This is something I've been thinking about for a few hours. Not sure to what extent it's actually possible, but the idea is one I'm certainly considering. This topic mostly addresses lovers of city racing games, and those who'd like to see such a thing happening in Open Source. Ok, so let's start from the beginning, as to where I'm trying to get:
Although I like circuit racing games, I'm mostly a fan of city racing sims (eg: Need For Speed, from Underground on). Those where you do illegal street races, race against gang members with customized cars, and sometimes get the police chasing you. There aren't many out there, and the only Open Source racing games I could find (very few) are circuit ones.
Since there's no such open source game yet, I've been thinking of making my own. But I'm hardly a C++ coder, and barely capable of modeling and texturing. So I considered modifying one of the existing open source vehicle games into something city-like, possibly by using existing free assets. Until now, I aimed projects such as vDrift or Torcs / Speed Dreams for that. But today, after some good thinking on the matter, I got to the conclusion that the Ultimate Stunts engine would be most suitable for something like that.
It might sound weird at first, but there are several reasons why I believe this. The first and foremost is that using US's model placement feature and map editor, people could easily make their own cities. Imagine having an editor in Need For Speed that would allow you to place the buildings and roads as you wish, and build your own urban worlds and races. In US, people could place buildings where they want, highways and tunnels anywhere around them, and create almost anything. I believe this would be a highly loved feature among city racing game fans.
Another reason why I'm considering Ultimate Stunts is performance. Other open-source racing engines I know of are not optimized for large spaces, and don't have proper draw distance limiting. If I'd attempt making a big world there, it would render tons of surfaces, and performance would be unbearable. It would also have to load the whole city as a single mesh… how horrid is that :P In US however, each mesh and its texture would be loaded only once, while being placed in 1000 places if the mapper wishes, which would reduce loading times and file sizes a lot. So far, US is the only open source sim I know of that can do this with meshes.
Those are the deepest technical reasons why I'd choose US (or an engine that works like it) for a city racing game. The biggest thing that gets in the way however, is my inability to model, as well code in C++ to a reasonable level. To make a city in Ultimate Stunts, there would likely not be any need for code changes in a first phase. But it would certainly require the work of a good modeler, willing to create high quality models of industrial / commercial / residential buildings, city streets / bridges / tunnels, and anything you'd find in a big city. That's mostly what I feel would be the biggest stopper.
To give a better feel of what exactly I have in my mind, here are some examples from other sims of this genre:
Now don't get me wrong. I know such detail would be almost impossible with a manual model placement system (and that no one would likely be willing to put as much effort to make them as good). And gameplay / feature wise, Ultimate Stunts is still far from anything that big. But the idea is still very appealing to me. And I'm certain that something like this could be a big success, if it would continue into something more than just a mod. After all, I think the internet needs an open source street racing game by now! If no one would mind a fork of Ultimate Stunts, in case this idea would go as far as that eventually.
Coding would of course be needed to add features such as customizable cars (with skins and so on), traffic cars on roads, etc. But at this moment, I'm most curious about seeing some good city titles, that mappers can place around the current Ultimate Stunts and drive on. Which is one of the main purposes of this topic, actually.
I'd like to ask anyone interested in such a project if they are willing to give their try at making some *detailed* city buildings and roads, and exporting them in Ultimate Stunts title format. I'm no modeler, and could likely not manage something like this. But if anyone can make good titles, I'd be more than willing to start making a city with them, and expanding it as more content becomes available. Like I said, what I'd need most are buildings, city roads (eg: 4 lanes with sidewalks), new highway and tunnel titles, and other areas you can drive through (such as construction sighs or parks). If anyone tries making such models, please post them here as well (the models would of course need to be GPL).
So well, that's mostly what I wanted to say on the matter for now. I'd like to hear if anyone is interested in the idea, and wishes to try contributing for this purpose. Please also link anyone who you think might be interested or could contribute, and show them this topic. Let me know what you think :)
Aww, no ideas anyone? I'd like to hear some input about this. Do you believe it would work (knowing the engine better than me)? And can anyone try and make a bunch of placeable models for this purpose? Maybe know some modelling tutorials for Ultimate Stunts with Blender, and how to export meshes for the track editor from it?
You're posting in the wrong place to get feedback. Next-to-nobody reads the Ultimate Stunts forum. You want to post this in a busier forum e.g. the FreeGameDev forums.