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Old 08-22-2001, 12:46 PM   #1
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Post LICH and GHOUL2 at PCShooter.com

PCShooter.com has an interesting interview with Raven's Kenn Hoekstra, who is making Jedi Knight 2 multiplayer levels on the side, on the status of Soldier of Fortune 2. (Thanks Shacknews.)

Note his comments on LICH, the AI system:

Quote:
The LICH AI system in Soldier of Fortune 2 is going to be far more advanced than the AI of the original game. We've re-written the AI entirely from scratch without using any code from Quake III: Arena or from the original SoF.

The LICH Artificial Intelligence Toolbox is designed provide an expandable, functional, and modular collection of common tools to assist the AI programmer. These tools range from low level API modules which access entity, animation, file, and scripting systems, to Finite State Machines, Neural Networks, Path Finders, and much more.

The system is broken down into layers, including a Game Systems Layer, API, Motor Control, Senses and Moods, Short Term Decisions, Goals and Environmental Interaction. The goals of the system are:

- To make enemies use vision and hearing to detect player
- Enemy AI raises alarms
- The ability to return from full out action to stealth mode
- Enemies will interact with world objects and surroundings
- Enemies will react quickly to player and changes in surroundings
- Enemies will work in tandem
- Enemies will be interested in self-preservation
- AI will have perpetually raising difficulty levels

The AI in Soldier 2 goes far beyond the scope of anything seen in the
original game. The LICH system overall will make the enemies more
interactive with the environment by default, rather than having to be told specifically what to do in each instance with designer scripting or event triggers.
And on the GHOUL2 rendering system:

Quote:
KH: The GHOUL2 rendering system has many of the same capabilities as the original GHOUL system as well as a host of new features. Some of these features include:

a) Functionality as a true skeletal animation system
b) The ability to override any skeletal bone and have programmer-controlled body joints
c) The ability to run animations on specific parts of the body of each model
d) The ability to share animation skeletons across multiple character models
e) Bolt-on objects (backpacks, glasses, equipment, weapons, etc.) which can also be generated on the fly
f) Per-pixel collision detection
g) 36 damage zones on each enemy and character model
h) Multiple skin support for enemy variety
i) Much more
Per-pixel collision. With this tech, lightsaber dueling in Jedi Outcast should be great.

Hoekstra also mentions that Soldier of Fortune 2 will support a 'dynamic music system.' Could this mean Jedi Outcast will also support an iMuse-like music system that provides music appropriate to in-game events?

[ August 22, 2001: Message edited by: Wilhuf ]


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Old 08-22-2001, 06:21 PM   #2
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Wow thats amazing, and lightsaber duels will be more intense for sure! I hope the dynamic music goes in jk2.
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Old 08-23-2001, 11:33 AM   #3
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Thanks for the heads-up Wilhuf. I just hope they don't leave anything out of JK2, although I think that's unlikely anyway.

I hope this equates to Stormtroopers a lot smarter than the marines in Half-Life.

And there is scope using the bolt-on tech for seeing weapons not in use on Kyle's character in 3rd person view, which would heighten the sense of realism, IMO.

In the same vein, I also hope that Kyle gets a pain-skin in 3rd person this time around, so that you can see at a glance some of the damage he has received. A limping animation would be a nice touch.

I wonder if we'll get to see Kyle losing a hand...
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Old 08-23-2001, 02:12 PM   #4
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Yes I would be really surprised if this technology isn't also used in Jedi Outcast.

The per-pixel collision implies that lightsaber dueling will be much more precise than in the original JK/MotS. I wonder what kind of collision model we'll see.

For instance, if collision is per-pixel it would be possible to block while attacking. For instance, if both attack high on the same line, a saber collision (and therefore block) is possible. You could do supressive saber attacks that way. In effect, an attack could act as a sort of parry, just like in real dueling.


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Old 08-23-2001, 04:21 PM   #5
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The possibilities seem to be increasing with every day,

I'm hoping this will carry into the BOTs as some of us aren't blessed with ISDN.

Interesting read Wilhulf, thankyou..

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Old 08-23-2001, 11:38 PM   #6
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well, when i watch the videos, during the saber duals, it sure looks as if there is mid attack blocking... i dunno, its kinda fuzzy though...

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Old 08-24-2001, 11:16 AM   #7
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All of this sounds real technical and sooool cool. I can't wait to see the pre-pixel in action. The idea of the AI just seems to be lightyears away from the JK's before. My anticipation grows each day for this game.


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Old 08-24-2001, 01:48 PM   #8
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When I re-read that information, how can we be sure that what is being implemented for SoF2 is even going to be put into JKO?

We already know that Ghoul2 is in there, so that must mean some sort of per-poly/per-pixel collision detection, etc.

However, while it might seem logical that they will have the same technology ( assuming that they are both based off of Q3TA code ), but I know that when I was looking into doing mods for some Raven games, Heretic II and SoF both used Quake2 and man, the code was so completely different. I actually vaguely remember some comment from SoF lead programmer Rick Jonson (sp?) and he stated that SoF ended up being about 98% new code ( meaning only 2% Quake2 code ). With that many changes going on in a game, I'd imagine it would be extremely hard to take a heretic II code function and move it over to SoF.

So...same code base really means nothing since game code is never generic--it just has to be tweaked in the direction that the gameplay dictates. And we know that JKO is going to be a very different game than SoF2...including interesting melee combat..third person camera action...jedi enemies that understand melee combat...jedi that understand and can use force powers. These are all very specific things, something that a generic, cross product AI system can't really handle.

Ultimately, it doesn't really make sense to me to assume anything based on what we've read thus far. It does, however, sound like JKO has some pretty advanced AI going on, especially for the jedi. Whether or not it is LICH remains to be seen.
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Old 08-24-2001, 02:03 PM   #9
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Why would Raven develop an AI API (which is indeed a fairly generic construct) on the same codebase (q3 tech) and not use it in another game that they are developing at the same time?

So they could just double the effort required to get Jedi Outcast and SOFII completed?


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Old 08-24-2001, 02:28 PM   #10
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Yes, I agree with Wilhuf that it would make no sense at all to develop Jedi Outcast and SOF2 with no cross-over of features. Besides, we already known from an interview that the guys working on SOF2 have implemented the glass-breaking effects written for Jedi Outcast.

I'm not saying we'll see a full set of exactly the same features in both games, because some features are more game-specific. But certainly there is a need for the core code to be present in both games so that they can both take advantage of new advances.
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Old 08-24-2001, 07:35 PM   #11
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As per a discussion with a friend, he states that JK actually had some form of breaking glass technology before SoF2 did. From what I understand, they are done quite differently, though I don't know the details of what those differences might be. Nor do I know whether it is better or worse than what SoF2 has. In the end it really has no impact on gameplay whatsoever. It's one of those novelities that seems impressive at first, but then later is just forgotten.

Also, the SoF2 people have stated that they have their own terrain rendering technology and random mission generator, they are going to have their own Gore technology....something that has no place in JKO, whatsoever. If the teams are completely sharing everything, why haven't we heard a statement that announces that JKO will have these features as well?

As for AI, there is no truly generic solution to everything. Sure, a generic AI should be able to handle issues of navigation and team coordination efforts, but something like sabre AI is so specialized that the only logical conclusion is that at least part is completely custom and unique to JKO.
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Old 08-25-2001, 12:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rancor:
As per a discussion with a friend, he states that JK actually had some form of breaking glass technology before SoF2 did.
Er, yeah, didn't I just say that?

Quote:
In the end it really has no impact on gameplay whatsoever. It's one of those novelities that seems impressive at first, but then later is just forgotten.
I agree that in many games that contain breaking glass it does not really affect gameplay - and perhaps that should be addressed. It could be used in a way that does affect gameplay, for example...

You could be on the top floor of a very high building - and breaking the glass could lead to a sudden out-rush of air. If you recall it was used to great effect in the film ESB, when Luke was sucked out nearly into oblivion.

Breaking toughened glass underwater also has it's consequences - and so glass-breaking could become a more integral part of gameplay rather than simply adding attention to detail that assists in the suspension of disbelief.

Quote:
Also, the SoF2 people have stated that they have their own terrain rendering technology and random mission generator, they are going to have their own Gore technology....something that has no place in JKO, whatsoever. If the teams are completely sharing everything, why haven't we heard a statement that announces that JKO will have these features as well?

As for AI, there is no truly generic solution to everything. Sure, a generic AI should be able to handle issues of navigation and team coordination efforts, but something like sabre AI is so specialized that the only logical conclusion is that at least part is completely custom and unique to JKO.
As I said above, there are bound to be game-specific features that are not shared between the two games, and some features that will need to be extended and tweaked to suit the gameplay. But it is likely that both games will use LICH and GHOUL2 tech, so the fundamental building blocks would remain the same, but would be utilised in different ways.

Of course, when it comes to using the new Doom engine for Quake IV, how well will Raven's systems integrate with a new engine - or will they have to be completely rewritten?

I wonder if SOF2 and JK2 will be the last Raven games made with the Q3:TA engine?
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Old 08-25-2001, 12:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
If the teams are completely sharing everything, why haven't we heard a statement that announces that JKO will have these features as well?
Probably because LEC keeps a fairly tight lid on information flow on Jedi Outcast.


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Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

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Old 08-25-2001, 01:25 AM   #14
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As I read more and more about JKO I start to feel a weired tingly all through my body like even my toes and fingers want the game.


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Old 08-25-2001, 03:50 PM   #15
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Posted by StormHammer
Quote:
You could be on the top floor of a very high building - and breaking the glass could lead to a sudden out-rush of air. If you recall it was used to great effect in the film ESB, when Luke was sucked out nearly into oblivion.
Wasnt that effect recreated in a MotS MP map,it had a window like the one in ESB and if you shot it you started to get pulled out? I'm sure it was...
Anyway, it would be good to see things of this nature more often throughout JK2.


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Old 08-25-2001, 04:16 PM   #16
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Syndrix,

Yes it was but I am not sure if anyone agrees with me here but I don't think it had a very organic feel to it.

They could make it more of a feature for SP, that would be great for clearing out a room full of stormies!

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Old 08-25-2001, 05:00 PM   #17
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I never said it was brilliantly implemented, just that even back then they experimented with the concept. Today, with a better engine they have much more scope to add "little" things like this to the game.

And as for the ESB example, wouldnt it be good if stormtrooper used this tactic, if you are beating them badly they retreat and use the ESB tactic (as I am dubbing it). Not scripted though, just part of their AI, it says that the LICH system allows them to interact with the environment. Using things that Kyle can to their advantage would be an excellent addition.


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Old 08-25-2001, 08:35 PM   #18
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Syndrix, I totally agree. IMO, this is where a lot of the AI in certain games is let down. Your enemies should be environmentally aware, and know the consequences of taking certain actions.

The ESB tactic would be a good example, but there is certainly scope for other things - like if you're standing next to a power-conduit, they could fire at that and hope the power-surge takes you out. I suppose it's equivalent to the old exploding barrel scenario - but used against you.

It would certainly force you as the player to be more aware of the environment you are traversing, and make the game slightly more challenging.

In fact, I think these kinds of issues will push the envelope of the FPS genre, in a similar way to deformable levels (Geo-Mod tech). I believe the inclusion of new features that can enhance the gameplay are more important than making the graphics look pretty.

Having said that, the danger is to go the same way as Hollywood, and concentrate too much time on the special effects than telling a rivetting story with well-developed characters. I wish some developers would concentrate more on building these solid foundations before even creating the first level.

I'm glad to say that Raven is getting increasingly better at telling a good story, while maintaining some rivetting gameplay.
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Old 08-25-2001, 09:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rancor:
<STRONG>However, while it might seem logical that they will have the same technology ( assuming that they are both based off of Q3TA code ), but I know that when I was looking into doing mods for some Raven games, Heretic II and SoF both used Quake2 and man, the code was so completely different. I actually vaguely remember some comment from SoF lead programmer Rick Jonson (sp?) and he stated that SoF ended up being about 98% new code ( meaning only 2% Quake2 code ). With that many changes going on in a game, I'd imagine it would be extremely hard to take a heretic II code function and move it over to SoF.</STRONG>
It's not really any big surprise that the code used for a third-person action game and a first-person shooter developed two years apart would be substantially different.

Quote:
Originally posted by Rancor:
<STRONG>JK actually had some form of breaking glass technology before SoF2 did. From what I understand, they are done quite differently</STRONG>
Yes, from what I have read, the breaking glass effects weren't a direct port into the SoF2 code. I'm pretty sure they did their own.


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Old 09-04-2001, 06:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
It's not really any big surprise that the code used for a third-person action game and a first-person shooter developed two years apart would be substantially different.
And JK and SoF2 aren't equally disimilar? Can you even play SoF2 in third person? Will melee combat be a big part of SoF2? On the surface, these are pretty basic differences. When you get down to how you write the game, these differences, in some cases, must really change how things are developed.

Also, if you go down the known and confirmed feature list for each game, the only known similarities are that they share the Ghoul2 rendering system. While it has been suggested that both are also using Q3TA as a base....even that has not been verified for JK. I mean, perhaps they are using the Heretic II engine with upgrades. It would make sense considering that Heretic II had pretty good melee combat, a highly acrobatic main character, etc. While I doubt this is true, it goes to show that with even a little effort, you could make a case for anything.

All this speculation is ultimately useless until we get verified facts. I'm just not going to fall into this trap of false assumptions and false hopes. Perhaps some real answers will come out of the coming magazine article.
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Old 09-04-2001, 07:02 PM   #21
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What do you mean, it says on the site its using the Q3 engine?

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Old 09-07-2001, 02:19 PM   #22
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With the Ghoul 2 system in Jedi Knight 2, they said that in muliplayer, they can use all of the things in single player, does this mean single player AI? If so, co-op editing would be a lot easier. In Jedi Knight, making co-op levels sucks, and the co-op AI sucks too. The AI is either, 1) Very hard to kill (Chaos Eternal, the punching grans) or 2) (All co-ops) the enemies pop back up when they are killed, but they aren't back alive or 3)Some co-op levels the AI isn't synched, so the people you are playing with are fighting different enemies than you.


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Old 09-07-2001, 05:04 PM   #23
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They have also confirmed bots(A.I.) for MP in JO, so I would assume it will me MUCH different than JK(no bots).
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