Sunday, December 5, 2010

Must play games just now

Best new games to play just now in this order are -

PC -

Crysis 2

Dragon Age 2


Call of duty black Ops

Medal of Honor 2010

Need for Speed 2010


Two Worlds 2

Witcher 2

Consoles -

Gears of War 3

Just Cause 2

Not much but the best.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Unreal Engine 4 or Cry Engine 4 which will dominate in 2012

Market-share standpoint is the most crucial standpoint of any game engine as the continued existence of Engine will depend on money unless it is open source. Even Source Engine has better credibility due to atleast 10 AAA games made on it by valve and other devs, even if it supports Windows and XBox only but it shows it can do and is useful. CryEngine has just stormed the PC since days of Half-Life 2 and FarCry (at that time Epic had only UT2004 technology which was way behind). But due to great luck and buisness sense they were able to make their not so optimised UE3 available just at the time everybody needed one Engine for PC/XBox360/PS3, and released Gears of War which actually attracted attention. A good game always attracts attention to engine just as HL2 and FarCry did, but UE3 was the only PC/XBox360/PS3 technology available, UE2 was largely familiar and respected technology in game industry, due to late release of Doom3, and not cross platform source engine(still it was begining to licensed seriously those days). FarCry was on PC and XBox and very new at that time. Human beings love familiar things. Thus UE3 just put every body behind.

They can again do it with UE4 if they can predict and make available the right PC/NextGen console technolgy at right time(arounf 2012 as many think), whereas CryTek is also doing same thing. UE4 may again win as loads of developers are familiar with UE3 toolset, but if they look seriously at quality of CryEngine4 and if it is available at that time, CryEngine will 100% take over UE4 as it is just the best and onle look at Crysis tells that. Id is ready with idTech5 which still does static lighting and need loads of hard drive space due to megatextures, is not popular and used by id and there partners only. They always timed release of their engines wrong. Even Betheseda teams(their owners/partners use Gamebryo for internal development) IMHO Oblivion still looks great and is available on PC and both consoles.

NextGen is definetly UE4 60% and CryEngine 40% unles someone else comes or id does something amazing at right time(Jhon Carmack is secretly working on idTech6 for some time which will use Intel's Larrabee, which may or maynot be awesome, he himself is doubtful).

As far as I have seen developers just need something easy and good enough for PC and Consoles at right time, and gamers just notice sharp textures and good lighting(HL2, Oblivion, Crysis) and care far more about game play(Assasin Creed for ex. which uses internal engine). That is also why Uncharted 2 is just plain awesome even if it is just PS3 tech.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Best Graphics Engine to use for Next - Gen games

Best Graphics Engine to use for Next - Gen games
Megatexturing, Id Tech 5, Unreal Engine and Cry Engine

John Carmack has been touting Megatexturing as the most important features of his Id Tech 5 Game Engine. Though the Technology itself is impressive, in effect allowing very very large textures to be used without memory constraints (as the texture is streamed), and making it possible to use Unique detail anywhere on any size mesh, it has the major drawback of using phenomenal amount of Texture data for even one level. A game like Unreal Tournament 3 which has lots of various levels(but textures can be shared between levels and meshes too, and it is done also), and is also good for expansion by mod quantity(You can get lots of High Quality Maps for both Unreal Tournament 3 or Quake 3). Making a new map is hassle free can be made very small in size(use maximum UT3 supplied textures, and pack only your own added ones), and easy to distribute, add and use. Compare this with Enemy Territory Quake Wars(Maps by mod community? where are they?). Each of ETQW's level has a megatexture(.mega file) with size of 400-500 mb which can be opened in specific toolset of id software only. Even if you use the same ground and grass, you have to repack your megatexture at size of 500 mb extra. And as one goes adding levels only 50 levels will mean some 25 GB Extra space + 4.5 GB of original making it 30 GB, where as with (UT3 + nvidia PhysX pack + UT3 Titan pack) some 60 maps of UT3 take only 12 GB space. And adding a new map doesnot mean 500 mb it can be even done within 50 mb, which is not possible with ETQW. Thus megatexturing makes modding and expansion of content with new maps extremely ridiculous which is a strong point of such games. One can very well contemplate the texture usage of a Jedi Academy like game(27 levels) made with id Tech 4. It goes far much higher with id Tech 5, for a game like RAGE which is rumored to be released on 4 DL or 8.5 GB Discs making it almost above 30 GB and that too when compressed. But the Content is just two big areas and environments till now seem pretty closed and not 360 degree open like Oblivion. Just imagine the hard disk requirements for Oblivion like game in Oblivion like Visual fidelity and very large environment. It is almost difficult to travel all the world of Oblivion from one end to other on foot in one palythrough and you can also go on foot. And all this take only 5 GB. In Oblivion Meshes and Textures are cleverly reused and it looks pretty impressive.
The point I am trying to make is Megatexturing does not bring a great graphical difference, actually if you look attentively and kowing beforehand then only you can notice the Unique texture on terrain in ETQW, it does effect on Subconscious level, but the price for such minor difference is very big. Real Time radiosity makes far much greater difference in Visual fidelity for that matter. Even Pre - Computed Radiosty of Half-Life 2 was very real looking, providing a great hint to subconscious mind for realism in lighting.

And Crysis just looks 3 times better then Enemy Territory Quake Wars(which itself is very good looking but the lighting is static) and Half - Life 2(Static Lighting), but the lighting effects in Crysis are fully Dynamic and still very realistic(Ambient Occlusion is used if you are wondering which is a bit less real than Radiosity, but can be done in realtime these days). And Even Screenshots of RAGE look inferior to Crysis screenshots of 2007 and RAGE is still not released. Though I agree that if you look closely, texures in RAGE have Unique detail, which might look more clear on Grand Canyon(RAGe Environments) but will be definetly lost in Crysis like Islands, Jungles, COD MW like Urban, UT3 like Sci Fi environments. Crysis itself has a Grand Canyon or Black Mesa like map in Multiplayer which looks great to me.
I am not a Crysis fanboy or infected with Crysis Influenza but when you look at Crysis technically and graphically it seems to remain unchallenged for next 3 years from now, (though in 2007 it was surmised that it will be so for next 3 years but we are already in 2010 and no new game looks better than Crysis). ARMA 2 has bigger environments but it does not look better than Crysis and kills the performance. Oblivion has possibly the biggest world in a single - Player game(A level of FarCry can also be noted as the biggest level that didnot needed any loading in between and that too without streaming) and looks far better than ARMA 2 due to quality artwork, and runs very efficiently. Also Crysis also has great performance on High setting on 600$ PC, at which it looks far better than Ultra of any game that is to be released these days.
I may also point out that id Software has always outperformed itself and others, so we may wait and watch, but then Vlave has always put a great game after major id release which has blown them. Half - Life after Quake, Half - Life 2 after Doom3 and the difference was very big both in graphics and gameplay. Recently Crytek is busy blasting everybody with there top quality games like FarCry(which had different but boring gameplay) and Crysis(which has great gameplay but flounders in last 4 levels of aliens), Crysis Warhead(which also has some boring alien levels and falls a lot short of spectacular Call of Duty MW1 , MW2 gameplay). Gamepalywise is a subjective issue and this post is about graphics technology.

I am considering only complete Game Engines(preferably cross platform)
and not Graphics engine like Gamebryo(Oblivion)

1 -
I give Cry Engine most points as best technology for creating next gen great games, development is also super smooth due to all development being done in rela time and now that it runs great on PS3 and XBox360 also and looks Ultimate cool. Only this Engine supports true great quality Dynamic lighting and Dynamic Time of Day.

2 -
Next is Unreal Engine 3 as it is tested, efficient, easy, featureful technology and has proved itself countless times. It also support maximum platform including Linux.

3 -
Next is Valve source Engine, If one really wants to make a gmae which can run on majority of PC's and XBox 360, and Source Engine has proven track record of delivering highly interactive games. But I warn it has not well organised or clean code-base.

4 -
Next is id Tech 5 being the last one available, which I do not recommend at all, due to not having any qualities mentioned above, and it still burns Lighmaps in its Giant Textures, foregoing full world Dynamic lighting, no Dynamic Time of Day.

Ther lot more other Engines like Duna Engine of FarCry 2 which may dazzle a bit but falls short in many departments so I strongly advise aginst using any other engine then top 3 I mentioned.

You can e-mail me for a full feature comparison of the 4 ngines I mentioned in tabular form at The comparison table will soon be put on this blog and my website(which is under construction for now).

Avatar the movie, being Primal or Star Wars

Avatar the movie, being Primal or Star Wars

Recently I watched the movie Avatar, which many people find a great refreshing movie after Star Wars. For me it succeeded in taking me to land of dreams(where I want to go also) like Star Wars A New Hope and Star Wars Revnege of the Sith, and Lord of the Rings.

The main appeal of movie is the Primal versus moderm conflict, which is the conflict present in every urban person. Human are instinctively primal but are now accustomed to technolgy(what happens when humans are put to survival tests really and not like discovery channel?)
The attraction being breaking free from Urban finally and becoming what you really are the Primal like Jake at the end of the movie.

Jake himself says that he may not be ok for riding the horses ( or if you prefer Direhorse (Pa'li in Na'vi language) ) but he is born to fly the flying predator bird (or Mountain Banshee (Ikran in Na'vi language) ). This is a subtle hint of his Psych how he is not ok for a paraplegic human working for avatar program of his greedy masters, but instead he is born to be one of Omaticaya(and not a genetically mixed mind controlled dream walker duplicate) permanently. And the greatly interesting part of the movie was to see Jake ultimately becoming "Toruk Makto" riding Great Leonopteryx (Toruk in Na'vi language) from a outcast.

Many people have pointed out as yearning for transformation as its main attraction but I see resistance to transformation as a basic trait of Humans. Instead avatar is a way back to the hidden primal self which is waht we truly are at core.

The part I like most in the movie was the extremely satisfying ending (as compared to District 9 which was extremely unsatisfying like look we are going to make a sequel) and how the whole movie led it to that one highly desirable ending, the viewer even silently paraying at the end that Jake be transformed. Being a writer I appreciate this strong point of whole story.

Avatar is a good concept that needs to be developed more(though arguably I donot see Star Wars or LOR like longevity and draw in its material for now). I read that James Cameron is willing to explore the other moons in sequels, which I am waiting eagerly to see.

New Moon, the drama inherent

New Moon, the drama inherent

Twilight Movie itself was brim filled with drama. And now its sequel New Moon is just exploding with drama, succeding beautifuly in hypnotising the viewer till the end.

Bella wants to become vampire(we know that alredy).

Now the Drama starts -
Edwards leaves inspite of conquering himself in Twilight, he now leaves for a even more greater reason(and no he is not afraid of Jacob).

As if that was not enough he goes to Volturi for being made smashed potato.
And then Jacob seems to have evil plans and he is the third party in love triangle. Jacob seems bbecoming more evil.
Then Isabella Swan herself is driving to brink of madness, quite literally.
Victoria seems herself to be dwarfed in face of these surprising events.

Then the roller coaster ride turns towards resolution falling like a cascading waterfall. And we are sticken to our seats till the last moment everything is sorted out(not without real disturbance by Volturi at end).
See the movie and compare what I say, as I donot want to spoil the fun for those who have not seen the masterpiece till now, so I do not say everything explicitly.

Stephanie mayer may not be a great magician of words like Stephen King but her Twilight series is brim filled with charm and great plot and story. People wrongly compare her with JK Rowling, with whom she can be comapred only as reagrds to her income and being female, otherwise both write different things for different people.

Just see the movie for yourself but do not forget to see Twilight first or the fun will be spoiled and you will feel lost.

Risen, Review of the new game by Gothic 2, Gothic 3 developers Piranha Bytes

Risen, Review of the new game by Gothic 2, Gothic 3 developers Piranha Bytes.

Like Painkiller Resurrection(which itself is a good game but suffers largely from bugs and AI problems, but features great artwork) Risen is also overlooked.
But unlike Prey(which was good but not very good), Risen is one very good game. The only problem is less varity artwork(but good graphics), smaller area, 3 factions, 5-6 main areas, and long initial travelling before meeting people or reaching cities(refer map, but it is difficult to survive wilderness without training which one gets in city, catch 22 problem).

I suggest travelling with Jan first, and then going straight to harbour city or monastery as you ca train there and get gold.
If played this way the good parts comes latter and then also it is not great fun. It feels like flat game.

BUT BUT BUT... , a high quality of Emergent gameplay is hidden beneath this flat looks.
Ok look for cheats of Risen which basically are -
type "minsky" quickly while playing the game without quotes. you will see test mode activated message.
press ~ (tilde above TAB) and type "god" in the opened console window without quotes. Now you cannot be killed. You wull need to do this every time you play Risen. A more persistent cheat may come, just keep looking at internet.
Now you cannot be killed so you have solved the number one problem of Survival, as foes are really strong in this game for a beginner and require a lot of training before doing anything which is really irritating.
Now go whereever you want, do what you want, meet people, fight and beat whom you want, revel in immortality. You will see all the fun and emergent behaviour aftter that and Risen does not crashes, instead performs beautifully as it was meant to be played that play.

Like everybody will say that you cannot get out of Harbour city and Monastery without permission once you get in. But you will discover that you can travel on rooftops and can get out from anywhere and even go to supposedly locked doors by alternative routes.

Now go anywhere, do anything, solve quests, enjoy all the fun(since the major annoyance of being killed quickly is over).
In all the madness all the NPC's seem to be performing admirably beahving as they wre made for this type of game.

All in all Risen is one of the best emergent games of 2009 that is unputdownable once you play it in god mode. And the story itself is focussed and very good despit area being smaller compared to Gothic3.

Graphics are very good with weather effects and beautiful island(It does not have very high-res textures, large variety of shaders and cool artistic geometry, neither variety in buildings). Once you play this game you will be engulfed and lost in it.
Now do not complain Risen being a bore game, once you know how to break the rules. The classic solution of shifting strategy when required works perfectly on Risen.
I even suggest developer Piranha Bytes to put a check box in the UI for enabling God Mode as Risen is highly enjoyable and very good game when played this way.
Though Risen is not better than Oblivion and Gothic 3 nor Graphically superior it is an excellent RPG in its own right which can provide large amount of fun. Same can be said about FarCry2 and Enemy Territory Quake Wars which are fun but fall short on the border of becoming great,which in any way doesnot mean that they are bore games, but are in fact good games.

You may look at
Are Consoles better than PC
Piracy of PC Games, Problems of PC Games, are Consoles superior that PC
And if you like my these posts you may want to look at
Avatar the movie, being Primal or Star Wars
New Moon, the drama inherent
Best Graphics Engine to use for Next - Gen games, Megatexturing, Id Tech 5, Unreal Engine and Cry Engine

at my blog

Are Consoles better than PC

Are Consoles better than PC
Piracy of PC Games, Problems of PC Games, are Consoles superior that PC

In comments of my previous blog post on Microsoft killing PC Gaming I got a comment about the problem of "Piracy of PC Games" and if so, then why develop for it.
First the facts I know first and from my own observation in my own city, and information from my own first hand friends in some other countries :-

1.) PC games are Pirated and Console games are Piracy free.
-Fallout 3 on XBox 360, leaked 3 weeks before release.
-In China, Malaysia, India, Russia and many such countries, you can get modded playstation 3 in the "Showroom of Sony itself - I can do it in my own city in India", And Pirated XBox360 DVD's that run on unmodded XBox360(It does not need to be modified to run those pirated discs which are easily available for just 2 USD.)

If Chinese hackers can make a Software(in assembly language) that just emulates a OEM PC after motherboard setup and before Windows Vista boot up, how can be anything protected. Similarly PS2, PS3 are also modified with a hardware chip and PSP too(easy game download too).

I am seeing all this around me myself and then saying it.

Anyway the point being piracy on PC(which I point it is not exclusive on PC). Better service, better games, Downloadable content is proving a good solution and sensible companies are using it.

It seems Many people are just accepting the wide spread belief on PC piracy and Console security from general news sources instead of searching the truth and questioning the news. Obviously when all this will swell up it will become news then also and everybody will know, introspect, come back to PC.

2.) You need PC only for graphics and you donot need graphics "only" for a good game.
A good game can be liked even in Quake 3 graphics(but is anyone ready to droop down to Quake 2 graphics, I am not, and if so what about Quake 1 graphics, you can play it on P1 333 MHz. Arguably Quake 1 tech cannot suport the gameplay of Gothic 3.)
But not beating the bush too much and not giving extreme arguments, I agree that "upto a point Graphics does not matter", butGraphics does matter the percentage it is required in a good game. I allocate 33% for Graphics superiority these days.

Tech matters. --- Crysis ---
Crysis itself is a greatly enjoyable game even if in Half-Life2 graphics or Quake 3 graphics. It does not suit taste of majority like Call of Duty 4,5,6 is another matter. For that matter COD6MW2 is still as much enjoyable in Quake 3 graphics, the only difference being Graphics fidelity. But now you will not want to go back. Was not Half-Life 2 and Oblivion had best graphics when they came and were also very good games.
And to point out(as already has been pointed out many times by Crytek itself) that CryEngine was meant to use hardware of upto 2010 fully, and it does. The only problem being people trying to run it above Ultra Quality on 2007 hardware. Crytek itself was latter thinking of locking Ultra mode in Crysis as better, though I would like the freedom to crank my game to Oblivion "If I want", I may not be unable to do so on 2007 hardware, but I like freedom.
Crysis performs far much faster on a scene complexity which just drags Unreal Engine 3. Frontlines Fuels of War tried to put large levels on Unreal Engine 3 and it had awful load times and very bad draw distance. Jungle Rendering is awful in any Unreal Engine game, and I am bored with only labs of Area 51 like games. Halo does not compare to Crysis or even UT3 for that matter, graphically.
And anyone who has played Crysis on Medium wil swear it look lot better than any PS 2 game(except God of War), but once you put Crysis at High no Console or any other PC game including current ones look better than it. This Crysis on High Settings which runs real smooth on Cheap GeForce 8800GT, 2GB RAM, 2.4 GHz core 2 Duo(All within sweet 600USD range). That leaves nor oom for talking abou the very high settings of Crysis, just do it yourself and decide, and donot worry it may lag on GeForce 8800GT(2007 hardware), but it will not fry your PC.
And you can play Crysis on High at 800 x 600 resolution on eve cheaper GeForce 8800GT. I have myself tried all these combinations. And Crysis Warhead performs even better.

3.) You need to constantly upgrade your PC to play latest games.
First read the "Tech matters. --- Crysis ---" section above.
If you invest wisely which is not too much to ask for a rational human being and are a bit informed on PC hardware(there are numerous blogs and forums), and can take decision on your own(Is this too much to ask, though many people waste thre whole life being puppet of others)
you can get hardware which will last you 3 years, and you will still play all games at high. And if you want to got ot Very highest tahn you are in problems as games at Ultra setting(games which are graphical showcase like Doom 4 are designed to bring SLI hardware on knees), this is not possible to do on 6 month old hardware by nature of the event itself. But this is not required to enjoy the game. Consoles shield you from upgrades but have less freedom and very inferior graphics like playing on medium settings. If one just wants ready made food he will never be able to taste good cooking.

4.) Why Develop for PC? has different reasons for different people. The major reason being PC is the only platform where you can make the most technologicaly superior game. And if technology does not goes forward it is a retrogressive mentality, like stopping a children from being growing in a adult.

Piracy can definetly be minimized, Linux gaming can definetly be made popular, Very good games can definetly come on PC, but anything requires more effort in start and then rolls smooth when wheels are set in motion.
I am ending on a hopeful note, and Game Developers are in general smart talented people, soon enough they will se the logic in PC.
Once upon a time everybody was saying that PS1 will kill PC gaming and then Jhon Carmack released GLQuake and all PS1 games start looking like shit - Gabe Newell, Valve Software.
For one atleast some people have logical, problem solving minds.

You have read all and I leave upto the rational human beng reading this post to decide for himself what is good for him.( If a retard is reading this he is advised to not waste his time and others, by asking and arguing and in the end buying only console - see how he is smart enough to stick to his decision but just as stupidly keeps trouling others for info though never using his own mind - Just go and buy XBox 360, PS3 and Wii, that is the least hassle free path:) )

Is Microsoft Killing PC Gaming
Review of Risen - a excellent role-playing game by Gothic 3 developers.

And if you like my these posts you may want to look at
Avatar the movie, being Primal or Star Wars
New Moon, the drama inherent
Review of Risen - a excellent role-playing game by Gothic 3 developers.
Best Graphics Engine to use for Next - Gen games, Megatexturing, Id Tech 5, Unreal Engine and Cry Engine

at my blog

images Show -
Crysis - a premier PC Game in Ultra Quality (released 2007)
Gears of War 2 - a Prominent Console Game(XBox360) in Maximum Quality (released 2008)
Call of Duty 4 Modern Wrafare - a Multiplatform Game(XBox360, PS3, PC) in Maximum Quality (released2007)
See for yourself