E3 2003 Cinematic (239MB DivX)
Walking Around (3.9MB Quicktime)
Download E3 2003 Cinematic Demo. This includes the level editor. (212MB Windows/NVIDIA 5900 or Better)
Walk around tech-demo. Terrible collision / movement (very early on). The best part is at the end. (96MB Windows/NVIDIA 5900 or Better)
I’ve always wanted to make an impact on the game’s industry. I’ve always wanted to be a wealthy independant game developer, not so much because of the money, but more because of the creative freedom that such a position endows. One of the happiest times in my life was during a year and a half period between 2002-2003 when I worked at Contraband Entertainment on a project called Abducted, of which I was the driving technical force.
Although it was never completed, at the time it was competitive with the Doom3 engine. In retrospect the project was doomed from the get-go (we would have never been able to complete the project with the projected budget), but it was still one of the greatest times in my life. I was essentially free from the day-to-day concerns of running a business, or doing contract work, and I was able to live and breathe game technology for almost 18 months straight. I worked like crazy, and developed some great stuff.
Had the project received proper funding and management, or had Contraband Entertainment been privately wealthy, there’s no doubt in my mind that we could have developed a great game, and some of what we were going for had some truly unique moments. To this day I continue to be jealous of the wealthy independants, as it has now become very difficult to do anything as a lone systems/engine tech developer that will ever see the light of day. But I only imagine such is the bane of most people.
The Abducted engine was a truly real-time lighting / shadowing indoor engine, with bump mapping, per pixel specular highlights, and projected lighting. It had its own level editor aptly named “AbductED”, which I refactored last year into a Quake/Quake2/Quake3 level editor: Tread 3.0. The editor had a WYSIWYG lighting preview, and shader editor. The engine itself was basically a Doom3 clone, except Doom3 wasn’t out yet, but the direction was similar. It was based on Quake style brush geometry forming a solidly bound world hull, and had areaportals which the engine used for visibility clipping (no PVS). Non structural detail was modeled in 3DS Max and imported directly into the engine in one big chunk. It was heavily endorsed and championed by Nvidia. Mark Kilgard’s GDC ’03 presentation featured screenshots from the game.
The game itself was heavily action / horror / adventure, and was going to have a fair bit of in engine cinematics, so one of the early things I worked on was a cinematics system. That turned out pretty well. Unfortunately, no real gameplay was ever implemented, and the engine was never very heavily optimized or ported to non-nvidia chipsets. The problem simply, was that we ran out of money. I loved what I was doing so-much that we had already gone through several dry spells (sometimes months with no pay), working out of our apartment because we couldn’t afford an office. In the process I ruined my credit, being unable to pay the considerable credit card debt I had accumulated to live. Although that was behind us and we had gotten a contract unrelated to Abducted, and got back into a real office, no one was really in the financial position to go through another dry spell. Unfortunately, right after E3 2003, we closed our doors for good. Publishers just weren’t all that interested in us.
After Contraband, I went to work at TKO software, a now defunct game developer. They bought the rights to the engine outright, and it was used to develop IP’s for two movie tie-in video games (both which did not ship). I was hired as the lead engine programmer, the company had 60 people working on development of the game, with the Abducted technology at its core. TKO was venture funded and, due to circumstances beyond my control, did not make it terribly far.