How hard would it be to port KI to a new engine?

Since Season 1 we have been told that lots of things are “not possible” with the hex engine. It’s been used as an excuse for a great many things fans asked for. Unlike most people, I don’t see it necessary to make a sequel in a new engine. Starting from scratch is just stupid. How hard would it be to port the art and code over to another engine?

I am fairly confident they are planning to do SOMETHING for KI and Scorpio, porting to a new engine would be ideal. Unless it’s prohibitively complicated.

Think of it as this. Changing engines is similar to this scenario.

How hard would it be to take a 2 story house made of metal and make it out of wood…,.

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Yeah, unfortunately the answer to your question is almost definitely “very hard”. In many ways it essentially is starting from scratch.

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Like what @HailFireSpawn and @MrQuaDriller said. Your asking them to reprogram, rebuild and code everything again. As well as remodel every single stage.
Not to mention they gameplay won’t go as fast as it is with this engine.

That’s not entirely true. I’ve been in game development before. I’ve worked with custom tools and had to do some porting. You absolutely would not need to rebuild stages. Stages are just art with some animation. Porting art and animations from engine to engine is not that big of a task - after all, they are just Maya/3d studio max exports of some kind that any engine can handle.

The custom scripting would be somewhat hard. It would require someone creating some kind of a translator between engines (This string of statements converts to that string of statements). Scripting isn’t super different between most engines.

The hard part, I believe, would be porting over and retaining the actual timings and frame data to execute exactly as it does now. This likely would require a lot of low level code to be written in the new engine.

It’s largely this last part that would be most expensive and time consuming. That’s the unknown hard part to really scope out.

I would not be surprised at all if this question has not already been scoped out. But the ROI is really only something Microsoft can determine.

well I don’t think it would be that hard. I mean league did it. dota 2 did it… I mean sure they had a lot more money. But it is possible.

…well both league and dota started off on a different engine than we have now and has waaaaaay more funds than we do

The Hex engine gets blamed a lot by the community and not the developers. I have heard them say “the way the game was programmed doesn’t allow us to…” not “the engine doesn’t allow us to.” Importing graphical assets is the least of their worries. But this begs the question, what are they porting for exactly? If it’s to make the game look better, then porting assets doesn’t help. If it’s to make the game run better or have new functionality then that’s a lot of work, regardless of whether they switch engines or just redo the code in the Hex engine.

League and Dota have much bigger budgets, and arguably simpler games. Remember, MOBAs started out as pretty simple mods of RTS games (remember RTS games?). Also, these PC based games have a lot more to gain because they want to keep up with advancing hardware. Xbox One doesn’t have that issue. As far as Scorpio, I think achieving the current game in 4K is going to require all the horsepower it has.

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I admit mobas have a much bigger budget. but remember dota2 originally ran on the same engine as halflife and before the f2p version of it. It was a budget game. now its on source 2… I also remember RTS games I still love and play them.

My point with my original comment was to say its not impossible to do and that they could do it. Not saying they would

Certainly I’m not arguing with you. Nothing is impossible. Lots of thes HD re-mastered games run in updated or different engines. But the question is what do you gain for your efforts?

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That’s pretty much it. Anyone who thinks the engine itself is to blame for things doesn’t understand how game engines work.

Game engines will offer you drawing routines, pre-made shaders, many variations of physics engines and so on, but generic game engines won’t get past that. They won’t offer fully realized game mechanics, those you have to develop yourself.

When you develop a game mechanic or game asset there is only so much you can do to “future proof” your programming. Take for example Shago’s Ultimate, the reason at first it only worked on his stage and later they had to hide the stage in blackness was because the original artists didn’t bother to model parts of the stage the camera would never focus on. When a new move (the Ultimate) suddenly had camera movement that accidentally focused on these parts they had a problem in their hands and the solution would be either remodel all stages or hide the problem. They chose the latter. This wasn’t a problem with the engine (the mechanics for moving a camera and drawing a stage were there) but with the art assets.

SFIV anf SFV were better prepared for this issue because these games always had Ultras / Critical Arts that fully explored the camera movement, so the artists where aware they needed fully closed stages that could be focused from any angle.

This situation will repeat itself for every new aspect of the game. A new character has a ghostly aura around her? Ops, we need a new shader for that (and we can use it for the fire dude and for these special skins we’re planning so that’s nice). This other character has three health bars instead of two? Or crap, here comes an entire new system for that. Speaking of that, is the character’s health divisible by three? Thank God it was, or else we would have to change the global health of all characters and adjust the damage of all moves accordingly.

This is not ideal when you have short development cycles. Ideally you want your new char to have two health bars, an instinct bar, a shadow bar divided in two parts and all his moves use the types of hitboxes already defined in the game so you’re only putting the pieces together to make the new char.

That comes to show the dedication of the IG team, they don’t hold themselves because of that. I bet when a cool concept of a char or mechanic appears on their meetings they make everything possible to make this new thing happen with the allotted time and money they have instead of just scrapping the idea “for lack of time”.

Unfortunately sometimes everything isn’t enough.


What RTS game do you like SeaCow? I bought Civilzation V Complete not that long ago. First strategy game I’ve really played. After talking with people about their favorite games I kind of wanted to pick up Age of Empires III or Age of Mythology EE on sale. I always wished I could play those games on when I was younger. Total War Atilla just went on sale for 10$ on steam too.

I don’t think the hex engine is bad, but it’s not made for graphics, KI3 has its own style it doesn’t need to look “better” I feel that the engine currently is built for other things rather than graphics. And it does everything very well.


That’s a great post. I hadn’t considered the blackness of Shago’s Ultimate as a compromise like that; I had assumed it was a stylistic choice to define Shago from the boss version.

I do wonder what IG would do if they were to release a new KI. Would they update the Hex engine or license another? I imagine the team has already been discussing this. I would be surprised to see a full Season 4 considering the life of most games.

Indeed, just because game slike MKX has a very realistiv thing going on doesn’t mean KI should replicate everything.

But Graphics will apprently be everything to some with gameplay always taking a back seat and those individuals eyes.

Still I’m not even sure if the Unreal Engine could even replicate some of the combos and gameplay that they have set for KI now.

UE probably could from what i’ve done with it, its very powerful, but at its core UE4 is basically a barebones engine you have to put all the work in, but its really not worth it to switch to something like that, hell some devs still use UE3

Yea. UE4 might not even be better for the game.

Although it would take waaay to much time and resources I would prefer an engine built from the ground up like the hex engine double helix made for KI created by IG called…idk the nova engine?

Double Helix has been using the Hex engine for lots of things before KI game along. For example, theBuffy theVampire Slayer game (no, that’s not a joke).

Again, people are confusing the graphics engine with the game’s code. Although modern engines like Unreal or Cry Engine will have some basic abilities built in, the actual code for the game has to be written regardless of the graphics engine.

As far as sequels, I don’t know why they would license the Hex engine for another game. DH isn’t in the picture and it likely wouldn’t support the engine into the future.

huh i didnt know that. i knew writing that down that “what if i was wrong and i got the wrong impression”. but i decided to write it anyway thinking that someone will correct me if i was wrong anyway so thanks

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