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Silicon Knights Says Unreal Engine is Broken 109

Posted by Zonk
from the here-we-go dept.
Yesterday we discussed Too Human's absence from this year's E3 event, and briefly mentioned the just-announced lawsuit between Silicon Knights and Epic. Today there's a bit of a clarification. Silicon Knights is suing Epic because, according to Kotaku, Epic failed to 'provide a working game engine' to SK causing them to 'experience considerable losses.' Essentially Knights argues that the Gears of War version of the Unreal engine was withheld by Epic so that Epic products could show up competitors at trade events. For a deeper look at this, the blog runs down the allegations in detail, and concluded by noting that a slew of next-generation titles slated to use the Unreal Engine have been delayed several times. This includes Stranglehold, BioShock, Lost Odyssey, Mass Effect, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Turok, Frame City Killer, Fatal Inertia and Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway ... a somewhat persuasive list, when it's all laid out in front of you.
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Silicon Knights Says Unreal Engine is Broken

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  • Delays? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daeg (828071)
    Outside of exclusive, blockbuster-style releases that have significant backing by Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo, what game ISN'T delayed these days?
    • by QMalcolm (1094433)
      I'd say those games are the worst offenders when it comes to multiple delays.
    • by quanticle (843097)
      Heck, even games that have such backing are delayed. Both Twilight Princess (originally slated to be a GC game) and Metroid Prime: Corruption (orginally slated to be out for this year) were delayed. Twilight Princess was pushed back and became a dual-release (Wii + GC) and Metroid was pushed back to next year.

      I don't mean to pick on Nintendo, I'm just pointing out that even exclusive, blockbuster releases are often delayed.
      • by edwdig (47888)
        You're right on Zelda, but Metroid is coming out next month. They did initially announce it as a launch title - maybe you've got your years mixed up?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        Metroid Prime: Corruption (orginally slated to be out for this year)

        I think you mean last year. It was briefly slated to be a launch title in 2006 before being pushed out to March 2007. Right before it was supposed to be released, it was again pushed out to later in 2007. Now we have a firm release date of August 27th.
        • by quanticle (843097)
          That's true, but my point still stands: namely, having a big brand and full support is still no guarantee of on-time delivery.
      • by Cadallin (863437)
        Picking on Nintendo is probably justified in this area, as they're likely to delay titles for somewhat ulterior motives. I'd be willing to bet that Twilight Princess was ready to ship as a Gamecube title as early as June '06 , or could have been, except that they shifted gears to make it a Wii launch title (and in my opinion, probably delayed it for that reason). However, Nintendo is also much more likely than other Companies to delay the release of a title in a condition that other companies would call "
      • by 7Prime (871679)
        However, and here's the unexepected part, Mario Galaxy and Smash Bros Brawl are coming out on time, neither one has ever been slated for release, and the general expectation has been "late 2007", and now both of them coming out in November and December, respectively. Of course, there are those that were "hoping" for a summer release, or even a spring release, but there's never been any alogation by Nintendo that these titles would be released before holiday 2007, and here they are!

        Nintendo, releasing someth
    • by KDR_11k (778916)
      EA doesn't seem to delay very often. They just release the game as-is.
    • Oops. Bad example.

      I admit my bias as a Bioware fanboy, but I was bummed when they announced Mass Effect when the 360 was launched. Didn't have one and didn't plan to get one. A year passed and I broke down and got a 360 end of last year (actually two if you count the returns). I pre-ordered ME when I bought the thing and it was supposed to launch in January. Looks like it will be September. It'd would be interesting to know if it was issues with the engine was behind some of the delays. I prefer to think

  • Epic In Deep Doodoo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @09:41AM (#19926103)
    If it is even partially true that Epic has been funding development of their own titles by taking money from other developers and then botching or even worse failing to deliver on features or support Epic is done as a serious option for major game development houses.

    At best Epic is incompetent in taking on the massive task of engine support for major commercial products without the staff or resources to be able to handle the job.

    At worst Epic is outright guilty of fraud.

    Why anyone would be crazy enough to entrust a AAA console title to a pc developer like Epic is a completely separate question.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why anyone would be crazy enough to entrust a AAA console title to a pc developer like Epic is a completely separate question.
      Yeah, because Gears of War sucked. As do all epic console games produced by PC-style developers like Bungie, etc.
    • by uncledrax (112438)
      > Why anyone would be crazy enough to entrust a AAA console title to a pc developer like Epic is a completely separate question.

      Except the UEngine has been shipped for Consoles numerous times in the past.. some examples, the Rainbow Six franchise, Unreal championship, shadow ops: red merc, Red Steel, and the Brothers in Arms franchise...

      As for UE3 specifically, Roboblitz shipped ok iirc.. didn't Rainbow 6: Vegas ship ok?.. Bioshock doesn't seem to have any major issues with the engine, do they? (I'd be
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Skye16 (685048)
        Things don't work that way in the business world. If I'm on the hook to deliver software by a certain date, and I don't, merely saying "it isn't working right now" is not going to make the client go "oh, well, in that case, I WON'T demand my money back / sue you for damages caused to my company." It looks even worse when I'm releasing other COTS software directly linked to the contract in question that is flawless - it can be reasonably deduced that I spent more time working on my COTS solution than worki
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kornkid606 (1076023)

      Why anyone would be crazy enough to entrust a AAA console title to a pc developer like Epic is a completely separate question.

      When a developer decides that they want to make a competitive 3D game nowadays they have 2 options: write your own engines -or- license an engine from someone else. On the one hand, writing your own cutting edge, competitive engine is going to take a hell of a long time and money, just look at the guys who do it primarily: Id, Valve, Epic. These engines take several years, a lo

      • by mwvdlee (775178)
        I would go so far as to say that companies like iD, Valve and Epic primarily develop engines, with the games being both a quality assurance and marketing instrument. They sure make great games, but I dare bet they make far most of their more money licensing the engines.
  • I was told that because of rising costs for making games that making a custom engine in house was a costly waste of time when you could go out and license a working engine from someone like Id, Epic, or Valve (I'm not going to name them all.)

    I always thought this was odd. What if your game is going to directly compete with a game made by the people you license your engine from. They make money from the engine being listened and from whatever royalties system they implement, but in the end they still make wa
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I was told that because of rising costs for making games that making a custom engine in house was a costly waste of time when you could go out and license a working engine from someone like Id, Epic, or Valve (I'm not going to name them all.)

      True

      I always thought this was odd. What if your game is going to directly compete with a game made by the people you license your engine from. They make money from the engine being listened and from whatever royalties system they implement, but in the end they still make way more money from there own games. They sell more if your game looks bad.

      While it is true that when games made by the developers of the engines themselves do better, the company as a whole does better, yet at the same time when the engine shows signs of failure, people stop requesting the engine for license which can cause a total meltdown of the company producing the engine. Also there's this little crime called fraud which, if they deliberately provide a faulty product for their own personal gain, they can be charged of.

      Unlike a middleware developer like the guys who make Havok or Kynogon they have a possible conflicting interest. hmm

      Not particularly. The developers work like mad on

      • Agreed, with one thing to note. The game Pariah [google.ca] made by Digital Extremes [digitalextremes.com] flopped. I know it's not Epic, but it's Epics closest partner in developing the Unreal Tournament [unrealtournament.com] Series of games.

        It might not be the engine, it might be the implementation. Besides, have you seen all the features [unrealtechnology.com] the engine has? It's bound to have a few bugs in it. Windows, Linux, and OSX all do. And if there's so many problems, you'd think more of the companies that licensed it would complain. There's lots of companies using it. [epicgames.com]
    • What it boils down to is trust. When you license an engine, or any kind of "middleware", you trust the company making it implicitly that they are selling you a product that's as good as they can make it. It becomes touchy when they also create a final product that competes with yours.

      That they have more information than you is a given. They have pretty much direct access to the gurus that brewed the engine. Probably their devs even have access to the source, and certainly they have a much easier time trying
      • That they have more information than you is a given. They have pretty much direct access to the gurus that brewed the engine. Probably their devs even have access to the source
        I'm pretty sure that engine licenses for game developers tend to come with full source code and that game developers can and do tweak the engine code that goes into their games.
    • Re:Thats odd (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644) on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:51AM (#19926907) Journal
      From what I've read it seems that a majority of games, even the big budget ones, have a relatively short productive shelf life. Meaning that the large majority of a game's sales come within its first few months of release. That being the case, a company like Valve or Id could easily release their a few months game before licensees get around to releasing, and then there's no real competition between them, because the original game is already past its prime.

      Also, for a company that puts a lot of time and resources into an engine, if they just had their own game to make that money back, they could be in real trouble if that game tanks for whatever reason. But if they've got the engine set up for licensing, that's some extra insurance that they'll recoup their investment.
    • Well, in practice it isn't always a problem.

      Naughty Dog's game engine for Jak and Daxter was also used for the Ratchet and Clank series from Insomniac, and (I believe) for the Sly Cooper series from Sucker Punch. The three franchises definitely competed with each other; Jak & Daxter were often directly compared to Ratchet and Clank.

      For my money, R&C was by far the best series of games, followed by SC, with J&D coming in third. Naughty Dog did a great job of building a game engine, but their game
      • by metamatic (202216)
        (Yes, I know Wikipedia says that Ratchet and Clank used code from Jak and Daxter, but had a different game engine, whatever that means. I read magazine articles claiming that the same engine was used, but customized. I don't have any personal knowledge as to which is correct.)
    • I was told that because of rising costs for making games that making a custom engine in house was a costly waste of time when you could go out and license a working engine from someone like Id, Epic, or Valve (I'm not going to name them all.)

      Epic and Valve might make their money from their games, but from what I've heard, id makes most of its money from its engine licensing deals.

  • by Kelbear (870538) on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:19AM (#19926539)
    I want to see some evidence, from both sides.

    IANAL but my guess is:

    The simplest and most likely scenario here is that Epic promised to ship some code out, and missed their deadline. It's not very unusual for this to happen, deadlines get missed all the time, particularly in the gaming industry. SK is covering their bases (which is the smart thing to do) by making the claim include the possibility that Epic did it intentionally, which would be considerably harder to prove, but is in there just in case that's what happened.

    If it was just a missed deadline, it looks like whatever clauses were already in the contract's terms and conditions for this scenario will be invoked(why the HELL would they not include a late delivery clause? There has to be one in there already), or failing that, just a nulled contract, possibly with some compensation for the inconvenience. Slashdotters probably already know that there's very little chance of the Gears profits being handed over. People claim whatever they want, that doesn't mean the court will decide to award it to them.
  • by LKM (227954) on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:21AM (#19926563) Homepage

    So, id software is going to get a lot of business in the coming years, huh?

    To me, this sounds like a typical software development fuckup. Epic probably underestimated what it would take to get GoW out. So they decided to take development resources away from the engine to the game. Then, they fixed the engine specifically for the game, because that is easier than fixing it in a generic fashion - but this leads to a kind of merging of the two code bases. Obviously, they didn't want to give out the code for GoW, so they ended up with a crappy version of the engine - which they did give out - and a good version of the engine married to the code of GoW - which they didn't want to give out (at first).

    I have absolutely no insider information, but I could easily see something like this happening. As always, Hanlon's Razor applies: "Never ascribe to malice, that which is adequately explained by incompetence."

    • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:52AM (#19926915)
      I remember the issues the Vampire: Bloodlines folks had with the HL2 engine. The problem is that the HL2 folks kept making engine changes while Troika worked on theirs. Integrating updates was a big deal. When Obsidian made Neverwinter Nights 2, they had Bioware's code base, but there were some broken functions even though the first NWN had been out for a long time.

      Like you say, the U3 engine likely went through a lot of changes and neither they nor the licensee understood how much work is involved in using a piece of software that's still being developed.
    • by Kelbear (870538)
      Haha, thank you, that saying immediately came to mind, but I couldn't remember the exact wording or source so I didn't bother embarassing myself by referencing it in my own comment.

      Intentionally sabotaging licensees is pretty extreme, and unlikely since it carries so much risk for a business since the fallout would be so severe. Epic probably just failed to meet their promises. I'm suprised that the contract didn't have any late clauses already embedded in the terms and conditions.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      You could rationalise that the best way for Epic to develop an engine is to write a few games that showcase it. And besides, it's more money to plough back into development. Having said that, if 3rd parties were paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Epic, what were they getting for their money? For that kind of cash I would expect to have an Epic developer or two supporting and working with me full time to make it work.

      On the flip side, it does seem weird that SK could even get themselves in this

      • by LKM (227954)

        On the flip side, it does seem weird that SK could even get themselves in this situation. If the engine sucked as much as they claim, why develop against an unstable engine for so long?

        Seems they claim they started with the unstable version 3 because Epic promised them to have a workable version on the 360 soon, and then didn't deliver. Who knows what really happened, but those of us working in software programming know how these thing can go. Once you've made an investment into something, you're awfully quick to make all kinds of stupid decisions rationalising that investment. In hindsight, a lot of these thing look obviously stupid, but at the moment they happen, not so much.

      • by Nevyn (5505) *

        Having said that, if 3rd parties were paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Epic, what were they getting for their money? For that kind of cash I would expect to have an Epic developer or two supporting and working with me full time to make it work.

        Ermm ... how much do you think a decent developer costs? Even if you payed $500,000 for the engine, if you got two core engine developers for two years that could easily be half of what you payed (note, I'm talking about what it costs Epic, not what

    • That doesn't jive with what we know of reality. For one, the Unreal Engine is continually updated. While they have major versions of it, it isn't as though there's a one point in time thing you get, buying it gets you updates. Another would be that there are Unreal Engine 3 games out right now that you can get. Rainbow 6 Vegas and RoboBlitz would be two that I know of and there's a whole bunch more in development. So if the engine really didn't work, you'd think that maybe we'd hear something form the other
      • by LKM (227954)

        That doesn't jive with what we know of reality. For one, the Unreal Engine is continually updated.

        SK claims that they did not get the updates they were promised.

        As I said, I have no insider information, so I don't know what really happened.

    • That was pretty much my guess. They probably knew internally what did and did't work properly, and would've had to fix it on a case-to-case basis to keep their GoW targets. To keep world+dog from seeing the bad side of it, they likely killed any functionality that could cause a loss of faith among liscensees in real-world situations (outside their own facilities). But yeah, I'm guessing too.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:25AM (#19926599) Homepage Journal
    Not I am not kidding but the PS3's programing model looks like a real bear to deal with I saw these comments in the article.

    "Epic once again supposedly missed a deadline for an Engine Silicon Knights was going to use on a PLAYSTATION 3 game. Epic missed this deadline by six-months. A functional UE3 for the PS3 was supposed to be delivered by February 2007. It wasn't.

    According to SK, the Engine apparently caused the game to "slow down significantly" due to lengthly load times and "memory-spikes" during loading. Epic apparently had known about this problem with the Unreal Engine since 2004 and promised a solution by 2005. It never came. "

    I am not a big console gamer but didn't I hear that many of the "Hot must get" titles for the PS3 will not be out until March 08?
    I have heard on Slashdot time and time again that the PS3 programing model will not be a problem because everybody will use game engines that will deal with it for you. Seems like the game engines are having some issues now.

    • by feepness (543479)

      According to SK, the Engine apparently caused the game to "slow down significantly" due to lengthly load times and "memory-spikes" during loading. Epic apparently had known about this problem with the Unreal Engine since 2004 and promised a solution by 2005. It never came. "
      Wow, they really should have had those PS3 problems ironed out given they had the development kits 2 years before Sony actually made them.

      In other words, I doubt this is a PS3 thing.
      • by l3mr (1070918)
        Or the memory spikes are a general problem of UE, which already existed in UE2 and still hasn't been fixed in UE3.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:40AM (#19926805)
    There are a few things that should be mentioned here.

    One: Middleware (and just about any production software) is constantly in a state of flux, and there is never a "final" version of it. People who licence the Unreal Engine technologies are given secure access to Epic's CVS repository, where daily engine builds and patches can be checked out for use by the game developers. SK's claim that they didn't have access to a "finished" version is a load of bunk.

    Two: the Engine framework is delivered "as is". It is up to the game developer to modify the engine to suit that particular game's needs, not Epic. If the developers at SK are incapable of programming the engine to suit their needs, that is their problem, not Epics. SK started receiving alpha versions of the engine right after the first X360 dev kits went out and they have access to the CVS like everyone else. The fault is with SK, not Epic.

    Three: if you read up on it you will find that SK is looking to claim that all of the modification work that they are doing on the game constitutes an "entirely new engine" and that they should retain all rights to it. In other words, they want the benefits of using UE3 technology without having to pay for it.

    Four: SK is seeking damages - they want the complete profits from Gears of War. Think about that for a minute. Here's the relevant part:

    The document then asks that "The Court award damages to Silicon Knights in an amount proved at trial for the damages as set forth above", and that "Epic be required to disgorge all profits obtained on its Gears of War game as a result of the misconduct set forth above."
    This is a straight-up scam to get money, period.

    Five: Epic has licenced its technology to a rather vast collection of developers, including some of the biggest in the business. No one else has complained, just Silicon Knights - a company that has been pushing Too Human (the title in question) since 1999 (when it was being developed for the Gamecube). Think about that - a company that has been making the same title for 8 years suddenly decides to launch a lawsuit when they find themselves unable to show the goods at E3. At least 3DRealms isn't making grandiose claims about Duke Nukem Forever all the time...

    Six: Epic has a long history of supporting developers, from the corporate level all the way down to the hobbyist modder at home. Epic provides tools and help free of charge to anyone who wants them. If SK gets their way, this could have severe ramifications for the entire gaming industry and engine middleware licencing in general.

    SK Business Plan
    1). Licence middleware engine 6 years after beginning development. Have incompetent programmers who cannot understand simple instructions program the game.
    2). Show off screenshots, brag - and then fail to deliver goods at E3.
    3). Blame middleware provider for own problems.
    4). ???
    5). Profit.
    • by Grave (8234) <awalbert88&hotmail,com> on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:22PM (#19928343)
      I'm doubtful this is a pure money grab. While that may be an outcome of the lawsuit, I think that there must be some truth to the claims made here. It's hard to believe it is just coincidence that a majority of the other UE3 titles have been delayed again and again. When discussing id Tech 5, Carmack made a mention that (wish I had the quote handy) unlike competitors, his engine was built fresh from the ground up so that it was a clean codebase, easily understood and modified, rather than an engine built upon an existing design, and that this made it easier for licensees to use. At the time, I found this quote rather strange, since so many devs were licensing UE3 and Source, so those engines couldn't be all that bad. But perhaps he was making a veiled reference to complaints he had heard about UE3?

      Now, maybe SK really is the only one having problems here, and UE3 as delivered to them truly is a masterpiece of an engine. Or just maybe, they've got a little bit of a real gripe.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        If the UE code is anything like the UT game scripts it's full of legacy. Did you know that UT2004 still has the whole code from Unreal 1 deep in there with most new stuff inheriting Unreal 1 code? But then again most people license what works and UE seems to work. Almost noone licensed Doom 3's engine even though that was written from scratch, pretty capable and probably much cleaner internally than UE (again, I've only seen the game logic parts but those looked a whole lot cleaner than in UT, I quickly und
      • by John Carmack (101025) on Friday July 20, 2007 @08:10PM (#19934453)
        I'm not sure where that quote came from -- IdTech 5 as a whole is not a clean sheet of paper design, there are some good sized chunks that have clear heritage to Doom 3 / Q4 / ETQW. The rendering engine is certainly from-scratch, but that is a rather small chunk of a complete engine today.

        I was always somewhat hesitant about broad licensing because I feared something exactly like this, where a developer thinks they see something in an engine, but it doesn't turn out the way they expected, and they sue. It is possible that explicit promises were made and broken, but it is also possible that the licensee just failed for the same reasons that most game development project fail, and is looking for a scapegoat. Game development is hard, engine license or no engine license.

        During Doom 3's development, our licensees had access to our source control server, so there was never a question of them not having access to what we are using. They would have been foolish to try to use daily builds, but the option was available to them.

        John Carmack
        • by Zenix (944257)
          I think the quotes he's referring to is from an interview with Steve Nix.

          When we started out with id Tech 5, we didn't hack onto an old engine and then sort of replace parts as we went along. It's an entirely new engine. The structure is super-fundamentally sound.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah right. I know a number of coders at different studios who are working with UE3 and have worked with previous iterations of UE and the only thing they have to say about it is "nice toolchain". The rest of it is just fucked up PC-centric architecture. I also heard last year that Epic were giving no support to licensees in favour of fixing up the engine so Gears of War would run well, so this lawsuit is no surprise.

      It seems to me that Epic are trying to fill the void left by EA's acquisition of Renderware
    • by p0tat03 (985078) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:29PM (#19929399)

      One: Middleware (and just about any production software) is constantly in a state of flux, and there is never a "final" version of it. People who licence the Unreal Engine technologies are given secure access to Epic's CVS repository, where daily engine builds and patches can be checked out for use by the game developers.

      Yes, and how often is this repo updated? All HL2 modders (you don't even have to be a licensee!) are given read access to their Perforce repos, but those are updated only once in a blue moon for good reason. As a licensee you expect builds from your engine provider to be relatively bug free and at the very least stable - I don't want Epic's daily changes for GOW sneaking into my code base until they're sure it's solid. It's entirely possible that Epic failed to update said CVS on a timely basis, or even if they did, they failed to address discovered critical issues in a timely manner (which sounds like what the lawsuit claims).

      Three: if you read up on it you will find that SK is looking to claim that all of the modification work that they are doing on the game constitutes an "entirely new engine" and that they should retain all rights to it. In other words, they want the benefits of using UE3 technology without having to pay for it.

      I read the same document. It sounds to me like SK developed its own in-house engine without any UE3 code, and they want a court to acknowledge that fact on paper in order to cover their ass from any inevitable counter-moves by Epic. I don't think they were implying at all that their modifications to UE3 should grant them a free license.

      The fault is with SK, not Epic.

      Maybe it runs a bit both ways. But in any case, if it's true that Epic failed to deliver an acceptably stable version of the 360 and PS3 code bases as dictated by the contract, Epic is guilty of either incompetence or fraud, in either case SK is entitled to refund/compensation. Whether or not SK's developers were competent enough to produce a game from it is rather irrelevant. If Epic failed to provide code, or held back code from licensees, or failed to provide the level of support dictated by their contract, then SK has a case.

      Four: SK is seeking damages - they want the complete profits from Gears of War.

      Yeah, I'm not comfortable with that part. I think it's just a display by SK to get attention, there's no chance in hell they'll get ALL the profits from GOW even if they won, nor do they deserve it. They deserve their license fee back PLUS interest, and also damages maybe amounting to a year's worth of dev time, I would say. Maybe on top of that it'd be justified to roll in some punitive damages if it can be proven that Epic knowingly and flagrantly disregarded their licensing contract.

      Five: Epic has licenced its technology to a rather vast collection of developers, including some of the biggest in the business. No one else has complained, just Silicon Knights

      Really? I've heard from several developers working with UE3 that it's a load of junk. Is it also any surprise that *all* of the UE3 games that have been announced for either next gen console has either been delayed or cancelled? Even Rainbow Six Vegas took forever to come out and suffered long delays, though it did in the end make it out the door.

      Six: Epic has a long history of supporting developers, from the corporate level all the way down to the hobbyist modder at home. Epic provides tools and help free of charge to anyone who wants them. If SK gets their way, this could have severe ramifications for the entire gaming industry and engine middleware licencing in general.

      You seem desperate to make Epic sound like the good guys here. Okay, they made Unreal, and Unreal Tournament, those were great games, but that doesn't mean much about them as a middleware vendor. From my experience, licensing technology from a company producing its own ga

      • by l3mr (1070918)

        I read the same document. It sounds to me like SK developed its own in-house engine without any UE3 code, and they want a court to acknowledge that fact on paper in order to cover their ass from any inevitable counter-moves by Epic. I don't think they were implying at all that their modifications to UE3 should grant them a free license.

        Maybe you didn't read it thouroughly enough; the meat is here:

        59. Progress on the Silicon Knights' Engine continues to date and, at this time, the Silicon Knights Engine is completely independent of Epic's Engine and certainly derives no benefit from the unworkable source code provided by Epic. In fact, at this juncture the Silicon Knights Engine should, at a minimum, be described under the Agreement as an "Enhancement" of Epic's Engine, which, as defined by the Agreement, is technology developed b

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blincoln (592401)
      a company that has been pushing Too Human (the title in question) since 1999 (when it was being developed for the Gamecube)

      A minor clarification here. That was actually the second unfinished/unreleased version of Too Human. It was originally under development for the Playstation at the same time as Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (released in 1997). IE it has been in progress for a decade or more.

      I have half-jokingly suggested before that the unfinished Playstation and Gamecube versions should be included in a c
    • by seebs (15766)
      Interesting theory, but too many UE3 games are being delayed right now for me to entirely trust it.
    • by rtechie (244489)
      My reading on this is as follows:

      1. SK licences UE3 from Epic for a pile of money to make Too Human.
      2. SK is unable to get UE3 to work. They blame Epic for bad support.
      3. SK develops new in-house engine (presumably based in part on UE3) to use for Too Human.

      The purpose of the lawsuit is for SK to recover the money they paid Epic for UE3, and more importantly, to allow them to legally sell their new engine (both in Too Human and to 3rd parties) which I am sure Epic would object too.

      The Epic side of this woul
    • In short, it sounds like SK is getting out of the game business and into lawsuits.

  • by EXTomar (78739) on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:21AM (#19927275)
    So far this seems like a "Harvard vs Yale" thing where it is inconsequential who wins. The cynic in me does have a suspicion that blame can be laid at the feet of both Epic and SK.

    Epic is to blame because it seems to complete Gears of War with the "Unreal Engine 3" required a lot of work from Epic themselves. Or in other words, the engine wasn't as complete as it really needed to be so Epic did a lot of specific fixes for Gears to bring up the game. This seems to indicate that UE3 isn't that complete or polished and Epic is unable (technically or contractually) or unwilling to merge these changes into the basic engine leaving any ISV who got a license wondering how in the world they can make a game that is remotely close to Gears in function and quality.

    Silicon Knights is to blame because their management seems to be way out there (yes Denis Dyack I'm looking at you). No engine can make a game beautiful where the performance of Too Human was entirely your ball to drop. That is the job of the artists, programmers, and ultimately the "director" where if they were not happy with the platform given they needed to voice their concerns. I have a sneaking suspicion they believed the marketing instead of their own technical assets then it is yet another bad decision by management.

    So whatever. These two can hash it out where the ultimate fall out is that Too Human is probably 2009 time frame if SK goes through with this, reclaim their money, and rebuild their own engine.
    • by Miraba (846588)
      If I had modpoints to spend and I hadn't already posted in here, I'd give you +1 insightful. Epic obviously failed on several points of their contract and is guilty of misrepresentation of their product. SK failed at finding programmers who could work with the engine (other companies' products show that it is possible to work with it and get decent output).

      If I were on the jury, I would free SK from the contract and refund the portion they paid for the undelivered products. I'm not sure that SK deserve

      • by Khuffie (818093)
        My guess is, SK is doing the whole 'ask for more than you want' thing. If they only ask for a refund and to nullify the contract (which is what they really want, so they can release Too Human), they might not get it.
        • by Miraba (846588)
          That's certainly a valid technique. Movie directors also play that game with the MPAA.
  • by A_Non_Moose (413034) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:46PM (#19928725) Homepage Journal
    Will this delay Duke Nukem Forever, too?

    (not that there would be YAEC {yet another engine change}, no that'd be silly)

    (very tounge in cheek, BTW)
  • In an interview [gamespot.com] back in march with Sakaguchi he talked about UE3 and Blue Dragon development.

    It's very good overall. Support has been outstanding. But the problem is, for example, Epic's Unreal Engine 3. It's developed in English, of course. And unless you've got programmers who can understand English or are bilingual...we've got numerous bilingual staff, programmers who are highly capable of speaking and understanding English, so they can understand the updated information and versions with respect to the development of UE3. But unless you've got programmers who can understand English, they actually can't read the materials. And even though translation takes place, there is a lag. Oftentimes when they read [about] a version, the very version that they read is outdated. So those are some of the challenges associated with the language barrier. That's one area that Microsoft is poor in: documentation.

    Seems to me with the exception of it being in English, he had good things to say. Obviously you can't expect Epic(or MS in Sakaguchi's opinion) to have full translations of documents ready to go out the door when new code and features are done. But damn, if you've seen Blue Dragon and Lost Oddyssey you can tell Mist Walker has worked some magic with that engine. IMO, SK just wants to bitch! Too Human has been i

  • Silicon Knights has been working working on this game for almost a decade now, and now they're desperately looking for a way to pull out a profit when they still don't have anything to show. This lawsuit is pretty fucking ridiculous, did you see what they are looking for in damages? The profits from Gears of War. Yeah, okay, we'll just hand that right over to you since we totally did screw you. Nobody else seems to be complaining about these sorts of problems; I smell a scam.
  • This must also be one of the reasons why DN4 still isn't ready. IIRC they switched from the Quake2 engine to the Unreal engine sometime back in the late 90's. They could claim billions of dollars in delay costs after all these years!

  • Wow.... they've come a long way from just saying "NI!".

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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