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Artificial Life

Outcast Engine

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Does anyone remember the engine of the game Outcast. I guess, it was based on voxel technologie(?). In my view, the game looked awefully good for it''s time and even ran on an AMD 400Mhz. Maybe, the possible screen resolutions were not good as that much. But anyways, why did they not continue to develop this technology further. Isn''t it better than polygon based engines?

Success is not the position you stand but the direction in which you look

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It was a Voxel based engine and currently there aren''t and hardware accelerators that can accelerate voxes graphics and have good market penetration. Most hardware accelerators are optimized for processing triangles and planes wich makes this the predominant peridigm for graphics engines.

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The game ran at like 512x384 resolution, looked blocked (nature of voxels) and required the best hardware to run on at the time (which was around a P2-350). Now with a P4 2.0Ghz, you could probably get it running at like 800x600x32 and look pretty good. Doesn''t sound that great given the amount of processing a GF3 can do.

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plus modern graphics accelerators can display nowadays so many triangles that you can make your graphics damn smooth, so you don''t really need voxel engines. I think you could reedo Outcast today with a poly-engine and it would look better.


Yesterday we still stood at the verge of the abyss,
today we''re a step onward!

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This seems paradox. I mean, the engine ran quite good without any hardware support. Now, if the manufactorers would support the technology, this would (could have been) a big advancement for the game industry.

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Why not use voxels?

A - Most people like high-resolution polygonal graphics; they''re used to them.
B - It takes more time to get a good and eficient software engine running well
C - Outcast didn''t sell well

Why use voxels?
A - They are algorithmically efficient
B - They can run on lower-end hardware (nowadays)
C - I like the way they look
D - They''re something DIFFERENT!!!


In response to Draigan, when the Outcast Demo first came out, it ran on my PIII550 at 640 x 480 just fine. I will admit that it is com,putationally expensive. However, I disagree with your opinion that it looked bad. It was lower resolution, to be sure, but it had beautiful landscapes and very impressive water effects that are yet to be matched by hardware-accelerated games. Such effects currently require $400 graphics cards to do in hardware. You could redo Outcast today with a hardware-accelerated polygonal engine, and it would run at a higher resolution, but it would require a GeForce 3. Most people aren''t willing to shell out that absurd amount of cash. Those that are can certainly run the software engine just as well as a hardware-accelerated one!

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But you have to admit that your P3-550 was super highend at the time that outcast came out. The game itself looked very good indeed but it did suffer from the natural blockiness of the voxel engine. But I will admit that it did look very good at the time. But look at Outcast 2. That looks much better and it uses polygons. I think the guys that did the game would have made it look just as good with polygons as voxels. The only reason I think they didn''t go the polygon route was for the simple fact that they invested so much time (years) researching voxel tech that they wanted to use it in an engine.

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Hey, however, the WATER in Outcast is the BEST I have ever seen!!!
I mean the realistic movement (not only flat water with some alternating texture), and the light reflections,
depending on the angle the sunlight is shining on the water,
and the angle you look on it, the reflection rate altered
from 0 percent to 100 percent, the less, the more you can
see through, and not only the angle
of the entire water surface, the "angle" of some curved
parts (waves) of the moving water.

Well, there are some games which have partial reflecting
water, but (all I''ve seen) look like crap compard to
outcast. (if you give water a bit of twinkeling, this is
not realism)

And, hey, I buyd that game this year, for $5,- or so,
it''s old, but man, it DID impress me.

(I don''t know how it is in other translations, but the
German version of outcast had some mis-translations
in the options menu. "Mittel" (mid) was the best detail
level for every option, so, if some people didn''t realize
this, they''ve never played outcast with best detail.
I think the "native" version is french.)
)

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You''re right Draigan, my PIII was top-of-the-line back then. But nowadays, at least, it''s quite low-end. So most hardware can run a good voxel engine. That was my point.

And I DEFINATELY have to agree with the Unshaven Bastard. I only alluded to the water, saying that you''d need a GeForce3 to do it in hardware, and I''m glad someone described it. It is simply incredible.

It kind of makes me sad that such a game can only sell for $5 in the bargain section. If I could just find a copy of that game, I''d buy it!!

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The water is really unmatched, I havent seen any game that matched this quality!


Yesterday we still stood at the verge of the abyss,
today we''re a step onward!

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