To BigWorld or not to BigWorld ...
Published on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 22:55
Anyone who knows a little bit about the MMO indie scene knows that BigWorld is a fantastic engine. "World of Tanks" didn't grab it without reason. But since that time the indie-support (or the support in general) for BigWorld is practically dead. The engine is no longer being developed or supported in any way for the free market. So the engine ages slowy, which can be seen in several places. For example, you absolutely need an outdated CentOS release on the server side. It is hard to find a commercial provider that still supports that release. Hetzner does, but even there you can have the it only via a detour.
All this is isn't a problem in itself. But Versalis is based on BigWorld. An so it becomes a problem (-;
So all in all not a good sign for a still young indie project like Versalis. Although BigWorld is a really good engine (or rather "was"). But how long will it still exist? And for how long is it reasonable to have this outdated CentOS release? Lots of pros and cons. Therefore, the decision was not easy, whether BigWorld is to remain the engine of choice, or whether it's better to make a painful break than draw out the agony.
After some haggling and even more trying things out, with a heavy heart the decision was made to do leave BigWorld and try something new.
The "new" thing should be a future-proof, proven technology with many completed projects and a broad and active community.
At the end, after much research and many "trial versions" two pairs remained: Unity/Photon and Unity/Smartfox. Since Photon is only available on Windows-Servers (leading to slight panic attacks on my side), the final choice was easy: Versalis will be developed with Unity/Smartfox.
Recently the client and server side setup of the new platform was in the foreground, as well as also the first (stumbling) steps. As usual, the new setup has its downsides (C/S integration is not nearly as comfortable as in BigWorld) but also many bright spots (wonderfully clean and transparent engines; endless scripting possibilities, C# and Java instead of Python).
The decision therefore has fallen, and the new infrastructure works; client and server can already talk to each other. So the project can continue on a new platform.
I do hope the situation is not as bad as it sounds - I know the history of Vision's engine changes/updates...