Batwing

Unreal Engine 3 and related bugs and limits

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Batwing   

Hello,

 

I am very excited about your project. I am an avid player of GRAW and understanding someone finally is working on a simulative realistic military shooter fill my heart of happiness!

 

I have just a question for you guys, because when i saw you are going to use the Unreal Engine 3, my heart stopped beating.

 

I had recently a very bad experience with a brand new project called "Frontlines - Fuel of War" from KAOS Studios.

Althoughh those guys had a very Good reference being the developers of "Desert Combat", one of the most famous MOD for BF2, they started their fiirst time in-home project with Frontlines and after 6 months from the retail version, that game is DEAD.

 

It has been plagued by several bugs and limits that many people redirected to Unreal Engine limits and bugs. They are still trying to patch that game to adjust major stuff, but is a real mess.

 

Physics in that game are horrible. Flying or driving vehicle is just a nightmare and there is nothing close to real world physics. Although graphic and foliage and several other visual effects are very nice, there is nothing that bring that game to a "simulative" experience. It is just a very quick "run and shoot" arcade style game, with just a very light taste of military action.

 

After released, that game was not even able to run on VISTA based machines. It has been so far away from a decent experience, I am very sad about it.

 

Again, many people blamed EU 3 for limits and bugs. Then I was reading this interview that I will copy here:

 

_____________

 

Epic's Capps Defends Unreal Engine 3's Flexibility

At last week's Gamefest in Seattle, Epic Games president Mike Capps led a presentation on Unreal Engine 3 development, opening with comments that appeared aligned to deflect criticism that the engine is not as flexible or as usable as has been implied in the past.

 

While Capps maintained that Unreal Engine 3 is "made to be modified and extensible", he suggested that it is "really a game engine that's been made for a specific purpose... I like to say that it's ready to go to make a game, if you're making our game." Here, Capps is referring to Epic's Gears of War and Unreal Tournament III.

 

Advice for UE3 Developers

 

Capps' advice for developers who have licensed or are contemplating licensing the engine is to not attempt to change the engine too drastically. "One of the big things about licensing tech is not about reinventing the wheel, it's about catching up with your competitors. Focus on what you're good at and work on that and ignore everything else."

 

Rather than fixing bugs in the engine, Capps suggested that "if you find a bug in the engine or the middleware it's great if you submit it," while "going in and changing the code for the perceived value of cleaning it up is really, really bad." However, Capps did say that in the most serious cases, "if you've got critical path problems it makes sense to fix it yourself."

 

When it comes to increasing performance of Unreal Engine 3, Capps said that the best tactic is to work on reducing the load generated by optimizing game content, rather than trying to enhance the code performance of the engine: "Most of the low hanging fruit is pretty much gone from the engine after shipping 50 or 60 games on multiple platforms already."

 

If you're not sure how to best utilize the engine, as a developer, Capps said that "asking [Epic] for advice before you start a project makes sense." Capps noted that the tech team, including Tim Sweeney, is available for consultation on technical issues prior to licensing and the inception of development of a game title.

 

Regarding the tools that ship with the product, Capps added, "I've seen five projects skip the Unreal Editor and go back to Max or Maya - and they all went back to the Editor in the end."

 

Later in the presentation, Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford noted that "Some other studios that licensed UE3 got a little mixed up, in that they were dependent, in that they needed to rely on the code Epic had generated, but could not be dependent based on their promises to their publisher and the marketplace."

 

Pitchford noted that Gearbox was aware of its dependencies on Epic's progress with the engine and always planned to ship games during this period in the lifespan of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, rather than earlier in the generation.

 

These comments and Capps' words seem at least partially designed to deflect criticism of the engine as leveled by Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack, and other developers, against the robustness and flexibility of the package, though no specific issues were named.

 

___________

 

reading this, if you read between the lines, looks like their suggestion is to keep the engine working on very light content too enhance the overall experience and, although you can consider the engine "flexible" enough, you do not have to "reinvent the wheel".

 

You project sounds a quite ambitious project when I read your Newsletter and the "simulative" direction you are going toward. Are you sure EU 3 will allow you to get at your objective and can you consider to be able to override problems similar to those KAOS studio got in ?

 

In your opinion is correct to blame EU 3 for its limitations or is possible the other studio was simply not able to program IT correctly?

 

Thank you very much for your time and patience to read a such long post, Ii am very concerned about it and I would love your project to success.

Edited by Batwing

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Falcon22   

Maybe John will get around to answering this, but just to state my own opinions on the Unreal Engine (bear in mind I know nothing about game development and programming):

 

I've seen a variety of projects, and games with very different mechanics that were based on Epic's engine. I played Americas Army quite a bit a few years back, and while that was pretty much just an light infantry game (no vehicles) it did work quite well. And more recently I played the Bourne Conspiracy on the PS3, and that has very different mechanics to any first person shooter, and yet it seemed to do fine.

 

So to me Unreal Engine 3 seems pretty solid, and more so because Blackfoot Studios decided to go with it for GB. Lets just say I trust their expertise.

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In your opinion is correct to blame EU 3 for its limitations or is possible the other studio was simply not able to program IT correctly?

 

as a software programmer the motto is whenever someone has a problem they no matter what didn't do it

 

I'd assume this is also true for development studios as its always easier to point the finger then man up to the problems and take the blame.

 

Also it was Kaos's first attempt at using the UE and reminds me of Raven Shield which was UBI's developers first attempt at using the Unreal Editor...

 

now the question is;

Is a game buggy because Unreal Engine is bad

or

is it bad because they the Developers (not Epic) didn't care about bugs and released it half finished which is a common occurring theme

or

is it bad because they were inexperienced with the Engine

 

while they may claim its not as flexible, all systems/engines/etc... are not endlessly flexible as all games/businesses,etc... have limitations...

 

(taken from a Systems Analysis class) Any system you buy to do something in your business your business has to change to account for the limitations of the new system.

 

If they were to build their own system they'd have the "Unlimited" ability to code in whatever they specifically needed it to do.

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I've played through Mass Effect PC (Unreal Engine 3 based) and was impressed with the use of the technology, even though Mass Effect isn't a FPS it still fitted well I felt. Also Raven Shield was built on the previous version of the Unreal Engine, and I felt that was a solid game.

 

My suspicion is that what a team makes of the engine depends more on the team than anything else. It should also be remembered that modding an existing game and creating a new game are different, and many successful mod teams have moved into making full games and not done too well.

 

No doubt the Unreal Engine has it's weaknesses but overall it has proved itself to be a robust and flexible engine. It's successfully been used in a number of games covering a fair spread of genres. So I'm confident that BFS can produce a fine game using it as a base.

Edited by tomshackell

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Bota:16   
....reminds me of Raven Shield which was UBI's developers first attempt at using the Unreal Editor...

 

.

 

They made Vegas 1 and Vegas 2 with Unreal as well. Though RVS was with Unreal 2 and the Vegas' was Unreal 3, both have some pretty bad bugs in them. The infamous "UBI frag" still rears its ugly head in Vegas 2. By "UBI frag" I mean you throw a frag threw a window, on your screen it shows it went into a window anyways, but when it blows up it's as if it lands next to you. Even if you run away from the window, no matter where you are it still kills you.

 

Again as someone already stated this could be just shotty programming on UBI's part and not a shotty engine.

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thats a good point, that I mentioned, most games today are released in a state of half finished crap and we as consumers end up being their Development studio's Quality assurance people in which we get pist off that they are not paying us to find their bugs which will undoubtedly be ignored or go unfixed by patches.

 

It really surprises me that Rainbow Six Rogue Spear had a total of two patches... now games have exceeded to my knowledge 10 patches...

 

It utterly irritates me that even CONSOLE games have bugs and need patching... its really a sad turn of events in the history of gaming.

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It is just a very quick "run and shoot" arcade style game, with just a very light taste of military action.

 

 

That is 100% a design decision and has nothing to do with engine limitations. Licensing an engine form someone is not a magic bullet and there is no "make my game awesome and bug free" button that comes with it.

 

Again, many people blamed EU 3 for limits and bugs. Then I was reading this interview that I will copy here:

 

 

Throwing blame around is easy... especially if you are using someone elses core technology. But at the end of the day, you are responsible for what goes out your door.

 

 

The Mike Capps article pretty much sums it up. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and if you license an engine you really should build on top of it's strengths instead of start from scratch and shoehorn too much of your own code in. After all, that is why you license an engine and not build your own isn't it?

 

There will always be bugs and UE3 has plenty of them as well as some features that we don't feel are complete or up to standards. However, Epic surely cannot build the engine to everyone's standards or it would never work. So we address those "deficiencies" as best we can as well as work within what is already there. We also tap Epic as much as we need to to allow us to work through issues. Sometimes they provide a solution and sometimes they give us the info to correct it ourselves. We are also current on the engine while most large developers will freeze engine updates form Epic a good 8 months, or more, from ship time. Frontlines most likely missed out on a ton of features and engine fixes that went into the engine when Epic was finishing up UT3 and Gears of War PC. The engine overall is very different today than it was when Gears 360 shipped.

 

Our philosophy is let Epic do the heavy lifting with the engine. After all, it's theirs and they know it best.

 

Are you sure EU 3 will allow you to get at your objective and can you consider to be able to override problems similar to those KAOS studio got in ?

 

Yes, it will allow us to achieve our design goals.

 

In your opinion is correct to blame EU 3 for its limitations or is possible the other studio was simply not able to program IT correctly?

 

The engine has limitations, as all software does. So while I am sure the engine caused issues I don't think blaming it for a products shortcomings is entirely fair. For many games that license UE3, there is a team of 40-60 people working with it for multiple years. So unless they just sit around doing nothing they are coding and making the game and must take responsibility for the end product. If there were serious deficiencies in the engine that prevented them from putting out a good product, and they had the resources to do so, they are responsible for identifying those problems during development and fixing them....... Or change tech to something that works for them.

 

 

Thank you very much for your time and patience to read a such long post, Ii am very concerned about it and I would love your project to success.

 

No problem. I also think the posts above mine do a good job of summarizing as well. Don't worry yourself. :thumbsup:

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Batwing   

Thank you all guys annd special thx to Jsonedecker.

 

Your answer r quite straight to the point and I see u are aware about this kind of situation. also is nice to see how you intyeract with EPIC to keep your work ongoing.

 

Goood luck for everything, i will definetely be there whenn this release will be ready ;)

 

By any chance are u also planning to release a demo sometime bbefore the final release?

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Aldous   
By any chance are u also planning to release a demo sometime bbefore the final release?

I believe the plan is an internal alpha, an invite only beta test, then a public demo, and finally full release. I may be incorrect, though.

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spm1138   

Unreal Engine is probably one of the most licensed these days.

 

You can't throw a rock without hitting a game using it.

 

A few games using it I've had trouble with but most (and that's quite a lot) seem to work fine. I'd say Epic probably know how to make an engine and how to support other people developing on it by now.

 

The guys complaining are a team working on a game that was first announced for Playstation in '99 (yeah OK, they weren't working on it the whole time).

 

edit

Again, many people blamed EU 3 for limits and bugs.

 

Was that anyone from Kaos or THQ?

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I think the biggest things is lack of experience on developers parts for having problems with a game engine. Case in point, Black Thorn. While there was one patch, there was one purposely included bug and unoptimized maps. Still, you could play the game as once you knew which map the purposely included bug was on, you either avoided that map or everyone downloaded the mod to revert the map back to it's orignial content. Of course, there was also Raven Shield. 6 patches over it's life as earlier patches kept breaking something else. Now while RvS was a mess, Ubi created a masterpiece of work with Splinter Cell, using the very same engine and had few if any bugs. I recall only 2 patches for it, one for an OEM version that came with sound cards.

 

I think developers who have problems with a licensed engine forgot one thing, KISS. While I am not a developer or programmer, I am a user and most of all, an observer. I can feel and see what is or isn't a problem. I also pay attention to what other gamers say.

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Yes WK, KISS is the way of the licensee... unless you have a large experienced team that knows the ins and outs of engine programming. Teams like that are few and far between.

 

We aren't ripping out any part of the engine, but are building onto and adjusting what is there. It's funny when I read about teams that say they are using UE3 but then immediately follow it up with "it's a HEAVILY modified" version of it. If you don't have the expertise in engine programming then that is where the trouble starts. It doesn't happen to everyone mind you, like Gearbox, but if you don't have the expertise then don't monkey around with the major systems too much.

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I just gotta pop in here to say that, once again, I'm amazed at how honest and available the BFS team is toward open discussions surrounding its product. Way to go Jsonedecker :clapping: Thanks for your time and involvement with the community :thumbsup:

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From my past gaming experiences i have a strong impression that unreal was never suitable for tactical/realistic FPS games.. i hope UE 3.0 is far more capable than the previous ones.

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Kirq   
From my past gaming experiences i have a strong impression that unreal was never suitable for tactical/realistic FPS games.. i hope UE 3.0 is far more capable than the previous ones.

 

Did You ever played Red Orchestra ? If no , try it, it's one of the best tactical/realism shoter available and it's based on unreal 2.

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Kirq   
Infiltration mod for UT99 :D

 

Thats another good example, I think that Infiltration's weapon handling/functionality system is still unmatched. You may check this article if You want to know more.

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Sith   
We are also current on the engine while most large developers will freeze engine updates form Epic a good 8 months, or more, from ship time.

 

The above comment may resolve the following issue but I feel obligated to inform BFS so as to not assume that they are aware. (We all know what happens when we assume :tomato: )

 

The link explains a vulnerability in UE3 that reminds me very much of the infamous GRBOOM crash the plagued OGR: http://aluigi.altervista.org/adv/ut3sticle-adv.txt

Note: Some time in September 2008, Unreal Technology released a fixed .exe :notworthy:

 

 

Click on this link if you wanna have a read about GRBOOM: http://aluigi.altervista.org/adv/grboom-adv.txt

Edited by Sith

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We are poised to jump to the latest build so that fix would be in there. I'm not sure when we are going to freeze exactly, but the good news is we will have all the UT3 fixes and whatever gets shaken out of Gears 2 to build from. :thumbsup:

 

The engine is really solid now BTW.

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