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#1 11/4/12 10:12

gmsly
Member

Oni Comment

I just saw this, for people who haven't read

Oni is a game of thrilling action, heart-pounding suspense and complex, satisfying combat. It is also a game of intense frustration, visual and structural repetition, and a general feeling of only being half complete.

This review is one I have been looking forward to doing since very late 1998, when I first saw this game in action. It is also one I have been dreading, for much the same reasons. If I had reviewed Oni right then and there, as I first played it, I would have been drowned in my own barrage of adjectives – “revolutionary!” “astounding!” “intense!” “earth-shattering!” – but the sad truth is, Oni took too long to come to market and made too many sacrifices along the way. Viewed through eyes that have experienced Rune, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, Deep Space Nine: The Fallen and even Tomb Raider IV, several which went from concept to final boxed product in the time that Oni made it to Beta, Oni suffers greatly from the comparison.

That’s not to say that Oni isn’t a thrilling game and a superior title in some respects; certainly there is no title on Mac or PC that has ever captured the thrill of true-3D melee combat so well, and very few on consoles have managed such a complete simulation. I did indeed spend many a heart-pounding, sweaty-palmed moment creeping along in the dark, wondering which direction the next attack would come from.

Oni has a lot to offer many gamers – but during my journey through this game I saw so much that seemed left undone, or hadn’t been carried through to a logical conclusion. The story of Oni’s development may be one of ideas left out or discarded, not included.

If you have played the demo through to completion several times, then you know how heart-stoppingly intense Oni’s combat can be, especially against multiple opponents (some of them armed!) in tight quarters. If you are totally in love with that combat and want lots more of it, then Oni is the game for you, and you will most likely love every minute of it – as long as you are prepared to put up with large stretches of empty space in between. If you like the adventure elements, such as stealth exploration, switch finding and jumping puzzles, you’re going to have to put up with a lot of combat to get to them.

Ultimately Oni feels like an estranged marriage between two gaming styles – an intense combat game and a plot-driven adventure game combined, both hampered by excessive repetition, illogical puzzles and a general emptiness of detail which would leave even a Bauhaus architect screaming for a potted plant or a water cooler to break up the monotony.

In the Beginning
A few months after I saw Oni for the second time at E3, Tuncer Deniz and I traveled to Cupertino, CA to visit Bungie West and see this game’s development firsthand. My experience there was extremely positive and memorable; the Bungie West team was a lively bunch of characters, from Alex Okita to Michael Evans to Brent Pease to Quinn Dunki. While the offices were a sparse affair, except for the occasional anime poster on the wall, everyone seemed intensely involved in their work and tasks were broken down in a logical manner. Okita would sketch concepts and make texture maps, these would be handed off to the modeler who would create the characters in 3D Studio Max, and then the animator would take over, creating the amazing variety of moves, dodges and falls the game required. In between sat two pedigreed architects, using their real-world training in AutoCad to create structures and environments that made architectural ‘sense’ as well as served the plot and design of the game. The team seemed to be firing on all cylinders, and loving every minute. They didn’t have the long combined history of involvement in the games industry that many teams have today; in fact for some of the members this was the first game they had ever worked on. The team was physically as well as ideologically separate from the Bungie team back in Chicago; for the first half of Oni’s development, they didn’t even seem to share any members in common.
Overall the team was incredibly enthusiastic about the game and energetically described their accomplishments, goals and future plans in detail. Although the game was in an early alpha stage at that point, I saw huge levels that were almost complete, impressive character animations and combat, and of course LAN play in action. Level scripting was just being implemented, and the first few in-engine cut scenes were in development.

After playing all the way through the Gold Master copy of Oni over two years after I first saw the game in action, what is remarkable to me is not only how true to their vision the Oni designers remained, but also how many things they were convinced were essential at the beginning of the project actually failed to make it into the final product.

During the course of my visit to Bungie West I actually saw objects, weapons and models being demonstrated that never made it into the final product. Animated scenery objects such as complex welding equipment, jumbo-sized models such as the famed Iron Giant and even a flying helicopter were demonstrated for me. Alex Okita described the particle engine they were creating in lavish detail, promising me that the game would be full of showering sparks, billowing smoke, arcing electricity and tons of breakable and destroyable objects. He said they planned on having flowing liquids and smoke that dissipated over time, as well as interactive elements galore.

Many of you reading this might say that it is extremely unfair to judge a game by what it might have been, rather than what it is, and I totally agree. I can’t think of a single game that hasn’t ended up somewhat less than the designers initially promised, in the heated glow of the concept-planning stage. But the fact that I saw some of these elements in a functioning, polished state and yet they still didn’t make the final cut is just one more curious detail in the storied development of this title.

Much of what I know about this title’s team and development shouldn’t be discussed on the record, and really isn’t relevant to the final product. I am judging this game as a final product, not as a work in progress or a potential title that failed to meet expectations. But I will use my ‘insider’ knowledge of the game itself to assure players of Oni that everything that seems to be “missing” from the final version, from interactive objects to breakable furniture to LAN and Internet play, was not left out without serious struggle and heartbreak on the part of the designers.

The Story
Although the storyline and setting of Oni has been known (and discussed) for years now, it is worth rehashing one more time: The protagonist of Oni is Konoko, a member of the TFTC assembled to battle the Syndicate, an evil corporation bent on industrial espionage and unlicensed uses of technology. It becomes apparent in the first few levels that Konoko herself is a technological product, her neural system enhanced and linked with an artificially intelligent entity known as Shinitama. As with most anime films, the story starts in the middle and the viewer is given little clue as to where the story will progress next, making room for abrupt and startling changes of plot and twists of fate. In any case Konoko spends much of her journey in pursuit of the evil Muro, another enhanced human being on a search for even more technology to enhance himself and his Syndicate cronies.
And of course, there is a wicked subplot underneath the main story that will have shocking consequences for Konoko – any fan of films such as Akira or Ghost in the Shell won’t be disappointed, though they may not be blown away by the originality of the concept.

The overall plot of Oni is one of its strengths as well as its weaknesses – as in Myth II, the plot itself and the action derived from it seem strangely disconnected at certain points, often for long stretches of time. The storyline itself progresses through three devices: in-engine cut scenes with dialog, voice-overs by Shinitama (your cyber-guardian angel) and Konoko’s own personal diary, which somehow she finds time to update between snapping necks and shooting bad guys full of lead.

Without giving any of it away, I can say I was satisfied with the plot and storyline of the game, but not thrilled; it is not likely to inspire the rampant (heh!) speculation and endless discussion/debate that the Marathon and Myth universes have inspired.

The Combat
From the first time I stepped up to a PC and played a LAN game of Oni, it was obvious that the combat element of this game was nothing short of inspired. 3D combat had been done before, and I had dropped many a quarter on Virtua Fighter and its ilk, but never before had combat been so free form and flexible. With multiple opponents rather than just one, and a true-3D battlefield rather than a 2D line on a 3D plane, Oni combat is thrilling, complex and utterly addictive.
One of the best elements of Oni’s combat system is that it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. The “special moves” are more powerful than normal attacks, but not by very much – if you don’t care to learn the combos, you will still be able to survive on the basic maneuvers (kick, punch, leg sweep, throw) and vanquish your foes. The extra moves add more flash and cinematic qualities than substance, which was an intentional design element the team discussed with me repeatedly. They wanted the combat system to be very easy to learn and tough to master, but to not be dominated by “power” and combo moves the way games such as Samurai Showdown or Mortal Kombat 2 had become.

In this respect I think the Oni team succeeded completely. No other game I have played has the visceral, real-world feel of combat that Oni does, with well-executed and animated moves progressing fluidly from one to the other. The combos and specials vary widely in difficulty of execution; some moves seem almost impossible to generate on demand, and others become an essential part of your fighting “vocabulary.” In general I found myself using the flashy moves (such as the Rising Fury punch) on weaker or isolated opponents, but relying on standard kicks and punches and that always-useful leg sweep when confronted by multiple attackers. Unfortunately as the game does not allow you to record ‘demos’ of your game, and there is no multiplayer support, there is little motivation to master the flashy combat moves except for your own personal edification.

As for the weapons, this is another area of the game in which I feel the team was extremely successful in achieving their aim. Their goal was to have kick-ass weapons that reflected the futuristic nature of the environment but never dominated the gameplay, and that is exactly what Oni has. While the early weapons such as the pistol and SMG can drop an opponent at close quarters, you never find enough ammo to fight the game with arms exclusively. Later on, as the weapons become more powerful, ammo becomes increasingly rare; the fact that you can only carry one weapon at a time and that weapons left behind have a good chance of vanishing makes for some quite painful decisions at certain points. And of course all of Konoko’s deliciously vicious moves for removing a weapon from its wielder are as fun to watch as they are to execute.

The aiming characteristics and “feel” of each weapon seems accurate to the weapons’ capabilities, and the mix of auto-aiming and manual targeting makes you feel that they require actual skill to wield, unlike (for example) Lara Croft’s dual pistols.
I won’t describe the weapons in detail because their number and strengths/limitations are fun to discover, but my personal favorite is the Mercury Bow, a weapon you will be utterly terrified of until you capture it and turn it against your opponents.

There are two criticisms in particular I have of the combat system. First, your opponents and Konoko fall flat on their backs much too easily; in fact it is often tough to land a good combo because your opponent is already stretched out flat after the second blow. The lack of a good off-the-floor attack in Konoko’s moves vocabulary is a surprising omission, considering how often she gets knocked down. The second element that disappoints me is the lack of interactivity with the environment around you – if you throw someone while they are near a wall or a railing, they magically float down to the floor rather than smash against the wall or topple over the edge. Crates and other objects are basically ignored by the combat engine, and do no damage to a thrown opponent. While you can toss them into a fire or throw them off a platform, you can’t throw anyone through a window, slam them into a wall or bounce them off a crate. While these aren’t essential elements to the game, they would have contributed greatly to the ‘cinematic’ feel of the game and the common anime theme of horrific violence depicted in battles that shatter entire buildings (and often entire cities).

As for the blood/no blood issue: not an issue. Anyone who demands that type of ‘realism’ from a computer game needs to spend more time with reality, because I have yet to see one that even approximates the real world. The use of color-coded flashes to indicate the strength of your opponent is a brilliant stroke that fits perfectly into a clean and well-executed interface, and the violence of those flashes should satisfy anyone who needs such feedback from a game.

There are, however, certain elements of the game’s combat which do violate concepts of “reality” in a serious manner; the game itself exhibits many “clipping” problems in which characters can pass through walls, hang off ledges and pass through solid objects in such a way that one is jarringly reminded that you are playing a computer game. It is very common to enter a room, look back and find the foot or head of your just-vanquished foe sticking through the wall or protruding through the closed door; in several places in the game you can even fight an opponent through the closed door they are guarding, while being totally immune to gunfire. Which leads us to…

The Engine
When the Oni engine was first demonstrated for me, Brent Pease and Michael Evans bragged about how huge the levels were and how far the sight-lines could travel without tricks such as distance haze or fog, and I was quite impressed – by early 1999 standards, these levels were indeed immense. Accustomed to the huge drop in frame rates one experienced when entering an open area in Quake or Unreal, I was shocked at how large and free-form the Oni levels were, and how little of an effect distance had on frame rate.
Unfortunately within a year such engines became commonplace, and huge levels with tremendous detail have become essential game elements rather than the exception. Meanwhile the Oni engine has aged, and not gracefully. It is obvious while playing the game that great sacrifices had to be made in order to accommodate Oni’s large levels and transparent panes of glass at a reasonable frame rate, in terms of both engine features and level design. In some respects, Oni’s world engine is barely Quake 1-level; it lacks dynamic lighting, shadow maps, fog or haze, water (of any kind) and animated skies. Furthermore the overall polygon budget of the actual levels seems quite limited – the larger a level is, in general, the less complex the design is and the fewer textures are used.

As I mentioned, the clipping problems with the engine are quite noticeable in respect to other games I have played, perhaps because dead bodies stick around rather than sink into the floor or decay. In many places you can punch an opponent through the corner of a scenery object, or walk Konoko right into the center of a scenery element such as the pillars in the Airport level. Konoko doesn’t react to walls or obstacles at all, and just runs in place when colliding. Considering how complex and subtle the collision detection of the combat system is, the lack of any collision detection between the characters and the flat, 90-degree planes of the environment is disappointing.

However, the weakest element of the game engine in my opinion isn’t the bells and whistles, but how the camera penetrates level geometry. At the time I first saw this game in action, the fact that the camera often went through walls or scenery was considered a bug, and the use of transparency to minimize this effect was considered a temporary hack. A recent interview with Hardy LaBel seemed to indicate that they decided this was a feature, rather than a bug, but it is also an element which disrupts the otherwise solid “feel” of the game and makes it look antiquated in comparison to other third-person titles such as Rune and Heavy Metal FAKK2.

I’ve heard several arguments from fans of the game and Oni team members that keeping a constant distance between the POV and Konoko is essential for aiming range weapons and timing your attacks, and to a certain extent I buy this logic – if, that is, I had never played Rune or FAKK2.

The ability to surf the camera right through the level geometry and see through walls, floors and in-room objects is just too disruptive to the otherwise solid feel of the game, in my opinion. I found myself using the camera to “cheat” by peeking through walls and around corners on a very regular basis, and I don’t think many players will be able to resist this temptation. Furthermore games such as Rune and Deep Space Nine handled this problem much more gracefully by having the character model itself turn transparent when the camera is forced too near, preserving the level geometry and maintaining a clear line of sight even in extremely complex environments.

It could be argued that this is an element of the game that just isn’t critical, and that you will never notice how you can see through a wall when you are being stalked by ninjas with plasma rifles. That’s a fair argument, and I to a certain extent agree. But it still annoys me when I find myself staring at the guts of some computer terminal or through the side of a stairwell, and this would be considered a “bug” in practically any other 3D game on the market.

The Look
Overall the look of Oni is sleek, futuristic and instantly forgettable. I’ve heard all the arguments about how it is the combat, not the graphics, that matter and how the empty, gunmetal-gray appearance is inspired by anime – but let’s face it, folks, five minutes of Ghost in the Shell has more detail than most of the levels of Oni combined. As I noted, the limitations of level detail may be due to the polygon budget of the engine, but the muddy-looking textures and lack of details such as lighting, shadows or animated objects leaves me cold. Play an hour of Oni and then five minutes of FAKK2 or Rune, and the difference is shocking – you won’t believe how much detail is packed into the first map of FAKK2 alone, in comparison. I understand that the teams that made those games were large and had many veteran level designers on them, but Oni is a game that has been three years in development – there was time to add a few chairs, a potted plant or a steaming cup of coffee to a level. Again, if it is combat your are interested in then the back drop doesn’t matter, but I found the empty, bleak levels of this game functional and nothing more. The fact that the exact same computer terminals and scenery objects (humming computer banks, office cubicles, crates) show up in five discreet, totally separate locations like they were just copied and pasted should bother even diehard fans of this game. In the whole game there were only one or two moments I said “Oh man! That’s amazing.” To be perfectly honest, if this was mid-1999 instead of 2001 I would have been much more impressed.

Level Design
There isn’t much I can discuss about the level design without giving away too many details; suffice it to say that if you enjoyed the demo levels, the final game levels are more of the same. Gargantuan in size and often broken into perfectly rectangular spaces, the levels are well-paced but often require covering the same ground several times. They are also full of vertigo-inducing heights that are well simulated and all too realistic, for those who are bothered by such things.
There is a disappointing amount of repetition present in the overall design. This includes a level boss you have to fight twice, and a particular time-based puzzle that you have to do four times in a row. There are also several very elaborate puzzles that look quite intimidating, yet can be easily skipped or disabled.

Having the levels designed by “real-world architects” seems to have had both positive and negative effects. While each building has a solid, real-world feel, the symmetrical structure and monotonous regularity of design gets tedious. Most of the buildings are actually symmetrical in design, mirror-images through the center. Thus, when you have explored one half of the building, you already know the layout of the other half before you've even been there. Many levels, including a huge air pollution processing facility, actually look like large parts of the level geometry were just copied and pasted or duplicated and rotated to make more area for the designers to place enemies.

Konoko's total inability to interact with her surroundings doesn't help matters. While this is no Tomb Raider, the fact that all crates and other objects are totally immovable/indestructable, that few windows are breakable and that nothing can be lifted or thrown, makes the backdrop seem like just a backdrop -- static, and lacking any sort of 'presence' in the game.

Overall the pacing is good, with multiple-opponent fights spread out between smaller, stealth-oriented encounters. Weapon placement is also excellent, allowing you just enough ammo and the right weapon to overcome a certain area, but not so much that you have the run of the entire level with impunity.

Artificial Intelligence
Perhaps one of the most puzzling disappointments of Oni was the AI behavior of the opponents. While they are excellent fighters, who use a variety of attacks and work well in a multiple-attack situation, they are also missing many behaviors and abilities that I actually had demonstrated to me by Quinn Dunki on my visit to Bungie West. She demonstrated AI characters that knew how to dodge gunfire and duck out of your line of sight, that recognized a dead body and ran for help, and that worked in concert to wear you down before finishing you off.
In this final version, the AI can’t do any of that. If they have a weapon, they just fire it and charge until they are out of ammo. If they don’t have a weapon, they just charge you regardless of whether you have one drawn or not. If you take out one of a group of opponents quietly, the remaining ones will stand around and walk right through the body without incident. Although they are very good at detecting you visually from a long distance or 'by ear,' their strictly linear line of attack makes this an easy tool for luring them into an ambush. They have no real strategy besides yell and charge.

The AI of Oni's characters is still quite superior when compared to many other solo-play games I have played recently, including Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Heavy Metal FAKK2. But it isn’t what Bungie demonstrated to me in mid-1999 or promised in their initial hype of the game.

'Allied' characters are few and far between, and also very stupid; at no point do you really feel as part of a 'team' in a coordinated attack. This is a shame, as it could have been a real boost to gameplay at some points.

Speed and Requirements
Another very disappointing aspect of this game is the lack of speed and high system reqirements. I found the game choppy on some levels at 640x480 with medium detail levels; this is with a G4/500/Radeon which has no trouble playing Quake 2 at 50+ FPS at 1280x1024. Furthermore, some PC reviews of this game indicated that it ran flawlessly on Celeron machines with TNT2 cards, the PC equivalent of a 233 MHz G3 with a Rage Pro card.
In terms of speed and smoothness of frame rate, I feel the Mac players got the short end of the development stick. There is no reason why a game based on an early-1999 engine shouldn’t run 60fps+ in all situations on my system, and Oni’s lack of speed in critical situations was a grave disappointment. The frame rate varied wildly from 60+ in some situations to below 20 in complex rooms or large areas. If the airport levels in the demo were slow for you, then several other areas of the game will be just as choppy on your system. One level in particular was so choppy and slow I had to play it at 640x480/16-bit with the detail slider all the way to the left -- again, on a G4/500 with a Radeon and 384 MB of RAM.

Audio
The audio elements of Oni are one of the game's high points, and are up to the same standard as previous Bungie titles in this respect. The ambient and environmental sounds are quite good, from throbbing machinery to distant sirens. However the voice acting was less than stellar, and surprisingly poor in audio quality. Combat sounds are meaty and brutal, and the weapon sounds are excellent as well. I found the Power of Seven soundtrack to be monotonous at points and rather tame overall, but a good effort that sets the scene well.

Interface
Oni’s interface and configuration is sparse even by console standards. The only way to set the key configuration (besides using an arcane and unfriendly dialog, accessed by holding down the option key as you launch) is by editing a text file. Luckily the default controls are just fine, and I was able to use the game with both my two-button mouse and four-button trackball without incident.
To change graphics or sound options, you have to quit the game and restart. To change screen resolutions on a Voodoo 3 or 5 card, you also have to relaunch the game after it quits without warning. Generally this lacks the polish and panache we have come to expect from Bungie titles.

The HUD displays while playing, however, are quite attractive to look at and functional as well.


Difficulty
Oni is a game of combat, not adventure. If you aren’t willing to commit the time to learn how to fight – and do it well, without getting badly hurt – you will never get past the later levels of the game. In general I found the difficulty nicely balanced with my abilities, so that as you learn to be a better fighter there are tougher opponents to fight. There was only one serious problem level which was much more difficult than any other before it; I did get stuck for some time at that point. There are three selectable difficulty levels, but they didn’t seem to make a tremendous difference in gameplay, and it isn’t clear if you can change the level (of difficulty) you are playing with a game already in progress.
Saving
Ah yes, the game save system. Oni has a system unique even for console titles – it auto-saves for you, with no options at all, at designated save points. Now, I am not opposed to having save points – after all, Marathon had them, and they added greatly to the suspense and terrifying fear that pervaded that title. The real problem appears due to the fact that the game is saved without any input, so you can’t have multiple saves of a given save point.
At many points in the game, you may reach a level which is very tough and realize it would be much easier if you made it through the previous save point with one more hypo or another clip of ammo. So you go back to the previous save point and try again – but what if you do worse, instead of better? The previous save point is overwritten. So you are forced to play sections of the game over and over again until you manage to complete them with enough ammo and health to survive the level after that. I can’t find too much fault in this method because this encouraged me to perfect my attacks, but it may drive some gamers batty.

Things Left Out
I would be remiss if I did not mention the biggest missing element of this game – multiplayer. LAN multiplayer was demonstrated as one of the primary aspects of this game from the very first moment it was shown to the public; the lack of it (and the resulting lack of replayability) will be a deal-breaker for many potential players. I have heard the many technical explanations of why this would have been ‘impossible;’ but again, in the age of a game such as Rune, which can simulate 3D melee combat over a 56k modem connection, it is a tremendous disappointment to not be able to nail my co-workers with a Rising Fury and then taunt their remains.
The other things missing from this Bungie title are elements that were considered critical to the Marathon and Myth series: recordings of gameplay to share with others, and level/character editing tools. Oni was not designed in any way to be user-editable, and will most likely never be editable in a user-friendly way. The maps are created in AutoCad (PC only, $6000+) and converted with an unreleased tool, while the characters and animation are created with 3D Studio Max (PC only, $2000+) and imported with yet another unreleased tool.

I understand why these choices were made, as the team wanted to hire real-world architects and professional modelers/animators, not just level editors. It also saved them a lot of time, as they didn't have to write their own tools to create the game geometry. At the same time it is a terrible shame, as I would love to see Oni levels created by the geniuses that have made amazing Myth and Marathon levels galore. Alas.

Conclusion
Oni is a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding and thrilling game, but ultimately it leaves me cold and disappointed. The puzzles (find the door switch – AGAIN) are pedestrian and barely rise above Quake-level design, the graphics are an endless plateau of shades of gray and tiled textures, and the frame rate is choppy at all the worst times. Again, if you love the combat of the demo and want more of it, then Oni is the game for you – but a compelling solo play title, this is not.
The development of Oni itself is a saga which may indeed be more fascinating than the game itself; I doubt the true, full story will ever be told. But when traveling through the game I remarked again and again on elements that I had seen in early 1999 that had remained in the game untouched. Viewing this game through eyes that have seen the ball drop on January 2001, I can’t help wondering where that year-and-a-half that the Oni team lost went, and what kind of game Oni could have been, had they the resources and budget of some of the 2000/2001 games I have played. As for the possibility of an expansion pack or a sequel – well, we can only hope. Oni is the property of Take Two Interactive now, and they are in charge of future projects. Whatever becomes of the Oni series in the future, no Bungie team member will have a hand in it. At the very least Oni has whetted my appetite for whatever the Bungie West team (now consolidated with the rest of Bungie in Redmond, WA) will come up with next.

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#2 11/4/12 10:49

Iritscen
Moderator

Re: Oni Comment

*ahem* Yes, this is a review from IMG (source).  I'm not sure why you saw fit to post the whole thing here, and without any attribution, but it is a good review with interesting comments about the troubles that Oni had in its development and it makes some valid criticisms.  However, I don't think we're supposed to cut-and-paste writing from professional review sites here.


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

Online

#3 11/4/12 15:37

TOCS
Member

Re: Oni Comment

"The maps are created in AutoCad (PC only, $6000+)" I don't think so. tongue AutoCAD is a 2D work tool used for engineering/construction purposes, I know, because I've worked with the program for over a year now. Where did he get all that specific info from anyway? This seems like a late review of the game, so I can't really see how he contacted those Bungie West employees? yikes


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#4 11/4/12 16:13

Iritscen
Moderator

Re: Oni Comment

The review's from the day Oni was released, how is it late?  And Eilers said in the review that he had been watching the game over the course of its development and had spoken with Okita and others about the features they were planning.  Why don't you think the maps were built in AutoCAD?


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

Online

#5 11/4/12 21:26

Loser
Member

Re: Oni Comment

AutoCAD can handle 3D models pretty well, at least recent revisions. And since it was a idea behind Oni levels to have them designed by real architects, personally I can imagine these gals/guys working with AutoCAD as they were probably familiar with it.

Quinn Dunki part always makes me lost deeply in thoughts.

Quote from the review: "Oni was not designed in any way to be user-editable, and will most likely never be editable in a user-friendly way."
Yup, and that is why Molten, Kumo and others from the 0th generation of Oni modders started breaking down the game almost the moment it was out. ^_^ And after almost seven long years...


"I am just a mere reflection of what I would be."

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#6 12/4/12 1:30

TOCS
Member

Re: Oni Comment

Iritscen wrote:

The review's from the day Oni was released, how is it late?  And Eilers said in the review that he had been watching the game over the course of its development and had spoken with Okita and others about the features they were planning.  Why don't you think the maps were built in AutoCAD?

Loser wrote:

AutoCAD can handle 3D models pretty well, at least recent revisions. And since it was a idea behind Oni levels to have them designed by real architects, personally I can imagine these gals/guys working with AutoCAD as they were probably familiar with it.

Quinn Dunki part always makes me lost deeply in thoughts.

Quote from the review: "Oni was not designed in any way to be user-editable, and will most likely never be editable in a user-friendly way."
Yup, and that is why Molten, Kumo and others from the 0th generation of Oni modders started breaking down the game almost the moment it was out. ^_^ And after almost seven long years...

AutoCAD didn't feature proper 3D functions until the mid-1990s, and creating objects was pretty complicated compared to what we see in 3ds Max. If anything, I'm pretty sure Revit or Pro/E would have been more sophisticated for the job.

Basically it'd be like using Inventor for 3d animations; it's possible, but not really suitable for the job.

Last edited by TOCS (12/4/12 1:30)


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#7 12/4/12 5:40

Iritscen
Moderator

Re: Oni Comment

@TOCS: I'm afraid I was kind of baiting you, because the fans knew even during development that BW's architects were using AutoCAD and 3ds Max to make levels for Oni.  I just wanted to know why you thought you knew better than someone who followed Oni's development from the beginning smile

@Loser: Yeah, I can't help but wonder about the Quinn part too.  For instance, why would gunfire dodging be disabled in the final game by a buggy algorithm, when it was working in 1999 under Quinn?  What exactly happened during the "lost year and a half" after that?  I could speculate, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be fair to certain individuals, so I'll just have to keep my mouth shut.


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#8 12/4/12 6:54

TOCS
Member

Re: Oni Comment

Iritscen wrote:

@TOCS: I'm afraid I was kind of baiting you, because the fans knew even during development that BW's architects were using AutoCAD and 3ds Max to make levels for Oni.  I just wanted to know why you thought you knew better than someone who followed Oni's development from the beginning smile

@Loser: Yeah, I can't help but wonder about the Quinn part too.  For instance, why would gunfire dodging be disabled in the final game by a buggy algorithm, when it was working in 1999 under Quinn?  What exactly happened during the "lost year and a half" after that?  I could speculate, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be fair to certain individuals, so I'll just have to keep my mouth shut.

I didn't really insinuate that I knew better, only that I was rather doubtful whether the levels actually were made in AutoCAD. Though it explains the horrible designs they went with in some of the levels. yikes I can only imagine how many work hours it took to make properly functioning maps in pre-2007 AutoCAD.

You really like nagging people, don't you? hmm

Last edited by TOCS (12/4/12 6:56)


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#9 12/4/12 8:10

gmsly
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Re: Oni Comment

some cat fun:
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#10 12/4/12 8:34

Vocaloawesome
Member

Re: Oni Comment

cats are never irrelevant... (in 4chan)


herp a derp

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#11 12/4/12 9:40

Iritscen
Moderator

Re: Oni Comment

Oooookayyyyyyy... can we please keep this kind of thing to the "Anything but Oni" forum in the future?


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#12 12/4/12 21:24

gmsly
Member

Re: Oni Comment

will obey the rules next time

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#13 13/4/12 8:20

Delano762
Member

Re: Oni Comment

TOCS wrote:

Though it explains the horrible designs they went with in some of the levels.

Like?

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#14 13/4/12 9:25

Stevinlewis
Member

Re: Oni Comment

Thats pretty cool i must say. An inside look of what happened back then wink

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#15 13/4/12 9:38

TOCS
Member

Re: Oni Comment

Delano762 wrote:
TOCS wrote:

Though it explains the horrible designs they went with in some of the levels.

Like?

The acid chamber for instance. Those pillars doesn't make any sense to me. Or the general; access three consoles on different levels, to unlock a door. It's quite uninspiring and dull. That's also the reason I think a mission like Cat and Mouse (level 10, Rooftops), is a lot more interesting, compared to something like Counterattack.

Last edited by TOCS (14/4/12 7:06)


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#16 13/4/12 10:24

Iritscen
Moderator

Re: Oni Comment

A lot of the levels were apparently re-modeled on short notice, which probably didn't help:
http://carnage.bungie.org/oniforum/oni. … read=19648
http://carnage.bungie.org/oniforum/oni. … read=19669


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#17 18/10/12 6:02

ltemplar
Member

Re: Oni Comment

A necro post?

If I can put some comment on this then:

1)Levels done in AutoCad and then imported to the 3Ds max..? Wow..then this game should run on nurbs rather than on polygons.Why because this is the format that auto cad use to render environment. And If you import NURBS to 3d environment(possible of curse) then tab a wire frame..and you will see that box is not a box anymore (from 8 tris it become 10000 tris+).
2)Things like vertex lighting are only possible in 3d programs .like 3ds max, maya, XSI or any other not in AutoCad..Not to mention that they used probably Atuto Cad 2000(or even older) and max 3 (or 4) when creating all thous levels...without all thous graphics formats used in today's games .
3)Entire trailer back from 1998 is rendered on 3ds max (they used standard texture library). and thats really old MAX ..Did anybody here even use Auto cad older than 2000? If yes then you will know that 3d rendering(creating) there was ...possible but annoying as hell(crash after crash).

As summary.
-ANY i say ANY game don't use NURBS but POLYGON..only game that used different render 3d method was ECSTATICA 1 ,2. But this is only one example in the entire 3d game history.
-The entire Levels made in CAD sounds more like marketing babbling rather than real thing to me(especially if we take into consideration tools that can be used for production back then).

But this is only my humble opinion.

Last edited by ltemplar (18/10/12 6:04)

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#18 18/10/12 7:25

TOCS
Member

Re: Oni Comment

ltemplar wrote:

A necro post?

If I can put some comment on this then:

1)Levels done in AutoCad and then imported to the 3Ds max..? Wow..then this game should run on nurbs rather than on polygons.Why because this is the format that auto cad use to render environment. And If you import NURBS to 3d environment(possible of curse) then tab a wire frame..and you will see that box is not a box anymore (from 8 tris it become 10000 tris+).
2)Things like vertex lighting are only possible in 3d programs .like 3ds max, maya, XSI or any other not in AutoCad..Not to mention that they used probably Atuto Cad 2000(or even older) and max 3 (or 4) when creating all thous levels...without all thous graphics formats used in today's games .
3)Entire trailer back from 1998 is rendered on 3ds max (they used standard texture library). and thats really old MAX ..Did anybody here even use Auto cad older than 2000? If yes then you will know that 3d rendering(creating) there was ...possible but annoying as hell(crash after crash).

As summary.
-ANY i say ANY game don't use NURBS but POLYGON..only game that used different render 3d method was ECSTATICA 1 ,2. But this is only one example in the entire 3d game history.
-The entire Levels made in CAD sounds more like marketing babbling rather than real thing to me(especially if we take into consideration tools that can be used for production back then).

But this is only my humble opinion.

That kind of was my point as well. Since 50% of the game was scrapped without further notice, it wouldn't surprise me if the majority of their PR talk was bullcrap. tongue


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#19 18/10/12 8:51

paradox-01
Member

Re: Oni Comment

Or... they turnt the NURBS into polygones and added lighting in Max.

This vbs code for Mod Tool creates a nurbs cube and then makes it a polygon mesh. Far away from 10000 triangles (-> 16).

Set oObj = Application.ActiveSceneRoot.AddGeometry("Cube", "NurbsSurface")
ApplyGenOp "NurbsToMesh", , oObj, 3, siPersistentOperation, siDeleteGenOpInputs

AutoCAD R14 was released 1997.
As seen here, it can be used to put 3D objects together.

I agree that they could have used other tools in the later process but they sounded serious enough that they had the possibility to do it with Autocad.

"Dave: We build in everything in AutoCAD, then we bring those files into [3D Studio] MAX where we do measuring."

Last edited by paradox-01 (18/10/12 9:07)

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#20 18/10/12 9:00

Iritscen
Moderator

Re: Oni Comment

ltemplar wrote:

But this is only my humble opinion.

Thanks for the input, but I'm genuinely puzzled why some fans think they know how Oni was developed better than people who were there at the time.

1)Levels done in AutoCad and then imported to the 3Ds max..? Wow..then this game should run on nurbs rather than on polygons.Why because this is the format that auto cad use to render environment. And If you import NURBS to 3d environment(possible of curse) then tab a wire frame..and you will see that box is not a box anymore (from 8 tris it become 10000 tris+).

In my experience, any decent spline editor will give you options as to how many polygons to use when converting curves.

2)Things like vertex lighting are only possible in 3d programs .like 3ds max, maya, XSI or any other not in AutoCad.

That's why they imported into 3ds Max, silly smile  But Lightscape was actually used for computing the lighting.

3)Entire trailer back from 1998 is rendered on 3ds max (they used standard texture library). and thats really old MAX ..Did anybody here even use Auto cad older than 2000? If yes then you will know that 3d rendering(creating) there was ...possible but annoying as hell(crash after crash).

See point above; the claim was always that the levels were started in AutoCAD and imported to Max.

-ANY i say ANY game don't use NURBS but POLYGON.

Sure.  But how many games use ray-casting for culling?  Oni is an unusual game.  The engine was built from the ground up according to Brent Pease's specifications and theories.  Part of the lengthy process of starting from scratch involved building the tools that they used to import/export from the programs they used.  So the workflow used in ordinary games has no bearing on what Bungie West did with Oni.

-The entire Levels made in CAD sounds more like marketing babbling rather than real thing to me(especially if we take into consideration tools that can be used for production back then).

It wasn't babble -- why would anyone have cared or known if the levels were CAD-produced?  The reason for incorporating AutoCAD into the workflow was entirely because Bungie hired real architects (which, as you know, are trained in AutoCAD) to make their levels.  The selling point was in fact "realistic architecture".  The tools used were just a by-product of that goal.

Here's a fuller attempt at explaining the workflow:
- Environments built in AutoCAD by Dunn and Turbitt, the architects
- Objects modeled (and imported separately, as we still do today) by Hughes and Okita in 3D Studio Max
- Environmental lighting (vertex lighting) calculated in Lightscape by Dunn and Lee

Make sense now?


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#21 18/10/12 12:23

ltemplar
Member

Re: Oni Comment

Point taken..

1)Vertex lights are something else than ray casting light and shadow into 3d object
2)I don't say thats impossible...but the amount of work putted to recreate this in 3d environment that way is bigger than do this in normal 3d program.
3)Still more polygons than creating that cube in the normal way and you use tools that are available today.Do this with cad R14 and max 3 then we can talk.
4)If "realistic architecture" is backed up by "proper" tools then this sound more realistic and possible don't you agree?

Why i think is a bull...(you know the rest)"..

Because Mirek Dymek the project manager of Earth 2160 on the first fan meeting..talking exactly the same empty statements. "We dont use polygons but NURBS"....etc....everything is done in professional programs..etc...All that because there were guys from press too. When they goes to home he told us(fans) the true abut this...

So even the best Trailers and the best talk about usage of "professional" tools can ... be only a fiction...produced to increase selling index..and nothing more.

This is one possibility ..the other could be:
-They used nurbs at the beginning ..
-Cad importing
-But when the put this into engine they realize that this thing can't work on normal computers/consoles..And then they release what we have now.

Both possibilities can be true or false.

Again this is only my opinion.

Last edited by ltemplar (18/10/12 12:28)

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#22 18/10/12 12:58

paradox-01
Member

Re: Oni Comment

Meh.
I want more cat posts !

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#23 18/10/12 13:16

Iritscen
Moderator

Re: Oni Comment

ltemplar wrote:

1)Vertex lights are something else than ray casting light and shadow into 3d object

Yes, although I'm afraid I don't know why you pointed this out -- but you might find it interesting to look at the Pre-beta content page's section on lightmapping!

2)I don't say thats impossible...but the amount of work putted to recreate this in 3d environment that way is bigger than do this in normal 3d program.

AutoCAD is "normal" for an architect!  Having a little training in architectural modeling myself, I can tell you that I was shocked to see what passed for "acceptable" UIs in the world of normal modeling programs once I had to learn to use those as well.

3)Still more polygons than creating that cube in the normal way and you use tools that are available today.Do this with cad R14 and max 3 then we can talk.

Most of Oni's levels are straight lines, not curves, so technically even in a NURBS system those should have been simple point-to-point lines without any arc-related information in them, therefore no unneeded polys would be generated.

4)If "realistic architecture" is backed up by "proper" tools then this sound more realistic and possible don't you agree?

Sorry, I didn't understand this point either.  Your sentence is clear, grammatically, but I don't know what you're getting at.

This is one possibility ..the other could be:
-They used nurbs at the beginning ..
-Cad importing
-But when the put this into engine they realize that this thing can't work on normal computers/consoles..And then they release what we have now.

Although I refuse to believe that NURBS were involved at all, you may be partly right.  Look at the Pre-beta content page's first section, where I link to three posts by the Design Lead about how the levels needed remodeling because they were too detailed.


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#24 18/10/12 15:10

ltemplar
Member

Re: Oni Comment

1)Again ..You all guys are referring to tools available today. If you will be able to recreate all this stuff using tools which were in disposal of original creators at that time. then we can talk..Otherwise this will be like talking about possible maneuvers on mi 23 and mi 29 fulcrum...both are jets both are military both where produced by USSR (not existing today)..But if they have the same parameters? Surly not.
2) "4)If "realistic architecture" is backed up by "proper" tools then this sound more realistic and possible don't you agree?" - I was referring to this that if you backup your statement with proper worlds or tools you used when creating it then it sounds more believable. Every body herd about AutoCad and where it is used..so backing up with words "We create all our levels in using this tool" produce the vision in the maids of listeners (probably press guys) that this is some serious project - that's example how psychology can interfere with our ability to see the things. Nothing more.
3)"page's first section, where I link to three posts by the Design Lead about how the levels needed remodeling because they were too detailed"
I don't see in the pre-beta section nothing that need to be reduced or recreated in the Pre-levels. And I can't tell nothing more before i see Wire frames of thous levels(with is impossible).Till then this is empty statement only. Can be true or can be false...because it's based  only on speculations. And I show that this can be one of possibilities either.


I want more cats post too... tongue

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#25 11/11/12 1:21

onichars
Member

Re: Oni Comment

I really wish the more versatile AI had managed to be in the final copy of Oni...

And... Wow! Slightly off topic, but it's cool to read a thread I'd posted in the old forums 10 years ago...

WJTW

Last edited by onichars (11/11/12 1:22)

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