PDA

View Full Version : What makes one engine more advanced than the other?


Pages : [1] 2 3 4

ChrisRay
11-18-03, 01:00 AM
You know. I've been hearing alot about how Doom 3 is not an advanced engine.

May I ask why? Because it uses Older Class Pixel Shaders, It's automatically an unadvanced title? Why is Half Life 2 an advanced title because it has heavy usage of shaders?

What exactly classifies an engine as advanced or non advanced? EBM? Pixel Shaders? High Precision Shaders? Stencil Shadows?

We have Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, Which uses Pixel Shader 2.0, But I've ran it, And it's not overly impressive. Yet we have Max Payne 2, Which uses Pixel Shader 1.1 1.3 and 1.4, Yet looks damned impressive, And Call of Duty, Based on lesser techniques.


Why are engines all of a sudden being judged on how they render rather than what they look like? This kind of reasoning simply doesnt make any sense to me.

jAkUp
11-18-03, 01:20 AM
well does doom3/halflife2 look better than max payne/cod??? 98% of us will say yes. so it is judged by its appearance.

doom3 uses very low res textures, but it has all the lighting, and bumpmapping to make up for it. imho, the best looking pc game i have seen yet. (based off the alpha, and screenshots)

when using the new technologies a game is often using a more advanced engine than just taking an old engine just bumping up the texture resolutions...

ps 2.0, motion blurring, etc. shadowing, are new technologies, people call some engines more advanced because it uses the new technologies. ones that we have not seen in a pcgame yet.

Edge
11-18-03, 01:39 AM
Yeah, there isn't really a set standard to what makes an engine "advanced" or not, but personally I would just consider anything that looks pretty and has good performance to be advanced. Sure, Doom 3 basicly uses technology availible 2 and a half years ago, but does that mean it's not pretty? Even games like Half-life 2, which technologicly doesn't really use very advanced rendering tecniques (I'd almost go as far as to say that it's a primarilly DX7 game with a DX9 effects), but look damn pretty. But does it really matter that the game doesn't rely soly on DX9? If they didn't even bother trying to make it compatable with older hardware are require you to own a DX9 compatable card, would the game REALLY look better? In the same way, Serious Sam has one of the most amazing engines I've ever seen. Oh sure, it's a little light on features, and looks a bit bland at times, but it's very fast, supports very large environments, and is able to put dozens of enemies on the screen at once but still manage to run on horribly dated hardware, not to mention has some very cool gameplay oriented abilities (multiple gravity fields, yay!).

I remember how people were talking about how cool the water looked in Half-life 2, and that you'd need a 9800 card to get something that good looking, but after seeing the alpha run on a TI4200 card and have almost the exact same effect, I wonder if people really know what they're talking about (guess marketing hype really does work!). Usually, I just try to ignore all the jibber-jabber and look at the end result. Halo 2 is going to be running on an Xbox, which is basicly a computer with a 733 mhz processor, 64 megs of ram, and a GF3 card, which by todays PC standards wouldn't even be able to run the simplest of new games, and yet Halo 2 is one of the best looking upcoming games, almost equal to HL2 and Doom 3.

I almost think people are panning certain engines just because PR depeartments at ATI and Nvidia have been working overtime. Now everyone's in a fuss for all these new exciting features, and they want their $500 video cards to do something amazing that Geforce 3 cards can't do, but really there hasn't been a big jump in graphics technology since the Geforce 3 launched. Oh sure, it will get better, and newer games will have more refined effects, but it'll be a while after HL2 and Doom 3 release that we'll really see any leaps and bounds in graphics technology.

StealthHawk
11-18-03, 04:35 AM
Originally posted by Edge
Halo 2 is going to be running on an Xbox, which is basicly a computer with a 733 mhz processor, 64 megs of ram, and a GF3 card, which by todays PC standards wouldn't even be able to run the simplest of new games, and yet Halo 2 is one of the best looking upcoming games, almost equal to HL2 and Doom 3.

This statement seems to contradict your previous ones.

Halo2 is designed and programmed for a fixed platform, so it can push the hardware to the max and use all of the graphic features if the developers so desire. In other words, the minimum and maximum featureset is exactly the same.

Compare this with Doom3 which uses a DX7 featureset and uses shaders to accelerate rendering.

HL2 seems to be a little better, since PS2.0 is used to attain extra effects like HDR lighting and better looking water compared to the DX8 or lower featureset.

Quite simply, ask yourself what Doom3 or HL2 would look like if they were each designed around a minimum spec of DX8 or DX9 and didn't have to worry about compatibility with older hardware. I wager we'd see much prettier games since time and creativity would not be "wasted" with finding clever workarounds to get the same type of effects for older hardware. It seems pretty obvious that if developers didn't have to worry about their games working on anything but the highest end newest technology games would look a whole lot better. Imagine if games used all 256MB of video memory for textures for example. That would truly be something. Doom3 is supposed to use an average of only 80MB of video memory for comparison unless things have changed in the past year or so! How pretty would that be? Environments would be bigger, characters would have higher polygon counts, everything would be awesome if developers coded for the highend. Of course that will never happen as game sales would fall into the gutter since only the elite would be able to play them.

Low resolution and low detail notwithstanding, console games have always looked better than PC games when new consoles come out. The reason for this is that the baseline and the maximum are the same.

Edge
11-18-03, 05:37 AM
Well the point I was trying to make is that with more limited technology and fewer features, they've managed to make a game look better then most games which use the newest shaders and effects in newer hardware. Of course they don't have to worry about a "low-end" when it comes to Halo 2, but aside from the video card the Xbox is largely just a VERY low-end computer, and even the graphics card is outdated by todays technology. But the thing is, you CAN get Halo 2/Doom 3 graphics on technology as dated as a P3 733 with a Geforce 3, and yet many games that use DX9 effects on a 9800 card look worse. Of course, it's totally dependant on the developer and where they put their efforts into, but that's the entire point. Halo 2 is getting the most out of the platform it was designed for, and ANY engine could achieve the same goal on a similarly equiped PC IF they spent enough time working on it. Most engines are designed around the lowest of the low end, and then they slap on some extra DX9 effects. The problem is, they aren't even taking advantage of the low-end effects. How many games even use bump mapping, or environment mapping, features standard since the Geforce 1?

It's odd, PC developers often spread their resources so thin, that games don't really look that spectacular on ANY of the hardware. They use few effects for the newer hardware, and is unoptimised for older hardware. Halo for example ran fine on the Xbox, but on a PC with twice the requirements it's choppy using the same details, and on a PC with the same components as the Xbox you have to turn the settings so far down it looks like crap. And yet even at it's highest settings, many games look almost as good running on a Geforce 2. The best engine is one that can look decent on ALL hardware that it's designed to run on, which is obviously much easier for console developers then it is for PC developers (though many companies that make multi-platform games also have to worry about the difference console technology, not to mention if they make a PC port!).

Yuet
11-18-03, 06:21 AM
What is the definition of "advance engine"?

IMO, an "advance engine" is one that running efficiently across whole range of boards and produce some nice graphics. Anyone can code technologically "advance graphic" components for an engine, i.e. D3D 9.0 or equivalent latest effects. But if they are not run effeciently, then the engine is not advance.

Just like the example you put out between TR:AOD and Max Payne 2.

P.S. I could be wrong but I delibrately separate graphic and engine since I think they are two separate thing, i.e. XIII is using the Unreal Engine but the graphic component is cel-shaded, I am not sure whether the Unreal Engine have native support for cel-shaded graphics, but AFAIK, I don't think they have.

jbirney
11-18-03, 08:12 AM
Being a moder then I have to consider how you interface into to the game and how the game interacts with the tools as a part of the engine's over all grade. Given two equally capable engines, if one had better mod support over the other, then I would say that one is more advanced....

sxotty
11-18-03, 08:16 AM
Originally posted by StealthHawk
Doom3 is supposed to use an average of only 80MB of video memory for comparison unless things have changed in the past year or so! How pretty would that be?

In the past id has released some of the most demanding games for PC, just think how long ago quake3 was released and how it killed most of what was out there. I think they have a pretty good record of putting out stuff that is really targeted at the high end, I mean they had to dun the demo on an ati 9700 pro last time and that still isn't too shabby of a card. I bet to be able to play w/o losing massive features and decent speedyou will need at least a 9600xt, or 5700ultra or above, which is fairly highend.

BTW you are right tho things are nicer if you target the highend, I had this discussion before where everyone got really angry at me b/c I suggested that many "DX9" games out now were not really dx9, but dx8-7 with a few features thrown on top.

Hanners
11-18-03, 09:41 AM
I don't think anyone is really saying 'the Doom III engine isn't advanced' or 'the Doom III engine doesn't look good', people are simply calling it by what it is - The OpenGL equivalent of a DirectX 7/8 engine.

The difference between Half-Life 2 and Doom III is quite an interesting one, both are pushing in different directions, and if you think about it those decisions make perfect sense on both sides - Doom III is a slow, atmospheric title that benefits most from the shadows and bump-mapping that the engine offers (although some more polygons on the models would be nice :eek2: ) and the Source engine is better suited to the more open, frantic play that Half-Life 2 will deliver.

It isn't a case of 'Half-Life 2 is doing things the right way' or 'Doom III is doing things the wrong way', they are two totally different solutions to different 'problems'. In many ways comparing the two is like comparing Windows to Office.

saturnotaku
11-18-03, 09:44 AM
One thing to keep in mind is that there are still a lot of of people out there are still using GeForce3 and earlier class hardware. I think an engine is advanced when it has the ability to scale across a variety of platforms, giving high-end users the eye candy they deserve while being at least playable on a slower system. Yes it might not look as good on a lower-end system, but at least it will give that person the opportunity to play and enjoy said game.

Malfunction
11-18-03, 10:37 AM
Tell you what, if Dev's coded all the game(s) I currently play while maximizing the capabilities of a 733Mhz PIII and GeForce 3, they would have me hooked for life! :D

The graphics are just amazing on the XBoX, ofcourse... the XBoX's sole purpose is just to run game(s).. and Linux. ;) However, if it were possible to completely tap out all the performance and features from a GeForce 3 GPU, Dev's would be selling game(s) hand over fist compared to the console industry.

Heck, I don't believe console's would even have a place any longer if that was to happen. Maybe they would be more marketed towards children under 9yrs.

Tell you something though, I would much rather see a Barbie or Hotwheels Gamecube than a PC. :)

If PC game(s) ran as fluid as they do on the 733Mhz PIII and GeForce 3 while game details were maxed out, I could care less about how many FPS my videocard gets in a game. If it's not fluid with all the eye candy, what's the point?

Peace,

:)

The Baron
11-18-03, 10:40 AM
and the Xbox renders at an ultra-low resolution that would terrible on a monitor, is limited to only 30FPS, and is STILL a fixed plattform.

So no, it's not that impressive.

Malfunction
11-18-03, 10:49 AM
It's also HDTV 1080i capable, isn't that like 1920x1080?
*EDIT - It also does 720p which is 1280x720. However the 1080i is interlaced. Progressive (720p) would then be refresh rate which is suppose to result in a clearer picture.

If the picture was clear and ran smooth, I don't think too many people would be complaining about 1280x720 when most game at 1024x768 and some game at 1280x1024 or higher. 1280x720 would be a great comprimise if all eye candy was on and Anti-Aliasing was working well I would think, what do you think?

Peace,

:confused:

junkheap
11-18-03, 11:16 AM
Originally posted by The Baron
and the Xbox renders at an ultra-low resolution that would terrible on a monitor, is limited to only 30FPS, and is STILL a fixed plattform.

So no, it's not that impressive.

Just because it runs at 30fps and low res, doesnt mean it looks crappy or is not impressive. Project gotham racing 2(XboX) looks AMAZING. Low res or not, you would be hard pressed to notice ANY jaggies in the game, and it looks amazing. Even nfs underground, read gamespots review of it for xbox. On the second page of the review it compares it to the pc ver. Console players(i am both pc/console), dont really care as much about graphics as pc players. When you spend money on a vid card that cost as much or twice as much as a console, you have to be expecting the best experience ever. Not always the case.

To me the more advanced engine would be an engine that would make the game experience more immersive. More realistic fog, lighting, atmosphere, than ultra fancy graphics. PC game designers are just lazy, BUT they must be sure that the games are compatible and playable through older generation hardware. Perfect example would be star wars galaxies vs ffX. One coded for ps2 and ported to pc. PC game designers have to be as glitzy as possible to attract customers. Plus most engines for pc games are all designed around fps games. PC gaming to me is really stagnating.

Blacklash
11-18-03, 11:20 AM
Someone else said it. I am most impressed with an engine that not only functions on a variety of cards but renders well.

I don't see why there can't be very advanced features/paths for the newer cards and more basic for the older. Sort of along the lines of picking if you want the game in PS 1.1/1.4, or as close to all PS 2.0 as you can get. Perhaps selectable DX 9.0 or 8.1. I wish more games had selectable AA and AF in their configuration files. I do not feel the cards should have to force that sort of filtering on the application.

So an adaptable/flexible engine that the user has high to medium control over, is what I consider, "advanced". The reason I say its good for the user to have control is because the engine doesn't have to try to automatically guess what to run on a given card.

Let the user decide how much they want their card taxed.

Reaper106
11-18-03, 11:20 AM
Yes Doom3 is built using DX7, It is built around the features of Ge-Force 3 technology. Imagine what John C will do with his next engine built around current ATI or NVIDIA hardware. I belive I read somewhere that his next engine would use current technology :firedevil

Skuzzy
11-18-03, 12:10 PM
The simplistic answer to a complex question.

From a dev point of view what makes a graphics engine more advanced has to do with lighting. It's all about lighting.

The more advanced the lighting the more complex the engine is. Intricate lighting is what gives a frame/scene realistic qualities. How it is achieved is irrelevant.

Hellbinder
11-18-03, 12:39 PM
Actually looking at what makes an engine Advanced or not can depend on the area you are looking at.

-Renderer
-Behind the Scenes back End
-Front End or what you see on the screen

-Physics

-Artificial Intelligence

-Databases for game content


Any one of these areas could be the most advanced portion of the entire Game package. when you are talking about "more advanced" than another engine most people default to the quality of Graphics on the screen. Thats only part of it.

For instance...

Carmacks Doom3 engine may not be the most Graphically advanced in the use of Visual High level Shaders. But its Graphical Back end is probably the most advanced ever designed. It actually uses Built in Deffered Rendering and Hidden surface removal to a degree way beyond what anyone else has done. It has to in order to deliver reasonable FPS with all those massive ammounts of Dx7 classed Stencil Shadows.

HL2 has the more Graphically advanced features in its engine. Because it has the deepest use of modern Shaders in any current engine. Over 1200 Shaders. It also has likely the most advanced Physics engine ever used in a game. However its back end is not that complex and its base lighting model is not as complex as doom. Although it makes up for it with its use of Specific Shaders on vertually every surface in the game.

For AI imo the greatest example of this is Dereck Smarts battle Cruiser series. That game has inferior graphics and only a barely passable physics system. What it does have is the most advanced and complex AI system of any game ever. Controling a Matrix like myriad of AI personel in ships and vehicles and Stations and trading and fighting etc.. all reacting on each other and the player in a realistic way.

For Database systems for player objects ects its likely one of the MMORPG games.

Going through all that, all I am trying to say really is that there is no Cut and Dry answer on what game engine is more advanced than the other. It all depends on what you are talking about. There are ways that Doom-III is the most advanced engine ever Designed. There are ways that the Source engine is the most advanced ever designed, there are even ways the lowley and maligned BattleCruiser series are the most advanced.

IMO the Doom-III engine at its core is the most advanced rendering engine ever designed for a game. Simplly based on whats going on behind the scenes. HL2 gets the nod for the greatest use of Advanced features.

nForceMan
11-18-03, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by ChrisRay
You know. I've been hearing alot about how Doom 3 is not an advanced engine.


Oh no. Doom III engine is one of the most advanced game engine ever built.


What exactly classifies an engine as advanced or non advanced? EBM? Pixel Shaders? High Precision Shaders? Stencil Shadows?


All of them, especially shadows. Have you heard about UltraShadow yet? :D


We have Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, Which uses Pixel Shader 2.0, But I've ran it, And it's not overly impressive. Yet we have Max Payne 2, Which uses Pixel Shader 1.1 1.3 and 1.4, Yet looks damned impressive, And Call of Duty, Based on lesser techniques.


Oh yes. Pixel Shader 2.0 is way too overhyped. It's almost unimportant from real game experience point of view. TRAoD is a perfect example. Or let's take Halo. You can force the hardware to use several PS versions, even fixed function pipeline (by adding -useff -use11 -use13 -use14 -use20 command line arguments). The visual difference is almost none.


Why are engines all of a sudden being judged on how they render rather than what they look like? This kind of reasoning simply doesnt make any sense to me.

One thing is the technical qualification and another is the real game experience.

nForceMan
11-18-03, 02:57 PM
Originally posted by Reaper106
Yes Doom3 is built using DX7

Nope, Doom III is built using OpenGL with heavy use of IHV extensions.

saturnotaku
11-18-03, 03:31 PM
Originally posted by nForceMan
Nope, Doom III is built using OpenGL with heavy use of IHV extensions.

We know that, but what we're saying is that there is still a fair amount of DX7-era technology incorporated into DooM III. Don't forget, even though a game is OpenGL there is still some DirectX that needs to be incorporated, though much of that comes in the form of sound, networking and other things not necessarily graphics related. You do notice that even on OpenGL games, the requirements still say something like "DirectX 9-compatible graphics cards with 64 mb of memory."

Reaper106
11-18-03, 03:31 PM
Originally posted by nForceMan
Nope, Doom III is built using OpenGL with heavy use of IHV extensions. Correct, My bad.. I dont know why I said that other than I just had woke up :retard: Shoud not have said built "USING" Rather: alot of DX7 features from that era only in open GL. It uses the Ge-Force 3 technology as the foundation that the engine was built around. :firedevil

Skuzzy
11-18-03, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by nForceMan
Oh yes. Pixel Shader 2.0 is way too overhyped. It's almost unimportant from real game experience point of view. TRAoD is a perfect example. Or let's take Halo. You can force the hardware to use several PS versions, even fixed function pipeline (by adding -useff -use11 -use13 -use14 -use20 command line arguments). The visual difference is almost none.


I call BS on that statement. PS2.0 finally gets the flexibility needed for pixel shaders to make them much shorter, easier to work with, and much cleaner.
Virtually all the previous versions required multiple passes on any of the texture ops to make use of them. That goes away with PS1.4 and later.

Just because a game runs badly, does not mean it is the shaders that is causing it. Or it could run badly if the shaders were not written correctly as well. This is not the specifications fault, it is a programming problem. Heck, other parts of the games you mentioned could be the actual problem. The truth is, you don't really know.
However, we do know that NVidia cannot run PS2.0 at the speed of its competition due to poor hardware design choices. However, NVidia does manage torun PS1.4 pretty well.
Guess what? PS1.4 is a direct subset of PS2.0, except it is all integer, where PS2.0 is floating point. Oh, and your employer also seems to think PS1.4 is a good thing too.

Ultrashadow is a proprietary NVidia extension. Neat, but rather useless, unless you want to extend your dev times bay a factor.

sxotty
11-18-03, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by junkheap
Low res or not, you would be hard pressed to notice ANY jaggies in the game, and it looks amazing. [/B]

Don't get pissed but you are confused about something.

The reason it looks oh so smooth is a crappy TV, a TV is terrible at showing clear sharp pictures and therefore they are blurred which gets rid of jaggies. (kinda like the evil quinicux heh)

In any case my friend bought a huge HDTV, and now his games all have jaggies it is pretty funny, they looked much nicer IMO on his old 32" sony than his new hyper expensive TV.

TheTaz
11-18-03, 05:01 PM
IMO, there's way more to a game engine than graphics.

You have:

Graphics
AI
Physics
Collision
Sound

and

Performance factors of everything listed above.

IMO, (Not actually having tinkered with the following)... HL-2 Source Engine, Doom 3 Engine, and FarCry Crytek engine are all top contenders. For different reasons.

HL-2 Source Engine - for HDR effects and Physics.
Doom III Engine - for fully utilizing DX 8 stuff, and probably performance.
FarCry Crytek Engine - for a mix. Great Physics, Prolly Decent performance compared to HL-2, and Advanced DX 8 stuff, not quite as far as Doom III.

So far, I have NOT been impressed with Unreal II. (Not sure if Unreal2k3 uses same engine... and I'm not talking about the lousy Unreal II gameplay). I think a more recently tweaked Quake III engined game looks better and performs better. /shrug

It boils down to a matter of perception, on what's more advanced or not, tho. ;)

Regards,

Taz