ES4: Oblivion - CRPG of the Year @ GameSpy
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January 7th, 2007, 16:38
I'm talking coding here, and as a developer, I can honestly tell you that programming something completely linear, and something that constantly has various triggers both as starting and ending points, will give two very different codes - one being fairly short and easy to detect bugs in, and the other being several times longer with a whole lot more places where you can find bugs (which gives one of the games a more polished feel than the other).
As for combat - neither game are very "advanced" if we're talking developing, the mechanics in Might and Magic 6 ten years ago wasn't as physically correct, but it has a frightening number of similarities.
And Radiant AI? Seems to me like a simple loop with a random input that tells the NPC where to go and what to do, with a code for instance from 1 to 10, where 3 means "get food", 5 means "stop and talk to someone" etc. The easy thing about this kind of mechanic is that they can apply it to all NPCs and just change a few variables, but in Gothic 3 you have to script every damn one of them personally. That makes one extremely long code, and very difficult to maintain. I am not overly impressed by either AI to be honest, but I believe the way G3 does it involves more work and a higher risk that things can go wrong.
I have to stress this again though - I am not talking about visuals here. There is no denying that Oblivion is very impressive in that regard, and everything looks outstanding.
One of the difficulties in Gothic 3 is the no-loading. I personally feel they should've gone for a G2 solution; this would've greatly reduced the number of bugs and issues G3 has, as developing a no-load game is extremely hard. You never get to reset anything except when re-loading. Imagine the number of objects floating in the memory when running G3; no loads, so many NPCs running around all doing something scripted, so many questtriggers to keep track of all over the place - it's no wonder you get memory leak in a game like that. Truth be told, Oblivion had memory leak as well, altho not as big as G3s, probably resulting of some NPC objects that didn't terminate correctly, but that's another story.
Oh, and by the way, Gothic 3 has physics. You can't toss things around there, but other than that it's very similar to Oblivions (neither game will let you roll an apple down a hill, but in both games you can see corpses tumbling down, stopping in objects, etc).
And no, I don't have access to the source code, but I do work as a developer with C++/Java/C#, and when playing games I always try to figure out how they're built. It's not like they have some huge secret under there that no other developers have access to.
Oblivions coding is, from what I can see while playing the game, easier to develop and easier to maintain than Gothic 3s code. Believe it or not, but there is nothing revolutionary about that code, everything has been done before. The real difficulty in G3 is the queststructure and especially the no-loading. Why did they go for such a difficult solution? I don't know, must've felt it was the next big step after what they did in G2, but I feel they should've stuck to that way of doing it.
Of course, what is actually under the hood of either one of these games is difficult to predict, but based on what is actually seen in-game I have a rough idea of what is needed in terms of prgramming.
Last edited by Maylander; January 7th, 2007 at
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