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QUAKE IV Discussion
This game deserves its own thread for sure.

Post your impressions please. (but no spoilers, or use warnings).

How it stands, compared to other Quakes and Doom3

What about MP?

Tell us how it runs on your ti4200 or r9600
(6800+ owners dont bother please)
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If tools are getting better with each generation of game, but content still takes longer and longer to create, then we are in an obvious pickle.

This trend seems to benefit companies with larger budgets, because they can afford to satiate increasingly-hungry customers; I mean, they get to influence the expectations of players to want 'more and more' instead of 'better and better' (although sometimes 'more' is 'better'). 
Quake 4 is worth playing... I was a little bit septic at the very beginning, but now it is definitely awesome.
There's indeed a feeling of "deja-vu" as the game looks like a remix of Quake 2 mixed with Doom 3, but OMG ! this game is good..
Also, monster AI is surprising sometimes, and this makes the game interesting, particularly in tactical combat... Well, I'm very heuury to fight the final boss, hoping there's a big one at the end....

Ca va saigner !! 

I think it's just the nature of the content these days. You no longer simply create a texture, for example. You create a texture and a specular map and a normal map and possibly a transmission mask, etc. It's just a longer process because the expected quality bar is much higher.

The tools are catching up but it always takes awhile. When Quake was the hot new thing, I remember that computers were barely able to handle the VIS process and level editors struggled to load any map of even id1 size.

Whatever is the current tech will always be more difficult to create content for. Now, 10+ years later, we create Quake content and barely even think about it. It seems so simple. :) 
id software seems to see how much better tools are needed, judging from the indepth look at their rage tools one or two years ago. 
Re 171 
yeah, but when you compare crysis to rage, rage doesn't look all that impressive when it comes to tools.

building stuff in crysis (and i guess far cry 2?) is incredibly easy to do... as long as the model assets are there.

i felt id was a lil slow when it came to integrating editing and playing. for example, the original unreal had it's own editor that was fully integrated. far cry had integrated editing/game engine allowing real time preview (and switching into the game) instantaneously half a year before we got doom 3.
id makes great engines, but if anything, they seem to be really slow with working on ways to create content for them. 
So what do you want to see in new generation tools? As for me doom3 radiant had a lot of stuff in it, including in editor realtime rendering. But not in editor playtesting. What more do you want to see in modern tools? I have am old pc and don't know much about new tendentions in tools content 
So what do you want to see in new generation tools? As for me doom3 radiant had a lot of stuff in it, including in editor realtime rendering. But not in editor playtesting. What more do you want to see in modern tools? I have an old pc and don't know much about the latest tendentions in tools content 
Can't say for doom3 really, but for Source, getting external content (new models/textures/etc) into the editor is kind of hassle, whereas with Unreal, it's really quick and easy (and I think it's the same with Crysis).
Also did doom3 radiant have a tool to create shaders? 
I think the biggest problem with content creation these days is that there are so many engines, and each of them has their own supposedly revolutionary new SDK. Back in what I like to naively refer to as 'the day' modding tools were more frequently created by the people who then went and used them, whereas these days they're generally created by people who want to make money. This isn't necesarily a bad thing in every case because we end up getting to use some nice professional tools, but it does broaden the 'class divide' between developers and modders by making us more reliant on SDK releases [just look at the excitement and subsequent dissapointment over the L4D SDK].

Obviously a huge element of the problem is down to higher detail assets requiring more skill to create as has already been pointed out, but personally forsee this leading to an interesting divergience between developers and modders. There will of course be some modders who aspire to emulate the developers, but more and more I foresee veteran/passionate modders realising that it's more fun to work within the limits of older technology rather than try to keep up with the cutting edge, and often produces more artistically acomplished results. I think we all know that it's possible for a Quake 1, 2 or 3 map to surpass the artistic merit of something like UT3 using simple brushwork. So let the huge teams of professionals waste time and money trying to hide lazy brushwork behind HDR lighting and softfocus aftereffects, and we'll carry on producing work with real depth, integrity and individualism. 
Plenty of professionals are still making fine work in games...
And what was the dissapointment over the L4D sdk? (Other than it being hammer anyways, which IS originaly an amateur tool). 
Re: 172 
The crysis editor looks easy on the surface but there is a crazy amount of depth to the editor just lurking out of view. It is true that the designer no longer has to worry about brush creation and texturing but this has replaced with terrain modelling and painting instead. Creating hugely detailed chunks of terrain and painting in all the detail (even with stamp and decal systems) can take weeks to get right. Coupled with countless layers of AI and scripting on top of all this and the typical industry designer has moved away from jack of all trade to specific areas. This has become apparent when you see the work flow for modern engines. 
I certainly didn't intend to cause offense, I suppose the meat of my argument in that respect is that professionals are constrained by money and the latest trends. I've no doubt that if left to their own devices there are many very talented professional environment artists, but then they're just modders like me.

L4D sdk was criticized for taking too long to be released despite most of the tools remaining pretty much unchanged from previous source SDKs. There was also criticism levelled at Valve for revealing L4D2 about a week after, thus raising fears that the L4D modding community would be split in two before it even had the chance to get going. Basically, Valve's 'business plan' cocked things up for the amateurs. I don't blame them because they are indeed a business, but it simply highlights a growing gap between professionals and hobbyists. 
It Seems 
Like it begings a kinda battle between people in industry and hobbiest.

As for me, my geographic location doesn't allow me to find my place in the industry.
Where the fuck is drunk thread?
Tools imo should have been modified by users anyway, since i've never seen a perfect editor that i don't want to change a little 
admittedly, i never created any full release in crysis, but even after messing with scripting and landscaping, it still felt like the process was smooth.

creating roads is little more than drawing the spline and everything else is pretty much automatic. plopping down trees is just a matter of defining which material should have them and in what density and size. after the automatic generation is done, you just go in and move/delete/resize whatever, but (and this is just a guess) it felt like 80% of the work was done automatically, which i felt was pretty awesome considering most of it is just filler stuff.

i remember a map in crysis where i had taken a jeep and drove in completely the wrong direction. you could tell that it hadn't really been touched by the level designer because there wasn't really a path or anything, no mobs, no structures.
i'm guessing that area was all pretty much auto generated. some stuff here and there that was busted, like a tree model a little out of the ground or something, yet it still looked great and for the most part, on par with the 'hand tweaked' areas that you were actually supposed to play in.

pulsar was asking about what i'd like to see in editors and it's definitely more of this kind of automation. i'd like to see procedural prop placement more often (which, i think is in rage? so maybe i get my wish) and the same goes for decals.
to the point where you basically say 'i want this hall way to be littered with garbage. here's the models, do it.' and then only have to touch up a few mistakes or anything specific i want to place.
i'd rather be designing the kick-ass ceiling details then placing bits of crap all over the floor.

it actually surprised me when i read that (i think it was carmack who said it?) rage may not really be moddable. not because they wouldn't provide tools, but because the amount of work would be so high as to discourage most people.
i'd like to think he was talking about PC or TC mods since looking at videos of the editor in use, it seems like, as long as you were using rage assets, it should be fairly easy to create good content for rage. (which is the direction i would expect content creation to move towards) 
Procedural Generation 
It seems to me that PG is a lot easier to implement when you aren't trying to create an otherworldly or "fantastic" environment. I'm biased, but I prefer games that occur in nonfamiliar settings. 
No, it just requires a different approach. There is that one indie game in development by one guy with a abstract fantasy theme, procedurally generated and it looks gorgeous. Actually I guess a "non-realistic" setting would be easier to generate as things may be weird without the brain saying "ugh, no, that's an error".

I don't know what kind of editors there are nowadays but for me something completely 3D where I simply paint everything would be best. With an option for exact modeling of course. 
80/20 Rule 
The crysis editor does indeed do alot of automatic stuff and is an awesome editor for creating quick prototypes and/or alpha/beta builds but there is always more to do. For example the roads have to be decal blended on the ends, the surface underneath correctly painted to produce the right vehicle wheel dirt colour and the precedurally generated random floor litter (rocks/plants) removed so vehicles dont do crazy wheel flips. The attention to detail is what consumes all the time nowadays and it will carry on regardless of how good the tools are.

The editors have indeed got alot better but all that time that is saved is just spent elsewhere, like creating background cutscenes, decal placements, AI tweaking and crazy scripting sequences. I remember when reaching beta (on warhead) we had a checklist of essential details that had to be done, which involved the correct plant type sets to use, canopy density rules, mountain silhouettes, re-painting the terrain because of gameplay tweaks, critter and particle ambience and the countless AI checks to do.

Alot of editors nowadays will take the developer a long way but the end 20% of level polish is still done by hand with many midnight hours burnt trying to create more and more detail to level environments. The icing on the cake is the final frame rate optimization, reducing types of models used, particle optimization, AI spawn/removal tweaks and flagging things for different specs etc.

I personally believe that the polish/quality gap between pro and hobby games has grown to such an extent that one man teams will struggle and even thou the editors do more they are not simple drag and drop stuff. That is what the marketing/hype want everyone to believe. 
It's hype but it's not. UnrealEd really does make creating levels in current tech pretty nice. Is it easy? No, but there's never going to be a "make cool level" button to click. You're always going to have to get involved in the minute details ... it's always been that way and always will be.

However, with advancements like Kismet (our graphical scripting system) levels can be made better with less effort and I think that's the real goal of modern tools. There's a ton of work to be done so try to make each aspect of it less painful with each iteration.

Material creation, asset browsing and scripting have all taken a major leap forward in the current Unreal tech. But I don't think we're ever going to get away from the level designer needing to sit at his desk and go over everything with a fine toothed comb to produce something shippable. 
So let the huge teams of professionals waste time and money trying to hide lazy brushwork behind HDR lighting and softfocus aftereffects, and we'll carry on producing work with real depth, integrity and individualism.

Translation: you have a year (or longer) to work on your map if you wish, with established tools and tech. Mr. Industry Professional has 1 week and half of what he needs isn't ready yet. 
Mr Fribbles 
I guess this is the main difference between a hobbyist that work on his project 5-6 hours a week, and a professional that works for his company project 10 hours a day, with milestones to respect, with commitment to the program, etc.. etc... and alos with the salary that comes with....

Or am I just that stupid that I didn't understand what is the difference between "gaming in the industry" and "gaming at home" ? 
Holy shit, quoting for truth:
Translation: you have a year (or longer) to work on your map if you wish, with established tools and tech. Mr. Industry Professional has 1 week and half of what he needs isn't ready yet.

@JPL, you got it. The point is that you can make your personal standard of quality (on your personal work) whatever you wish it to be, and spend however much time you want fixing every tiny thing you care to fix, and polish everything to a high-gloss mirror finish.

If you're being paid for something, then there are always limitations, whether that's from your supervisor, his supervisor, the company head, the publisher, whoever. Sometimes you have precisely X hours to spend on something, and you have to make difficult, sometimes agonizing decisions (or worse yet, have those decisions made for you) regarding what's going to get fixed, and what "almost no one will notice". *kills self*

It's very easy to sit back and curl your lip and talk about a lack of "work with real depth, integrity and individualism", but doing this for a profession is a whooole different vibe than doing it for a hobby. 
Yes, Fribbles has the right of it. When games are being developed you often have very little time to get the level done and often times you're dealing with code that was written the day before you started working with it.

The hobbyist receives a complete package dropped at his feet. It's not really the same thing. 
The Big Difference 
Is that if Mr hobbyist doesn't like a map then it goes in a scraps folder.

If Mr Industry Professional doesn't like a map then if he's lucky (and keeps his mouth shut) he can do a rework. Otherwise he finishes that crap or looks for another job.

Huge teams is a myth as well - you only ever have the bare minimum of resources for any given task.

Yes, T_F - nerves struck ;) 

Who doesn't love playing the victim from time to time? I'm glad I could oblige you all. :)

If I may just take a moment of your wound-licking time though, I would like to say that I honestly don't think any less of professional game developers as humans and do not for one moment question their skills. To the contrary, I feel we're all pretty much in agreement that the time and money constraints imposed upon you all are suffocating to your creativity through no fault of your own. I sympathise with your frustration, as I too have a job that was once merely a hobby, and it is soul destroying to feel your passion being sapped away little by little with every deadline and poorly concieved managerial decision. Ultimately though, very few people are lucky enough to do something they have even the remotest interest in for a living, so stay strong, and if the opportunity ever arises, stick it to 'the man' in a way that he'll never realise it was you.

Oh, I wasn't really saying any of that. For my part, I was simply stating the reality that the professional is dealing with wet concrete and shifting designs while the hobbyist starts off running with a finished product filled with usable assets. That's all. :) 
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