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3D Game Comparison

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"Game vs. game. No hype; just facts."

18 compared games (78 comparisons) + 51 honorable mentions = 69 games

Introduction Introduction • News/Updates News/Updates • Comparison Table Comparison TableHonorable Mentions Honorable MentionsLinks LinksForums

Introduction Introduction

Welcome to the 3D Game Comparison. This 3D game comparison compares various 3D computer/video games attributes/features: 3D engines, player characters, level/world design, weapons, NPCs (non-player characters), inventories, and more! Originally, the comparison table featured just the Tomb Raider games because I wanted to see how they changed with each rehashed iteration year-after-year. But, as I played more and more 3D games, I noticed many similar and different elements that I felt would be most understood and best appreciated through comparison. Note how 3D games have evolved over the short time I cover the few games listed. Also look at how games using the same base engine (Quake, Unreal, Dark Engine, LithTech, NetImmerse, etc) have changed as they're modified and adapted for other/multiple genres. Why 3D vs. 2D? I prefer 3D games and, at the time of this website's creation (1999), 3D games were still fairly new on the scene and not all genres (particularly real-time strategy and adventure) had embraced 3D as much as other genres (particularly action and action-adventure "shooters" mostly). These days (years), 3D is pretty much the de facto standard in computer/video gaming but I still enjoy seeing them become as near photo-realistic as possible--and 3D games have come a long way since I've started documenting their features!

Hopefully this comparison inspires you to try (more) 3D games and appreciate the realism and programming/design skill put into them! I also hope game developers/publishers take note of what their and other 3D games have in them and always strive to add more realism to their games so they feel more immersive and more realistic! Remember, those extra little details add to a game's immersion and believability so take the time to add them in! Your game may just make it in this comparison and/or raise the bar for future games!

Most of this info comes from my experiences playing these games (mostly action-adventures) on the PC, and publisher, developer, fan, game, and game (p)review websites. Some info I guess on but I do try to remain consistent.


Want to help? I can't possibly play all the games I want to add, and I don't always finish the games I do play anyway so I just can't catch all the minor details. (Perhaps if someone paid me to make such scrutinized, critical comparisons/evaluations...) Anyway, email me additions, corrections, and/or appropriate comparative technical stats (or a link to such stats) for another 3D game like: Unreal (+ Tournament et al), Quake (1-3+), Duke Nukem (3D, Forever--will it ever be released?!), Heretic 2, Kingpin, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Messiah, Incoming, Sin (+ Episodes), Operation Flashpoint, Empire Earth, Neverwinter Nights, WarCraft III, Age of Mythology, etc, etc, etc.

PHP I was working to create a PHP-MySQL database to handle game submissions, additions/corrections, and allow games to be sorted by comparisons, name, engine, etc, but I can't stand programming and it is taking way too long for me to figure it all out. So, it is postponed until I have more time to dork with it. However, if you would like to help, please email me. I tried emailing MobyGames in 2005 to see if they wanted to incorporate/merge my website into theirs but they weren't interested. :/ Around mid-2006, I emailed DevMaster about the same thing but they weren't interested either--and I almost became editor of it. Anyway, see the database overview for more info and history about it. MySQL

Also, please let me know if you refer to this site in any links, research papers, bibliographies, articles (magazine, newspaper, etc), etc. I'm curious to know how this information is being used (if at all). Thanks!

Oh and if you're a game developer/publisher working on a cool effect or realistic element listed here (or not), I would like to know about it as I'm very interested in 3D games becoming more and more realistic!

Links Links
(some may be down)

Game Engine/Technology



Some Game Info Sources
(most down)

News/Updates News/Updates


4/3: Added Universal Videogame List to misc links.

2/18: Added Game Innovation Database to misc links. It's like Giant Bomb but focuses on game firsts (though isn't very accurate). Put the database PHP/MySQL images and text info in a table so it looks a little better.

2/14: Moved Giant Bomb link to "Miscellaneous" links and fixed Gamasutra's postmortems link (since their redirect didn't redirect to the correct URL--and their "Features" page has no link to the postmortems--back to Website Navigation 101, Gamasutra!).

2/12: Yes, I'm still alive...I think. After about 1.5 years I've gotten back into editing the wiki (but the table still isn't working out so I'm just focusing on adding more games and getting all the pages--and their redirects--situated). Giant Bomb (see Wikipedia: Giant Bomb for more info) has a database of computer/video games that does a lot of what I am trying to with the wiki, though I still prefer my design where all the features are clickable to then see which games have a particular feature. It's nice to finally see another site making an attempt at least! Added GB to links.


5/8: Well, until Grand Theft Auto IV is released for the PC, this GameSpot Then & Now: Grand Theft Auto IV graphics comparison will have to suffice.

4/17: Added Assassin's Creed to honorable mentions. Intro games edited to reflect sequels; Contribute/Help section edited to yet again reflect that I am not working on the database...again.

4/15: Yep, still alive... Check out Assassin's Creed, a stealth game with great visual effects like fabric physics and extensive multi-plane shadows and moving cloud shadows that both cast over practically all surfaces and characters. AC's fluid character control is definitely a competitor to Tomb Raider (especially considering part of the developers worked on Prince of Persia). Unfortunately, the game is very repetitive and has limited 1st-person view (which is blurred/distorted most of the time as the character's "eagle vision").


11/5-7: Updated Wurm.

10/25: Honorable mentions - added Wurm.

9/28: Honorable mentions - fixed spelling of "propietary" to "proprietary", updated Carmageddon TDR2K with correct publisher/developer info, and added bullets for general info (circa, genre, developer, publisher) and links to game/companies (to here to make it easier to manage).

9/23: Added Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 to honorable mentions--yes, it's oldish (2002) but I've been playing it on an icky Xbox (original) lately and it reminded me a lot like NFS5: Porsche Unleashed (2000) that I figured it'd be easy enough to add. Well, HP2 isn't exactly like NFS5 but it has about the same graphics for the most part (but not as many effects or interactions).

As for the wiki, it's still coming along but the comparison table isn't so, for now, it's more of a standard database than a comparison database--it at least lists which games have what features so that's good at least for now. I'm having to dork with a lot of MediaWiki extensions but it looks like one (DPL) will be able to do most of what I want (except the table). Other extensions handle forms but they are proving annoying to use to even begin to implement the gameform. Ah well...no one else seems to care about this but me anyway so what's the rush, eh? Only been 7+ years so far...

8/31: The wiki is coming along slowly. It requires too many extensions to even get close to what I want, yet I still can't get a table to show games in columns vs. rows, which will be essential to prevent unnecessary horizontal scrolling. The nice thing about the wiki, at least, is that it can easily (well, relatively) output lists of games that have specific features without too much work (er...relatively again--at least compared to doing it from scratch via PHP/MySQL anyway). I "announced" the wiki on the Game Programmer's Wiki forums but most of the responses were negative towards it--apparently they don't find such information useful. Yea right! Anyone with half an intuitive brain can see how feature comparison is useful--hell, price comparison websites are all over the place! The hard part, apparently, is getting much more detailed tabular data presentable in an inuitive way that allows quick access to the meaning of the terms (i.e. via links or javascript/CSS popups/rollovers/tooltips).

Added Resident Evil Comparison, Diablo II vs. Nox, and Mafia vs. Mafia 2 graphics comparison to links (resorted by game vs. author/website).

7/29: WikiMatrix, yet another comparison website, but for wikis (there's also one for forums, podcatchers, and web blogs). How come no one tells me about these things?? Unfortunately, its software doesn't seem to be available to the public... The wiki is coming along, but it requires so many extensions (like the CMSes do) to get even close to what I want it's almost not even worth bothering with. <sigh>

7/28: Reworded intro a bit to incorporate the page's meta HTML tag's description.

7/25: Table: decreased vertical line spacing for "water"/"weather" feature titles. I'd like to put "atmospheric/environmental effects" vertically too but I think it would require 2 columns (3 if the "/" is distinguished) in order to get the spacing right. It should probably just be renamed to "special effects" but that's still 2 words...and "effects" is too vague by itself since it can refer to "sound effects", etc. Better categorization is coming up during database design.

7/21: Trying out MediaWiki; it's not as user-friendly in administering as Drupal, but it's a lot more popular (Wikipedia uses it) and, I'm finding, it's just as (if not more) powerful than Drupal. Using extensions, it's possible to create a form for game entry and use each article as a sort of flat-file database table that can be compiled into a larger table, while providing links to anything as containers/categories--very cool. Registration and editing are currently disabled but development is going much faster than with Drupal. I've also looked into Joomla and XOOPS but I think I'll stick with MediaWiki for now.

7/17: Added Wikipedia's MMORPG comparison, and moved the MMO Matrix, to the comparisons links. In dorking with CSS some more, I finally figured out how to get the image link outline/border on all images, not just some (for some unknown reason, the honorable mentions image links would not all display outline/orders, despite them not having class/IDs). Updated database overview.

7/16: Table: Half-Life engine to GoldSrc and added Wikipedia links to Quake III engine and other features (+ links in cells to features, which are linked to Wikipedia). The Drupal "database" is coming along...slowly. While not as complicated as an actual database, Drupal is probably 75% of the way there--especially when it comes to PHP to augument what it can't do (a lot). I may just go with a wiki but I still need a way to get the table to dynamically display games/features. Updated TRL. Added The Sims vs. The Sims 2 comparison to links. Increased main page's section title sizes. Added copyright year range to bottom (almost 10 years!).

7/13: Added "GTA:SA vs Saints Row" to comparison links (and resorted/edited some others).

7/10: Replaced old 18x16 Internet Archive (IA) icon (Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which I created about 3 years ago) with a 16x16 version (Internet Archive Wayback Machine)--looks better than their's ()! Added Military Game Comparison and Crysis vs. reality comparison to links (and other IA links to dead sites). If I'm ever allowed back on Wikipedia (see my blog for more info) I'll update the IAWM template... Fixed Second Life logo (though I don't know why, really, since I'm still banned from it)... Added a favicon finally, but it'll change eventually to reflect, er, 3D, games, and comparisons...not sure how I'll visually represent all that in a 16x16 icon but whatever.

7/9: Stupid height=100%--now the table rows don't get taller when all the sections are collapsed (along with some help from forced row heights for game/section headers). Now just to set a cookie so the collapsed sections are rememebered, automatically closed when the page loads (except for non-Javascript users which then won't be able to expand the sections), and an all-section collapse/expand option. I'm also looking into using the Joomla CMS but it appears even buggier than Drupal. :/ Forums are back.

7/8: Fixed 3-frame honorable mentions link in 7/4 update. Table: collapsible sections don't wrap now (but the game image rows still get taller when all sections are collapsed--I don't get it.

7/7: Table: collapsible sections (not games--yet; click the [+/-] "icon" in the features side columns--I'd like to have each row collapsable but I don't think that's possible with the way I'm doing it via this script and the <tbody> HTML tag--and the line/wordwrap still needs work); put engine name above engine developer and added game developer row (since they can be different from the engine developer).

7/4: I've been messing around with Drupal, a content management system (CMS), to attempt to create the database with, but it doesn't look like it'll be able to handle the table. However, I found a CMS comparison website (added to links), which is part of The Compare Stuff Network and uses WebGUI--unfortunately, WebGUI appears to require a dedicated web host (vs. a shared host like tnlc.com is on) so I don't think it will work. :/ I've been discussing the comparison database on various forums/blogs (mainly this sortable table script's blog) and it seems a simpler version using just HTML, CSS, and Javascript will be possible, however--although not necessarily with the complicated col-/rowspans, unfortunately (lots of repetition!). Ah well...better than nothing (or, at least, the 3-frame comparison).

I've also found a stylesheet switcher which I'd like to eventually implement to appease those who just can't stand my choice of colors. I'm still an "old-school" web designer, for the most part, and haven't really jumped on the CSS bandwagon in a major way--I still use tables to layout pages, for example.

7/1: Table: still more Wikipedia and dead link fixes, tweaked top menu icon sizes so they no longer stretch (I need a better engine icon), changed remaining "player model/avatar" text to "player character", and tried a different sortable table javascript (though it messes the table up even more than the other script). :/

6/29: Table: links (more Wikipedia and dead link fixes).

6/26: Comparison table: added a sortable table javascript but it doesn't work well (only the feature column sorts--I'd like the table to be alphabetically sortable by game, at least) and Wikipedia links to various features (and games/companies on the general links page).

Also, I can't seem to figure out how to use stylesheets to get specific links to have a different (brighter) color. I tried using a "class" (per the official spec) but it doesn't work. I'd rather use the shorter "id" selector (whatever) but I can't figure out how to get that syntax to work either. View the table's sourcecode and email me if you have any ideas, please. Update: OK, I got the "class" selector to work but its syntax seems excessively redundant. Ah well.

Main page: italicized games and added some links. Added blurb about contacting MobyGames years ago to database section in intro. Fixed still more dead game/engine links (I wish developers/publishers would learn how to use redirect pages correctly!).

Old News/Updates

Introduction IntroductionNews/Updates News/UpdatesComparison Table Comparison TableHonorable Mentions Honorable MentionsLinks LinksForums

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