Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
First Person Shooters (Games) Graphics Software Entertainment Games

From Doom To Dunia — the History of 3D Engines 117

notthatwillsmith writes "It's difficult to think of a single category of application that's driven the pace of desktop hardware development further and faster than first-person shooters. Maximum PC examined the evolution of FPS engines, looking back at the key technologies that brought games from the early sprite-based days of Doom to the fully 3D-rendered African Savannah as rendered by Far Cry 2's Dunia engine. It's truly amazing how far the state of the art has moved in the last 16 years."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

From Doom To Dunia — the History of 3D Engines

Comments Filter:
  • by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:29AM (#28863995)

    To avoid having the reader click through the quite annoying normal article split across a million pages.

  • Re:Wolfenstein 3D? (Score:5, Informative)

    by revoldub ( 1425465 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:04AM (#28864147)

    Title of Article: Doom to Dunia: A Visual History of 3D Game Engines
    FTA: "Now, we know what you're thinking, and we're well aware that game engines existed prior to Doom's release in 1993; we're even going to cover some. But it was id Software's now legendary first-person shooter that pushed reusable 3D game engines as a viable programming model, and videogame development has never been the same since then."

    Does it need an explanation?

  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:09AM (#28864165) Homepage

    They list an engine called Voxel, which isn't an engine but a technology. And they list a bunch of games which use the same engine as NovaLogic's Comanche, but it's complete bullshit. Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 (for example) didn't use that engine at all, the just used the voxel technology.

    Then they list StoneKeep, but StoneKeep didn't even use a 3D engine.

    They call Outcast "A popular voxel engine", the engine was used only once. And showed it severe limitations. How can something used only once be popular.

    And for some reason they decided to split up some engines into multiple generations (like UnrealEngine) and keep others as a single entry (like LithTech, GameBryo)

    And for an history article they surely didn't bother to put everything in chronological order. And for a visual article they sure didn't bother to find the best screenshots to show of the engine.

  • Re:Wolfenstein 3D? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tangent3 ( 449222 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:54AM (#28864407)

    Ultima Underworld was released a couple of months earlier than Wolfenstein 3D, and was technically superior to Wolfenstein's engine (in some ways surpassing Doom's engine too). The frame rate isn't too impressive though...

  • Re:Wolfenstein 3D? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chaos Incarnate ( 772793 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:56AM (#28864419) Homepage
    Yes, it was. []
  • Re:Wolfenstein 3D? (Score:3, Informative)

    by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:17AM (#28864557)

    As it's mentioned in another reply, Wolfenstein is not in 3D, but in pseudo 3D []

    The real 3D games ancestors are:

      - Elite (1984, first 3D) []
      - Rescue on Fractalus (1984, first voxel) []

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:33AM (#28864699) Journal

    There are a number of technical inaccuracies too.

    All that was needed to run Doom was a 386 level PC (in low-detail mode) with a standard VGA videocard capable of rendering texture-mapped environments.

    All texture mapping was done in software, which was even true of the Quake 1 and Quake 2 software renderers. So I'm not sure why they're attributing texture-mapping to the VGA hardware.

    Other features of the Quake II engine, now known as id Tech 2, included colored lighting effects, and a new game model whereby game code was written in C and loaded from a DLL (Dynamic Link Library) rather than the original QuakeC scripting language. In layman's terms, this allowed for both software and OpenGL renders rather than one or the other, so if you didn't own a Voodoo videocard, you weren't necessarily out of luck.

    Here the article is stating that by using native DLLs for game logic in Quake 2 instead of the Quake C used in Quake, Quake 2 could support both hardware and software rendering. The game logic has nothing whatsoever to do with the rendering.

    The GoldSRC engine used by HalfLife was described as a "tweaked Quake engine". Tweaked? That's an incredibly massive understatement. Elsewhere I've read that id Software provided the Quake 2 sources to Vavle as part of the licensing, but they had modified the Quake 1 engine so heavily, and improved it so much, that use of Quake 2 source was unnecessary and probably nearly impossible due to so many changes to the Quake 1 architecture.

    Otherwise it is an interesting, albeit lightweight, article.

  • Re:Where's Descent? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) * on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:21AM (#28866011) Journal

    Descent was a First Person Shooter. The perspective was first person, and you shot things.

  • Re:The Dark Engine (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:27PM (#28868245)

    The PC Deus Ex used the Unreal engine and had large maps. To port it to consoles they had to chop up several of the maps by (for example) adding walls across levels. Some said this felt contrived and ruined the level design. The PC Deus Ex was known for large, well designed levels that felt like real places rather than "levels". How many FPS feature buildings where there is only one route from one end of the building to the other - as if that would get past a fire inspection! Deus Ex may have featured unusual locations but they always felt workable as real ships/warehouses/evil lairs.

    Deus Ex II used Unreal II but had smaller maps on both PC and console. This could make some of the levels feel artificial because all of the puzzles / alternate routes to achieving goals had to be packed very close together. Along with the console-friendly HUD/controls, it was one of the ways that fans criticized the sequel as "dumbed down".

  • Re:Wolfenstein 3D? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:28PM (#28868279)

    Ultima Underworld had 3D, bridges, and up/down viewing. It was released March 1992.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:50PM (#28872061)

    I notice the article has a photo of what seems to be WipEout but doesn't mention it at all.

    Actually its a screenshot from one of the 3DMark benchmarks that looked a lot like wipeout.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.