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Old 28th Feb 2008, 10:57 PM   #1
T2A`
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A new development strategy.

I haven't played this game called Sins of a Solar Empire, but I found a quote by a developer on the team that made it that makes a lot of sense.

Quote:
"For console advocates out there, ask yourself how well a given game would sell if it required players to run out and buy a $300 upgrade to their console to play the game? That's essentially what a lot of high profile PC game developers expect. When Ironclad and Stardock were working on Sins, we made a conscious decision that the game would not require potential gamers to upgrade their systems. That meant we couldn't have things like moving turrets or whatever but it means that the size of the market was much larger. No matter how good your game is, if people can't play it, you will always be limited. The number of people willing to upgrade PCs for games is not that large. If you want to sell lots of copies of your PC game, make sure it runs on a lot of machines."
Honestly, what good does UT3's visual fluffiness do? What does it bring to the table as far as gameplay is concerned? Nothing. It might be slightly more immersive than the alternative, but immersion isn't a gameplay concern. If UT3's current gameplay could be experienced on 10x or 50x the computers, perhaps we wouldn't be in a position where at any given time there's only about 150 - 200 people playing it in the US.

I realize Epic's in a relatively unique position given that they need to ramp up the visual fluff to push engine sales, but overall I think PC gaming needs more developers like the one above. With each new game that requires PC upgrades, consoles sound like a better and better idea. Epic recently mentioned that consoles are where the money's at, but given how tough UT3 is on PCs, they're certainly not helping that fact.

I've got my PC upgraded and ready to go for the next few years, but before that UT3 barely ran at all. At a playable setting it looked worse than the original Doom. Comparatively speaking, HL2 looked great, so I don't believe for a second that UE3 is as scalable as they claim. And that fact only hurts their bottom line... which caused them to go on record claiming that consoles are hurting the PC market. In reality PC developers are likely just hurting themselves.

I'm guessing once consoles make it to the point where keyboard/mouse is the de facto input method and games are designed around this, PC gaming is finished. That is, of course, unless PC developers do something about it before it comes to that.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 01:15 AM   #2
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If that would be the case, then I would stop gaming. I won't buy a console to just play games. One problem I can see in the future would be that if games are not made for the PC any longer, then the bottom would fall out of the PC hardware market as well. One of the things that has driven PC hardware has been games. Always pushing the limits of current hardware so people will lay down their cash for the next upgrade. Faster CPUs, RAM, motherboards, video cards, etc. I wouldn't have built a new box and rebuilt my old box if it wasn't for games. I could have just gone out and bought a walmart computer and saved a chunk of change.

Just rambling
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 01:37 AM   #3
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The 'bottom' has already fallen out of the pc-hardware market as the hardware available already is far too high-end for a non-gamer.

It's not only that the hardware to play a 'next-gen' game costs a lot.
Getting that hardware to play nice with your system is the next hurdle.
And once you're past that you have to pray that the game actually won't crash because a driver or other piece of hardware is not as compatible as it should be.

Quote:
immersion isn't a gameplay concern
I disagree.
If it wasn't then the majority of us would still be playing text-adventures in muds.
We'd be using spreadsheets to play 'games'.

Also consider that Crysis managed to outsell UT3 ... so it can't all be blamed on the hardware (only really monsters can run Crysis at a decent quality/performance-level).
I think that the reason for UT3's lack of success is the genre it represents.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 01:53 AM   #4
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UT3 is a relic from a bygone era, when shooters were all about killing as many people as you can with the next craziest weapon. Yea, graphics were really important, but not so much realism, because it was obvious games back then couldn't come close to realism. Nowadays they can get pretty damn far, so more dev time is spent trying to make it look as real as possible.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 03:25 AM   #5
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Actually, JaFO, I take that back as it was kind of dumb. I think what I meant is "more and more shiny graphics" isn't a gameplay concern. At the same time, in terms of multiplayer, which is what I was more concerned with, immersion is less of an issue. To me, the difference between single and multiplayer is a large one. I don't want to be immersed into the multiplayer aspect; what I want is a great game that's fun to play and riddled with as few issues as possible. Single player = immersion and story; multiplayer = gameplay and fun.

All those post-processing effects, the bloom, the DoF, the normal mapping, and the soon-to-be ambient occlusion... They add nothing to the gameplay value, especially when we're talking about visually unrealistic thematics. They do, however, add value to the engine, and it seems fairly obvious to me that UT3 is more a tech demo, a multi-platform tech demo, than anything else.

I suppose my ultimate argument here, at least in regard to UT3, is that UT3 could have been made with UE2 (with some additions a la Source) and would have been just as fun gameplay-wise. If that were the case, it may not have flopped. Working with that old, familiar code base, Epic could have concentrated on creating the best overall gameplay experience, but it seems they were much more concerned about the artistic value and the technical ability of the engine than they were about providing us with an awesome game. But, as I said, Epic's in a somewhat unique position in that they are pushing their engine, which is their main bread winner, more than they are pushing games. However, that's not an excuse -- just look at Valve.

You can't say people want realism either. GoW isn't realistic and it sold well. The best-selling game ever (WoW) isn't realistic. COD4, while neat, still isn't that realistic, all things considered. HL2, there's another for unrealism, but those games are damn awesome. No, what people really want is a great experience, and more graphical nonsense is not the answer. Sure, it might be great in small doses -- Crysis, for example -- but if every game was simply pretty to look at with ultimately forgettable gameplay, people would stop going for them, I think.

You don't need more graphics to have an immersive, fun game. PC gamers don't need to be forced to upgrade to support the latest pixel shader. PC developers don't need to mercenarily suck at the teat of the hardware companies, constantly pushing the limits to ensure hardware sales while getting kick-backs for the advertisement. If they cared more about the customers than the licenses and business contracts, maybe something good would happen for PC gaming. Consoles aren't like this -- static hardware puts more emphasis on great games over great technology.

If PC developers concentrated on great games lots of people could run and would want to buy, maybe the piracy ordeal wouldn't be so large an issue. iTunes proves it: people are willing to pay. It's just a matter of figuring out how much.

It's late and I'm not sure I'm tying my points together properly, but I hope that'll do for now.

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Old 29th Feb 2008, 03:34 AM   #6
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All the games you've listed, with the exception of GoW, are "realistic" in that they are believable. COD4 is "realistic", HL2 is "realistic", UT3 is simply so far beyond unrealistic that it's in a class in it's own.

And you do realize that the UT series, throughout it's lifespan, has been made to tech demo Epic's engines, right? The way you talk you make it sound like this is a new thing with UT3 (although judging by how long you've been around, I'm sure that's not what you think) - it's not, and when UT2k4 came out, it was pushing graphics to the limit, and focusing very much on graphical content, in addition to gameplay. And with UT3, Epic focused a LOT on gameplay, as you can see by how balanced it is (so not gonna start an argument over preferences - the game is balanced, pure and simple), what they didn't/couldn't focus on was making it polished.

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Old 29th Feb 2008, 03:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Unknown Target View Post
And you do realize that the UT series, throughout it's lifespan, has been made to tech demo Epic's engines, right?
Yes, I do realize that, and that's my point. A new strategy. PC games should be games and made to be the best they can be rather than simply a way to sell licenses or peddle hardware. It worked for Blizzard. It worked for Valve. It can work for Epic. And in the end, the players win... which makes them more apt to buy things, if you want to look at it from a business point.

Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, I am not an idiot.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 04:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by T2A` View Post
I haven't played this game called Sins of a Solar Empire, but I found a quote by a developer on the team that made it that makes a lot of sense.

Honestly, what good does UT3's visual fluffiness do? What does it bring to the table as far as gameplay is concerned? Nothing. It might be slightly more immersive than the alternative, but immersion isn't a gameplay concern. If UT3's current gameplay could be experienced on 10x or 50x the computers, perhaps we wouldn't be in a position where at any given time there's only about 150 - 200 people playing it in the US.

I realize Epic's in a relatively unique position given that they need to ramp up the visual fluff to push engine sales, but overall I think PC gaming needs more developers like the one above. With each new game that requires PC upgrades, consoles sound like a better and better idea. Epic recently mentioned that consoles are where the money's at, but given how tough UT3 is on PCs, they're certainly not helping that fact.

I've got my PC upgraded and ready to go for the next few years, but before that UT3 barely ran at all. At a playable setting it looked worse than the original Doom. Comparatively speaking, HL2 looked great, so I don't believe for a second that UE3 is as scalable as they claim. And that fact only hurts their bottom line... which caused them to go on record claiming that consoles are hurting the PC market. In reality PC developers are likely just hurting themselves.

I'm guessing once consoles make it to the point where keyboard/mouse is the de facto input method and games are designed around this, PC gaming is finished. That is, of course, unless PC developers do something about it before it comes to that.
What a great point. I have long thought this very same thing myself. I look at many of the current/next gen console games out there, and then do one of these.

Not because I'm super unimpressed, but when I look at UT2004, it STILL looks better than alot of the games out that are 3-4 years newer. One or two tweaks to UE2, and it's ON like Donkey Kong. many of Which are already in place from later UE2 titles. Like Water Pixel shaders, normal mapping, alot of that crap is in the later UE2 builds, after UT2004.

Many of my friends who are'nt hardcore gamers that see me turn on UT2004 after playing some 360, say: "Woah what is that?" Then I tell them it's almost 4 years old, and it's a truly WTF moment.

Easy money for Epic...don't see why they won't do something like that. Especially considering the MAD success of Xbox live arcade, and XBL originals via download. It would sprad on Xbox live like WILDFIRE. Then you have a HUGE plethora of already existing user maps to place into FREE, bonus content on a VERY regualr basis.

That's how you build a fan base that is unfamiliar to your product. Not only that, it would totally work, and I'd buy it, and play the ever living CRAP out of it.

UE2 on the Wii= win
UT2004 on 360 and PS3= HUGE WIN

If I ran a company like Epic games, I would have had a "vamped up" version of UT2004 as a 360 LAUNCH title.

Then there is the FACT that UE2 is well tested, and exploited, and robust, and it WORKS, VERY WELL.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 04:50 AM   #9
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Your absolutely right, for a long time i have believed developers (especially western ones) need to stop pushing so hard at the technological boundaries and focus on the gaming ones. Unfortunately companies like intel, amd, nvidia and ati would never allow top developers to let their games stagnate technologically. Shame really, we might start seeing some real innovation in gameplay and game art.

I'll bet this is one of those sticking points the PCGA couldn't agree on whe they were discussing the future of PC game money making.

Now that PC gaming seems so intrinsically linked to consoles, i'm expecting those of us who have recently upgraded will not need to do so again for the next 5 years, inline with a consoles shelf life. what are the chances?

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Old 29th Feb 2008, 08:10 AM   #10
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Good thread T2A.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 09:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by T2A` View Post
...They do, however, add value to the engine, and it seems fairly obvious to me that UT3 is more a tech demo, a multi-platform tech demo, than anything else.
BINGO! Where do you guys think the real money for Epic is... selling a few million copies of a game or licensing the UT engine to developers on every available hardware platform out there? (Trick question. )
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 01:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by T2A` View Post
I'm guessing once consoles make it to the point where keyboard/mouse is the de facto input method and games are designed around this, PC gaming is finished. That is, of course, unless PC developers do something about it before it comes to that.
Don't forget about HD tv's... Right now, the main thing IMO, that consoles lack graphically is the video output device. Even if you compare the graphics chips set in an XBOX360, to it's equivalent PC part in a equal or lesser system, the PC will probably still look better because CRT's are just so pretty, and LCD's not far behind.

To add to the immersion comment, considering they did a great job of immersion with Unreal™, and it ran on a Voodoo3 flawlessly, I don't think the fluff is necessary either.

@Shred: 2kx wasn't polished or good. People only think of 2k4 when they think of 2kx, like they didn't even play the UT2 Beta that was UT2003. So, after a re-release they fixed it and made it very tolerable. None the less, the netcode was still rough, the gameplay had terrible gimmicks of additions, and one of those gimmicks caused a domino effect of changes that basically made it feel like not UnrealTournament. Adrenaline didn't ruin the game only because you could disable it. The weapon balance very strongly favored low low pings (which to some extent they all do, but 2k4 was bad), and no better 2 additions to a server than high flying dodge moves, and a shield to make it less about shooting, and more about not dying.

As well, they still have yet to achieve the number of online players that UT had, which given was biased by it's pirate-ability, but honestly, I couldn't care less about their sales numbers. I want people in servers. Something else 2k4 lacked for quite some time until TAM came around, which is pretty sad.

But yeah, I agree, and have been saying this for some degree for months. People play games they can run well. No one wants to video game a slide show.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 01:55 PM   #13
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I do agree somewhat T2A but the PC market is going through a fair bit of a transition period at the moment and putting that all on game developers is alittle unfair.

Basically MS screwed itself when it comes to vista by getting the 360 out with alot of features before hand and back at the vista launch there was versions which cost more than the total cost of the 360 and thats without the hardware.

Its not just vista though but that is part of it that to get more out of your ram you need whatever vista version, from there we have DX10 graphics cards, 64bit, PCIE and multicore architectures. I think Epic was right with dropping 64bit support and going with multicore only myself for UE3.

Now though the market has settled some, PCIE and multicore is the standard but that took longer than it should have. I would say its because of all these incremental steps and too much backwards support, but DX10 is still a mess. See I was seeing people purchasing AGP cards long after it was even worth the cost and now days people are purchasing DX10 cards which dont even match the performance of previous generation cards.

What we need is more moving forwards and a few less options (in terms of hardware), that should clean things up some and I think it would actually make companies more money. See if people have no choice but to upgrade and I mean actually upgrade, not a sidewards-grade or downgrade then those things which are so expensive will come down in price because the demand is higher.

PC title exclusivity (even if its timed) coupled with this new direction in hardware would push the PC games industry much further than the current mentality. Its simply not cost effective and alot of people see that which is why consoles are the popular option. So we need more people buying gaming PC's instead of consoles, so it will take both games and hardware to achieve that.

Like I said I agree and developers could make smaller increments with their graphical upgrades like source but there will always be people pushing the bounds. The trick to it I think is getting those higher end components down lower, basically dumping lowend and keeping whats left. Theres no point to a dedicated lowend graphics card when intel can provide onboard solutions for those not wanting to play those intensive games.

So yeah if people dont have that lowend or sideways-grade option they would be more likely to purchase mid-high end gear for gaming. PC exclusivity will make the upgrades more cost effective even if they are expensive at first, less options would mean more people funneling money into that gear so it should get cheaper.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 02:01 PM   #14
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Has anyone tried Sins of a Solar Empire? Does anyone like it?
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 02:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T2A` View Post
Actually, JaFO, I take that back as it was kind of dumb. I think what I meant is "more and more shiny graphics" isn't a gameplay concern. At the same time, in terms of multiplayer, which is what I was more concerned with, immersion is less of an issue. To me, the difference between single and multiplayer is a large one. I don't want to be immersed into the multiplayer aspect; what I want is a great game that's fun to play and riddled with as few issues as possible. Single player = immersion and story; multiplayer = gameplay and fun.
Allow me to disagree for one simple reason : the average consumer wouldn't understand it.
Sure ... to someone who can look beyond the graphics it is pretty easy to dial down the graphics and concentrate on the 'essentials'.
However to the average consumer such things don't exist.
I know people that simply are incapable of judging concepts unless they're covered in the proper eyecandy.
I've seen people get 'hot' for a mere mock-up of a cockpit display even though it didn't work while they couldn't be bothered to look at the parts that were working even though they were essential to the software.
Well ... I think you understand what I'm saying.

Quote:
it seems fairly obvious to me that UT3 is more a tech demo, a multi-platform tech demo, than anything else.
Want to know something funny ?
I've always treated the UT-series as a tech-demo for a great game-development platform.
However I also think that while Epic may see it as a tech-demo for their engine they also quite obviously see it as a fully-developed game or else they wouldn't be having fun designing the game and they certainly wouldn't have cut features (like the ladder-system for UT2kx or the Conquest-gametype for UT3).

Quote:
I suppose my ultimate argument here, at least in regard to UT3, is that UT3 could have been made with UE2 (with some additions a la Source) and would have been just as fun gameplay-wise. If that were the case, it may not have flopped. ...
It would have been dead and burried before it hit the shelves.
Why ? Because (like it or not) pc-gamers and the reviewers are as obsessed with high-end graphics as the developers themselves have been for ages.
Just look at what the reviews of STALKER said. Even though the game is great a lot of people claim it 'sucks' because it had "2 year old graphics" ...

Quote:
But, as I said, Epic's in a somewhat unique position in that they are pushing their engine, which is their main bread winner, more than they are pushing games. However, that's not an excuse -- just look at Valve.
And how many games have licensed the source-engine ?
Practically none. The reason Valve is doing so great is because Steam allows them to sell the same old stuff over and over. The only developer that has developed less would be 3Drealms and Bullfrog.

Quote:
You can't say people want realism either. GoW isn't realistic and it sold well. The best-selling game ever (WoW) isn't realistic. COD4, while neat, still isn't that realistic, all things considered. HL2, there's another for unrealism, but those games are damn awesome. No, what people really want is a great experience,
You're right. They don't want realism.
What they do want is something they can understand and that isn't too alien.
UT is far too futuristic a concept for those not familliar with the series.
WoW isn't realistic, but it does rely on 'standard' fantasy-stereotypes that made Lord of the Rings and D&D such a success.

Quote:
and more graphical nonsense is not the answer. Sure, it might be great in small doses -- Crysis, for example -- but if every game was simply pretty to look at with ultimately forgettable gameplay, people would stop going for them, I think.
No they would not. Simple forgettable gameplay is what the majority wants.
It's what makes sure that companies can release new games every month.
In fact of all the games available WoW is the most lethal to the industry as it quite literally stops them from buying new games once you get hooked.
If a company ever were to release a game that had the same addictive quality without the monthly fee then the industry would be dead.

Quote:
You don't need more graphics to have an immersive, fun game. PC gamers don't need to be forced to upgrade to support the latest pixel shader. PC developers don't need to mercenarily suck at the teat of the hardware companies, constantly pushing the limits to ensure hardware sales while getting kick-backs for the advertisement. If they cared more about the customers than the licenses and business contracts, maybe something good would happen for PC gaming. Consoles aren't like this -- static hardware puts more emphasis on great games over great technology.
You're right ... they don't "need" it, but the majority of the consumers still requires it. The Wii is pretty much the only one that's managed to break that cycle ... and they did it by focussing on an audience that traditionally didn't play games. In essence they found people that weren't hooked on hardware-upgrades (read reviews of Wii-games by 'traditional' players and you'll see the complaints about crappy graphics return)

Quote:
If PC developers concentrated on great games lots of people could run and would want to buy, maybe the piracy ordeal wouldn't be so large an issue.
I disagree once again.
Piracy doesn't happen because people can't play the latest games.
It happens because people are forced to tweak forever just to get the average game up and running.
Once you get that kind of knowledge it is real tempting to make the final transition to warez as you'll still have to tweak a bit, but you won't feel quite as ripped off because you didn't pay ...


Quote:
iTunes proves it: people are willing to pay. It's just a matter of figuring out how much.
I'd also say that the success of console-games despite the huge cost (when compared to a pc-game) also proves that cost isn't the issue.
What could stop piracy and make pc-games popular amongst the masses is one thing : a unified standard for pc-games that gives us the same "plug&play"-capability that consoles have.
The "Games for Windows" is a step in that direction, but it still suffers from geek-only requirements as far as the games themselves are concerned.
Pc-games need to be 'plug and play'.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 02:22 PM   #16
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Has anyone tried Sins of a Solar Empire? Does anyone like it?
Yes, it's superb and well-polished. In the past 2 weeks I've played more of Sins than I have UT3 in the past 3 months. Sins just works out of the box like it said it would. It has very forgiving system requirements and runs on just about everything, including some laptops with integrated graphics. It's also sold at a fair price of $40. The developer is listening to people and tweaking things like diplomacy though. There's a lot of positive activity between the developers and people on their forums. You won't find any WarTourist's or Epic-style oppressive forum management either. The sum of the game and the experience related to the game makes it very enjoyable. I've talked a lot of people into buying it and playing with friends is quite enjoyable...if you've got a lot of time to burn. The problem is that it's selling like hotcakes right now and it's hard to find in stores. Overall though, if you'd like an RTS game that breaks away from the mold that Command and Conquer and Starcraft established, then you can't go wrong with Sins.

I would love to continue talking up the game, but I'm sick today. My favorite part of Sins, however, is how it breaks away from the mold and delivers something new. There's no forced rock, paper, scissors style gameplay and multiple strategies you can use.

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Old 29th Feb 2008, 03:50 PM   #17
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Allow me to disagree for one simple reason : the average consumer wouldn't understand it.
Sure ... to someone who can look beyond the graphics it is pretty easy to dial down the graphics and concentrate on the 'essentials'.
However to the average consumer such things don't exist.
I know people that simply are incapable of judging concepts unless they're covered in the proper eyecandy.
I've seen people get 'hot' for a mere mock-up of a cockpit display even though it didn't work while they couldn't be bothered to look at the parts that were working even though they were essential to the software.
Well ... I think you understand what I'm saying.


...


It would have been dead and burried before it hit the shelves.
Why ? Because (like it or not) pc-gamers and the reviewers are as obsessed with high-end graphics as the developers themselves have been for ages.
Just look at what the reviews of STALKER said. Even though the game is great a lot of people claim it 'sucks' because it had "2 year old graphics" ...

No they would not. Simple forgettable gameplay is what the majority wants.
It's what makes sure that companies can release new games every month.
In fact of all the games available WoW is the most lethal to the industry as it quite literally stops them from buying new games once you get hooked.
If a company ever were to release a game that had the same addictive quality without the monthly fee then the industry would be dead.
I am going to pretty much agree with JaFo here. If you released a game built on UE2 technology with some of the improvements later engine builds added -- Well, I don't think many people would pay attention. Graphics are a "Look at me!" factor that may be nonessential for gameplay but are essential from a marketing standpoint. UT3 just wasn't marketed (almost at all). Even reading BeyondUnreal on a regular basis only resulted in a trickle of news.

Also, I think lot of the graphical improvements we see in UE3 are just ways to make things easier for artists / level design.

To riff off of JaFo's statements about gameplay, people want to mow down hundreds of nearly brain-dead enemies. They want the power trip and the level ups and all the mechanisms in other games that keep them hooked. Heck, some even want a legitimately good story. UT doesn't offer any of these things, instead it offers the prospect of fighting against highly skilled players or bots who will probably kick your ass and insult you for losing.

The obvious example to bring up is RPG Invasion. People play it for months and months on end, picking up the mine layer and going to a safe spot and tossing mines out. It's got more widespread appeal because it's got everything UT doesn't: Non-competitive gameplay to keep people from being afraid or having their egos bruised, easy gameplay that requires little skill (but requires a high time investment to be successful), and reward mechanisms that encourage people to play as much as possible. It doesn't have story, but that's okay simply because the replayability factor is so high.

This isn't really rocket science, and Epic already hit the formula with Gears of War. The trifecta for a shooter is: A high quality singleplayer experience, cooperative play, and competitive multiplayer.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 04:40 PM   #18
T2A`
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I think you're still missing the bigger picture.

You can argue that graphics are necessary for the wow factor and sales all you want, but the fact of the matter is hardly anyone is playing this game. The graphics did their purpose -- they got a large number of companies to buy UE3 licenses, but they haven't done anything for the actual player counts. Thus, for this multiplayer-based game, those graphics have done nothing for the players.

So Crysis sold better; who cares? Maybe it did but it's not like it was a landslide victory in comparison. Valve's recent games using their old Source engine sold tons more than both combined even when you ignore Steam sales. And that "dead" game UT2004 regularly fields 4x the players of UT3.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 05:20 PM   #19
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Yea, but people already bought UT2k4.
T2A, while I'd like to think that a major studio can release a game with yesteryear's graphics, I think you're ignoring a huge part of the market by saying that you don't need good graphics to sell a major game. Yea, you keep using Valve as an example - except Source isn't that old looking, it can still compete with modern engines, and when using a stylistic approach like TF2, it definitely can.

I'm sorry but in today's industry, a non-indie developer can't release a game with old graphics and expect it to succeed without a MASSIVE marketing campaign. One of the complaints leveled against UT3 was that it was "too similar" to UT2k4. Imagine if it had been released with 2k4's graphics as well. Can you honestly say that people would buy it? While I'd like to say yes, the truth is that it's a resounding no, and you're definitely wrong.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 05:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T2A` View Post
I think you're still missing the bigger picture.

You can argue that graphics are necessary for the wow factor and sales all you want, but the fact of the matter is hardly anyone is playing this game. The graphics did their purpose -- they got a large number of companies to buy UE3 licenses, but they haven't done anything for the actual player counts. Thus, for this multiplayer-based game, those graphics have done nothing for the players.
The graphics have attracted them.
The out-dated gameplay mechanics just lacked the strength to keep them there.

IMHO what is flawed is that multi-player games like UT3 tend to require a critical mass before they can survive. The best chance of getting there is a simultaneous worldwide multi-platform release combined with good marketing.

However given that (these days) everyone appears to think that games should automagically achieve critical mass on day 1 the game never had a chance of succeeding.

It's also fair to say that UT3 lacked all of that (no European PS3-release until recently, 360-version still unknown at this time).

Quote:
So Crysis sold better; who cares? Maybe it did but it's not like it was a landslide victory in comparison. Valve's recent games using their old Source engine sold tons more than both combined even when you ignore Steam sales. And that "dead" game UT2004 regularly fields 4x the players of UT3.
How many *new* players are picking up UT2kx ?

Never mind that given the development time that Valve had used for TF2 it had better be a success (and given that it didn't become a stand-alone game after all and there are only 6 maps it's pretty substandard). I also think that Valve could have done a lot better if they hadn't taken forever to release the sequels/expansion-pack for HL2.
I doubt that players will be as forgiving if their next sequel/extension takes another year or even longer to produce ...

I think it's also fair to point out that people actually wanted to see the expansionpack for Half-life2 (probably because the end left plenty of questions unanswered).

UT/Epic's game otoh was something that relied on technology alone to sell the sequel while the fans were too happy playing the game that had been released. IMHO that is why it failed to make the big impact that the fans were hoping for.
So to me it's not a matter of chosing gameplay over eye-candy as a strategy.

What happened was more like someone building a new Ford model T while the rest of the consumers were addicted to driving a Ferrari in whatever colour they like.
You shouldn't have to wonder why the new and improved model T doesn't sell ...
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