State Of Play


As most of you know, some years ago the Havok Vision Engine which we used to develop the game’s custom engine was deprecated shortly after Microsoft bought Havok from Intel. You can read more about that in this blog post. Here is the pertinent excerpt.

One of the challenges we’ve had these past months is due to the end-of-life support for the Havok Vision Engine (was Trinigy Vision Engine prior to the Havok purchase in 2011) which we used as our baseline engine. Not only is Havok no longer licensing (it doesn’t even appear on the website anymore) it, but the development of next-gen console (PS4, XBox One) versions of that engine was in a state of flux – right up until it was “no longer planned”. Thinking that Microsoft’s acquisition (in Q4 2015) of Havok from Intel would rekindle those efforts, sadly, that hasn’t happened – yet. So, for all intent and purposes, HVE is deprecated and dead. And we simply couldn’t wait.

Eventually, every game that was in dev with HVE, was either deprecated or canceled entirely. This is similar to what happened to the Helldivers 2 team; though they had the benefit of working with a deprecated engine which they had the funding and resources to extend rather to port out of.

Back then, Unreal Engine 4 was the latest build though UE5 was already in dev. So, we took the game offline and started working on a port from HVE to UE4. It was slow going. But that wasn’t even the worst of it. No, that would be the part where we eventually discovered the radical differences between UE4 and UE5. You can read some of it here and here. The conclusion was that there was no way forward from UE4 to UE5 without going back and changing a swath of code – again. Unlike the Helldivers 2 guys who had years of experience with a deprecated middleware engine to which they had multi-platform source code, we had no such luxury – let alone the funding required to pull off something like that.

So, having dabbled with the dev builds, we waited for UE5 to release for production. It finally released in April 2022.

Though I have been working through some other projects, I recently decided to rebuild the game with UE5 as part of something that we’ve been working on behind the scenes.

That’s not as difficult as it sounds. At the time that I hit pause, as you are probably aware, the game was over 95% dev complete, while being 100% content complete. And so, we now have quite a jump start. But we’re not going to do a straight port as that’s just a waste of time. Instead, we’re going to start from scratch, while only retaining the engine-agnostic custom code (e.g. the Wide Span Global tech framework). This basically means rebuilding the game from design docs, game docs, and having most – if not all – of the 2D/3D art and environment assets revised using the far more powerful UE5 suite of tools (including AI enabled middleware).

For this, as I did with the LoD Tactics game back in 2015 when I hired a third-party team, I will again be hiring a third-party dev team to assist with this. I am currently in discussions with various teams, and I will provide more info as that plan progresses.

From start to finish, I expect it to take about 12-18 months.

Though the game still has its Steam early access tag, once we have a working UE5 build suitable for testing, I will release it to pre-existing owners of the game. I do not intend to re-enable the game’s store page at this time for the same reasons that I disabled it some years ago. That being, I don’t want people buying a game for which development had been paused.

Even though it was released as early access and could have gone either way, to ease the pain and disappointment that some of you must have been feeling these past years, I have today released an internal build which will allow you to run your own game servers (local or remote) and thus be able to once again run the game. Due to the master servers being off-line and inaccessible, this build is limited in various ways, but it’s still 100% playable.

The build is only available via Steam if you previously purchased the game and thus have an active Steam key. You can download it via the DSS (the password has now been removed) tab in your library. More info here.

After Steam updates your build to DSS, look in the game’s install folder, and inside the docs sub-folder, open the LINE OF DEFENSE – LAN SETUP.PDF for instructions on how to set everything up.

Thanks again for your patience and understanding. More news coming soon.