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    An Epic Post for Epic Games.

    Hey everyone.Long time since I posted here, but I feel compelled to get this out. It might have some familiar ring, but I hope it isn't and doesn't become just another one of "those threads". That's up to you , I suppose.

    Epic has had a (another) large infusion of investment and I really think this has to mean something to UT.

    I realize that Epic is a big company with a primary goal of making money for investors - new and old - and I also realize that UT is essentially a charitable work. As I have said about Quake Champions, id won't recoup the expenditures devoted to the game, but they have gone ahead and done it anyway and continue a slow but certain development cycle which has resulted in a good game. More importantly, it has secured them their legacy in a space that is paradoxically vacant. Paradoxically because the pure AFPS market that was once a cornerstone of gaming has been hollowed out by twists and turns - call it theme and variation - leaving a vacuum that neither developers nor players are great enough to fill. The target audience is comparatively small and the developers who are willing to enter that space are few.

    Now, I admit that I have largely turned my back on the new UT. Not because it isn't fun or because I don't want to support Epic, but there is something about it that just feels half-done. Perhaps it's that I know all too well how the process just ran out of gas and in the end, whatever was there seemed to pale in comparison to what wasn't. While that may not make sense, it's a feeling that exists for me and I feel like everyone just got tired and walked away from a table on which much was left to do and that just depresses me. I also admit that I have been deep into Quake Champions for a while now and looking back at UT from that standpoint makes me even sadder and I just can't come back to it right now. Quake Champions is no UT, but it's fun and fast and occupies that aforementioned space alone now, a space that as I said, doesn't have the base to actually support it, but they are going ahead nonetheless and have created - are creating - a fun game with regular updates and again as I said, not only holding on the their legacy crown, but adding jewels to it. Those jewels may not be expensive but they are highly respectable.

    Id had Doom 2016 to revitalize them and they took that momentum and seized it, seemingly realizing that not only was there an orphaned market for such a game, but that they alone were in that space and saw an opportunity. Not a financial opportunity, but one that would water the deep roots, so to speak. While that may largely go unnoticed by many, it isn't lost on a few who - while not an economic well - are still a source of some water from a gaming well that was dug in the 90's and is worth keeping up. So for id, it was 'successful game - re-invest in a dark horse', done for credibility and goodwill. QC has kept their name in the good press - albeit subdued press - but good vibes nonetheless and will go a long way in promoting Doom Eternal and Rage 2 when they appear. They will be seen as a developer that has not only stayed true to their roots but to their legacy and supporters, dating back to the beginning of PC gaming. All of this done post-buyout from Zenimax, an investor group who wanted a return on their money and the larger, the better. The pitch to do Quake Champions was clear: throw this money down the well and it will bubble up in different areas later, the very notion of investing.

    So, now we might know why they did it, so the 'how' question is important. It was an EA title for a long time and only recently saw a 'full' release and as I said, it was a loss-leader from the start and was likely never expected to be a financial asset to maintain. But maintain they have and we see updates, improvements and additional content monthly, all the while, likely taking a loss. However, they didn't turn to the community for anything but feedback and money, eschewing the muddy waters of any talk of co-development with a highly critical and nostalgia-fueled community, one where nothing is ever as good as it was 'back in the day'. Doom showed them that they still had what it took to make a great game in that space and with that confidence, they pushed forward with their vision of what a new version of a classic should be. And it's working. Yes, there are a highly critical group - ironically occupying the official forum - but those who are open-minded and actually giving it a chance by playing the game are having a blast. Quakecon was bigger than ever, all manner of online and LAN tourneys are going very well and considering the small-ish base, the hype is keeping id vital in what otherwise is seen as a Jurassic Park full of old, irrelevant dinosaurs.

    Why am I extolling the virtues of id and Quake here? Because UT is in exactly the same position. And UT is at heart a better game than Quake and can keep Epic's name alive as the proud legacy developer they are. All of Epic's notoriety seems to stretch back only as far as Gears of War, as if UT never happened and Epic are sadly complacent about giving up this important and valuable crown. I place the blame squarely and solely on Tim Sweeney. He's the head and the center piece of that crown and he seems to have sold it for a somewhat proverbial pittance and everything should and does come back to him. Yes, Epic are a big, rich company now and there is a lot to be said for that and for Tim's steering Epic in that direction, but was that his goal when making games in his room as a teen? Was he just a megalomaniac or was he actually a gamer? Sadly, that question is being answered more and more clearly with each passing day that UT is neglected. He has passionate, hugely talented people helping him to just get bigger and bigger, all the while and in equal proportion losing respect. Epic are now the new generation's developer and have turned their back on a base - the very one that put them in the position to be what they are today. And this came only after making great (but misguided) efforts to do the opposite (in a half-hearted way). And it’s all Tim’s fault. Stop throwing stuff at the wall until something sticks and turns to gold...it's disgraceful and embarrassing for everyone. You're sitting on a UT-built throne man!

    UT needs to change the course of the game’s development model and the understanding of why it’s important to continue development. Then they need to re-examine what UT fundamentally is and stop trying to over-complicate things in an attempt to make it palatable to a Fortnite-sized and aged audience. They need to accept that UT will never be a cash cow yet see the importance of maintaining the series in the same manner that id has. The notion of co-development with the community was a noble one and likely the one that got the game as far as it did, but it is clear from hindsight that it was a deeply flawed plan and failed. Relying on that same highly critical and nostalgia-fueled crowd was a losing venture from the start and that’s the first thing that needs to be thrown out. Take the game in-house and only turn to the community for some overall feedback. Then they need to re-assemble the team and write them off for a long-term monetary loss but a long-term task of foundational brand-name sustainability. Tim needs to leave them alone, stop making them answer to his money-making demands and just let them make the game. He needs to give them no time limits and a reasonable budget to get this done; the leashes need to be extended and he needs to back off; he clearly has forgotten one aspect of what Epic as a company should represent, while other subordinates have not. Let those who are worthy take the reins on this. Then, get rid of the in-game pollution. It’s clear that Epic have creative talent and it’s time to let them have a think-tank session about what could revitalize UT but not make it foreign. They need one fundamental idea that would achieve this, then expand on that in concentric circles with each addition paying homage to the original splash. Fortnite has done this amazingly well and the same treatment could be given to UT. Make the game purer; lean and mean but with that core idea keeping it relevant. Right now it suffers from both anemia and bloat. Then, the market. It will have to be F2P and I strongly recommend following id’s route through these rapids exactly. Id didn’t have any problems being a ‘me too’ in this regard, as it is an economic model, not a design one, in a sense, so who cares if it’s copy/paste? So take that F2P page and photocopy it. For the purpose, it is viable and as effective as it can be. The game cannot be a $60 purchase: there is no sense in this and would only be another hole drilled in a boat that was only just acceptably leaky from christening, so don’t make it worse. Implement a market – a re-thought loot box store – and yes, let the community have a place in that (id have not done this), but fundamentally it is a place to purchase content created by Epic. User-made mods and maps are critical, so the community pages of that store are very important and would be a distinguishing feature to set it apart from QC. Set prices for mods and maps so makers know exactly what the returns will be; this is fair. If a particular mod or map takes off, then re-work the deal with makers so that things remain fair; makers will see more return but the players continue to have unrestricted, unchanging access. I’m no economist, but a percent past a particular point seems reasonable. Then stop making mods and maps need re-cooks with every engine update. UT isn’t a showcase for UE4, it’s a game so make sure any engine updates don’t break the content (perhaps for a given period at least and any re-cooks should be done either in-house or have some kind of benefit offered to the creator for additional work created by Epic’s update).

    This is already too long. As I said, I’m not an economist, a game developer nor a company with shareholders. I’m a self-professed ignoramus, fine, but I don’t think I’m wrong on all points, to a large degree. All of this is necessary and achievable. And my, oh my…the game has come so far! It wouldn’t take much to get it right at this point. Make some fundamental changes to the foundational ideas then look up at the tower that already exists. The new UT is a beauty; it looks good, has a huge amount of content. What we’ve done is swam halfway across the lake and turned around for being tired. It’s senseless to stop now and Epic need to strike while the iron is hot. The company is as big and famous and reputable as it has ever been and an announcement to wrestle back control of the floundering UT would be very-well received. Darn it Tim, wake up! Look at what you’ve done and look back at where you came from. Get your head back in the game – the right game, the real game – and get this thing moving again. You’ve thrown us all overboard and forgotten that we are the ones holding on to your legacy as Epic Megagames. Heck, get Cliff back (he's all but unemployed right now), re-assemble the core UT team; reach back, reach out and do whatever it takes to salvage this. It’s important Tim, trust me and doing something to give back at this point won’t be lost on gamers, even if they don’t end up playing the game.

    So much said, so much unsaid, so much left to say, but I’ve got a Saturday to get back to. I know this will turn into another post that draws out the termites, but for my part, I write this out of love for the game, the company, the people within that company and the players. Don’t let my myopia overshadow my intent and don’t let my ignorance stain my passion.

    Fire away haters but remember, I’m not talking to any of you in this, at all.

    Peace.
    Last edited by Carbon; 10-26-2018, 09:30 PM.
    My Unreal game collection. Unreal series screenshots (2560x1440)

    #2
    Unreal Engine 4 is unsuitable for a UT game. I think they realized this and seized development.
    UT2004 Movement Mutator

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      #3
      BLUF: Carbon wants Epic to work on UT again and has lots of explanations as to why, along with some assumptions I don't agree with but won't get into. I also don't think it's fair to place blame on Tim Sweeney, as we don't really entirely know his reasons or the inter-workings of Epic that leads towards decisions such as ceasing work on UT. He has certainly made many wise decisions and you can see where it has taken his company.

      I personally think that Epic could afford to devote a small team of people to work on UT and atleast killing off bugs that exist and updating to the newest engine. I know a lot of stuff is still just place-holder and will be scrapped entirely, but it'd be nice to get some things fixed while people are still enjoying the game in a modded state (Promode). I would think they should have the resources, given revenue from Fortnite and ability to hire more people, to atleast make minor but much needed improvements. I wish we all could fully understand the scope of the situation better but it's probably not going to happen. I can only hope that they will return to this project before 2291.
      irc.globalgamers.net | #2k4ctf |#ut4pugs | #unrealtournament | Ownedwell.com | UT2004 Grail

      Comment


        #4
        BLUF: Carbon wants Epic to work on UT again and has lots of explanations as to why, along with some assumptions I don't agree with but won't get into. I also don't think it's fair to place blame on Tim Sweeney, as we don't really entirely know his reasons or the inter-workings of Epic that leads towards decisions such as ceasing work on UT. He has certainly made many wise decisions and you can see where it has taken his company.

        I personally think that Epic could afford to devote a small team of people to work on UT and atleast killing off bugs that exist and updating to the newest engine. I know a lot of stuff is still just place-holder and will be scrapped entirely, but it'd be nice to get some things fixed while people are still enjoying the game in a modded state (Promode). I would think they should have the resources, given revenue from Fortnite and ability to hire more people, to atleast make minor but much needed improvements. I wish we all could fully understand the scope of the situation better but it's probably not going to happen. I can only hope that they will return to this project before 2291.
        While I don't see any bad intent, I have to wonder why you feel the need to mediate my post in such an undeservedly reductive manner. If people want to know what I said, it's all there for them to read and again I think your idea of a summary is not only unwarranted but a disservice to my post. Really, thanks for reading, but please, I don't need an arbiter nor translator; I think my post and position is clear enough and not everything can - nor deserves to be - expressed as an easily digestible meme.
        My Unreal game collection. Unreal series screenshots (2560x1440)

        Comment


          #5
          One of the most impressive posts ive seen on a forum, some really solid arguments.

          I have accepted that the modern game industry is aimed towards the biggest target audience and not the most experienced, since there really is nothing I can do about it.
          Logically you can't balance players with over a decade of FPS experience against young players that don't even feel comfortable using a mouse, Hence why modern FPS games are generally slower and more restricted in firepower (or otherwise have automatic compensation mechanics or ability cooldown based meta) than the games we dinosaurs grew up with. Its just a better marketing strategy to make a game that is as playable as possible for as many as possible rather than having have a skillroof that is several years beyond the largest target audience.

          Of course there are exceptions and you can probably spend any number of hours discussing wether or not a game is skillbased, fast or slow. Its just the general direction things are slowly going and the largest target audience will most logically remain the least experienced forever.
          However what will future senior FPS players play? They will brake every matchmaking system in every PVP based game unless the ingame mechanics are completely beneath them, we are talking about a lifetime of gaming experience versus players who still are on their first computers.
          We are already seeing the first signs of older FPS players feeling alienated by modern FPS games and if this trend continues younger gamer generations will experience the same thing when they get older, since the young, least experienced group of players will always be biggest and therefor the most lucrative to make a game for.

          The general amount of gamers is steadily increasing by the day, at some point the players who desire a higher skillroof than the mainstream gaming industry currently is willing to provide may become a large enough group to be lucrative again.
          That is what I hope at least, maybe it won't be doom engine olympic runner speed fast and it will likely take another decade or two, but at some point players realize that their abillites have excelled beyond what they are able to do in whatever game they might be playing.

          My philosophy is that the only logical goal for an FPS elite is perfection, to reach that level of godlike skill where you can shoot and maneuver yourself out of seemingly any conceivable situation, no matter the odds. Winning is for kids, improving is for true elites.
          Now is there a limit to whats possible? YES!!! and problem isn't that there is a limit, its how afraid modern developers can be of that limit being too unlimited and decides to more or less cap it below experienced players level of capabillity, because thats better for retaining the younger gaming audience, which again is the biggest and most lucrative one.
          Last edited by Wessmania; 11-07-2018, 01:54 PM. Reason: minor errors.

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            #6
            **** Wes, Well said!

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for the thoughtful post Wessmania and yes, you make good points. I appreciate the considered input.

              I realize I came down hard on Tim Sweeney in my OP, but not without reason. I hold Tim responsible if only because he's the CEO, he's in charge and I'm certain that if he really wanted it, the new UT could happen. And if not Tim, then who? Someone shut it down.

              What goes around, comes around and the AFPS genre is maybe all of a low murmur, but it will never go away. I also firmly believe that the level of difficulty is of little relevance to these games; in fact, the harder it is - the 'easy to pick up, hard to master' adage - the more appealing it becomes. Make it fun to engage with initially and then give it the depth to maintain an audience. The essence of UT has both of these aspects in spades, more so than Quake Champions, just as UT had more depth than Q3A. UT has always been fun...I mean real fun, where we laugh as much as we rage. That's a very telling truth. Playing Quake is just work.
              My Unreal game collection. Unreal series screenshots (2560x1440)

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