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Carmack on Crysis

Carmack frees Quake on GamesRadar is a Q&A with the id Software Technical Director about Quake Live, id's upcoming free shooter (thanks Voodoo Extreme). Along the way he offers thoughts on Crysis, expressing an interesting perspective from someone who has spent so much time exploring the cutting edge of game engine technology:

Obviously, we have examples like World of Warcraft that show how the PC can be viable and vibrant in its own way. But in terms of first-person shooters, if you look at something like Crysis and say thatís the height of what the PC market can manage, I donít think thatís necessarily that exciting of a direction for the PC to be going in the future. With Quake Live, we hope that thereís an opportunity for people whoíve never played shooters to give this a try, and with that, the potential of actually growing the PC gaming market. I still have a lot of a faith in simple gameplay formulas - it might not be the game that everyone plays for three hours a day to be the best at, but itís something that offices, dorms, and schools across America can have fun with.

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48. Re: No subject Jun 6, 2008, 18:00 The Raven
 
Not yet possible. GTA4 required an expansive, populated, detailed environment. Which is pretty much impossible to have along with Crysis level graphics, due to fill rate and processor limitations.

Every game is a trade-off. You lower the quality in one area in order to have enough resources to improve the quality elsewhere. The goal is to design your trade-offs so that people don't mind, or notice.

Few people cared that the character models in GTA4 weren't that detailed, because you never got really up close and personal with a 3rd person game. The focus was on the large, detailed environments and the varied pedestrians you interact with. But cookie-cutter opponents that look and act identical are the norm in shooters like Crysis. Every game makes different choices.

But you can't have your cake and eat it too. Tons of fancy graphics mean less hardware left over to handle unique AI.
 
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47. Article Removed Jun 5, 2008, 08:42 Loiosh
 
For some reason the article got pulled. It's -completely- deleted from their database. I can only get google cache for the first page. Anyone have a full copy of this somewhere?

 
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46. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2008, 01:58 Creston
 
"Crysis might look superior but at the price of a 2000$ rig. All the engines Carmack produced were rather optimized at the time of release. I'm looking forward to playing Quake live, if just for old times' sake."

My 850 dollar upgrade plays Crysis at high at 30+++fps at all times. Not really sure where the 2000 dollar idea comes from.

And Doom 3 ran like a fucking WHORE when it was first released. And didn't really look all that great for what it was hyped up to be. The "real time shadows" were everything but real-time. (point in case, find a steel beam that has a light shining on it. Take your flashlight and shine it at the beam's shadow. Notice how the shadow doesn't vanish but just becomes lighter. Ergo, these shadows are simply mapped and not real time.)

At least Crysis looks fucking spectacular.

Creston

This comment was edited on Jun 5, 02:02.
 
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45. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2008, 01:55 Creston
 
"I would go so far as to say that he could be considered one of the "elders" of the industry (think Nolan Bushnell)"

Carmack >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Bushnell.

Bushnell was the fucking clown who gave us that hilarious "Anti-Piracy Chip!!111111!Excitement!" crap a week or so ago. Yes, great, you invented Pong and started Atari. Woohoo. Now go the fuck away.

Creston

 
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44. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2008, 01:51 Creston
 
We should probably give credit where credit is due. Even Carmack has to pay homage to the first, true 3D engine... Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss developed by Blue Sky Productions (later Looking Glass Studios... System Shock, Thief, et all). Unlike Carmack's Wolfenstein 3D, UU:TSA featured a freedom of movement not seen in Wolf 3D in that players could mouselook up and down. Truly an amazing feat in its day.

Ultima Underworld went much farther than that, actually. It was actually true 3D in that you could walk underneath a bridge, go up a flight of stairs, then walk on that self same bridge you just crossed under.

Engines like Doom and Build (Duke3D) couldn't do that, even though they came out quite a bit later than the Ultima Underworld engine.

God I loved those two games. I think I still have them...

Creston


 
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43. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2008, 01:03 LemonJoose
 
Quake 3 was great but Quake 2 and the original Quake were even better IMHO. I hope they bring back web-based, ad-supported versions of Quake 2 and the original Quake as well.

 
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42. No subject Jun 4, 2008, 17:08 dryden555
 
Carmack has an axe to grind here so I wouldnt take his comments seriously. His Doom 3 was sadly terrible and Far Cry -- which came out a year before -- looked better and had a much better single player game. Of course he's gonna take a swipe at Crysis.

 
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41. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 15:16 Jerykk
 
A game that's developed with the PC as joint-primary platform, purchased over Steam is to me far more appealing than a back-ported console game infected with SecuROM.

There's no such thing as "joint-primary" platform. There's lead platform and then there's everything else. If PC isn't the lead platform, then it's a port. Only difference is that the port usually comes out at the same time as the console versions.

 
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40. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 15:07 Krovven
 
I thought the people in Crysis looked great. No plastic-syndrome at all.

Agreed. The character models looked excellent.

Crysis engine is without a doubt the best looking engine out there these days.

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39. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 15:05 Krovven
 
DOOM3, both the game and the engine, were flops

Ahh yes, selling over 4 million copies of Doom 3 (and who knows how much of the expansion) is considered a flop? Uhh Huh.

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38. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 14:58 DG
 
DOOM3, both the game and the engine, were flops* but it's telling that he was still able to invent an upgrade and completely turn around it's biggest technical weakness (the megatexture for big open areas).

He's also doing more to keep PC gaming going than perhaps anyone other than Valve. Fundamentally Steam is an attempt to combat piracy by competing with it instead of simply trying to make piracy more difficult.

id Tech 5 meanwhile combats the threat from consoles by having a engine that is relatively platform-agnostic: the incremental cost of a PC version should be so low that it's a no-brainer. It also means that PC is part of the picture from the beginning, not done as an afterthought console back port released 6/12 months later.

Q3Z is another attempt to keep "our" kind of PC games going, an experiment to determine if it can work on the absolutely thriving web game model.

OK, so possibly Tech 5 may turn out to suck, the miss with DOOM3 makes it easy to be pessimistic. But I'll give him kudos for seeing the big picture and trying. What are most of the other big devs doing? Moving to consoles, quietly and alarmingly often, very loudly.

Sure, some really great PC-only games would be more welcome, and may do more to boost PC gaming. But my impression is that it's getting incredibly hard to get anything green lit if it's primarily for the PC. A game that's developed with the PC as joint-primary platform, purchased over Steam is to me far more appealing than a back-ported console game infected with SecuROM.


* It's quite plausable it still made money but I'd be highly surprised if the hit on the id brand didn't greatly outweigh that.

 
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37. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 13:04 Jerykk
 
I'm still waiting for a game to make people look better than Half-Life 2 did so many years ago.

I thought the people in Crysis looked great. No plastic-syndrome at all.

 
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36. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 12:43 Kxmode
 
We should probably give credit where credit is due. Even Carmack has to pay homage to the first, true 3D engine... Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss developed by Blue Sky Productions (later Looking Glass Studios... System Shock, Thief, et all). Unlike Carmack's Wolfenstein 3D, UU:TSA featured a freedom of movement not seen in Wolf 3D in that players could mouselook up and down. Truly an amazing feat in its day.

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35. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 12:26 wallace321
 
Carmack's engines paved the way for Team Fortress (the quake mod) and Half-Life, and then, indirectly, Half Life 2 and Team Fortress 2. I'd say he's been more than relevant in the last 10 years.

Having said that, Cryengine 1 led to nothing but FarCry spinoffs but at least Cryengine 2 (according to Wikipedia) is being used in a handful of games currently in development. Still, CryTek doesn't hold a candle to Carmack's influence on the industry. CryTek doesn't even come close to Unreal engine in terms of industry influence.

I think Carmack picked Crysis strictly because it's got the prettiest engine on the market and it didn't sell very well despite it, NOT because he thinks it's as good looking as PC games can get (because it isn't) or because he thought it had revolutionary gameplay (because it didn't).

Crysis was PC Gaming's money shot and it choked; probably because of reputation it had for system requirments. Hell, somone on THESE forums thought it required Vista! That was probably at least partly because of the Games for Windows debacle, but that's another issue.

 
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34. No subject Jun 4, 2008, 10:35 MyRealName
 
What a bunch of experts who don't know shit.

 
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33. ... Jun 4, 2008, 07:54 theyarecomingforyou
 
I'm still waiting for a game to make people look better than Half-Life 2 did so many years ago.
Exactly, and they improved the character details considerably with Ep2. The point is the attention to detail - eye movement, lip-sync, mannerisms - still hasn't been rivaled after three-and-a-half years. Realism isn't simply down to having higher polygon counts or higher resolution textures. The HL2 engine is far from the most technically complicated but it looks great and runs on most systems. I can't wait to see the improvements brought in Ep3/HL3. I'd also really like to see some decent UE3 games, though - that's another engine that has puts effort into realistic animations, it's just not been used for a slow and thoughtful game.

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32. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 07:14 Beamer
 
Half-Life was built with the Quake engine and heavily inspired by DOOM.

Although sort of true, it was 90% not Id code.



Carmack's last hit was Quake 3. That engine sold bucketloads. You think he's mattered in the near decade since? Then take a look at how many Doom 3 engine games are out there that aren't financed by Id. You can count the number on one hand. Factor in how terrible Doom 3 was, and you've got the worst selling major engine of this generation.

Not to say the guy isn't one of the best technical coders out there, but he really misplaced his efforts when he concentrated so hard on lighting beyond what most PCs could do.

Meanwhile, from what we've seen of Tech 5, it looks to continue his inability to do necessary lighting techniques like making humans not look like rubber. I hope he fixes that, as I've played one rubbery-human game too many. I'm still waiting for a game to make people look better than Half-Life 2 did so many years ago.
 
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31. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 07:09 Beamer
 
John Carmack hasn't mattered in over a decade. Moving on.

Although not entirely true, it is interesting that he's basically trumpetting his last big hit, now returning, despite being what, 8 years old?

Quite frankly the last game I want to play is Quake 3. I'd rather fire up Quake 2 and Action Quake 2.
 
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30. No subject Jun 4, 2008, 06:56 cronik
 
I agree, some of you can't dismiss Carmack that lightly. Coding genius of the highest order.

 
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29. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2008, 06:25 Kxmode
 
Crysis was shit, Carmack is essentially right. However he is pretty much irrelevant in todays pc game market and not the legend he once was, go design a nintendo DS game or something. Valve is the new ID.

Half-Life was built with the Quake engine and heavily inspired by DOOM. Show some respect.

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