I just thought this is a really neat topic for a thread. After watching over 6 hours [and that's only the Level Construction part of the pack] of videos that came with the UT3 Special Edition DVD, I realized a few things.
One, it's FUCKING amazing how much better the quality and QUANTITY of tutorials there are with UT3. They really, really worked hard and it's super easy to create a level, add static meshes, particle effects, and even work in Kismet [it's Action Scripting]. Compare this is to FarCry or even Crysis. *Crickets chirp*. Yeah, there was little or no tutorials, officially made, for FarCry besides the Editor Manual, which is basic but far from complete. In fact, after spending quite a lot of time over on Crymod, you'll learn there are quite a few errors in the 1.1 version of the manual, such as how you have to setup your forbidden areas and then tick the Closed option, and also for specific situations, you need to Pick the individual mercs/AIs you want to be affected by the FA you just created; none of this is mentioned in the manual.
I praise the UT3 crew for working their asses off and making the Tutorial videos, all ~4 gigs of them. Each one is very useful, and some are just made to simplify other videos that might've been too complex. Those videos are made on a whiteboard and they use pictorials, graphs, and simple graphics to help even [I think] complicated subjects like Kismet feel more like linking boxes [Triggers] to other boxes, [Results] and it's not boring and complicated like working directly with the LUA files in FarCry. But if you dabble at all in CryEngine 2's Sandbox, you'll see a form of Kismet in action, but Crysis style, you're still connecting boxes and using threads to connect actions to results, or whatever you want to script in the game to happen. That similarity will definitely make it easier for designers to switch from one environment of UT3 ED to Sandbox 2, since the scripting process is very similar.
Also, I found that placing static meshes [like FarCry's Simple Entities] is even easier than in FarCry, and far easier than in the Sandbox 2. In UT3 Ed, you open up a pack of pre-created static meshes [a static mesh is something like a pillar, statue, that doesn't move, it's static. Useful for populating a space full for interesting looking things, but it keeps the polies and calculations for the engine low, excepting when it must calculate light shadows, then you might want to not fill every corner with some static mesh, or maybe make sure some of them don't cast shadows.] So how is it easier? Well you just pick the static mesh you want out of the library, then right click in the environment where you want it, and a little side table pops up, and the last static mesh you selected in the library will be ready to be placed. You place it and if necessary, move it around via X, Y, or Z. Just like FarCry and Crysis...? Not really. The Snap To grid system is much easier to use, a thing you can change on the fly in the UT3 Ed by going to View, Grid, and lowering the Snap To variable for really close up work, or make the variable larger for large pieces you are trying to move. In FarCry you place and object and you have to worry about having the move tool selected first, otherwise it it'll spawn out in the ocean [wtf], and you have to make sure you're not too close to the place you want to populate because otherwise the object will end up right in front of the camera, like inches from you, and not where you want to place it. Also, if this happens and it's a Entity like an Ammo pack, you'll take the ammo because you're so close to the camera. Yeah, it's annoying, I know after creating over 30 multiplayer maps for FarCry.
So Kismet is similar to Crysis's method of Action Scripting, UT3 Ed's Snap To grid is easier but similar to FarCry and Crysis's widget variable changing, but it's more uniform in UT3 Ed, and it is, for whatever reason, more accurate. Maybe I'm STILL aligning objects improperly after all this time, but I doubt it. It just feels more solid in UT3 Ed than FarCry and definitely more so than in Crysis.
Yeah so UT3 Ed is the easiest engine I've witnessed [I'll start making levels today...simple DM ones I think.] that you can right away start mapping without carving out your landscape [FarCry, Crysis], or using Hangars and Pre-made buildings [FarCry, Crysis] to have indoor matches. If you want to make an indoor [industrial, sci-fi, whatever] map, start by making a Builder Box in the dimensions for your level, click Build, Close and move th Builder Box away and then start applying Materials to your checkered walls. Making hallways and passages to connect your rooms is VERY easy, no VisAreas or Holes to cut, ick [FarCry, some Crysis].
After I watched those videos, and it's been a LONG time since I've seen a interesting and FUN tutorial video, I had to finish up a MP level I've been working on in FarCry. The editor disgusts me. Yeah, there's a huge level of technology difference comparing the two engines, and yes FarCry's Sandbox 2 isn't REALLY an editor, it's just slapping pieces together [talk to ANY other game level designer and you'll see that the Sandbox 1 [and some of Sandbox 2] is a really unique and hands-on way of creating levels. It's not a bad way [How many levels have I created in Sandbox 1? A LOT. It can't be that bad.] of doing things, but it's not professional like in the other level designers like Q3Radiant, or like Hammer. So once you get your feet wet in UT3 Ed [the easiest level creation tool, in my humble opinion, easiest, I say it again.], you'll be a lot more comfortable switching over to other world creation tools like Q3Radiant or Hammer, since those are all traditionally-based tools; creating boxes, working in wireframes, not slapping together palm trees and coconuts and never seeing a wireframe unless you're smoothing the ground underwater and you have wireframes on so you can see underwater. You never see a wireframe, or have to measure distances, make sure no seams are showing [a newb mistake, like looking beyond a closed door and seeing open space outside of the level, and that door is static, it will never open.], basically it's like that.
Now I know non-mappers will spam flame this above comment, but FarCry and Crysis mappers know what I'm talking about, especially people who have spent over [duh] 3 hours in the editor. Simply put, FarCry is a niche editor, and Crysis is still to a lot of that degree, but it has been updated here and there to make it more mainstream and less niche. But a lot of niche factors are still there, and they kinda have to be because Sandbox 1 was their first editor program, and Sandbox 2 has to have a least a couple of hold overs to make the Sandbox 1 users not feel completely out of their mapping element they had in Sandbox 1. Good or bad, that's the way it is.
So playing around in the UT3 Ed makes me want to take all my uncompleted levels in FarCry [I've not started mapping seriously in Crysis yet] and create Designer MP Pack 5 and be done with all my FarCry works. Yes, UT3 Ed made a huge impression on me. No longer are my mapping thoughts dominated by if I want to create an effect in FarCry and not know how, I can do it in UT3 Ed and it's a fucking standard effect, it's not something terribly complex or esoteric. Again, it's comparing an [2 years ago it was] aging engine with a brand new one, but I wanted to say it none the less, the vast difference in the level of quality.
On a side note, what makes me happy isn't trudging through CryEngine 1/2 and making maps with my meager skills and getting half of the stuff done I really wanted to get done but couldn't because I don't know who to ask or the answers to my questions leave me with more questions, it's that I love to web design. If I grew carrots in a garden, I'd love taking pictures of them growing, cut them into a salad and put all the pictures on a web page, that's my real passion I think. I like watching my files upload via FTP, watching them get full uploaded, the bytes grow and grow. FarCry is mearly a means to an ends, and after exploring and starting to map in UT3 Ed, FarCry feels like last [couple of] year's old meat. I'm not saying I'll drop CryTek cold and start mapping and modding in UT3 Ed, but from what I've seen and experimented with, it's tons easier to map and tons easier to mod, my biggest hurdle with FarCry [Caribbean Red, the pirates mod that died, then Project Envy, my weapons mod that died] and now Crysis [with Red Forest, my STALKER rip-off mod]. UT3 Ed is something that has made me very excited, and I don't have any thoughts of Crysis in my mind since I've not started to even map for it, but I do have thoughts of FarCry still in my head: the unfinished singleplayer maps, Designer MP 5, and it's variants, etc. But I guess my only real obligation [my mental obligation I feel to the community] is to keep FarCry FTP up to date, which is easy to do, create Crysis FTP, and rework the N88TR.net to reflect new FarCry and Crysis modding sections, which is really just a labor of love on the part of web design, not really about the games, but just the proper tutorials and help files on the site, and how the templates look similar but slightly different for FarCry when compared to the Crysis sections on the site. Is this a soulless approach to a beloved PC game[s]?
Well I guess so but now people know what makes me happy, web design and all of it's aspects, so as long as the people who don't read this but still visit my site [probably not too many of those, lol, PR is hard to do all by myself.], all the other curious visitors will be clueless, and it doesn't really matter what they believe I like, does it? [A rhetorical question.]
I didn't make it!
your right about farcry and crysis.I had to figure it out myself because the manual was so vague.Farcrys real crysis was joining E A.I still intend to buy farcry 2 as I'm courious about its engine.Hopefuly crytek will keep the bumbleing E A out of it
But Sandbox 2 eliminates most of the niggling errors and irritating crashed in the Sandbox 1. In regard to Unreal Engine 3, lets just say, the grass is always greener...