Posted by Data in Cortex Command - June 17th, 2010

Mechanics outlineSo after six months of development, it’s about time we pull the covers off the next big project Data Realms is working on! Before I say anything else, let me assure you all that Cortex Command is still alive and well. It’s what I personally focus my development time on until it is considered “done”.

For a couple of years now, I have been dreaming about making something out of these incredibly inspiring sketches that Arne made for his Metafight redesign page. The new project wouldn’t be set in the Metafight world (for licensing reasons, etc), but many of the game mechanics outlined in that sketch just looked too fun to not make a game out of!

A vehicular exploration/combat game where you can jump in and out of your ride, then run it into the ground until you find another one to replace it.. now that’s what the Cave Vehicle Engine is going to support! When on foot, you will have a little jetpack with which you can skim down slopes and do cool jumping and grappling tricks to get away from danger.

While Cortex Command and its Retro Terrain Engine was all about the dynamically destructible pixel terrain, the Cave Vehicle Engine is going to be about the dynamically deformable/destructible movable objects (as opposed to the mostly static terrain). The graphics and physics are now all polygon-based and fully hardware accelerated.

The person who has been working full-time on getting the CVE and its custom physics system going, is the very talented Miroslav Adamus, a Slovakian hero who is a much better (and faster!) programmer than myself. Among other things, he has so far managed to implement a powerful particle system, soft-body dynamics with volume (area) preservation, procedural fracturing of objects, and run-time generation of physical objects based on transparency data in their source images/textures. We are applying the lessons learnt while making CC, so this new technology should reach new heights of power and modability!

Early sketchesCover mechanicsTerrain engine

Oh, by the way, in addition to much other rambling, the maestro musician DannyB and I talk about the project about 25 minutes into this podcast by the 1UP Oddcast crew: PODCAST DOWNLOAD

In the spirit of transparent indie development, here is a very early test build of the engine in action! Have fun smashing objects around and driving the test vehicle. 100% of the art in here is placeholder test stuff, so don’t judge how it looks, only what it can do. In fact, everything (including the physics) is in early test stages. There’s definitely weirdness in many situations, but we think it’s already quite fun to noodle around with! See the included readme for the controls, and ENJOY!

Crush and awe
Download CVE Test Build 24!

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102 Responses to “Announcing the Cave Vehicle Engine”

  1. cipher - # June 18th, 2010 at 8:35 pm



    (I haven’t finished downloading yet, but does this support splitscreen multiplayer? If it doesn’t, it so should. CC is one of the main games me and a buddy play when he comes over and gives it a ton of replay value).

  2. Cighton - # June 18th, 2010 at 9:49 pm


  3. AttackOfFlamingPigs - # June 18th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Well okay. It looks very interesting too interesting I would say. I hope all the interesting things will help the game feel whole not just a bunch of cool ideas stitched together.


  4. Asmageddon - # June 19th, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Hey, if you will make your game on the new engine and decide to abandon the old one – what about open sourcing it? It’s an amazing piece of software, many people could learn from it and many games could be created….

  5. Lizard - # June 19th, 2010 at 6:56 am

    He’s proabaly already thinking of doing that after he doesn’t get any more money from it.

    Oh and Dan, any chance we’ll see a puppyrollmobile in the CVE game?

  6. tons0phun - # June 19th, 2010 at 8:33 am

    So is it safe to assume that this will be the last build of CC?

  7. Asmageddon - # June 19th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Well, we’ve got great community. They could make a new game and give a free copy to each person who bought cc and opensource the engine, optionally without the content. I’m sure that by compiling mods from forum, fine-tuning them to work well together and adding more things could produce a great game. Or they could make both CC and the CVE-based game….. hope they will port CVE to linux(ok, and mac) since it is already using sdl and working well under wine

  8. Domtech - # June 19th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Sweeeet i saw some art for that car along time ago and made a Driving and shooting version in cc.
    glad to see there will be a real version

  9. Darksinner - # June 19th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    so cc is not generating any income anymore i see :P.
    I don’t see why people are thinking this is the end of cc,
    it’s said that someone else than data is working on CVE. and why are people whining so much for build 24, if it takes longer to make theres gonna be more new juicy and finished content available then like 1 new thing when updates are made at every end of the month or something. just like like a pig/cow/animal if you let it grow it its gonna have more meat… or something like that. and when B24 is gonna come out people are whine for build 25 anyway so…

  10. Asmageddon - # June 19th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I can say why people don’t buy CC too much – they want complete game, and currently there are not much things, that are available only to paid customers, and nobody really thinks it’s worth buying. Relasing builds more often, but only for paid customers(there would be free version being build earlier by 4-5) could help, but wouldn’t have to.

  11. Geti - # June 19th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Uh, Dan’s supported by CC. I don’t see where you’re getting the idea it’s not selling.
    Regardless, he’s expressed interest in _selling_ the source to RTE, like what happens with unrealengine, cryengine etc. So, uh, I think open source is very unlikely.

  12. Asmageddon - # June 20th, 2010 at 4:30 am

    I like the idea of selling source. I would probably buy CC’s source if it wouldn’t be expensive and would cost reasonable money to a hobbyst.
    Also please – you’re developing a new engine, even based on SDL, porting to linux shouldn’t be a big deal, and would probably greatly popularize your game(afaik linux users tend to brag about games for linux a lot, not only to linux users) and make many people very gratefull….

  13. cipher - # June 20th, 2010 at 4:44 am

    I agree, selling source to fellow Indies for a reasonable price sounds like a good idea.

  14. bluedrake42 - # June 20th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    … build… 24… now…

  15. Lizard - # June 21st, 2010 at 8:24 am

    We’ll get it when data actually finishes build 24 I believe.

  16. KnightD - # June 21st, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Hmm. There is no mac version? bummer. Can someone post a youtube of this in action, preez?

  17. Asmageddon - # June 22nd, 2010 at 2:09 am

    @KNIGHTD – Wine, I know Mac OS X is way worse than Linux and less supported than Windows, but wine should still work. Under my Ubuntu 9.10 it works perfectly, but still Mac and Linux versions of CVE would be nice….

  18. Crav3r - # June 22nd, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Hope you dont remove the particle engine. I LOVE how you can dig into the sand and shoot the figures head of! I do want to break stuff!

  19. CaveCricket48 - # June 22nd, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Hey, this pretty much has working MO-to-MO collisions! Any chance it’s going to make it in cortex command too?

  20. Mooseral - # June 26th, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Hey dudeguys, pretty sure that since this is a completely different physics implementation, there will probably be absolutely no cross-pollination between the CVE and CC engine.

    I doubt whether Data will be crazy enough to go for a full particle physics implementation again in CVE, and it seems unlikely CC will have other collision tech tacked on top of whatever we already have. It’s unfortunate, but the development of a more game-play-friendly engine like CVE seems more like the proper response to fixing current CC issues, as CC’s engine simply isn’t that friendly to concerns of traditional game design.

  21. MaximDude - # June 26th, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Naw. I doubt CVE is a ‘proper response to fixing current CC issues’.
    Dan has picked up lots of experience over the years, you can’t argue with that, he could probably take CC’s engine right now and start re-writing the base to fix pretty much all the issues it currently has. And add cool awesome features like, I dunno, proper water (Not that I care of it, just sayin’).

    Problem is, that would take alot of time (Dan has a life you know), plus it means throwing away all the engine work he did for the past many years.

    I don’t see a good reason for him not to do a major engine overhaul (Not cool awesome features, but effectiveness and optimization) except the ‘throwing away’ of years work and regret of not doing an overhaul earlier…

    In a perfect world, Dan would overhaul CC’s engine and make it the best goddamn game on the planet instead of hiding his failures behind a brand new game.

  22. CakeDaemon - # June 28th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Perhaps CC will be done, then CVE, then perhaps a remake of CC?

  23. Lizard - # June 28th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    No, the CVE game will be “arne’s game” as it is commonly known as.
    Just look at his galleries and be amazed.

  24. tons0phun - # June 29th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I agree with you, Maximdude.

  25. Mooseral - # July 1st, 2010 at 11:26 pm


    Pretty sure we just basically said the same thing.

    Overhauling CC would be silly at this point, and even as it is it is certainly good enough to stand on it’s own with some basic gameplay polish.

    Taking gained experience and making a new and awesome thing for the future is what is more likely going to happen.

    The idea of continuing CC into the future seems silly; it has certainly been elongated enough as projects go, and only the most ludicrous fanboy should expect a company to only ever produce one product. This particularly stands true for the production of physics-y tech games. I’m sure that the implementation of a newer engine with better overall planning and support for things such as more than one CPU core will ultimately result in far more awesomeness than any amount of revision to classic CC ever will. Product iteration is a natural thing.

  26. Asmageddon - # July 2nd, 2010 at 2:50 am

    These days games sometimes take years to get finished. Look at number of CC devs. Think again, imho there is quite high chance they’re gonna finish it.

  27. MaximDude - # July 2nd, 2010 at 3:26 am

    The number of CC ‘devs’ stands at one.
    The number of CC ‘content devs’ is something completely different.

  28. Asmageddon - # July 2nd, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Sorry, I was kinda sleepy, my point was that with such small amount of devs it’s gonna take long time, but it will be finished. Forgive me please :>

  29. CaveCricket48 - # July 3rd, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    my point was that with such small amount of devs it’s gonna take long time

    Maybe I could be a content dev. hinthint

  30. Lizard - # July 3rd, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    OH YEAH!
    That would be pretty swell, considering you’re one of the few ACTIVE people that should even be considered to be a content dev.

  31. MaximDude - # July 3rd, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Indeed it would.
    You could put in some tasty lua to spice up things.

  32. Asmageddon - # July 4th, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I’m all for allowing other people to help out with making the content(even with the engine…)…
    The only reason why I didn’t buy CC yet is the fact that they release updates so rarely…

  33. MaximDude - # July 4th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Buy it to support DR, your 18 dollars might just buy Dan a couple of beers and the motivation to continue work.

  34. MaximDude - # July 4th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Or he’ll just take your cash and buy some ammo for his 47 is he still has it. That bastard.

  35. Lizard - # July 4th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Hey, some rounds with his AK might be just the motivation Dan needs.

  36. Mooseral - # July 5th, 2010 at 11:50 am



    Different system from CC of course, though that’s probably a good thing. I didn’t think they’d try a fully dynamic environment again, but hey.

  37. Lizard - # July 5th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Plasma cutter cuts a chunk out of the dirt.
    Said chunk falls ontop of someone’s head making it go all SPLAT!!

  38. Endahs - # July 13th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Sooo…how we all doin’?

    Cave Vehicle Engine for Mac?

  39. Asmageddon - # July 14th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    What abount linux? Why everyone only cares about their own OS? >.>

  40. MaximDude - # July 16th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    How bout an update on B24 Danny? Any progress?

  41. Lizard - # July 16th, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

  42. cavecricket48 - # July 17th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I just realized, I haven’t commented on the actual CVE program/engine/demo. It’s pretty great so far, I like how objects can be deformed and destroyed after numerous impacts.

    Is there going to be “ini” based modding? Like creating your own objects with different/changable material properties?

    I was also thinking, what if the “terrain” had the same destructibility as objects? It would break at certain points under stress, so you could have some-what realistic destruction with buildings and bridges and such.

  43. ToonyMan - # July 18th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Keep up the work Data.

  44. Lil Ill - # December 7th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    This game looks good. But do you have enough time to carry on the work on Cortex Command if you work on a new “great project”? In my opinion it would be better if you finish the work on the first game (campaign etc.) before you start the work on a second one. People who bought Cortex Command probably like to have a full version for their money. Especially if they payed 30 bucks.

  45. Data Realms – Dev Log » Blog Archive » Follow our development on Twitter! - # February 3rd, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    […] CVESource: Source code of Cave Vehicle Engine […]

  46. anon - # February 17th, 2012 at 2:18 pm


    Do Want!
    You must do this!!!!
    The internet commands thee!

  47. Battleofcommand - # August 15th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    The “CVE” is out in version 27?

  48. botox warszawa - # October 5th, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Yet, much is unclear. Could you describe in more details!…

  49. Data Realms – Dev Log » Blog Archive » Cave Vehicle Engine – Robot Builder News - # October 13th, 2012 at 6:34 am

    […] guys, here’s a really significant update on the Cave Vehicle Engine project we are working on, in addition to polishing up Cortex Command 1.0! There is now a fully functional, […]

  50. ALF - # October 16th, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    BLASTER MASTER on the nes was BOSS and this looks like some of that same awesome sauce! Can’t wait!