Today John spoke at E3 about Doom 3, one of the most anticipated titles this year and gaming development in general. Some of the more interesting points he discussed revolved around the "Golden Point" of graphics. He feels that the current generation of graphics cards can do anything an artist can dream up. Unfortunately, the physics and simulation technology has not kept up with the pace of the graphics market.
In the case of Doom 3, this has resulted in very little interaction with objects. John Carmack felt that the realism of the graphics and the game in general would be negatively affected by the inadequate physical models currently available. In other words, each item to be interacted with has to be individually assigned attributes, including interior structure, interior textures et al in case someone decides to break it.
In other games with a deformable/destructible environment the graphic technology was not in place so the modeling was much easier. In older games a plain-jane texture could be applied to the box, it could split into several chunks and dissipate into the air, and that was acceptable to the gamer as previously shot bodies disappeared, blood did not spray and the list goes on. Because of the realistic nature of Doom 3 (and I saw a preview video. Hold onto your hats.) id decided to leave anything out that would detract from the overall game. First to go? Multiplayer.
Because of the nature of multiplayer games, where individuals have to be able to traverse a map in any direction, often times level designers make several changes to enhance the multiplayer experience. With Doom 3, because of the workflow, an artist would create a room and it would take a week and a half to program. Any changes to the room would require reworking so id chose the economical route.
Another scary fact about Doom 3? It has consumed over 60 man years of development time. So long garage coders. Development costs have gone through the roof, with no end in sight.
On a side note, John chatted briefly about the X-prize (link to xprize site) project he is working on. His company is Armadillo Aerospace, and is competing for the X-prize. Apparently the X-prize project is consuming loads of his time. No wonder the game is delayed. µ
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