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Volition Inc. and the Last Crusade
April 29th 2000, 03:34 CEST by morn

Volition Inc. have updated the web site of their upcoming (and so far unannounced) shooter with three screenshots of their game, showing off what they like to call "Real-Time, Arbitrary Geometry Modification", something described by Tim Sweeney as the "holy grail" of 3D engine design.

Looking at the shots for a couple of minutes, I was impressed at first, but then I asked myself: will that actually be any good for gameplay? Why is everybody going on about being able to blow holes through walls if even harmless toys like grappling hooks create considerable level/game design problems? If this is really the holy grail, are we going to end up like Walter Donovan?

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#1 by "Apache"
2000-04-29 03:35:55
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
FIRST
#2 by "Apache"
2000-04-29 03:37:54
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
haha :-)

I was actually thinking about this game today, reminds me of the concept behind Prey. I love the idea of blowing holes in walls and not having to be limited by rules that make no sense.

If I have a rocket launcher, why can't I use it to shoot open a locked door? Sheesh...
#3 by "Andrew Stine"
2000-04-29 03:39:06
linguica@doomworld.com http://www.doomworld.com
Looks like this will be the "gimmick" by which they will attempt to sell this game.  Sort of like Messiah had its "groundbreaking" real-time LOD tesselation which pretty much did nothing for the actual game, the ability to blow up everything around you will be cool at first but will quickly become stupid once you realize that there's nothing else to the game.  Let's hope Volition has the ability to make this simply a neat feature of a cool game, rather than the only cool feature of a lame game.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#4 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 03:41:51
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Seriously, think about it for a minute. What's the <i>point</i>? It's a pretty interesting feature, of course. Sure. It may even be a little technological breakthrough. However, do we really want that in a game? What if you could just blast your way through the walls instead of finding the key for the door that is blocking your way?

Just imagine you'd have to make a DM map, and you'd have to make sure that it still "works" after 2 minutes (where everything in sight has probably already been blown up). Hmm. Ugly thought.

I'm not trying to diss Volition here -- if they manage to get this feature into their engine, w00h00, great; but isn't this "holy grail" really just one of those things everybody wants, but nobody needs?  (The "32bit?" argument in the 3dfx vs. nVidia wars comes to mind...)

- Morn
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#5 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 03:44:29
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#2</b> "Apache" wrote...
<QUOTE>If I have a rocket launcher, why can't I use it to shoot open a locked door? Sheesh...</QUOTE>

Because of this little (but important) thing called "game design"?

- Morn
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#6 by "Apache"
2000-04-29 03:44:48
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
Morn: It's hard to say how the game will be without knowing its premise. I just think it's a great idea to be able to shoot in walls and walk through them :-)

If the walls/structures in vital areas are build with super strong material (something you can't just shoot through) the integrity of the level should stay secure.
#7 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 03:46:57
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#6</b> "Apache" wrote...
<QUOTE>If the walls/structures in vital areas are build with super strong material (something you can't just shoot through) the integrity of the level should stay secure.</QUOTE>

Ask a map designer how much of his map is "vital"... :/

I gotta agree with Andrew here: something inside me tells me that there's going to be a huge "UNPARALLELED FREEDOM: BLOW UP EVERYTHING IN SIGHT!" on the back of the box.

- Morn
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#8 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 03:49:01
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Just to clarify things -- I do think this is a really cool new feature for a 3D engine -- from a technological point of view, that is. I have rather mixed feelings about how well it fits into a game though.

- Morn
#9 by "Apache"
2000-04-29 03:50:13
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
A truly innovative and creative designer would make special areas of his/her map 'disposable'. :)
#10 by "deadboat"
2000-04-29 03:50:36
crush@0wn3d.net http://0wn3d.net
Speaking of blowing up every wall in sight and ruining game design:

What if this were a "realistic" game where rocket-propelled explosive devices weren't lying around everywhere - your ingame character would have to use "boring" weapons like pistols and shotguns?

It would probably sell 7 copies though.

I'm kind of bored with today's over the top FPS weaponry... that's why CounterStrike and the MP5 give me w00d.
#11 by "David Long"
2000-04-29 03:51:07
ogv@gamestats.com http://ogv.gamestats.com/
Hmmm... it's something that's going to be able to be used very well by smart designers. I would imagine that you wouldn't make everything destructable. You'd have to have some structures that couldn't be destroyed. The shots seem to be a sci-fi based game that they've been showing (presumably related to Descent or Freespace) so you could have materials that are indestructable.

I think if they go over the top with it, it could work and if it was used sparingly it could also work. Levels where you could end up with nothing but a big open area after blowing it to pieces would probably be fun to play in. By the same token, having only a few doors or walls that you could knock down would also be cool.

It can be used to enhance gameplay, but the desingers will have to be smart with it.
#12 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-04-29 03:52:51
someother@planetaccess.com http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/
<a href="http://www.volition-inc.com/fps/images/tease/home.jpg">That looks pretty cool</a>
 
<a href="http://www.volition-inc.com/fps/images/tease/dr.jpg">That's not too good though</a>
 
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "Andrew Stine"
2000-04-29 03:53:35
linguica@doomworld.com http://www.doomworld.com
What Volition, or any other company which decides to use this gimmick, will have to do is make every level have impenetrable outer boundaries which cannot be marred, no matter how many rockets you fling at them.  So even if you manage to dig yourself a nice hole with a few bombs, there will always have to be a floor which limits your ability to dig to China.

In fact, any game with this would have to make all the "important" stuff imvincible -- if there was a puzzle that the designers worked hard on, you're going to know that they won't let the players just blow it up.  Players obviously won't be able to blow up a computer console they need to use, or else the game would be left in the hated Unwinnable State.

This feature actually seems as if it will make the game <i>less</i> realistic.  Why is it that I destroy this little house over here, but can't even scratch this door over here?  Because they want to make sure you go hunt for the blue key, is why.

If they're going to include destroyable architecture, they better make sure that players can use it anywhere at any time, or else the inconsistency will just frustrate everyone playing the game.  And since it's sure to be impossible to make a fun and playable game where players are allowed to blow up anything and everything, it seems better to just avoid the issue entirely.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#14 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 03:54:44
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Well, even for me, a totally over-the-top shooter where everything can be killed and destroyed is somewhat of a wet dream. However, I wouldn't want to be one of the designers. :-)

I will stop playing shooters the day I get stuck in a crater I created myself, forcing me to reload.

- Morn
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#15 by "Lowtax"
2000-04-29 03:55:16
lowtax@somethingawful.com http://www.somethingawful.com
I want a game that has dynamic LOD mapped damage skins that support T&L tesselation with realtime dynamically mapped deformable terrain that contains 360 degrees of free movement and (at least) 73-bit alpha blending voxel support.

Karnov had all of that.

And dammit Apache, if you're going to go firsties on us, I'm going to start posting links to the goatsex site.  Then we'll really be rollin' (downhill)!

-Lowtax
#16 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 03:56:29
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#13</b> "Andrew Stine" wrote...
<QUOTE>If they're going to include destroyable architecture, they better make sure that players can use it anywhere at any time, or else the inconsistency will just frustrate everyone playing the game.  And since it's sure to be impossible to make a fun and playable game where players are allowed to blow up anything and everything, it seems better to just avoid the issue entirely.</QUOTE>

Exactly my thought. I wish it was different. But it's not. :(

- Morn
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#17 by "Stallion"
2000-04-29 03:58:56
clambert@gamespy.com http://www.planetunreal.com
Interesting idea.

I think that by having some walls breakable, gameplay could be enhanced. For example, instead of the infamous "secret" areas in some maps (created by shooting a door which will then open -- unrealistic), you might be able to blast your way through a "weak section" of the wall to discover an alternate route.

I see this of being useful in single player. Perm-multiplayer desctruction just isn't a good thing. Its like playing CTF where the flags disappear after your first capture.
#18 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-04-29 04:02:22
someother@planetaccess.com http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/
<b>#16</b> "Morn" wrote...
<quote><b><i> #13 "Andrew Stine" wrote...
 If they're going to include destroyable architecture, they better make sure that players can use it anywhere at any time, or else the inconsistency will just frustrate everyone playing the game.  And since it's sure to be impossible to make a fun and playable game where players are allowed to blow up anything and everything, it seems better to just avoid the issue entirely.
 
 Exactly my thought. I wish it was different. But it's not. :(
 
 - Morn
 </i></b></quote>
 
IF you are in a multiplayer world, I see nothing wrong with starting with a nice city block, and ending up, as they say on the site, standing in a pile of rubble.
 
Single player, of course that's more difficult, though, if the level is linear enough, you would still have to walk all the way through it, even if you decided to level every building along the way (though I doubt they would choose to give you enough ammunition to do that)
 
though, from these shots, it appears this engine does little more than allow "negative brushes" so you could apparently, blow the bottom floor out of a building, but it would just stay floating in the air with a lot of negative brushes hiding the walls of the first floor.
 
not that it's possible to tell from a couple of screenshots, but that's my impression of how this "gimmick" works.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#19 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 04:03:43
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#17</b> "Stallion" wrote...
<QUOTE>I think that by having some walls breakable, gameplay could be enhanced. For example, instead of the infamous "secret" areas in some maps (created by shooting a door which will then open -- unrealistic), you might be able to blast your way through a "weak section" of the wall to discover an alternate route.</QUOTE>

And this is exactly what's already present in most, if not all, shooters out there, except it's done "manually". But in the end, what's the difference between a wall that breaks "manually" and a wall that breaks "dynamically"?

- Morn
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#20 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-04-29 04:08:30
someother@planetaccess.com http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/
<b>#19</b> "Morn" wrote...
<quote><b><i>And this is exactly what's already present in most, if not all, shooters out there, except it's done "manually". But in the end, what's the difference between a wall that breaks "manually" and a wall that breaks "dynamically"?
 
 - Morn
 </i></b></quote>
 

Oh, I think it has some great possibilities.
 
Capture the flag?
 
digging a moat around your flag?

suprising the enemy defense by coming through a wall instead of the regular entrance?

making new routes through the map, so the enemy can't anticipate your movements?
 
 
Doesn't seem like something that will live up to the hype, but it certainly could make things a bit different... and that's almost always good.
 
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#21 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 04:10:19
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#20</b> "Bad_CRC" wrote...
<QUOTE>Oh, I think it has some great possibilities.
Capture the flag?
digging a moat around your flag?
suprising the enemy defense by coming through a wall instead of the regular entrance?
making new routes through the map, so the enemy can't anticipate your movements?</QUOTE>

And after roughly 2 minutes, there's not much of the map left. And if the map designers only make certain regions "diggable", players will know exactly where people are going to "suddenly" show up. Hrm. I'm still not convinced. =)

- Morn
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#22 by "Apache"
2000-04-29 04:10:54
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
To everyone who thinks this is a bad idea:

I don't know about you, but finding keys or switches to unlock doors is getting pretty old to me. I can think of about 1000 other things I'd rather focus gameplay on that those above mentioned items...
#23 by "Stallion"
2000-04-29 04:11:18
clambert@gamespy.com http://www.planetunreal.com
My good friend "Morn" wrote...
<QUOTE>
 And this is exactly what's already present in most, if not all, shooters out there, except it's done "manually". But in the end, what's the difference between a wall that breaks "manually" and a wall that breaks "dynamically"?
</QUOTE>
Source: (<b>#19</b>)

True. The more I think about it, the more I realize the gimmickiness (word?) of the whole thing.

Perhaps Tim had something else in mind with his idea. Anyone care to pass this thread off to him?

Fooling with CrapSpy quoting will be fun :)
#24 by "Scott "Skarz" Blinn"
2000-04-29 04:18:11
scottb@volition-inc.com http://www.skarz.com
Skarz here- Lead Level Designer over at Volition. I must say I enjoyed reading through all the comments and glad to see people are at least thinking about the gameplay aspects of blowing holes through walls, etc. (something I loose sleep over once in a while)! It IS quite the challenge to design for such a dynamic world, but let me say this (because I can't say much else just yet): It’s fun as all hell to play in a level that you can rip apart! You have that pesky guy peaking from around a corner and sniping your ass- forget him and take the whole corner out! Get trapped in a room- maybe you could escape through that huge pipe if you just blast a hole in it. You have a bunch of guys running at you over a bridge- well the bridge only has three supports- hmmmm…  The gameplay potential is limitless. Granted you need some good designers to implement this, but that’s where we come in ;-).

The key is to not think about how this incredible new feature doesn’t help existing gameplay scenarios, but of all the as of yet un-thought of gameplay experiences it brings to the table! One last comment about us playing on this one feature (which we will play on as it freakin' rocks), it’s not the game’s ONLY feature in "FPS" and you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet! Keep the faith…

-- Scott “Skarz” Blinn
#25 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 04:19:59
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#23</b> "Stallion" wrote...
<QUOTE>Perhaps Tim had something else in mind with his idea.</QUOTE>

Well, as I understood it, Tim was talking about "cool engine features". "Cool engine features" aren't always compatible with "cool gameplay concepts", unfortunately. :(

- Morn
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#26 by "Andrew Stine"
2000-04-29 04:22:12
linguica@doomworld.com http://www.doomworld.com
<b>#22</b> "Apache" wrote...
<QUOTE> To everyone who thinks this is a bad idea:
 
 I don't know about you, but finding keys or switches to unlock doors is getting pretty old to me. I can think of about 1000 other things I'd rather focus gameplay on that those above mentioned items...
 
 </QUOTE>

The entire point of a (single-player) FPS is to get to the next level.  Unless we experience a major paradigm shift in FPS design, they will always consist of running around, trying to get past the current barrier blocking your progress.  What does that barrier consist of?  Is it a locked door?  A giant monster?  A force field?  An electrified puddle?  A broken elevator?  Sure, they all look different, but they all require that you find some certain element which removes that barrier for you, or that you perform some skilled maneuver to circumvent it.

No matter how clever the designers are in disguising it, everything in a FPS comes down to killing monsters and removing obstacles.  Of course, the more ingenious this basic mantra of FPS game design is hidden, the more fun it is for the player.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#27 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 04:24:49
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Skarz, thanks for taking the time to post... again, I must say though that I'll be very interested in seeing how you guys put this engine feature to good use, without creating new problems.

- Morn
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#28 by "Andrew Stine"
2000-04-29 04:27:40
linguica@doomworld.com http://www.doomworld.com
<b>#24</b> "Scott "Skarz" Blinn" wrote...
<QUOTE> The key is to not think about how this incredible new feature doesn’t help existing gameplay scenarios, but of all the as of yet un-thought of gameplay experiences it brings to the table!
 </QUOTE>

I recall almost the exact same words being said by the development team of Trespasser before it was released.  Remember that game?  (Especially you, loonyboi? :D)  With the "groundbreaking" physics model?  We kept hearing how their real-world physics had opened up the way for all sorts of brilliantly unorthodox never-before-seen puzzles with multiple solutions.

How did it end up?  The player stacked a lot of boxes and shot a lot of raptors.

I hope your game comes out better than that but I have learned not to be overly optimistic about "cool new features."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#29 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-04-29 04:44:53
someother@planetaccess.com http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/
<b>#21</b> "Morn" wrote...
<quote><b><i>And after roughly 2 minutes, there's not much of the map left. And if the map designers only make certain regions "diggable", players will know exactly where people are going to "suddenly" show up.  </i></b></quote>
 
nah,  I doubt they will have enough firepower or ammo to demollsh an entire map in 2 minutes... cmon. :)
 
it would be quite an undertaking to "dig" yourself a suprise tunnel anywhere, and with multiplayer game time limits usually around 20 minutes or so,  I seriously doubt there is much chance of doing more than blasting a couple holes in a couple walls in the given time limit.   The idea of destroying every wall on a given level as fast as you can look at them is probably something that just won't happen in most games.
 
again, just my perspective based on no real information.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#30 by "SiliconVortex"
2000-04-29 04:51:00
siliconvortex@mailandnews.com
I think this could be very useful, and very distructive to the gameplay.  It all depends on how it is implemented.  I find "You need the blue key, which is in a flooded room.  But to pump the water out you have to get the valve wheel which is in Alice's bedroom, so get her key out of the drawer in the kitchen.  And kill these mindless guards/aliens/whatevers that just seem to walk around for no purpose other than to spot you and die."  just as gimmicky when implemented poorly.

I think it could be used greatly to widen the market that a certain game appeals to.  Lots of people like to play thief, and other sneakers.  I happen to enjoy running into a room, dodging 12 rockets, take a couple, and come out of it with 7 health and sweat on the mouse.  You can either sneak your way around, getting the keys, or just blow through a wall and then worry about how many guards are on the other side.

Ammo limitations are already used as a gameplay feature.  If you use all your distructive ammo digging a hole in the courtyard just because you can, you're now stuck with ballistic/plasma/whatever weapons.

I think this feature can, and will be used in an awesome game.  Whether or not Volition can pull it off, that remains to be seen.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#31 by "Apache"
2000-04-29 04:53:46
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
2D gameplay concepts in a 3D world (to me, at least) suck :)
#32 by "Greg"
2000-04-29 05:03:06
<I>Andrew Stine wrote:</I>

<QUOTE>How did it end up? The player stacked a lot of boxes and shot a lot of raptors.</QUOTE>

Yeah, but in Volition's shooter, you can <I>destroy</I> the boxes using the new advances in 3D! :) Just kidding.

Seriously, "Realtime 3D Geometry Modification" sounds a lot like what was being done in the Werewolf: the Apocalypse game by ASC. I believe the characters would morph in real time (from man to werewolf,etc). Does anyone know if they are at all similar? Kinda funny if it is, because the Werewolf game is an Unreal-engine based game.

Greg
#33 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-04-29 05:04:18
sbauman@adelphia.net http://homepages.together.net/~sbauman/
If it were a sci-fi game, you wouldn't need to make the outer walls impenetrable. You'd just make it like the scene in Total Recall where they realize they can't shoot at Arnie while he's near the glass, because destroying the wall will cause all the air to leave/pressure to change, heads to explode, whatever.

It would force additional strategy; players couldn't blow everything. If the ceiling could cave in if you took out a wall, who'd want to be standing under it?
#34 by "Morn"
2000-04-29 05:09:17
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#33</b> "Steve Bauman" wrote...
<QUOTE>It would force additional strategy; players couldn't blow everything. If the ceiling could cave in if you took out a wall, who'd want to be standing under it?</QUOTE>

It would also mean that 99% of all players wouldn't get past that part of the game. :P

- Morn
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#35 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-04-29 05:37:00
sbauman@adelphia.net http://homepages.together.net/~sbauman/
quoteIt would also mean that 99% of all players wouldn't get past that part of the game. :P </quote>
Heh heh, or maybe you could further destroy rubble into tinier and tinier bits... which would be pretty stupid, actually.
#36 by "G-Man"
2000-04-29 05:46:27
jonmars@earthlink.net http://www.shiftlock.org
Morn: I thought the same things that apparently went through your head when you saw the pics... but then I remembered a little game called Legend of Zelda :)

<b>#32</b> "Greg" wrote...
<quote>Seriously, "Realtime 3D Geometry Modification" sounds a lot like what was being done in the Werewolf: the Apocalypse game by ASC. I believe the characters would morph in real time

By that standard every game since Quake has been doing this... the difference is that entity/model animations are prerendered... these are brushes being deformed based on a real-time physical calculation. If you could shoot off little pieces of a werewolf's body in real time and the chunks spatter based on the projectile's trajectory and momentum then that would be Real-Time 3D Geometry Modification.

I'd love to be able to chip pieces away from walls and columns... but I'd rather do it with assault rifles and c4 than rocket launchers. One of the problems I see as evidenced b the screenshots is that the craters are way too large and uniform... looks like a damn game of Scorched Earth. But I'm guessing this is a work in progress.

Additionally did anyone notice the 'radar/infravision' thingy on the weapon's HUD... wow is that cool or what?
#37 by "SiliconVortex"
2000-04-29 05:58:11
siliconvortex@mailandnews.com
<b>#34</b> "Morn" wrote...
<QUOTE>  It would also mean that 99% of all players wouldn't get past that part of the game. </QUOTE>

The first time or level, but players would quickly learn.  As they learned quickly that shooting rockets into their feet or into walls directly in front of their faces caused death.  Suddenly people found ways of not being too close to what they are using explosives on.

Having every shot a player fired causing player damaging level deformation is obviously not good game design.  But having a few "windows" in a space ship that can be damaged could be used as good game design.

I think the larger problem is not the fact that a player may skip all the locked doors, but that of AI.  Most game AI has enough problems chasing a human through levels it "knows".  But having the AI be able to run through completely dynamic holes in the level geometry....that is a much more difficult issue than forcing the player to deal with a few puzzles.  Most bots royally suck when they have to learn a level, and even those that can learn take more than split second visual contact with a new path.  Does the bot fall through the new hole in the floor to chase the human?  Or does the bot jump over the new hole in the floor to chase the human?  Or does the bot commit digital suicide cause it can't accept the philosopy of a changing world?<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#38 by "Dethstryk"
2000-04-29 06:07:09
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>#4</b> "Morn" wrote...
<QUOTE> Seriously, think about it for a minute. What's the point? It's a pretty interesting feature, of course. Sure. It may even be a little technological breakthrough. However, do we really want that in a game? What if you could just blast your way through the walls instead of finding the key for the door that is blocking your way? </QUOTE>

I don't remember where I saw this at, but someone wrote something at a site talking about how cool it would be to deathmatch in a building, and as the game progresses you would be standing in a pile of rubble at the end.

Now to me, this would be cool, but only if the level designer made it work. Normal levels with puzzles and things like that shouldn't have this feature, unless they make some kind of density setting in the game. You can blow through a brick or wood wall, but not that titanium alloy wall, etc.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#39 by "Andy"
2000-04-29 06:14:22
andy@planetcrap.com
Skarz - in a year or two you're going to put this game on the market for £30 and, based on reviews and the demo, I'll either buy it or I won't, so I don't really see the point at this stage of anticipating failure. Therefore, I'll just say best of luck - what you're doing sounds cool, and I hope it turns out to be as much fun as you make it sound.

All you negative folk - we sure do have a lot of experts here, considering most of you have never actually made a game. :) I'll bet the developers who read this site are imagining all sorts of fun stuff they could do with destructible architecture.

<b>#24</b> "Scott "Skarz" Blinn" wrote...
<QUOTE>The key is to not think about how this incredible new feature doesn’t help existing gameplay scenarios, but of all the as of yet un-thought of gameplay experiences it brings to the table!</QUOTE>
Exactly. As long as that's genuine gaming enthusiasm and not LithBull, I think he's hit the nail on the head.
#40 by "Dethstryk"
2000-04-29 06:17:08
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>#37</b> "SiliconVortex" wrote...
<QUOTE> Having every shot a player fired causing player damaging level deformation is obviously not good game design.  But having a few "windows" in a space ship that can be damaged could be used as good game design. </QUOTE>

I don't know if I would say it is "obviously" good game design. To me, something like this would make a battle seem much more epic. I mean, it would make sense if you were blasting around dozens of rockets.

Now for bullet weapons, there's no point in deforming every thing they hit. If you hit a corner, take a chunk out, but if not, just put a bullet hole in there.

Energy weapons could take bigger chunks out, but I think if they make it reasonable it would make a lot of sense and bring much excitement into the game. Could you imagine blocking off an opponent with some fallen rubble from the ceiling?


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#41 by "cinqo"
2000-04-29 06:22:22
cinqo@zombieworld.com
I don't know about the rest of you, but I visualize a 3D version of Rampage with an engine that could do this. Imagine Slave Zero where you actually affect your environment instead of another linear shooter<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#42 by "Dethstryk"
2000-04-29 06:29:48
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
I got to thinking, and you don't think that this might actually just be a fancy name for scripted events, do you? Remember how stuff could blow up in Duke3D, and it was a pain in the ass to get it to work in Build? Sheesh.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#43 by "Andy"
2000-04-29 06:29:51
andy@planetcrap.com
Surely all the problems people are coming up with could be avoided by something as simple as limited ammo?

Very basic single player example: There's a puzzle to solve. You've got one rocket. By using the rocket to blast through a wall, you can bypass the puzzle and skip a large section of level. But just after that bit, you run into HugeBadAssMonster who can only be killed with, you guessed it, rockets. Next thing you know, your skull is powder and the level resets to back before the puzzle.

Similarly, in deathmatch, people would have limited explosives. Players could start a game with, say, three rockets, and not be able to pick up any more until the next level. If someone decides to spend their rockets on bringing a building down because there are a dozen other players inside it, that's a good use of their resources. The level designers just have to make sure that the maximum number of rockets available, if the server is full, can't do so much damage that the level becomes unplayable.

Mind you, what happens when someone else joins the game with new rockets? And then someone else, and someone else, and someone else. Hmm... tricky.
#44 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-04-29 06:31:54
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Apache :

<quote>I don't know about you, but finding keys or switches to unlock doors is getting pretty old to me. I can think of about 1000 other things I'd rather focus gameplay on that those above mentioned items...</quote>

OK, I'll jump in the deep end here, why not.  :)  Like what?

Game designers have to limit the players movements somehow ... they have to give them SOMETHING to do.  Shut off a valve, find a switch, get a key, find a scientist, locate a fuse to restart the generator, etc ... if you're cynical enough, sure, all of this stuff can be reduced to "find a key, open a door".  Levels need to have choke points.  Spots where the designers can script a big battle, have someone meet the player and talk to them, etc ... without the fear of the playing running off without seeing it.

And without these mini-goals, what are you going to be doing for the duration of the level?  Walking from the start to the end, just killing enemies along the way?  Sounds like gameplay BELOW what everyone seems to hate ... so what's the answer?

I'm curious to see what you say.  :)

And as far as, "screw finding the key, I'll just blow the door up", I'm trying hard to find a way that this can work.  If you can blow up that door, then you can blow up all doors.  The game designer has no control over your movement.  It just doesn't ... work ...

One obvious solution is to limit the players ammo.  But what if he gets a rocket at the start of the game, and saves it for the WHOLE game until he comes to your critical door.  What do you do?  You can't predict 100% accurately what the player will do ... if you can, then the game is so linear and scripted, that people will hate it anyway.  :)

<quote>2D gameplay concepts in a 3D world (to me, at least) suck :)</quote>

What?



SiliconVortex :

Excellent point about the AI.  I wonder how AI would react to new holes in the floor/walls with rubble piled up around the area ...

I'm guessing "poorly".  :)



All :

Now, let's not forget about the one common thing that all multiplayer games have that you guys haven't mentioned yet...

Morons.  :)

People who WILL log on to a server with their buddies, grab all the rockets/rocket launchers and proceed to tear down their teams base.  You think shooting teammates is annoying?  Wait until they tear down the entire base ...

And in SP ... well, if the player has 12 rockets he's going to expect to be able to fire all 12 at the same spot on the ground and make a really big freakin hole - if for no other reason that, "because they can".  If the hole stops expanding, the illusion will be shattered.

I hope Volition can pull it off ... I think it would be cool.  But I think there's way too many issues for it to work without applying a lot of artificial limitations.  "You can destroy this type of brick, but not this type."  So every time you see the breakable brick texture, you start firing because ... well ... it must be there for a reason ... Then it becomes an obvious game engine enforced rule, and there goes your immersion.  :-/
#45 by "SiliconVortex"
2000-04-29 06:34:22
siliconvortex@mailandnews.com
I may be misunderstanding your misunderstanding of my post....but let me try anyway :)

My point was that having every single shot the player takes cause damage to the level that directly affects the health of the player is a bad thing.  The obviouly was probably a bit strong, cause there are always people than can do the impossible, and could design a game, or at least a level around that sort of limitation.  But I'm not sure that it'd fall under the catagory of a shooter anymore.

The spaceship was just an example.  There would be no point to putting rockets in a level if anytime you fired one it blew a hole in the hull and killed you.  Bad game design, no use for the rockets.  But having hallways or areas where using rockets (or whatever) are VERY BAD IDEAS <i>could</i> be used very well to add atmosphere.

I didn't mean to sound like I was bagging on the idea.  Used for the powers of good :) it will be an extremely awesome addition to games.  I was just pointing out certain design/tech problems that I saw.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#46 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-04-29 06:38:40
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Andy :

<quote>All you negative folk - we sure do have a lot of experts here, considering most of you have never actually made a game. :) I'll bet the developers who read this site are imagining all sorts of fun stuff they could do with destructible architecture.</quote>

I'm more of a pessimist.  :)  I hear about something like this, and I hear my levels cracking like eggs.  Heh.

Like I said, controls have to be placed on the player ... which will mean making some areas breakable, and some not.  Which will scream "GAMEPLAY DEVICE" to the player ... which is bad.

But let's see what Volition comes up with before passing final judgement ... heh.
#47 by "Apache"
2000-04-29 06:42:58
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
Warren: I don't want to find keys or pull levers to open doors just to fight an end boss to win the game. I want something new, different; just because it's a first person shooter does not mean you have to make another DOOM clone.

I want to interact with the enviroment. I want to feel like I'm 'doing something' other than finding the red key to open the door that ends the level... I crave innovation.

2D concepts like finding keys or pulling levers are 90's game design concept. I, (as a gamer) want something more than that...

Want a game that gets a 100% review score? That's what it will take.
#48 by "Dethstryk"
2000-04-29 06:47:36
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>#44</b> "Warren Marshall" wrote...
<QUOTE>  And as far as, "screw finding the key, I'll just blow the door up", I'm trying hard to find a way that this can work. If you can blow up that door, then you can blow up all doors.  The game designer has no control over your movement.  It just doesn't ... work ... </QUOTE>

Isn't every kind of puzzle in games essentially a "find the key" kind of thing? Think about it.

Remember the big tentacle in Half-life? You had to run around and find the places to switch oxygen and fuel (or whatever it was) back on, so you could activate the big blast to kill that tough sonofabitch.

That's just one example, and I'm really just bringing this up to strengthen Warren's points. (Call me a kiss ass, I dare ya.) I mean, essentially game developers and designers are just putting the "find a key" puzzle every time they do some kind of obstacle. There are a few exceptions, I know.

Let's speak very philosophical here: No matter what kind of puzzle/obstacle you come across, you must discover the "key" to figuring it out. There you go, now go hit a bong or something with that last one. (Sarcasm intended.)


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#49 by "Andy"
2000-04-29 07:00:00
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#44</b> "Warren Marshall" wrote...
<QUOTE>But I think there's way too many issues for it to work without applying a lot of artificial limitations.  "You can destroy this type of brick, but not this type."  So every time you see the breakable brick texture, you start firing because ... well ... it must be there for a reason ... Then it becomes an obvious game engine enforced rule, and there goes your immersion.  :-/</QUOTE>
You shoot a monster - the monster takes damage but the level around it, including a window, is unharmed.

You see an explosive crate so you shoot it and it blasts a hole in a nearby wall, but when you fire a rocket at another wall, nothing happens.

You're stuck, and then you notice a crack in a wall. You fire a couple of shots at it and the wall crumbles, revealing your escape route. Firing guns and rockets at other walls, or hitting them with your fists / axe / crowbar don't even leave a mark.

Games / gamers have been always been 'limited' by these rules but the games are still fun, aren't they? Sure, it doesn't make real world sense that one wall can be destroyed with a bullet while another can withstand a hundred rocket blasts, but it doesn't stop us enjoying the game. Players quickly learn the limitations of the game world they're in, and accept them.

I'm in total agreement with you <b>in theory</b>, but based on the last few decades of gaming, what you're saying just doesn't pan out in practice.

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I've not seen much about Volition's game before and my first impressions are that it could be a real stormer. Considering that people were pulling Quake to bits in another thread for not offering any earth-shattering new gameplay, this thread should be full of those same people applauding Volition for trying to do something radical.

Let's at least wait until they release a buggy beta before we 'Crap them! :)
#50 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-04-29 07:01:24
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Apache :

<quote>I want to interact with the enviroment. I want to feel like I'm 'doing something' other than finding the red key to open the door that ends the level... I crave innovation.
...

Want a game that gets a 100% review score? That's what it will take.</quote>

But you're not saying anything.  You want something new, but you have no idea what it is.  :)

I'm sure that there IS room for innovation, but no matter what, the player will have to be restricted and obstacles will be put in his way that he'll have to remove ... this, to me, is a basic underlying principle of an SP FPS .. and I don't see a way around it.

I would think that if this could be radically changed, it would have been by now.  Game designers have been at this since Wolfenstein!

You can innovate in gameplay ... like Thief did.  But that game, ultimately, also comes down to goals and obstacles.  You approach them in different ways, but the underlying game mechanic is still there.

"Find the captured girls room and lead her to the exit."

The girl is the gold skull key.  :)
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