bero, includes the option of a hardware renderer, but it is broken, with missing polygons. Interestingly, he used a screenshot of ATF to highlight the memory limits of his software renderer, but that also has some issues.

Finally, DreamPlaces, a partial port of the DarkPlaces engine, looks great but is incomplete, and so is not suited to full development without first advancing the engine.

In short, I appreciate that everyone has different expectations, but all I can say is that game development is difficult and time consuming; with the seemingly obvious choice not always being workable.

I really do want to make something cool for the community, so thank you for the feedback, and I only hope that you will all try playing the game once it's available for download. Of course, I do understand that my port of ATF wont interest everyone.

blondejon said...

PiP thank you so much for your awesome hardwaork in bringing this to the community

Anthony817 said...

Wow thanks for the detailed reply Pip! While I can only speak for myself, I was going to play it regardless as I have followed Makaqu development for years so not turned off by the engine as it really is the most advanced port we have thus far.

I am super glad people like you are still making experiences for us for the Dreamcast. Any new projects like that I will always support, especially FPS games!

Also, the aesthetic that mods have in Makaqu makes them super retro looking like the retro indie shooter called Dusk which has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam. It looks similar to this graphically as it is obviously replicating mid 90's FPS games. So while it is nice tot have hardware acceleration, it still looks charming in the current aesthetic.

Thanks for bringing this experience over to the DC fully optimized for it! Seriously can't wait to play it! Following you on Twitter now too to stay up to date with development!

NightHydra said...

Ok... Wierd Elephant Smoking a Cigarette in the Corner:

Will it be compliant with the Panther DC?? (Maybe in Panther Mode?)

Pip Nayler said...

Hey guys, thanks for the kind words; it's so much easier to stay motivated when you know that you're creating something of interest. Much appreciated!

As for the Panther controller, I can't say for sure as I don't own one, but it likely depends on how the hardware treats the trackball. ATF is running on Makaqu version 1.5.1, so please let me know if you give it a try, and keep in mind that buttons can be reassigned from the options menu.