How come Unreal looks and works so different from engines like IW engine?

There is something for Call of Duty 4 called Radiant, it works by script and script only, it seems SEVERELY Limited, like How did they even create this games in it?

I look at Unreal and I see it so visual based, Are modern Engines visual based too?

For example: CoD4 Radiant Tutorial - Part 4 - Worldspawn Settings, Models & Terrain (+ decals) - YouTube

Unreal Engine 3 and 4 were created around making something that’s great for designers and artists to work in. A lot of older game engines were just designed around having workable level design interface and managing assets/data and that’s pretty much it, everything else was hacked together, stuff hidden in menus, not a lot of options exposed, requiring a bunch of external tools, etc. Lots of older, and even some modern game engines are very archaic, if you do one with wrong in a 5 part import process it breaks, you need tools and scripts to just import a simple asset/texture/model, a lot of basic functionality that should be exposed to artists and designers aren’t, and they have to talk with a programmer to get simple functionality added, which may take 10 minutes if it’s an easy fix, or weeks if they engine wasn’t designed around it.

Unity and Unreal Engine made the whole process much more approachable.

I’d qualify this to say approachable for the non-programmer.

Programmer have been happy doing what we do with C++ alone.

Which kind of goes exactly to the OPs question of How is something like COD4 done with scripting only?

Because tools dont matter; artists matter – engineers matter.

Tools are merely a way to get a vision that already exists in concept, to life. Your choice of engine is merely how you like your toolset, or appropriate to your pipeline.

As to why they continue to work that way? Because a lot of studios have large investments in not just architecture but also people.

Those people know how to use said internal software or processes better than if they hired new people with new skills and wrote or used new software.

Tools and workflows matter, especially if they allow artists to work faster and more efficiently. But studios generally cannot decide on a new workflow in the middle of full on production. There’s reason why PBR, Substance Painter/Designer, photogrammetry, etc, were so quickly adopted. They are time savers, makes the artist job less tedious, and they make everything look better.

But yes, studios do often get stuck working with the same engine and editor because it works, and hundreds of people have a streamlined workflow using the existing editor.

I guess I am also asking, is a game like call of duty possible to recreate exactly, even though the engine is VERY different?

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered

I am assuming the game engine used is vastly different now then it was on first release even though it’s made by the same company.

Batman: Return to Arkham went from UE3 -> UE4. With access to the original source (assets and hopefully documentation), it should be possible to make a remaster of almost any game in UE4 or even Unity (of course the more complex and custom the systems the more work involved). If you want it to run close to 1:1 with the original, emulation might be the only option.

  1. Can you make a COD like game?
    Definitely. The predecessor to UE4 (UDK) was even more geared towards shooters.
    You just needed to re-skin vehicles / characters / weapons and you had a basic FPS…

  2. Radiant versus UE4:
    How to compare the two? Here’s a loose general analogy:
    Radiant uses cardboard cut-outs (geometry) to create levels.
    Whereas UE4 relies on Lego pieces (meshes) to build maps.

UE4 has many world class editors for building out levels.
But its heavily reliant on eternal 3D apps to create assets.

Radiant has more tools to block out levels / tweak meshes.
But in that era char anims / landscapes were more basic too.

Other threads listed here help explain some of the evolution.

I wouldn’t go as far as to compare both packages. One is “just” a tool for creating maps whilst the other is a full blow general purpose engine.

I’d like to point out that the ‘IW’ engine is actually based on the Quake 3 engine (now known as id Tech 3)… from 1998. Whilst it’s come an awful long way, it’s not come anywhere near as far as Unreal has in that time, largely down to the fact that id Tech itself has progressed, whereas Activision has shown no desire to develop it’s internal tools any farther than it absolutely has to.

So How the hell did Call of Duty Manage animations? the script mentions an Animtree, but Where is it? I don’t understand!

Is it because Radiant isn’t the engine itself, but merely a mod tool?

It is indeed just the toolchain for creating levels/maps, and not the engine itself. If you want to know the animation implementation details, or any other implementation, of CoD you would need access to the source code of that specific game.

Radiant is a level editor with geometry + mesh manipulation etc.
Regarding anims, similar to now: 3d app meshes / bones / anims.
But the range of anims needed at the time was a lot more basic.

I mean like, in UE4 you have a list of your anims and whatnot but what was their visual library? Did game engines back then have a visual library of animations?