I love the smell of UnrealEd crashing in the morning. – tarquin
Legacy:Solid Snake/COR Review
Counter-Organic Revolution Beta Technical Review
Reviewed on the 26th of June, 2005
|Genre||team-oriented first-person shooter|
This is the first of hopefully many technical reviews on a mod. These reviews aren't looking at whether a mod is particularly fun to play or whatever else, but rather following the basis of well created mods. While some people may disagree with me on certain technical points, I think they would do well to benefit both the creators of the mod and the players (possible improvements on FPS for example).
COR utilizes the default single page menu system that is present in UT2004 with very few changes to the system. Unfortunately the textures used for the interface still had their LODSet and Clamping set to the defaults (LODSet_World and Wrap) which means that players with lower settings for their textures had the main menu adjusted as well. While this does not affect the functionality of the UI as such, it will be a good habit to make sure to set those values at a later date.
COR did not fill the log with many access nones, and did write a few comments to the log. These were obviously left in the beta purely for beta reasons. Thus, COR did well to make sure that the log did not get spammed by a lot of warnings. This is important for both the mod and the player, as writing to the log may indicate bad programming and may also cause the unneccessary loss of FPS to the player.
One thing I noticed with the different classes is that there was not any real uniform basis of control and sometimes it was difficult to transition from one class to another. However, this was also present in UT2004 (The manta was able to rotate with the mouse, while the Goliath only rotated the turret), however sometimes the camera would act strangely and be hard to control (An example is the flying unit. When you right click, the beam would appear and the mouse would shift around arbitarily ... or so it seemed to). While the control scheme stuck with what UT2004 already had, it might prove to be worth while to try to improve it, as UT2004's vehicle control scheme was very rudimentary after all.
The doom of many programmers is the appearance of strange non repeatable bugs. One such that I came across was that sometimes my mouse would be disabled in the middle of a game. Certainly not due to hardware, but I think I may need to further investigate this one and see if I can try to get this bug to happen again. Contrast to other people, I did not actually experience any crashes or critical errors while playing COR. Sometimes the collisions of things turned out strangely. An example was on the tutorial level, in the 'eShell' form I would sometimes fall throught the floor. Another case example was when I was transforming, I ended up below the terrain and from the looks of it, below the BSP as well as I fell continously. While the repeatibility of this was hard to do, it may be a possible agenda to look at.
COR did well to make sure that it followed the vehicle methods in that skeletal meshes should be rigidized for performance purposes, however they only did that for the vehicles. Since the units also moved like robots with small amounts of individual vertex influences (a single vertex usually only had a single bone influence), they could have also partially rigidized the meshes that the units used while in 'robot' form. This could mean more FPS to the player, or more FPS to spend somewhere else.
Some of the textures could be compressed as well.
One thing I noticed with COR is the constant glitches during play. This was when new entities came onto the screen, and it is really disruptive to the otherwise rather smooth FPS. It appears that COR didn't really precache anything. Precaching all common entities that may appear on the screen would probably benefit in a smooth gameplay experience. Sure I may not have the newest wang-doodle computer on earth like the guys who upgrade their PC's ever 6 months but even then this isn't an issue for my computer, its rather that my computer has to load those entities when required rather than predicting what should be loaded before hand.
COR has done very well in the majority of the technical aspects of the mod, and while I have pointed out some issues, none of them are too concerning. I did not experience any crashes while I was playing COR, but then again I did not do any extensive testing as such. At this moment, this review isn't complete as the next phase will start investigating the code base and actually trying to crash the mod in many ways.
All in all, the beta indicates a technically sound approach to what all other mods should follow. Nicely done.
I still haven't quite finished this review yet, as I have not yet discussed about the code base.
Mychaeel: Nice read, and a nice idea. I've added a "header" so that somebody reading the review gets a quick overview on the reviewed mod along with a link to further information.