Behind the Scenes of the Remake

Dear Community,

Today, we invite you on an exclusive journey behind the scenes of our remake. Let’s start with a look back:

In June 2023, you experienced an initial prototype on Proxima Island, developed in a short time by a small team. Despite its imperfections, this prototype was a crucial springboard for engaging with you and understanding your expectations.

This prototype was built using Unreal Engine 5, with an almost manual reconstruction of the island. Faced with the challenge of replicating this method for a larger world in a limited time, we opted for a complete overhaul of the game, based on new foundations. But what is the nature of these new foundations?

The answer lies in the work of Sébastien Viannay, a developer on the original games, as well as the mobile port. It was during the work on the latter that Seb developed a small tool to setup the pathfinding – that is, the ability to tap a point on the screen and have Twinsen follow that direction. This tool interprets the original game’s data to reconstruct the level and identify obstacles.

This tool opened a new world for us: using the original game’s data in a modern game engine. In practice, all the game logic (quests, dialogues, levels, even animations) is in the form of data. By importing it into a new engine, we can not only faithfully reproduce the game but also reinvent it.

The only hiccup in this story? Seb developed this tool on Unity 😅. After attempting to transfer this tool to Unreal, we made the strategic decision to migrate to Unity during last summer.

How We Are Developing the Remake

Our adventure thus continues on Unity, leveraging the original data. Here are the key steps of our project:

  1. Transposition of the Original Game into Unity: Our goal is to preserve the essence and logic of the original game. One of the major challenges lies in adapting the original scenes to geographical continuity, an aspect we will detail in a dedicated article.
  2. Drawing Inspiration from the Unreal Prototype to Perfect Twinsen’s Movements and Controls: We aim to enhance the gameplay experience while remaining true to the original.
  3. Enriching the Narrative: We plan to adjust certain sequences of the game, such as reducing the repetitive back-and-forth between the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
  4. Reconstruction of the Islands in 3D with a New Art Direction: We are reimagining the islands to offer a unique visual experience.
  5. Recreation of All Characters and Animations: Each character and animation will be redone to meet our current quality standards.

Importing Original Data into Unity

In the video below, you will discover how the import of a scene from the original game is reproduced in Unity. Please activate subtitles to understand what hides behind the hood.

In this video, we are showing the tool we developed to import the data of the original game. We don’t use the original textures in the final game. It’s only to help us in our development.

Discover how we import scenes into Unity

In our next article, we will explain the challenge of geographical continuity.

See you soon!

19 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes of the Remake”

  1. Johannes Riecken

    I can see how that’s a nice tool, and how it’s difficult to port a tool from one engine to another using only one developer who can’t easily get outside help, but that seems like a costly step only to get pathfinding? Are there any additional benefits? Is your developer as versed in Unity as in Unreal Engine? All the best!

    1. I love the transparency of this and the devlog style of keeping us fans who played the original updated. Please don’t listen to those that state the battle of UE5 vs Unity…its not the engine at the end of the day its the team that use it to its best and their best. It won’t take away anything for LBA as Unity can easily do what is needed for this game in the best way. Can’t wait for more updates.

  2. It might be too early for me to truly judge this but..
    Moving from UE5 to Unity is such a huge downgrade, it does look cool and all but no! UE5 is 1000% better than Unity, LBA was my first game ever and now that I’m a video game developer myself and worked both Unity and UE5, UE5 just takes the cake every time.

    I feel for this project now.
    But I will give it time, I still have hope.

      1. For one thing, not being ripped off by Unity and their terrible rep and damage they caused to themselves last year.

    1. “UE5 is 1000% better than Unity”

      This is bollocks. Both Unity and Unreal are incredible game engines when it comes to game dev. They’re different tools for different purpose albeit the fact both could achieve the same thing in the end with minor differences. For a game like the original LBA series and the size of their team, I can say in this case that Unity is a better choice.

      1. “could achieve the same thing in the end with minor differences”
        Lumen and Nanite would like a word..
        The technical advantage is just too great.

        1. Why would a highly-stylized and cartoony remake of a visually simple isometric game from the 90s need Lumen and Nanite? Those tools are for making ultra-realistic hyper-detailed environments. LBA is neither of those things.

  3. I love the transparency behind your posts an keeping us updated about the (probably not so easy) decisions you take on your way.
    I’m always excited to see new updates from you. Keep pushing, you’ve got this!

  4. This is some very great news on many aspects. First choosing Unity as the engine makes much more sense considering the size of your team and that it’s a remake of the original LBA series.

    While the alpha of Proxima was interesting, I don’t think it was exactly the game we were wishing for. From what I understand from this blog post here is that you’re taking another direction for the art. I hope that it’ll be closer to the original game!

    I know that this was just a behind the scenes video but it was very pleasing to see the original prison in the editor with lightning and shadows.

    I’m so happy right now!

  5. I trust whatever you do will be best for your studio. But aren’t there benefits going with Unreal Engine, like Epic taking a smaller cut from sales if you go with their game engine, especially on the Epic Store?

    Because of the nature of the game (the old school isometric view), how do you plan on integrating the maps. For example, will all the areas on Citadel Island still be split into separate 3D areas with loading screens or will an entire island be one big area. I think in 2024 and Unity, that should be easy enough to pull off. Heck, I would think the entire game would be easily able to fit into one single 3D environment in the game as this visual level. Look at the size of the world of Genshin Impact, with 2 second loading screens when you fast travel lol.

    And if the game does use an isometric view, would be possible to crank details like lighting and shadows and volumetric stuff up to 100? Really make these environments stand out with modern, built in, engine features.

  6. I don’t think the back and forth between islands is bad. On the contrary, the old islands received a new meaning in the second half of the game. A real problem of the second half of LBA was that sabotaging the factories wasn’t that interesting.
    I love the tool you showed. I’m still not convinced about the modern indie art direction you have chosen because it contradicts the oppressive tone of the dictatorship shown in the first game.

  7. Amazing work there. Thank you very much. LBA was one of my all time favorites as a kid. Both LBA 1 & 2.
    I’m a full stack developer, but have no xp in both unity and UE5. And if I can contribute to this project in any field, would love to. Rock on!

  8. It has become impossible to follow this project. I have no idea where it’s headed, and how you want to get there.

  9. Amazing work! It would be nice to also have an option in the game to play with the original textures but in a remastered way (remastered textures)..

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