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Some basic thoughts concerning the engine

Fri, 03 Aug 2001 17:46:00


I was thinking along 3 lines: - rendering performance - what looks better - ease of editing maps I already see that there will be severe performance problems should we use tons of 3D models - especially high-polygon-count ones. While a simple table shouldn't cause too much trouble, an alley of good-looking trees would bring even a GeForce/Athlon combination to its knee. And low-polygon-count trees look simply hideous. I tried out a couple of Heretic II trees in Korax and they look a LOT worse than any of the original 2D trees in Hexen. That means that as long as you can't actually walk up directly to a tree and walk around it, the original 2D trees serve our purposes better. With clever level design, most of the trees could be 2D ones, thus increasing performance in a big way and also making overall look better. Same goes for monsters... until a monster doesn't look so ugly as the Quake I ogre, you need a lot of polygons - which would effectively limit the amount of monsters on the screen. It's either 5 polygon monsters or a 100 2D monsters, as far as I see. I definitely opt for the latter. Not only less work, but also better gameplay. I mean, if we're more after the splendid graphics than after the good old gameplay, then why Hexen and why not the Q3 or UT engine? [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img] I realized another thing some time ago. Especially Heretic has a rather painted then photographed look. While it's way less realistic, it has its own charm. Hexen's textures look somewhat more photorealistic but not that much more. So I say let's go for the painting look for the whole game... just like AOE2 did. If you compare AOE and AOE2, the first part had more photo-realistic grass and water, and the 2nd part consciously used a look that was like painted with a brush. And still, which part looks better? AOE2 has a style while AOE is just a bad imitation of reality. I say at the time of Q3A, Rune and the upcoming SoF2, there is no point in trying to compete with them when using a definitely dated engine, OGL and MD2 or not... Also, I'm 100% sure I don't have neither time nor interest to learn how to edit a full-3D environment. Back in '97 I played around Hexmaker, a Hexen II editor, but after finishing a very small part of the Docks map from Heretic in a week or 2, I just gave up... it's not my world. OTOH I've got a lot more experience with editing DOOM engine games (see my Hell's Surface episode for instance). What else? I want to finish this project one day... and also, gameplay should be more important than fancy 3D look. After all, gameplay is that makes Hexen interesting after all this years, and exactly this gameplay is that's missing from new titles. Also, there are some points where the Korax engine might still look better than even Q3A... like the skybox system I plan. It should allow for the sky to seamlessly connect with the floor of a map, making it unnecessary to include bad-looking side walls. Should this feature be implemented, you could walk on an endless plains and have the feeling it's really endless, not like a small box with high walls all around. I'm sure I forgot some of what I wanted to say, maybe it'll come to my mind later on.

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