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Doom 3/Quake Wars

Discussion in 'New Version Suggestions' started by jlamb_vo, May 11, 2006.

  1. jlamb_vo

    jlamb_vo {GD}Spunky{Pfc}

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    *waves meekly* Hi everyone. Familiar faces shrinking but the most fashionable are still with it I see :)

    So... I'm suprised I haven't seen it brought up (at least, I can't find any reference with the search feature, so forgive me if it's a dead horse)...

    Has SS or anyone else seriously looked into the capabilities of the Doom 3 engine with megatexture? I know people have seen Enemy Territories: Quake Wars, which is really starting to show off what the engine is capable of. I'm leading a total conversion for Doom 3 right now actually, and it has turned out to be much more powerful in many ways than we imagined, even after selecting it as a platform.

    The first impression/hurdle is that the engine cannot do large, well-lit outdoor areas, which is complete bollocks. I've got a four-square mile terrain model in there right now with 2048x2048 textures, three-point parallel lights for lighting, distance fog, etc etc., and it doesn't even break a sweat. Development of terrain sucks in vanilla Doom 3, but Carmack's megatexture looks orders of magnetude better than what I can do now, and simply blows every other terrain solution I've seen out of the water.

    Second is the polygon count issue. The shipping game had such low detail models, people seemed to think it couldn't do any better, but people forget that it was designed to be playable on very old video cards. This engine scales amazingly well; people have hacked it to run on Voodoo cards (no joke), and eats polygons for breakfast on current cards.

    The big question is WHY, since so much has been invested into the Unreal engines. Just a couple reasons in my mind:

    1. Uniform lighting. This has started to eat at me with just about every other engine out there, including UT2007 from what I can tell. Most engines use hybrid lighting/shadowing methods, treating characters/actors seperately from the environment itself. You end up with what looks like seperately rendered characters projected onto a moving background, maybe with a cheesy shadow overlayed onto the ground. It makes it impossible to blend in with the environment in anyway, and just "feels".. jarringly fake.

    In Doom 3/Quake wars, all geometry is treated the same way at render time. Every surface is lit uniformly, cast shadows on themselves and each other uniformly, etc etc. Visually the world is much more consistent and IMO feels like it is made of the same "stuff." Functionally speaking, it means you can actually obscure your profile, hide in shadows as expected, etc. All the lighting is also fully dynamic, which means full night/day cycles. Flashlights and any other light source behave exactly as expected, and there's no variable limit on how many shadows are cast. It's hard to appreciate without experiencing the differences in a relevant type of game.

    2. Highly Dynamic Since there is no lightmapping or anything significant to really compile (depending on your design; we're not using BSP at all except for a bounding hull), the environments can completely change on the fly. You can spawn in entire buildings at runtime if you wanted to. In our project, we're constructing things with a 3d "tileset" which can be used to basically randomly generate entire towns. Infiltration started to do some of this a little but it was so limited, and you could always tell the dynamic elements apart from the static since they are rendered differently.. but not so with Doom 3.

    You run into some problems with bot pathing, but they do a pretty darn remarkable job of navigating a changing environment, and the SDK is open enough to create workarounds for the AI (which we are working on, since we're basicaly not using BSP).

    3. LOD There are advantages and disadvantages to this, but there is no max view distance or LOD in Doom3, or ET:QW from the looks of it. You can see as far as your LOS allows, and what you see is what's there. No deforming/shifting models over distance, clipping terrain or buildings, etc etc.

    4. Hit detection Hit detection for projectiles is all per-poly. You can actually shoot between peoples legs again! It's amazing! Bullets go where you are aiming, and impact predictably. What a novel idea. And you can easily do location based damage.

    5. Animation We're still exploring the full potential of it, but they do a few nifty things with character animation. Characters can have multiple animation channels for blending upper/lower body movements, and you can directly take control of individual bones (someone did a little tech demo controlling the Doom marine's facial bones through a GUI... showing off the power of both GUI/SCripting system and animations). They also do a little fun trick to automatically adjust the legs/body position to fit the surface being stood upon. Little things like that along with the lighting really help make if feel like the characters are actually IN the environment.

    6. Editing. Radiant leaves a lot to be desired, but we're doing most of our work in external applications anyway, and in this respect the editing environment is really nifty. The file system is very open. You don't have to muck around with packages and stuff, at most the game uses PK4s for archives, which you can open in winRar and alter the compressed files.

    The coolest thing is that you can have your models open in 3Ds Max or Maya, and your textures open in Photoshop, and reload them in the editor or game completely on the fly at runtime. You can run the game in windowed mode and tweak your textures and meshes, and see them update in real-time. THAT is something that will be hard to give up in the future.

    7. Open Source Although he will be doing DirectX in the future, Carmack has always embraced open source platforms and despite mediocre mod support as far as documentation goes, he has released previous engines under GPL and sounds like he will do so with Doom 3 as well. This is possible because the graphics, sound, physics, etc code is all proprietary. The physics may be somewhat lacking compared to Havoc, but it can do much of the same, and is extendable through the SDK. I just think that's nifty.


    Just a few thoughts.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2006
  2. mat69

    mat69 just fooling around

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    Sounds interesting, but what would be the overall file size of a mod with 10 maps? As far as I know it would be pretty big, so one great thing of INF right now (different maps on different servers) would be then impossible. Allthough the other things sound really outstanding.
     
  3. Buddz

    Buddz New Member

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    My UT folder is now as big as 4GB, and I ask myself what people might have thought of that way back in 1999? So yeah, maps would be huge in filesize, but harddrives get bigger too, internet-connections get faster too, CPUs and Graphic Cards get faster too. So in my eyes: no problem.

    The question is: What does SS think about that?
     
  4. Nukeproof

    Nukeproof n1

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    In my uneducated opinion Crisis the succeeder of FarCry would be the most promising engine for a modern INF.

    In addition to the capabilities of the already stunning Crytech engine it will feature destructible environment, collision detection player-environment (per polygon) and supports huge maps. When a player crawls through dense vegetation you'll see leaves and bushes moving and bending and the AI is already prepared to take notice...

    If Crytech does their homework on netcode, SDK and Mod team support in general (which is likely with stress on multiplayer and a new distributor) I can hardly imagine anything suited better for INF - even if only 30% of the marketing hype is true... to be released last quarter of 2006.

    Btw: different kind of ammo, weapon attachments, realistic vehicle code and useful textures and maps come already out of the box.
     
  5. chuckus

    chuckus Can't stop the bum rush.

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    Welll I have to say this seems to be the only potential candidate suggestion that has some experience backing it up so that's a welcome change.

    IT sounds too good to be true lol. Perhaps you could outline some cons for us as well to give us a little more of a balanced view of the situation.

    Not that I'm a part of SS or anything but if this community gets decided on something they can be a very resourceful bunch :D
     
  6. jlamb_vo

    jlamb_vo {GD}Spunky{Pfc}

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    Some downsides... most of the ones I can name may be limited to vanilla Doom 3. Don't mean to sound like a fanboy but I'm really liking this.

    The development tools included are much more limited and buggy than the engine itself. If you add functionality through the SDK, these don't take effect in DoomEdit. You need a LOT of memory to compile large maps. There is practically zero support for effectively creating terrain and foliage. But then, every component of the game's file system (entity definitions, scripts, material/shader files, models, even the maps themselves) are simply in ASCII formats... so in theory, it would be possible to develop your own editing utilities. The GTKRadiant editor has been open sourced, so thats something to look into. I would definately wait for ET:QW to see what their editing environment is like.

    I'm not as familiar with the game's multiplayer abilities/limitations. There are some issues with certain scripts, or all scripts, being client-side only in D3. Not sure where this is at with Quake 4--something to look into. Since QW:ET is so multiplayer centric, I can only assume this aspect of the engine is being expanded.

    Since there IS no level of detail, and there is no built in way for static meshes to occlude each other for surface culling purposes, its easy to get carried away with detail and start getting major slowdowns. Its not so much the triangle count as it is the stencil shadowing, I have had several million tris on screen with shadows disabled and its still between 30-60 fps on my 6800GT. But it does scale pretty damn well, especially when compared to some other examples like Oblivion and the Lost Coast...

    A couple cosmetic drawbacks:

    There is no soft shadowing or indirect/bounce lighting.

    Vanilla Doom 3 does not include a working ambient light technique. There is a built-in solution but it does not work properly with the game's normal mapping (it lights the bump maps evenly from all directions or something). This was fixed in Quake 4 I believe, and some community members have created solutions for D3 as well. I've just been setting up several parallel lights over everything for now.

    The specular fall-off is locked to a rather plastic-looking value, and although some people have release mods that make it look more metallic for example, it cannot be adjusted on a per-surface basis.

    Overall the shader support is not as advanced as HL2 and other upcoming engines, because it was initially designed to run on DX8 cards. I don't really think that is a huge deal, personally. Most of the fancy effects you see around can be done by modifying the exising shaders or writing new ones (like parallax and relief mapping, proper gloss maps, etc).

    There are quite a few quirks and flaws with the sound system IMO. Apparently Carmack had written this really complex sound engine with proper acoustics which could interact with characters in these interesting ways, but it made sound effects and monster behavior too unpredictable for the designers, so he ripped it out and put in a much more simplified system. Then there was the fiasco where Creative Labs basically blackmailed Id into incorporating EAX HD, using their questionable patent on Carmack's stencil shadowing technique as leverage.

    I'm sure there are more technical limitations on the coding side that I am not aware of. Crysis does look pretty damn spiffy, but I'm curious how many advantages is has if you take out the texture and model detail as factors. Unreal 3 stopped looking like much special to me a while ago... you could put million triangle, motion-capped meshes with 2048x2048 textures with relief mapping in Doom 3, throw on some bloom effect, and you would be hard pressed to see the difference.
     
  7. Nukeproof

    Nukeproof n1

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    Just curious: which project are you working on? Will it attract the average INFer ?
     
  8. jlamb_vo

    jlamb_vo {GD}Spunky{Pfc}

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    www.groundzeromod.net

    Very much work-in-progress :)

    It's an open ended, post-apocalyptic RPG. think "Fallout" crossed with "Sid Mier's Pirates!" As I alluded earlier, it is intended to be character-skill, player strategy driven (e.g. complex but zero "twitch factor" turn-based combat). Combat is only a small component of it: we're developing a simple high level civilization/building game to be played out between computer-controlled factions and organizations, determining low level world conditions and driving dynamic quest generation, which the player can directly or indirectly impact through is/her actions.

    It's not targeting the same audience by any means, so I don't know if it will attract the average INFer since it is not intended to be combat centric or player skill based. Given the taste for depth and complexity many INFers have however, it wouldn't suprise me if those who also tend to enjoy role-playing games (especially Fallout) would be attracted to it.

    The website content has not been updated for about three months. We are working on getting our second public release out (trying to share what we have every couple of months), which hopefully should be out in the next couple days but more likely a week from now along with some new screenshots and such.
     
  9. N'kEnNy

    N'kEnNy New Member

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    Idtech is the very definition of cool beans. This is an opinion I've had since the day I first set my eyes on any unreal powered franchise. Infiltration was the sole reason I let any epic product on my HD. (and I own many)

    The fact of the matter remains that apparently licensing the Unreal engine comes FAR cheaper than Id's. Also from a corporate perspective associating oneself with the multi-genre Unreal Engine can prove itself as free PR.
    whereas there haven't been very many genre breaking games for the D3 engine yet. (mainly because its so optimized)

    Perhaps Quake Wars will change this?

    (note:For the record. Having been affiliated with an early Doom3 mod project, I've personal experience with these things)
     
  10. Psychomorph

    Psychomorph  

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    Îd is first class, definitely. I heared John Carmack is working on a new Project, can't wait to get information about it.

    There is a team working on a Thief game on the Doom 3 engine, called The Dark Mod. Looks fantastic. Can't wait to play it aswell.

    What have you been working on, Doom 3 related?
     

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