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Monday, July 11, 2016

This is how bad it is

Contrast and compare. Star Citizen. 2016. 5 years and $117 million in development. Licensed engine technology. Supposed to be well into Beta, if not fully playable.




Rebel Moon Revolution. 1997. 14 months and $600k in development. Homebrew 3D engine. Not even half-complete; this was pre-Alpha development material resurrected and made operable by some Russian fans who requested it.


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75 Comments:

OpenID dudequest July 11, 2016 11:45 AM  

Space Engineers, Empyrion, even the venerable X2 has accomplished more, on vastly less budget, with a playable, epic first-person space game at the end of it.

Blogger Salt July 11, 2016 11:55 AM  

"Yeah, I'll just get in and out of my craft through the hull. Wait... wha.. what?"

Blogger Bill July 11, 2016 12:00 PM  

Shades of Duke Nukem Forever...

Anonymous VFM #6306 July 11, 2016 12:18 PM  

"Broken moon indeed" and "I will use my space sink" vs. an actual game.

SC is WAY funnier. To me, it is totally worth other people's millions.

Because youtube.

Blogger Human Animal July 11, 2016 12:18 PM  

Hopefully no more features happen.

Prefer to think of it as an all access, behind the scenes pass. If you're only seeing a quake level from the inside of the walls, you're missing half the game mate!

Anonymous Eduardo July 11, 2016 12:20 PM  

Duke Nuken Forever took forever and it sucked after the release... Star Citizen will never be released. DNF was constantly with development problems, don't know what happened in 3D Realms when the game was ALMOST released, but from that time all the way to the horrible game we ended up with, the game never got much in terms of development. Star Citizen is WiP all the time, which is way worse if you think about it.

Rebel moon ... Has nice music man!!! And the sound of pain is just XD. But it pretty solid, if they add some Ambient Occlusion, HDR and anti aliasing you could probably release the game as a funny multiplayer. Some Re-Skin and new models and violá! You probably get people playing.

So Vox, when will Rebel Moon II come out?

Anonymous VFMUltra July 11, 2016 12:36 PM  

What did they expect when they didn't attend your game dev course?

Blogger Wanda Sherratt July 11, 2016 12:43 PM  

LOL - I don't even play video games and can see the problems. Just want to make a sandwich and you end up floating around in space.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction July 11, 2016 12:45 PM  

@4

This is what is really disappointing, there are so many "features" that Roberts wanted to add for immersion that really wouldn't have been missed. Why are there usable toilets, sinks, empty rooms etc? Not being a programmer I don't know if not coding those items would have made a bunch of difference, maybe it would, but it certainly illustrates why there is a problem. Roberts is confusing nice touches for must haves and that could even be extended all the way up to the FPS "portion" of the game.

Blogger Earl July 11, 2016 12:51 PM  

Well if the game is supposed to be a comedy, 5 stars for Star Citizen, I haven't seen anything this funny since Daggerfall. "Halt!"

Anonymous a_peraspera July 11, 2016 12:56 PM  

Yeah back in 1997 the occasional noclip error in Quake or Thief: The Dark Project was just seen as a charming quirk of the engine. We were just so happy to get something better than Dark Forces or Hexen that we didn't care.

Modern games should be above this sort of thing now.

Anonymous fred July 11, 2016 1:01 PM  

VD -- I've always wanted to ask you this. (background: I used to design computer games at MIT in the early 80s, and the specific reason they hired me was because I didn't actually like computer games and I didn't know much about computers, so they wanted somebody with a sort of hostile mindset to illuminate what they were and weren't simpatico with.)

So here's the question: the only computer game I've ever thought is even remotely interesting is "Portal". (That may be a flaw on my part, or a nasty quirk, or a blind spot, but irrelevant.) As a designer, do you like it?

If/why, if/why not, why not?

OpenID denektenorsk July 11, 2016 1:11 PM  

So what you are saying is a small focused team with a solid core vision can make a game faster and cheaper than a larger less focused team (distributed across multiple time zones) with virtually unlimited resources. Unpossible I say!

Blogger VD July 11, 2016 1:20 PM  

As a designer, do you like it?

As a gamer, I don't like it because I a) don't like puzzle games and b) don't like platformers.

But as a designer, I will say that the design is different and solid. It deserves its reputation.

Anonymous Toastrider July 11, 2016 1:21 PM  

@1: Ever played Starflight? Now THERE'S a game I wish they'd remake... sheesh.

@3: Yup. Gettin' that DNF vibe. Especially with the POV clipthroughs in that video. Oh God, the clipping through.

@8: Ironically, you CAN make a sandwich as a food item in Empyrion...

Blogger Jim July 11, 2016 1:22 PM  

Not much of a gamer myself, though I did put hundreds of hours into Everquest a while back, but I don't see a whole lot of difference between Rebel Moon (1997) and Overwatch (2016, correct?) which my 12 yo has been playing.

I'd be grateful for any enlightenment that may be provided.

Anonymous WANK POD July 11, 2016 1:23 PM  

This feature alone was worth all those thousands spent on the SC kickstarter.

Anonymous Eduardo July 11, 2016 1:33 PM  

Jim

Basically: game mechanics; number of players; absence of AI; game objective; scenario; map size and design; character abilities, dynamics between chracters...

Basically ... Everything. They are two very different games with very different skills required by the player.

Just play Doom, then call of duty, and the. rainbow six, then Play team fortress 2.

All shooters, but completely different ways to play the game.

Anonymous HalibetLector July 11, 2016 1:36 PM  

I love the youtube comments on the other Major Tom video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8zvNOe5n04

"Its all Derek smart's fault."

"I have to admit, CIG trying to out-Goat-Simulator Goat Simulator is a daring direction for them to take."

"Do you smell toast?"

"Adjust your vertical hold, commando."

"my turoial for playing would be close eyes and imagine"

Anonymous Toastrider July 11, 2016 1:38 PM  

@17: It's like the difference between playing team deathmatch, and playing a mission-objective match, eh?

Also, looks like an earlier comment got eaten. Might've been my fault (watch out when you press Refresh, kids), might've triggered antispam countermeasures.

Blogger YIH July 11, 2016 1:45 PM  

I laughed, I cried, much better than Ghostbusters.

Blogger Krul July 11, 2016 1:48 PM  

Shooting those consoles looks like fun. Why is environmental damage in games so fun?

Also, I really like that music so I found this Rebel Moon Rising music playlist to listen to. I think I'll play this in the background of other video games.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope July 11, 2016 1:51 PM  

Talk about focusing your precious time and programming resources on the wrong stuff!

Blogger YIH July 11, 2016 2:04 PM  

LULZ! IN! SPAAAACCCCEEEEE!!!.
''In space, no one can hear you get rekt.''

Anonymous Eduardo July 11, 2016 2:18 PM  

Not really

Let me go through the thinking of the player.

In simple deathmatch you worry about: run; avoid areas of high probability of getting shot; place yourself in advantage at all times; keep track of the weapons and ammo of your adversaries; It is basically a game for fast brains and hands and eyes.

Team deathmatch classic: you worry about team position; communication; try to put you TEAM in advantage, so dying to do that is always good; leading skills are welcome; your lack of personal skills might be mitigated by good team play.

Overwatch/team forttress/battleborn: learn your class and know where and how it is more effective in the map; always be aware of what classes your team is made of and where they are; knowing the skills of each player is a must for a successful match; communication; knowing what classes your enemies are using.

Doom: kill kill kill!!!! Bigger gun!!!! Kill kill kill!!!!

Rainbow Six: planning the match, the more unexpected the team behavior the bigger the chance of you getting the other guys off guard; remeber that you die with one shot... Trust me, there are no room for errors; basically it is a game for realisticaly thinking gamers hence the reason it disappeared; predict your enemy's plan; the best teamwork wins all the time!

Call of duty: run!!! Shoot!!! Run!!!! Kill kill kill!!! New level!! New gun... That operates very much like the last one... Kill kill kill... Post video on YT. It is basicaly a game for idiots like me.

Counter-Strike: your kills are reallllly important, there is no respawn because it is round-based game; communication is a MUST! Weapon control equals round control; know the skills of your enemy and respect the AWP; learn how to make as much damage without exposing yourself too long. It is a game where the best player can carry the team, unlike deathmatch or capture the flag games.

The truth is: you have to play each type to get what I am saying. But you will feel the difference right away. You can watch tournaments online too, the hosts always talk about the skills one must have.

It is not just teamwork in the end of the day.

--------------

I had to do another IQ test just to check my midwittery... Low and behold, got 32 out of 33 questions and end up with 145 points. Couldn't run a car-wash t_t.

Anonymous BGKB July 11, 2016 2:19 PM  

Why are there usable toilets

To be fair if your ass sticks out into the vacuum of space I wouldn't call it a usable toilet, maybe usable once.

Blogger Krul July 11, 2016 2:40 PM  

BGKB wrote:Why are there usable toilets

To be fair if your ass sticks out into the vacuum of space I wouldn't call it a usable toilet, maybe usable once.


Using the john would go about like this.

Blogger Doktor Jeep July 11, 2016 2:45 PM  

There's a kind of 4GW in game development.

Blogger David-2 July 11, 2016 2:51 PM  

@9 - "Why are there usable toilets?" - after you grab a drink or meal in the kitchen ... needing to urinate decreases your firing accuracy, and constipation just slows you down in general ... you need optimum reactions to play SC well ... hence the toilet. Just part of the immersive realism.

Blogger Jim July 11, 2016 2:52 PM  

@24
Thanks for the explanations. I've tried to play COD-something on the Xbox with my boys, but that controller is beyond me. Also I get a headache/feel nauseous with all the camera movement. Just seems like the work-to-fun ratio isn't quite there for me. I do miss some of the social aspects of Everquest and just hanging out in the fantasy world environment, but none of the games I see advertised on TV look appealing to me at all.

Anonymous VFM #9617 July 11, 2016 2:55 PM  

"Spock, did you hear that sucking sound?"
"Cap'n! We've been breached, our hull integrity's down 7%!"
"Dammit! He's dead Jim!"

- Redshirt Diaries, #652, Redshirt Takes a Dump

I'll just be outside at the mailbox waiting for my Hugo nom, along with a Valentine from the red-headed gir.

Anonymous VFM #9617 July 11, 2016 2:56 PM  

girl.

Anonymous fred July 11, 2016 2:57 PM  

"But as a designer, I will say that the design is different and solid. It deserves its reputation."

Well thanks for your frank remarks. I think in my years as a hostile game designer, I probably didn't (but should have) learn useful things about what made your particular audience tick, because I just wasn't properly sympathetic to their concerns. (I did however learn that sort of thing in several other different genres, so it's not like I'm tone-deaf. It's just that I read poetry, and you guys mostly don't, so it's a sort of never-the-twain etc etc kind of thing. No worries, mate, we'll just order different drinks is all.)

A thing I find interesting is that you analyze Portal from certain structural ideas, which is perfectly fine, while I OTOH find the "game" aspect almost totally pointless (sort of clever, but still pointless), but I think the voice of the taunting computer and the cynical promise of "cake" is hilarious. I like the scenario, not so much as the dynamics. That's the actual thing that interests me. Again, just a difference of aesthetic views. Some people like Sophocles, some people like Euripides, and some people like both. Crazy world, right? But because there's a large and ever-increasing world of people with the gamer mindset as opposed to the lax goofball-mindset, I'm trying to get to understand your Volk.

It's just a difference in sensibility, I guess, and what one wishes to emphasize. Lawd knows, there's room enough in the world for both. I think. Or hope. Or something.

Anonymous Steve July 11, 2016 3:13 PM  

Rebel Moon Revolution looks like it could've been something pretty damn special for 1997.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 11, 2016 3:14 PM  

Beta !??!?

Wtf, that's not even a playable demo.

OTOH the lulz videos are epic.

Anonymous Steve July 11, 2016 3:24 PM  

Star Citizen looks like Day Z writ large.

Day Z was the Arma 2 mod that everybody loved back in 2013 because, even though it was buggy as hell, it was a fun new experience. And it was a free download for Arma 2.

So they quickly released a standalone version on Steam Early Access and sold about 3m copies of the "game".

Coming up for 3 years later, it's STILL in alpha. And it's still worse in every sense than the free mod that preceded it: the framerate sucks, there are hardly any zombies in it, and there's nothing to do except walk for miles until you eventually get killed by a zombie clipping through buildings to get you.

The developers have spent a lot of time adding hats, toilet paper, and female NPC's though.

Blogger Feather Blade July 11, 2016 3:35 PM  

@9 if you have to ask "Why useable toilets?", then you are not the target demographic for that feature.

Blogger bob k. mando July 11, 2016 3:40 PM  

25. BGKB July 11, 2016 2:19 PM
To be fair if your ass sticks out into the vacuum of space I wouldn't call it a usable toilet, maybe usable once.



but damn, you've never dumped such a load.

talk about clean!


for the first SC video ... what kind of a dumbass engineer designs a ship with long term living areas too short for the crew to stand up?

and what kind of a dumbass software designer would fail to notice the clipping problems induced thereby?

Blogger Feather Blade July 11, 2016 3:44 PM  

@37 what kind of a dumbass engineer designs a ship with long term living areas too short for the crew to stand up?

The kind that designs hardware assemblies with no clearance for the tools needed to disassemble and maintain it.

Anonymous Eduardo July 11, 2016 3:48 PM  

Jim

The console controller is attrotious for FPS, and I am pretty good with that thing. But when you add the mouse and keyboard there is no comparison really. So don't feel bad about that. FPS were meant to be played with mouse and keyboard anyways, all PC players complain about console controllers.

Shooters are mostly simple-minded games. There is no hiding that shooter fans tend to be completely agressive idiots XD. Of course the best players tend to be very smart and social but the majority are loners and ass-caves, they usually play with one weapon that is usually overpowered and bitch throughout the game about everybody else not playing it any good. Played with one of these idiots in a match the other day, and I had to laugh as my score and his was pretty damn close to each other. Guess he sucked too, just couldn't admit it ;-)

FPS usually is better as escapism really, telling stories, much like books; that might be the reason why sci-fi shooters have longer life-spans to other types of shooters. When it comes to the social side and being in some other setting with your friends; today's games are pretty short on that, most games prefer competitive behavior at all times, so people always bring their aggresion to the table. You could try a MMO-RPG of some sort, find a group of friends that really enjoy adventure. You might find a good experience in those games. Minecraft in a closed server is not a bad idea!

------------------------

Steve

Please don't remind of that... My friend made me buy the game. It is a hiking simulator... Made by a guy who climbed the Everest.

Stupid hyped games.

Blogger Noah B July 11, 2016 3:49 PM  

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. That is genuinely horrible.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction July 11, 2016 4:00 PM  

@28

Haha, thanks for the laugh, makes me wonder when start citizen will start adding hardware accessories so that when you flush your toilet in IRL it flushes the toilet of your Freelancer as well.

The more I think about this, the more it bothers me. I get the cool factor in regards to immersion. The first time I saw your avatar in an FPS physically climb into, and out of, a vehicle rather than magically teleportation (Halo CE) it blew my mind. It also added a lot of tension as that half second or so you were entering the vehicle you could still get domed.

But once again Roberts takes a "add" and takes it too far. Getting into your fighter takes for forever, then you have to run over to the flight chair, then you have to sit and watch the entire start up sequence. Now, I've played my fair share of IL-2 and other flight sims so it's not that I am against having to actually do the motions to start up your shit (though lets be real this is the 26th century so you think starting a fighter at that point would be like starting your care) but it gets uber tedious...especially when the game is, at best, currently little more than a space combat sim.

I wonder how much better the game would be if Roberts had forgone the super detailed interiors with all the bells and whistles for each ship and just showed you entering in the ship and starting it up in the space of <2 seconds. Sure realism would've suffered....but then having your guy get ejected into space because the mechanics of getting out of a turret/chair are all fucked up is a bigger sin in regards to realism that lacking a laborious start up sequence.

Blogger CarpeOro July 11, 2016 4:25 PM  

@fred:

"It's just that I read poetry, and you guys mostly don't"

Rather, it is what kind of poetry we read. Kipling may not be your cup of tea, but I think many here happen to enjoy him and games.

Blogger CarpeOro July 11, 2016 4:27 PM  

Vox, has Star Citizen announced the new VR initiative yet? Cutting over to that could give them a few more years. Of development.

Blogger Noah B July 11, 2016 4:32 PM  

Might as well go ahead and redesign the graphics for 16k displays too.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 11, 2016 4:36 PM  

fred wrote:It's just that I read poetry, and you guys mostly don't, so it's a sort of never-the-twain etc etc kind of thing.
Poetry has been in the toilet since the early twenties. The kind of poetry that gets published as poetry anymore isn't worth even flushing. There's not enough substance to stink. Ferlinghetti? Oh c'mon.

There are strange things done
in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold.
The arctic trails
have their secret tales
that would make your blood run cold.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 11, 2016 4:39 PM  

The good poets have all gone to writing lyrics since the commoditization of sound recording. Which is unfortunate, because some forms like sonnets don't fit conveniently into a 4-beat, 3 minute song, but the poet lives a lot better.

Blogger Bill July 11, 2016 4:53 PM  

There are strange things done
in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold.
The arctic trails
have their secret tales
that would make your blood run cold.


I've been going winter camping (sometime in mid-January) every year for the past eight years, and we always read Sam McGee around the campfire. Now THAT is a Great poem!

Anonymous Flag with an 'effin machete! July 11, 2016 4:54 PM  

To put Star Citizen in an even worse light, there's a game that does most of what Chris Roberts wanted to do from the beginning - a seamless open universe where you can walk around on a planet or station, walk into your ship, walk around inside it, go fly it somewhere, fight things, and then land somewhere else. Etc.

That catch is that it is a Minecraft-style voxel game, which isn't everyone's thing. But Starmade is in real, fully-playable, minimally buggy alpha on, basically, one German guy's spare cash and whatever they raise from voluntary $10 registrations. And, in about the same time that Star Citizen's been in development.

Blogger Bill July 11, 2016 4:56 PM  

"Kipling may not be your cup of tea"... Are you kidding!? Heck, Gods of the Copybook Headings is practically our gospel!

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 11, 2016 5:01 PM  

@43 CarpeOro
Vox, has Star Citizen announced the new VR initiative yet? Cutting over to that could give them a few more years. Of development.
---

Virtual Reality Space Dumps?

Anonymous VFM #6306 July 11, 2016 5:10 PM  

Space Toilet would be an awesome Goat Simulator mod.

Anonymous VFM #6306 July 11, 2016 5:12 PM  

Poetry has been in the toilet since the early twenties.

Yep. It was one of the earliest arts to be successfully SJW converged, and, because pop music became easier and easier to transfer to an audience, no one ever bothered to go reclaim it. Eliot wrote poetry's epitaph, and that's it.

On the other hand, it would be a damn easy shell institution to crush and replace...

Anonymous Flag with an 'effin machete! July 11, 2016 5:14 PM  

There were three things I noticed, reading about Star Citizen, back even before I'd seen any of Derek Smart's analysis. Three things that looked like bad signs for the future:

(1) The weird, disconnected 'module' design, instead of getting a solidly working core.

(2) Roberts putting his wife in a position of senior authority. This is almost a bad sign in a startup businesses, as the wife or girlfriend rarely has a clue about anything except for ways to spend company money, and usually behaves more like a queen than an executive. It is also arguably, though not reliably a Gamma tell, and that's a bad sign in any leader.

(3) That the ships they were selling weren't real in-game assets, just concept art. As soon as I found that out, I thought it seemed dodgy. The only other game I knew offhand that had done that (I forget the name at the moment) had been a supposed fantasy MMO that, so far as I recall, never got past being a 'concept' and a website to collect cash.

Anonymous Tyr's Disciple July 11, 2016 6:45 PM  

Sure it was a massive commercial flop, but even today Universal Combat is a better space simulator than Star Citizen and beyond that, it's actually playable.

Blogger VD July 11, 2016 6:52 PM  

Rebel Moon Revolution looks like it could've been something pretty damn special for 1997.

No question. The AI is still beyond what anyone has tried to do; you were even going to be able to talk to your AI squadmates and they would talk back using synthetic speech.

One reason the NPC movement looks so strange is that it's almost completely unscripted. We would sometimes be taken off-guard during demos, when an enemy patrol circled around to attack from behind.

OpenID denektenorsk July 11, 2016 7:23 PM  

One reason the NPC movement looks so strange is that it's almost completely unscripted. We would sometimes be taken off-guard during demos, when an enemy patrol circled around to attack from behind.

That is the reason our E3 demos were (heavily) scripted and not at all indicative of real gameplay... predictability. The AI wasn't particularly earth shattering, but left to its own devices would not do what the presentor wanted.

Blogger Noah B July 11, 2016 7:46 PM  

And Rebel Moon would run on a Pentium 90 MHz.

Anonymous BGKB July 11, 2016 8:26 PM  

That the ships they were selling weren't real in-game assets, just concept art. As soon as I found that out

Hold up people paid $2000+ dollars for something they couldn't use in the game? That's almost as bad a deal as Tim Geithner's brother getting blackmailed by male escorts.

Blogger The Kurgan July 11, 2016 8:42 PM  

VD,
I think it's very unfair that you're comparing your game against theirs after ONLY 19 years. Surely you should give them the benefit of the doubt at least until 20 years. And $200 million.

Anonymous Ain July 11, 2016 9:42 PM  

The next video in the autoplay was hilarious.

Anonymous Ain July 11, 2016 9:43 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8zvNOe5n04

Anonymous Jack Amok July 11, 2016 9:47 PM  

Poetry has been in the toilet since the early twenties.

So, your ass is hanging out in space when you recite poetry these days? No wonder it's a dying art form.

Why are there usable toilets, sinks, empty rooms etc? Not being a programmer I don't know if not coding those items would have made a bunch of difference,

Well, clearly there's a generalized collision-detection problem, not to mention automated camera movement problems. But those are the sort of things that are really hard to do well for multiple modes at the same time. For instance, collision-detection (for non game-industry types, that's the code that detects when one thing runs into another - for instance, your butt running into the wall of the spaceship) can be done several different ways. One way is to check every part of the spaceman "rig" (e.g. he has points in his arms, legs, head, torso, and - important for using the space toilet - his butt) to see if it collides with anything. That lets you stop his butt from moving right through the wall. Unfortunately, it's pretty expensive and would slow a large-scale game to a crawl because you're testing maybe a dozen or more individual body parts every frame. It's something you use for small, enclosed spaces with few moving objects (e.g. the inside of a cramped spaceship with a handful of people).

For a large, multi-player space like... un, space, you need a different type of collision detection. For instance, have a point at the center of the spaceman and a simple geometry (a sphere, a cylinder, a box) around that point. If any part of the box "hits" the wall, you have a collision. Much faster algorithm, but it won't work for cramped interior spaces because he'll "collide" with more things than he should.

So those horrible glitches - I suspect they are essentially impossible to fix because accurately supporting the fine detail inside the ship is incompatible with performantly supporting the large, open world outside the ship.

But that's just a guess.

Blogger Markku July 11, 2016 9:57 PM  

Frictional Games does absolutely amazing things with Newton Game Dynamics. See SOMA. The physics are so perfect that you can put objects in a coffee cup, and they don't start showing anomalies.

That would have been the only way to pull this off, since the ability to "live" inside the spaceships was a big selling point for immersiveness. Use Newton for interiors, and a traditional physics engine which is crude but can handle very large number of objects in the exteriors.

Anonymous Silly But True July 11, 2016 10:37 PM  

@VD: "We would sometimes be taken off-guard during demos, when an enemy patrol circled around to attack from behind."

Truly, visionary characterization 20 years ahead of it's time that you can take #PRIDE in. This was just three years after DADT was in effect, so having such characters in a military combat game was unheard of.

Star Citizen has now reached an interesting milestone. Wing Commander's heyday was 2000-2005, covering the releases of the first game through Roberts' pinnacle achievement, WCIII: Heart of the Lion. I say pinnacle achievement -- and forgive me for not listing his being Producer and Director for the Freddy Prinze Jr. Wing Commander movie -- because for III, Roberts acted as Producer, Director (the FMV craze), Story designer, and in a self-congratulatory wanking, actor appearing onscreen.

During 2000-2005, the Wing Commander series made nearly to the dollar $115m revenue for Origin/EA. IV began the series decline; Roberts only served as Director on the project that nearly tripled the actors and FMV portion of III, and had no role in Prophecy, having left Origin/EA in 2006 to found Digital Anvil a year before its release.

I guess we can say that Roberts' signature beneficial legacy to the world -- his Wing Commander series -- has now been surpassed by Roberts' failure.

Silly But True

Anonymous Jack Amok July 11, 2016 11:54 PM  

Use Newton for interiors, and a traditional physics engine which is crude but can handle very large number of objects in the exteriors

Yes, but then the guy integrating Newton wouldn't have time to implement the Space Toilet feature or code up the Latrine Duty skill tree.

Anonymous Silly But True July 11, 2016 11:54 PM  

Somehow I lost a decade there. 1990-1995 not 2000-2005; Roberts left in 1996 not 2006.

Blogger rho July 12, 2016 1:40 AM  

Jack Amok wrote:For a large, multi-player space like... un, space, you need a different type of collision detection. For instance, have a point at the center of the spaceman and a simple geometry (a sphere, a cylinder, a box) around that point. If any part of the box "hits" the wall, you have a collision. Much faster algorithm, but it won't work for cramped interior spaces because he'll "collide" with more things than he should.

Collision detection is not the problem with the first video. The problem is they designed the ship to look neat, tossed the super neat-o model into their toolkit and hoped for the best.

It's hard to compare the two videos. The first has a jokey hair metal soundtrack, the second has a great (if dated) techno soundtrack. One's a send-up, the other's a tribute. Not comparable.

And yet, the design differences stand out. RMR was resource limited and therefore had to design strictly. Care was taken. The Star Citizen send-up, on the other hand, illustrates very well what happens when marketing--even amateur Kickstarter marketing--gets a deathgrip on engineering. RMR, in a half-finished state, has the feel of a game with stakes. Star Citizen has the feel of a demo.

The only goal for a game is to give the player stakes in said game. Star Citizen looks like they offloaded the stakes to marketing. That's not a dumb strategy--Pokemon and Final Fantasy are ridiculous and profitable due to marketing--but Star Citizen is depending on nerdstalgia of fucking Wing Commander.

Blogger residentMoron July 12, 2016 1:42 AM  

Salt wrote:"Yeah, I'll just get in and out of my craft through the hull. Wait... wha.. what?"



Bringing a whole new concept to space warfare; the objective of every hostile encounter is to press the "Enter" button and explosively vent the entire ship ...

The problem SC and its makers [cough cough] have, is that gamers never forget. Never forget an error, a weakness, a fumble, a cache, a power up, a reload. Because gamers live and die on such things, the entire endeavour teaches you to never forget.

Bad juju for fuckups.

Blogger Markku July 12, 2016 2:04 AM  

Notice, by the way, how important Ambient Occlusion (which is the latest game-changer visual effect) has been to video game graphics. Even if those bodies threw those early, crude shadows on the ground, we wouldn't still believe for a second that those objects were actually on the ground. They'd still look like they were cut from one image and pasted to the other. Nor does better shading help here; in fact it can make things worse by making the image less abstract, and therefore cause even bigger expectation of the correct interplay of light between two objects that are touching each other. But AO can simulate it completely credibly. Only now do we have objects that actually look like they are where they are.

Blogger rho July 12, 2016 2:16 AM  

Markku wrote:Notice, by the way, how important Ambient Occlusion (which is the latest game-changer visual effect) has been to video game graphics. Even if those bodies threw those early, crude shadows on the ground, we wouldn't still believe for a second that those objects were actually on the ground. They'd still look like they were cut from one image and pasted to the other. Nor does better shading help here; in fact it can make things worse by making the image less abstract, and therefore cause even bigger expectation of the correct interplay of light between two objects that are touching each other. But AO can simulate it completely credibly. Only now do we have objects that actually look like they are where they are.

The train is fine.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 12, 2016 4:44 AM  

Collision detection is not the problem with the first video.

There is no "the" problem with that game, there are several. Visual glitches, bad gameplay design, bad environment design, bad coding, insufficient testing...

Blogger VD July 12, 2016 6:38 AM  

The train is fine.

That's not sperging. That's simple game programmer attention-to-detail, which is vitally necessary. You have no idea how complicated it can get if you are writing your own engines and your own AI systems.

OpenID gnossoss July 12, 2016 4:53 PM  

I can't stop watching that guy's videos. He's hilarious (and the game gives him a lot of material).

What becomes abundantly clear is that Star Citizen is being designed in what you might call "depth-first" fashion: extremely detailed stuff is drilled all the way down until it works at the smallest level, one detail at a time.

You can tell this by how brittle a lot of things are. They probably look great if you do them just right, but have absurd effects if you don't. This indicates that someone sat there and tweaked and perfected that feature (lord knows I've done that enough times) only to have it break instantly if you do it differently than the coder did.

This is a horrible way to design any large-scale software project. The problem is that you go all the way down this path, spending lots of time perfecting a particular feature, then later you learn that in order to implement some other feature, you need to change a design element which totally breaks everything you worked on previously. That's why you need to do it "breadth-first," laying out the core of the game and then once all the big design decisions are made, you'll know how you can implement the details.

Blogger Atomic Agent 13 July 12, 2016 7:08 PM  

I can see why I wasn't a gamer in those early days of the FPS, yuck. We know of Rebel Moon but what other games have you shipped Vox?

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