How did KaM Remake appeared? I’m going to write a series of articles on that topic. Here’s the first one – about the background. To write this I had to actually dig up some old forum archives and ask few friends to check me.
I need to come up with a development plan and features list.
For now I code features randomly.
Back in 2007 I was half-way into on my second attempt to create KaM map editor, tool that would allow to create maps with ease by using brushes and being completely WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Back in those days there were several map editing tools, but they hardly could be called “user friendly”:
(Screenshots from Jan van Kranendonk’s and Quage’s terrain editors)
One of the KaM “elders”, The Barbarian was up to the task of making a handy editor, but sadly he had abandoned it back in 2005. Only a few “work-in-progress” screenshots remained. The Barbarians editor looked promising and well thought.
Seeing this and having a background in 3D modelling and programming with OpenGL I knew how to make an editor that would show terrains looking close to original game, something that none of the editors had. Also I was eager to try making an RTS editor for a change (doing racing game tools for several years before that). To sum this up, KaM Editor had no real competitors in sight and a clear development plan. What else would it need? My main concern at that time was “would anyone still want to make maps for such an old game?”.
During that time KaM community was nowhere as near as active as today, separated into several local communities each speaking in its own language. Last KaM was released in 2001 and by 2007 everything looked close to decaying. Decoding the map format and resource files was a big deal, there was little public info. I had to dig through binary codes and foreign forums in languages I did not understand. There were no evident clues that when the KaM Editor was made it would be used. However during development I kept on posting status updates in most forums and got a positive feedback from members. That kept the project alive.
While doing that I have discovered there was an interesting but abandoned project – OpenKaM (not a relative to openkam briefly active in 2009). I was a big fan of open-source projects and remakes (and still am), so I was genuinely sad that it didn’t work out. Too bad there was not even a screenshot of it. There was not much info about it at all, but the name.
There was another project that was semi-active back then – KaM TKE (The Kingdom Expanded) created by Harold. From what I know TKE was started in 2006. The first screenshots looked good and Harold did some promising statements about his plans, but the project was often on ice and did not advanced much over 2 years till 2008.
2006-2008 was a time of establishing true KaM “modding scene”. In March 2008, the KaM Editor was mostly functional, terrain and height brushes allowed to edit terrain like an oil painting on canvas. Thanks to Chinese programmer (freeSMSkam) mission script files were decoded and people started to make mission script editors. One of them was Lewin, who was making a “Mission Editor” that allowed to edit mission scripts visually. Both Lewins and my editors were programmed in Delphi, so it is just natural that we had some talks about merging them into one complete terrain and script editor. KaM map editing scene looked well and healthy with mapmakers starting to rise.
There was just one big problem – KaM itself. It was mostly a single-player game, riddled with bugs and locked to just a few screen resolutions, without support of add-on maps.
to be continued …
P.S. Everything described above was happening 5-7 years ago, I might have misplaced some details inadvertently. Please feel free to correct me in comments!