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  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Notch made a game.

    Let's see if he can make another.
    He made more than one game. Respect the WURM.

  2. #122
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    I think that sharing assets could become a problem as far as Art Direction goes. Most games don't look alike, even realistic ones have slight differences that could make something look out of place.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithander View Post
    If you say it's too expensive to make all these high quality assets all the time from scratch, I agree. If the asset is so unimportant for your game that it doesn't warrant the time and energy to create it yourself then why bother with it?
    I didn't say it's expensive. I said it's time consuming and kind of illogical from a production perspective. There's really zero need for people to constantly remodel say M16s or desert eagles with every shooter given 3d models of those weapons already exist. Do you think Infinity Ward remodeled every gun in between MW1 and MW2? Or do you think they probably reused existing assets and added a few tweaks here and there?

    Why do you need 10.000 polys and 2 MB textures to get the idea of a 'chair' across? I can just say 'chair' and you know exactly what I mean. Books work that way and they can be authored by a single person in a couple hundred of hours.
    You seem to be throwing up arguments for the sake of it there. A books impression exists in your imagination, a games is conveyed through it's mechanisms.

    Quote Originally Posted by ado View Post
    Well game engines like Unreal 3 already fulfill this role to a large extent but I really wouldn't dare to propose that the industry goes beyond that. As in that games share real assets and locations and sets between them.
    Why not? What harm does it do?

    This works in films because the viewer does not interact with the set like he would do in a game. If assets where liberally reused in games the players would spot it much easier than say spotting the New York Street set from the Universal backlot.
    What does it matter? We're talking about the visual wallpaper that surrounds games Vs the guts of the experience which would likely be tailor made. Consider the recent Watchdogs demo revealed for the PS4 would it really be that terrible a crime to reuse the NPC animations in that game in another Ubisoft project?

    The thing is that most people are satisfied with what works for them, which doesn't mean that they wouldn't want the Star Trek Holodeck for their games if it was doable. Point being that even though a lot of that experimental hardware might lead to dead ends (like i think motion controls did) we cannot know what benefits may come of it. I personally think that biometrics could really be a cool thing if implemented correctly.
    I think people are up for an enhanced experience (I'd say the OR looks interesting), but if they can achieve it without having to get out of their chair I suspect they'll favour it more.

  4. #124
    Lesser Hivemind Node ado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    What does it matter? We're talking about the visual wallpaper that surrounds games Vs the guts of the experience which would likely be tailor made. Consider the recent Watchdogs demo revealed for the PS4 would it really be that terrible a crime to reuse the NPC animations in that game in another Ubisoft project?
    I wouldn't actually be surprised if Watch Dogs did borrow animations and the like from Assassin's Creed or whatever. And I guess that is all right as long as it's not all too visible on the surface. Like if Watch Dogs started playing or even feeling like AC because of it I would object.

    But actual sets and elements of the world design? I don't know, I guess I'm an artsy-fartsy purist in that sense and noticing elements from a different game in the game that I'm playing would certainly tarnish the experience to a degree for me. In the least because it would take me out of the game and make me focus and think about what they copied, instead of thinking about and focusing on the game and it's gameplay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    I think people are up for an enhanced experience (I'd say the OR looks interesting), but if they can achieve it without having to get out of their chair I suspect they'll favour it more.
    I agree with this.
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  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    You seem to be throwing up arguments for the sake of it there. A books impression exists in your imagination, a games is conveyed through it's mechanisms.
    If you think that game experience doesn't happen in your immagination then it's completely obvious why my argumentation doesn't make sense to you. Doesn't mean your right, though.

  6. #126
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post
    He made more than one game. Respect the WURM.
    He's worked on other stuff - he did the client to Wurm before he quit - but suffice it to say, that lightning ain't gonna strike twice.
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  7. #127
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithander View Post
    What's my point? The thread started with my TLDR post about how I perceived the industry to be focusing too much on surface values. That I perceive this focus to be a majro problem because it means a constraint. It means that the game designer and the programmer from your example have to make their ideas work with closed-source off-the-shelve engines because that's the only way their game can compete visually with "uber GFX". Your choice of 3rd party technology has a massive effect on what you can and can not aspire to do with your game. And that is my point.
    Minecraft is a good example that small teams don't have to jump the high fidelity train to make a successful game. If Notch would have aimed for AAA graphics there'd be no Minecraft. That is my point.
    there's another side to that coin. If you wan tto go back in time, you not only needed to be an amazing C/ASM (assembly language for the non coders) programmer but you needed to research physics models, linear algebra, be comfortable with calculating matrices in your head, and network programming. On top of that you have to create your own mathematical models that were streamlined enough for a sub 200MHz CPU to be able to process in real-time. You also had to do all this research the old school analogue way, go to a good University library or if you didn't have access to that, buy 100's of dollars' worth of books. After you've crossed that hurdle, you have to program easy to use 3d and 2d editor tools for your game designer / artist buddy or figure out the plugin APIs of really expensive 3D and 2D software like Maya or Photoshop. It was never easy, in fact it took years and a huge amount of monetary investment for John Carmack and his team of fellow coders to get to the point where they had the work flow in place for Id to push out something like Quake. I think it as 3 years of straight up development between Doom and Quake? All the time in between was just expansion packs and sequels on the same Doom engine.

    3D game development has always had complications and required tough decisions to be made back then and now.

    Can you give me some background on the difficulties you have faced with current game engines? From what I can tell you have a wide range of choices:
    - Cryengine 2: Unified lighting model, ability to script complex simulations
    - UE3: baked in, works on the lowest common denominator hardware yet still looks presentable
    -Id Tech 5: Ultra baked in, artists can do whatever the hell they want without regard for memory or texture sizes
    -Open source: your fair share of open source 3D engines where you can design your own tools for the artists.

    If you just want to do a linear first person / thirs person story based game where all the content will be primarily the game designer's and artists' domain, you have UE3 or Id Tech 5.
    If you want to do some clever simulation or physics based emergent gameplay, you have Cryengine 2 or you can expand on one of the available open source engines out there.
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  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithander View Post
    If you think that game experience doesn't happen in your immagination then it's completely obvious why my argumentation doesn't make sense to you. Doesn't mean your right, though.
    3D games can be immersive and thrilling but you're very much in the authorial creation of someone else, just as you are when you watch a film/TV series. Beyond the odd largely unseen horror genre (ala amnesia) it's rare if much is left to your imagination truly. To draw like for like comparisons to the consumption of literature, which exists solely in the minds eye is frankly disingenuous. The joy of games as a medium is they can mix things up from other media, taking inspiration from films, books, television even threatre (consider Kentucky Route Zero for instance), but they're not really fully leveraging what game space can achieve more than any other medium, namely take you directly to the shoulder of Orion or the Tannhäuser Gate.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 21-02-2013 at 07:44 PM.

  9. #129
    Activated Node lithander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    If you wan tto go back in time...
    Where did I say I'd want to go back in time? That I'd prefer working on order's of magnitude weaker hardware - let alone think it would help making better games?

    Either my english is a lot worse than what I thought or you deliberately try to misunderstand me...

  10. #130
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithander View Post
    Where did I say I'd want to go back in time? That I'd prefer working on order's of magnitude weaker hardware - let alone think it would help making better games?

    Either my english is a lot worse than what I thought or you deliberately try to misunderstand me...
    I can't believe I'm going to defend Mashy here, but...

    That's not what he was getting at. He's saying that in the age when devs tended to write their own engines from scratch for any game they wanted, it took significantly more time and required significantly more money, expertise, and overall effort to re-invent the wheel (in effect). Carmack worked hard to get all of his engines running as they did back in the 90s, the man's a genius (whether or not his latest games are worth it though is debatable). As soon as people like id Software started licensing their tech, other devs snapped it up. Why re-invent the wheel?

    EDIT: Um, that was poorly worded. Obviously in the 90s making a smooth-running FPS wasn't "re-inventing the wheel" for Carmack or Ken Silverman, but for other devs who wanted to use sector-based engines after that, it certainly was.

    Today we have authorware packages added on top of engines to decrease the barrier into game development. Things like Unity mean that there are more people who can now make games, it's not limited to people who can code close to metal to get the best out of the platform or who write their renderer from scratch. For 2D games there's Game Maker Studio which is expanding into HTML5, lowing the bar even further again. There's no reason why people should have to go from scratch unless they have very specific needs, and Minecraft was one example where nothing else could really do the job.

    Just because an engine supports unified lighting or six trillion shaders for sweat on a hairy man's backside, it doesn't mean that a developer has to use it. You're arguing about developers choosing to focus on graphics. That's not a question of 3rd party tech (except those with absurd content pipelines, like the Source engine) but of developers choosing to shoot for high-end graphics and utilising the features of their chosen engine. Your argument against using 3rd party tech is invalid. Your argument should be against devs choosing to emphasise graphics over gameplay, which has nothing to do with using Unity or CryEngine 6.5.4.1.


    And that's about as far as I can go with defending Mashy, I guess everyone gets one.

  11. #131
    Activated Node lithander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Today we have authorware packages added on top of engines to decrease the barrier into game development. [...] There's no reason why people should have to go from scratch unless they have very specific needs, and Minecraft was one example where nothing else could really do the job.
    Democratization of game development is cool. I'm all for lowering the entry barrier so more people can try to make a contribution. I could even imagine that this helps to move the medium forward content-wise.

    What worries me is that when the likes of Unity and Unreal have a quasi monopoly on the technological basis for games the industry depends on only a hand-full of companies to innovate in that fundamental area of game development.

    It's not uncommon for ideas of gamedesigners to get discarded because engineering can't make them work within the constraints of the engine the team's using. If you use a 3rd party engine you save a lot of work otherwise spent reinventing the wheel but you'll also make lot's of concessions based on the specific type of wheels you got to make do with. And those are general-purpose wheels.

    When you think about future games that have the potential to move the medium forward, do you imagine something that would easily work in Unreal Engine 3 (or 4)? That game you imagine would probalby have some really smart, refreshing game-design idea at it's core, right? Do you think it's more likely the developer was using an an off-the-shelve, closed source engine? Or is it more likely that team was using inhouse tech to get that revolutionary new idea/approach to work?

    This is why I don't think that of the shelve-engines really help here. They make it easy to churn out more games like we know 'em. They also make games that are different (technological) a lot less likely to be made.

    Last but not least. I'm not really arguing aginst using 3rd party tech as long as it get's the job done. I just think it's important that it's not always the game that shouldhave to change if that's not the case.
    Last edited by lithander; 23-02-2013 at 05:13 PM.

  12. #132
    The thing is writing your own engine is rather hard ( and time and money consuming ) even for big developers. If you want to make a cake you don't go and try to grow your own grain to make your own flour, you go and buy what you need and make the cake you want.

    If your cake needs some special ingredients then you start looking for things that fit your specific need. If none are to be found you either bite the bullet and make your own or you scale back your ideas and try and fit your cake design into what you have at hand.

    We've had marble sculptures for centuries and the fact that they are all made from the same thing didn't mean they were all the same thing.

    All in all, I don't believe the engines make as much of a difference as you think, and I think Unity has allowed a lot of different experiments to happen because it's relatively easy to use and people can get stuff done without having to build their own engine.

  13. #133
    Obscure Node calabi's Avatar
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    In my opinion the only way we are going to really good games is if an engine like Unity and its asset store really takes off.

    If your creating things in the real its madness to keep creating things from scratch all the time. You've got the Euphoria engine naturalistic motion. Theres no way you could code that(they didnt even code it, it coded itself) It should come as standard with every game involving people. We still have a ton of crappy animations and AI, its because they keep trying to code things from scratch all the time.

  14. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caddybear View Post
    The thing is writing your own engine is rather hard ( and time and money consuming ) even for big developers. If you want to make a cake you don't go and try to grow your own grain to make your own flour, you go and buy what you need and make the cake you want.

    If your cake needs some special ingredients then you start looking for things that fit your specific need. If none are to be found you either bite the bullet and make your own or you scale back your ideas and try and fit your cake design into what you have at hand.

    We've had marble sculptures for centuries and the fact that they are all made from the same thing didn't mean they were all the same thing.

    All in all, I don't believe the engines make as much of a difference as you think, and I think Unity has allowed a lot of different experiments to happen because it's relatively easy to use and people can get stuff done without having to build their own engine.
    Actually its well known that tools constrain not only your capabilities but your thinking. So having all the high quality engines follow a specific format, or having just a few high quality engines is going to direct the industry to certain places.

    However I think it would be important to have good statistics on the kinds of games that are easily and/or commonly done in Unity before making any specific conclusions.

    For instance it would be interesting to discover whether one could make a Paradox style game in Unity, or a Tilted Mill game, or Ahriman's Gift. We know it can make things like Castle Story. In fact we can probably say that it would have been more intelligent for the Towns devs to make Towns in Unity, than to code their own program, especially given that the whole game apparently runs in a static constructor and that they have a really slow dev cycle.

    I think it would be an interesting project or competition to have people create clones/variations of a large number of diverse genres in Unity, and then come back with post-mortems to discuss what they couldn't do and why, and how hard it was, and how much they had to fight Unity to do it.

  15. #135
    Obscure Node calabi's Avatar
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    Its also a well known constraints are good for creative thinking. You'll get more better ideas if you give people limits with which to work in than if you just give them a blank piece of paper.

  16. #136
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithander View Post
    What worries me is that when the likes of Unity and Unreal have a quasi monopoly on the technological basis for games the industry depends on only a hand-full of companies to innovate in that fundamental area of game development.
    But that's pretty much the case with everything because most people can't make engines. Most people can't design new cars, or make new rocket ships, or high powered laser beams. Instead they take something that works and iterate on it to make what they want to make. Most people can't make their own operating system, but has that stifled creativity in the Linux sector? No, people are still deriving and adding and so on to create their own distros.

    Quote Originally Posted by lithander View Post
    When you think about future games that have the potential to move the medium forward, do you imagine something that would easily work in Unreal Engine 3 (or 4)? That game you imagine would probalby have some really smart, refreshing game-design idea at it's core, right? Do you think it's more likely the developer was using an an off-the-shelve, closed source engine? Or is it more likely that team was using inhouse tech to get that revolutionary new idea/approach to work?
    To be honest I don't really know the capabilities of UE3 or 4 (never really sat down with UDK either, the pipeline looks too hard compared to Unity) but assuming they're not shoe-horning people into FPS design, then yes, it very well could. Case in point: the Source engine is geared towards FPS games, and more specifically Half-Life based FPS games. Yet we've had multitudes of mods that turn it into something entirely different. Valve even added in new rendering and physics capabilities to create Portal. I'd call that innovative. They didn't rewrite the engine from scratch, but they did extend it. You can extend most of these 3rd party engines if you have the license to do so. It still saves an immense amount of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by lithander View Post
    This is why I don't think that of the shelve-engines really help here. They make it easy to churn out more games like we know 'em. They also make games that are different (technological) a lot less likely to be made.
    We're getting the same games because devs like to play it safe, whether they're indie or AAA. That's true of pretty much any industry. Look at Kickstarter - one space game started to do well, so we got a bunch of others following in its wake. Go back to the 90s and you had the term "Doom clone". The use of authorware packages or purchased engines doesn't impact on this.


    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post
    However I think it would be important to have good statistics on the kinds of games that are easily and/or commonly done in Unity before making any specific conclusions.
    I don't have statistics but knowing the system at least with the Pro license you do have incredible scope to produce content. For more experimental style games like Minecraft you'll need to write your own engine, but that's pretty much a given for something like that anyway. Outside of that there aren't very many limits. You're unlikely to find a Paradox-style game not because it can't be done, but because it's primarily used by indie devs who stick to things they know will sell.

  17. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by calabi View Post
    Its also a well known constraints are good for creative thinking. You'll get more better ideas if you give people limits with which to work in than if you just give them a blank piece of paper.
    This is not as simple as it seems. Going out there for an idea has a high failure rate, while staying known allows to borrow popularity from previous games in a genre. And you know, unless you are SWTOR or D3 devs, that it won't flop.

    You get a larger quantity of good ideas but far less of brilliant revolutionary ideas.

    Also we are talking about different kinds of constraints anyways. I was talking about the linguistic principle of language shaping perception.

  18. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    But that's pretty much the case with everything because most people can't make engines. Most people can't design new cars, or make new rocket ships, or high powered laser beams. Instead they take something that works and iterate on it to make what they want to make. Most people can't make their own operating system, but has that stifled creativity in the Linux sector? No, people are still deriving and adding and so on to create their own distros.


    To be honest I don't really know the capabilities of UE3 or 4 (never really sat down with UDK either, the pipeline looks too hard compared to Unity) but assuming they're not shoe-horning people into FPS design, then yes, it very well could. Case in point: the Source engine is geared towards FPS games, and more specifically Half-Life based FPS games. Yet we've had multitudes of mods that turn it into something entirely different. Valve even added in new rendering and physics capabilities to create Portal. I'd call that innovative. They didn't rewrite the engine from scratch, but they did extend it. You can extend most of these 3rd party engines if you have the license to do so. It still saves an immense amount of time.


    We're getting the same games because devs like to play it safe, whether they're indie or AAA. That's true of pretty much any industry. Look at Kickstarter - one space game started to do well, so we got a bunch of others following in its wake. Go back to the 90s and you had the term "Doom clone". The use of authorware packages or purchased engines doesn't impact on this.



    I don't have statistics but knowing the system at least with the Pro license you do have incredible scope to produce content. For more experimental style games like Minecraft you'll need to write your own engine, but that's pretty much a given for something like that anyway. Outside of that there aren't very many limits. You're unlikely to find a Paradox-style game not because it can't be done, but because it's primarily used by indie devs who stick to things they know will sell.
    I did find that someone made a voxel engine in/for Unity. So you actually could make that there.

    However, is Unity any more open to creativity than Ogre? Its infinitely more popular, but that could be for marketing reasons, or because Unity has a nonprogrammer layer on top.

    Having the source code to Unity would probably make it better than scratch for a small or less experienced team.

    I really think it would be interesting to see just what exactly Unity's limits are, compared to older engines like Torque and UDK which are more focused on the kinds of games originally built on them.

  19. #139
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post
    However, is Unity any more open to creativity than Ogre? Its infinitely more popular, but that could be for marketing reasons, or because Unity has a nonprogrammer layer on top.

    Having the source code to Unity would probably make it better than scratch for a small or less experienced team.

    I really think it would be interesting to see just what exactly Unity's limits are, compared to older engines like Torque and UDK which are more focused on the kinds of games originally built on them.
    Unity still relies fairly heavily on programming - if you can't code you won't get any game logic, it just gives you a bunch of tools to make the more mundane things like positioning objects in 3D space for maps to be a lot easier than trying to write it from scratch yourself. Never used Ogre, can't comment on that. But I agree that the "ease" (relative) of use that Unity has versus many other packages is the main drawcard. But it's not just in terms of offering a friendly UI but also in the content pipeline. Unity can deal with a load of different files. Compared to something like Source with its arcane and absurd content pipeline it's fantastic.

    UDK seemed like a bit of a mess to me and more geared towards FPS games but I only ever looked at it briefly (as in about an hour of dicking around). Torque? The devs are terrible, Torque can go die in a hole.

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    Ah that's useful information. Sometimes I'm almost tempted to try out Unity seriously. My current project runs on an old open source RTS project and it has quite a few limitations GUI and graphics wise. But I am not sure how performant Unity would be for an RTS focuses on having lots of units. Probably have better particles though.

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