UT3, Now With More Dinosaurs

By Alec Meer on October 20th, 2008 at 9:54 pm.

Yeah, it's dead. Screenshotting a live one proved almost impossible.

Unreal Tournament 3 remains an oddly ugly game, which always seemed a bewildering misfire on the part of an FPS that, so it seemed, existed primarily to pimp an engine. It’s like a milkman painting a picture of a cow with tortured, bleeding udders on the side of his van. While UT3 plays okay (the highlight being its agreeably ridiculous vehicles), its look is just visual noise, a mess of vague, clashing aesthetic ideas that somehow manages to seem devoid of colour despite drawing a silly neon border around everything. What a shame. What I’m still hoping – as a long-term UT player – is that the mod community can yet rescue it from the drab, tokenistic fate Epic themselves damned it to.

There are a few interesting bets catalogued over at Moddb, but today I was looking for something bitesize and stooopid to play before collapsing into bed with ultra-flu. 1.93Mb Mutator Jurassic Rage III looked to be exactly what I was looking for, as there’s none more dumb than throwing in some Velociraptors

It doesn’t replace player/bot characters with the snappy little bastards, but simply spawns them in the standard game alongside everyone else, as a sort of deadly distraction. There are no points to be had from killing them, but they make life amusingly difficult for everyone. It is, after all, rather hard to snipe a rival player when seven foot of angry lizard suddenly attaches itself to the back of your head. Very simple, very stupid, but probably the most fun I’ve had with UT3.

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56 Comments »

  1. Saflo says:

    So who’s responsible for it being in the PCG Top 100 this year?

  2. Heliocentric says:

    Ut2004 was great, even in its basic campaign. But since pc is dying and pirates and $4000 pc’s are ruining everything they dumbed the game down, for the console crowd, even visually. As you know console players, like dogs are colour blind.

  3. Iain says:

    UT3 is a strange beast. The core gameplay is UT through and through, but the engine… Yuck. I really don’t like the aesthetics of it. It’s just far too shiny and (ironically enough) unreal. It’s like the whole world has been laminated or plasticised. I just can’t bring myself to play it.

  4. Iain says:

    Oh yeah, and who decided that removing the Tournament from Unreal Tournament was a good idea? They need shooting. With a shock rifle combo. And then with a flak cannon to mop up the remains.

  5. Rei Onryou says:

    Best mutator idea ever. Almost enough to make me want to buy the game. Wait? Did I just say that?

  6. Po0py says:

    There are some old school map packs released with less static meshes cluttering the environment and more streight up low poly hallways which imho, are perfect for UT style gameplay.

    Major new expansion:
    Hey, just seen this at BeyondUnreal.com: http://www.beyondunreal.com/view_story.php?id=12277

    Considering the low server count (at least on the pc version) I’m quite surprised at this.

  7. TychoCelchuuu says:

    That sounds just bizarre enough to be hilarious. Too bad I don’t have the game. My roomate does; maybe I’ll force him to play it while I watch. I’ve always preferred Quake for my DM needs.

  8. subedii says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that was disappointed with UT3′s aesthetic. So sad that they decided “Gears of Unreal” would be the best thing for it.

    But if it’s Dinosaurs you’re looking for, you may be interested in the Upcoming “Lost World Returns” mod for Crysis.

    http://www.lostworldreturns.co.uk/gallery/

  9. Andy F says:

    So one might say that UT3 was a bit of an Epic fail, mightn’t one?

    See?

  10. rocketman71 says:

    With more dinosaurs?. Are those Mark Rein and CliffyB? (I’m surprised nobody did the joke yet). Or is that UT3′s UI programmer?. Are we finally going to get a full game?. What does CliffyB have to say about GoW2′s leak?. Are all Xbox360 owners fucking pirates now?

  11. rocketman71 says:

    Damn, I miss the edit button.

  12. Doctor Dick says:

    U99 is still the best UT game, even today.

  13. Okami says:

    Ok, this has absolutely nothing to do with the dinosaur mod, but since people are once again bashing Dude Huge, I’d like to point you to this little post on kotaku:

    http://kotaku.com/5057652/three-developers-explain-littlebigplanet-level-design-to-a-7+year+old

    While David Jaffe and that guy from Metroid treated the boy’s question with respect and gave good answers, all Mr. Betzinski came up with, was a lame joke.

    If a guy can’t even respect a 7 year old kid, how do you expect him to respect his customers.

  14. Pidesco says:

    UT3′s aesthetic is crap, but it isn’t any worse than GoW, which was hailed by everyone and their monkeys for its pretties.

  15. teo says:

    Well GoW’s aesthetic is crap too
    The characters and enemies just look so dumb.

    Thanks for actually calling out UT3, I haven’t seen many games writers do that. The guns designs are just so convoluted. It’s like they just took lots of random geometric shapes, glued them together and then called it a gun because it had a handle and something that resembled a barrel.

  16. rocketman71 says:

    GoW’s aesthetic is crap?. GoW is crap!

    (and incredibly buggy in PC too)

  17. PHeMoX says:

    “UT3’s aesthetic is crap, but it isn’t any worse than GoW, which was hailed by everyone and their monkeys for its pretties.”

    I also never truly understood why people love GoW so much. Perhaps it’s just the gore, perhaps it’s the lack of real meaty gameplay, perhaps people just couldn’t wait for Unreal 3 and Unreal Tournament 3 anymore?

    I fear it might be popular because it was dumbed down as fps a lot, but in that case the world of gaming is truly lost.

  18. RLacey says:

    I shall be trying this tomorrow, time allowing. Sounds insane (in a good way).

  19. Erlam says:

    Grays of War is one of the ugliest games I’ve ever played. Why would you take what is essentially a pretty game, and then remove every colour except red?

  20. scout says:

    I thought it was not geekceptable to complain about game graphics? It’s no worse to look at than, say, Deus Ex.

  21. MultiVaC says:

    So it’s no worse to look at than a game that came out 8 years ago?

  22. scout says:

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6199634.html

    Hey, they’re making an expansion. So it’ll probably turn out like UT2003(meh)/2004(awesome) again.

  23. Mo says:

    Why does everybody say Gears is dumbed down? It had plenty of little innovations (the reloading alone is ingenious!), lots of solid, meaty combat, and the cover mechanics actually worked. Yeah, the aesthetic is absolute crap, but apart from that it’s actually a solid game. One whose controls don’t translate to the PC very well, but still a solid game.

    It’s almost as if … it’s as if there’s a bit of PC elitism going on here. No, that couldn’t possibly be it.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Down Rodeo says:

    @Andy F: Yes, I saw. I laughed.

    Hmmm… I’m not sure about this game. I should probably check out a demo. I saw a video of the legoland type level; it looked kinda fun. That said lego is always fun.

  25. Erlam says:

    “It had plenty of little innovations (the reloading alone is ingenious!), lots of solid, meaty combat, and the cover mechanics actually worked.”

    If by ‘the cover mechanics worked’ you mean you had to play like this:
    Enter room -> Hide behind wall; aim over wall -> Shoot guy; shoot guy; shoot guy.
    Enter room -> Hide behind wall; aim over wall -> shoot guy…

    Then yes, it was for you. For me though, I made it about 1/4 of the way through, and just couldn’t keep going.

    I just found the game colossally boring. It is one of two FPS’ I own that I never beat.

  26. n3utr0n says:

    /still waiting for Unreal 3. :(

  27. Mo says:

    Try it on a higher difficulty. Definitely more challenge there without just giving the enemies more hit-points. I played through the game with my roommate, and we ended up having synchronized attacks, attack/reload turns, having different class-style roles, etc. I do agree that it wasn’t too challenging on the normal difficulty, but kicking it up a single notch really helped.

  28. Mo says:

    Oh and, what was the other FPS? :)

  29. Erlam says:

    Call of Duty 2. Well, to be honest, I sold Doom 3, so there are three. (The other one was Fire Warrior… nuff said.)

    I don’t deny there are good ideas in GoW2. But I played on the HIGHEST difficulty, and I felt it was just badly done.

  30. Mo says:

    Ha, not going to argue about Doom 3. I played it all the way through, but only because (a) it was (marginally) more entertaining than studying for my finals, and (b) because I’m a complete id fanboy. :)

    As for GoW, no way, highest difficulty?! Respect. I’m pretty lame at FPSs, but my roommate is pretty good, and we still had a bit of trouble in a couple of areas.

  31. Pidesco says:

    I felt health regeneration really killed any challenge GoW might have. Add to that the repetitive, linear design, and the fact you’re fighting gray aliens against a gray background, with the “help” of your gray teammates, and you’ve got a fairly atrocious game experience.

    I can imagine how the game might be better with co-op.

  32. Mythrilfan says:

    What a shame.

  33. DuBBle says:

    What a shame.

  34. yns88 says:

    What a shame.

  35. Nick says:

    “It’s like a milkman painting a picture of a cow with tortured, bleeding udders on the side of his van.”

    Brilliant!

  36. Lord_Mordja says:

    On the topic of UT3 mods; “Angels Fall First” released a very alpha version recently. It’s got people and tanks and all, but its main point is space battles.

    http://www.moddb.com/mods/angels-fall-first-planetstorm

    And it is pretty.

  37. x25killa says:

    Raptors in UT3? xkcd.com will cry themselves to sleep now…

  38. J says:

    Okami, are you sure Bleszinski was joking?

    That link does remind of how great David Jaffe is.

    Also can someone tell me where dude huge comes from?
    It’s a bit wack.

  39. BorderlandsGuide says:

    Heliocentric, you’re absolutely right. Ut2004 was a great game. UT3 was not. They aimed UT3 the game for the console crowd and the result just didn’t feel right on the PC.

    I’ve barely played UT3 but I’m hoping some mods and new maps will help me get a bit more out of it.

  40. MeestaNob! says:

    UT3 and GoW are both GOOD looking games, but the problem with the aesthetic direction taken in both of them is that it is quite tiring over prolonged periods. With the general theme and ’30 minute quick blast to next checkpoint’ nature of GoW this isn’t a bad thing, but in an predominately online game such as UT3 where you’ll be fragging for at least 90 minutes or so, all the browns, greys, and inexplicable shiny surfaces begin to wear you down.

    It’s odd. I get the same sensation off BioShock (interestingly, another current Unreal engine game), but the effect is lessened by the fact that more care seems to have been taken in the colour pallet and other aspects of the art direction.

    It’s the little things that make a big difference.

  41. ascagnel says:

    @BorderlandsGuide:

    You hit it right on the head. Not just for UT3, but also for the other UE3 games I’ve played on the PC (specifically, BioShock and R6: Vegas). The ratio of mouse movement to reticle movement, and the fact that your character’s feet seemed to “trip” over themselves just made the game feel weird.

    One other interesting point: color balance. Playing UT3 on a friend’s PS3 on an uncalibrated HDTV still looked pretty good, while playing it on my properly color-balanced monitor made it look like the grey soup it is. I guess they assume most people don’t optimize their TV’s, so they just fade out all the colors with the expectation the overbright TV’s will make everything normalize.

    Simply put, UT3 and GoW are not PC games, they are just PC ports. Plug in a gamepad and they feel fine, but with the default control scheme they feel like utter crap.

  42. dartt says:

    What a shame.

    What a shame.

    What a shame.

    What a shame.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DAPXMZk2iw

    What a shame.

  43. Bobsy says:

    Graphical quality and artistic merit are two very different things and it’s only in the last couple of years that this has actually become apparent*. Take Quake 4, for example. The first few levels are ugly beyond belief despite a solid enough engine. There’s absolutely no colour scheme just a mess of styles, colours and contours. It ain’t got no alibi, it’s – ahem.

    A couple of levels later and you’re in the bowels of some massive building or other where it’s all blue and frosty and curvy and lovely. It’s honestly like a different game and far more pleasant to play.

    So yeah. You can make a fancy-dancy engine but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can make a beautiful game. For that, you need an artist, not a programmer.

    *And this is a pretty awesome thing on its own.

  44. phuzz says:

    Ok, random dinosaur spawns == win

    Now when are they going to be added to TF2?

  45. Aubrey says:

    This reminds me of something.

    In 1998 I wrote up a design document for Leper Arena which included a “Dino Munch” game mode.

    It was basically Quake 3′s overload, but with a mobile team Dinosaur which morphed between a T-Rex and a Velociraptor depending on health. It grew smaller and nippier the lower its health (so it was a slippery devil to finally kill), and slower but more dangerous the more it ate. The objective was to kill the other team’s Dino.

    You could feed it the limbs of enemies, or sacrifice your own limbs (limb loss being a mainstay mechanics of Leper Quake). If you overfed your dinosaur, it would poop mega healths and quad damages.

    Damn I was a cool designer before I started to understand about technical realities and market forces. I want my imagination back!

  46. Aubrey says:

    While David Jaffe and that guy from Metroid treated the boy’s question with respect and gave good answers, all Mr. Betzinski came up with, was a lame joke.

    If a guy can’t even respect a 7 year old kid, how do you expect him to respect his customers.

    In 1998, CliffyB laughed in my e-face after I told him I wanted to be a game designer. After that he said “Oh wait… you’re serious?”. At the time I was the same age he was when he started at Epic.

    MY ENTIRE CAREER IS THEREFORE NOTHING BUT A REVENGE QUEST.

  47. Bobsy says:

    Incidentally, Jazz Jackrabbit was a great game.

  48. spd from Russia says:

    Gears has strong style (like it or not) and consistency in its design and visuals. UT3 is a mess. I like some of the levels there, but overal its a clash of everything indeed. Too much usless specular on everything is another problem (ffs bricks dont shine!)

  49. qrter says:

    Ok, this has absolutely nothing to do with the dinosaur mod, but since people are once again bashing Dude Huge, I’d like to point you to this little post on kotaku:

    http://kotaku.com/5057652/three-developers-explain-littlebigplanet-level-design-to-a-7+year+old

    While David Jaffe and that guy from Metroid treated the boy’s question with respect and gave good answers, all Mr. Betzinski came up with, was a lame joke.

    If a guy can’t even respect a 7 year old kid, how do you expect him to respect his customers.

    Jesus, it’s like having a fratboy as a game designer.

  50. ascagnel says:

    @qrter:

    As a “fratboy,” I must respectfully disagree with your broad sweeping generaliza-WOOO KEGGERRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!