A few words on Redux

We’re often asked whether the original game will get a patch, and indeed this was one of the first ideas we pursued in the aftermath of the brand relaunch.

The version you can currently buy on Steam is the same as the last one Red Redemption uploaded before they finally closed their doors in 2011. The only progression subsequent to this occurred a couple of years later in 2013, when a community member called Delnar Ersike released an unofficial patch for the base game he’d been working on as a personal project.

Delnar’s work remedied many outstanding bugs in the game scripts, and also made some long-desired improvements, such as displaying numerical card effects to the player. However, there were many parts of the game that remained inaccessible to Delnar, which frustrated many of his more advanced proposals.

Come late 2015, Soothsayer had announced that work on a sequel had started, and the directors were considering how to make best use of the resources at their disposal. It was very early days for the company, with a new team to build, and many uncertainties to resolve. As part of improving our capabilities, giving the original game an official patch seemed like a pretty good idea.

With that in mind, it was clear that Delnar, with his remarkable understanding of the game and prior experience, would be a great person to have involved. Fortunately, he had independently heard news of the brand relaunch, and he established contact himself. Together we began exploring what cooperation might be possible.

Another person we had got in touch with was Richard, one of the Red Redemption programmers who had worked on the original game. He too felt the desire to make advances on the 2011 version, and we welcomed the chance to add his expertise to the team.

With both these talents on board, we felt we had a chance at rebuilding the old game code, making a completely new version possible. Internally, we christened the project “Redux”, and explored what exciting advancements we might achieve.

Delnar had never been able to patch the DLCs for the original, so fusing Delnar’s improvements with the Tipping Point version was the first basic goal. If we achieved that, then other previously-impossible things became doable too. Localised versions, with non-Latin alphabets, for example. Unlocking the code for modding, so we could have ongoing product support. Bugfixing, new scenarios, and data revisions, all looked to be feasible. Indeed, it got to the stage at Soothsayer where interest in Redux was nearly rivalling that in FOTWO.

By early 2016, we felt nearly ready to inform the community about what was going on. The project seemed to be going well: we had the source code in an online repository, with Richard and Delnar making great inroads on getting the code to compile. Momentum and excitement were building.

However, it became rapidly apparent that we had a major problem: the task was far more complex than any of us involved had conceived.

The game code, even though it is only six years old, is the product of a vanished time and place. The systems it was built on, the networked studio environment of servers, development tools, and software libraries that Red Redemption’s talented team had assembled in over a decade of making computer games, are no longer in existence.

Delnar and Richard tried extremely hard to rebuild a functional approximation of the Red Redemption development environment, but even with modern coding tools, the task was Herculean. The original game had been programmed in an extraordinarily intricate manner, created as it was before the days of Unity and its fellow middleware platforms, which were just beginning to appear on the scene.

The Fate of the World development did make use of an early version of the OGRE platform, it is true, but this was not the only tool used. The game scripting was in the LUA language, while the game designers used an online tool developed internally with Python to implement the different scenarios, card designs, and game events (these were the bits that were accessible to Delnar). Finally, the project also made use of Red Redemption’s bespoke User Interface code, which had evolved with them over their many projects, and which required a very high level of experience and expertise to make work.

Delnar and Richard – both of whom had limited time to contribute – eventually were forced to admit that the immensity of the task was beyond what was possible under their contracts, and with regret we decided to mothball the whole project.

The proposal does remain theoretically possible, but would require us to dedicate at least one full-time programmer to the task. That’s not something Soothsayer could do last year, and it’s not something we can do right now. It is, though, something we may be able to do in future.

As we’ve said before, the year ahead is critical for Soothsayer; it’s our best chance yet at getting FOTWO into full-time development, and seeing it through to completion. When and if that is underway, the prospect of renovating the original game may once again become feasible. Many of us here would love to see that eventuality come to pass.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next week, with more updates on how the MVP ratification is going.

The Fate team