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toms
11-13-2001, 03:32 PM
sorry. another "realism" topic.
Is anyone else getting fred up of running down corridors with abandoned offices with desks and chairs in?

It seems like the quest for "realistic" levels is hampering the inventiveness of the level designers. HAlf-lfe, NO One Lives FOrever, Aliens v Predator, System shock 2 etc... whether it is on a boat, or a plane, or a train, or a space station, or in a office block or whatever... a whole load of the rooms, furnishings and textures are fairly intercahngeable between games.

(I actually saw a review that said the lithtech engine couldn't do rounded desks and chairs as well as quake 3. ;) )

I was just thinking back (probably with rose tinted spectacles) to Quake and Doom. In those gameas the level design could be whatever played well, it didn't have to look like ar eal building. You could have stairs rising out of nothing, pools in the floor that fell through to rooms underneath, improbable structures precariously balanced in lakes of lava, long thin balancing walkways, levers that raise and lower whole sections of the level for no apparent practical reason except to be cool.

To it's credit JK managed to avoid this by having fairly varied and vertical levels, and moving large areas of the level about in the environmental puzzles. But with more polys to play with... are we looking towards lots of imperial offices with nicely curved desks and chairs???

StormHammer
11-13-2001, 06:01 PM
Personally, I like a bit more realism in games.

Give me chairs, desks and any other furniture appropriate to the location...instead of having endless corridors and rooms that have nothing in them except the next monster/enemy/puzzle* (delete as appropriate)

Yes, the original Doom and Quake levels were pretty much unstructured...but they were meant to be. It was a journey through hell...a fever dream...a maze of horrors. It didn't have to make sense, because it was warped and twisted and evil.

JK2 is a totally different concept. It needs some kind of structure...it needs to make sense to put it into better context, because the universe is populated by good guys as well as bad guys, and they go about their daily lives. They need furniture, bedrooms, lavatories, changing rooms, dining halls, kitchens, armouries, and any other living quarters you can think of. It helps to set the scene...especially when you have a couple of NPCs in the dwelling.

MotS managed that very nicely on some of it's city levels.

I do agree about too many pieces of square furniture etc., in a lot of games. It is quite tedious. Give me the curves... ;)

StephenG
11-14-2001, 12:08 PM
Just as long as all areas are filles with crates and boxes. i'm sick of boxes!

*boxes everywhere Nooooooooooooo...What do i do? To many...i...understand...i...must...kill...*

toms
11-14-2001, 02:26 PM
i am all for realism.. but it just seems to have constrained the level developers a bit too much. I remember reading that you should try to avoid making levels that were just boxy rooms connected by boxy corridors.... but that is what most games turn out to be these days. They now have enough polys to put in nice furniture and stuff, but they are still basically boxes.

It just occured to me as i was working my way down a corridor, checking each room off it for enemies, that i had done this a hundred times before.

The problem with real architecture is it isn't very exciting (see Oni with it's boring, architect designed levels). Think about the coolest bits in JK, working your way up that power generator type thing by moving bridges etc.. They were all very vertical and 3 dimensional in nature. BUt most "realistic" buildings wouldn't be... maybe the odd flight of stairs and the odd balcony..but that is about it. dull....
;)

Kurt Plummer
11-14-2001, 05:46 PM
I agree in a lot of ways though to me there should be PEOPLE more than items in every applicable area.

I would rather have dozens of Imperial Techs/Droids looking up with a "Whhuhh?" as I go running through a hangar bay filled with ships and nothing else than have all of their gear laying there doing nothing.

Can't animate them all? /FINE!/:-) Give me flat 2D pasteys that simply shuffle along without leg or arm motion and are 'always turned' to match my new perspective. This could be very effective for instance in a crowded spaceport or subway type area.

This also provides room for things like 'good Jedi pick their targets, bad Jedi and The Mundane, just hose away'. Since just about anything we find in JKO is an enemy there is no reward for moving out of plane (leap and look) to save on killin the relatively few 'innocents' collateraling about.

As for environments, I think there must be HUGE numbers of options that have yet to be explored.

I like water. Sheets of water that parted rooms and distorted apparent locations would be neat. In AOTC-II we see HUGE waterfalls and a flying beast (indeed in TPM there was a deleted scene with unobongo going over same).

A 'glass bottom boat' cruise ship or city based on beings like the Calamari where there was a lot of water-tube type passage ways and transparisteel or forcefield protected open-water viewing areas would be neat too.

Of course _breathers_ would be a mandate since drowning is a major bummer...;-)

I like tiered areas where you can nominally jump in-and-out of combat. Again, AOTC shows us a very large 'Circus Maximus' type arena where the Jedi look like they are about to be Christianized to the lions.

I also like lots of general transitions.

One of the private level producers also did a very effective 'fight up the canyon' addon scene which was both amazingly beautiful and /damn hard/. You then moved into a city and had to assassinate some Imp leader before catching a maglev and getting on ship. Inside:Outside:Rooftop:Underground. These are the kind of (exploratory) 'puzzles' I /like/.

I also like things to be BIG. In Han solo's revenge, there is an entire scene where he breaks into a large data center on an agroplanet and then is betrayed by one of the people he has been sent to rescue and has to escape The Hard Way through a field filled with 4-story tall combines to get back to the spaceport where his ship is locked in a halfmile long grain freighter. Think about it, the biggest (moving) vehicles we have now are the ATST, one of these combines would be about half the size of a Jawa sandcrawler...

And last and since we are in a spacey-kind-of-game, at least some things should be in hard vac. Makes keeping your shields up very much more important and gives all kinds of humorous-gross consequences to things like a light sabre ripping open a suit or a blaster bolt cracking a faceplate. Seen 'Outland' with Sean Connery on those great big mining colony solar panel arrays where you stalk your enemies 100ft below you or on the other side of a hydroponics pressure dome? Like that...

Also opens up the option for another new class of Stormtroopers such as are mentioned in the books and RPG but have yet to be seen in the PC versions (kind of like Bobafett with better weapons).


Kurt Plummer


Who Finally Found a visually kewl FAE animation LINK-
http://www.nawcwpns.navy.mil/clmf/faeseq.html

StormHammer
11-14-2001, 06:54 PM
TomS, I totally agree with much of what you say. But I don't think the problem is with incorporating more realism - it's a problem with design.

I agree that some developers mistake adding realism for making the architecture realistic, i.e., more true to real-life conventions. But it doesn't have to be this way. You can add more realism by incorporating certain types of rooms (such as living rooms, shops, rec rooms, wash rooms), without constraining yourself to the stereotypical architecture of the modern world.

It all comes down to design. Why have a square room when you can have a triangle, hexagon, dodecahedron, even a circle? Why should it be enclosed? Why not have it appear like a molecule, or in tiers, or a giant mushroom? Or on a space station, why not have corridors curving around the inside of a sphere, like in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

There is no reason, other than trying to adhere to the architectural styles of the real world.

I wish the level designers would just let their imaginations run riot...while still being able to incorporate things that look like furniture, or rooms that look like living quarters, changing rooms etc. I mean, if you've got a Stormtrooper armour-changing area, why shouldn't it be massive, circular, on many tiers, etc?

Or why not have a dwelling cut out of a giant tree, with many levels, joined by curving branches, ladders, spiral steps...and linked to twenty other trees that are all different in design, because the trees are different shapes?

Also, in my previous post I said 'appropriate to the location'. I don't expect to see wash rooms, living quarters and furniture etc., on every level. It should all be appropriate to the location.

So if you are in a city type level, then it should reflect the lifestyle of the people who live there. A military base will be different, as will a huge generator complex with lots of vertical structures, for example. ;) They can all have totally radical designs...while incorporating some elements of realism.

Philbo
11-14-2001, 10:00 PM
yeah, i mean, i'm up for nice-looking chairs and stuff...

but look, see, when you have a fast-paced game like Jedi Knight, you can't have too many boring, people-less places. things have to MOVE. i can't stand the crazy amount of empty offices in games like Half-Life with NOTHING for an entire hall. it stinks.

ed_silvergun
11-15-2001, 04:38 PM
I think the main point TomS was trying to make was not so much one of level design, rather than the actual decor. For example, in Half-Life, how often did you see a filing cabinet which looked exactly like another filing cabinet you saw in the last room, or the one before that, and so on.

On this point I totally agree with him... a greater variety in terms of objects within levels does a lot to relieve boredom. I mean, come on, how often do you see two identical looking chairs? Never. You might see similar ones, but they'll never be absolutely identical.

Agen
11-15-2001, 05:25 PM
But you must remember because Half Life aliens were invading and killing so people would have either been killed or evacated and it wasn't that empty and there isn't supposed to be civs in a top priority lab

CaptainRAVE
11-15-2001, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by StormHammer:
<STRONG>Personally, I like a bit more realism in games.</STRONG>

So do I...its also probably what made Half Life so incredible when it first came out. Before then levels were empty. Game designers just have to be careful that they dont go ott and put too many objects in a level that might get in the way of the gameplay.

toms
11-15-2001, 11:52 PM
it is kind of hard to explain... i guess seeing the same furniture and stuff is part of it, it just seems to me that i very rarely see a room in an FPS that makes me go WOW! and seems interesting or original. i don't mean the quality of the graphics, or some decorative, but useless statue in the middle of a room, i mean something where i can be involved.

in games up to about quake 2 you might come into a room and have to clamber up ledges, skirt around over beams etc to find your way out...these days the way onwards will almost always be through another door. i don't think i am explaining this very well...

Denise
11-16-2001, 12:13 AM
Personally, I rather appreciated the demise of the "rat in a maze" school of level design... movement puzzles with no logical purpose (ala Doom, Quake) rather grate on my nerves. :)

Darth Lunatic
11-16-2001, 03:24 AM
I wonder if melting metallic doors with your saber will be an option? OF course it would take a while to melt, but eventually you could get through!

"They are still coming through!!"

Millions o' Monkeys
11-16-2001, 06:48 AM
of course it will (you had bettre make it raven :) ) i mean you can do it in the movies ;)

acdcfanbill
11-16-2001, 06:56 AM
ya, and the doors you arent suppose to cut, can be magnetically sealed, or whatever they wanna call it...

StormHammer
11-16-2001, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by ed_silvergun:
...in Half-Life, how often did you see a filing cabinet which looked exactly like another filing cabinet you saw in the last room...

...a greater variety in terms of objects within levels does a lot to relieve boredom...

...how often do you see two identical looking chairs? Never. You might see similar ones, but they'll never be absolutely identical.

Hmmm...I'm all for variety, ed. The problem, though, is if you have to model every object differently...or even give every object a slightly different texture (random dents and scratches, for example). All of those graphics take up room...not just on disk, but in memory. If every object in your view-pane has a different texture, and you have lots of objects to break up the monotony of bare walls...well, you're going to see a slow-down in performance.

Besides, if we're talking about something like an Imperial installation...I imagine they have facilities churning out thousands of identical items of furniture, so there would be an argument for using a lot of similar stuff in those levels.

As for other levels...sure, let's have variety...as much as they can squeeze in without degrading performance. ;)

StormHammer
11-17-2001, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by TomS:
...in games up to about quake 2 you might come into a room and have to clamber up ledges, skirt around over beams etc to find your way out...these days the way onwards will almost always be through another door...

As I said, that's a level design issue - you have to plan how you're going to let the player get in and out of a room, and make it interesting to explore, while also making it visually interesting. I do agree about the level of interaction...like having more usable objects, and more things to play with in certain rooms.

Originally posted by Denise:
Personally, I rather appreciated the demise of the "rat in a maze" school of level design... movement puzzles with no logical purpose (ala Doom, Quake) rather grate on my nerves.

I couldn't agree more, Denise. ;) I just hope the puzzles in JK2 are in context, and not of the 'find lever to open door' standard.

As for sabers cutting through doors...I certainly hope so. :D

toms
11-17-2001, 09:59 PM
i don't want rat in a maze type stuff... that is annoying... but when i get into a new room / area it would be nice to occasionally have to look around and think ("hey, how an i gonna get up to that balcony.. oh if i throw my saber through those beams it will drop that gangway allowing me to run up there and jump across to the balcony...") rather than ("oh, another room... i will shoot that stormie and then go out the door opposite").

based on the new concept art i don't think i am gonna have to worry though
http://www.lucasarts.com/products/outcast/images/concepts/3.jpg

i do think the level of interaction in games these days needs to be high. Playing both NOLF and FaKK2 (last 2 games i have played) i kept doing things like trying to cut cables holding things up, or cut power cables running to lights so i could sneak upetc... because they seemed the logical thing to do...only to find that they were indestructable because designers hadn't scripted an event for if i cut them.
I think the problem is that once a feature has been in one game, if it isn't in every game after that then it feels wrong. I know after playing thief Half life seemed really annoying because you had to run out from round corners to shoot thngs, rahter than just lean round them...

Lion Heart
11-17-2001, 10:10 PM
Red Faction does a good job with chnging enviroments with its Geo-mod technology.

StormHammer
11-17-2001, 10:22 PM
Originally posted by TomS:
i do think the level of interaction in games these days needs to be high. Playing both NOLF and FaKK2 (last 2 games i have played) i kept doing things like trying to cut cables holding things up, or cut power cables running to lights so i could sneak upetc... because they seemed the logical thing to do...only to find that they were indestructable because designers hadn't scripted an event for if i cut them.
I think the problem is that once a feature has been in one game, if it isn't in every game after that then it feels wrong. I know after playing thief Half life seemed really annoying because you had to run out from round corners to shoot thngs, rahter than just lean round them...[/QB]

I have this problem too. When one game allows you to do something...and then the next new game doesn't, it is really annoying. I know that game developers have to make the game the way they want, and don't always have time to check out the features of other games on the market...but even so, it becomes frustrating.

It's like GeoMod. Having used it in RF, I wish it could be in every game with big weapons - or lightsabers.

At least with some engines, like the Unreal engine, it is modular so they can continue to build new features into it with every game that is developed. But it is still a matter of the developer utilising some features and not others.

I think Raven is doing a similar thing with their tech enhancements.

Having said that, it is not always appropriate to include certain features in a game, because it might not fit the context. But features that add greater realism, and are in context, really should be added.

Leaning around corners was included in SOF/Elite Force...so let's hope it's in JK2 as well. ;)