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Enemy quantity in Unreal

For gameplay advice and broader discussion of single-player Unreal including custom maps, mods and mutations that alter the game.

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User avatar Preki
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
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Subject: Enemy quantity in Unreal

Post Posted: 23 Jul 2018, 15:00

I'm writing an article on Unreal for Hardcore Gaming 101 (which had to be completed on game's 20th anniversary, whatever). Obviously I drew comparisons with other shooters of the era, mostly those made by iD Software (of coruse) and one major difference between Unreal and Quake or Doom is the amount of enemies you encounter. Why there are so few opponents at once in Unreal?

Take a look at Doom - this game is a slaughterfest. Areas where enemies appear in dozens are very common, though most of low-level foes die after taking a shot or two from a shotgun. In Unreal your very first actual enemy is a bullet-spongey Brute, firing a barrage of missles at you. On the highest difficulty setting there are just three of them attacking you. Heck, every other enemy that's not a sentient plant or an animal takes a lot of punishment before going down. Quake I and II also have high number of mooks to be slaughtered while being in full 3D at that.

What's the reason of such balance? My money is on that Epic had to reduce enemy count in levels because contemporary PCs would just choke when processing AI of numerous pawns like Skaarj etc., as if the game wasn't hardware-demanding as it was already. I just need to confirm if my theory is true or not. And I want to be done with this article as soon as possible, to be honest, but I don't wanna scew it up.
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Im jsut teh Gooby dont minde meh, k?

yrex
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
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Subject: Re: Enemy quantity in Unreal

Post Posted: 23 Jul 2018, 19:02

Because Unreal is about being immersed in the world instead of just shooting everything that moves.

Also, long battles against intelligent enemies are more dramatic and satisfying IMO.

UBerserker
Nali Priest Nali Priest
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Subject: Re: Enemy quantity in Unreal

Post Posted: 23 Jul 2018, 19:13

Unreal started out as an adventure game project.
ImageImage

User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Re: Enemy quantity in Unreal

Post Posted: 23 Jul 2018, 19:57

Preki wrote:...
In Unreal your very first actual enemy is a bullet-spongey Brute, firing a barrage of missles at you. On the highest difficulty setting there are just three of them attacking you.

Actually, I had doubts about that statement and started up Unreal on Godlike (227) just now to check.
In the startup level there's the Skaarj in the vents as you leave the prison section, and then there the iconic first closeup of a Skaarj after the doors open, the Skaarj runs away and you get the DP. Granted, these are not attacking enemies.
In the next level the first actual enemies are the biterfish near the cottage but if you choose to bypass that section then the first attacking enemy is a tentacle.
Strangely enough on "Very Hard" difficulty (which should correspond to Unreal difficulty on 226) there's an even earlier attacking enemy (a tentacle in the cottage which doesn't appear on Godlike).
I do remember the brutes though but I suspect they are triggered by the player nearing or entering the opening where the tentacle is.

User avatar Semfry
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Subject: Re: Enemy quantity in Unreal

Post Posted: 23 Jul 2018, 21:57

The main reason is the one you gave; it was so demanding at the time that having tons of enemies would make it impossible to run on most systems back then. There are also the narrative/immersion reasons mentioned too, as Unreal was one of the first FPS to have multiple levels with no or very little combat that mainly existed to build atmosphere.

Also the note about Quake 1 and 2 having way more enemies than Unreal isn't fully correct; they do have more enemies overall, but they still have much more limited numbers relative to Doom (plus the levels have a much more limited scale compared to Unreal), and 6-8 tends to among the higher number of enemies you face at a time in those games, vs Doom (2 in particular) where 10+ enemies at once isn't uncommon. I think they were open about technical limits being a reason for that.
Formerly Mman

User avatar Preki
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
Posts: 75
Joined: 29 Nov 2012, 18:57
Location: Poland

Subject: Re: Enemy quantity in Unreal

Post Posted: 24 Jul 2018, 09:31

Okay, big thanks guys :) this is what I needed.
Doo dee doo, doo da doo, la doo dee doo.

Im jsut teh Gooby dont minde meh, k?


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