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DrGUI

Wow - Age of Empires 3

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Look at its graphics - especially the water! How do you think they did all of the water in that much detail? Render to texture with pixel shader? For that size of water body? It's certainly amazing! What do you think? EDIT: and all the physics and AI too! I'm sure it would have been a massive design headache!

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I was given a demo of this at E3 and it totally blew me away. The graphics are certainly incredible, but it was the physics that made it. Cannon balls would toss troops high into the air (with full ragdoll), tear through building roofs and pass out the other side, finally splashing into the water. If a tree gets hit, it will fall over landing onto the building too (but wont actually cause any damage - these effects are visual so far). The number of units was exciting too (more than Age of Mythology).

Generally it was boners all round for me and my mates. Although not literaly, that would be weird.

T

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<edit>Woops! Wudan beat me :(</edit>

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Original post by DrGUI
and all the physics and AI too! I'm sure it would have been a massive design headache!


Well, IIRC, the physics are done with Havok 2, so they got it easy there.

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yeah it looks great, and the physics look cool too. i wonder if the building damage is precalulated or realtime physics though. i suspect the former largely, cos the latter, while certainly cool, would be hard to unify with the rest of the game im afraid.

anyway, you mentioned AI, but i have yet to see any of that.

most likely it will be the same shitty piece of rts AI code gameprogrammers seem to have been passing around since the invention of the RTS. give the computer double the amount of resources, let it try a couple of lame rushes, then when all scripted actions are exhausted... well nothing really. just some gay nonfocussed attacks, aka certain victory for you.

i dont know a single RTS that doesnt fit this pattern. now that im thinking of it, civilization is probably the only strategy game with what id call AI.

anyway im getting off topic. certainly an interesting game, now all i need is a rig that will play it :)

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Original post by DrGUI
It's certainly amazing!


It damn well better be, in the latest issue of Pc Zone (UK) they mention that one programmer worked on that water for the majority of a year :)

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Original post by Drazgal
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Original post by DrGUI
It's certainly amazing!


It damn well better be, in the latest issue of Pc Zone (UK) they mention that one programmer worked on that water for the majority of a year :)


he should just have read yanns articles and he could have been done so much quicker :)

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Original post by Tessellator
I was given a demo of this at E3 and it totally blew me away. The graphics are certainly incredible, but it was the physics that made it. Cannon balls would toss troops high into the air (with full ragdoll), tear through building roofs and pass out the other side, finally splashing into the water. If a tree gets hit, it will fall over landing onto the building too (but wont actually cause any damage - these effects are visual so far). The number of units was exciting too (more than Age of Mythology).

Generally it was boners all round for me and my mates. Although not literaly, that would be weird.

T

If it actually caused damage that would be really cool. Add another aspect to the game. If they do that I will get a boner, literally.

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AFAIK, AOE-3 was designed closely with SM3.0 in mind. Water with SM 3.0 looks like the one in AOE. Sample: http://download.nvidia.com/developer/GPU_Gems_2/CD/Content/18.zip at developer.nvidia.com

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Does anyone that has seem a demo of this know if the camera is fixed or floating?Just wondering as it may help with some decisions I am making :)

Matt

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Original post by Eelco
most likely it will be the same shitty piece of rts AI code gameprogrammers seem to have been passing around since the invention of the RTS. give the computer double the amount of resources, let it try a couple of lame rushes, then when all scripted actions are exhausted... well nothing really. just some gay nonfocussed attacks, aka certain victory for you.

i dont know a single RTS that doesnt fit this pattern. now that im thinking of it, civilization is probably the only strategy game with what id call AI.


the past age games only ever cheated on the hardest skill level, and otherwise played fairly. its a challenge unless ur either a good player or learn to exploit the computers flaws. but i agree that RTS's are lacking in challenge without cheating. hopefully we'll see improvements in this one and others in future

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Quote:
Original post by Ainokea
Quote:
Original post by Tessellator
I was given a demo of this at E3 and it totally blew me away. The graphics are certainly incredible, but it was the physics that made it. Cannon balls would toss troops high into the air (with full ragdoll), tear through building roofs and pass out the other side, finally splashing into the water. If a tree gets hit, it will fall over landing onto the building too (but wont actually cause any damage - these effects are visual so far). The number of units was exciting too (more than Age of Mythology).

Generally it was boners all round for me and my mates. Although not literaly, that would be weird.

T

If it actually caused damage that would be really cool. Add another aspect to the game. If they do that I will get a boner, literally.


i know that when cannons hit the buildings, bits break off and cause damage to other units they hit. i'd assume its the same for trees

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Quote:
Original post by Eelco

he should just have read yanns articles and he could have been done so much quicker :)


Did you mean yanns articlE or did he post another article beside WATER I?

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I attended Dave Pottinger's talk at GDC about the AoE 3 engine... Anyways, iirc, they use EMBM. Originally they tried to actually simulate the water's geometry, but it was too slow. I think it was a good choice- even though their water can't react to objects moving through it (like a ship), it does look quite good from a distance :)

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Quote:
Original post by Eelco
anyway, you mentioned AI, but i have yet to see any of that.

most likely it will be the same shitty piece of rts AI code gameprogrammers seem to have been passing around since the invention of the RTS. give the computer double the amount of resources, let it try a couple of lame rushes, then when all scripted actions are exhausted... well nothing really. just some gay nonfocussed attacks, aka certain victory for you.

i dont know a single RTS that doesnt fit this pattern. now that im thinking of it, civilization is probably the only strategy game with what id call AI.


Funny you should talk like that, considering Age of Empires (1) was the first game to break the "AI has special advantages" mode. Unlike other RTS games AOE had an AI that actually had to intelligently explore the map (others just give the AI full view). The AI also had to build and research just like the player (big offenders would be C&C, where on some missions you could actually see the computer putting a vehicle out of two factories at once [in C&C you could only build one unit at a time]). The *only* advantage the AI was given over the player was that if you turned the difficulty up to the maximum setting, the AI would get some extra resources at the start.

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Quote:
Original post by Michalson
Quote:
Original post by Eelco
anyway, you mentioned AI, but i have yet to see any of that.

most likely it will be the same shitty piece of rts AI code gameprogrammers seem to have been passing around since the invention of the RTS. give the computer double the amount of resources, let it try a couple of lame rushes, then when all scripted actions are exhausted... well nothing really. just some gay nonfocussed attacks, aka certain victory for you.

i dont know a single RTS that doesnt fit this pattern. now that im thinking of it, civilization is probably the only strategy game with what id call AI.


Funny you should talk like that, considering Age of Empires (1) was the first game to break the "AI has special advantages" mode. Unlike other RTS games AOE had an AI that actually had to intelligently explore the map (others just give the AI full view). The AI also had to build and research just like the player (big offenders would be C&C, where on some missions you could actually see the computer putting a vehicle out of two factories at once [in C&C you could only build one unit at a time]). The *only* advantage the AI was given over the player was that if you turned the difficulty up to the maximum setting, the AI would get some extra resources at the start.


yeah aoe is not very evil in the extra resources department.

but overall i think the AI is still rather lame. if they outdo you and you dont suck, its purely because it relies on being able to do all the mircoscale things much better than you. saying there is any higher level strategy going on would be bullshit.

if youre able to get close to the AI in mircomanagement, outstrategizing them is a joke.

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the AI in aoe is practically non existant (i dont play many games so i dont no how other programs stack up but heres what happens in aoe
me - build a collection of towers somewhere
computer - attack the towers with a small army (inflicting minimal damage but getting all its men killed)
repeat the same action 20x in a row with the same results (until it loses)
AI? even a 4year kid soon realises from its mistakes and after a couple of turns would thing of trying something else.

Quote:
The *only* advantage the AI was given over the player was that if you turned the difficulty up to the maximum setting, the AI would get some extra resources at the start
AKA cheating.

i realise AI is not good in 99% of games but for a game like this (similar to chess) AI is everything

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mattm
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Does anyone that has seem a demo of this know if the camera is fixed or floating?Just wondering as it may help with some decisions I am making :)

I got to talk to one of their people at E3 about that. He told me the camera was fixed, which surprised me. He didn't seem too convinced of it though - in my mind it seemed as if they might expect complaints and unlock it later.

The game does look awesome. I watched a closeup demo of it and took some screenshots. I also got to see their group demonstration where they showed off the editor. So far all that's up on my blog are some of the screenshots, but I'll writeup the rest soon too.

In the editor it looked to me as if the water reacted to the ships on it. They also showed how sliders could control how choppy or smooth the water is and how much of a whitecap there is. Details, details :)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Eelco
Quote:
Original post by Michalson
Quote:
Original post by Eelco
anyway, you mentioned AI, but i have yet to see any of that.

most likely it will be the same shitty piece of rts AI code gameprogrammers seem to have been passing around since the invention of the RTS. give the computer double the amount of resources, let it try a couple of lame rushes, then when all scripted actions are exhausted... well nothing really. just some gay nonfocussed attacks, aka certain victory for you.

i dont know a single RTS that doesnt fit this pattern. now that im thinking of it, civilization is probably the only strategy game with what id call AI.


Funny you should talk like that, considering Age of Empires (1) was the first game to break the "AI has special advantages" mode. Unlike other RTS games AOE had an AI that actually had to intelligently explore the map (others just give the AI full view). The AI also had to build and research just like the player (big offenders would be C&C, where on some missions you could actually see the computer putting a vehicle out of two factories at once [in C&C you could only build one unit at a time]). The *only* advantage the AI was given over the player was that if you turned the difficulty up to the maximum setting, the AI would get some extra resources at the start.


yeah aoe is not very evil in the extra resources department.

but overall i think the AI is still rather lame. if they outdo you and you dont suck, its purely because it relies on being able to do all the mircoscale things much better than you. saying there is any higher level strategy going on would be bullshit.

if youre able to get close to the AI in mircomanagement, outstrategizing them is a joke.


While AoE and even AoM AI wasn't amazing (although it definitely didn't cheat except on Hardest), I noticed a big difference in the AoM: Titans expansion. When I just got the game a 2v3 against the AI was very challenging for me and my brother, although I was pretty experienced in multiplayer and could blow away the standard AoM AI. We learned some weaknesses of the new AI afterwards, but it was definitely an improvement.

The one game that really impressed me in terms of AI was Microsoft's Rise of Nations however. The AI there would expand, attack from two places at once, flank you, counter you, etc while outbooming you, without cheating. RoN seems to have a very simple game world model (strict rules about how forests, mines etc can be placed, simple method of gathering resources, few chokepoints) but it was a lot of fun to play vs the AI and very hard at first; I kind of dropped that game but I think I still haven't beaten the highest non-cheating AI level.

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AI micro in warcraft3 really annoys me, becuase it will retreat individual units in a battle a lot more efficiently than any human could. Although its still not very hard to beat. I really dont see the point in making them smarter. People will always find ways to be better. Not to mention once you find a way to beat the comp you can just do it every time and be assured victory. Even lousy human players will eventually learn to counter it, making it a lot more satisfying to beat people than comps. With online there is never a shortage of people to play against, and you don't even need a fast modem for RTS.

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The water is pretty but it seems anyone can do water like that using shaders etc these days, though the whitecaps are nice.
I'm still not too impressed with the terrain - it's mostly just(!) great artwork.

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Original post by Stru
AI micro in warcraft3 really annoys me, becuase it will retreat individual units in a battle a lot more efficiently than any human could.


me and my mates can do 3 human vs 6 insane quite easily (double resources harvested for computer). so they have four times asmuch resources total, and they still dont cut it.

indeed there is also the micromanagement advantage. consequently, i only build autocasting units, even though theyre not always the most powerfull. atleast they do something.

that goes to show just how gay AI really is. if only they would simply implement something like a half decently working 'stick together' rule, theyd become ten times harder to beat.

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Water isn't so much special, just reflection and its displacement by normalmap imo.
High-tesselated geometry allows them to do such cliffs and rivers(and riverbanks), but limits their view to be relatively close.
The view from the city, where we actually see the horizon is fixed and is full of billboards.
Physics is cool, its Havok if I remember corectly. Destroying is realtime too, as far as I can tell from the demo on E3. Rag-dolls, etc. - but it was a bit boring, seeing those soldiers fly like dolls in the air after a cannon-ball blew them off a cliff.
Overall - the art rules. Trees, leafs on the water and such just create that incredible colorful picture.

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