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My Cyberpunk RPG project (Top-down/Fallout 3/Dreamweb)

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by Cherno, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Hello all,

    I'd like to start a development thread about the game project I'm currently (privately) working on. Normally, I only do this once I have a playable demo ready, but this time, I want to present my work earlier to get feedback and discuss ideas.

    What's this all about?

    There is an annoying and quite frankly surprising lack of Cyberpunk RPGs out there, even though the genre has been around for decades. The TableTop medium has been served rather well with Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, and various sourcebooks for popular systems like D20 and Savage Worlds. Cyberpunk Videogames, however, are few and far between, especially if one only counts "true" Cyberpunk games which feature more than one or two elements of the genre. It becomes even worse when further narrowing down the perspective and only looking for RPGs, with the Deus Ex series maybe the closest we get, although it's very light on the RPG side of things.

    My motto has always been "If no one else does it, you have to do it yourself!" So after working on multiple projects in the last two years and learning programming in C# and developing in Unity, and with prior experience in Photoshop and 3D Studio Max, I started working on my own Cyberpunk RPG.

    I generally like the low-key approach when it comes to the Cyberpunk genre. The technology, dystopian atmosphere, etc. shouldn't be in your face and flashy; it should be there, but in the background, and common people have accepted it as a normal part of their everyday life. Twenty seconds into the future.

    Outline:

    To describe the game in a few words: Top-down perspective with a pixel-art semi-realistic style strongly inspired by the 1992 Amiga & PC adventure game Dreamweb. Real-time combat akin to Hotline Miami. A full RPG system copied from Fallout 3, with added cyberware options (and other stuff specific to the genre, like the Matrix/Cyberspace).

    Why a top-down game?

    Simple: I have tried my hand at different art styles and perspectives in the past, and low-resolution top-down sprites are the easiest to create for a single developer like me. There's nothing I would love more than a first-person Cyberpunk RPG, but the Cyberpunk 2077 game by CD Project Red is far, far out and doing something like this myself is not possible in a reasonable amount of time. First-person means that models need to be highly detailed so they look good up close, and then there are the additional steps such as the creation of normal maps and whatnot. Isometric would look nice as well, but it's still a lot of work to do everything in 3D.

    What I got so far:

    Movement & shooting is implemented, as well as the inventory system including dropping items and containers (shelves, trash cans etc). Equipped guns can be reloaded with the right ammo, and weapon mods such as surpressors and laser sights can be attached. Doors open and close and reveal/obscure rooms, simulating a fog of war. Items like armor and weapons can be equipped/worn.

    What is on the near-term To-Do-List:

    More weapon types like shotguns and explosives (so far I only have a pistol and a SMG). Different ammo types (HP, AP, Flechette). Traveling to different locations. Saving & loading. Interactions with other characters (NPCs), like a weapons dealer. Combat. Cyberware, including a Reflex Booster thingy that slows down time during combat. Consumables (Trauma patches, drugs).

    The mid-to-far To-Do-List:

    Quests. Enemy AI. Lockpicking and other skill checks (minigames?). The Matrix/Cyberspace, so doors can be opened and cameras/turrets opened/deactivated by hacking a nearby terminal. Making all playstyles fun and viable (shooty/stealthy/talky/hacky/any combination).

    The eye candy (Click for bigger versions):

    Shootin' up a crummy bar, with some items lying around (for testing purposes).


    The pistol has been fitted with a laser sight, and the inventory screen is open, with indicators for equipped items. It is a clone of the inventory system from Fallout 3, including the filter icons.



    Disclaimer:

    The character and item sprites are mine, everything else is ripped straight from Dreamweb and should be considered placeholders to show the style I'm aiming at. BTW, Dreamweb is freeware and available for ScummVM, so if you like a dark Cyberpunk-horror adventure, consider trying it out.

    How to handle hacking & Cyberspace

    What I'm not too sure about right now is how Cyberspace and hacking should be represented; there are two extremes as far as I am concerned:

    1. The full Cyberspace experience with a seperate, virtual reality. Seen in System Shock 1, Beneath a Steel Sky, Bloodnet, and Shadowrun on the Sega Genesis. Bloodnet has a very cool art style for the Cyberspace segments; a background of purple and blue clouds, and avatars, icons etc. in chrome. Shadowrun might have the most RPG-ish Cyberspace representation: You actually go from node to node and use your programs to attack or sneak by ICE looking like abstract geometric forms.

    2. The other extreme is a bare-bones approach, mostly done via minigames; Think of Bioshock and System Shock 2 with it's pipe-laying-game, Deus Ex 1 with simply had a green bar filling up and a button "Hack", and Shadowrun on the SNES had a top-down view where you just went from tile to tile and node to node and busted ICE along the way to the DataStore. Meh. As a side note, the mid-90s top-down shooter "Project Paradise" has a hacking mechanic as well, and here you could see to which devices a terminal was connected by looking for bright lines running between both. A similar feature was planned for Shadowrun Returns, where Deckers were supposed to have a special ability which let them view a Matrix overlay in the real world. It was scrapped during development, unfortunately.

    I'm currently planning to to the full-on approach, with the usual overhead perspective as in the rest of the game, featuring importance of skills, programs and cyberdeck stats of the Sega Genesis Shadowrun, and the visuals of Bloodnet's Cyberspace. This would allow for encounters in a whole new world, with rogue AIs appearing in the deep blackness of the Matrix and communicating with you, or an exclusive virtual club for hardcase hackers (Shadowrun's ShadowLand, and that club I don't remember the name of from Snow Crash).

    Anything else?

    Not at the moment, but I would be glad to read your ideas, criticism / feedback. What would you like to see in a Cyberpunk RPG? Oh, and if you would like to help in any way, I'm always open for collaboration, especially in the art and sound departments :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  2. Cherno

    Cherno

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    The Cyberspace from Bloodnet:



    A Matrix mockup I made long ago for a Shadowrun VTT (Virtual TableTop) campaign:



    The Matrix from the Sega Genesis Shadowrun game:



    Beneath a Steel Sky:

     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  3. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Today's progress: overhauling the attack and weapon system so weapons that fire bursts or multiple projectile at once are possible (Shotguns).

    The Militech Crusher, as seen in the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer.
    An automatic shotgun in 20 gauge that is the size of a large pistol. Kicks like a mule but it delivers a nasty slug in a small package. Good for taking down those cyberpsychos ;)

     
  4. impheris

    impheris

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    in te 80's/90's the games were pixelated due to the technology of that time, come on... someone made a game like that and was cool, the old times and stuff but everyone wanted to copy and its boring already (please enough -.-) you have a nice idea, but you are working with a "trite" (google traductor) art...
     
  5. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I'm not sure what to make of your post since I didn't understand it :) Who made a game like that? I'm dying to find out since I searched far and wide and nowhere did I find such a game, which was the reason I started working on it in the first place :) I also don't know what you mean by "trite" art and google traductor (I assume you mean gogle translator) didn't help me with that either.
     
    tiskolin likes this.
  6. 3CIngenious

    3CIngenious

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    So sory to cut in, i aint an expert im even a noob in his industry, but for me clone copy or not most important part is that u were able to attain your goal and @Cherno did an awesome job, everybodys entitled to his/her opinion though peace :)
     
  7. Rokkimies

    Rokkimies

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    Hello, it's nice to see someone working around Cyberpunk theme, since it's quite small scaled business. Shame really that it is. I've been playing around with the idea, but I think the atmosphere is hard to "get right", which might be one of the reasons it's somewhat avoided genre.

    I've always loved hacking games and while they aren't exactly cyberpunk always, the basics come back to computers and internet technology we had at 80's ans principles still stay. So everything you do and call it node and mirror the real life routers, LAN and stuff will keep you at right tracks at least. If you want to go in depth with hacking, you might want to take a look at

    Uplink PC game

    it's pretty innovative about hacking. I guess a lot depends how deep you want to focus on it really. I think that it should differ from the "real life" gameplay for variety at least.

    Back in the days I would have gone crazy about the game you're making, you know, it looks really good so far. I see you've put some effort in graphics. Actually I'm interested, how did you do the artwork?
     
  8. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I only put effort in the graphics as far as ripping them from in-game screenshots of Dreamweb and pasting them into Photoshop and cleaning them up is concerned ;) Only the character and item sprites are by me, everything else is a placeholder. Just today I played Shadowrun (the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game) for inspiration and I already created a new bar tileset from scratch so I can replace what's on the screenshot above. Speaking of this game, I really like the way the Matrix is realized, even though most programs are useless it's still pretty much a game-within-a-game (as opposed to a minigame like in Bioshock or System Shock 2). I plan to go down this route. It's just so much fun meeting Mr. Johnson, accepting a Matrix run, and then hacking some system, downloading valueable data files from the datastore nodes while evading ICE... Great times.

    I think I have Uplink in my Steam library, you are the second person that has suggested it to me, maybe it's time to finally play it :)
     
  9. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I started to doubt the top-down orthographic view so I spent the last week recreating the bar in 3D, with a low-poly style that is reminiscient of mid-90s FPS, while keeping Dreamweb's pixel art style for the textures.





     
  10. Cherno

    Cherno

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    First render from inside Unity:



    Some fog was added for that crummy bar atmosphere ;)

    Bonus points if you can spot the "Fifth Element" reference!
     
    Rodolfo-Rubens and jister like this.
  11. SoftwareWorkshop

    SoftwareWorkshop

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    I really like the art style on the last screenshot. Looks really nice. Keep up the good work :D
    And I can't find the FE reference ;)
     
  12. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Thanks. It is in the upper left corner ;)
     
  13. theNinjaUnicorn

    theNinjaUnicorn

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    This is super cool. Are you going to stick with the top down perspective?
    Also, I´d be very interested in joining in on the project as a level designer :)

    Cheers and keep at it :)
    Patrick
     
  14. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Hello and thank you for your message. I'm on the fence regarding the perspective. I really like the top-down view but I always reach a point when developing games where I want to include something that the current gameplay doesn't allow. For example, what if I wanted to include a sniper rifle? The top-down perspective would make the scope and long range accuracy meaning less even if the view could be scrolled. Things like taking cover are also harder to do because it wouldn't always be apparent to the player if an object is high enough to provide cover or not. I'm currently mainly creating models so I can postpone finding an answer to that question a bit more :)

    As for designing levels, I might come back to you on that, but at the moment the game is not in a stage where designing levels would be fruitful; too much can change and I haven't created a level editor yet :)

    I really like the level design in Kingpin: Life of Crime and the original Syndicate.
     
  15. Seba313

    Seba313

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    Hi, any progress? Sniper mode can be solved in a few different ways with your camera perspective.
     
  16. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Hello! Just the day before yesterday I tok another look at the last image I posted (top-down perspective camera) and thought about how cool it looked. I really love 2d pixel art but I am still not sure if it is not too limiting for what I have in mind, which is a game world that isn't just flat but features stairs, floor above floor, pipes running overhead etc. However, I'd have to use a 3D based solution anyway and that's what I'm still working on; basically the foundation on which the actual game runs. So I guess you could say that no progress has been made on this particular _game_, but progress _has_ been made on the path that _leads_ to the game.
     
  17. RavenOfCode

    RavenOfCode

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    This looks really cool, not my type of game, but still it looks quite nice. I love customization and having an inventory system like Fallout is pretty impressive. :)

    I would love to see some more screenshots/gameplay videos.

    Keep up the good work! :)
     
  18. Seba313

    Seba313

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    It's still a progress, even its not visible :) Keep us up to date, personally i'm impressed of yor work and i think this is a huge potential - if you need any help with 3D let me know.
     
  19. Cherno

    Cherno

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    The main area that I am having problems is character models, someday I have to spend a few week learning it, until then I have to made do with placeholder graphics :(
     
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  20. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Been creating a lot of pixel art for this game in the last days, I have enough for an urban level with lots of dirty back alleys :) So at the moment, I'm going with the 2d top-down perspective with sprites for everything. I also worked on character spritesheets and found out how to easily make a lot of different characters with the same sheet. I use layers in Photoshop to give them different skin and hair colors, hair styles, and clothes while the shading is done with a Multiply layer on top of that. I already made frames for pistols, shotguns and assault rifles. I will probably have to work on them some more until they look good, and I also have to re-do my leg animations so it looks right when a character walks sideways.
     
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  21. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    Hi Cherno! I just registered to say to you congratulations on this project! I've always a big fan of Dreamweb (I bought it when it was released for PC) and I tried a couple of times to do my own remake of this game, on other suites like Blitz3D or DIV Games Studio. I always gave up because a project like this, even if it's small, requires a lot of time for only one person being the developer, and I never have had enough time to do so... So, I hope you deliver some news very soon to see your progress. Maybe if I have some time, I can get down to work again, this time with Unity3D ;)
     
  22. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    By the way, it looks very good! It brings me back some very good memories :) Sparky's...
     
  23. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Thanks :)
    I'm currently working in my terrain engine and editor, which will alow me to construct the world in full 3d even though the perspective is top-down. This allows for lighting and shadows as well as room-above-room setups in the same map.
     
  24. ScottyBoyDee123

    ScottyBoyDee123

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    Damn - I have plans to do almost exactly this (I ADORE Dreamweb and I'm a Unity dev for a living) ;)

    Looks like you're making them come true before me!

    Great work so far!

    Fifth Element reference: The cigarette on the vending machine has the proportions of the filter and the tobacco reversed, just like the ones Korben Dallas smokes ;)
     
  25. Cherno

    Cherno

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    You sir, are are my hero with a pair (I hope) of good eyes! Seems like tobacco got pretty expensive in future NYC.

    Since there has been some interest in this project, I will write some more thoughts on my thoughts (if that makes any sense).

    The 2D engine is working as intended, but there is a reason why I wish to have a 3D engine working underneath instead: Lighting and shadows. To get correct shadows, 3D obstacles are needed. My plan is to draw the terrain tiles with the standard method of creating a quad plane with a texture atlas. This would be the same as 2D. However, each tile will also hold information about a custom mesh thas is used to block light, so not only is the plane mesh created for the top-down view, but also another 3D mesh on top of it that only blocks lighting but is not rendered by the main camera.
     
    RavenOfCode likes this.
  26. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    I like the game mood and the retro texture.
     
  27. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    That's a good idea, we want to keep informed of your project ;)
     
  28. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I spent the last two days writing a little script that creates a random multi-spritesheet from spritesheets :)






    It doesn't look like much but imagine having to do a tiled (!) animation like this by hand... it will take hours of PS work and in the end you notice inevitable errors and have to scrap the whole thing. Trust me, I went there ;)
    The script takes a spritesheet (in this case, a falling raindrop with or without splash/puddle) and combines it with a host of random parameters like speed, occurance chance and frequency and creates a big tileable spritesheet out of it. Since the Unity-compatible Tiled supports animated tiles, I can easily apply rain zones over my streets and other outdoor areas, since we all know that Cyberpunk locales are always dark and rainy ;)

    For reference, here is the single raindrop spritesheet animation:


    I'm sure I will find other uses for it. The reason for me attempting to create a spritesheet for the rain instead of handling it with a ParticleSystem are twofold. Unit'y ParticleSystem looks good but it's not suited for the kind of pixel-art animation I am aiming for. Furthermore, it's collision system is not compatible with 2D colliders so I can't easily block the rain and keep it from falling through walls into buildings.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
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  29. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    And your system will be less ressources intensives than Unity particle system and physics i guess :rolleyes:
     
  30. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I'm not sure about that. I guess it depends on the size and number of frames of the resulting spritesheet. The rain above is made of a spritesheet that is 2048x128, so not the smallest of files. It will surely be better than using physics collisions for particles.
     
  31. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    Thanks for keeping us updated! Really looking forward to having a first playable version...
     
  32. Seba313

    Seba313

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    Hi, any updates to your project?
     
  33. Cherno

    Cherno

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    No, I've been busy doing pixel art for the game, mainly character sprites but also some environment tiles. It's quite a lot of work because there need to be animation frames for both pistol/smg and long rifle-type weapons, and also unarmed melee, and various melee weapons. All need holster/unholster animations as well as reloading for the firearms, as well as the attacking animation as well of course :) I also want to include railgun or bazooka-style shoulder-fired weapons to get rid of those pesky Full 'Borgs :D Also grenade throwing... So I guess there are indeed updates but not on the scripting front.
     
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  34. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Some vehicles I made, I don't know how they will be implemented. I dont think there will be realistic traffic like GTA, that's not the focus of the game, but it might be like the SNES Shadowrun game where cars just drive along a straight street endlessly and damage the player when he crosses the street without being careful. Also, they can be used as static props as parked cars.

    See also here:
    Future Noir: Blade Runner & The Department




    Edit: Here's the Minigun idle & firing animation, I think I need to add some kind of recoil to it.



    I made lots of other weapon animations, including some melee ones (no Cyberpunk without wristblades and Katanas!), but I posted this one to ensure people that I'm still working on it :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
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  35. Seba313

    Seba313

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  36. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I have decided that it will be no 3d, just straight top-down. Having to do everything as a 3d model is too much work :)
     
  37. Seba313

    Seba313

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    Too bad. Anyway - best of luck with your project.
     
  38. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    Any update on the project Cherno?
     
  39. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Hello :)

    No updates on his particular project. The problem is that I'm never satisfied with "simple" games; I always want a broad and complex gameplay experience. The top-down view would work well for something as narrow in scope as the original Dreamweb or Metrocide, but in my mind there is a full RPG where you can talk to people, buy stuff, sneak around and break into buildings, hack security and so on. From this perspective, it's hard to present the elements in the world that are important (characters, items, obstacles). Hence, at the moment I am working on a related project:

    pixelation.org/index.php?topic=20842.msg178086#msg178086

     
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  40. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    Hi Cherno,

    it's been a while since your last update on this project, and I'm pretty sure that you abandoned this one I was really following, but... Did you make any progress after these 2 years? :)
    I'm starting working on Unity for myself because I've always wanted to create a Dreamweb-style game, hence my interest on this project...
    Thanks!
     
  41. tiskolin

    tiskolin

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    What is "trite" (google traductor) art? I looked it up and it was Google Translate in Spanish. o_O
     
  42. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Not this one, but I am actively developing the isometric project you see in the last screenshot. The Map editor is in a fairly advanced state.
     
  43. zakdank

    zakdank

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    I absolutely love Pixel3D in both first person and 3rd; I use it quite often and done right, it can look really nice.

    It's a shame you've abandoned the cyberpunk game, there really aren't many about. If you ever pick this back up again, I would say have a look at bernband, it uses pixel3D with post processing and some parts look very cyberpunky.
    https://gamejolt.com/games/bernband/34864
     
  44. Cherno

    Cherno

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    Well the current project is a remake of the SNES Shadowrun game, so it's Cyberpunk, too.
     
  45. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    Hi Cherno!

    I'm starting a similar project to yours and I wonder if taking the tiles and the assets, graphics or sounds from the original game would have legal issues. I know the game was categorized as Freeware but I don't know if that means everybody can use its resources to create another one. I would really appreciate any tip from you!
     
  46. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I am fairly sure that is is not allowed to utilize any resources from this game.
     
  47. Jonigigolo

    Jonigigolo

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    Thanks for your super fast answer! Would it be fine if I use it only for personal but not commercial purposes?
    By the way, how is your other Cyberpunk project going?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  48. Cherno

    Cherno

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    I am no layer nor am I qualified to give any kind of legal advice. From my personal perspective, I suggest reading the EULA. Generally, it doesn't matter if you distribute any kind of material owned by third parties for free or charge money for it. It is unlawful anyway.

    My other project is still being worked on.