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UE4 engine vs. rendering quality of demos

category: general [glöplog]
Heard only good things about Animation in UE4 so far.
Even Unitys Animator is quite usable by now.
You aren´t supposed to animate your whole rig in these Engines (eventho possible), you do that in software like Maya/ZBrush/Blender/etc. and import all the information together with the model. From there it´s just playing the prepared Animations at the correct point of time.

Thing with Demoscene is the amount of work (once again) needed for proper Animations. Takes quite some Man-hours to deliver sth really useful.
Not even mentioning Motion-/Face-Capturing here, because you know, expensive Hardware needed and stuff.
Then again: Where´s the fun in motion capturing and playing back recorded data afterwards? Thats not demoscenish in my eyes, it´s boring! I don´t care for realism in Demos either...no1 likes flybys (anymore) and a flyby through sth completely realistic is really, really boring in my eyes! (Elevated has that demostyle-touch and also comes in just 4096b, so this doesn´t count!)
Try making 64k or 4k using UE4 and we will talk
(yzi said something along this lines as well).

Also,honestly anyone that wants to try something unique (from rendering perspective) will use bare-bone GL or Vulcan.
Of course you can add it on top of UE4 or Unity,but there is no point really.

The usual question is content vs substance. If you want a demo fully packed with content and pleasant for layman audience - go with 3rd party engine.

Of course demoscene is contradicting itself nowadays here. People expect rich,well designed and great looking demos,but forget about experimental nature of it. Then they complain some demo is done using UE4. It doesn't make sense.
added on the 2016-11-03 09:11:05 by tomkh tomkh
I never did a PC-Demo for reasons...did more than twenty 4K/8K-prods the last years, as this is atleast still interesting! (didn´t want to go back to C=64 or Amiga, been there, done that!) But some restrictions are interesting...if not in Hardware, then Software (size-limit) !
Demos can have unlimited Megabytes of Data by now...it´s just a matter of collecting enough material and put it together in any engine (selfmade or 3rdParty, doesn´t matter!) ...boring!
Maybe will do Demos in the future, as 4Ks take a lot of time to make....i think i can do a Demo way faster! But maybe i just go back to Hardware-Restrictions (Hello VCS, we didn´t end what we began some years ago!)...as PC is boring in general somehow! (maybe it´s just too easy with all the possibilities and almost no restrictions (TrueColor, mp3, etc.) !)
Breaking the limits is out of context when talking about 3rd party engines. They're useless on legacy hardware, 256, 4k, 64k etc prods. Non-restricted demoscene prods are mostly about art, and if you deliver breathtaking art the engine doesn't matter except that you don't get +1 to fame for being a great coder (and do you need a coder when using 3rd party engine? I'd rather list myself as designer/director/visuals then).
Would it matter if prods like 828, The Ballet Dancer, Intrinsic Gravity etc etc were made on 3rd party engine? Not much. (and actually some of them do use an engine, even if inhouse one)
The point is that to have a demoscene group you should have: 1st, a CODER; 2nd, a graphician/designer; and 3rd, a musician. Would you call a group of people without coder a demoscene group? Intuitively they're rather a movie producers group then or something...
And also it just so happens that great demos come from great minds. Let's turn the topic upside down: being a great coder, is it a problem for you to make your own engine/framework? It seems that for many it is natural that they create their own stuff from grounds up, getting +1 to fame as a bonus. But if someone doesn't feel like it and would deliver something stunning in 3rd party engine I say go for it.
added on the 2016-11-03 09:44:50 by rutra80 rutra80
What is your opinion on 2D graphics (aka pixel graphics) in demos?

Since 2D graphics aren't necessarily pixel graphics (except in the way that everything on the screen consists of pixels), I'm not sure what you mean.

Using pixeled graphics (or premade vector graphics for that matter) is just as prerendered as playing back streamed audio.
added on the 2016-11-03 17:11:39 by lug00ber lug00ber
If you can only use a very limited amount of pixels, colors and/or bytes, or have some other strict limitations, it's definitely not like playing back unrestricted streamed audio. Doing something cool despite restrictions makes it interesting. (Limited skills don't count.)

But of course, by all means, feel free to stuff any amount of streamed audio you want in a 4k.

PCs have way too much computing resources. It's not interesting anymore, unless you have hard size limits.
added on the 2016-11-03 20:08:58 by yzi yzi
When running the actual demo needs more CPU power than watching the youtube, you have a problem.
When downloading the demo takes longer than downloading the video, you have a problem.

If you can fit these two constraints, use whatever tools and engine suits you.
PulkoM: what if it needs more CPU power than watching yt, but takes much less space?
But in general, I agree with your yt metaphore.

Changing topic a little bit, but not so far away: interactivity might be something to consider for a demo.

I myself included once extra "object switcher" into my 64k (just hitting [space] at one point).
But it's really open question how to integrate any type of interactivity that doesn't feel totally cheesy.
Even if you put some simple gaming elements, it seem to feel out of place i.e. rez style or whatever.

At the end watching real-time demo that has no interactivity elements vs watching yt seem to only have emotional value. That feeling that things are rendered different way, sort of directly from the procedure that is efficient enough etc...
added on the 2016-11-03 22:38:04 by tomkh tomkh
Using pixeled graphics (or premade vector graphics for that matter) is just as prerendered as playing back streamed audio.

I disagree, since such graphics are only one element in the visual output of a production. IMO they're closer to individual samples, synth patches, or recorded instruments. The visual equivalent of streamed audio is streamed video.
added on the 2016-11-03 22:44:37 by absence absence
I will never ever rate an Unreal, Unity or whatever ultra professional engine based demo above a self-coded demo, even if the self-coded demo looks horrible.

As far as I understand the demoscene, it was always centered on coding. So, just by being Unreal or Unity based, any demo loses a lot of value to me.

To me the demoscene is about that, *coding*, so if you show me a 4k prod with some simple rotating scene, and a 256mb prod built in Unreal 50 with a massive photorealistic rendering in ultra high definition and holograms and whatever, I will definitely still vote for the 4k prod, even if I don't like it a lot.

Trying to bend a concept does not help the scene. If this is not about coding, then we can all simply use Maya and 3DS Max, or just plain video then, and be everyone happy. Wild or any other restrictions make no sense to me.

Just me and my honest opinion.
added on the 2016-11-03 23:23:07 by imerso imerso
And there is a lot that Unreal and Unity can't do yet, so lets do our homework and bring new techniques.

*That* is what demoscene is about, imho.
added on the 2016-11-03 23:27:32 by imerso imerso
And yes, my little demos look horrible, but you surely did not see *anything* like them before, I am pretty much sure about that. They are unique in their horribleness.

And they were coded by me, they were not coded by Tim Sweeney and his friends.

*That* is what the demoscene is about, imho. Bending that is stealing from us coders.
added on the 2016-11-03 23:31:46 by imerso imerso
Please create ArtScene and MusicScene for you.
added on the 2016-11-03 23:33:50 by imerso imerso
Correction: please create ModelScene and MusicScene for you, because demo coding IS art as well.
added on the 2016-11-03 23:34:30 by imerso imerso
Please try to understand, though, that I *do* love and respect Illustration/Modeling and Music as much as I respect coding.

It is just that there are different places, and on each different place there is a pivot point.

In demoscene, imho, the pivot is programming. It was born from programming.
added on the 2016-11-03 23:48:55 by imerso imerso
imerso: I think demoscene has changed a lot over years. It's more diverse. It surely includes amateur (mostly) gfx/music competitions alongside with some remainings of pure hardcore coding.
I think in the future (unfortunately) it will also include amateur attempts to make demos using UE4 editor or Unity etc... without a single line of original code.

That's the spirit of our time: "everybody is a content creator" nowadays.

Also everybody wants to feel important, accomplished and have celebrity status.

And again (as we had this discussion before), I agree with you, but there is nothing we/you can do IMHO to reverse this process.

Look at gamedev. Some top-selling games are made by non-programmers using click'n'play tools. Ridiculous, no?

But it's gonna be only worse.
added on the 2016-11-04 00:18:38 by tomkh tomkh
tomkh, lets chitchat on irc, please enter ircnet #demoscene and #revision channels.
added on the 2016-11-04 00:33:04 by imerso imerso
Well, do whatever you guys believe is right. Ok, I'm wrong and you are right. Ok.

For this old dog, the scene is, indeed, dead, long time ago, but that does not matter.

Lets publish h264 videos to compete against 32b prods. In the end, this is all just "art", is not it? There is no difference, right? Yeah.


Love. Bye.
added on the 2016-11-04 02:21:15 by imerso imerso
That's the spirit of our time: "everybody is a content creator" nowadays.

Some top-selling games are made by non-programmers using click'n'play tools.

Oh no, democratization and accessibility of a medium of expression!

Funny how it seems to be the coders who are up and arms about people embracing third party tools instead of continuously reinventing the wheel. Create better tools for your artist friends if you don't want to lose your grip on them.
added on the 2016-11-04 02:36:24 by noby noby
Not really the original topic, but: There's no fundamental difference between writing code and expressing the same thing in a UE4 blueprint, it's just a different representation.
added on the 2016-11-04 09:06:38 by cupe cupe
@cupe: What's the difference with expressing the same thing using 3DS Max? Extrapolating all I read here, if a demo is not interactive (which is the case for 99.99% demos), there's no point in being real-time. The demoscene would become what Imagina was, or a short movies festival.
added on the 2016-11-04 09:29:21 by Soundy Soundy
I'm happy if my "artist friends" would stay out of the coding competitions. I want to compete against other wheel reinventers and not against Tim Sweeney!
Ok, I don't see the democratization and accessibility of medium as a bad thing.
The only problem in a demoscene context is that it might be unfair during the competition, when say quality UE4 demo wins over quality 64k,because the democratized audience finds more value in it.
Also, obviously, coding/scripting != algorithm development. So blueprints might be different representation and say even Turing complete (are they?), but I guess they are not a tool of choice for implementing custom algorithms. Developing efficient algorithms utlizing parallel architectures, proving their correctness, analysing computational complexity, levaraging memory/time complexity tradeoffs, and at the top of it size-coding, is much harder than tinkering with some node representation.
added on the 2016-11-04 09:59:13 by tomkh tomkh
There is a Russian joke about army hospitals. It says that removal of a tooth is the most complicated surgical operation in these hospitals, because they do all their surgeries via the asshole.

It seems that many people like to do their demos in much the same way. They feel that they had to suffer more, so somehow they feel their work must be appreciated better. I also know one character who converts gif animations into bitmaps frame by frame, instead of using a designated tool for this purpose. He feels that his demos (all made from someone else's gifs and with zero code) must be much more appreciated, because he spent literally hours making them in the most inefficient ways possible.

Sometimes I wonder if demoscene thinks of itself as an exercise in creativity, or an exercise in masochism. Especially when I read "yes, my little demos look horrible, but you surely did not see *anything* like them before" I cannot help but think of the Freudian interpretation. Do you know that we are not your mother to like your shit unconditionally? and trust me, your shit is just about as original as the next guy's.
added on the 2016-11-04 10:20:40 by introspec introspec
it would just put UE4/unity demo in the wild section/compo.....
added on the 2016-11-04 10:50:51 by ntsc_ ntsc_


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