on Feb 7, 2016
Here’s the Mexican Standoff skit I mention in this episode. It’s really good. I also mention the same exact skit in the next batch of episodes, because my memory is terrible.
Chris pointed out how Sith High looks like a Quake level. I think this is due to several factors:
First, this is kind of what you get when you’re under a tight polygon budget but you’re trying to make something “strange” or “alien”. You don’t have the polygons to make (say) rounded arches, round rooms, or other kinds of curved surfaces. The problem is that box rooms and box hallways are the most polygon efficient, but they’re also the most familiar and unimpressive, because we inhabit box rooms here on plain old Planet Earth every single day.
Also, the player needs lots of room. In Quake you need room for the circle-strafing, rocket-jumping tomfoolery that game is built around. Here in KOTOR, you need room because the player has a camera floating about three meters behind them and you don’t want that thing to be constantly bumping into walls. It’s actually really annoying (and for some people, nauseating) if the camera has to keep moving in and then pulling back over and over again as they traverse the space.
So you’re trying to escape the boxy nature of your graphics engine, you need lots of space, you can’t spend too many polygons, and the lighting system won’t cooperate if you try to make anything too smooth. So what can you do? You obviously can’t mess with the flat floor too much, since that will probably be more annoying than interesting, and might confuse the AI or the collision system. So you try making the walls sloped. But that cuts down on the volume of the space and crowds the camera. So instead of having the walls slope at eye level, you have regular vertical walls in the player space, which slope inward (or outward) about two meters overhead.
That’s fine, but now you’ve got this vast empty space above the player, which feels really boring and probably gives them an eye-full of a badly repeating ceiling texture. So you add some crap hanging from the ceiling to break up the emptiness. To justify it being there, you make it a container for a light source. So you end up with something just overhead, made from combining simple polyhedrons. (Mostly cubes.)
That’s really starting to look like Quake now, whether you intended it or not. The fact that this is an ancient ruin on a desert planet pretty much seals the deal, since it traps you into using earth tones for color.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this game looks like Quake. I should be surprised that more games didn’t look like Quake during this time period.
Here’s the Mexican Standoff skit I talked about in this episode. I really like it. It comes up again in the episodes for next week because my memory is terrible.