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Friday, February 11, 2005

DICE Gets It

I could rant a bit more about my trials against an evil Trojan/Worm ... I could, but I won't. That's how much I respect you.

Instead, I'll notice this:

FZ: When Valve released Half-Life 2 last year criticism quickly arose due to the fact that they assumed people wanting to do modifications would have access to the commercial compiler and IDE Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2003, which costs several hundreds of euros. What tools will be required to fully modify Battlefield 2 in addition to the tools that DICE will provide?(Steven Svensson)

LG: We have greatly enhanced our support for modders by giving the option to create modifications through the script language Python. This means that there will be no requirement to have access to Microsoft Visual C++ as you mentiond in your question.

from here...

That's excellent news. My biggest problem with engines like Source and Doom 3 is that they just assume you'll have a few hundred to spend on MS's IDE's. There's already much hubbub in the modding community about the basic necessity of pirating 3DS Max (which, btw, it took one of the creators of 3DS Max to jump start modding on the first BF) simply to create models. Efforts by Valve and Epic to include free versions of competing tools simply doesn't add up to Max's domination in the industry. At least with Unreal you don't have to spend a nickel to code for the thing. Doom 3 comes close, because you can do an awful lot of scripting and creating objects without having to compile a line of code - but to do the serious lifting you'll need to acquire Visual Studio.

It's really a ridiculous requirement in this day and age of modding. Sure, in the days of Quake and Doom it was swim at your own risk - but these days modding is a fundamental part of the industry. It adds longevity to titles, spurs innovation and helps the studios find talented help risk free. Lowering the entry requirements should be a high priority.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Python is pretty powerful, but will they extend all their objects via a scripting language? Unreal works in a similar way - allowing modders to use UnrealScript without poking directly into the C++ engine itself. Will it be fast? Will there be a compiler? Will there be Python examples to pull from (much of Unreal's actual game logic is in UnrealScript, providing a huge library of examples for coders to pull from).

In any case, this just bumped BF2 far up the potential purchase ladder for me.

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