UE4 engine vs. rendering quality of demos

category: general [glöplog]
Some people are very upset okkie, read the discussion on the demo and some people are quite hostile about it. Noticably some other people who placed lower in the compo.

Actually I watched the demo a few times and there is nothing even that special that I can see that is some advantage from UE. The DoF shader is nice I guess? But you know what all the modern rendering methods are public information. You can go and google how to do DoF and SSAO and whatever else you want and find published shaders from nvidia and so on. I don't see anything here about UE that is any advantage other than saving coding time.
added on the 2015-08-06 12:31:52 by drift drift
I'd say 37 thumbs up vs 11 thumbs down and 23 pigggies is not people being 'very upset' tbh
added on the 2015-08-06 12:43:04 by okkie okkie
Can someone explain why using high-level compression wizardy or having a de-facto synth in 4k category is ok but using a high-quality engine or another when size doesn't matter suddenly isn't?

There are groups (us and TDA to name at least :) competing against the crinkler/4klang powerhouse with our own custom toolchains every year, and I see no reason to complain. I think it's exciting and fun.
added on the 2015-08-06 12:47:32 by Trilkk Trilkk
drift : use engine like UE for demo is like to use poser for modeling a character....
added on the 2015-08-06 12:50:23 by ntsc_ ntsc_
drift: Yeah I sort of misinterpreted that right until pressing submit.

I don't have much else to say for the moment. Trilkk has a good point though. If you think a prod is good, vote for it. If you think 3rd party engines make it less good, don't vote for it. etc, etc. It's not like the scene is in any way about to ditch their "custom engines". In fact as far as I know making the demo was pretty awful, UE4 isn't really cut for demomaking.

added on the 2015-08-06 12:54:08 by noby noby
Ekspert got second place due to it having pretty much the best direction, design and attitude in the whole compo, or at least equaling its peers. One thing is sure that it's the "coolest" and most "modern" (in a design sense) demo in the compo, with an amazing soundtrack. All of that was of course was assisted by UE too, but it's not like that's what made it win. It stood out with ease regardless of it.

Let's not give in to hyperbole - it was well-done, entertaining, but by no means "best" in any sense of the word :)

If anything, seeing how most of the things were pre-fab assets in it, I still enjoyed it and consider it more of a collage (that works well) than actual handiwork - doesn't make it any less fun to watch.
added on the 2015-08-06 12:55:33 by Gargaj Gargaj
I tend to indulge in hyperbole from time to time, but honestly, to me it was top class among the other entries. Colors, overall design, camera editing and angles especially in the middle third or so were spectacular in my opinion.

Maybe I'm clouded by bias, or the best moments overshadow some crappier parts, but I honestly don't think I'm exaggerating. Anyway, this is not really a discussion I'm interested in having, at least not in public or in this format. I do agree about the collage point though, which is exactly why I think it's brilliant.
added on the 2015-08-06 13:14:00 by noby noby
Come on okkie you are being pedantic now. I never said everyone hates this demo, I specifically said "some people" are mad that it was made in UE. There are comments left saying the only good elements to the demo were those brought by UE (which I personally disagree with) there are also people asking if UE should be banned from compos. Then of course someone bumped this thread again to discuss it.

I now remember why I usually never bother with public forum discussion. Some people just seem determined to argue even when there is nothing to argue over. I clearly stated my opinion that I think there is nothing wrong with using UE and I think the demo was cleverly designed to win votes which it did, so well done to the expert demo creators and the music was awesome.

How on earth any of you managed to interpret that I have a problem with UE or this demo is beyond me. I'm with noby, not going to bother discussing anything controversial anymore, particularly when people who seem to agree with me are twisting what I say for the sake of having an argument.
added on the 2015-08-06 13:23:37 by drift drift
What Triik said.

I think the key point is proper informations. I don't want to feel misleaded as an audience.
That means, as an author:
- be as clean&clear as possible (eg on the first slide) about "outside" stuff used: rendering engine, assets, heavy sampling, synth, demotool...
- on the opposite, do a bit of marketing if you did some cool invisible technical things by yourself (they had that discussion in the wild compo, where the wildest the platform is, the less the audience have a clue, and the more you have to explain things a bit)

I didnt see the composlide, but the nfo is quite OK in my books, except for the obscure t. sweeney credit. Overall maybe they deserve some blame for that (they could have been more clean & clear).

Appart from that, that was a great crowd-pleaser demo, and I think that's why it ranked well (it's the definition of crowdpleasing actually).
I don't see what's wrong with that. It happens all the time, in all demoparties, and it's not like it's easy to please any crowd.
They did great, good for them.
added on the 2015-08-06 13:49:26 by wullon wullon
with the ekspert demo maybe i just didnt get the joke, but i thought it was visually pretty bad with the exception of a couple of bits with some really great light rendering and good post fx. if it was a demo with a hand-made engine, id say "bad design, but good work on the really nice light rendering and postfx in a couple of parts - just try and use it a lot better next time".. but in this case the light rendering and postfx were supplied by unreal.

i dont have any problems with demos made with an engine. an engine can be seen as both an advantage for what it provides, and a disadvantage for the things it makes harder to do than a bespoke solution. when it comes to the part where you go to applaud the demo you lose the "points for effort" for the bits the engine gives you for free, and that's that.
added on the 2015-08-06 14:05:46 by smash smash
drift, at least if my message seemed hostile, that was not the intention. I was trying to respond to Sdw's quote unfair advantage unquote comment from the last page. Excuse me.
added on the 2015-08-06 14:08:17 by Trilkk Trilkk
To chip in... I totally agree with wullon with clear and proper information.

Also quote 1x from the infamous (thx to me ;)) coronoid thread:
I see no point in reinventing the wheel. And I also don't have the skill or the time to write my own tool, 3dmodeling application, api, driver, OS or to design and solder my own processor and gpu. Where do you draw the line?

Well, yeah, it's basically the same issue.

We have to draw the line, but apparently this line is something very personal.

I think all those people that only care about aesthetic value of a demo should stop whining and be totally fine with 3rd party engines (and whatever else, like videos pretending to be real-time).

And those who actually care about technicalities and value them deeply, should be able to find that information and vote accordingly.

As for me putting this in .nfo file is totally enough.

But anyway, I wouldn't trust any demo these days, only intros matter to me, so I don't care. Unless say, I can see the source code (full source code or just critical part, like Navis shaders or something).
added on the 2015-08-06 14:24:36 by tomkh tomkh
Sorry Drift, didn't mean to take it out on you as we are both agreeing, but I just get miffed when the demoscene does their 'garbarble destroy all things not amiga' schtick, which imo was not happening now and that pleased me.

Sallgood, sallgood!
added on the 2015-08-06 14:28:21 by okkie okkie
At least the oldskool demoscene doesn't have this problem :)

One could wonder though, where does the newskool demoscene end, and where does the more generic 'video artist'/VJ/etc or even Machninima/modding scene start?
added on the 2015-08-06 14:36:05 by Scali Scali
High-five okkie!

Also I agree with what others said, if the tools and resources used to make a production are clear then there is nothing to complain about. Everyone can judge the production based on their own personal standards as long as all the information is there to make that judgement.

If people want to hate something for using a premade tool that is their right, just like if people want to vote for something they do like. I don't think there should be any talk of banning UE in open demo compos. Only thing I would complain about is the file sizes getting quite ridiculous on some of this years assembly demos, but that is a whole other discussion.
added on the 2015-08-06 14:37:02 by drift drift
(Also I heard that TBL are working on a full port of Frostbite to Amiga so we're all screwed anyway)

Word, but Maturefurk already had it running in 2001 - it just got lost between all that blur ;)

Looking forward to see TBL's effort now - in all its 320x256 letterboxed, shaky 10FPS, giant pixels glory :)

emoon should talk kalms into doing it for the ps2 instead :)
added on the 2015-08-06 14:41:26 by arm1n arm1n
what smash said. i see that demo more as a collage of borrowed assets than an artistic feat and thus less wow (notwithstanding that demo2 is not even that pretty).

but yeah, it is perhaps something party rules should tackle by drawing a line what's OK and what's not. ASM already has quite rigid rules that you cannot use copyrighted third party material, so, aren't free assets of commercial tools just that? then again, i also used a (heavily butchered) poser mesh once in a demo, so, it's also a gray area :)
added on the 2015-08-06 14:42:01 by maali maali
Scali: that is an interesting point. Old demos ran on old hardware, old hardware was more limited and often a static hardware configuration. This lead to people challenging themselves to see what could be achieved and led to competitions over how many sprites or dots someone could show on screen.

Now with a modern pc and gpu you can run thousands of calculations per pixel per frame. There is nothing really technically challenging anymore, people are not impressed by how many polygons you can have when it is possibly to have a sceen full of sub pixel size polygons with physically based lighting. So things have turned more into design and style.

Any "tech" you see in a demo now whether its particles or realistic rendering engines has already been done before and better by video games that everyone is familiar with. So the solution is to do something that is creatively different.

Actually even old demos sometimes won on pure design over tech. Some people will disagree with me but Odyssey on amiga in 1991 was basically a 45 minute long slide show. There was not what people considered traditional demo effects besides some basic polygon models.

I try to judge demos by remembering that this is basically a bunch of people doing it as their hobby in their spare time for free. I am just happy that after 25 years or more people are still even bothering to do this. I thumb up most prods on pouet unless they are really bad just because I am glad someone bothered to release something at all. Honestly I find it a little off putting when I see how harsh some comments are, oh that colour grading could be better or the flow of scenes isn't perfect cinamatography. The standards have changed for sure. I know I will never make anything technically good or visually as good as the top goups, but I just have fun doing my own thing and hope other people enjoy having something to watch sometimes.

I'm not sure what my point is here or if I even had one. My wife went away for 2 weeks overseas and I am very bored and lonely.
added on the 2015-08-06 14:57:29 by drift drift
hugtro for drift!
added on the 2015-08-06 15:03:27 by wysiwtf wysiwtf
"nothing is really technically challenging anymore".. seriously? and as if, being able to plot 2 more sprites than your opponent on some long forgotten platform is überexciting to the vast majority in the scene! ;)
added on the 2015-08-06 15:08:06 by maali maali
Odyssey by Alcatraz had a pretty technically advanced 3D engine for the time, so it was far more than a slideshow (a bit too long though).
added on the 2015-08-06 15:16:13 by Sdw Sdw
Scali: that is an interesting point. Old demos ran on old hardware, old hardware was more limited and often a static hardware configuration. This lead to people challenging themselves to see what could be achieved and led to competitions over how many sprites or dots someone could show on screen.

True, but I was thinking more about the software side: in the old days there simply weren't any engines you can download freely and create demos with. If you wanted to make a demo, you had to code it yourself.
Even these days, although various oldskool demos have been opensourced, you generally can't really recycle the code easily for different demos.

My wife went away for 2 weeks overseas and I am very bored and lonely.

At least your wife is having a good time ;)
added on the 2015-08-06 15:18:12 by Scali Scali
Yes Maali seriously. Perhaps instead of posting sarcastic winking faces you could link an example of where a demo is showing better technology than what has already been done by commercial software companies.

As far as I remember when people like chaos were pioneering effects like rotozoomers on the amiga there was nobody else in the world doing that. Right now however I can google and find papers and source code on how to do all modern rendering techniques used in demos. The scene has changed.

I don't disagree that showing a demo with one more sprite than the last demo is not very interesting. That doesn't change the fact that is what a lot of demos did and still got voted highly.

Sdw: I agree the 3d engine in odyseey was quite good at the time. My point was more that it was more an artistic/design/story based demo than the spinning cubes and dot tunnels that other demos had at the time.
added on the 2015-08-06 15:27:43 by drift drift
Scali: Yep, when I was on the amiga and c64 before that the only way to learn was get a hardware reference manual and work things out for yourself. Also most of the demo effect tricks I learned by talking to other coders directly.

But like I said now it is too easy to find all the information. Of course implementing the code isn't always easy or everyone would do it. But when you look at the top groups who have amazing rendering quality and particle effects and so on... well the only way to stand out these days is with unique design.

My wife messaged me that she got food poisoning and spent the day on the toilet, maybe I am having more fun at home. :)

Sure would be nice to edit posts here.
added on the 2015-08-06 15:33:11 by drift drift