Crysis, operating systems, workflow, verticality and why Bioshock sucks as a shooter.

I really want to get back to finish the first level of my Crysis mod, Double Helix. It’s just that RemakeQuake is taking priority atm – there’s a demo release planned for the end of June, during QExpo ’11. I’ve got to finish a map and a bit of clutter for that.

Crysis is in the back of my mind though, as is Doom 3.

I do want to get back there. RMQ is just eating most of my energy and sometimes I wish I was more free and things were simpler and I could just spend time painstakingly placing some vegetation or painting terrain. Oh well.

I do have grass in RMQ now, and even a crude terrain generator (fitting the terrain to existing levels still seems overly complicated – counting triangles and marking outlines on the terrain mesh involved, bah). But it’s all so limited. You make progress on one front, and run straight into the next problem. You can’t really do much more than comicky looking stuff in Quake. Innovation happens at a snail’s pace.

It’s been almost 4 years now like that with RMQ. I’m committed to finishing it, but the truth is I’ve outgrown Quake. It’s sometimes a burden as much as a pleasure.

Another thing that sucks is that I have to boot into Windows for Crysis / Sandbox, while my entire RMQ workflow happens in Linux (Blender, GTKRadiant, QC coding, GIMP, and various tools that run under Wine). Linux is just the overall nicer operating system for me. I get more work done in Linux. Starting up Windows is a horror because of all the stupid messages that keep popping up. Having to dual boot is also really bad for the workflow.

Similar problem with switching back & forth to Doom 3; Radiant can’t deal well with different “profiles”. Not to mention GTKRadiant 1.5 pops up about 20 error messages each time it starts due to it expecting some outdated GTK version. I should probably switch to Netradiant, but it appears that someone thought it a smart move to change key combinations for things. Why do people change stuff that isn’t broken.

I’m going to play some Crysis now. I tried getting back into Bioshock, but I found it reinforced my opinion that Bioshock sucks at being a shooter game. It’s a nice, engrossing adventure, and a lot of thought went into making it, and it’s full of little gimmicks to waste your time on. But here’s the problem: A shooter isn’t about picking the electric ammo and jazz music and hacking U-Invent boxes. A shooter is about being alone in the dark with a shotgun killing monsters.

Quake 2 is a better shooter than Bioshock. I replayed some of that recently, and one thing I noticed was how much 3-D combat there is. Everywhere there are catwalks with sniping grunts on them. Most levels have several floors as a rule. There are tons of lifts and ladders between them and tons of buttons to press. In comparison, games like Bioshock are pretty flat. Even Crysis is comparatively 2-D. OK, it has flyers, and a few watchtowers. But there’s very little in the way of enemies dropping grenades from above etc.

I’ll have to make a conscious effort to put some more 3D combat into my RMQ maps. Granted, e1m2 isn’t the most vertical map in vanilla Quake, but I’m still trying to sneak some bombarding ogres in there.

I find vertical combat makes a shooter that much more fun.

So to recap, a lot of modern “shooters” fail when it comes to the actual shooting. Not enough focus on combat, too many gimmicks, too much adventuring, not fast enough, not vertical enough.

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One response to “Crysis, operating systems, workflow, verticality and why Bioshock sucks as a shooter.

  • Inkub0

    Dual-Boot: very boring. It’s a problem for me too…
    The 3d-combat is great. I think it’s very “Quakey” to be attacked from unusual places 😉

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