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Update #6: Choosing the Best Tool for the Job [Linux Confirmed]

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Maybe to clear some things up:

 

Chris Avellone Interview with TIME

That's a great interview. The parts about budget are especially reassuring. They seem pretty confident about what they can produce on a kickstarter budget, despite the pessimisim from a lot of people on these forums who seem to think they won't even be able to reach the same level of content/quality as the IE games.

 

And he quoted Archer. That makes me happy.

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tux be praised!

 

i wish in the near future majority of games will only be released for gnu/linux. it's a free OS and can pretty much run on all architectures (incl. toasters). no need to abandon your dear windows or mac os, just install linux on the side (ain't rocket science).


"if everyone is dead then why don't i remember dying?"

—a clueless sod to a dustman

 

"if we're all alive then why don't i remember being born?"

—the dustman's response

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@Floyd Ryan,

 

Thanks for the link to the enlightening interview. It really suggests OBS has a clear handle on their budget and timeline for the release of the game.

 

The reference to the Ice Museum brought back good memories of IWD.

 

Cheers.


- Project Eternity, Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera; quality cRPGs are back !

 
 

                              image-163154-full.jpg?1348681100      3fe8e989e58997f400df78f317b41b50.jpg                            

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As a technical ignoramus I'd be happy to be educated, in layman's terms, about engine versus graphics.

A game engine is the underlying magic that makes stuff happen. Without an engine a game is just a pile of pretty drawings and sounds sitting on your hard drive. Specifically, a game engine has a renderer whose role is to put pixels on your screen. What this renderer does might be as simple as copy-pasting bitmaps (either hand-drawn or pre-rendered) in the correct order and position to compose an image; this is basically what the Infinity Engine does, it's a 2D engine. Or it could generate a picture from abstract geometrical data such as 3d models, a camera position, positional lights, project hand-drawn textures on the geometry. That would be what the NWN2 engine does, it's a 3D engine.

 

All engines dictate what the graphics end up looking like to various extents: all Doom 3-engine based titles have that Doom 3 look (especially lighting), but Source-based games are much more diverse. Unity is designed to be extremely flexible and allow for basically any style, as Obsidian devs have confirmed. That they're using such a mature and solid framework is great news as it means the resources are going 100% into features and content rather than porting, testing on various OS/hardware configurations and making expensive tweaks to a less flexible engine.

 

Oh, hi btw, first post here. :)

Edited by Zeckul
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Ooooo....now I can't wait to find out what new and amazing thing, deserving of its own update, will be added to the 2.2 mil stretch mark.


1zq6793.jpg

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Ooooo....now I can't wait to find out what new and amazing thing, deserving of its own update, will be added to the 2.2 mil stretch mark.

 

I had a moment of horror when I thought it might be about making the game fully voiced, but I'm sure the funding is still too low for that, and Chris Avellone has spoken in a recent interview about non-voiced giving much more flexibility for conversation so I'm sure he won't change that. George Ziets perhaps? :bow:

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Still playing through Planescape Torment...

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Of course, we can’t take something away from our stretch goals without putting something else in its place, so what is that going to be?

Please be a toolkit. Please be a toolkit. Please be a toolkit. :lol:

...altho, I'd be happy with that being one of the new stretch goals, too. More incentive for some still on the fence to nudge that final finance number higher. :biggrin:


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Of course, we can’t take something away from our stretch goals without putting something else in its place, so what is that going to be?

Please be a toolkit. Please be a toolkit. Please be a toolkit. :lol:

...altho, I'd be happy with that being one of the new stretch goals, too. More incentive for some still on the fence to nudge that final finance number higher. :biggrin:

 

Oh yes - but I hope they don't splurge all the interesting goals at too low a total and have nothing left as incentive when it comes to the final stretch. If a modding tools is a stretch goal I hope they save it for the $3 million mark. I remember with Wasteland 2 the modding was what kept things tense right to the bitter end (and helped to empty my wallet!).


Still playing through Planescape Torment...

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i wish in the near future majority of games will only be released for gnu/linux.

 

releasing exclusively for one os is just as bad as releasing exclusively for the other

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i wish in the near future majority of games will only be released for gnu/linux.

 

releasing exclusively for one os is just as bad as releasing exclusively for the other

 

Well, the difference is that linux is free and therefore there's no financial barrier to using it. The barriers are it's perceived difficulty, the lack of games, and the effort involved. The former is no longer true, unless you want it to be (Hooray for Arch Linux!), and the second is a vicious circle. Since I install linux on everything I can find for the fun of it, I'm not one to comment on the final statement!

 

Currently playing Planescape Torment on linux

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Still playing through Planescape Torment...

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i wish in the near future majority of games will only be released for gnu/linux.

 

releasing exclusively for one os is just as bad as releasing exclusively for the other

 

Well, the difference is that linux is free and therefore there's no financial barrier to using it. The barriers are it's perceived difficulty, the lack of games, and the effort involved. The former is no longer true, unless you want it to be (Hooray for Arch Linux!), and the second is a vicious circle. Since I install linux on everything I can find for the fun of it, I'm not one to comment on the final statement!

 

Currently playing Planescape Torment on linux

 

I disagree, but let me say first that i actively use Mac, Windows, and Linux. I also used the awesome Arch Linux for some years until a careless pacman update broke my custom configured xmonad WM and i had to invest two very long days that i did't had to fix it. Then recently i had to reinstall Linux to test some scientific software. I didn't have the time, so i choose Ubuntu (though ArchLinux was very, very tempting!). So i did the 5 click installation on some free partition i reserved for this case, booted up the OS, and started seting up my software. Then the system froze - completely. Rebooting i realized that my system always freezes after 1-10 minutes. Few hours research later i learned that the chipset of my pci wireless adapter causes the problem. I have (or had) the standard $15 bestselling adapter from amazon (a no-brainer purchase). There was no fix, so i had to buy a differend adapter, wait until it arrives, open my PC etc. It was a lot effort for a very trival thing. Now i could give you several other examples (don't worry, i won't! ;) ), but i hope you see my point that Linux is not for everyone. I even stopped blaming anyone (Linux devs or Hardware manufactures) for these issues, i just adapted. Not for ideological reasons, but because i don't have the time anymore as others expect me to produce results and not tinker around with my system. I loved Arch Linux and recommend it to anyone how wants to learn the interior workings of an OS and custom optimize his system to the highest level. Can be a lot fun! But Linux is far, far away from being suited for mainstream use.

 

And no! No software should ever be used to hook people to some particular OS by force! Strange to hear such ideas from a Linux enthusiast.

Edited by floyd ryan

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Quite a few people angry about the use of Unity. I'm no programmer, so I have no real opinion. I just hope you guys made the right choice, and make it BA, no matter how many might hate on your decision.

Just shows you what people are like, getting "angry" over an engine choice? Words fail me...


You're a cheery wee bugger, Nep. Have I ever said that?

ahyes.gifReapercussionsahyes.gif

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Just shows you what people are like, getting "angry" over an engine choice? Words fail me...

I think it's simply because they don't understand the implications of using an engine for the game and just associate whole engine with it's most prominent part, which is rendering engine. It was pointed out several times in this thread that it's not the engine that dictates what the game will look like, it's the people behind the game. And, since Unity is apparently cheap engine to get (compared to other options, like Unreal Engine or Cry Engine), there is a lot of poor-man's 2D or 3D cartoony games, which makes people think "It's what PE will look like?! Abomination! HATE! RAGE!!". I think Obsidian should really stress that aspect in their update.

Edited by Dermi
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Quite a few people angry about the use of Unity. I'm no programmer, so I have no real opinion. I just hope you guys made the right choice, and make it BA, no matter how many might hate on your decision.

Just shows you what people are like, getting "angry" over an engine choice? Words fail me...

and most of that anger stemming from fact that just one of the many capabilities of unity is making cartoony games for mobile devices...

 

 

I think it's simply because they don't understand the implications of using an engine for the game and just associate whole engine with it's most prominent part, which is rendering engine. It was pointed out several times in this thread that it's not the engine that dictates what the game will look like, it's the people behind the game. And, since Unity is apparently cheap engine to get (compared to other options, like Unreal Engine or Cry Engine), there is a lot of poor-man's 2D or 3D cartoony games, which makes people think "It's what PE will look like?! Abomination! HATE! RAGE!!". I think Obsidian should really stress that aspect in their update.

not much to add here.

i haven't yet read a good argument against unity.

Edited by sesobebo

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You know, Obsidian only needs to eventually post a picture of what non-cartoony stuff they can achieve with Unity

 

If they are going for pre-rendered isometric backgrounds, they will look 100% identical no matter what engine is used to place them on the screen - a 2D pixel image remains a 2D pixel image, nothing for the engine to influence there. And even if they are using 3D, they can make it look however they want with any modern engine (although, in this case it is true that different engines may make different "looks" easier by providing certain default lighting/shader effects while others have to be manualy coded by the game developers).

 

In general, I think people don't quite understand that the Unity Engine (or, in general, all modern low-level engines) are not nearly as game-specific as the Infinity Engine (which was basically itself the game, while the games based on it were little more than mods).

 

Instead, Unity is basically just a technical framework and toolset for creating all kinds of different games which can have any art and gameplay style which the game authors want. It provides common functionality like loading 2D sprites or 3D models, storing and connecting them with each other, calculating physics interactions between them, and putting them on screen - but the actual game code will have to decide how to make use of this functionality (to produce whatever results it wants).

Edited by anek

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Quite a few people angry about the use of Unity. I'm no programmer, so I have no real opinion. I just hope you guys made the right choice, and make it BA, no matter how many might hate on your decision.

Just shows you what people are like, getting "angry" over an engine choice? Words fail me...

and most of that anger stemming from fact that just one of the many capabilities of unity is making cartoony games for mobile devices...

 

 

 

But I don't undestand why Unity gets so much bad rep from it, while unreal engine don't get any though it is also used to make cartoonyt games for mobile devices.

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A bunch of nonsense. Things like this gets me really angry. People don't know a thing about the subject. They just heard something, from someone, or saw some games that used a visual style.

 

Unity Engine is a great engine for this kind of project, for many motives, but some people can't see this. That engine will deliver to the devs what they need to make this game as they, and us, want.

 

Brian Fargo, from inXile entertainment (Wasteland 2) posted on his project blog a very good explanation about why they team choosed the Unity Engine for their game.

 

inXile Chooses Unity for Wasteland 2

Posted on May 16, 2012 by Brian Fargo

 

We recently announced the choice of Unity as the game engine for Wasteland 2 development. Many of our supporters are curious about why we chose Unity over multiple other options, and whether Unity is able to meet the requirements of the project. In this post I will talk about the factors leading to our decision and how Unity addresses the needs of Wasteland 2.

 

Background

 

Before diving into specifics I’d like to take a step back and talk about inXile’s approach to game development. We are decidedly not a technology development company. We are a game development company. We pursue game ideas first and then decide what technology to use to best realize our ambitions for the game design and our business goals. Consequently we have used several different game engines and multiple third party tools and solutions over the past decade.* There is inevitably some engine-level work that we do to tune the engine for the particular game we are making, but we try to make initial choices that minimize that risk factor.

 

From a lead programmer perspective, my goal is always to enable the designers to most directly implement their vision by providing tools that keep me out of their way. That requires analyzing the game design up front, and with budget and time in mind, deciding what technology I should license and what I should write. I want to license enough and develop enough that the designers have all the tools they need, but without wasting money on overkill solutions, whether licensed or developed.

 

Wasteland 2

 

So along comes Wasteland 2 and we began the familiar yet always unique process of identifying the requirements so we can evaluate game engines and tools that will get the job done most efficiently. The original Wasteland was party-based and turn-based with a top-down POV that relied heavily on text-based story and drama achieved through deep connections and consequences between story and character.

 

For Wasteland 2, with the help of our Wasteland fans we decided to keep the focus on story and character, retaining the party-based and turn-based mechanics. The top down POV would remain as well but we would go with a full 3D render to bring it into the modern graphics era. During our Kickstarter we also promised to deliver on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms, and to provide support for the modding community.

 

With those broad strokes on requirements, we began evaluating engines and tools.

 

The Influx of Support

 

It’s been a great pleasure to feel all the support from fans of the game during Kickstarter, and that has continued during our engine and tools evaluation. Multiple vendors who also supported the Kickstarter came forth with their products, not just to hawk their wares, but to offer genuine encouragement and generous offers of custom support. Among them were prominent engine vendors as well as specialized tool vendors, and of course Obsidian. We necessarily must decline some generous offers as we let the game requirements drive us to single solutions in each category, but we do so with great appreciation for the genuine good will expressed in the offers.

 

There was a broad enough offering just from the vendors that came to us that we prioritized our evaluations to these products first, hoping to find our solution amongst the ones making generous offers and hence help devote more resources to the game.

 

Development Requirements

 

Besides the items mentioned above, high on our list of requirements for an engine was ease of use by the artists and level designers for getting assets into the game and editing levels. We are a small team and must be able to work very efficiently. This became a first-pass filter when evaluating engines. Also very important was ease of development for the promised target platforms. Following a close third was amount of support from the vendor and general availability of expertise for crowd-sourcing, contracting or hiring. Putting it all together we came up with a list of engine requirements that looked like this:

 

Ease of use by artists and designers

Targets Windows, Mac and Linux

Support and expertise available from vendor and in community

Adaptability for player modding

3D rendering, pathing, AI, phyics, character animation tools

The 3D rendering and other game systems at the bottom of the list are very important as we plan to make a great looking game with physics and effects. But these things, at the level we need them, are commonly provided by full-fledged engines, so they end up lower on the list in terms of differentiating factors.

 

Given the top down POV and camera height required to show a party of characters and enemies, it would be overkill to spend too much of our resources on detailed character models and all the cutting-edge rendering and animation techniques associated with that level of detail.

 

If we plan well, then we can put just the right amount of resources into modeling and animation so that it looks great from our camera POV without wasting effort on detail that will never be seen. Then we can spend more time working on other enhancing effects that will be noticed from or POV, such as physics for ragdolls and flying debris, and the fire, smoke and particle effects for the gunfire and explosions that cause those ragdolls and flying debris (hopefully of for your enemies and not your party of rangers).

 

Unity

 

Unity Technologies, with their Unity 3 game engine, was among the vendors that came to us with congratulations, goodwill and offers of support. Their engine stood out as an early front-runner on point 1 of our requirements. The artists loved its support for the native formats of the art tools we already use (3DS Max and Photoshop). I also like its built-in version control for assets and code.

 

At first it seemed to be missing a leg on point 2 (support for Linux platform), but I knew that we could get source code and therefore could provide the Linux port ourselves. Given that the engine is designed and structured to support multiple platforms, I felt it would not be insurmountable to port it to Linux (or actually hire some outstanding external contractors we’ve used before to do the job). After talking to Unity about this, we found they’ve already been working on a Linux port, so Unity is supplying inXile the linux port alpha source code. InXile will work with Unity in order to port Wasteland 2 to linux.

 

Where Unity really bowled us over was on point 3. Besides generous support available from Unity staff, the Unity Asset Store is a treasure trove of assets (3D models and code) provided by the large and growing community of Unity users. A recent Unity newsletter announced that the Asset Store customer base has topped 100,000, and the catalog has reached over 3,000 packages! We’ve been able to find all kinds of useful 3D assets and code in the Asset Store ranging in price from cheap to free! Having an organized marketplace like the Asset Store for finding assets and expertise fits right in with our desire to leverage and give back to the community. While we cannot share engine source code changes, we can share script code and components, as well as graphical assets as part of our modding support.

 

On the Modding front, we always figured we would have to provide custom tools to users, so we didn’t rank modding support high on our list of engine requirements. We’ve also had generous offers from the Wasteland community of coders to help with developing those tools. And yet I think the fact that Unity provides their basic engine/editor for free is a big plus as a starting point for providing the tools necessary for supporting modding of Wasteland 2. And there again, I think the Asset Store will facilitate ongoing collaboration with the community on modding tools that can be offered in the store for free.

 

Finally, from looking at Unity demos, other games developed with Unity, and conducting our own art and coding tests, we are convinced that Unity delivers on the game system that we need to build Wasteland 2 in style. This includes advanced 3D rendering, pathing, physics (PhysX), multiple options for scripting language, advanced 3D level editor that is customizable with scripted components, and much more.

 

Summary

 

In summary, Unity hits the sweet spot for us defined by the specific requirements of the Wasteland 2 game design, deployment plan, and the unique circumstances of the development effort which includes community involvement on an ongoing basis.

 

It has been my experience over decades of game development that no engine or tool is ever perfect for the game you want to build. Any engine or tool will have points of weaker comparison to other options, but you have to evaluate how the whole offering matches up with your resources and skills to make a good choice for the project at hand. Unity is an excellent choice that will allow us to deliver the great game we’ve promised in Wasteland 2.

This explanation is PERFECT. If those whining people read this...

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But I don't undestand why Unity gets so much bad rep from it, while unreal engine don't get any though it is also used to make cartoonyt games for mobile devices.

 

i don't get it either. and it's literally a several thousands dollars question q: (*ba dum tsss*)

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Those who jump to the conclusion that they know more than the developers of the game may mean some monetary loss to Obsidian but in the long run it is better if they withdraw from the project now. Those types will always feel angry about something and cause trouble. Isn't that the problem with publishers that they think they know better than the developer what should be done?

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 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Get a grip. AAA games have AAA budgets, which this doesn't.

 

Except that "AAA budgets" are used to pay everything, from the janitor at the offices to the CEO of Activision. "AAA quality" has nothing to do with budget. Torchlight 2 is a game with AAA quality on an insignificant fraction of the budget. Blacklight: Retribution offers all the quality of the Call of Duty multiplayer in a free-to-play game. By cutting out 95% of the redundant people involved in the process, you cut the budget by leaps and bounds. That's the entire idea of the whole Kickstarter craze. Unless you're going to tell me you don't think that Planetary Annihilation is going to have the same overall quality as Starcraft II, which would be frankly insulting to the experienced and dedicated team working on it. You might as well be telling me that I should pay as much for an apple from a supermarket as I should at the farm it originated from. One involves packaging, shipping, and stocking, increasing the cost of an identical product. Going straight to the source (in this case, the developers), allows them to do much more with the same amount of money.

 

The budget of "true AAA" titles is a complete joke, and it's ridiculous that so many of you are acting like it takes $100 million to achieve that level of quality. The fact that it doesn't is the whole reason Kickstarter is taking off in the first place.

 

I know I had a kneejerk overreaction. I'm not dropping my pledge or anything, but Unity is still the Unreal Engine 3 of smaller development teams. It gets used indiscriminately despite any shortcomings it may have, simply because it's easy to access and use.

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... but Unity is still the Unreal Engine 3 of smaller development teams. It gets used indiscriminately despite any shortcomings it may have, simply because it's easy to access and use.

 

what shortcomings?

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Get a grip. AAA games have AAA budgets, which this doesn't.

 

Except that "AAA budgets" are used to pay everything, from the janitor at the offices to the CEO of Activision. "AAA quality" has nothing to do with budget. Torchlight 2 is a game with AAA quality on an insignificant fraction of the budget. Blacklight: Retribution offers all the quality of the Call of Duty multiplayer in a free-to-play game. By cutting out 95% of the redundant people involved in the process, you cut the budget by leaps and bounds. That's the entire idea of the whole Kickstarter craze. Unless you're going to tell me you don't think that Planetary Annihilation is going to have the same overall quality as Starcraft II, which would be frankly insulting to the experienced and dedicated team working on it. You might as well be telling me that I should pay as much for an apple from a supermarket as I should at the farm it originated from. One involves packaging, shipping, and stocking, increasing the cost of an identical product. Going straight to the source (in this case, the developers), allows them to do much more with the same amount of money.

 

The budget of "true AAA" titles is a complete joke, and it's ridiculous that so many of you are acting like it takes $100 million to achieve that level of quality. The fact that it doesn't is the whole reason Kickstarter is taking off in the first place.

 

I know I had a kneejerk overreaction. I'm not dropping my pledge or anything, but Unity is still the Unreal Engine 3 of smaller development teams. It gets used indiscriminately despite any shortcomings it may have, simply because it's easy to access and use.

 

But but... Torchlight 2 can't be AAA title it uses OGRE engine and it is not any of those engines what you see in AAA games. :getlost: Unity is however more modern and it comes with better tools than OGRE, which is used to made game which in your opinion is in AAA quality. But still you rise to question can Obsidian make AAA quality game using better engine.

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Endless Space is another game that's made with Unity if you want an example of how different things can be. There are varying types of engines, some engines are made for specific game types and some are more general.

 

Also nothing with the engine prevents using 2D graphics.

 

You can see a list of trailers and games made with Unity on their site: http://unity3d.com/gallery/ . Don't think the list is 100% complete but it gives an idea of how varied it can be. And yes many of the games use simpler graphics, not because of engine limitations but because they are smaller projects and it's a lot easier to pull off a cohesive good looking game if things are kept more simple.

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But I don't undestand why Unity gets so much bad rep from it, while unreal engine don't get any though it is also used to make cartoonyt games for mobile devices.

 

The free license produces some real stinkers, the gaming equivalent of this:

odd_ecce_homo_1.jpg

 

Also, there is a distinct hatred for anything having to do with C#, which Unity uses for scripting, in certain segments of the tech crowd, mostly "freedom" loving Linux users. Those people will never buy the game anyway, so it's best to just ignore them.

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