Today we are reporting on gameplay performance in the demo of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is one of the few PC games being released that uses the OpenGL API, which makes it portable to Linux and Mac operating systems, both of which are currently under development. Along with BioShock, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars will be incorporated into our graphics benchmark suite as we ready ourselves for the next generation of GPUs from NVIDIA.
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars was developed by Splash Damage using id Tech 4 and is the first commercial implementation of MegaTexture technology. Devised by John Carmack of id Software, MegaTexture technology is a series of tools that aims to increase the uniqueness of textures rendered in outdoor environments.
Player Selection Menu
The technology has goals similar to Clipmapping (577KB PDF) in that it seeks to optimize memory usage. Conventional texture swapping algorithms are often constrained by the amount of available memory as opposed to how efficiently memory is used for texture management. MegaTexture data is streamed as required and Carmack states that the technology offers next-generation content and is another small step in increasing the realism of 3D graphics.
Start of Valley Map
The Splash Damage development team bought into MegaTexture technology and designed textures as large as 32,768 by 32,768 pixels, or one gigapixel. Cleverly designed fragment programs convinced graphics hardware that larger textures were supported while the effect on the graphics engine itself was minimal as conventional texture mapping algorithms were used.
One drawback with the version of MegaTexture technology as it was implemented in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is that some areas will appear blurred compared to conventional texturing. This issue has since been addressed by Carmack in later revisions of the technology, which is being incorporated into the id Tech 5 engine. id Tech 5 will feature 128,000 by 128,000 resolution textures making it capable of rendering vast outdoor landscapes and indoor environments with an unprecedented level of detail.
Having been a fan of the original Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, I was accustomed with the gameplay that Quake Wars offers, but new players will undergo a slight learning curve. At its core, Enemy Territory centers around teamwork as each map includes a series of pre-defined objectives. The good guys, or Global Defense Force (GDF), attempt to accomplish the objectives. The bad guys, or aliens, which are referred to as the Strogg, try to keep the objectives from being accomplished. When an objective is met, the good guys will advance to the next objective.
Heading Towards Bridge
Gameplay is primarily dictated by the team and the type of soldier you choose to represent when joining a team. For example, the GDF features five player classes - soldier, medic, engineer, field operations, and covert operations. The first objective in the demo, which features the Valley map, is to complete the construction of a bridge across a ravine. Each player class has specialized tools and weapons, but an engineer will be able to build a bridge by kneeling next to some equipment near the bridge and activating a control.
A terrific way to learn the game without playing online is to play locally or download and install the server on a networked PC and play via LAN. When entering a game, press f3 to start a match or do nothing and play against bots during the warm up period.
Command A Tank
Should you decide to start a match, attempt to follow the engineer on your team while heading towards the bridge. The circular icons above the players head are a nice touch as they identify the type of player and the team they are on. Unless you happen to be an engineer, your main objective at this point in the game is to keep the engineer alive so the bridge can be constructed. Of course any number of events can take place that will affect your strategy at which time you and your team will respond accordingly. For example, if your team is taking heavy fire from the enemy, you may choose to occupy a tank as a means of retaliation.
The following video clip (~ 16.5MB MPG) provides a glimpse of the gameplay that Enemy Territory: Quake Wars provides.