Development Log #4

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LemonHaze

LemonHaze

Server Admin
Administrator
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Yes, MY OWN OPINION is that the Dragon Edition should be ditched, which is not the same as "telling them how to run things".

I'm yet to respond to your posts with proper effort, but why is Dragon Edition undeserving of a release? It has required next to no real artist work at all as we use the original models for that mode/edition, the only thing it highlights is what we (the team) wished we got from the 2018 d3t re-releases.

Phoenix Edition is clearly what everyone will be most excited for, but there will undoubtedly be people in the community who are just as excited for Dragon Edition, because they've seen the same areas, lit with the same lighting algorithms and outdated coding paradigms that even if it is just a "coat of paint", it's better than playing the exact same game, and I'd argue for that reason alone, it justifies its own existence, not like a project needs to.

Although we're not officially working on this as a AAA studio, with funding coming from SEGA, Epic Games, Sony, etc (as much as we'd love to), we're treating this very carefully. In order to properly remake the games, we'd have to know for sure exactly how the branching conversations work, at least know what some of the NPCs' schedules are (as they coincide with story elements) etc etc.

This is why Dragon Edition kinda serves to speed along Phoenix Edition, the only difference is that in Phoenix Edition, we have given ourselves the creative freedom to make changes that maybe we think would fit Shenmue better in 2021/2022.
 

sayuhhm

Never stray from yourself. She/Her
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Final Fantasy VIII / Judgment
Most people will have a hard time when someone shows up out of the blue saying "Half of this project sucks. This is the way I would do it, and by the way if its not done this way, it has no chance of succeeding (in my opinion)." Also why this obsession with their recruiting outcomes and outside funding? These are elements and requirements you are projecting onto a team whose internal workings and capacity you know nothing about.

A lot of your points are fine and valid and would have probably been taken a lot better if not for the extra spice. Also btw, no one here has any reason or responsibility to take anything you say with any weight, though your tone suggests you think otherwise. You seem like the "I may piss you off, but i know what im talking about and I'm just being honest" kind of guy - and I'll just tell you straight up: people hate that guy. You can call everyone over sensitive fan boys or whatever but the truth is its just off putting.

No amount of self confidence, experience or genuinely good ideas justifies bypassing general courtesy and excludes you from the responsibility of listening when multiple people tell you that you're off the mark for the same things.

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Cyberpunk 2077
I'm yet to respond to your posts with proper effort, but why is Dragon Edition undeserving of a release? It has required next to no real artist work at all as we use the original models for that mode/edition, the only thing it highlights is what we (the team) wished we got from the 2018 d3t re-releases.

Phoenix Edition is clearly what everyone will be most excited for, but there will undoubtedly be people in the community who are just as excited for Dragon Edition, because they've seen the same areas, lit with the same lighting algorithms and outdated coding paradigms that even if it is just a "coat of paint", it's better than playing the exact same game, and I'd argue for that reason alone, it justifies its own existence, not like a project needs to.

Although we're not officially working on this as a AAA studio, with funding coming from SEGA, Epic Games, Sony, etc (as much as we'd love to), we're treating this very carefully. In order to properly remake the games, we'd have to know for sure exactly how the branching conversations work, at least know what some of the NPCs' schedules are (as they coincide with story elements) etc etc.

This is why Dragon Edition kinda serves to speed along Phoenix Edition, the only difference is that in Phoenix Edition, we have given ourselves the creative freedom to make changes that maybe we think would fit Shenmue better in 2021/2022.
Thanks for your reply! We also got to clear things up on the Discord, where I rather keep the conversation going :)
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Cyberpunk 2077
Most people will have a hard time when someone shows up out of the blue saying "Half of this project sucks. This is the way I would do it, and by the way if its not done this way, it has no chance of succeeding (in my opinion)." Also why this obsession with their recruiting outcomes and outside funding? These are elements and requirements you are projecting onto a team whose internal workings and capacity you know nothing about.

A lot of your points are fine and valid and would have probably been taken a lot better if not for the extra spice. Also btw, no one here has any reason or responsibility to take anything you say with any weight, though your tone suggests you think otherwise. You seem like the "I may piss you off, but i know what im talking about and I'm just being honest" kind of guy - and I'll just tell you straight up: people hate that guy. You can call everyone over sensitive fan boys or whatever but the truth is its just off putting.

No amount of self confidence, experience or genuinely good ideas justifies bypassing general courtesy and excludes you from the responsibility of listening when multiple people tell you that you're off the mark for the same things.

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

How else can I phrase that, IN MY OPINION, I don't like half of the project? Please enlight me. I specified it's my personal taste and it has nothing to do with their skills.
And I never said it has NO chance to succeed, I said that it has a smaller chance (and it's already extremely ambitious).
EXCUSE ME if I'm trying to help them! How rude of me!

"You seem like the "I may piss you off, but i know what im talking about and I'm just being honest" kind of guy - and I'll just tell you straight up: people hate that guy."
People hate honest opinions that don't align with the majority, THAT'S the truth. I will rather be hated than sugarcoat my thought just in fear of hurting people's feelings.

"Nice" like everyone who mocked and disrespected me? Please... the extra spice came from everyone else first, I just replied with the same tone. I'm Italian, that's what we do.
I mostly see white knights with a savior complex here, only the admins (and the lead of the project) replied with reasonable politeness.
You guys created such a toxic fanboyism here that no one else is going to dare to post any kind of criticism. You are suffocating this project with kindness, congrats!
 

spud1897

Administrator
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Location
England
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Destiny 2, Shenmue HD ;)
PSN
spud19870
Thanks for the welcome! I'm glad you are following my project. Desert is going to happen, trust me! I was already deep into pre-production and I even hired a local photographer in Kenya to capture references and textures for the village at the beginning! It's just delayed because I want to do it properly, so I rather start with Forest for the reasons I listed in my Tweet.

As for the photorealism, Suzuki's team went as much photorealistic as they could with the Dreamcast hardware. And, to be honest, at the time it DID look real! The close-up of Lan Di's eyes is still burned into my brain.
I can guarantee you that you can keep the same aesthetics with high poly models. You can achieve A LOT with lighting and post-process. I mean, look at the real photos of Yokosuka and tell me you can feel the Shenmue atmosphere... you can't go higher poly than reality! ;)
Phoenix, IMHO, has to look like Shenmue III in order to justify its existence. Being able to borrow assets from it is another great point to go in that direction. You can't have a mix of elements with different levels of details (unless they aren't something you can look closely at), that would look wrong.
This whole project should be called Shenmue Kiwami, in my opinion, since it's exactly what you should be doing: remaking the first two graphically to match the third one (or make them look even better).
It should be closer to the original plan for the Shenmue HD remaster, which was scrapped in 2017. They attempted to increase the polygon count and the results were great (for that year's standards, obviously).

Burning Rangers tribute is literally a mod, in fact, it uses the Saturn data to run. I'm in touch with Andreas and he explained to me how he was able to decode the Saturn files to be read by Unity. He didn't change much in terms of shaders, he kept the same flat style. BR wasn't meant to be realistic in the first place, it was more an interactive anime like the intro suggested.
Burning Rangers Tribute is basically Shenmue HD and that's great (I actually missed the original game when it came out so this is very welcome).
To be honest, I'd love to see a full remake of Burning Rangers with today's graphics: imagine rooms lit by flames in real-time thanks to Lumen, filled with smoke made using FluidNinja, and overall a sci-fi realistic environment with co-op online modes... wow!

The closer example, also in terms of size and scope, is the Azel Resurrection project. I've been their first patron when they launched because I loved the art direction behind it. The dragon morphing and the flying demo video are also looking very promising. But I'm also busting their balls via Patreon on whatever I think it's not up to standard or matching PD style.
I understand that it was based on a Saturn game, not a Dreamcast one, but applaud them for starting from scratch and taking some artistic licenses here and there. It's an extremely ambitious project, but knowing what UE5 can do with Nanite (perfect for the rocky environments of Saga), Lumen (imagine the dynamic light changing when you cast a Berserk), World-partition (which would be useful for a Shenmue remake), etc. I can see how it's doable with a relatively small team.

A bunch of press doesn't say much because it's mostly due to the fact that's Shenmue, not because of the project itself. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. I say "we" because this is a harsh reality also for my own project. If I'd made a random rally game, with different car models, do you think I'd be having the following I had now? Definitely not. And Shenmue is fairly more popular than Sega Rally (and for good reasons).
I'm glad there is a team behind this, but I don't really see the results of that, sorry. I would understand if this was done by a single person, but knowing what can be achieved in UE in a relatively small amount of time, I'm far from being impressed.
Back in January, when I first discovered the project and I didn't know how to use UE and its potential, I thought it was good... now, not so much.
I'm sure those musicians are great but do we really need to add to or change Shenmue's music? It feels like another distraction, sorry.
And those character artists couldn't put together some faces made in MetaHuman, resembling NPCs from Shenmue? I hope to be blown away with the next batch of images and I hope I can take back whatever negative I said!

I'm not telling them how to run it, but where they should be headed in order to have a chance to actually pull this off.
I have a background in startups so I know how vital is to create a MVP and iterate upon it, especially to find talents and funding.
I'd rather have a simple Shenmue Photo Mode experience at first (perhaps call it "Yokosuka '86" or "Project Berkley" or something on those lines), where the various areas are rolling out as they are finished, something you can use as a base to redo the whole game later, renaming it Shenmue Kiwami if you get Suzuki-san's approval. This would be a smart approach and something both fans and Sega would appreciate.
It would make for a great demo and I'm positive you could also get an Epic MegaGrant with that, which would help to make the whole full project a reality.
The Virtual Photography community is huge so you can get more attention that way, with content directly made by fans!

I'm sure I didn't come off as friendly, but I rather piss people off than please everyone by sugarcoating my opinions.
I put the ego part because I'm not new to fan projects (I worked on MGS: Philanthropy back in 2006-2009, for example), so I know how some creators are regarding their own projects. If this is not the case, then great! I'm sure all my feedback can be helpful regardless if you actually use them or not. I personally rather read those kinds of comments for my own projects.

And you are also telling me this project has been going on for years? I'm sure the whole reverse engineering has been extremely time-consuming, but if those are the results maybe it's not the right approach and you are better off changing direction a bit now, no? I'm far from being an expert when it comes to coding, so I'm basing my comments on the images that have been released so far.
In a project, especially a passion one, nothing should be "set". That doesn't show flexibility. I'm not telling you to constantly change your mind on everything, but you should be able to adapt based on some new ideas/tools that come your way, to increase your chance of success. Lumen in UE5 allows you to do a day/night cycle, so perhaps do a short video about it?
If you have a plan, you should clearly expose it to your fans. So far I see amazing engineering skills, incredible passion, subpar artistic choices, and no clear goals in mind. This is very frustrating and I hate saying that.

I honestly would like to be involved, if the whole plan makes sense to me. I would be lying if this very project (and Azel R) didn't inspire me to start learning UE and then creating Over Jump. I actually joined this forum back in January to see if I could help with my VFX background. Then, I got busy with other stuff and I just came back... and you know the rest.
I'm sure we can be beneficial to each other's projects, as you mentioned.
I joined their Discord and I'll be sure to get in touch with them properly.
Again, I love the passion behind it and I'd love to re-experience Shenmue with new graphics standards, that's why I've been so direct. If I didn't see the potential, I wouldn't even bother to give feedback, let alone this detailed.

Thanks again for the welcome! Definitely no hard feelings! We are here as fans of the same adventure!
I've seen the chat has moved to the discord which is great and has actually gone beyond this exchange, apologies for the delayed reply btw I'd intended to reply last night but was working on a new interview for the podcast.

As I said there's nothing personal here at all. In fact the discord discussions seem to have evolved well beyond this and give more context to what you're trying to say.

I have to address the fanboysim and I'd invite anyone to see the discussions on Shenmue 3 to see that we encourage all debates. That's what I want here. Cordial, structured discussions. Sometimes things get out of hand but screw it.

Draw a line under it and we shall move towards Shenmue 4 and this project as a community.

My DM's are open if needed but hope to see you around a little more.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Cyberpunk 2077
I've seen the chat has moved to the discord which is great and has actually gone beyond this exchange, apologies for the delayed reply btw I'd intended to reply last night but was working on a new interview for the podcast.

As I said there's nothing personal here at all. In fact the discord discussions seem to have evolved well beyond this and give more context to what you're trying to say.

I have to address the fanboysim and I'd invite anyone to see the discussions on Shenmue 3 to see that we encourage all debates. That's what I want here. Cordial, structured discussions. Sometimes things get out of hand but screw it.

Draw a line under it and we shall move towards Shenmue 4 and this project as a community.

My DM's are open if needed but hope to see you around a little more.
I mean, it's a dojo, it's meant to have fights in it :) Even Ryo and GuiZhang started with a fight!

Thanks again for the support! We are all in this together, both as fans of the Shenmue series and fans of this specific project, no need to be mean to each other.
Peace!
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
Japan
Favourite title
Shenmue II
You guys created such a toxic fanboyism here that no one else is going to dare to post any kind of criticism. You are suffocating this project with kindness, congrats!
Criticism is welcome. Presenting your opinions as objective truths isn’t really criticism though, is it? It’s insulting to the development team, who, by the sound of it, are far more experienced than you when it comes to this kind of thing.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2018
Hi! Spanish fan here!

Amazing job!

A question. Are you planning to expand Yokosuka or add new locations? It would be marvelous.

Thanks for the work and for keeping Shenmue alive.

PD: My english is so poor. Sorry ;)
 
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Location
Slovenia/Croatia
Currently playing
Pokemon GO, Yandere Simulator, SCUM (the latter two are coming up - need a better comp)
Whoa, whoa, whoa, looks like that things have gotten a little out of hand and off topic here. Do note that @spud1897 and @LemonHaze are the admins around here and the Discord and they can go as far as banning/ignoring someone for their impudent behaviour. For someone to call someone else toxic just because they don't agree with you is insulting beyond the limit towards both the fans and the people involved with the project. We may be on the same boat when it comes to official Shenmue games, but to call the fans, who are literally burning themselves from stress trying to deliver something to people they care about as "lazy" is a major moral flaw.

Listen, I'm not here to argue or anything, but there are times when some people need to keep their biased opinions to themselves. I remember when there was a poll about both the Dragon and the Pheonix edition on which one people prefer to play. Even though both sides voiced their opinions, nobody said that the opposing side is wrong because you'll have a choice between both the Dragon and the Pheonix edition of the first two games. It's almost like Pokemon, where you have a choice between two different versions of the SAME game with minimum interferences. Except here, you choose between a "remaster" and a "remake" based on your personal liking.
 

Tentei

ライトニング
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Favourite title
Shenmue II
PSN
miraigaara
how about just shutting up @vfXander. that would be great. that's my two cents.
 
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