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Old 2012-04-23, 12:36 PM   [Ignore Me] #1
Saieno
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The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


TL;DR Version
Project Offset, an amazing graphical game engine is shown in 2005. Intel buys them out in 2008, cancels the project in 2010 but rumors of a development framework exists. Early 2011 SOE closes The Agency, three studios, 205 jobs, and states they want to focus on Planetside and EverQuest. Weeks later Smed confirms Planetside Next was moved to a new internal game engine, which is later revealed as Forge Light. Because of the power of this engine, its sudden presence at SOE, and similar features plus rendering to Project Offset, I believe Forge Light is Project Offset reborn.



Detailed Version
A company called Offset Software launched in 2005, and was formed by several former members of S2 Games who created Savage 2 and Heroes of Newerth (and happen to be my favorite small developer). The company released videos of Project Offset, a graphically rich first person shooter set in a fantasy world. In 2008 Offset Software was purchased by Intel but development on Project Offset continued. In 2010 the project was cancelled by Intel, with the founding Offset Software members creating a mobile games company called Fractive LLC. So what does all of this have to do with SOE, and more importantly, Planetside 2?

Back in late 2009 rumors on development of Planetside Next started to appear, and nearly a year later in 2010 it was announced that Planetside Next would be releasing in the second quarter of 2011. In March of 2011 there were three studios and 205 jobs closed down at SOE, cancelling The Agency to make a new focus on the Planetside and EverQuest properties. A few weeks later on these very forums, GarbageGnome brings up the fact that SOE is saving a bunch of money by 'axing' The Agency and some studios to provide more resources to Planetside Next and EverQuest Next. The interesting tidbit is the response from Smed on the comment:

Originally Posted by Smed View Post
Recently (a few weeks ago actually) we made the call to update the game to a new internally developed engine. Doing that meant delaying the game, but we thought it was in the best interests of Planetside Next. It also means delaying releasing further info for a little while.

Smed
Notice the section highlighted in bold, where he states "we made the call to update the game to a new internally developed engine". It didn't cross my mind at the time, but recently I've been thinking about this fantastic new engine that SOE has and the the events that lead up to this point. My first concern is why a company that is developing an internal game engine would start Planetside Nexts' development on an inferior one, only to change their entire game engine and development plan a year later. Secondly, where would SOE suddenly obtain an extremely powerful game engine that is capable of running on 7 year old hardware? It didn't hit me till I thought about Project Offset again.

Keep in mind this is from 2005

Intel bought Project Offset and devoted a significant amount of energy towards positioning Offset as the showcase engine for what Larrabee, their first-generation GPU, could do. With Larrabee, if you recall, Intel was pushing the idea that real-time raytracing (RTRT) could replace traditional rasterization in 3D gaming. ATI and NVIDIA never took too kindly to the idea; the result was quite a bit of back-and-forth posturing about what could and couldn't be done with near-generation hardware. After Larrabee was cancelled, it was widely rumored that Intel was offering the Offset Engine as a potential development framework in its pursuit of the next-generation PS4/XBox 720. I believe that Sony Online Entertainment obtained the Offset Engine through their connections and partnerships at Intel, thus Forge Light was born.

I'm not making this claim simply based on the coincidence that all the events line up to fit my theroy, just one look at the Project Offset demos compared to Planetside 2 footage and you begin the see the similarities. Every engine has certain quirks that make them stand out, even through all the unique art styles and development, which is why you can tell when you're playing a game on Unreal Engine 3. Little things like the rendering style for models, lights, and effects, even how things load when you enter the game world. Lets make a quick comparison though so you can see what I mean.

This is the Planetside 2 Announcement Trailer we all know and love. When you're watching it this time however, try to focus on the little details, such as the first person perspective view, subtle motion blur effects, and the phsyics. Look at the animations, how everything is moving, and the number of enemies on the screen at one time. Remember, Planetside 2 is looking to have 1,998 players on a map at one time, so the engine has to be able to render that flawlessly for Planetside 2 to be successful.



Now lets look at a Crowd Test from Project Offest. Keep in mind this is from 2005 (nearly 7 years ago), and even back when ATI 9800 Pros and Nvidia 7800s were the great cards, we have hundreds of fantastic looking characters on screen with physics, motion blur, and ray-tracing in real time. This was an unbelieveable achievement in game engines, just imagine how it would look and perform on todays hardware.



So there you have it. From the beginning of Project Offset to the mysterious new engine that SOE seemed to pull out of thin air, Planetside 2 rises from the flames to bring us an unbelievable visual and game play experience. Again this is all speculation, there is no official word on the origin of the Forge Light engine, and unless a blue name could confirm my suspicions then I would take them with a grain of salt. However if Forge Light is the Offset Engine reborn, I can't wait to see what happens with EverQuest Next.
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Old 2012-04-23, 12:46 PM   [Ignore Me] #2
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Interesting... I would lock your door before the top-secret intelligence service of Microsoft comes nocking! *Saieno!! INTERNATIONAL SECURITY! OPEN UP!* *Troopers drop trough the windows, special forces break open the door* *Gunfire* *Saieno dies while trying to flee*

Newspaper of the day after: "A highly sought after cybercriminal has been shot in a heavy firefight. "We didn't had a choise." Said a special forces member. "He was going for his grenades." The world is a bit safer once again."

Yep, i see it happening.

*edit* And ofcourse, nice job, it's interesting to see this "old" engine being used again with modern stuff. Impressive.

Last edited by Kwintus5; 2012-04-23 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 2012-04-23, 12:48 PM   [Ignore Me] #3
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Forgelight, Frostbite get it? No? Awwwww.
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Old 2012-04-23, 12:54 PM   [Ignore Me] #4
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Awesome post Saieno - very curious indeed. It did seem like Forgelight just kind of appeared.
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2012-04-23, 02:33 PM   [Ignore Me] #5
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by Hamma View Post
... It did seem like Forgelight just kind of appeared.
I believe all the engineers here who have devoted many, MANY hours and months and years to the development would not agree that it "just appeared"
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Old 2012-04-23, 02:41 PM   [Ignore Me] #6
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by CyclesMcHurtz View Post
I believe all the engineers here who have devoted many, MANY hours and months and years to the development would not agree that it "just appeared"
I would have bet engineering was like magic, though. And especially when you see Forgelight.
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2012-04-24, 02:52 PM   [Ignore Me] #7
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by sylphaen View Post
I would have bet engineering was like magic, though. And especially when you see Forgelight.
Just because it's Magic, doesn't mean it's not hard work. Someone has to fetch those eyes of newt and so on!
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Old 2012-04-23, 03:10 PM   [Ignore Me] #8
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by CyclesMcHurtz View Post
I believe all the engineers here who have devoted many, MANY hours and months and years to the development would not agree that it "just appeared"
I don't doubt the ability of SOE by any means. You guys have created in-house engines for a number of games including Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest 2. I don't know which engine FreeRealms uses so I'll make an assumption that it was in-house built, and was also used for Clone Wars Adventures. However unless the engine development at SOE were developing two completely different engines at once, Forge Light would have been made in two years. It's just an unbelievably impressive engine, with the closest comparison being Project Offset.

DC Universe Online did use Unreal Engine 3, but I'm sure there were reasons behind doing so. Usually we hear about game engines being worked on years before we see any details on games, so the announcement of Forge Light was certainly a shock.
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Old 2012-04-24, 03:54 AM   [Ignore Me] #9
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by CyclesMcHurtz View Post
I believe all the engineers here who have devoted many, MANY hours and months and years to the development would not agree that it "just appeared"
That's a lie, I know there were no engineers on the project, only an army of highly trained WIZARDS conjuring out a game engine that defies time and space!
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Old 2012-05-02, 12:48 PM   [Ignore Me] #10
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by CyclesMcHurtz View Post
I believe all the engineers here who have devoted many, MANY hours and months and years to the development would not agree that it "just appeared"
by engineers you mean lvl 60 warlocks locked in the basement performing magic rituals right?
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This is the last VIP post in this thread.   Old 2012-05-02, 12:51 PM   [Ignore Me] #11
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by Timealude View Post
by engineers you mean lvl 60 warlocks locked in the basement performing magic rituals right?
We are not allowed to discuss the specifics of any rituals that may take place.
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Old 2012-05-02, 12:52 PM   [Ignore Me] #12
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by CyclesMcHurtz View Post
We are not allowed to discuss the specifics of any rituals that may take place.
So you're saying there are rituals?
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Old 2012-05-02, 07:52 PM   [Ignore Me] #13
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Originally Posted by CyclesMcHurtz View Post
We are not allowed to discuss the specifics of any rituals that may take place.
That explains all the goat blood everywhere...

Make sure you always stab the heart! If you miss, bad things happen. Speaking from expirience here.
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Old 2012-04-27, 01:24 PM   [Ignore Me] #14
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Omg thats the video i've been looking for again forever. I was so excited for that game to come out when I first heard of it.
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Old 2012-04-23, 01:13 PM   [Ignore Me] #15
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Re: The Origin of Forge Light (Speculation)


Very cool post.
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