April 30, 2001

High-Tech Gaming & 3D Realms

There's a pretty cool article up over on Gamespot right now entitled "High-Tech Games - Pushing the Envelope in 2001 and beyond". In it, the 3D Realms titles Max Payne as well as Duke Nukem Forever are covered.

In the article, 10 games that the article's writers feel (in their own words) represent high-tech
gaming. These are truly innovative and technologically unique games--ones that will probably inspire other developers and a dozen copycats and move game design forward.

Max Payne is covered first in their list, and here's a bit on what they had to say about Max..

If scenes from Max Payne have such a realistic look to them, that's because, from the very start, the designers at Remedy Entertainment have focused on building the titular hero's world through photographic art. "I think that makes a huge difference when compared to the art direction in most other games," says Petri Jarvilehto, one of the design leaders behind Max Payne. "There is practically no hand-drawn art to break the feeling of immersion and realism. Our characters, textures, and models simply look extremely real."

The use of graphics-engine technology has immensely shaped the way in which Max Payne has been developed. Because of this particular engine, Jarvilehto attests, the game designers were able to do much more than if they had used any of the existing 3D graphics engines. "The size of modern projects is clearly one of the challenges. Almost all of the hit games shipping today are huge, and good content takes a lot of time to create. As the size [of games] grows, the technology becomes more challenging as well."

And of course, Duke Nukem Forever got a great write up - check out some of the Duke text..

3D Realms has staunchly kept mum about the specific surprises it has in store for Duke Nukem Forever. What little is known is that the game will, like Max Payne, use photo-realistic textures. Compared with the previous Duke games, 3D Realms has avoided depicting any art that looks cartoonish. But the main selling point is that the Duke's latest adventure could be the action game that does for the Unreal Tournament engine what Half-Life did for the Quake II engine or what Elite Force did for the Quake III engine--expand the original engine's capabilities in unexpected ways. Sure, the action role-playing game Deus Ex already pulled off a number of impressive feats with the UT engine, but Scott Miller, one of 3D Realms' founders, says that Duke Nukem Forever's modifications go further. He proudly boasts, "For the past year, I've joked that Unreal licensees should be licensing from us, not Epic, because our version of the code is much faster and more feature packed."

"Some people can't imagine how an FPS could possibly be more interactive than what has already been done on the market. There was a time when even we had been stumped on what we could do," admits Matt Wood (3DR DNF 3D Modeler). "We started simple and took every idea we had done in the past and took them to the next level. At some point, the floodgates opened, and every idea we have ever had or wanted to implement came to the surface, and before long, we had more ideas and designs than we had programmer power to implement.

"That's when we realized that two programmers on a game of this scale just wasn't going to cut it, and we soon hired more. Before long, the programmers were working so fast that the artists and mappers sometimes had a hard time keeping up. But I think we can all agree that not enough cool stuff is far worse than the alternative...more interactivity than you can shake a two-by-four at."

There's a ton of good stuff about Duke Nukem Forever & Max Payne in this article - you should check it out now, if you haven't already done so.

Posted by Joe Siegler on April 30, 2001 at 12:00 PM | Permalink
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