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The Kiwi's TaleWitchBlasterDerelict Blow Stuff Up

Unity and UDK

There has been some fantastic news for Indie game developers over the past month.

First of all, the formerly $200 US 'Unity Indie' Engine and IDE was simply renamed to Unity and released to the public freely.

A couple of weeks later, the Unreal Development Kit was also released freely. The UDK is more or less simply the powerful modding tools for Unreal Tournament 3, but it can export stand alone games.

This is great news for me also, as both of them could potentially turn out to be my migration path away from the obsolete Blitz3D, without needing to learn the complicated OGRE rendering engine.

Of course this also creates a dilemma. Which one do I use? Both of them seem to have their strengths and weaknesses. Unity is already cross platform, having support for PC, Mac, Wii and iPhone. While the UDK seems to have higher system requirements, the underlying Unreal Engine 3 technology has been proven to be one of the world's most powerful engines, having been used in dosens of blockbuster games. I don't yet know which one is more flexible, but it's worth noting one of the example games for the UDK is a top down puzzler.

The only way I can fairly judge either Game development platform is to try and develop the same thing in both of them. Therefore, I have resolved to attempt to remake 'Blow Stuff Up', in both Platforms, over December.

Despite being a incredibly simplistic First Person Shooter, the design of Blow Stuff Up offers huge potential for testing out the power of each engine. I will experiment with Physics, Particle effects, Terrain generation and manipulation, Foliage, Procedural mesh generation, 3D Sound (Including Doppler), AI Pathfinding, Fire and Water effects, 3D Transformation and Rotation, and others.

The development will be split into several Milestones, with frequent blog posts charting my progress. The hope is that by the end of the month, not only will I have made up my mind about which one to continue with, but the results from my experiment will help others make their decision.

I'm also keen to get collaborators on this project, as well as advice from anyone who is already using UDK or Unity.

My next post will be on my milestone plan for developing the remake. Stay tuned!

Comments

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

What happened to pre 1998 style games! :P

Earok
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Joined: 02/06/2009

I don't know man. If 3D graphics in games had been frozen at N64 quality forever, I would be perfectly happy. What happened to those days?

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

I do like some of the improvements in quality. Just I feel things don't have the same sort of Character they once did for some reason.. Worms being one of the examples, and Monkey Island, 3 and 4 didn't feel the same. (Well 3 did a lot more than 4.) I go to play the new series on Steam, where it's gone episodic. :)

 

Saying that I did perfer Zelda 64 to the RPG zeldas.

Earok
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Totally agree with you on Monkey Island - I really enjoyed 3 and consider it almost on par with the first two games, but 4 didn't appeal to me at all. I didn't even beat Monkey Island 4 before I got sick of it.

My theory is, what is really appealing about graphics in games is not so much quality as imagination (I know I keep referring to Cactus on this site, but his games are the perfect example.)

Increasing polygon counts and adding dynamic shadows and pixel shading may make games look more realistic, but by itself it does very little to add to the appeal of the game.

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

I have NO idea why I like it.. I don't think it's just nostalgia.

When you go 3d you loose some of the original artistic value. I LOVED the graphics, it was all well done art. Art was usually a single scene, which means it was complete on the screen. Maybe Monkey Island 4 lost it's cartoonish appeal?

In monkey island 1 and 2, the graphics were sort of regular you also knew what to expect. The interface, seemed to help you a lot, your complete set of actions were clear.. This is where Tribly's Notes completely failed me. I gave up as it was too much effort.. Probably because I didn't grow up playing these games. :) (Although it was fun guessing.)

I do like the idea of episodicness in games. (Almost as much as I like Serial episodicness. :P ) I am strongly considering downloading Monkey Island: 5 from steam rather then buying it for the Wii when I see it in stores. :)

I agree, graphics don't increase the actual appeal of the game. Especially the technological feet aspect of the graphics.. If you make it higher tech, I think it doesn't improve the game, although it may improve it when on the shelf.. Which is why while Myst looks superior to MI1&2 I think MI1&2 wins. :)

I don't know what imagination has to do with it... I don't think there was that much difference in imagination between MI1,2,3&4. A lot of it was presentation, which is interesting. How does presentation differ from graphics?

Imagination in other games.. Perhaps. Quake 1 was far more imaginative than Q2. Q3 was really just a complete imagination failure. :)

Sam (not verified)

This is an ambitious plan! Looking forward to reading about your exploits, and hopefully helping out in some way. It's worth noting that Rock, Paper, Shotgun are currently experimenting with making a game in Unity, and it does sound remarkably easy to get into.

Earok
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Cheers Sam, thanks for letting me know about the Rock Paper ShotgUnity thing. I'll keep an eye on that over the next couple of months.

I guess it is reasonably ambitious, but given that the original Blow Stuff Up was made in Blitz3D in a week, hopefully it won't be too difficult. Plus I'll make sure to ask for help at the UDK and Unity forms every time I get stuck on a step!

 

Arran, I don't necessarily think 3D Graphics are a bad thing, but they need to be done well. Even though Monkey Island 4 didn't appeal to me, the graphics in Grim Fandango (Made with the same engine) are brilliant, and has helped make the game probably the greatest Adventure game ever written. I suppose it's the exact same thing that's happening in animated films, the whole hand drawn versus 3D debate.

And yeah, the return of Episodic games is quite nice. I used to really love Apogee/ID/Epic Megagames Shareware games partly for that reason (That the games were nicely broken into blocks with complete story arcs, and could be finished within the space of an evening.)

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

Yeah I think the migration from 2d to 3d in MI wasn't great. Not that 3d on it's own is bad.

Earok
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Joined: 02/06/2009

Fair enough, I'll concur with that statement.

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

CONVERGENCE ! :P

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