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Old 06-01-2012, 11:10 PM   #1
Flying Techbot
Talk Bubble Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
Ever since I learned of PREY as being one of three FPS game developed by 3D Realms in the late 90s (the other two were DNF and MAX PAYNE in their infancy), and ever since I've checked on PREY's past development history, I've been curious about PREY's original game engine and on how it might've turned out. I've seen demonstrations of the game engine, which made me REALLY wish that it was released with that engine then (I feel the same about DNF in its QUAKE II and UNREAL 1 engine stages, but that's a different story). I don't know whether PREY's original development engine still survives, yet I've learned that it was still around it would never be released as a freeware engine (we might have been able to fix the portal problem!). I do know that the engine was verging on similar ground as UNREAL 1, and that it had destructable qualities as well.

What I want to know is: what does the hardcore community know about PREY's original engine, and if it were ever released, what could the community do with such an engine?
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
The "original" engine is kind of a hard thing to really quantify. As far as I recall the game went through a number of heavy rewrites and things of that nature over it's development time before going over to HH and becoming the Doom 3 engine game.

For those who need a refresher, or do not remember what Prey used to be like;

Prey (1998) Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSFxiuID1TY

Prey (1998) Tech Demonstration
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L29DSSQT3Ek

It truly is sad, as I understand it the game was actually in pretty good shape.

If I were to throw out a theory as to what happened. It was probably the same thing that happened to DNF. Something came along and impressed/shocked the guys at 3DR and they decided to start over/abandon the project for fear of not being able to match up. I also seem to remember reading about all manner of problems with not having enough staff, and just some nasty bugs.

It'd be great if we could get some of the old guys in here to comment on it. That was a whole other era of gaming, and i'd love to know more about what went on in the office back in this days.


As far as what people could do with it? Honestly, with engines like Darkplaces or some of the Quake 2 source projects, an engine like the one for Prey is basically long since outdated. It wouldn't give us anything really new to work with I don't think. Especially if it wasn't working 100% as it should have been.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:13 AM   #3
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
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As far as what people could do with it? Honestly, with engines like Darkplaces or some of the Quake 2 source projects, an engine like the one for Prey is basically long since outdated. It wouldn't give us anything really new to work with I don't think. Especially if it wasn't working 100% as it should have been.
Ah, so the Dark Places engine is powerful enough to pull off what the original PREY was struggling to do? If only we had access to the original design document, then it we could see if a DP powered PREY can be made. DP or the recent version of the QII engine could be just what fans need to recreate the original DNF from 1997, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I forget 3D Realms' restrictions on how their copyright is used outside of their respective engines.

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It'd be great if we could get some of the old guys in here to comment on it. That was a whole other era of gaming, and i'd love to know more about what went on in the office back in this days.
I agree, Commando Nukem. 3D Realms must have a PREY retrospective, and maybe a DNF and MAX PAYNE retrospectives (they were being worked upon around the same time). Maybe the theme of the nostalgic interviews would be 3D REALMS' projects of 1998.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
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Originally Posted by Commando Nukem View Post
As far as what people could do with it? Honestly, with engines like Darkplaces or some of the Quake 2 source projects, an engine like the one for Prey is basically long since outdated. It wouldn't give us anything really new to work with I don't think. Especially if it wasn't working 100% as it should have been.
Can Darkplaces handle portals and nonstandard gravity? I know for sure that Unreal 1 can (even though in a limited way), so IMO the Oldunreal version of Unreal 1 would be the ideal platform to develop a simulacrum of the alpha version of Prey.
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Last edited by Altered Reality; 06-02-2012 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:41 PM   #5
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
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Can Darkplaces handle portals and nonstandard gravity? I know for sure that Unreal 1 can (even though in a limited way), so IMO the Oldunreal version of Unreal 1 would be the ideal platform to develop a simulacrum of the alpha version of Prey.
I think with a little work you could probably get Darkplaces to do it. The engine has all the capabilities of Doom 3 now.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
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Originally Posted by Commando Nukem View Post

If I were to throw out a theory as to what happened. It was probably the same thing that happened to DNF. Something came along and impressed/shocked the guys at 3DR and they decided to start over/abandon the project for fear of not being able to match up. I also seem to remember reading about all manner of problems with not having enough staff, and just some nasty bugs.

Limited staffing was a big problem at 3DRealms all around. Beginning work on DNF while finishing up Shadow Warrior and working on Blood. All while trying to develop a fully 3D engine and PREY...
It was way, way too much for the studio. So they sold of Blood and wrapped up SW.

Tom Hall originally designed the game and it's themes, enemies, rough ideas of it's story... but he left the project and 3DR to go to Ion Storm.
Then, the original "PREY" team fell apart due to issues with the tech. Later the project was revived with a new team, but again fell apart when the team leader left the company to go to work elsewhere.

Then the project sat dormant until Human Head begin development in 2002.

PREY's issues were mostly caused by the limited staff and various problems that came from attempting to build an in house engine.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
I would so love to kick around within whatever there was of Prey from around the time of that '98 Imhz demo - even if what we saw was all there was.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:52 PM   #8
Kalki

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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
Anyone interested in learning about the old engine could start by reading this thread from 1999:

https://groups.google.com/group/comp...3c9f5f8/?pli=1

Quote:
Been there, done that. I coded what was going to be the Prey engine for the game Prey from 3D Realms; there was an exodus of people from the team, including myself, and the engine has since been scrapped. I'm really not a big fan of portal engines anymore, especially where all rooms are relative (which is what I had) in the manner you propose. There are many ugly problems in maintaining such an engine: two rooms linked by more than one portal (which results in rendering a room twice, basically, and even though they won't overlap, all the culling and transforms are duplicated), graph maintenance with spatial discontinuities, collision detection through portals, handling sound where one sound can seem to be coming from many different locations, rendering characters moving across portals that the z-buffer won't handle correctly, etc. It wasn't fun. The effects were really awesome, though.

In hindsight, portal tricks such as these should be used as tricks, not as an engine paradigm.

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Old 06-08-2012, 12:32 AM   #9
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
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Then the project sat dormant until Human Head begin development in 2002.
I remember reading a Human Head interview, and they said they actually started making some tests for Prey in 2001, with the Unreal engine.
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Old 06-08-2012, 06:55 AM   #10
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
Yeah, late 2001 was when 3DR decided to start it up again and when they brought in HH. But, the Doom 3 Engine was licensed in 2002 and development started full on then.
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:46 PM   #11
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
Now that would have been damn interesting to see.

Had DNF been able to make a 2002 release on Unreal, and then Prey follow shortly afterward? Those would have been some damned good looking games if the 2001 version of DNF is anything to go by.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:08 AM   #12
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
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Originally Posted by Commando Nukem View Post
if the 2001 version of DNF is anything to go by.
I'm always cautious about making statements like that. Remember that you're just thinking about screenshots and a video that showed limited portions of the game. We don't know what was done except for what appeared in that video; you consider it a great game because your mind is filling the gaps with hype. In short, you're altering your own reality
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:25 AM   #13
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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
Yes, people are forming opinion off a short video specifically cut and edited to look extremely action packed and exciting.
Even with Charlie breaking down the 2001 video, showing what was scripted, fake and gameplay.... there's no way of knowing how it would've played.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:32 AM   #14
Commando Nukem

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Re: Alpha PREY: Information Regarding the Original Game Engine
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Originally Posted by Altered Reality View Post
I'm always cautious about making statements like that. Remember that you're just thinking about screenshots and a video that showed limited portions of the game. We don't know what was done except for what appeared in that video; you consider it a great game because your mind is filling the gaps with hype. In short, you're altering your own reality
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Originally Posted by Damien_Azreal View Post
Yes, people are forming opinion off a short video specifically cut and edited to look extremely action packed and exciting.
Even with Charlie breaking down the 2001 video, showing what was scripted, fake and gameplay.... there's no way of knowing how it would've played.
I trust Charlie Wiederhold to his word that what they were working on back then was pretty awesome. Especially some of the environmental interaction/weapon functionality.

However, in this instance I meant the literal look of the game. The visual style. Not the gameplay itself.
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