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View Full Version : Half-Life 2 / UT2003 engines comparisons.


nickelplate
7th Aug 2003, 07:40 PM
What are going to be the main differences between the two engines? What are their respective strengths and weaknesses? What kinds of mods are best suited for each engine?

Wormbo
7th Aug 2003, 07:50 PM
Without knowing much about the engine used for HL2 I can say that the Unreal engine has always been very mod-friendly. It's very easy to write a small modification that will be compatible with a lot of other modification by using a mutator. As far as I know mutators are a unique concept of the Unreal engine and even only adding gametypes is much easier than in e.g. Quake engine games because all it takes is the new gametype's code and an INT file while the Quake engine games don't offer such an interface for mod authors. There you have to rewrite the menu, client and server code and multiple mods can't be combined.

Doc_EDo
7th Aug 2003, 08:45 PM
AFAIK,
HL2 has everything UT200x has, and up on that it has:
1. Bump mapping (this is huge so instead of using 100 static meshes you use one BMP bump map)
2. Sources (real time refraction of light for water glass etc..)
3. Materials for objects (every object that can be destroyed breaks apart in peaces depending on what material it has been made of, wood metal etc..)

It's possibile that even Karma is more advanced that in UT2, but I'm not sure about that one.
Also I think HL2 has better AI.

The only bad thing is that they currently dont have plugg-in mutators, AFAIK. I have seen something that reminded me of mutators in ST:EF 2, and that's on quake3 engine. So there's a possibility that they will create that functionality later. Still that's nothing important for me.

I'll definately mod/map for HL2 when it comes out. :) :tup:

Radiosity
7th Aug 2003, 09:10 PM
I'll definately mod/map for HL2 when it comes out

I'll be too busy modding/ mapping all the new stuff for UT2K4 :D

Dark[NSF]
7th Aug 2003, 09:18 PM
Unreal Engine forever.

Doc_EDo
7th Aug 2003, 09:26 PM
UT2K4??? I already have that. It's called UT2003+mods. :lol: :rolleyes:

Dryn
7th Aug 2003, 11:37 PM
I look at it this way: I know unreal inside and out, I know its quirks, and I know how to make stuff. Thus I'll probally keep on with unreal.

However, if HL2 plays as good as any of the worst info out there, its still going to ownzer all; which, from valve, I totally expect it to! As for engine, that one is about 2x more powerful than unreal if you tally it out, but just for use of use I'll keep on with unreal. (similar P counts, but they have the potential for a mcuh more interactive environment. They have a more advanced particle system, shader / texture system, and the best AI tech I have seen yet. The physics, driven by Havoc, are the best on the market, and for person-animation, they have one stunning system there.) Still though, unless you need wicked animation and refraction shaders, you should be able to make an equivalent game in either engine; the only real catch in the end is gameplay and use of the technology.

(and Doom3 is to be wasted; HL2 kicks its ass in all-but-raw-polies, and then grinds its kicked ass into the ground some more with the stunning animation potential. As for unreal; unreal's always been strong, and I think it will only keep getting stronger as time goes on).

elmuerte
8th Aug 2003, 03:33 AM
so, on the graphic side the Source engine is better than the currently released Warfare Engine.
What about the technical side of it.

Sir_Brizz
8th Aug 2003, 03:59 AM
Only the build of the Unreal Engine we have...the actual tech demos show that the Unreal Engine is FAR advanced from what we have now even in the WORST case scenario. Things like what Doom3 and HL2 are doing are things that have been in the UEngine for MANY months, just hasn't been practical to include them in any games so far. You can see by overall quality of levels and models that the engine itself hasn't been lacking for years...and I would wager in the next couple of years we will see the UEngine releasing MORE than incredible games...I personally can't wait, the engine supposedly can handle millions of polygons in a scene with virtually no frame rate lag. :D:D

Evil-Devil
8th Aug 2003, 04:03 AM
HL2 looks really nice even the engine specs, but all we know that epic has never pushed the engine to its limit. Look at UT and his MODs. For example Tactical Ops looks very well compared to UT. And even the ut2k3 and upcomming ut2k4 mods, which still uses the same engine might push the engine to its limits. We havenīt seen yet what the unreal engine can really take. So lets try to get all of it.

Dryn
8th Aug 2003, 04:12 AM
Well, thats another thing; many of these things like bumpmapping and pixel-shaders are becoming standard; its only a matter of time before Unreal gets its share down :)

BlackHornet
8th Aug 2003, 04:21 AM
UT2k4 with bumpmapping.....that would be the best thing Epic can do.

Doc_EDo
8th Aug 2003, 04:50 AM
HL2 looks really nice even the engine specs, but all we know that epic has never pushed the engine to its limit. Look at UT and his MODs. For example Tactical Ops looks very well compared to UT. And even the ut2k3 and upcomming ut2k4 mods, which still uses the same engine might push the engine to its limits. We havenīt seen yet what the unreal engine can really take. So lets try to get all of it.
We haven't? All I care is UT200x.
It doesnt have bump mapping.
It doesn't have source and no mirrors.
AI sucks. I was trying to code so pawns avoid/escape from other pawns and it isn't supported. I have to rewrite the whole AI code instead of turning one variable like in UT.
Put 20 trees into one room and you get lag. Another limitation.
Lighting on static meshes in Unreal sucks ass.
I had 1000 of errors trying to make static meshes lighting look right.
In one map I just gave up on a whole room.

The new Unreal engine has TONS of errors/limitations, so HL2 engine will look like next gen engine compared to it.

Payback
8th Aug 2003, 05:48 AM
Once bitten, twice shy.

You guys all go on about mutators and mods breaking compatibility with other mods, and how its the worst thing ever?

Well... Talk to the Arg mod, the science and industry mod, my Action Half-life mod, and theres a couple of others but I forget the name. Modding for HL becomes less fun when something you've written stops working because someone found a way to cheat in counter-strike that relies on a method you were using....

Every moddable game has issues though, this is Valves. Epics issues are still its modding tools IMO, which valve has got pretty much sorted.

Mychaeel
8th Aug 2003, 10:06 AM
You guys all go on about mutators and mods breaking compatibility with other mods, and how its the worst thing ever?

Well... Talk to the Arg mod, the science and industry mod, my Action Half-life mod, and theres a couple of others but I forget the name. Modding for HL becomes less fun when something you've written stops working because someone found a way to cheat in counter-strike that relies on a method you were using....

I think you fundamentally misunderstood something about the notion of maintaining compatibility between UT2003 mods and mutators.

See Unreal Wiki: Maintaining Compatibility (http://www.unrealwiki.com/wiki/Maintaining_Compatibility) for details.

jb
8th Aug 2003, 04:04 PM
The engine behind UT2k3 was "old" when UT2k3 first shipped. Engines are not something you can slap on an effect like DX9 VS/PS or Bump mapping and do it well. UT2k3 was build in and around DX7 effects.

UT2k3 engine is fine for when it was released. It improved on most of UT engine limits (every try to make a map wiht more than 300 polys in your world veiw and say good by to your Frame rate) and raised the bar so to speak. Look at any other engine out there and they all have good parts and bad parts...

RegularX
8th Aug 2003, 07:10 PM
I don't really see how a comparison can be discussed without HL2 being released. Anything in print right now is just Valve PR.

Sir_Brizz
8th Aug 2003, 09:10 PM
Agreed. But we can also all agree that the Unreal Engine included in UT2k3 was old a year ago... Actual Unreal Technology has advanced FAR beyond what we see.

Payback
9th Aug 2003, 09:31 AM
I think you fundamentally misunderstood something about the notion of maintaining compatibility between UT2003 mods and mutators.

See Unreal Wiki: Maintaining Compatibility (http://www.unrealwiki.com/wiki/Maintaining_Compatibility) for details.

No, that page pretty much confirms what I thought about mutators. What bit do you think Im missing?

Mychaeel
9th Aug 2003, 10:06 AM
Well... maybe I'm misunderstanding your point then. In that case, please clarify. ---

You're saying that the same techniques that can be used to make mods and mutators generally intercompatible could be (ab)used to make cheats.

If you look at the Wiki page I linked to, you'll find that the whole topic of maintaining compatibility can be summed up in a single Don't: That's "Don't replace shared classes like PlayerReplicationInfo/xPlayer/xPawn/... in a mutator."

Everything else shown on that page are suggestions and techniques for working around that single Don't---and they're all very straightforward and simple; nothing elaborate or particularly sophisticated, and nothing one would expect to have to tell an author of a client-side cheat before he or she becomes aware of it. Those techniques are fundamental and common programming techniques applied to a certain problem.

It's just that many newbie Unreal-engine coders are simply not aware of that one "Don't" and think that (for example) subclassing xPawn and adding a variable to that subclass is a perfectly good way to associate a new piece of data with every player. Obviously, no two mutators that use this technique could ever be used at the same time, entirely defeating the modular concept of mutators.

The main point, however, is twofold:


UT2003, unlike its predecessor Unreal Tournament, has a cheat protection mechanism that simply disallows any code to be executed client-side that's not present and acknowledged on the server as well. Thus, any kind of client-side mod that could exploit any of those "compatibility techniques" is technically impossible.
You can hardly make the game more cheat-proof by not making your mutator compatible with other mods and mutators. The very concept of object-orientedness implies that any hypothetical cheat that'd work with a generic PlayerController will also work with your mutator's custom xPlayer subclass; however, should any two mutators both want to replace xPlayer by their respective custom subclasses, either one of them or even both would fail to work (to the legitimate user's chagrin).

Payback
11th Aug 2003, 06:00 AM
Yeah. It seems I should have been clearer in my point. I didnt mean a mutator could be used to make cheats (I understand theres hash code checks on the client and server and all sorts going on), nor was my post really related to UnrealScripting.

I was drawing a parallel between writing a mutator that prevents other mutators working and valve writing a fix for a cheat that they found that then breaks three or four mods, because they were relying on the feature that was removed. This happened to AHL three times in the end, I've no clue how often it happened to other mods but I do know I wasnt alone in this.

I really should stop whinging about it, but with everyone praising HL2 and saying how wonderful it will be to mod for I felt I should show that its not all sweetness and light.

Mychaeel
11th Aug 2003, 06:29 AM
If it's any consolation, I've had my share of compatibility breaks due to new versions of UTPure (Unreal Tournament's definitive cheat protection add-on) myself. ;)

I'm really glad that isn't an issue anymore in UT2003.

Sir_Brizz
11th Aug 2003, 08:38 PM
aren't we all........ ;)

SuperDre
14th Aug 2003, 12:46 PM
yeah and sometimes it's thirdparty protection software that makes your mod/mutator/tool incompatible.. (tactical Ops related) (In my case it was TOST which prevented my SuperTeam Keybinder from working online) And now it's TO-Protect.exe that prevents me from playing Tactical Ops on a lot of server because that buggy software tells me that my files are tempered with, but they are the official files (and a program called md5summer says that my files are the original)...

I've seen some amazing footage from HL2, but my main question was: what kind of hardware was it running on? and how is the engine performing when it is used online (UT2003 and Karma also has a lot of problems with going online, offline it works great but online it doesn't)..

But I think that it will take a lot of time before graphically UnrealEngine is up to par with Valve's Source engine..

(Or does the current UnrealEngine have Bumpmapping?)

NuKeR
14th Aug 2003, 01:09 PM
Well, I didnt read the whole thread, but from what I've read, Sir_Brizz is the one who said it the best. When UT2003 was released (thats like what, one year ago?) the engine was already one year old, so if we can count correctly, the Warfare Engine is now 2 years old (if not more). What we can see now (UT2003/2004) is a 2 years old engine. The newer builds of the engine (available only to licensees) is twice or maybe even 3 times better than what UT2003 uses. By now I'm pretty sure the engine has everything HL2 will have, and maybe more.

SuperDre
14th Aug 2003, 01:25 PM
The newer builds of the engine (available only to licensees) is twice or maybe even 3 times better than what UT2003 uses. By now I'm pretty sure the engine has everything HL2 will have, and maybe more.

Yeah that may be right, but they should release a game with the latest engine, so we can use that one :lol:

But I think ut2004 won't be much better as 2003..
So what game is gonna use the current build of the unreal engine?

RegularX
14th Aug 2003, 01:30 PM
I don't trust previews anymore, or even videos. You don't know what things are running on, how much an image might be photoshopped, or what state the actual codebase was in. The number of times I've looked at a "ingame" shot only to notice some wide disparity on my own monitor has now had me lump previews and ads as practically the same medium.

Heck, quoting from epic's own site:


When you fire a missile into a cloud of smoke ... or a character runs though it, the smoke realistically dissipates. They also used this to simulate dusty areas illuminated by light beaming through windows and again the dust moves around the air realistically as it gets disturbed by moving objects.


That sounds really, really cool (and surely is technically) - but is it a big part of UT2003? Of course not, because such effects are costly over the network. HL2 is in a similar spot - Valve is trying to drum up excitement for their tech. I get that and I don't have anything wrong with it (or the above quote, because ... well it is neat tech) but I'm not going to designing a HL2 mod for features which currently are only tangible on a web site.

NuKeR
14th Aug 2003, 01:35 PM
But I think ut2004 won't be much better as 2003..
So what game is gonna use the current build of the unreal engine?

UT2004 is the exact same engine build as UT2003, there wont be any new graphical effects or material types.

Corran
14th Aug 2003, 02:44 PM
Actually they've said they're using a slightly newer version of the engine for UT2004.

Radiosity
14th Aug 2003, 02:48 PM
There has also been mention of higher graphics modes to accomodate for new graphics cards (Geforce FX, Radeon 9800 etc).

NuKeR
14th Aug 2003, 03:58 PM
Actually they've said they're using a slightly newer version of the engine for UT2004.

Impossible, unless they broke compatibility with UT2003, which would be totally bad for them.

Radiosity
14th Aug 2003, 03:59 PM
Well, since they're bigging the game up as being backwards compatible with 2K3 servers, that would totally kill people's confidence in Epic if they suddenly updated the engine and made it incompatible with 2K3 servers.

RegularX
14th Aug 2003, 04:33 PM
I could be wrong here, but I thought the Unreal engine was OO enough that you could make updates to the rendering engine without necessarily breaking things like server compatibility. The UScript code which comprises say, CTF, and the map data format could remain the same. Certainly it poses potentially large restrictions (or else we'd all be able to log onto UT servers with 2k3).

Corran
14th Aug 2003, 07:00 PM
By engine I assue that the interviews and things have been refering to the rendering engine being updated and extra gizmos being updated. As Regular said, UT is OO enough that the interface between he rendering engine and the game code is flexible enough to edit one without breaking compatability.

Sir_Brizz
14th Aug 2003, 08:34 PM
By engine I assue that the interviews and things have been refering to the rendering engine being updated and extra gizmos being updated. As Regular said, UT is OO enough that the interface between he rendering engine and the game code is flexible enough to edit one without breaking compatability.

You're thinking of the engine incorrectly, IMO. In this case, the updates are made by hand to functions of the renderer encased in DLLs. That's why they are able to offer updates only for the sound, or only for the opengl, etc.

An Engine update would require changing TONS of native code that would ultimately result in breaking compatibility with every other version of the game in existence, which is why patches cannot be released that, in essence, update the engine to a newer build.

Also realize that the UT2003 code is A LONG WAYS from whatever the current build of the Unreal Engine is. DE made huge alterations to the engine just to make the game, therefore an engine upgrade is impractical and unfeasible due to the amount of extra work that would go into.

This is plainly evidenced by the inability of Ued3 to open Unreal 2 packages.

RegularX
14th Aug 2003, 08:44 PM
I dunno Brizzy, from the CliffyB interview "The engine is in great shape and has been tweaked and improved quite a bit."

I think maybe we're on two different levels of "update" here. Minor improvements/tweaks might be possible, but it's not like we're going to see pixel-shaded-dynamic-lighting (tm)

Radiosity
14th Aug 2003, 08:58 PM
This is plainly evidenced by the inability of Ued3 to open Unreal 2 packages.

Well yeah, difference in version between the two games is huge. Unreal 2 is what....about 640 or thereabouts. Compared to 2K3's current build of 2225.

Sir_Brizz
14th Aug 2003, 10:29 PM
but UT2k3s build number doesn't match to the build number of the Unreal Engine, but to UT2k3s build.

Unreal 2 iirc is something like 979 or something...but again they start at the engine build their given and work their way up from there, the actual Unreal Engine could be at build 9999 for all we know.

and I think that CliffyB is referring to the UT2003 engine, not the Unreal Engine.

Evil-Devil
15th Aug 2003, 08:30 AM
To the UT2K3 / UT2K4 compilacation with updating the engine. Iīd read that they will provide a patch for the 2K3 users, so they could play on 2K4 Server. MAybe they really change some engine features. but the most 2k3 content will remain. And they only said it will be backward compatible, not forward without an patch or so.

NuKeR
15th Aug 2003, 08:42 AM
lol, though that cant happen, it would be kinda stupid since UT2003 users could download UT2004 maps through online servers. UT2004 is backward compatible, UT2003 isnt forward compatible.

Evil-Devil
15th Aug 2003, 09:08 AM
lol, though that cant happen, it would be kinda stupid since UT2003 users could download UT2004 maps through online servers. UT2004 is backward compatible, UT2003 isnt forward compatible.

hadnīt i said that? Maybe i should work at my english grammar :rolleyes:

RegularX
15th Aug 2003, 09:52 AM
I think that CliffyB is referring to the UT2003 engine, not the Unreal Engine.


:hmm: Aren't we referrring to the UT2003 engine?

NuKeR
15th Aug 2003, 12:55 PM
lol RegularX, the UT2003 engine is old compared to the current Unreal Engine build.

Evil-Devil : You're right, thats because once I saw "Iīd read that they will provide a patch for the 2K3 users, so they could play on 2K4 Server." I didnt read what was after :P

elmuerte
15th Aug 2003, 02:08 PM
UT2004 client can play on UT2003 servers, not vice versa.
UT2003 is not network compatible with UT2004.

Evil-Devil
15th Aug 2003, 03:08 PM
']UT2003 is not network compatible with UT2004.
But thereīll be a patch some time after Ut2k4 was released

RegularX
15th Aug 2003, 03:16 PM
lol RegularX, the UT2003 engine is old compared to the current Unreal Engine build

oh lol - that's not the point.

We were discussing whether the engine can be updated in 2k4 and still play 2k3 games.

CliffyB's comment was that the UT2003 engine was now faster and more efficient for UT2004.

Faster and more efficient almost undoubtably means native code updates. IOW, the Engine code itself. No, we're probably not seeing new lighting tricks or new texture tricks, but instead more efficiency in the same renderer which lends to lowering the bar on the hardware requirements. Which probably means that your current hardware will be able to push better settings.

If that's true, which by Cliffy's statements it sounds like it is, and the UT2003 compatibility remains, then the answer to "Can you upgrade the engine and maintain backward compatibility" is "yes".

NuKeR
15th Aug 2003, 05:21 PM
But thereīll be a patch some time after Ut2k4 was released

Nope, thats the whole point. Maybe you misunderstood what he meant ;)

Players with UT2004 will be able to play on UT2003 and UT2004 servers.
Players with UT2003 will only be able to play on UT2003 servers.

@RegularX:
Well in that case its not really an upgrade, more like only optimisation. I know they had to greatly optimise the netcode for it to run smoothly with 32 players, which will be needed with the Onslaught mode.

RegularX
15th Aug 2003, 05:34 PM
That's just semantics. The point is that yes, they can update the native code. They can make changes to the renderer.

And if they get Onslaught running with 32 people on a decent box with a high resolution/detail - I think that's enough of an optimization to consider it an upgrade.

Hardware requirements are frequently considered one UT2003's biggest issues. I'd personally rather see a faster, sleeker engine than one with an additional feature.

Sir_Brizz
15th Aug 2003, 09:06 PM
but they can't superimpose a new version of the Unreal Engine, which is what I thought you were trying to say.

Mychaeel
15th Aug 2003, 09:25 PM
The Unreal engine is being developed in many different branches; the main branch is not tied to a certain game and thus the most technically advanced one.

The UT200x branch is still "the Unreal engine" though (or just yet another branch thereof); there's little point in discussing semantic subtleties about that. And obviously you can "superimpose" a new version in that engine branch on the game; however, trying to "superimpose" any version from a different branch is almost guaranteed to fail (otherwise it wouldn't be a different development branch to start with).

Sir_Brizz
15th Aug 2003, 11:07 PM
right I was saying that Epic's current build of the Unreal Engine could not be just stuck into UT2003 without a massive amount of native coding.

And that's why I called it the UT2003 Engine, because there is no specific distinguishing between Unreal titled Unreal Engine games.