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My god, George was an even bigger dickhead than I thought!

User is online   Altered Reality 

  • 149

#1

So I found a day-one version of DNF and used the Flawless Widescreen utility to access the console and cheat to hell and back. After what I discovered by just ghosting around, I really got the urge to headdesk (or headbutt George, although I would probably just hit his layers of blubber and bounce back).

Between Vegas in Ruin and The Duke Burger: Part 3, level designers have created a COHERENT LAYOUT for an alternate Las Vegas, detailed enough to build a map of it and which could probably be freely explored until 2009. Then George comes, decides that cutting is shipping and Xbox 360 devkits are the best thing since sliced bread, and orders the dev team to chop off parts of the levels until what remains can run smoothly on an Xbox 360.
Result: most of what level designers have built has been walled off, its polygon and texture detail reduced to something that would probably look average on a PS1, and ENTIRE SECTIONS OF BUILDINGS AND STREETS (which cannot be seen from the walled section where the action takes place) have been simply deleted, making what used to be a virtual city look like a movie set. Furthermore, EVERY COLLISION BOUND outside the walled areas has been deleted, so that you need to ghost around to explore the "forbidden" areas without falling past the ground! And to top it off, the surface of every level is about 75% duplicated data, so you see those inaccessible structures again and again, from one level to the next, almost as if Goerge was laughing at you AND at his level designers, saying "See those areas my employees have poured their hearts into to design? Yeah, you'll never see them up close, but I'll make you see glimpses of them again and again just to twist the knife into the wound!"

I used to say George ought to be flipping burgers in a McDonald's. No. I take it back. George ought to be CLEAING TOILETS in a McDonald's!

Whew! Now my spleen has been vented.

P. S.
I know people have converted DNF object meshes to different formats, to use them in different games (i.e. Garry's Mod). I wonder if the same thing can be done with level data, to build a fully explorable version of DNF's Las Vegas...

If your brain tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, get rid of those silly doubts and listen to your brain.

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 31 July 2017 - 06:57 AM

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User is offline   icecoldduke 

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#2

View PostAltered Reality, on 31 July 2017 - 06:47 AM, said:

Cutting is shipping

Cutting is always shipping. While the end result suffered, if they were having performance issues, and couldn't find an engineering fix, you have to cut content until your at performance. Unfortunately George made the right decisions too late, he was correct in cutting content, but he fucked up by not realizing the problem sooner.

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This post has been edited by icecoldduke: 31 July 2017 - 06:55 AM

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User is offline   Tea Monster 

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#3

It was designed for PC originally, XBox et. all came later, which is why they had to suddenly cut everything down. Fuck consolitis.

If they went from 1997 till 2009 and the team hadn't realised that there were serious performance problems, then yeah, the team were even more hopeless than we originally thought. That is apart from all the stories of playing WoW, etc. etc.

We'd all love to see some of those images Altered Reality.

This post has been edited by Tea Monster: 31 July 2017 - 07:31 AM

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User is online   Altered Reality 

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#4

View PostTea Monster, on 31 July 2017 - 07:30 AM, said:

We'd all love to see some of those images Altered Reality.

I'm gonna post them soon.

If your brain tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, get rid of those silly doubts and listen to your brain.
2

User is offline   CryptKiller 

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#5

IIRC the console versions had really bad loading times, so they still failed at the whole "optimisation for consoles" thing. The magic of AAA gamedev.
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User is online   Altered Reality 

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#6

First batch of screenshots, from "Vegas In Ruin".
http://imgur.com/a/Txp63

If your brain tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, get rid of those silly doubts and listen to your brain.

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 31 July 2017 - 01:50 PM

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User is online   fuegerstef 

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#7

Apart from the fact that I am no huge fan of DNF and liked Vegas at night more, this looks like normal level decoration to me (hence the disabled collision, repeated assets and lower detail).

EDIT: And reusing stuff in the next level seems logical to me, as the levels take place in the same area.


Or am I missing something here?

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This post has been edited by fuegerstef: 31 July 2017 - 01:42 PM

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User is offline   icecoldduke 

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#8

They probably had to do that much cutting to fit on the 360.

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User is online   fuegerstef 

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#9

From an old Design Document from 2008 (before the cutting took place):

"After exiting the Lady Killer, Duke meets up with the EDF, and is introduced to Bombshell for the first time. All hell has broken loose, and Duke works his way down the Vegas Strip with the help of Bombshell and the EDF fighting Gunships, Dropships, Reocns and using EDF turrets. Finally Duke defeats a Battlelord and exits through a sewer system"

Replace Bombshell with Dylan and it sounds very close to what I played (they initially wanted Pig Cop tanks in it too, though).

http://duke4ever.alt...orld_Chart.html

To me it seems the cutting took place elsewhere (later in the game) and the "whole of Vegas" is exactly how every level designer would design such kind of level where you fight down the Vegas Strip but need decoration to show it is Vegas and not Pimplepop Street in Cobbleville.

A few free casual games by me: http://gamejolt.com/...uegerstef/2615/

This post has been edited by fuegerstef: 31 July 2017 - 02:31 PM

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User is offline   Hank 

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#10

[interlude]
I respect George. A guy with his experience is like worth his weight in gold, in my books.
It's easy to find faults, though, because no one is perfect, and hindsight is always 20/20. He did produce some awesome games, that are still played today.
[/interlude]

b.t.w. Gearbox did the ports for consoles

The things I don't know could fill libraries.

This post has been edited by Hank: 31 July 2017 - 02:38 PM

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User is online   Altered Reality 

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#11

What about these other screenshots, then?
http://imgur.com/a/QBQR2
They are from "The Duke Dome" and "The Duke Dome, part 2", and they show details (even jokes!) you never see in the full game, aside from small glimpses! And if you're playing a console version, you don't see them AT ALL, because the DOF effect cannot be disabled! Why put them there, if they were not meant to be seen up close?

If your brain tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, get rid of those silly doubts and listen to your brain.
5

User is online   fuegerstef 

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#12

View PostAltered Reality, on 31 July 2017 - 02:42 PM, said:

What about these other screenshots, then?
http://imgur.com/a/QBQR2
They are from "The Duke Dome" and "The Duke Dome, part 2", and they show details (even jokes!) you never see in the full game, aside from small glimpses! And if you're playing a console version, you don't see them AT ALL, because the DOF effect cannot be disabled! Why put them there, if they were not meant to be seen up close?


A Wall that isn't seen shouldn't be in the game. That's called optimization.

I don't know why there are jokes that cannot be seen on some systems. But deducing that this was once a fully walkable Vegas that got cut is so far out it isn't even funny.
I heard of a another game with an unreachable place (unless you use noclip) where it says "NO ONE SHOULD BE HERE - LEVELORD".

<sarcasm>
WHY PUT A JOKE IN A GAME THAT NOBODY WILL EVER SEE UNLESS HE IS CHEATING, ALTERED REALITY DEMANDS ANSWERS NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OH WAIT; THAT GAME IS ALSO FROM BROUSSARD, SO ALTERED REALITY IS RIGHT.
</sarcasm*>

And of course distant palms are 2D ... why waste more polygons for that?

I suggest you learn about level design before commenting on it ...

I know you live in your own reality, but can we others please stay within the normal reality of level design.


*) close to cynicism

A few free casual games by me: http://gamejolt.com/...uegerstef/2615/

This post has been edited by fuegerstef: 31 July 2017 - 03:01 PM

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User is offline   Hank 

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#13

From George, written in 2011, six years ago
Posted Image

The things I don't know could fill libraries.

This post has been edited by Hank: 31 July 2017 - 02:59 PM

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User is online   Altered Reality 

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#14

View PostHank, on 31 July 2017 - 02:31 PM, said:

[interlude]
I respect George.

I don't. Anyone who works on the same project for thirteen years (1996-2009) and fails to deliver anything is absolutely incompetent.

View PostHank, on 31 July 2017 - 02:31 PM, said:

A guy with his experience

What experience? He released some mediocre CGA and EGA games, a grand total of ONE successful FPS back then when MS-DOS was not obsolete yet, and a self-ripoff of his own game.

View PostHank, on 31 July 2017 - 02:31 PM, said:

is like worth his weight in gold, in my books.

In my books, he is worth less than his weight in shit. With 100 kilograms of shit you can fertilize 20 square meters of arable land. What can you do with 100 kilograms of George?

View PostHank, on 31 July 2017 - 02:31 PM, said:

It's easy to find faults, though, because no one is perfect

And some are more imperfect than others. It's easy to find faults in George, because he is completely incompetent at project management.

View PostHank, on 31 July 2017 - 02:31 PM, said:

He did produce some awesome games, that are still played today.
[/interlude]

Name two.

View PostHank, on 31 July 2017 - 02:31 PM, said:

b.t.w. Gearbox did the ports for consoles

Nope. Piranha.

View Postfuegerstef, on 31 July 2017 - 02:49 PM, said:

"NO ONE SHOULD BE HERE - LEVELORD".

The only reason that joke was funny is because it acknowledged that it was in an unreachable area. It anticipated what the player was doing. The jokes in unreachable areas in DNF don't.

If your brain tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, get rid of those silly doubts and listen to your brain.

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 31 July 2017 - 03:07 PM

-2

User is offline   High Treason 

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#15

Why can't I shake a strange feeling that once upon a time, perhaps in another universe, a bike might have ridden on these streets... Maybe, just maybe.

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User is offline   Tea Monster 

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#16

OK, maybe they weren't just playing WoW for 13 years :blink:
1

User is offline   Hank 

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#17

View PostAltered Reality, on 31 July 2017 - 03:00 PM, said:

I don't. ...

Fine. We have the right to sharply disagree. :D

[added]
critical correction to one my previous posts:
Gearbox hired Piranha to port the game to consoles.

The things I don't know could fill libraries.

This post has been edited by Hank: 31 July 2017 - 03:56 PM

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User is offline   Tea Monster 

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#18

Some of the things cut in half and 2D trees make sense if you aren't going to see them clearly, or they are going to be in the far background. In your imgur description you mentioned that it looked like a movie set. In effect, it IS.
If you aren't going to see it, why are you rendering it? The same thing goes for movie sets that are made out of flats. If you aren't going to see the other side of a wall, why build it? Games are all about 'cheating' to get framerate. Usually though, I think that engines have a feature where it won't render anything that isn't in the field of view. It could be that when these were made, the engine didn't have that. I don't know enough technical details of the history of the Unreal engine to say.

Also, the 'cutting is shipping' could have been done in a panic, which would result in some of the frankly bizarre choices made.

This post has been edited by Tea Monster: 31 July 2017 - 03:41 PM

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User is online   X-Vector 

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#19

Can't get worked up over any "cutting is shipping" shenanigans when this material just reminds me that by this time the game had turned into a lost cause of dick 'n' fart jokes and general drabness.

That
's what really hurts.
0

User is online   Altered Reality 

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#20

View PostTea Monster, on 31 July 2017 - 03:38 PM, said:

Usually though, I think that engines have a feature where it won't render anything that isn't in the field of view.

Exactly. Which is why I'm firmly convinced that increasing the framerate was not the reason for cutting buildings in half. At most, it could reduce the size of the level on the hard disk, but cutting the levels in half and duplicating locations from one to another defeats even THAT purpose.

View PostTea Monster, on 31 July 2017 - 03:38 PM, said:

It could be that when these were made, the engine didn't have that. I don't know enough technical details of the history of the Unreal engine to say.

The Unreal engine has always had that feature, since Unreal 1. If you build a highly detailed level and you run it on a slow computer (where by "slow" I mean a first-gen Pentium processor with a Voodoo 1 card), the frame rate will slow down to a crawl. But if you add a hollow cube to the same level and you ghost into the cube, the frame rate will be smooth because the engine is not rendering anything outside the cube. There is no reason to believe such a fundamental feature was ever removed, because it wouldn't make sense.

If your brain tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, get rid of those silly doubts and listen to your brain.
0

User is offline   oasiz 

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#21

Anything you don't see is unnecessary and proper optimization should remove such.
Keeping low level of detail areas around aren't as resource intensive and being too strict on what to remove can make designing a bit challenging as any change in verticality / play area would mean that the player might see more than what was thought.
It's better to have the LOD fallback than nothingness in those kind of situations.

Reason for crude slices like that could simply be RAM usage and not to mention that levels load faster due to less complicated geometry.

If you want a game chock full of scrapped content in a way that goes even further than DNF, then check out Alan Wake. It practically streams a full map of the open world on each of it's levels, A single chapter might use 5-10% of the total map area overall. Full game uses maybe 45% of the map while leaving more than 50% of the map out there, something you can explore with cheats.
I guess they just had a good enough of an engine for the streaming to work well and in a development environment loaded the whole thing at once and did changes in a way that affected every chapter if needed, keeping consistency between levels. Possibly lower detail areas in DNF were kept for the same reason.

I have no doubts on if these had more content than what meets the eye but having a facade for buildings is perfectly normal and something you find in pretty much any modern game.
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User is online   Sledgehammer 

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#22

Spoiler

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User is online   fuegerstef 

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#23

View PostAltered Reality, on 01 August 2017 - 03:17 AM, said:

Exactly. Which is why I'm firmly convinced that increasing the framerate was not the reason for cutting buildings in half. At most, it could reduce the size of the level on the hard disk, but cutting the levels in half and duplicating locations from one to another defeats even THAT purpose.


OMG, you are actually really funny. :)

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User is offline   Commando Nukem 

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#24

I don't think any of that was ever intended to be accessible. Not in the 2007-to release version of the game. I think it was very clearly designed as a 3D Skybox.

What really hurts it, comes from overall design. It's painfully obvious that Vegas was intended to be a night time scenario, and the level of detail in the buildings would have been suffecient for that. All you'd see is glowing monoliths and neon lighting everywhere. You wouldn't need lot's texture detail or polygons. When that was stripped out and they transformed the entire scenario into daytime, it really hurt the look and feel.

Posted Image


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User is offline   icecoldduke 

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#25

View PostTea Monster, on 31 July 2017 - 03:38 PM, said:

Also, the 'cutting is shipping' could have been done in a panic, which would result in some of the frankly bizarre choices made.

Exactly. When you have to get the fucking thing out the door, your only sleeping 2 hours a day, and living on caffine and adderall, I can only imagine the hell the devs went through during the final years of production on DNF.

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This post has been edited by icecoldduke: 01 August 2017 - 07:02 AM

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User is offline   Mblackwell 

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#26

Honestly most of the things here are normal cuts that can happen over time along with general optimization. I take it you have never explored outside the play bounds of a Half Life 2 level for instance? Additionally if you don't build some of those features players will perceive the missing details even if they can never see them fully or up close, and it ruins immersion. Hell, Doom's E1M1 has just such an area in the first few seconds.

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User is offline   Shaq Fu 

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#27

I explorered the game with noclip to absolutely insane levels. DNF has a ridiculous amount of details nobody will ever notice or see. The Crash Course chapter where you climb your way on top of the Duke Burger has the entire previous Vegas chapters rendered in the background far far away from the player.

Each level just felt really bizarre, like something was off. I recall hearing an anonymous 3D Realms employee mention the MP maps that were available on launch were just cut campaign areas reworked. Check those out man and see if you can find anything strange. Especially Morningwood, the Sausage Factory, and Vegas maps.
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User is offline   DavoX 

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#28

All of these are clearly skybox buildings. I'm hoping this thread isn't serious. We are using the same techniques on Ion Maiden skybox. You can see the buildings nicely on the front but behind them there's nothing. Well... some of them do have stuff :P
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User is offline   Jimmy 

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#29

The heavy cutting didn't even come until after 3DR closed their doors anyway.
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User is offline   Shaq Fu 

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#30

View PostDavoX, on 01 August 2017 - 02:15 PM, said:

All of these are clearly skybox buildings. I'm hoping this thread isn't serious. We are using the same techniques on Ion Maiden skybox. You can see the buildings nicely on the front but behind them there's nothing. Well... some of them do have stuff :P


Yeah I should have mentioned the land you see in Crash Course's chapter are extremely low poly, the small details are still amazing nonetheless.

For example: you can even see the crane you used to get into the Hive chapter!

Posted Image

I wouldn't call George a dickhead though. Times were hard when he wanted the game out there.
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