general update

here is the latest Deus Ex update.

e3 went GREAT for us. RPG players seems to *really* respond well. the people who played the game said wonderful things about it. (a number of people played halfway through mission 01 or so, taking about 45 minutes.)

the show trip was exhausting. warren got sick. we lost our voices daily. immediately after e3, chris norden (assistant director/lead programmer) went the a show called Creativity. and warren and i went to ION dallas to talk to journalists from Japan’s “play online.” the weather came crashing in over dallas–eerie green sky, waves of lightning and the loudest thunder i have ever hear, all from the wall-length glass 54th floor window looking over the city. the journalists were freaked out, video tapping the incoming storm. the downside to this wonderful atmospheric phenomenon is that warren and i missed out out-going flight and had to spend the night in dallas. we sat in a holiday inn bar, drinking like lushes and arguing politics and eugenics. (cutting geeks loose on liquor is almost never a good idea…) i’ve spent the last week recovering from all the standing, demoing, talking and travelling. now back to what we love–making games.

also, in my spare time i have been beta testing system shock 2 for friends at Irrational Game/Looking Glass Technologies. i am stunned–STUNNED!–at how cool this game is. you simply will not believe it…

anway, now the Deus Ex team are setting up to move ahead fleshing out missions 03 through 18. (for alpha, we completed totally playable versions of mission 01 & 02, thus providing something of a game-play blue-print for what we want to do with the rest of the game. and ‘all raw geometry’ for missions 03-18.)


i’m leaving for e3 tomorrow. see you there if you’re going and want to say hi. (i think i’ll be snugly imprisoned in the Eidos area…)

if you’re curious, AMAZING things happened for Deus Ex prior to this week. we actually took our alpha and polished it. no last minute bullshit–we just spent the time tuning missions 01 & 02, talking a lot about what, post e3, we need to beef up and what we need to cut back. peachy.

warren and chris just left for the airport. scott martin and al yarusso (more programmers!) are going too. i leave tomorrow.

wonder if i could get anything on eBay for my Deus Ex demo CD? (“12 quatlus!!!”)

see you at the show.

btw–quake3 test deathmatching is awesome. i liked quake, hated quake 2. this is more like doom in 3d–fast, furious, fun. the jump pads were a brilliant move. the only thing i’m having trouble with is knowing which interface # corresponds with which weapon. but, q3 is clearly an artistic acheivement. this is going to take deathmatching to masses.

UnrealEd habits

after switching over to UnrealEd, exactly a year ago, i am happy to say i still love working with it. it gives the user amazing power.

obviously, everyone has a different style, but i’d like to compare notes. this is the way i have been building with UnrealEd lately, specifically when i sit down to create a new area:

* first phase–rough creation

a) create all raw geometry–staying mainly on the 16 scale grid. mostly entering values for the brushes in expressions, like i make a cube that is 16*4, 16*4, 16*4. i vertex manipulate or use the 2d shape editor whenever i need to. i never use lightwave objects unless i need natural terrain.

then at the end of step ‘a’ i select ALL brushes and ‘transform permanently.’ from what i have seen and learned, i consider this last step *really* useful.

b) plaster down 4 or 5 simple textures–temporary floor, wall, trimming, ceiling.

c) drop a single light, adjust its values, then clone it wherever needed for ambience.

i’m thinking about modifying step ‘c’ by tagging all those lights specifically as ‘amb’ or something. that way, later, i can select all the general ambient lights for the level but NOT the small radius lights dedicated to special case situations (like a small red light under a bar sign or whatever). then, with the levels ‘general’ lights selected, i can easily experiment with different color schemes for the level.

* second phase–texturing

prior to step ‘d’ i select all textures in the level (the temporary textures i plastered down) and i align them all completely. (this makes step ‘d’ a lot easier. this habit is to textures what ‘transform permanent’ is to brushes in my opinion.)

d) work with an artist to get a custom set of textures for the level.

* third phase–lighting

e) alter all the lights i dropped in step ‘c’ so the lighting looks good with the textures.

working this way, i have seen a speed increase, i work cleaner and i seem to have more freedom because of the logical sequence. i hardly *ever* have the crashes i had when i first started and i rarely have dissappearing geometry (despite the weirdness and complexity of our game’s real-world spaces).

if you use UnrealEd and have something to say, i’d love to hear it.