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Thread: Why so few uses of Id Tech 4?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004

    Why so few uses of Id Tech 4?

    Id Tech 4 (i.e. Doom 3) was state-of-the-art when it was released, and still looks good today, but it was ignored by both commercial developers and mod makers.

    There's only one commercial game made with the engine: Prey. There are also a few mods (TDM, MITM) and SP maps, but nothing approaching the number or content of UT or HL...

    as I see it Id Tech 4 has several advantages over others:
    - runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox
    - has a large user base (D3 alone sold 3.5m copies)
    - will have the full source released under the GPL eventually, so you can make your TC into a standalone game and even sell it.
    - looks nice with modest requirements (I can run ETQW on high settings, whereas BS just barely worked on low)
    - the updated engine for ETQW can render huge environments very well
    - Looks and feels unique. There's no Havok, SpeedTree, etc. Id make everything by themselves.

    Why's everyone using that broken pile of brokeness, U3?

    Is U3 the new Java?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    id itself said that it did not pursue licensing as agressive or good as they should have with idTech4. Additionaly id does not have the best or say "user-friendliest" dev and mapping tools. But they wanna change that with idTech5 which is cross-platform, guarantees steady framerates on all 3 consoles and has extensive mod & dev tool support. they even have their own "relations" office at id, many things will be done in that regard. But I don't expect idTech5 to be licensed before next summer, first game on it, maybe winter 2008.

  3. #3
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I do believe Enemy Territory: Quake Wars uses a version of id Tech 4, tweaked to allow it do that hi-fi megatexture shnaz. But since you didn't count Quake 4 either, I suppose you're asking why third-party developers apart from id's usual cohorts don't use the engine.

    One of the first criticisms levelled against the engine was that it couldn't handle large, well-lit spaces, as attested by almost all of Doom 3's levels. It's not exactly the greatest attribute to have in a next-gen engine.

    It's not quite true, but the first impression's the biggest, y'know. There's also the fact that most games made with the engine somehow end up looking like pretty versions of Doom 3; only ET: QW seems to have shaken that impression so far.

    I suppose the other reason is as mothra said, that id simply doesn't advertise their engine as aggressively as Epic; these days, Epic seems to have focused on pushing its middleware solution forward almost as much (or perhaps, even more than) its actual games.

  4. #4
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Too bad they're not exactly trustworthy.

    id Tech 3 (Quake 3) seems to have been fairly frequently licensed, though of course not nearly as much as Unreal Engine 2/2.5, which has been licensed out the ass. I think there's at least 75 games that I know of, including the entire Splinter Cell series, that use UE2. Hell, even Lineage II uses it, which is a bit off-the-wall considering it's a Korean MMO.

    Quake 3 is fairly common, though. Even Call of Duty 2 uses it- though it uses a different renderer, the engine is still Quake 3- and, through that, CoD4 in turn has Q3 in its code somewhere.

    Bet Carmack's proud.

  5. #5
    Taking a break
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    One of the first criticisms levelled against the engine was that it couldn't handle large, well-lit spaces, as attested by almost all of Doom 3's levels. It's not exactly the greatest attribute to have in a next-gen engine.
    That sounds like a broken logic to me. The fact that there weren't "large, well-lit spaces" in Doom 3 might just as well be because no one wanted to make large, well-lit spaces. I can't remember any large, well-lit spaces being in Doom 1 and 2, that's for sure. So why would Doom 3 have them?

  6. #6
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    First line on the next paragraph, Kokester. Wasn't my observation, just saying what people were noting about Doom 3 when it first came out.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    I think there's at least 75 games that I know of, including the entire Splinter Cell series, that use UE2.
    DXIW, TDS, Bioshock use most of UE2 as well.

    I think generally we're comparing the wrong engines, tho. UE3 should be compared to IdTech5. IdTech4 is last gen, and I'd probably compare it to UE2 if anything, and that's probably pushing it since UE2 games were coming out for a few years before Doom 3 was released.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by denisv View Post
    - Looks and feels unique. There's no Havok, SpeedTree, etc. Id make everything by themselves.
    Unless I missed something, havok and speedtree aren't part of UE3. Unless Epic somehow brokered an engine-inclusive license deal. AFAIK havok and speedtree are licensed by the developer separately to whichever middleware engine is being used as the core/renderer. Hell, Papyrus licensed Havok (and never used it in anything) just as Sierra was closing them down, and Havok/SpeedTree are used in Gamebryo and other engines (speaking of diverse, having Oblivion and all the newer Firaxis games based on the same engine gives me a giant stiffy).

    Frankly, I think people get too worked up over the engine a game is based on. It's just middleware, and arguing about engines to me is like arguing about which graphic editing software the developers used when designing their textures. Any engine can be made to do great things in the right hands, and complete bullshit in incompetent hands.
    Last edited by Jason Moyer; 29th Dec 2007 at 08:52.

  9. #9
    Taking a break
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    First line on the next paragraph, Kokester. Wasn't my observation, just saying what people were noting about Doom 3 when it first came out.
    I don't think people who are interested in buying game engine would get influenced by something like that.
    In fact I doubt they even play the games, they probably just dive straight in into source code and documentaion

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Sweden
    Quote Originally Posted by Koki View Post
    I don't think people who are interested in buying game engine would get influenced by something like that.
    In fact I doubt they even play the games, they probably just dive straight in into source code and documentaion
    The various games for engines (especially the flagship titles but also the others), define the impression of an engine. Developers have most likely seen shots/movies, and probably played some of them, which gives them an impression of the engines and what they can do visually, which inevitably will be a part in the decision making process, as long as there is a freedom of choice.

    For example they've seen what type of lighting you get in D3 based games by seeing the games, if that isn't something that fits their artistic vision they're gonna look elsewhere (like if they wanted softer lightmapped hl2 type lighting). When you're gonna pay that much money you'd want to avoid having to modify such complex sub-systems.

    Then of course there are other factors that may limit your engine choice, and make modifying it the better/only choice. Like money, tools, support, your team is already worked in on an engine from a previous game (TDS, DXIW, BS etc.), publisher has a mass license or the game license comes with an engine implied (Q4, QW). or you're 3DR and you've taken so long to make the game, and you don't want to pay for yet another engine, that you're forced to modify the engine to keep it up to par

  11. #11
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    One of the preferences for Unreal tech seems to be the editing suite, apparently it's very powerful whilst still being user friendly. Pre-Rage Id engines are filled with cryptic console variable codes, from what I gathered from Carmack's key note at Quakecon 07.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
    There are 3 commercial games.

    Quake 4
    Prey
    ETQW

    I think the new Wolfenstein will be using a modified version of it as well.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2005
    Location: Scotland
    Havok and Speedtree aren't part of UE3.

    Ageia PhysX and SpeedTree are part of UT3 - but they're added to the base engine as part of Epic's IPP middleware wrangling thing, and I'm sure id have some similar kind of deal/support structure.

    I know this point was back quite a bit in the conversation now, but I figured I'd stick my (possibly broken/distorted) oar in on the issue.

    As for tools, well, it's always a contentious issue: UE has the "advantage" of making more or less everything visible through UnrealEd. It's where you import your skeletons, where you assign animations, where you do your coding (well, the UnrealScript bits: you can still C++ outside it), where you import your textures and build your materials/shaders, where you build your levels and arrange your sound effects and particles. Most of that you can't do outside of UEd though, unlike in idTech or Source, where you get command line tools you can batch a load of stuff up through: each with their own independant source-code if you need to change what they're capable of - it's probably a lot harder to reach under the hood and retrofit UEngine stuff if it doesn't already include options wide enough to bodge what you want in with (or if you need the extra performance of non-bodged changes).

    So it's fantastic if you're an artist looking to just make a game, but probably a total pain if you're coming at it as a programmer/engineer. Why aren't more games made with idTech4? They were competing with the wrong kind of nerds, which Tech 5 seems to be trying to attract by going overboard in the other direction: I don't think anyone else has seriously considered in-editor texture creation a worth-while plaything, though it is exactly the kind of gimmick which makes me curious about it.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Myagi View Post
    The various games for engines (especially the flagship titles but also the others), define the impression of an engine.
    Not really. Most games are in development for awhile before the flagship titles for the engines they're built on are anywhere near release. Particularly with the Unreal engine, where 3rd party titles tend to come out a year or more before Epic's own game. I suspect that most dev studios have already made a decision on IdTech 5.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Sweden
    I didn't necessarily mean that the games need to be finished, shots and movies are released earlier, so you still have somewhat of an idea what an engine is about. Devs follow the gaming news too.

    Take Prey for example, Human Head had used UE before (rune and dead man's hand) and knew that, 3DR was using unreal for DNF, yet they went for the D3 engine. I think it's safe to say that when they saw the early D3 stuff they were blown away and also thought that that kind of visual style would work great for that particular game, so it was worth using a completely new engine.

    edit: and it's not far fetched to think that 3DR got a private showing of early D3, to make the final decision. Those two companies have had a history together.


    Reading my posts again, just want to point out that I'm not saying it's all gonna be based on whether the looks fit your intended game or not. For example as many games are ported to multiple platforms you're gonna have to bite the bullet to pick an engine that also runs on PS2 if you want your game on that, no matter if you think engine A would work better for the game than B. UE working on more platforms than D3 surely didn't hurt epic either.
    Last edited by Myagi; 29th Dec 2007 at 18:37.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2005
    The main reason why idTech 4 was not popular is that it was a per-pixel unified lighting engine. To this day there is no other engine that has 100% non-precalculated lighting/shadows and for perfectly good reason - it's extremely difficult to make playable environments with the amount of stencil shadows the engine has to render. Every single scene has to have a "lighting-budget" and adding even one too many lights to even a very small room can make that scene unbearably slow.

    Furthermore, the timing of the engine was exactly in the worst place - just as developers learn how to use normal maps and shadow buffers and engine comes along that makes every single light actually use them all the time with very few methods of "baking" them into textures.

    All the other points people are bringing up are also correct, I just wanted to add that. Also, originally, idTech 4 had no vehicle support, in terms of physics, prefabs etc. Also, when Doom 3 was first released it had only very basic net code optimized for no more than 8 players (actually, the game was capped at 4 players).

    Quote Originally Posted by Koki View Post
    I can't remember any large, well-lit spaces being in Doom 1 and 2, that's for sure.
    You obviously never actually played those games then.

    The very first level of Doom's free shareware demo featured a large fully lit courtyard with a large pool of green slime in the center. Doom 2 featured huge levels like "the Courtyard," and "The Living End" taking place in massive canyons/courtyards and were often very brightly lit.

    If modern games gave the player the speed that Doom had, it would be impossible to ram into wall every second. Doom/Doom 2's levels are entire continents compared to modern FPS's tiny spaces.

  17. #17
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Quote Originally Posted by Koki View Post
    I can't remember any large, well-lit spaces being in Doom 1 and 2, that's for sure.
    #2

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Location: Reykjavík, Iceland
    I can certainly remember large spaces from my only Doom 1/2 runthroughs. But well lit? Not really.

  19. #19
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Doom 2 was MOSTLY large, well-lit (well, fullbright) open spaces.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2005
    Location: Scotland
    Quote Originally Posted by Silkworm View Post
    The main reason why idTech 4 was not popular is that it was a per-pixel unified lighting engine. To this day there is no other engine that has 100% non-precalculated lighting/shadows and for perfectly good reason - it's extremely difficult to make playable environments with the amount of stencil shadows the engine has to render. Every single scene has to have a "lighting-budget" and adding even one too many lights to even a very small room can make that scene unbearably slow.
    ...
    Sure there is. Well, sort of I guess: Flesh Engine (or renderer, over a heavily borked Unreal, hence the "sort of"), used by Invisible War and Deadly Shadows. And its performance really does suck

    I think there may be one or two others out there too (like whatever custom thing Penumbra ran on), but you are right that in general it's not a desirable thing, or something I've heard of in a licensable engine. UnrealEngine3 apparently uses four different lighting models all at once (lightmap, per-vertex, per-pixel, and hdr-per-pixel, if I had to guess, but I really don't know for sure)

    And I don't remember Doom 2 having that many "big" spaces either, though I will freely admit that I might be getting it confused with Doom 1, and/or the Quake series, having not played any of them for a rather long time, and having never really been enough of a fan of them to pay that much attention anyway.

  21. #21
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Doom 1 was primarily closed-in spaces. There were a few big open areas, such as E1M1's courtyard, or E2M8 (which was a big open arena dotted with pillars) and big chunks of E3, but Doom 2 was definitely the huge open areas king, especially maps 12 through 20, which were mostly huge open city levels.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Finger paintings of the insane
    Are either Doom, Doom 2, or Final Doom freeware?

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    The engine source is available under the General Public License while the content is still shareware.

  24. #24
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    That said, Doom and Doom 2 are ubiquitous appearances on nearly every "abandonware" and "classic games" site on the internet. Final Doom less so.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    ... they're also on steam and available from iD directly for digital download...

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