View Full Version : Bits and pieces

06-04-2001, 11:32 AM
Just a couple of things I thought I'd draw your attention to. :)

<A HREF="http://www.trenches.org/">Trenches.org</A> has conducted an interview with Raven's John Scott, about SOF II. It's not directly relevant to JK II, but it does discuss both the GHOUL and ROAM systems and other technology Raven are working to implement into SOF II. As it is using a modified Team Arena engine, musch like JK II, we may well see some of these technologies creep into JK II, as we already know the GHOUL and ROAM systems will.

Secondly, the latest issue of PCZone is promising an in-depth preview of JK II in the next edition, the August issue. Looking forward to that one already.

06-04-2001, 12:25 PM
Thanks for the article, ed.

Not that it is related to the tech, but I find this part discouraging:

[trenches] Soldier of Fortune, the original, was a huge single player success, but lacked the live dynamic mutliplayer world (putting aside some kick ass Mods). What new multiplayer concepts will be added to the game?

[john] Unfortunately, it is no longer viable for us to release simultaneously a good single and multiplayer game. UT and Q3A are solely multiplayer games and we just cannot compete with those and do a complete single player as well.

There are several options in the pipeline….
(a) Do a single player game. At the end, everyone move onto the next project.
(b) A simultaneous single player and multiplayer release. This would add significantly to the development time and due to the pressures of meeting quarters, neither would be as good as they could be.
(c) Complete the single player game and then work on a multiplayer version using all the weapons and tech from the single player game.

Most of the team (in fact everyone I have discussed this with) would love to do a multiplayer version and do it well. As we are developing the single player game we are not breaking the networking framework to hopefully make a multiplayer version as quickly and easily as possible. This is a financial and scheduling decision, and not a creative or desire to do the work decision. As such, the choice resides firmly with corporate Activision.

So, the suits are the ones who have created this artificial distinction between single player and multiplayer.

06-04-2001, 01:37 PM
I was equally disturbed by that little extract, Wilhuf. I'm just glad that it's confirmed that we have a multiplayer element in JK II. And there'd better be some damned bots too.

Pretty please. ;)

06-04-2001, 01:58 PM
It's not "the suits". It the market. It can't be helped, and if anything, I see a complete distinction between multiplayer and single player.

Yes, you may be able to reuse the art resources, but generally they are completely different game mechanics. You can have games with built in multiplayer, but with the need for content manufacture growing with new engine expect multiplay at the cost of single player.

06-04-2001, 02:11 PM
Here we go again.

The foundation of gaming is multiplayer.

Gaming is a social activity. By definition it includes more than one person. Online computer games are no exception.

One of the first computer games ever developed was multiplayer (SpaceWar).

Advances in AI have allowed us to play against computer simulated 'human' opponents. Frequently AI is designed to be 'human-like.'

'The market' is a fluffy abstraction. I'm talking about specific individuals at Activision who decided to nuke multiplayer (suits). The Raven rep said that most of the devteam would like to do a multiplayer component.

'The market' also rewarded Sierra and Half-Life for having a developed successful single player and multiplayer component. There is no hard and fast rule that multiplayer must suffer for single player to be successful. There is no rule for the inverse either.

I wish we could pull up the thread on this topic from Obi-Wankenobi.net (God bless).

06-04-2001, 03:24 PM

with all the articles and info coming out... i think its nice to start an unofficial FAQ for JK2

06-04-2001, 03:37 PM
Gaming is not an inherantly social activity. If I'm playing a game where I'm the hero there's not a single reason why anyone else should exist in my gamespace.

Gaming is not by definition social, it is escapism. And sometimes that means that playing with other people is what is required, and sometimes it isn't.

Massively multiplayer games, with persistant worlds, is a subset of games in general. Quake style non-persistant arena deathmatching is yet another. Both of these are by defination multiplayer. But adventure games are not. Puzzle games are not. Single player action games aren't.

The simple reason Ai is used is because it is not fun being the grunt-like stormtrooper who takes one shot to down.

The market is not a fluffy abstraction. A game costs X dollars to make. For that X dollars you will get more single player gaming if you spend it all on single player. And because ID/Epic choose to spend all their budget on multiplayer, you have no chance in matching their multiplayer experience.

If you have a huge budget, yeah, of course you can do both, but the risk involved in that sort of project is huge. Only because a game is a guarrenteed sell can this be done, as in the case of JKII.

SOFII appeals mainly to the hardcore gaming market, and they get their online thrills through Q3A/UT.

The majority of people still buy games for single player experiences, and the loss of SOFII multiplayer won't hurt them one bit.

If SOFII does sell hugely, then Raven will get enough royalties to work on either a free patch, which will come out of their pocket, but will be justified through royalties, or have a large enough userbase to market an add-on.

[ June 04, 2001: Message edited by: Archie ]

06-04-2001, 03:58 PM
This reminds me of that big argument that Kurgan and that other guy had on the owk.net forums back in October. Anyone remember that?

Gaming is what Wiluf said it is. Gaming is what Archie said it is. But not entirely. It's like a combination of the two.

Those grunt-like stormtroopers are Artificial Intelligence. Your argument on AI doesn't really make sense, Archie.

Don't bring that monstrosity, the market, into this!

06-04-2001, 04:23 PM
runab0ut are you making an unofficial FAQ?

Archie, the origin of gaming is social. People don't go to see or play tennis, football, basketball, baseball, swimming, or any olympic game in existence for the purpose of being alone. A huge majority of all boardgames are mutliplayer.

Ya know, Grandma's bridge clubs are a social activity. They may do it because it is escapist, but it is social. The vast majority of all games in existence are mutliplayer.

Likewise, multiplayer gaming online is social. It's not exactly the same as a 'real life' social game experience, of course. It can't be.

Single player, not multiplayer gaming is just a subset of the entire gaming experience.

The idea that multiplayer and single player are antagonistic doesn't hold water. Finite resources for game develop have always been a factor. Somehow, many PC games have been able to produce quality singleplayer and multiplayer components, and they've all be subject to the same rules: finite resources. And yet somehow Activision has decided that this is no longer possible for SOF2?

BTW, actually, many of the multiplayer maps out there are indeed just conversions of single player maps.

Ki-Adi-Mundi I remember having this exact same argument at Obi-Wankenobi.net. :cool: It basically boiled down to preferences: some of the folks who like single player expressed a willingness to sacrifice multiplayer. I took a different attitude: developers should support both singleplayer and multiplayer.

06-04-2001, 04:49 PM
Ki-Adi-Mundi: My point about the stormtroopers was justifying the use of AI, countering the earlier point:

Advances in AI have allowed us to play against computer simulated 'human' opponents. Frequently AI is designed to be 'human-like.'

And making it clear that AI was just AI in some cases, to be human like, but not something you'd ever want to replace with an actually human in a multiplayer game.

Gaming as seen in "tennis, football, basketball, baseball, swimming, or any olympic game" can be countered by games such as solitare, any kind of imaginary world a kid chooses to play in, skiing for fun... What we are talking about is having fun. And having fun is not inherantly social (though most certainly some of the best things you can't do alone ;).

My defination of gaming is funnily enough, "having fun", so when I say gaming isn't always a social thing I hope you understand what I mean.

As for finite resources, they have always been a problem... Remember when Q2 came out and didn't have any decent multiplayer maps, and they had to come out with a patch? That was a resources issue. Had they had an unlimited budget they could simply have held the game back a few months and released with the addition content, but as it was they had to hit Christmas so everyone could get their paychecks.

Additional content is needed for multiplayer, and increasingly content is becoming more and more expensive to produce, certainly with the increasing visual fidelity present in games. Yes, it might be easy to release SOFII with a very basic "multiplayer" side, but it would be so basic it would die a quick death against any multiplayer only games coming out in the same timeframe. I believe that Raven want the best for the game, and if that means delaying multiplayer some time, so be it.

My personal preference, should you be interested, would be for them to release two versions of a title, at a slightly reduced price to relect sharing of art resources. That way, I would have a game that was wholely devoted to single player, and if I wanted, bring that atmosphere into the online environment.

This is a trend that's being reflected by Epic, where they (all more or less rumor) are producing Unreal Warfare, while they license their engine to others to produce single player (Unreal 2). All I'm saying that to develop a AAA title nowdays with both kickass multiplayer and single player storyline does require exponentially more resources. And certainly more than it used to, due to people expectation of what multiplayer should consist of.

[ June 04, 2001: Message edited by: Archie ]

06-04-2001, 09:32 PM
As those of you from Obi-WanKenobi.net well know, I view single-player and multi-player gaming as two very different entities, for a number of reasons:
Different people have different reasons for wishing to indulge in the gaming experience. The gaming community is a large and disparate one, and to lump all gamers together would be futile. Saying that gaming is "a social activity" is erroneous, because it is based on the assumption that all gamers or at least the majority of gamers see it as such. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to support this assertion. The majority of people still buy games primarily for their single-player experience.
Single-player and multi-player are also different in that they serve different functions. Whilst both are designed to entertain their target audience, they do it in very different ways. Single-player games are comparable to books or films because they tell a story. Multi-player games derive their entertainment from a different source: competitive combat between two or more opposing sides. In this way, MP games are comparable to sport.
So, if SP and MP gaming can be seen as different entities because they are perceived in different ways by different people, and also serve quite different functions, should they be combined into one game? Clearly if a developer can successfully combine a number of functions within one game, the game is better for it because it will apply to more people. But unfortunately this doesn't always happen. Often the quality or integrity of the product is compromised because of consumer pressure and a perceived need for games to be "all things to all people". Whilst this idealism is commendable, it is not necessarily the most practical approach to developing a game.
I would quote as examples of the benefits of concentrating solely on one aspect of gameplay the following titles: Quake III and Unreal Tournament, both of which did away with a "story" mode infavour of full-on multi-player action; Deus Ex, which contained no multi-player when it was released (and is one of the most significant single-player games ever) and the seminal Half-Life. I use Half-Life as an example despite its inclusion of MP, because the MP game was given far less importance than the SP, and endured none of the longevity of the Quake series or UT. Arguably, Half-Life's continuing popularity as a MP game has far more to do with the various mods released for it (such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress Classic) than the original Half-Life MP. If you want evidence of this, just check out the relative numbers of CS and TFC servers to original Half-Life servers.
Incidentally, neither CS nor TFC ever attempted to include a single-player aspect, and both consequently excelled in the MP field.

These are a few (I won't bore you with the others!) of my reasons for believing that games can often work better when they choose to concentrate on just one aspect: ie. either SP or MP.

I say "often" rather than "always" because I don't wish to fall into the trap of over-generalisation. I think that to say gaming is always a "social activity" or that games are always better when they divide SP from MP is tantamount to over-simplification. What I do believe is that there is a significant precedent and a large number of examples to lend weight to the argument that seeing SP and MP as both different and unique can often produce games of superior quality.

06-04-2001, 09:52 PM
Jedi Knight shipped with excellent single player and a good multiplayer component.
Quake2 managed the same, following patching of the original product. Outlaws, Rainbow Six, StarCraft, Ground Control, FreeSpace2, Battlezone, Rune, Homeworld, Diablo 2, MechWarrior4, Noone Lives Forever, Elite Force and X-Wing Alliance (at least for broadband players) for example, did the same.

I would include Unreal in this list, but the original netcode was unbearable. By the time it was patched into something playable, it was made obsolete by UnrealTournamnet.

There are others we could include in this list, and I'm sure we could argue about the quality of these games as well.

The real point is, a precedent for good singleplayer and multiplayer in the same package already exists in our short history of internet-enabled PC games.

Now, publishers are feeding us elaborate stories that really just amount to excuses for not doing both single player and multiplayer.

Point of info, when refering to gaming, I was really talking about all games, not just PC games.

But, yes, the majority casual PC gamer doesn't really get into multiplayer. It won't always be this way, IMO, as residential internet connections (very) gradually become more prevalent and affordable.

06-04-2001, 10:09 PM
Yes, there are plenty of good games which have both single and multi-player content. My point was that those titles which are generally considered to be the best (eg. Deus Ex, UT, Q III) are those which separated the SP and MP components.

Saying that Quake II "shipped with excellent single player" is somewhat debatable, and I doubt many would elevate the Q II SP experience to the same plane as that of Deus Ex. Carmack himself has said that in 18 months you can make a good game or a good engine, but you can't make both. Quake II was a brilliant engine for the time, but its SP component was far less engaging than that of Jedi Knight, a contemporary game with a less ground-breaking engine.

06-04-2001, 10:44 PM
Given that the SOF team isn't producing an enriely new game engine, however, that should leave them at least some time for multiplayer development.

06-04-2001, 11:00 PM
Personally, I will not buy a game for just multiplayer. If it doesn't have a very good in-depth single player mode, I will not buy it. This is why I never bought X-wing vs. TIE Fighter

06-04-2001, 11:25 PM
Single player games serve an entirely different purpose than multiplayer games do and there is no way that a single player game can be a social activity except of course for the fact that the player interacts and communicates with the developer. IMO games are the work of artists and art is communication.
On the other hand MP games have to do with social activity in many ways.
When it comes to games like Quake or UT the community evolved around them makes this games a social experience. The games themselves thought are, at least the way I see them and as Ed said in his earlier post, more like a sport.
Games like Anarchy Online and SWG on the other hand are a social activity themselves.

It seems to me that in order to get a game right, you have to either focus on SP or MP.
It is well known that game developers are currently having financial problems and that the industry is not going to well.
Games cost a lot more when it comes to developement now than a few years ago so companies have to focus more on getting a game done in a set deadline, usually with a small budget that can only allow them to create either good SP or good MP. The combination of those two will usually result in one or the other not being as good as it should be.
I really wish that both SP and MP could be present in all games and of course I believe that they are not antagonists but I unfortunately find my wish very difficult to come true.
You can say that Q3A and UT are great MP games, IMO you can't say the same for Rune, NOLF or Deus Ex for that matter.
If Remedy decided to include MP in Max Payne, many incredible features would have to be canned from the SP. So why not make it only SP when there are so many good games out that cover the MP aspect of gaming...
You can't please everyone. I have no problem if a game is SP only with an amazing story and great gameplay. For every SP only game an equally good MP will be released that will hopefully do something to advance the MP experience.

06-04-2001, 11:40 PM
Im not getting into this argument, I just wanted to ask why Ki-Adi has stars instead of rebel signs

[ June 04, 2001: Message edited by: digl ]

06-05-2001, 09:18 AM
coz he's only got 4 :) its the same with 3 and 2 and 1

5's r speshle

06-05-2001, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by Wilhuf:
<STRONG>Given that the SOF team isn't producing an enriely new game engine, however, that should leave them at least some time for multiplayer development.</STRONG>

Yes, I'm inclined to agree. In this particular case, I can't see why they should need to axe multiplayer.

06-05-2001, 02:40 PM
about the AI deal, you should try playing UT with 6 Godlike bots or more. Then ask yourself if you'd be better off playing stupid humans instead... think about it, We play real people to socialize and make a name.

06-05-2001, 02:45 PM
It is well known that game developers are currently having financial problems and that the industry is not going to well.

Not true. Game sales are still very robust, even if they were softer in 2000 than 1999. The Interactive Digital Software Association State of the Video Game Industry Report (http://www.idsa.com/releases/SOTI2001.pdf) (Adobe Acrobat Required) shows that PC Game Sales in 2000 were estimated at $1.55 Billion. Videogame sales were $4.1Billion.

[ June 05, 2001: Message edited by: Wilhuf ]

06-05-2001, 03:12 PM

maybe you could start one... ill help you through it... (have a lot of work though)

if you wanted to start on it... give me a mail.

06-05-2001, 03:16 PM
runab0ut, StormHammer already has a very good JKO FAQ (http://www.storm.hammer.btinternet.co.uk/jofaq.htm) in progress. Maybe you can contribute to it?

06-05-2001, 05:13 PM
You all write too much......lol

06-05-2001, 05:23 PM
The state of the industry sales might be good... but actually developers aren't doing so well... I mean what sort of industry lets a company like Looking Glass close up shop?Lots of devco's are forced to live a meagre existance from project to another, and the cancelation of a single project will through a whole company into threat (e.g. Rouge's problems with Counter-Strike: Condition Zero).

The gaming industry is not in a great state... don't assume just because it's expanding people are making profit, look at what happened to all the internet startups....

06-05-2001, 05:26 PM
He who dares wins......and none of the gaming industry are daring

06-05-2001, 06:41 PM
Gaming industry expansion and brisk sales is a good thing because
A. People are making $
B. Expansion leads to further acceptance of PC and Video gaming into the 'mainstream market' (that big fluffy abstraction)

Man I can't stand economists and their abstractions. ;)

Part of the '.com shakeout' was based on the reality that many publically traded .com companies didn't show a profit, and in many cases, didn't really even make a product or service. So, their stock prices collapsed as investors sold off their investments. New investments weren't forthcoming to the 'high risk tech sector.'

I suppose some of the 'downturn' could bleed over to the gaming biz, to the extent that investors are reluctant to invest in 'tech.' Although NASDAQ has had a few rallies lately :cool:

I'll wager the slowdown is temporary. Moreover, many of the bigger devcos and publishers are doing just fine financially.

How bout provide us with some actual numbers to show that the biz is doing as poorly as you claim. Check www.pcdata.com (http://www.pcdata.com) they might have sales figures.

Meanwhile, Ed, I am sorry I took us on a tangent. I know you were trying to talk about the SOF2 Tech. I suppose we can all resolve our argument online by dismembering each other with the GHOUL system.

[ June 05, 2001: Message edited by: Wilhuf ]

06-05-2001, 07:38 PM
Sadly the majority of data I might be able to use here is paid for...

But companies full of talent such as Rouge and Looking Glass certainly must say something about the industry. If anything, the kind of "hardcore" games many of the people on this board like aren't the ones selling best. Undying, that recent Unreal engine based horror game was critically acclaimed, yet the sales figures were terrible. Terrible enough for the entire franchise to be dropped, and the developer to go work on other, probably more mass-market, derivative and better selling games.

Sales doesn't equal profit. Developement costs are going up, games cost millions to make and what's at the top of sales charts? Deer Hunter Clone X.

06-05-2001, 07:40 PM
Its a shame more of the money cant get to the dev's instead of the supermarkets, outlets taking it all


06-05-2001, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by Wilhuf:
<STRONG>Meanwhile, Ed, I am sorry I took us on a tangent. I know you were trying to talk about the SOF2 Tech. I suppose we can all resolve our argument online by dismembering each other with the GHOUL system.

Don't apologise. As any of my school classmates would tell you, I have a habit of taking discussions off on tangents myself. ;)

As for this particular discussion, well, I don't think there's any particular need for either of us to elabourate too much further on our views about SP/MP gaming, as we both know each others' views only too well. ;)

Dismembering each other with the GHOUL 2 system sounds great though!

06-05-2001, 08:36 PM
Sadly (on topic), I don't expect full gore/dismemberment in JKII. Lucasarts will probably have already cut that idea from the beginning...

Anyways, it's not exactly starwars is it? Mind you that whole darth maul in half thing worked....

06-05-2001, 08:43 PM
Ryan Fulton, the man who shot the JK II E3 video, had this to say about gore in Outcast, in a <A HREF="http://www.jediknight.net/cgi-bin/mboard/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=29&t=000099">post</A> over on <A HREF="http://www.jediknight.net/">JK.net</A>:

<STRONG>As far as the gore is concerned, I didn't notice any limb loss as far as when attacking humans. There is a bit of blood but not gruesome amounts, so don't anticipate on having bloody footprints ala Duke Nukem when stepping over bodies. When fighting droids, I have to say that limb loss is inevitable because its not human and so they can get away with it. I also have to say that when you destroy a droid, the explosions are quite pretty. They really took their time on making these look good.</STRONG>