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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:

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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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. 
Well, the engine is free and the source code is available ... have at it! :) 
You guys understand that "we want next-gen levels of detail" and "we still want to make everything out of gigantic brushes" are fundamentally incompatible, right? 
Next-gen levels of lighting, model detail, texture detail, etc. are incompatible with brushes? 
They are somewhat incompatible, if you have super-hi-res textures on more simplistic brushwork it often doesn't look so great, it creates a weird a weird contrast that is not easy to get around.
If you want complexe shapes, you're better off modeling instead of using brushes, and their goes your production times.

It's probably doable, but you need strong art-direction to know exactly how to get it right I think. 
Kind of. Unless you want large, flat, normal mapped walls and call it "next gen". 
It does kind of depend on the environment you're making. I can easily picture a RMHoney in UE4, for example.

Willem, you can always stick a couple meshes on those large flat walls ;) 
Just use lots of parallax mapping!...

If you wanna do really neat complex things like you see in highly detailed things, 3d modelling tools are the tools for the job. All those chamfered edges and greebles and pipes... it's just easier not messing with brushes. Takes time though. 
Takes time though.

but you can also leverage the tools that come with those modelling packages which saves time too. 
I don't want next-gen levels of detail.

Just thought it'd be nice to make a quakey game with a quakey level of detail in a cool-arse modern engine like UE4, because then it's manageable art-wise for a lone bloke in his bedroom (i.e. me), and you can still goon around with all the other UE4 features that don't take up all your time.

Really, does anyone here really want to spend all their time masturbating over a super-detailed made-in-zbrush wall-panel texture when they could be slapping vast, but low-poly, quake-esque levels together? 
To Elaborate 
I once spent 6 months trying to make a load of Doom3 stuff that was visually at least as rich as the stock Doom3 stuff.

Fuck that for a game of soldiers. 
"Really, does anyone here really want to spend all their time masturbating over a super-detailed made-in-zbrush wall-panel texture when they could be slapping vast, but low-poly, quake-esque levels together?"

Well, yeah ... that's what I do these days. At work and for fun. So ... whatever, man! You're not my real Dad. 
I think what sock did with Quake for Darkplaces with his tweaks is about the level of detail I would go for (with some shiny features) if I was to do a retro style FPS game. Having access to features like particle effects and not having to worry about certain limits would be lovely.

Pic for reference - 
that's the sort of stuff 
well, i'd rather use awesome modelling tools to create even vaster quakey areas. :)

TB2 is getting there, but I still prefer making stuff in 3dsMax. Even if the damn scripting language blows up every other version. Friggen autodesk. 
I think to really start going faster in Quake editing we'll need to borrow some ideas from current gen games.

Instancing of brush groups would go a LONG way to aiding productivity. Want to change what that pillar looks like? Change one and they all update. Boom, you're moving on to something else in 1 minute instead of 2 hours of replacing all the pillars in the level... 
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