Project Efficiency

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Continuation of the off topic discussion going on in this thread. To recap

so what your saying is that your game assets dont cast shadows? you use textures instead? :S seems a bit odd that you guys have normal maps but lack a shadow system.. just going by what your saying.
You really do not want dynamic shadows on everything. Trust me. Not only is there no point (it's easier with static lighting to make a texture based approach - modern games still do this), but realtime shadows on everything would increase CPU/GPU load for relatively little gain.
this I already know, point is you can have a relatively powerful shadow system even in this old engine without it eating frame rates.
I actually rather doubt that. But why bother. It's far more work than is necessary.
Why bother with all the graphical updates in the first place. it's far more work than is necessary to enjoy this game.
Most of the GFX stuff is related to the gameplay to be exact. So it was necesairy ^^

The only things that wernt necesairy are bloom and distance bluring. The rest is all tied in with gameplay ^^
What I'm saying though is if you can get the exact same effect with less work, why not? If we were going to add in tons of dynamic lighting, then I'd agree with dynamic shadows being needed. This attitude is a very common developmental approach in game design. It's all about time in, result out, and what kind of financial resources or man hours would be needed to make it happen.
or i could use a free engine like UDK which i can distribute as a company and WHAMMO, dynamic lighting and so much more with a development time of 0 hours.

you do realise its a very common developmental approach NOT to build up from the ground right?
ok a few facts straight. First of shadows do cost fps eventually and always will with every current approach let it me multi-pass or deffered. Everyone who has actually seen the code behind every shadow approach, shadow mapping or stencil aproach knows that it always eats fps, nowadays techniques and especially directX comes with some handy stuff to help you minimize that, anyways we're developing half-life because we enjoy the moding and the work, otherwise we won't do it, we also do it to learn things, as it is really not much of a challenge to code some unreal scripts or use a state-of-the art engine. So it's not about how we would finish the project most efficiently but rather that we benefit the most of it as developers. But this is going completely off topic. So either get back on topic or start a new one discussing project efficiency, guess I made myself clear.
I'll bite.

Seriously? I think to realign your goals if you think modding for HL1 is where all the cool cats are, and making games you can publish and profit from on the UDK engine is only for the n3wbs. Dont make a sweeping statement like that since its just silly and quite frankly an insult to many aspiring developers who use unreal as a platform.

is borderlands, a modded unreal game which is hugely popular and a financial success, really less of a challenge to make than ESF? It's also worth noting it was started and completed in less than the three years ESF 1.3 has taken!

As for the lighting itself for the mod, i can understand why you've decided against using real-time since the game already puts alot of stress on the engine. all i asked was for an acknowledgement that the tree shadow is being looked into! shouldn't be a problem if your baking things after all!
To be fair, 1.3 pretty much started to be rebuilt after OB:F came out.
 
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Can i politely ask what the purpose of this thread is? The random discussion from the aforementioned thread was a bit wishwash with comments ranging from vaguely ESF related points to jibes at entire development communities.

with that in mind, should we continue the focus on slagging off each-other about development as a whole, or was your intention to focus on ESF? i'm cool with either
 
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I think he just wanted the spam out of the POTW thread.

So continue that sub-discussion in here ^^
 

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The purpose of the thread is to continue the off topic conversation you guys were having there here. It had nothing to do with the potw thread
 
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It seems largely on topic to me, until thrown off course with silly comments such as the general annoyance of such critique.

Was highlighting the shadows issue on the picture being off topic? are the POTW updates strictly requiring me to put on a façade of joy, disguising my utter dismay at the shadows issue?

Oh the humanity!
 

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You seem to be pretty damn hostile lately, I'm not really sure what your problem is.

Raven said if you guys want to continue the conversation, to do it in a new thread. People continued the conversation in that thread regardless. I therefore decided to make a new thread where you can continue the conversation.

Oh the humanity indeed.


To get this actually on topic, I'll address your last post in that thread.

I'll bite.

Seriously? I think to realign your goals if you think modding for HL1 is where all the cool cats are, and making games you can publish and profit from on the UDK engine is only for the n3wbs. Dont make a sweeping statement like that since its just silly and quite frankly an insult to many aspiring developers who use unreal as a platform.

is borderlands, a modded unreal game which is hugely popular and a financial success, really less of a challenge to make than ESF? It's also worth noting it was started and completed in less than the three years ESF 1.3 has taken!

As for the lighting itself for the mod, i can understand why you've decided against using real-time since the game already puts alot of stress on the engine. all i asked was for an acknowledgement that the tree shadow is being looked into! shouldn't be a problem if your baking things after all!
No where did Raven say that the UT3 engine is for the "n3wbs". No where did he say that all the "cool cats" mod for HL1. No where did he even mention anything about publishing games and making money off of published games. He simply said that he likes modding for HL1 because he finds it fun and challenging.

About Borderlands, is it really surprising that a company with 126 employees who are paid to work on the game for at least 8 hours a day finish their game before ESF, a mod made on an ancient engine by roughly 10 guys in their spare time?
 
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I’ll ignore the personal comments about my demeanour, as that is completely off subject and would only serve as trolling me to step out of line, and since we're so adamant about rules and relations...


Anyway! back to nitpicking as we seem to love it oh so much

Sub said:
No where did Raven say that the UT3 engine is for the "n3wbs". No where did he say that all the "cool cats" mod for HL1.
Raven said:
we also do it to learn things, as it is really not much of a challenge to code some unreal scripts or use a state-of-the art engine
Should i need say more? because i used different terms does not deviate from the point, which is that UT3 is not as much of a challenge to work with than HL1. I cannot even imagine how that could be read in any other way.


Sub said:
No where did he even mention anything about publishing games and making money off of published games. He simply said that he likes modding for HL1 because he finds it fun and challenging.
KarrdeKNR said:
This attitude is a very common developmental approach in game design. It's all about time in, result out, and what kind of financial resources or man hours would be needed to make it happen.
Thats because it wasnt Raven, and my comments were prior to his post. I have no qualms either with his love for ESF as it’s a good project nor do i begrudge his belief it is challenging, just that its more challenging than an up-to-date complex engine.


Sub said:
About Borderlands, is it really surprising that a company with 126 employees who are paid to work on the game for at least 8 hours a day finish their game before ESF, a mod made on an ancient engine by roughly 10 guys in their spare time?
TehMuffinMan said:
is borderlands, a modded unreal game which is hugely popular and a financial success, really less of a challenge to make than ESF? It's also worth noting it was started and completed in less than the three years ESF 1.3 has taken!
No and that is COMPLETELY off the point and putting words in my mouth. My comment is relating to the aspect that UT3 is less of a challenge to work with than HL1.


Who's next for the soapbox?
 
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Well lets see.

Borderlands lighting: Using scripts built into the UT3 engine.

ESF lighting: Hacking the HL SDK so that it ignores the original lighting, then writing the whole new lighting code from scratch.

Physics Borderlands: Built into the engine, possibly minor tweaks involving different variable numbers.

Physics ESF: Hacking the HL SDK to allow using of a third party physics engine and then making that third party engine compatible with the game.

Maps Borderlands: Made with the tools that come with the engine customisation programs.

Maps ESF: Hacked into the HL SDK making the new map system from scratch, making it compatible with the physics engine and writing the collision detection for the new map format.

Need i really go on on why moding HL is a lot more of a challenge than borderlands was? The only similar aspects youll probably find is modding the gameplay so that it plays different than the original engine. In all other areas our coders preety much had to write hacks to overwrite the original engine protocols and replace them with new ones that they had to code from scratch themselves.

If youd want to compare to whats harder then it would go like this.

Making the UT3 engine itself >> ESF Final >> Borderlands
 
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Should i need say more? because i used different terms does not deviate from the point, which is that UT3 is not as much of a challenge to work with than HL1. I cannot even imagine how that could be read in any other way.
I think what Raven meant was it's more of a challenge to code this stuff on an ancient engine than to code this on a more recent engine with more capabilities. Raven has managed to code in these amazing graphics.. graphics that were apparently impossible to code in. Cell Shading? Bloom? Most of this **** was unheard of and instantly shot down when suggested, yet Raven managed to go to such lengths and amaze us all by putting this stuff ingame. (Okay, minus bloom because Jason managed to put it in MechMod. :p)

Like I said, 1.3 was pretty much rebuilt after OB:F was relesaed. So much progress has been done and it's only been a year and a few months. Yes, 1.3 as a whole has taken quite a few years, but there's also been quite a few set backs. Activity issues, the leak, etc.
 
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I'm just going to add that I wasn't trying to troll you or get a response out of you. Just pointing out that there's no need to be so damn hostile.
 
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You can't even compare a mod like ESF, developed by an extremely small team of 12 hobbyists (not counting site and forum staff for obvious reasons) to a professionally developed game like Borderlands.

ESF has always and will always be a hobbyist project. These people do it because they want to do it, not because they're paid to do it. They have regular jobs, go to school, and some probably do both. This is what they do in their spare time.

Borderlands was developed by a professional team, employed by a company that first and foremost wants to make money. Gaming is an industry, to think that the leaders of these companies do it solely for the fun of it is ridiculous, and it's ultimately up to these people how a game is developed. In a professional development environment, you're absolutely right, you wouldn't develop something from the ground up when a solid base for your game already exists. Efficiency reigns over the design process.

ESF is not a professionally developed game (though some professionals may be on the team), and has never even pretended to be. These aren't people going for a quick buck, but people trying to create a completely unique expression of an idea for zero profit. Whatever their individual reasons for joining the team are, who are you (whom I presume to have absolutely no experience in game development) to criticize them for the way in which they choose to develop this mod, especially when the way in which they're choosing to do so is projected to have no effect whatsoever on your experience with it?

You're complaining senselessly about a minuscule detail.
 
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Well lets see.

Borderlands lighting: Using scripts built into the UT3 engine.

ESF lighting: Hacking the HL SDK so that it ignores the original lighting, then writing the whole new lighting code from scratch.

Physics Borderlands: Built into the engine, possibly minor tweaks involving different variable numbers.

Physics ESF: Hacking the HL SDK to allow using of a third party physics engine and then making that third party engine compatible with the game.

Maps Borderlands: Made with the tools that come with the engine customisation programs.

Maps ESF: Hacked into the HL SDK making the new map system from scratch, making it compatible with the physics engine and writing the collision detection for the new map format.

Need i really go on on why moding HL is a lot more of a challenge than borderlands was? The only similar aspects youll probably find is modding the gameplay so that it plays different than the original engine. In all other areas our coders preety much had to write hacks to overwrite the original engine protocols and replace them with new ones that they had to code from scratch themselves.

If youd want to compare to whats harder then it would go like this.

Making the UT3 engine itself >> ESF Final >> Borderlands
sorry to rape on your post. But you totally wrong with how unreal works.

First off your "Scripting" lighting in borderlands/unreal is utter BS. go learn Light mapping, Lightmass configuration, bounce lighting, Ambient Occlusion, then come back and comment.

Unreal has no real Physics. ragdolls is not a physic in that sence. only in the newest UDK beta has physics been added to the game.

So modular assets such as buildings are done inside the editor? again - dont talk about stuff you dont understand. Takes alot more than the "terrain" editor to create good looking maps.

Texture overlays, Decals, emissive map lighting, "environment colour", Kismet, Matinee, fog, Emitters, dominent directional lighting, dominent point lighting, dominent spot lighting, AI paths, AI triggers, advanced shader creation (such as SSS), dynamic water, post process effects, custom post process effects powered by a material, real time reflections powered by a material shader, cubemapping a reflection, Ambient sound, sound triggers, cutscene creation using kismet, fluid actors, crowd "Agent" actors, radial blur actors, lightmass importance volumes, real time ambient occlusion, "Fracture", real time material instance switching, zoning, speedtree

I could list more if you want? thats just for the environment artist to learn. Not a quick 5 minute job eh?

You guys decided to pack more work load on yourselves using an outdated engine. Adding bloom and spamming the **** out of it in a level hardly classes it as an improvement, many games look like pure ****e with to much bloom. It sucks, simple as.

Yes you;ve done alot with the engine, theres no denying But as karrde stated "It's all about time in, result out, and what kind of financial resources or man hours would be needed to make it happen."

You've put more hours into an "Ancient engine" when you could of switched to a newer engine and saved production time on more features instead of recreating the wheel.

you say borderlands was pretty much a quick hackjob of the Unreal 3 engine, which is nonesence. Loads of developers use this new engine, because it SAVES times, not wasting it rebuilding stuff thats already out there.

originally I was putting out comments about the shadow system, so it was on topic. if we cannot comment about the problems we see, then why have a forum at all? no one improves on just hearing "AMG YOU GUYZ ARE TEH BEEZ KNEEZ!"
 

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I think you've missed the point Glode. It's not about being efficient, it's about doing something that no one has done before. There are a lot of people who can make an amazing game on the UT3 engine. Doing that on the HL1 engine is considerably more impressive. And I'm not even talking about graphics, i'm also talking about unique gameplay.

edit: Also, the shadow issue on kami was acknowledged the last time it was mentioned. You can and should mention that stuff. It's going to be fixed, it's just that Layne is busy with making Namek
 
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I might also add that the shadow error has been known about and will be fixed once Namek is done (according to Masta or Layne.. whoever said it), so there's no need to constantly complain about it. The ESF Team has a very good eye and I'm sure the error was noticed the moment it was put ingame. :p
 
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I forgot to make a point about ESF's development time. Being hobbyists, it's easy to lose motivation to work on a project, which the team says has been the case numerous times where long periods of time would go by with almost no progress. A team of paid professionals wouldn't have this problem.

Paid professionals also know what they're going to do before they even begin. Sure, minor (and sometimes major, but not often) changes in the game's design can happen, but you have a really good idea of what you want to do from the word "go." During my time as a tester, the team jumped back and forth between ideas pretty often and probably still do, just because their actions aren't restricted by an employer.

It would probably only take the ESF team around three months (if that, probably less) to develop ESF if being paid 8 hours a day to work on it. With motivation and time not being a constraint on development, you'd be surprised at the difference in productivity. It's easy to lose your motivation when you're receiving absolutely nothing but the gratitude of adolescent kids in return for your hard work, believe me, and time is always a problem when you have work and/or school to worry about.
 
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My end point here is, would it be easier to do this on a modern engine? Yeah, absolutely. Are we going to? No. The team likes what they're doing. And TBH, for those looking for a career in computers, doing this will look better than doing it in a fully capable engine. Keep in mind, adding these things in like shaders and whatnot isn't just making them work. It's basically engine building.
 
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ok i'll throw this out there:

if you want to get to brass tacks, and argue the merits of coding from the ground up.

why are you still modding an existing engine instead of writing your own?

l2p.

edit: just so you know, there are 2 things that are of paramount importance to potential employers in the industry, on all levels.
1. that you are efficient, and can work to deadlines.
2. that you understand, and are proficient with CURRENT TECHNOLOGY.

modding a 10 year old engine means nothing to a potential employer.
 
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Sub, i’m not being hostile and i’m sorry you see it that way. Just because i’m not singing songs of praise and structuring these comments in a manner more abrupt dosn’t mean i’m “out to get you all” :< .


Regarding the whole ESF > UT3 Mod debecable, i’m sure the Glodes post pretty much clarifys my retort. Just because the toolsets are more flexible dosn’t mean you can suddenly crap out next-gen quality maps with a few weeks of arranging primitives. Why do you think there are University Degree’s consisting of using the Unreal Engine?

Anyway i suppose i made a poor choice of comparison with Borderlands (i had it minimised at the time) but should i really need to go jump into the depths of the interwebs to pull out examples of the plethora of UT3 mods to help level the playing field in that respect? Instead of expanding this i’ll refer you to my good friend Google to hopefully bring you some insight.

I respect Raven’s work with the tools he has available. Alas i suppose my lack of enthusiasm in such stuff reverts back to the issue of such features being available to modders for at least the past 4 years. I’m sure from a coders perspective i’d aknowledge the efforts moreso, but then again I’d still prefer to drive a porsche over a Corsa, even if the Corsa by some feat of modding miracle made superior under the bonnet.

Sub said:
I think you've missed the point Glode. It's not about being efficient, it's about doing something that no one has done before. There are a lot of people who can make an amazing game on the UT3 engine. Doing that on the HL1 engine is considerably more impressive. And I'm not even talking about graphics, i'm also talking about unique gameplay.
Well, it depends on the context. If you focus entirely on Half Life 1, then yes your coding is unseen such as the implementation of mesh-based maps and the likes. Problem is the development world is a constantly changing mass of innovation, making leaps forward almost on a monthly basis. Your work only seems impressive because the other devs have moved on to newer engines setting a higher standard they need to achieve. King of the playground some might say?

KarrdeKNR said:
for those looking for a career in computers, doing this will look better than doing it in a fully capable engine. Keep in mind, adding these things in like shaders and whatnot isn't just making them work. It's basically engine building.
Lets put it this way. If you were a developer looking for a talented coder and was presented with two CV's one of which involved HL1 modding, and the other involving UT3 modding, Which one would The developer pick for his 40k PA job? Only one would have any direct relevance to todays game engines.


Oh, and thanks Damaera for a clarified response on the shadows!

EDIT: Damn you Lee!
 
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You've put more hours into an "Ancient engine" when you could of switched to a newer engine and saved production time on more features instead of recreating the wheel.
That was my entire point. The whole recreating the wheel part is what makes this more complicated. I know borderlands is not a 5 minute mod job. I know its a big project. I know its not all as easy as a couple of edits and such.

But i allso know the UT3 engine comes with lots of features allready built in. Features that shorten time. Features that can be used. Where the ESF coders had to write them themselves so they can use them. One thing is using what an engine lets you a different thing is bypassing all that and creating something from 0

It takes a lot more time and knowledge to make something from scratch than to use something thats allready made and has an interface for use.

Dont forget that everything we have ingame our coders first needed to make a hack into the engine to even make it compatible with the old engine where Borderlands used an engine that has a lot more compatibility from the get go.
 
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2. that you understand, and are proficient with CURRENT TECHNOLOGY.

modding a 10 year old engine means nothing to a potential employer
Implementing current technology in a 10 year old engine counts for nothing? I think not.

I love how Muffin completely overlooked my posts.
 
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