Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Outcast

Revisiting Adelpha: Outcast 1.1

As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

A few months ago, I posted the news that Outcast: Second Contact — a high-resolution remaster of the 1999 game Outcast — had been released. This was exciting news, since the original Outcast was the subject of one of my first ever History Lessons posts; a game I played for the first time in 2009 and absolutely loved. Before trying the new version, however, I wanted to revisit the original, this time taking advantage of the 1.1 update that developers Appeal / Fresh3D released in 2014, which allows for modern resolutions (the original’s awkward 512×384 is difficult to display on today’s monitors), improved performance, and fixes issues relating to processor speed. It is, in theory, the ultimate way to play the original game, and I’m planning to directly compare it to the Second Contact remaster.

Outcast: Second Contact Released

One of the first History Lessons posts I wrote for this blog was about Outcast, back before I even had screenshots in my posts. Spoiler alert: I loved it. It’s a wildly ambitious game that was way ahead of its time and still feels distinct from the modern games that eventually adopted many of its ideas. Later, I posted about a Kickstarter attempt by the original developers to fund an HD remake, in the hopes of eventually making a sequel. That Kickstater campaign failed, but the team went ahead and made the HD remake anyway. Titled Outcast: Second Contact, it’s available now on Steam, as well as PS4 and Xbox One (the original was PC-only).

As usual, I’m hopelessly behind and short on free time, so I haven’t had a chance to play it yet. In fact, I’ve started playing Outcast 1.1, an earlier update that the developers made to the original game to make it play nicer with modern computers and allow higher resolutions. I’m hoping to compare it directly to Second Contact so I can report on what’s changed, and which version you might prefer. So I’ll write about that… eventually. In the meantime, I wanted to announce Second Contact’s release in case any readers are interested. Many players, myself included, missed Outcast the first time around, so this is a great chance to discover a great game.

Outcast 1.1 Released

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of Outcast. It was the subject of one of my earliest History Lessons posts, and when the original developers started a Kickstarter campaign to create an HD remake of the game, I posted about it with excitement. Sadly, that campaign did not succeed, but they didn’t give up on the game. In the meantime they’ve been quietly working on an updated version of the original game, adding support for multi-threading, resolutions up to 1920×1080, and native gamepad support. This updated version has just released on Steam (the first time the game has ever been available there) and GOG (as a free update).

Original Outcast Developers Pitching An HD Remake On Kickstarter

Long-time readers of this blog may remember that one of the earliest History Lessons posts I wrote was about Outcast. Originally released in 1999, I didn’t play Outcast until shortly before I started this blog (2011, I think), but it was still one of the best games I played that year. In fact, it is one of the best I’ve ever played. It’s a beautiful, wonderful game.

It is, however, getting old. Processor speed issues made it difficult for me to run it, although these have been fixed in the version for sale on GOG. But it also runs in a very low resolution which some graphics cards and monitors no longer support, and the controls feel clunky in comparison to modern games. Fortunately, many of the original developers managed to buy back the IP (that’s “intellectual property“, for those who may not know) for Outcast, and they’re now pitching a full high-definition remake of the game on Kickstarter. They’ve made about a quarter of their goal of $600,000 with 26 days left at the time of writing.

They even quote me in their pitch video! Not from here, but from my user review of Outcast over at GOG. Still, it’s pretty cool. But I’m not just posting this because they quoted me, I’m posting this because I’d quite like this Kickstarter to succeed. The hope is that it will be the first step towards a full-fledged sequel to Outcast. Which is something we all want, even if you don’t know it yet.

History Lessons: Outcast

Outcast was released in 1999, which turned out to be very unfortunate timing. It was a time when graphics cards (known then as “3D Accelerator Cards”) had just taken off, and the games industry was running wild with crazy, high-resolution, detailed texture-mapped games that were miles ahead of what had been possible just a few years before. But Outcast took advantage of a different type of graphics, eschewing polygons (well, partly) in favor of voxels, which are in essence 3D pixels. Think Minecraft, but make all the blocks really tiny. The newfangled 3D cards did not support voxel graphics, so Outcast needed to be run entirely on your CPU. To make things worse, you needed pretty much the absolute best CPU available to play the game at any decent framerate. At a time when gamers were spending their money on shiny new 3D cards, Outcast was asking you to shell out for a new CPU instead. As a result, very few people played it.

I was one of the many who didn’t play it. I did try the demo, though, and it was very impressive at the time. I remember being floored by the water graphics… the realistic ripples and waves that I saw were unthinkable at the time; even the 3D accelerator cards couldn’t do graphics like that. The landscapes were also incredible, with believable rolling hills and soaring mountains. Curves, basically, which polygon-based graphics would be unable to accomplish for some time yet. Too bad the demo ran at about 5 FPS on my machine; all I was really able to do was admire the scenery and then quit. Outcast was some kind of dream game that I knew I would never be able to play because there was no way I could afford the dream machine I would need.

Until now, of course.

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