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Raven explain why their Star Trek first person shooter "Voyager : Elite Force" was somewhat shorter than expected

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Image credit: Eurogamer

One of the few widespread criticisms of Raven's recently released first person shooter "Star Trek Voyager : Elite Force" was that the single player game was a little on the short side. Now project leader Brian Pelletier has revealed one of the reasons why the game was shorter than they had originally expected...

"The wonderful thing about the Quake III engine is that you can have many more polygons in the view at one time, allowing for more detailed levels, and of course curves", Brian explained. "When we started building levels, we made them like we did using the Quake and Quake II technology - we had big expansive levels that looked awesome and showed off what the Quake III engine can do. Then, somewhere near the middle of our development, we realized that the file size of most of our levels were huge, around 11 to 15 Mb a piece where they should be about 6Mb."

"The levels were the normal game-world size of a Quake II level, so what was the problem? The cause was the high poly count used to create a much more intricate and detailed environment. We realized that although Quake III can handle more polygons in the view at one time, the file size for the level has not increased much from a Quake II level. We had a dilemma; we can bring the file size down by taking out all of the detail that makes the Quake III engine superior and keep the physical size, or we cut the size of the level down, making it smaller yet highly detailed. Since we are making a world that can be compared to a TV show, we opted to keep the detailed environments of the Star Trek universe and cut the level down in size. It was one or the other; we couldn't have our cake and eat it too."

"For the most part, we were able to cut the levels in half and make two separate levels out of them, but now all the level designers had twice the levels to work on from when they started, and this could cause some major scheduling problems. Unfortunately, to keep up with the schedule, big parts of the levels were deleted and redesigned, which resulted in much smaller levels that could be traversed quicker, and ultimately made for a shorter game."

So there you have it. Quake III Arena itself is a deathmatch only game with mostly fairly compact levels, and so it doesn't come up against this problem, but the only other Quake III engined game released to date, Ritual's "Heavy Metal : FAKK2", was also rather short, although whether this is because of the same problems that Raven had is unknown. We will also have to wait to see whether the other games due for release over the next year which use the engine will suffer the same fate...

Source - Brian Pelletier's .plan

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