Gah - a solution with more questions. – EntropicLqd
Fire Monkey (30/04/2010)
So its 2010 now, alittle over 3 years since I last ranted on the wiki, mind you I kinda spurt s*^t everywhere so its not hard to miss alittle of my dribble. With that I think we'll continue, whats up you ask? Where have I been, why the name change? Well its a very long story, one of deceit, treachery, heart break and alot of sawed off shotguns and roses (a cigar snipper or two and the odd knee capping with base ball bats).
I made it though and now the FBI has finally allowed me (now the court case is over) to surface from witness protection. Its been a long arduous journey but Im here.
So first order of business, UC2004, its pretty much dead. Sorry guys, if anyone wants to pick it up feel free to contact me or any of the other members to discuss taking it off our hands. Personally I have modified designs (which inspired by working with UC2004 and the team) for UT3 which are along the championship lines but not in direct relation to 2kx itself. I do keep in contact with acouple of the team members (Crotale, Miko and EzJamin) but we dont talk as much as we used to, so big shout out to them (love ya guys).
Next up the name, well I got publicly smeared, I wont go into it but basically Im happy under this new handle and will continue to use it into the future. For the people close to me nothing has changed I will forever be Daniel, Dan (hey jess), Danny (yo kat). Now this was alittle bit annoying since I had to go through and change alot of things, a few things like these rants stayed under the other alias for some time because it was such a large task getting rid of the old name (I didnt really realize until after I decided).
I havent actually ever gone anywhere, Ive been lurking around, I was without a PC for say 5 months last year and battle with wireless broadband bandwith limits currently. Its been all fun and games over here, I still keep working though, I'll never stop being a modder. Its in my blood it has been ever since that first grenade gibbing in quake demo that was the day I knew forsure there was nothing else on this planet for me but being a game designer, thats ultimately where I want to be.
So while I do all these programming projects, help to document unreal script and unreal engine, its not really what I want to be doing. I do it for the benefit of all the young me's out there, the people who were like me when I started and need a place to get info, hang out or even rant (go figure ;) ). I really am only a hobbyist programmer and dont actually ever see myself doing it professionally, I can, but Ive always been better at systems, design flows and the like. Documentation actually does interest me and I spent ALOT of time writing/typing, I have pages and pages of stuff with the projects here being the short short short list, theres just never enough time.
Now Im really looking to get GameDex out the way so I can move onto giving Project Silky the attention it requires, I am looking for people to help me test (if they have programming knowledge all the better) but that does have future potential as I have designs for modules which extend it further.
I think I'll leave it there for now, dont expect it to take another 3 years for the next rant, Ive got a few ideas (yeah proper research even) for acouple of decent rants. This was mainly a reintroduction/update, so hey guys, Im back and Im still enjoying the view from the top of the solar systems largest volcano ;)
Platforms and crossing the border! (21/04/2007)
First off, wow Im surprised I went this long without having a rant on this page lolz. Probably too busy ranting on the forums (as usual) and working on the mod http://www.uc2004.com/ which is going really well now with some solid gameplay starting to surface and some assets looking nice and shiny :p
Well to the topic at hand, the future of cross platform multiplayer...
Is there one or is this just a pipe dream I hope becomes a reality, since starting UC2004 I have actually been paying more attention then I should to this topic and with it a hot discussion on utforums (http://utforums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=565557) I cant help but think more about it. Being part of a console (gamepad) game port to PC has given me a different perspective on things, now I would like to say its a unique view but there are alot of people who agree. This actually came as a shock, although Im primarily a PC gamer Im amazed how I end up defending consoles on one front then slamming them on another, I guess its all in the hopes of a more "unified" coalition of gamers instead of the mess the whole industry is in not just PC.
Sure consoles have better shelf space but someone said on beyond unreal that online sales and distribution is where its at anyway and with consoles now breaching this barrier they are looking to capitalize as much as they can.
Pretty unfortunate since PC's loose more and more to cutdown PC's (consoles) every year and now Mac is banging on the door good and proper, novell's hot on vista's heals with XGL. So its a very interesting time in the industry. Now we all know that MS is using shady tactics to keep a hold of two markets but from what I see they are spreading themselves very thin and making themselves and easy target since they can only strengthen 1 front with reinforcements if needed. Im alittle worried though as the industry is becoming more and more political with those politics getting in the way of "our" gaming, its not just those companies though with gamers themselves taking sides and defending there prefered platform even if they dont really have a problem with any gamer. I myself dont have problems with most people even if they are 360 or PS3 owners even though they are both threatening my PC gaming with their preference. So what if we took Platform out of the equation by making all games available on all major platforms which can support it say for eg (mac, linux, windows, 360 and PS3) since the wii has less power we'll leave it out but there might be instances where that will fit as well. No longer are these people a threat but fellow gamers and we can put our differences aside as we can all play together and get the same games so there is no competition as such between platform exclusiveness but puts the emphasis on the games people want to buy rather then the platform. Exactly where it should be in my opinion!
Now this is a quote from utforums which I find relevant to this topic and I like how well it comes across so I'll post it here for some perspective.
|Yeah I dont think shadowrun will be the best example in a for cross platform argument especially in UT3's case. The matter at hand is they couldnt say oh well 360 gamers can use keyboard and mouse they had to say well they are stuck with gamepad no matter what, how can we fix this.
It being a tactical shooter in some sense (others might just call this rpg) gave them a chance to say well we can adjust each control setup different, now thats what should be done but giving assistance one way or the other shouldnt. Thats why I think this is a prime example of things being unfair because they are trying too hard to make it fair.
What I would like to see is more creative solutions to the problem over general assists like (autoaim for eg). Things like auto center view are perfect examples of things which are suited more to a joystick and not a mouse but doesnt offer anything more in that it will make for an uneven playing ground. Its kinda like the mousewheel vs direct key selection, no one says oh the mousewheel dumbs things down so dont add it in there and people dont go on and on about how using the direct key select is unfair. Although I think myself some improvements could be made to bring them both into line with each other I dont think either is unfair as such.
Now I am alittle sick of this whole oh but it'll "dumb things down" debate, that whole term is overused, its actually called arcade vs simulation and consoles have a tendency to lean towards arcade gameplay over simulations unlike PC's which lean the other way a touch more. Now we are talking about an arcade action shooter here so any "dumbing down" could even benefit gameplay you just never know, as UT is a fairly streamlined game compared to tac shooters (or RealiSims as I call them ) an all their buttons for various movements I dont see this as a good argument.
I just dont think for this game to be cross platform it instantly has to become a console arcade game, it could just as easily be done the other way with the PC version directly translating to console. With some clever design and input options it could level the playing ground for gamepad vs keyboard and mouse on any platform (pc vs pc even). Then people can use the control of their choice without having to worry about compromise, or one person getting automatic assits to the point of it being unfair.
Changing the gameplay to suit a control scheme is just a compromise and in effect does nothing for the issue of cross platform compatible play (we could even call it cross controller gaming ) what needs to happen is solutions which will bring devices inline without giving one any advantage and without adjusting the gameplay to suit either method. The fixes need to be so general they dont even need to be control scheme specific (where in some cases they might like the mousewheel for eg) but things like center view which can be automatic or set to a key can be used on basically any setup.
I just feel thats why shadowrun might not work so well is that people will see the benefits of all the assists given to one side or the other and start screaming "botter", they could have easily developed systems more to do with controls and less to do with gameplay to deal with the problem but they didnt which does show alittle bit of the easy way out we see from developers these days.
I do see the different tendencies between gamers and that console gamers are the ones more likely to ask for things like third person view in UT3, perhaps its a marketing choice that the gamers want two completely different things from the game but thats where I think the UC series was a complete success. It catered perfectly to that different audience whilst being original and using an existing franchise, similar to gears of war in some respects. It could also be one reason why gears isnt on PC same with UC2, I dont think it has much to do with the fact both games were made for gamepad play or that bringing them to PC would create an uproar of "dumbed down" reviews from PC gamers.Theres nothing keeping PC games and console games from playing online together in most titles in my eyes, its just up to developers to think creatively on control schemes similar to what nintendo did in a way with the wiimote. Ofcoarse they cant make a specialised gaming device for 1 game but the industry is working towards refining with things like specialised keyboards for fps games or even gamepads which are becoming more refined as things go along. Sure consoles are limited to an amount of buttons but as Epic said they are probably going to add a weapons menu which rolls out a BF2 like thing so people can select, similar in some respects to the mouse wheel. Its these kinds of solutions which will make cross platform gaming possible and if anyone could do it I think Epic could, they have experience with making both console and PC titles and know what works best on each control scheme, the trick of it would be not to compromise on gameplay to deliver a quicker tried and true formula but to design a formula which would work across all control schemes equally well
So once you take the controller out of the way you still have to deal with the attitude of gamers which mostly stems from industry politics or pop gaming culture and not general personal opinion. While Im not a huge fan of consoles since they started taking a larger market share in games then PC, I dont hate consoles or console players. My main problem is with the short sighted money grubbing companies who come in and treat gaming like the mobile phone ringtone business, they only want to pull a quick buck and make their product "the one and only" to buy. Which is a narrow view of gaming and its only going to get worse before it gets better, own a PC? Still waiting for Halo2, well theres long term planning for you shaft PC gamers so you can get more people buying your console.
Anyways consoles are becoming more and more PC like everyday which makes you wonder if there wont be a need for them anymore once PC's reach a certain stage. Sure its all this 1 system requirement thing but when you look at the market there is like 3-4 CPU makers and just 2 graphics card makers atm there are others but they dont venture out of their area's enough and some pretty much got killed in the power struggle (think 3dfx). So while the industry is big its also very small and even if you give your money to MS or Sony your still giving money to Ati or Nvidia think about that, same deal as PC right?
Then theres always Epic right, a company known for making solid engines and great games one of the staples of the games industry. Ofcoarse they arnt the only one but because of Epics ability to juggle MS, Sony and PC and release games across them all I'll stick with them for the moment. This stuff is really stunting Epic's abilities to provide a platform independant solution with cross platform play I mean exclusivity is one thing but think of what epic and all those people using their engine could do if there was more, if they wernt held back by all this stuff. I can only imagine it would be something of a gaming utopia, not just for epic but all developers with the same ideals, plenty of companies do cross platform releases but the ability to play across the border just isnt there.
Controls and gameplay balance are unfortunately small poatotes compared to the current state of the industry, specifically consoles, see PC and Mac's have had a rivalry longer then Sony vs Nintendo or MS vs Sony yet the ability to play across the OS's is there its the same with linux and MS doesnt have a huge problem there. All of a sudden theres all this proprietary gaming systems to enforce someones rules so they can draw more money, but wheres the money for the developers hey they put in all this time and effort into actually making games (not cut down PC's) and they get bugger all in return. Honestly it annoys me to no end, I think developers deserve alot more support, so do publishers though I mean they dont mind cross platforms (unless its MS or Sony... again) so whats their problem why all of a sudden is this wall built between platforms. If east and west germany can get over it why cant Sony and MS? I say let the people decide, lets knock over the wall between Platforms and cross that border together :)
Epic, UE3, UT2007 and the future... (27/10/2006)
Well after the closure of UT2007world, I had this little rant over at UC2004's official forum, I figured I'd stick it hear so you guys can learn alittle about me and what I think. Its kinda just about general games industry and Epic, because of the lack of UT2007 info I got alittle bored so I went off on this rant :p
Yeah info on UT2007 is getting thin now the game shows are over and its getting close to the end of the year. Really though all ut sites are taking hits, they really gotta stick it out because they'll be ready when UT2007 does hit. Anyone thinking UT2007 isnt going to be one of the biggest if not the biggest online game in a long while is crazy I tell ya. I think thats why epic is being so tight lipped, they want back to former glory, yeah its all gears talk atm but thats not a pre-existing franchise with a built in fanbase.
I just know people are going to underrate this game and its going to come from nowhere to bite people on the arse, I mean seriously the engine itself covers almost every genre, infact I think it does. Gears = TP, Mass Effect/Huxley=MMORPG, Halowars=RTS (remember Ensemble got a UE3 liscence not long ago), UT2007=FP and I think even MK might be using a modified version but I cant be sure. I really think the industry is in for a big shock (a bio one ) when the brunt of the UE3 games start hitting the market, gears is just the appetiser until the really shit starts to hit the fan. Epic is going to be looking huge once all this fiasco is over and done with, games like BF2142, Crysis, Fear and Halflife 2 are going to be in one bloody big shadow and they'll find it hard to escape. Mwhahahaha
Not to mention the massive built in mod community for UE, some people stuck with UT because it was the game of thier choice but seriously the only mods that will stick to UE2.5 for more then the transitional period will stay because of the lower system requirements (not that you cant undercut Epic's UT2007 on these) UE3 sounds like it has alot of improvements to the codebase, things like the better particle editor and kismet are making it more attractive then ever. The support for 3dsmax and maya are top notch and with those supporting each other more and more now autodesk it head on both things are really only looking up for interoptability. XML is making leaps and bounds for games by providing some sick slick ways to work with data and databases, alot of RTS are going this way adopting LUA or XMLNS directly.
UE3 will be the first fully dx9 supporting engine from Epic so thats a huge step, UE2 and 2.5 did well will full support for DX8 although alot of the newer games might seem sweet, they dont actually fully support dx9 being a hybrid of sorts between 9-8/7. There are games coming to the vista environment supporting dx10 or dx9 through emulation but once Epic moves over you know they will do their best to support dx10 to the fullest instead of a 1st gen dx10 support it will be more like their previous engines or upgrades.
One thing we can expect from UT2007 is steady framerates provided by a superior engine, not to mention the scalability of UE3. Epic is definatly in for a bright future and having so many liscencee's will give them the time and benifit to produce more games for their own engine as well as sink alot of money back into UE for version 4. On the other hand you have other games and game engines that will be developed in the process, none of which in my eyes will be able to keep up with Epic, yeah UT2003 may have been seen as some crazy attempt at a sequel with UT2004 being the true predacessor, but really Epic was going through a creativly inconsistant period with alittle bit of a sidetrack to what is now gears.
There is a big push towards consoles, really though the people who design and make games will always be pc gamers at heart. Since they are used to create games and engines then theres no alternative but to mod on pc's for pc's if your looking to get into the industry.
Total Conversion Woes (11/09/2006)
Well Ive been working on uc2004 for awhile now doing coding and the odd bit of modelling. Its good to be working with a great bunch of dedicated people, its slow going but I can really see it all start to come together now with assets getting nearer completion or completed. We are alittle behind on maps but we have taken steps to make sure things will start to get done there. Now to the point of this little rant, total conversions omg...
When I started this code alot of it extended off of epics minor classes such as xPawn and xPlayer but through my long journey I have discovered alot of code in UnrealPlayer had to be replaced. Since I started by replacing xPawn I realised early after this may not have been the best move, for compatability and my sanity.
The problem I think is with the fact the Unreal Engine has undergone so many revisions that certain code you may want to replace resides in major classes further up the class tree. Also another thing I noticed that certain functions in other minor classes call other minor classes from within the brackets. Now call me n00b or whatever but I did not intend to make such a endless amount of work for myself. I could have easily stuck with the old format and been well happy, but no I decided the only way to get what I wanted out of the code and to learn more about how it all works was to replace alot of it.
Now I didnt write all new classes from scratch I'll admit that, I reused alot of epics code again in mine but I had to replace and add alot more to get what I was looking for. The problem with my reasoning was is that what I was looking to do for uc2004 wasnt seen before when alot of the code was written. There is some pure genius in all those lines and over 8 years worth of work by the people at epic, I have nothing but the upmost respect for those guys, they are my hero's really.
I used to do alot of coding for Quake and Quake 3 but I found the concepts alittle out of my reach, Ive come along way since those days and Im confident of my ability to code well in Unreal Script. I started Unreal Scriptback with Unreal Tournament 2003 although I was already interested in the Engine well before then, I just never got a handel enough on things to move from mapping and coding for Quake 3 to the Unreal Engine. Once I heard about Static Meshs I was sold on the next version, I decided to work with the Quake engine and keep working on my 3D Studio Max skills as thats where things were heading.
Ok so Im regreting the move I made to replace certain major classes, although not native, contain alot of the inner workings of Unreal. The thing I kinda noticed is the line between the Engine and the Game are very blurred in the Source, some things you would expect to be in classes futher down the tree arnt and others that you would expect to be further up arnt. Take vehicles for eg one of the latter additions to the engine, alot of the stuff was placed in exsisting classes when it could have easily been added in subclasses (Since Im not looking to use vehicles at all with UE2.5 it seit seems strange.) Something else that I noticed was the amount of excesses in classes you may want to use part but not all of the functionality from, its easy enough to modify stuff from mutators for lesser mods, but for a really large scale project that doesnt require this said functionality what are they to do?? I could easily put up with a few fps loss here and there or perhaps a 1-5 ping difference on a decent connection but why all the extras.
The strange thing is I was recently particpation in the Unreal Script section on UTforums and I was told to look at the Mychaeel/Modding Etiquette and this was quoted.
Originally Posted by Mychaeel'
Don't impose arbitrary restrictions on how your mod works. Mutators, for instance, are by design and by default cross-compatible to each other; but of course that doesn't mean that it's impossible for you to create a mutator that won't play well with others (by subclassing PlayerPawn, for instance). If there's an actual need for such a restriction, make it inherently obvious. Otherwise, investing time in coding something a less straightforward way to achieve the same goal while keeping compatibility is time very well spent. An arbitrary restriction mentioned in a FAQ or readme file will just shift people's perception of it from "bug" to "known bug," nothing else.
Now I didnt read all the article but this in itself was pretty relevant to what I am working on and Ive found alot of what I would call hacks and bypasses in mutators to get things to be more compatible. Since Im using mutators as an example I'll go on to say that Ive actually had to add a hack to stop incompatible mutators showing up, would that be making things more compatible or less?
I guess what I am getting at is like my experience with Adrenaline Combo's. I replaced the whole system because the mod required alot more depth in this area, that epics code wouldnt cover, so I thought it best to replace it rather than try to hack the current system making it incompatible either way. Now this to me would be a restriction, did I have a choice in the matter? not really, because epics code warranted the changes I made this makes it compatible with uc2004's gameplay. This code can be extended at anytime although it does share a similar restriction that epics did its more easy to bypass.
Since Unreal Championship 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004 share alot of common ground in terms of gameplay I was hoping that I could use subclasses all the way, but I found that was virtually impossible with my current level of skill and I dont think any amount of mutator like hacks could have saved me from having to replace certain classes. Ive implemented many hacks to get things to work the way I want as it is and having to replace stuff does make this mod almost incompatible with all mutators but in the end to get the functionality I wanted I had to do it.
I have taken every step to make sure anyone wanting to extend my code has a much easier time than I have, Im not blaming anyone for this but it does make thing difficult. I really understand the meaning of total conversion now compared to a mod which might be made up of acouple of gametypes and mutators. I can only hope things improve in the next version of the engine making it easier for compatiblity, modders should take every step to ensure people know what hacks are out there and where certain functionality wont work. Being at an intermidate stage in my coding life Ive still got alot to learn, theres plenty of information out there for people new to coding in Unreal Script but what we really need is people who can share there experience and code that are of a higher level. That way we can work as a global team to make things work better together and raise the skill of the community as a whole.