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Next-gen And The Future Of Shooters.
I thought this was worth kicking of a specific topic for as this video highlights a potential debate quite well:

UT2015 map run-around:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpc3ookHdCE

By far the most impressive and beautiful game engine I've ever seen in proper normal game action. Usually you get this stuff shown off with fancy polished limited-perspective tightly-controlled highly-edited "gameplay" video snippets, but this looks like the real deal. Some goon running ineptly round a DM map with graphics that look definitely "next-gen" to me.

On the other hand, and this is NOT just a comment directed at UT2015, a fast-paced MP game does seem like the largest waste of a fancy graphical engine. Even in this video, when the guy is just dicking around looking at things, it looks great. As soon as he moves at normal DM speed, it's all a blur and you can hardly notice any of the fanciness. 90% of the time in MP you won't get the chance to notice how nice it is, unless you want to be REKT whilst you're standing gawping. SP and other genres allow you much more time to appreciate the quality - but I suspect this might be snapped up by a lot of big online games? On the other hand, with the prevelance of E-sports, tourneys, and casting, maybe the fancy graphics are more useful for the spectators.

Also this once again raises the issue: With graphics potentially becoming this good, what will happen to gameplay? Will this encourage the industry to keep being GFX whores for their homogenous interactive movies, or will anyone try either innovative or more open, exploratory, player controlled gameplay in such fancy environments?
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I Know What You Mean 
but I think what Epic are doing with releasing this for free along with the community built UT is straightforward. Everyone is going to get lots of first hand experience with arguably the best engine in the industry at an entry level price that everyone can afford.
This means every college and university in the country will be focusing on this engine for its lessons. Every amateur develop now has access to the best tools.
It also means there will be a more skilled U-engine developers hanging around, we should see an increase in the quality of low budget games and this may have the effect of big budget studios reconsider their pricing structure.
Games are, understandably, very expensive to make and need to be expensive to return a profit. The market needs homogenisation in a way that levels the playing field entirely. Most other creative endeavours work this way (except for film, which is also expensive) and the benefit is a low price point.

Also, yeah UT looks beautiful and you're not likely to stand around admiring its beauty in DM but those developers can eventually concentrate on their own projects which may yield a game worthy of this graphical power. I expect with VR on the near horizon that we'll see a lot of games that truly take advantage of this tech. 
Well 
Another way of looking at it is that there is a very level playing field now in terms of the graphical fidelity that any developer can achieve, as game engines have moved into a commodity market that everyone has access to.

The real trick now is creating something compelling with that engine! It's all about design now.

I've had a run around that UT map in the video and fuck me it is beautiful. The nice thing is that even when moving at high speed the map reads very well thanks to the primarily white environment with AO picking out the details. It is surprisingly easy to see where to go. In contrast I found some maps in UT3 to be more difficult to navigate when going at full pelt.

Another thing is tools. UE4 blueprints are a godsend for people like me who can't code for shit and find coding extremely boring. So now in UE4 I can build levels, create enemies, weapons, ai, level scripting, cinematics and everything else I could possibly want without touching a line of C++. I am sure other engines have something similar as well.

So I think you will probably start seeing *more* interesting stuff coming down the line, purely because everyone has access to the these amazing tools that make creating games easier for everyone.

Now fucking make an Unreal sequel using UE4 kthx Epic! 
 
I'm just gonna go ahead and make a prediction that we are not suddenly going to get a big Unreal 1-style exploration-FPS with the art fidelity shown in that video. Single-player FPS games that look like that are still all gonna be tightly linear, 5-hour "experiences", with mo-capped celebrities reading cliched script. Sorry chaps! 
 
Another way of looking at it is that there is a very level playing field now in terms of the graphical fidelity that any developer can achieve, as game engines have moved into a commodity market that everyone has access to.

The real trick now is creating something compelling with that engine! It's all about design now.


Not to rain on anyone's parade, but you've still got to make all that art somewhere. How is the art creation pipeline different to what it's been for the last few years? 
2001 Called And Wants His Next-gen Graphics Rant Back 
 
 
"Now fucking make an Unreal sequel using UE4 kthx Epic!"

Hey, we gave you the engine for free. You do it. :P 
Well 
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but you've still got to make all that art somewhere.

The UE4 marketplace has a bunch of asset packs for purchase. Not ideal, but a quick way to get decent looking assets you may need to start futzing around. 
That Community Quake Remake 
should be happening in UE4! 
Brushes 
Does UE4 support oldskool brush-based mapping? 
Yes 
Sort of. But they suck shit. It IS better than UE3 imho since they auto-update when you move a brush, and seem more responsive than UE3, but yyyyyyeah. They are strictly meant for block outs. 
 
BSPs days are numbered although it's unclear what that number is at the moment. 
Right 
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but you've still got to make all that art somewhere. How is the art creation pipeline different to what it's been for the last few years?

Correct. I simply meant that in the past if you wanted a good looking game you had to either pay out the arse for an engine license or create your own game engine from scratch. Now you can just dl UE4 and problem solved.

I'd like to think that the quicker iteration time and the fact that designers don't need programmers in order to create new gameplay interactions will hopefully allow even AAA to create some interesting stuff as the risk will be lower. We will see :P 
That's A Shame 
I'd only be interested at making a quakey game if I could slap it together in-editor with good old chunky brushverk.

Having to model and uv-map everything in something like maya would be a big turn-off. 
 
Kinn

Well, newer engines aren't likely to focus on older tech like BSP. It's just not productive.

It might be possible to do something interesting with blueprints and have them generate some sort of brushwork on the fly ... if someone were more skilled than myself ... hrm... 
 
I plan on making a quake or heretic style game at some point. I just need to level up my 3d model skills ;) 
Yeah 
It's not about BSP specifically, it's more that I think it is always attractive for non-artists to be able to quickly slap out and texture simple level geometry in-editor - whether that be brushes, or some other structure.

There's a whole host of retro-type games where this "look" is perfectly good. 
 
Yep, agreed! We have ideas for a BSP replacement ... just not ready to talk about anything yet.

But quick geo creation is definitely the key. Fast prototyping is always a win and, as you said, some games are fine with simple geo. 
Oh Cool 
Sounds like something I'll be using! 
 
I think there is some brush-layouting addon for Blender.

Anyway, free engine notwithstanding, you still need a team of people who have the skills to make a game looking that good. They cost money. Awesome-looking assets don't exactly make themselves.

As for multiplayer games, it depends. They aren't all equal. For a Quake 3 type game, sure, gameplay is literally everything and that used to be the same for UT. I guess all the graphics power is a sales argument (don't forget, there's still that 5% royalties, and graphics basically sell better than no graphics.) It still matters how the game looks in screenshots and youtube videos.

I predict indie games will largely stay with pixel art and whatever else is easy to make, thus user friendliness of a game engine will be the deciding factor there. I think Unity gobbled up all the easy-to-use reputation so far.

I wonder how long general-purpose game engines will stay free AND provide this feature level. I could imagine big publishers going with inhouse engines and indies using some cheaper downgraded general purpose engine in the future. It will be interesting to see if Epic makes enough money this way.

Nonetheless, I'm planning to use UE4, and that large pot of money Epic want to dole out to worthy projects also looks kinda tempting. 
 
I was recently employed (like last year) with a developer that had just made about 270 layoffs to go from a 300-man company to a 30-man one. I joined after all that went down.

One of the first things that happened was the in-house engine got the chop and was replaced with Unity. 
 
I'm imagining UE4 being easy access it might also inspire a host of 3rd party tools to import / export levels and other assets no ? Eg as to the BSP or other old school mapping. 
 
The full source code is available on github so it's perfectly possible to write a Quake MAP importer or whatever. 
 
I smell a bounty coming... 
I Might Beg Sleepwalker 
:) 
I Wouldn't Mind A Quake UE4 Project 
I would find it much more motivating than UT4 by a mile. No offense meant to Warren/Epic. 
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