Sometime in the second half of 1988 — I was 11 or 12 years old at the time — I was determined to beat the original Metal Gear (North American NES version[+]). I got up one Saturday morning, played straight through to the early afternoon; I had the NES hooked to a little 10-inch color CRT in my bedroom. I don't remember writing down any save-point passcodes (if there even were any, memory is hazy; or maybe I was down to my last re-spawn despite save point), and I don't recall having gotten too far in previous attempts... challenging game! It was apparent to me that I was reaching the final stage of the game, big boss ahead. My kid brother had been hovering around for hours, and I declared my bedroom off-limits until victory or defeat was certain. All of a sudden, my brother comes bouncing in and says, "Here, have a jolly rancher!" — which was appreciated momentarily, it was even watermelon flavor, which (God knows why) I savored for some reason — and then granny passed the hard candy in my direction. It ricocheted off the back of my chair and then....... struck the reset button on the NES!!! All was lost, and I was too devastated to pursue him downstairs in anger. About 6 weeks later, I finally beat the game.
Yes, you can expect modern games to use any and all tricks available to squeeze performance. Imposters are an example of a LOD (Level of Detail) technique, which is standard in all game engines.
"The engine also used two other big tricks to lower the poly count: The most famous was "object caching": While rendering objects, the distant ones would be rendered to a cache and drawn as sprite on a quad. This trick originally resulted in mixed results since the mesh would remain a sprite too close from the player and changed from 2D to 3D in a very noticeable way as see in the two next images" (http://fabiensanglard.net/trespasser/index.php)
There are also tricks using a lower temporal resolution - for example giving fewer ticks per second to the logic or animation of entities further away/out of sight.
It functionally works as a different game. I watched an ex play through the whole game on PS3 (her choice) and there were many aspects of her playthrough that were not tied to her platform, but were hindered by being on the PS3
Billboards that are used as substitutes for 3D models at long distances are more specifically called "imposters".
BTW I've often noticed these 2D images (which work better than I'd've thought)... but for distant objects (in an open world game where the player can approach them from any direction), is a 3D model ever rendered once to a 2D poster when the player first sees them, then that is reused (until player gets too close; or approaches at too different an angle)?
I'm concerned at the uneven computation required as objects move in/out of range and need to be re-postered. (I prefer steady fps).
Similarity Super Mario Odyssey has lots of clever tricks to hit 60 FPS. For example far away models animate at 30 FPS instead of billboarding. You won’t notice it because there’s so much detail and richness close to you.
On the other hand Just Cause 3 barely manages to keep above 25 FPS on a standard PS4. The difference is jarring.
As a side note the a Fox engine used for MGSV was also used for the P.T (Playable Teaser) for the cancelled Silent Hills. This was incredibly photo realistic and pretty scary!
Looking forward for next Kojima's game - Death Stranding.
I mean, on closer inspection sure you can tell its not video, but at an initial glance it wasn't immediately obvious to me. The Ground Zeros trailers were great but everything had a 'gloss' to it, MGSV tuned that up and the results truly were exceptional to me.
I don't watch or play many games, but so far MGSV is the only game that has done that to me and the results in the trailer matched the final product which is a feat of its own.
Just look at this rendition of Mads Mikkelsen: https://youtu.be/H2Hy96sOnq8?t=200
Because one person makes a game... sorry it's my pet peeve, a game is made by a team not a single name.
Paths of Glory : Kubrick
Seven Samurai : Kurosawa
Stalker : Tarkovsky
Props to the graphics team that worked on this game.
This guy surely runs circles around us...
It took me until 3 to actually think Kojima was decent at storytelling, and then 4 got me onboard the "Kojima is a genius" train. Metal Gear's backdrop is a fever dream about the military industrial complex, but the storytelling is always much more focused on exploring themes and ideals than it is dedication to realism.
FWIW, there has been a significant increase in the quality of his work. Solid 1 was kind of puerile and hamfisted in its approach to its themes, in a kind of "terrible shounen anime" kind of way. Solid 2 was a really amazing prediction of the way surveillance works in a modern society, but was needlessly obtuse. Solid 3 was way easier to digest, and Solid 4 was sublime. But neither really work in isolation from the first two, and slogging through them definitely takes a lot of patience, so I see where you're coming from.
I guess the way I'd summarize is: a lot of people talk about abandoning setting details for other motives (e.g. there are monsters in the witcher, so why can't there be a sizeable black population), but Kojima is one of the few I'd trust to actually pull it off - I just need it to not be ~1999 Kojima.
The first level is most definitely a MGS game. Unique voice acting, level design, action, gameplay mechanics. The works.
Then you finish that intro and it's a complete 180 - now it's open world, no more voice acting, no more cutscenes, no more story. Just open world diarrhea with assets they most likely finished and could use in the game.
It's as if the studio finished the first level, Konami pulled the plug and cut funding, they told Kojima wrap up with what you have and we ended up with this totally shallow game.
I felt like the game was a bait n switch. How far off base am I?
It's not that unthinkable that Kojima's grand ambitions ran into budget constraints and they had to cut down the story content. I can easily imagine dozens of more hours of voiced and animated cutscenes polishing out the content that's already in there, but voicing and animation are expensive.
What remains is imho still quite good and entertaining, I really enjoyed the open world parts, the base management, hunting for new soldiers or grooming favorites.
The multiplayer part made it all a bit grindy, without some story fluff in-between, but I think it was a smart game mechanic to add to a sneaking game where you have the option for non-lethal take-downs/straight up bypassing of enemies, especially in the context of the "lore".
But having at least some of these tapes as actual cutscenes would probably have changed a lot about the game feeling "unfinished".
A lot of important main story beats are revealed through those tapes, of which there are so many that going through them feels like a chore at times.
That's probably why so many people consider the game so light on story: Those tapes are easily skipped by players so they can progress further through the game, but barely anybody would skip a full blown cutscene with said tapes content.
But on the other hand I got the impression that the game was definitely not finished plot wise and even stylistically, at least not to the point that Kojima and his core team had originally envisioned. It felt like we got 90%, but that last 10% was the bit that was supposed to fill in the gaps in the plot and leave the player feeling satisfied. Compared to e.g. the ending of MGS4 (which is my favorite in the series), the latter third of MGSV was just so... unfulfilling.
I suspect friction over Kojima's vision versus Konami wanting to get the game to market was why they parted ways, even though Konami was very clearly killing the golden goose.
It does definitely go overboard though, with the missions that are there being repeated and many of them not being that memorable. There are also plot threads that are clearly just dropped (e.g. major character disappearing with an important item that is only addressed in an unfinished state on a bonus disc/cutscenes that seemingly have no way to be unlocked in-game),and given how Konami just dropped Kojima Productions it's a reasonable assumption that it wrapped early (though whether that is due to Konami plugging the plug early or because it overran budget/time estimates is less clear).
Hospital mission is not even longest one, nor most detailed.
Yet the Fox Engine wiki lists Metal Gear Survive as the only upcoming Fox Engine game, not Death Stranding. Death Stranding's wiki says it uses the Decima game engine. That, in turn, was developed by Guerilla Games and Kojima Productions.
So from that situation, I guess it's Konami who now owns the Fox Engine? I wonder how that ended up happening, Kojima's own studio developing an engine and then he doesn't even get to keep it.
As I understand, its purpose was to relieve Kojima of business responsibilities that a traditional executive would have. I would assume it was only a studio on paper and all assets and IP were still retained by Konami.
I didn't realise until now but Fox Engine has also been used in the yearly PES Soccer games as well!
After Kojima left, he reformed the studio as an actual independent company which is backed and funded by Sony with complete creative freedom.
He toured studios around the world and decided to work with Guerilla Games, who built Decima for their title Horizon: Zero Dawn.
They're simply using the engine and collaborating with Guerilla to make tweaks and modifications to suit their title.
I believe it's not unlike the working relationship that Insomniac and Naughty Dog had in the PS2 days, where they would share tech and insights.
So yeah, tldr: Fox Engine was always owned by Kojima. Kojima Productions was once a subsidiary and is now an independent entity. KojiProd is essentially borrowing Guerilla Games Decima Engine rather than building one from scratch.
P.S. I'm just a fan, not anyone who is speaking with authority ;)
One would assume that if Kojima is already influential enough to get a whole studio, even named after himself, he might as well ensure, at least partial, ownership of the properties created by that studio.
These contract negotiations, for the studio's original formation, must have been a really awkward process.
They also don't run their service on weekends meaning they quite literally shut down registration and other functions. I feel like that defeats the entire purpose of having a website!
It's amazing and cool how much GPUs have changed all that, and the techniques are so different and constrained in such different ways.
Anyway RAGE engine from Rockstar (GTA IV+V, RDR 1+2) is probably one of the most advanced engines, so much details in rendering.
A detailed comparison of open world game engines would be interesting with focus on LOD, streaming and rendering techniques.
* RAGE (GTA5/RDR2)
* AnvilNext (AC:O, GR:Widelands)
* Frostbite3 (NfS:Payback, SW:Battlefront2)
* Just Cause 3
* Watch Dogs 2
* Mafia 2/3
* Dunia (Far Cry 4/5)
* Decima (Horizon Zero Dawn)
* Fox (MGSV)
* REDengine (Witcher 3)
* Minecraft (Java + new C++ Bedrock ed)
* Genome (Elex)
* Unreal 4 (PUBG)