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Silicon Knights Says Unreal Engine is Broken

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the here-we-go dept.

The Courts 109

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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Umm... If it's broken... (-1, Flamebait)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19925993)

Then don't license it...

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (1, Redundant)

James Kilton (714163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926155)

Wow, that's an INCREDIBLY good idea! You know, they paid the $250,000+ to license the Unreal 3 engine probably 2 years ago, before Gears of War came out under the guise that the engine is incredibly solid, stable, and next-gen. Now they're finding out that the engine doesn't work! Sure, go ahead and tell the people who've ALREADY licensed the engine to, not license it. They'll just have to go back in time and tell their former selves what Epic will do to them AFTER receiving their money... Right. I did a good bit of mod work with the Unreal 2 engine, and I was quite impressed with the toolset. It's disheartening to see Epic mistreating Unreal 3. This is, if true, most definitely false advertising, maybe even to the point of being a bait-and-switch.

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926411)

Yeah, the toolset is great. And they release native versions for Linux and Mac. Hopefully they can work this out.

On the other hand though, I think it says something about Silicon Knights that they're publicly complaining about it and others don't seem to be. Perhaps it is because other developers haven't been failing to deliver their game for 10 years. Of course it could be that they just feel they have less to lose by going public...

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926785)

Silicon Knights are publicly complaining about the (lack of) PS3 Unreal Engine that they've paid for. Those other non-complaining developers, however, have been discreetly cancelling or postponing the PS3 versions of their games for quite some time now, however.

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19934397)

Or it could be that (as I said) AND that they're whining bitches. As much as they're probably correct (for the most part) I think I'd have a little bit more respect for them if they hadn't been working so long on a game that looks so "meh" without much to show for it. As much as I love Eternal Darkness (up until the point where you get basically unlimited sanity recovery, anyway), SK just hasn't built up their credibility enough for me to not jump to calling bullshit when they appear to be whining.

I know if any EA studio had come out and said the same thing we'd all be calling them whiners and the apologists would be getting modded to hell.

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (4, Insightful)

NoodleSlayer (603762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926179)

Except for the fact that they started working on this since before the xbox 360 was released, so they didn't even have a way to know that it was broken.

If you've read any of the articles you would know that the issue is Epic not delivering on their contracts (assumedly) for the purpose of being able to highlight their own games (Gears of War) over competitors who had licenses their engine. It's not as simple as "don't license it."

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (2, Informative)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926337)

I think what's really wrong here is that Epic specifically withheld the engine code from SK...if they really did that. I remember when HL2 was initially released that there was a new Vampire The Masquerade released with the Source engine and Valve made a deal with the developer that they could use the engine if they agreed to release the game after HL2. Seems like that was a valid deal to me. If these allegations are true, then Epic was either intentionally deceptive to promote their own game which I think Valve proves isn't necessary, or more likely as the Kotaku blog entry suggests, they didn't have enough employees to handle the work load.

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (1)

Nocterro (648910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19931199)

I remember when HL2 was initially released that there was a new Vampire The Masquerade released with the Source engine
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. That was the game that killed the famous Troika Studios in part due to difficulties involved in developing it with Valve's steam engine [wikipedia.org] , which was under development at the same time.
Whether deliberate or not, it looks like developing a game to compete with someone else's game while licensing their technology may be a fatally flawed idea.

Re:Umm... If it's broken... (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19934713)

Maybe the bad idea is to use a game engine that is still being developed instead of in optimization mode... Obviously, developing a game base on a alpha / beta engine with constant API changes is going to be much more of an effort than using an engine a few months after the first games with it have been released. API changes at that time are much less likely, and the problems and some workarounds are probably well=known by then....

Their Fault? (-1, Troll)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926021)

Don't use an unproven technology expecting to avoid all hurdles. Furthermore, Silicone Knights needs to stop wasting their time on things that aren't Eternal Darkness!

Re:Their Fault? (1)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 7 years ago | (#19932917)

No joke. ED FTW!

Surprising ommission (-1, Offtopic)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926045)

They failed to mention the "Columbine" themed game where various you play various characters of the popular "The Simpsons" cartoon series where you can play either the good guys or the bad guys in a "school domination" deathmatch. The title for the game hasn't been released yet... anyone got any ideas?

Delays? (1, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926057)

Outside of exclusive, blockbuster-style releases that have significant backing by Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo, what game ISN'T delayed these days?

Re:Delays? (1)

QMalcolm (1094433) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926265)

I'd say those games are the worst offenders when it comes to multiple delays.

Re:Delays? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926301)

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.

Re:Delays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19926351)

Metroid Prime 3 has a solid release date of August 27, 2007 [ign.com]

Re:Delays? (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926373)

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:Delays? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19927027)

Yeah. Thanks for the correction :-)

Re:Delays? (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926617)

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.

Re:Delays? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19927063)

That's true, but my point still stands: namely, having a big brand and full support is still no guarantee of on-time delivery.

Re:Delays? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19927129)

Actually, I thought I was bolstering your point. But feel free to take it as you will. ;-)

Re:Delays? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19927863)

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 "finished" in order to add that extra polish and make it "just right." They've done this in a lot of instances and it's paid off, producing some of the most beloved and classic titles in the whole industry.

Re:Delays? (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19934381)

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 something on time? Is that even possible? I don't believe it. Expect a last minute delay sometime here in the next few months. (j/k)

Re:Delays? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19929339)

EA doesn't seem to delay very often. They just release the game as-is.

Vanguard? (1)

wezeldog (982156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19929645)

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 that Bioware is more like Blizzard and they don't release total crap.

Epic In Deep Doodoo (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Epic In Deep Doodoo (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19926235)

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.

Re:Epic In Deep Doodoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19926287)

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.
I doubt they are. It sounds more like the engine and tools were just late due to technical reasons. Epic's in-house developers naturally had an advantage since they could just take the latest revision from the source control repository and ask the engine developers for help if needed, while you'd preferably want something a little more polished and packaged for external customers. Naturally the customers have every right to be upset, and if Epic didn't manage to deliver on their contract they clearly are at fault but I find it very hard to believe they would intentionally sabotage their customers.

Why anyone would be crazy enough to entrust a AAA console title to a pc developer like Epic is a completely separate question.
Because developing your own technology is even more costly and risky?

Re:Epic In Deep Doodoo (1)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926553)

> 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 suprised we haven't heard from them)..

So why is it one studio is having a big uproar over this? if it was as bad as they claim, surely Gearbox, EA, Bioware, Midway, Ubisoft, Besthesda, and others would be pitching fits too?..

With any new engine, there's gonna be bumps.. it's call software.. it won't be perfect the first time.. such is life..

Re:Epic In Deep Doodoo (2, Informative)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926939)

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 working on what I was contractually obligated to provide. Thus, I get raped straight up the ass. Fin.

Re:Epic In Deep Doodoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19928471)

Obviously you're not a console developer, otherwise you'd know the reputation that Epic has. I've followed the development of UE3 on console platforms and it's been a fucking mess from the start because it was architected for the PC. I'm not going to name names, but I know coders working on a few upcoming UE3-based AAA games and they have nothing but bad things to say.

That Sony have stepped in now to optimise UE3 for the PS3 is telling, just as it is that they did for PhysX - another piece of shit PC-centric software. The only reason everyone is licensing UE3 is that it has a solid toolchain.

This horror of course, is well known to developers who tried to get UE2 running on consoles. One guy I work with now, the last place he worked at licensed UE2 then spent a year trying to find a coder crazy enough to think they could do a decent port of it to PS2.

Re:Epic In Deep Doodoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19931489)

Gears of War isn't perfect. Yes it's my favorite game. I play it a ton. I'm even pretty decent at it now, maybe even good. But it has some significant issues.

The network synchronization leaves much to be desired. It's difficult to tell how bad you're lagging until you start randomly teleporting, or your straight ahead shots vere off at a 45 degree angle or worse. So maybe that's a success of sorts. But if you shoot someone through the head with a sniper rifle on your screen, and they're unaffected, you missed, and you or they are lagging. This is a pretty serious flaw in a game where one solid shot is an instant kill.

Even a very slight amount of lag, normal network latency, enables all sorts of gliches. From "crab walking" running fullspeed 360 degrees not just forward. To Kung-fu flips, which allow the nimble fingers to flip up on to obsticals and even buildings that are totally unavailable otherwise, and even walk out of the map. To motherfucking Tyro station, which might have been an otherwise fun map, but when a team is losing or just because people frequently climb out of the map without even a kung-fu flip, which is at least hard to do, forcing everyone to sit and wait while the match times out. Next up: The ludicrious skydive. Basically in a few maps a player who can skydive play permitting, can jump the equivalent of many hundreds of feet in the air then fall back down to earth. Strange. But they can also land on the tip tops of background buildings which are totally inaccessible from just about everything. And I've heard tell they can also land on another player killing them instantly. Of course air walking, which is a variation on crab walking which enables someone to walk in mid air. Then there are the weapon-jutsues. Quickfire sniper rifle, make the machine gun fire shotgun bullets, carry 3 weapons. I doubt very much I've described all the tricks, or even half of them. But they're not so much tricks as they are flaws that shouldn't exist being exploited. Gears is so fun, because it basically runs on the honor system. People don't glitch unless it's a glitch match because it tends to piss people off. Pissed off people boot your from the game, and they complain about you on xbox live.

Then there are balance choices they made. The host Lancer (machinegun) and shotgun are significantly more powerful than client weapons. To balance this out, when the host is shot, their vision is occluded by blood sprayed on the screen. To some extent this probably couldn't have been avoided without an array of dedicated servers which is definately unnecessary. Generally it's just part of the game everyone agrees to play through and occasionally bitch about. And it really only comes up as a difference maker between closely matched opponants. When everyone is highly skilled, it something people avoid pressing when they're at the disadvantage.

Gears IS fun. A great amount of fun, which I might indulge in a little too much. But that has a lot to do with people I play with, as Gears is far from flawless. The glitching is completely a result of the engine. The solution is the result of a little tyranny working with a pseudo-democracy.

Re:Epic In Deep Doodoo (2, Insightful)

kornkid606 (1076023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19932377)

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 lot of money, and some freaking brilliant coders (John Carmack for example). But once these engines are done, they can compete with almost anything else out there. And because they are done SO well, others want to use said engine too.

Now, if you are a developer trying to make a competitive and interesting new game, if you decide to write your own graphics and physics engines then you have to spend all the time and money just to get a good engine and then spend even more time and money working on all the actual gameplay. In short, you have to spend almost double or triple the time to make the game, after which time your game may not even be competitive or innovative anymore. But, if you license an engine from another company then you only spend the time+money to work on gameplay plus the amount of time needed to get acquainted with the engine, which is not anywhere near as long or expensive as writing an engine from scratch. So, by licensing an engine you save time which equals money which equals a (hopefully) earlier ship date and a (hopefully) more competitive product.

I'll note here that the large amount of time it takes to develop both an engine and a game is why you don't see the big engine developers publishing a ton of games. They spend the years to make one engine and then they publish several games using that engine while possibly working on a new one on the side. Take Valve for example. They spent a ton of time developing Source for HL2 and since then they have been doing the episodes. Adding a little to Source with each episode but also publishing (not developing, mind you) a lot of smaller games using Source while they (most likely) work on a new engine. Same can be seen with both Id and Epic: they will produce one new Game+Engine every 5-7 years, afterward developing a few titles using the current engine while writing a new one.

When you license an engine you are putting your faith in another company that they are providing you with a robust and well documented engine because that's what you are paying a quarter of a million dollars for. So, when something like this happens with Unreal 3.0 where the engine developer actually provided licensees with an incomplete/broken engine not only have you committed fraud by falsely advertising and licensing something you never had, the licensee now has to spend even more development time trying to fill in the gaps and write work-around components to get the engine to do what you bought it for. As such, when something like this comes up it not only heavily hurts the many developers using the engine, but it harshly damages the reputation of the engine developer, who makes a good portion of its income from licensing their engines.

Thats odd (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926291)

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 way more money from there own games. They sell more if your game looks bad.

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

Re:Thats odd (2, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926541)

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 the engine and begin licensing it as early as possible to make a profit. From there, if they have time they make a game (but notice how delayed the games off an original engine always are). The companies make a very nice living off the engine alone. In reality, games are so complex now that a team of hundreds (or perhaps even thousands) are needed to work on a game from start to finish. The engine licensing is just one way to split the work.

Re:Thats odd (1)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 7 years ago | (#19935275)

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]

Re:Thats odd (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926697)

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 to get changes to the engine through than you do. That's a given, and something you accept when licensing an engine. What is the topic here is the question whether they got not only less information but also an inferior product.

Should this be true, epic's days as an engine creator are over. Like I said, trust plays a key role here. Should it be proven that you can't trust them to provide you the best engine they can create, that you're essentially getting a watered down version, they will have a hard time competing with other engine developers, unless they go for the low end market.

And that's not necessarily a good rep for a game engine maker either, especially for the reception of their own games. I mean, if it's done with an engine that has been labeled "poor and cheap", what can you expect from a game made with it?

Re:Thats odd (3, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926907)

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.

Naughty Dog (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19928799)

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 design was often poor. (Particularly Jak 2, which was truly horrible in places.)

(Oh, and the game engine used Lisp. How cool is that?)

Re:Naughty Dog (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19928855)

(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.)

Re:Thats odd (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19933385)

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.

Still sounds like a dup to me... (-1, Troll)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926331)

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.


Dunno, today's bunch of enhanced whining (er, "clarification") still sounds like a dup to me.

If there's really a lawsuit at the heart of this thing, why don't you take it to court instead of pandering to the court of public opinion?

(In any case...it's really boring to read about.)

Re:Still sounds like a dup to me... (2, Informative)

Miraba (846588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926543)

It is being taken to court. Kotaku is hosting a copy here [kotaku.com] .

Of course, since you say it's "boring," I'll give you the hint that you should skip to pages 24 ("Epic's Improper Withholding of Updates, Improvements, and Enhancements") and 30 ("Epic's Misrepresentations in Connection With the Unreal Engine 3 and the Agreement").

Re:Still sounds like a dup to me... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926717)

'cause that court is cheaper and the verdict is usually already spoken after hearing just one side, i.e. the one that whines?

What a terrible article title! (-1, Offtopic)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926415)

What a terrible article title! It does not even come close to explaining what it's about.

A much better title would be: "Silicon Knights sues Epic" or something.

Y

Just the facts ma'am (3, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Just the facts ma'am (4, Informative)

Miraba (846588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926753)

Read the pdf on Kotaku. They lay out a number of claims (more than one instance of missing a code deadline, removing parts of the engine, flat-out lying about what it can do). The main things they want are a nulled contract and the ability to make any and all modifications to UE3.

Sounds like 80% of all software projects (5, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926563)

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."

This is typical with licensed software (4, Informative)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sounds like 80% of all software projects (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19927095)

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.

Re:Sounds like 80% of all software projects (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19927791)

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 situation. If the engine sucked as much as they claim, why develop against an unstable engine for so long? Couldn't they have started development on UE2.5 and then moved over once it was further along? I find it incredible that they are only complaining about it now, or that performance problems even matter so early in the development life cycle. I wonder if this suit is prompted more by the money hats demanding to know where their game is than by anything else - the workman blaming his tools and so on.

Re:Sounds like 80% of all software projects (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19929597)

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.

Except (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19928395)

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 dev shops, maybe there's be less games using it.

Sounds more like Silicon Knights is having trouble delivering what they promised, and is looking for a scape goat. I'm not going to pass judgement because I don't know the whole story, but this "OMG Epic screwed people over because of GoW!" just doesn't jive with what is known. When you've got a bunch of licensees, some with products out, some with products coming out soon, it doesn't seem as though you are screwing over people if one happens to whine.

Re:Except (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19929529)

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.

The word is "jibe", not "jive" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19930617)

HTH

Re:Sounds like 80% of all software projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19932873)

So, id software is going to get a lot of business in the coming years, huh?
Alternately, no one is going to be willing to license their engine to Silicon Knights.

Re:Sounds like 80% of all software projects (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19933111)

Since they now seem to have gone back to writing their own engines, I doubt they care :-)

Re:Sounds like 80% of all software projects (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19934771)

This is yet to be seen. They wrote their own engine, and they state in the court documents that after they released Too Human, all epic code would be removed. Makes you wonder how much epic code is still in there. They also label their own engine an 'enhancement' of UE3....hmmmm

Re:Sounds like 80% of all software projects (1)

moogaloonie (955355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19934021)

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.

Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926599)

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.

Re:Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19926673)

> 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.

The game the lawsuit is over is a fucking 360 only game dimwit!

You are a fucking moron.

Re:Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (1, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19926911)

The game the lawsuit is over is a fucking 360 only game dimwit!

Before you insult the guy, maybe you should have RTFA?

From Kotaku:

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.


Of course, if the grandparent had read the article, he'd also know that this lawsuit relates to general problems with the engine across the board. Not just for the PS3 and 360.

Perhaps next time, both of you children will read the article?

Re:Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19927035)

Shut the fuck up you worthless troll.

Re:Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19927151)

You should *so* sign up for an account. You could go by the nick, "Mr. Pot". It would be perfect for running around, calling out kettles!

Re:Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19930403)

I did read the article. That is why I quoited that part of it.
Notice the title of my post.

"Could the PS3 be part of the problem?"
It wasn't "The PS3 is the problem."
Or "It is all the PS3"s fault!"
They do seem to have some issues with the 360 as well. Not really surprising since it is also multi-threaded but not as asymmetrical as the PS3 is.
Epic has x Developers working on the UE3 engine. Back in the good old days porting form the PC to the XBox was simple and then porting to the PS2 was harder.
How it would seem that porting to the 360 is difficult and porting to the PS3 is even more difficult.
If you have X people to do the work and the work got a lot harder then you are going to miss deadlines.

Re:Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19930071)

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.

Re:Could the PS3 be part of the problem? (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19934839)

Or the memory spikes are a general problem of UE, which already existed in UE2 and still hasn't been fixed in UE3.

This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19927605)

Actually Too Human started on PS1 before 1999.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19927929)

SK is just the first to jump ship. Are you really going to sue Epic for not delivering on their promises WHILE you are still using their engine?! Think about that.

I think SK has a point. If the "engine" part that they promised can't even compile for the consoles that they promised, yet at the same time they're actually showing THEIR game running on the 360, something fishy is going on here. If you are promised support as part of your contract and EPIC says "Sorry, we're too busy to help you, we're making GoW" then I would consider that a breach of contract.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19927945)

Actually, in this case #4 would be: sue the socks of the middleware provider.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19928139)

Oh look...Epic doing damage control on Slashdot.

Epic's engine is garbage for anything other than bald space marines walking around in tiny corridors that are covered 'teh bumpy shiny stuff'.

No sympathy for SK for being dumb enough to risk so many millions on such a turd of an engine.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19930711)

I didn't notice any bald space marines in shiny corridors when I was playing R6 Vegas. Maybe you're thinking of the Doom 3 engine.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19932083)

Do you get paid per post, per word, or per theme? I have my assumptions based on your patterns, but naturally I have no way to verify any of it without asking.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (3, Interesting)

Grave (8234) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19933159)

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 understood what's going on wheras in UT you have inheritance so deep you don't even know which function is where).

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (4, Informative)

John Carmack (101025) | more than 7 years ago | (#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

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19936115)

100% off topic and I expect to be modded as such so this is going anonymous, but I had to stop and say thank you so much for GPL'ing the Q3A engine. I've been using it as a base to develop software for a data visualisation phd candidate and it has been a godsend.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19928635)

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, another equally shit engine.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (4, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 game usually means taking a back seat - they'll implement the features THEY want, and you're just there to feed them cash so they can feed themselves while doing it. I'm not at all unfamiliar with this type of behaviour - Epic wouldn't be the only ones.



I recently had an interview with a game developer who shall remain anonymous. Their game used to be UE3, but is also now running on their own in-house engine (which looks awesome, but perhaps not as great as GOW). Naturally I didn't poke into the cause of their engine change, but now that I look at SK's claims, they do not seem so far from plausible.



And exactly how has Epic supported developers? By giving away the UnrealScript-only source to UT? Or by funding a massive mod-development contest? Or by providing a woefully inadequate forum/wiki for hobbyist programmers? I've never been a commercial licensee, so I cannot speak to the quality of support their paid licensees get - but from my impression neither can you. From the mod perspective though, I do have experience, and Epic's support is, in the end, worse than what HL2 modders get for Source. The mod scene with UT has always been "here's the UScript code, have fun", whereas Valve actually provides a (very useful) wiki that documents a LOT of very useful engine tricks. Epic's mod developer support is cursory at best.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19930459)

To my knowledge all licensees have direct access to Epic' Perforce server. And once in a while they tag the code base with a QA release. So you have access to the bleeding edge, or you can wait for a new QA release.

Games are always delayed.

Of course Epic will implement the thing they want in the engine first. Why would they develop the game for others?

Epic's support for licensees is direct in various ways, on-site training, by phone, by email. They have a very extensive documentation of various parts of the engine (available to licensees). Licensees get full and live access to the engine code, and access to the full code of the games Epic developed with it.

As for mod community support, "all" they get is all the tools Epic used and UnrealScript access. They've also released part of the engine code to clarify various parts. But it's not possible to write C code for the engine (for obvious reasons). For the rest, most of the unrealscript/unrealed related documentation on either licensee site has been made available to the world. And they provide a mailinglist which they also monitor.
The rest of the community is self organized, the UnrealWiki (which is completely community driven) has been around for ages, and a lot of people help others out of various forums, mailinglists and IRC.
Sure, they could provide more support to the community, but that would mean other parties get less attention.

This Is Rumor Control - Runtime in action. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19930633)

"Sure, they could provide more support to the community, but that would mean other parties get less attention."

You left out the fact that they provide a stand-alone version of the engine. I know of no other developer that does that.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19934683)

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 by Silicon Knights that improves upon the Engine and is therefore the property of Silicon Knights. Moreover, as development of the Silicon Knights Engine continues, the amount of code from Epic's Engine employed by Silicon Knights continues to decrease. After the release of Silicon Knights' Too Human, all Epic code will be removed from the Silicon Knights Engine.

This means they used at least parts of UE3 as base for their 'own' engine. They seem to have rewritten large parts of it, but it's doubtful they could have written their engine without all the knowledge from UE3. Additionally, they want to release Too Human with Epic Code still in the engine....but without paying for anything, rather, with Epic paying them...

I don't doubt that Epic did a lot of mistakes and might have breached contracts, but Silicon Knights don't have a clean vest either...

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (2, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 7 years ago | (#19929461)

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 collectors' edition of the 360 version as a bonus for those of us who have been waiting patiently. Unfortunately, Silicon Knights does not seem to like doing that sort of thing.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19929693)

There should be no "???"... it should read as follows...

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). Sue middleware provider.
5). Profit.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19930239)


"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."

The truthfulness of this statement depends on whether Epic has made claims as to what the engine would be able to do.

A product that comes with promises as to what it can do is by definition not sold "as is".

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19932693)

Interesting theory, but too many UE3 games are being delayed right now for me to entirely trust it.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19933255)

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 would be that SK are idiots who don't know how to use UE3, and they they just want to repackage and sell UE3 without giving any money back to Epic.

Re:This Is Rumor Control - Money Grab In Progress (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19933367)

In short, it sounds like SK is getting out of the game business and into lawsuits.

The Truth Is Probably In The Middle (3, Insightful)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:The Truth Is Probably In The Middle (1)

Miraba (846588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19927557)

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 deserves damages for what may be their own fault.

Re:The Truth Is Probably In The Middle (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 7 years ago | (#19928871)

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.

Re:The Truth Is Probably In The Middle (1)

Miraba (846588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19929359)

That's certainly a valid technique. Movie directors also play that game with the MPAA.

Obligatory bad pun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19927343)

Maybe they should try using a real engine instead.

You mean RealPlayer? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19931865)

Maybe they should try using a real engine instead.
But doesn't a Real engine have its own drawbacks [wikipedia.org] ?

Just one question.. (2, Funny)

A_Non_Moose (413034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19928725)

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)

Sakaguchi doesn't seem to have problems (2, Interesting)

wilgibson (933961) | more than 7 years ago | (#19928929)

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 in development for how long... almost a decade? I don't think there is an inadequacy with the UE3 here, it's SK that has problems.

This sounds like a load of bullshit (1)

Talgrath (1061686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19932557)

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.

DN4 uses this supposedly? (1)

The_Dougster (308194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19932971)

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!

"Unreal Engine is Broken" (1)

LittleBigLui (304739) | more than 7 years ago | (#19933545)

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