Re: Tim Sweeney V.S. John Carmack
Right... so my opinion on the Crytek guys and their lovely engine, which is a very nice engine. I think that the Cry engine is exemplary in doing reasonably well what a lot of other people had done before them. Everything in the Cry engine had been done in video games before - just not as well or with everything else that was in the Cry engine [to my knowledge]. The only thing I can possibly think of that might have been new was the long draw distance detail scaling, but that's basically common sense LOD anyhow, so I don't see anything terribly new [in concept] there. It is an excellent engine though - in particular it's very versatile. It deals remarkably well both in and outdoors, and all of its features are very well integrated.
With all that said, I don't think they're as good as Carmack, but at the same time we haven't had a lot of comparison in terms of 'apples to apples'. I really do think that even on today's hardware, Doom 3 is a mighty achievement in terms of an engine that is both fantastically powerful, and scales really well. The Cry Engine loses so much going down to lower detail settings. Not that Doom 3 looks all that good on dated hardware, but it doesn't look all that bad either. Also, technically, unified lighting - which is the really amazing thing about the D3 engine, apparently works almost all the way down. I gather you can't run it on a 5200, or possibly an MX 440, but beyond that everything else can do the really hard stuff with the Doom 3 engine, without sacrificing absolutely everything else. Hell, even on low detail, D3 still looks mighty good.
My statement about apples to apples is basically this. We simply haven't seen how well the Doom 3 engine copes with large outdoor spaces - in the same way we hadn't with the Q3 engine until other games that used it came out. It may be that once viscious LOD scaling comes into the picture, the D3 engine will show some cracks. Also, we've not seen how the Doom 3 engine copes with many lower poly characters on screen rather than, say, 5 or 6 very detailed ones. All of these things will end up defining how good Carmack's bid with this gen of engines really is. As I say, the Far Cry engine is versatile, but it doesn't even come close to the D3 engine in what we've seen the D3 engine do.
So, even with Far Cry included, my vote stays with Mr C. His work in bringing practical, robust, and remarkably fast shadow volumes to the public (which are harder than you might think - a lot of things can go wrong - I know, I've coded them before), is just amazing. Doom 3 is a real step up in pretty much everything it does. Not only that, it does it on old hardware if it needs to. The only problem is, we haven't seen it do anything else. Yet. I suspect it's really going to get to show its power in the next year or so with D3 based games.
In the end my current praise for Carmack comes down to this:
At every generation of game that he's had an engine in, he's completely raised the bar on hardware no-one knew could do it.
Commander Keen was amazing when it came out.
Doom was ridiculous for what it did.
Quake was revolutionary.
Quake 2's introduction of coloured lighting added a LOT. And it was FAST on old machines.
Quake 3 STILL LOOKS GOOD.
Doom 3 as an engine is ahead of anything else currently available.
Still, the addition of HDR to Far Cry could change things a little. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
[Note: The Source Engine is cool, but I maintain that it isn't as cool as the Doom 3 one. That is all on that note.]
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Ridiculous DOES not have an 'e' in it. It comes from "ridicule" and has less than nothing to do with the colour red.