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Tomb Raider

Improvements

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Introduction Introduction | News/Updates News/Updates
Collision Detection | Movement | Water | Artificial Intelligence | Textures | Environmental Interaction | Other
Conclusion | Links Links

News/Updates News/Updates

2008

11/20: Yep, I still exist (more or less). Collision detection: reworded intro a bit, fixed alphabetizing ("climbing" before "crawling"), and added "crouching". Added Tomb Raider: Underworld to name legend and other minor wording/spelling fixes elsewhere.

2007

7/8: Redirected the Wikipedia company links in the intro to my general links page (so I don't have to update multiple links in the future, should Wikipedia ever go down or change URLs), added a link to a previous update (the 2/2/00 "crawlspace climbing movement), which I should probably do with other previous (and future) updates--on all my sites--ugh. Added other Wikipedia links in the conclusion.

6/22: Fixed menu navigation tree.

6/20: Added some TRA critique/examples, fixed image placement, and spaced bulleted lists.

6/19: Got Tomb Raider: Anniversary (TRA) the other day (am up to the Midas level). I guess this is how Tomb Raider is going to continue, with rehashed versions of their previously rehashed versions. Well, at least they'll look better anyway... TRA's AI is just as stupid as the original TR's, oddly--perhaps by design but, come on...right down to the stupid AI freezing as soon as Lara moves into a "no-go" zone (up a ramp/steps, into water, etc)--sheesh! I'll be adding more critique, as I did with TR7 last year, soon.

Anyway, I added a legend to keep track of all these versions--after 7 it's gotten a bit ridiculous--and updated the intro, conclusion, and other sections with intros and Wikipedia links to various technical/obscure concepts, etc. Fixed table cell right-alignment bug for Firefox. Italicized game names/abbreviations/acronyms (mostly).

2006

7/11: Well, I just finished TR7 and it's just way too short (11 hours on medium difficulty, 92% completed). Ah well...nothing that great...way too many Dragon's Lairesque interactive cinematics. Really, cutscenes should just be cutscenes and not poor substitutes for a lack of normal gameplay, Crystal Dynamics... There will obviously be a TR8 from the cliffhanger ending but I hope it's at least twice as long as TR7. More TR7 collision bugs: Lara kicking a miniature castle through "solid" glass and Lara in a wood beam.

7/10: Changed TR logo (this page only so far).

7/8: Updated intro and conclusion. Moved intro to top, conclusion to bottom.

7/5: I swear I didn't plan on waiting exactly 2 years before updating this page again but what a coincidence! I finally played TR7 (Legend), developed under Crystal Dynamics instead of Core. It's much better than the last few TRs (so far--only up to Japan though) but still has lots of annoyances:

  • Collision Detection: isn't much better (1, 2, 3)
  • Movement: Lara is much more versatile and fluid (yet still blips slightly when going around corners while hanging, opening doors, and interacting with some objects). She can no longer shoot (or even draw/holster) while crouched. At least she can kick stuff though!
  • Camera: Worse, often being way too close to Lara or getting stuck on things too often and not being able to move it around when doing things (climbing, riding vehicles, etc). Still no optional 1st-person view...
  • AI: stupid; can shoot near an enemy and it is oblivious to the sound; pathfinding is pathetic.
  • Other
    • Lara's inventory is more realistically visually portrayed on her body; no more infinite backpack! She can only hold 2 weapon types (plus grenades or flares and a grappling hook on her belt) and a built-in light on her backback strap.
    • Lara's skin is finally jointless though, with "next generation effects" disabled, some inside leg polygon edge seams are present.
    • Lens flare: gone so far!
    • Shadows: no screwups so far...


2004

7/5: Fixed a dead link. Added counter creation update.


2003

7/26: Added TR6 entries to collision detection (standing, swimming), Lara's skin, and shadows and did various minor editing. Updated conclusion with TR6. Found out when this webpage was first mentioned and added a news/updates entry accordingly.

7/23: Increased brightness on many of the images. Updated various entries for TR6.


2002

9/22: Redesigned layout. Edited conclusion.

4/22: Added link to other bugs.


2001

8/31: Fixed/removed some dead links.


2000

12/11: Added swinging to and edited Lara's moves.

11/20: Updated object (renamed from "other") collision detection and water (ripples and surfacing).

11/2: Updated Lara standing collision detection and introduction. Added news/updates.

2/2: Added crawlspace climbing movement.


1999

1/26: Created counter.

1/20: First mention of this webpage in TR newsgroup.

Introduction Introduction

Most of these Tomb Raider (TR) improvements have to do with the very basic concept of realism. Tomb Raider's original developer, Core Design strived to make TR realistic looking in some cases, yet threw in stupid, unrealistic things (like crappy collision detection, bad plots, and silly monsters) in other cases to totally kill the realism aspect. It was very annoying and I wish they stayed consistent with reality, pass over the game design to someone who can, and/or release the level editor so we can make our own realistic levels (which is possible with TR5, except only TR4 levels can be created).

With the release of Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: Anniversary, both developed by Crystal Dynamics (and including TR's original developer, Toby Gard), TR is coming somewhat full-circle back to its roots, focusing more on tomb raiding and less (though still present in TRL) on "urban raiding". The bad collision detection is still mostly there, the plot is still pretty bad, and the silly monsters are still there, but TR is improving...

Tomb Raider name legend
NameAbbreviation/Acronym
Tomb RaiderTR
Tomb Raider IITR2
Tomb Raider IIITR3
Tomb Raider: The Last RevelationTRLA/TR4
Tomb Raider: ChroniclesTRC/TR5
Tomb Raider: Angel of DarknessTRAOD/TR6
Tomb Raider: LegendTRL/TR7
Tomb Raider: AnniversaryTRA/TR8
Tomb Raider: UnderworldTRU/TR9


Collision Detection

crawlingCollision detection has to be one of the worst overall problems of TR to me. It's very annoying to see Lara, animals, and enemies pass through supposedly "solid" things as if they weren't even there. What's so hard about doing accurate collision detection, Core (and Crystal Dynamics)? You sure spent enough time on Lara's ponytail (which, up until TR5 or so) could still use some work since it passes right through her neck when she crouches).

Lara

A lot of Lara's movements seem two-dimensional, despite her being in a three-dimensional environment:

non-solid dead bodies

  • Climbing: Her feet and hands pass through ladder rungs.

  • Crawling: Her hands, legs, and feet cut/dip/push through/sink into the polygons underneath and around her instead of staying angled and parallel to the surface. Her feet shouldn't be pushing through polygons when turning and/or backing up, either. Her hands and legs remain supported by an invisible, flat, horizontal plane and do not angle relative to the surface underneath that she's crawling on: screenshot. In TR4, Lara sometimes crawls down over an "edge" into a wall, then stands up in the crawlspace. Her ponytail also falls through her neck.

  • Crouching: In TRU, Lara's feet hover above the ground/objects she is crouched (and standing) on. On the rocking boat at the beginning of the first real level (not her burning house), when crouched, Lara will oddly sink into the boat out-of-sync with the up-and-down motion of the boat.

  • Dead bodies: She should be able to walk on top of, not through them as if they didn't even "physically" exist. Dead bodies are still solid. This seems improved in TR6--at least for human bodies.

  • Looking: While rotating the camera around her, her head and arms will sometimes pass through normally "solid" polygons: screenshot screenshot, like herself when crouching.

    sideways wall jumping

  • Jumping: If she jumps when near a perpendicular polygon, she will partially push through it. This is really apparent when jumping sideways along a wall, too (see pic to right).

  • Objects
    • Buttons and key/item slots: Core actually made some solid transparent button coverings in TR3's London: Thames Wharf level, though, but a lot more could've been done to improve solidity elsewhere: screenshot screenshot screenshot.
    • Ziplines pass right through her.

  • Running/sprinting: If she runs/sprints along a perpendicular polygon (like a wall, rock, hedge, etc), and is pressed towards it while running/sprinting, her body will push into the polygon instead of remaining parallel to it.

    bad shooting/standing collision detection in TR5

  • Shimmying: Not all the edges she shimmies across are perfectly horizontal. Her hands/arms don't reflect changes in the edges slope and stay horizontal. They should angle to edge's slope. Her legs and arms should also not sink into perpendicular walls.

  • Shooting: When facing a perpendicular polygon, her outstretched arms will go right through it while shooting: screenshot. Parts of her body will push through other parts of her body while shooting: screenshot screenshot.

  • Standing: If sideways, close to a perpendicular polygon, her hands and and feet tips will push into the polygon, especially when turning. In TR6, Lara can get caught up on a grate and fall through it.

  • Swimming: In TR6, Lara's head goes right through a bridge.

  • Walking: Her feet cut/dip/sink into the ground instead of staying angled and parallel to the surface.

  • Other: In TR2 she has to grab a plane wing edge behind an engine in "The Platform" level. Unfortunately she passes right through the engine. in TR6, the "pickup" icon (a hand) will sometimes appear when Lara is nowhere near a pickup, and if the "action" button is pressed (to pick up the imaginary object), Lara will walk over to it, through anything--closed/locked doors/grates, walls, etc--to get it.

Animals/Enemies

Lara's walking/crawling collision detection should also apply to animals/enemies. gravity-defying monkey
  • This monkey passes right through a supposedly solid tree trunk while climbing up it: screenshot. Most animals/enemies seem to be able to traverse steeper slopes than Lara can, so the 2D collision detection is even more apparent. This monkey is clearly defying gravity and walking on a flat, horizontal plane instead of its feet and/or body being angled to the tree trunk. TR4's bulls ram their heads partially into walls and other polygons.
  • Animals/enemies embed into walls and defy gravity after being killed by not correctly "falling" (dropping dead) along the surface underneath them, thereby having parts of their bodies floating and/or sticking out.

UPU collision: where'd Lara's legs go?

Objects

  • swinging battering ram: (TR5) Its head swings too far into the wall: screenshot
  • Blocks shouldn't be able to move past things sticking out of the wall (like buttons and key/item slots); this also includes items "underneath" boxes--physics doesn't work that way...
  • Vehicles have terrible collision detection and all sink into polygons everywhere (or cause Lara to--her body should adjust to the surface: her legs can bend and her feet can push against the surface, for example). The underwater propulsion unit (UPU) from TR3 is particularly bad: screenshot.


Anthony Sims (regarding Lara's limbs sinking into walls): "This is a product of the way the engine handles collision detection between the creatures in TR and their surrounding landscape. As you've seen the landscape is composed of a regular grid of squares (or triangles in TR3). Each creature is surrounded by a cuboid [(bounding box)] that resizes as they move their limbs. The edges of a creature's box are checked to see which grid squares they are in. If one corner is in a square that is a lot higher than another, then the game knows the creature has wandered into a wall.

Side View of Collision

       ############
 .     #  .
       #
       #
 .     #  .
###########

# = landscape
. = corner of creature's cuboid

The problem is that the dimensions of the cuboids are calculated before the game is run. Some of Lara's body parts (everything above her legs) can be moved by using the look key, so Lara's body often extends beyond her cuboid. Lara can collide with a wall but the game won't detect it.

There are much better collision detection systems, but they would mean rewriting the engine, level editor, etc. Hopefully if TR4 is made, Core will start from scratch.

By the way, what is often referred to as "the clipping problem", is something different. It occurs once the TR world has been translated into a series of triangles to be plotted onto the screen. Some of the triangles that make up the scene will not fit on the screen and the game has to decide which to plot. Sometimes, it gets it wrong and triangles disappear before they leave the screen. This affects the Playstation version and the PC version in software mode."


Let's take the simplest form of collision detection: the bounding box. A humanoid 3D model would use a bounding box of around, say, .5m x 2m x .5m (for simplicity's sake for now). OK, so when a 90-degree, unclimbable polygon is next to this model, obviously more complex collision detection is uncessary since the model could only "butt" up against the wall when standing. Now, say the model also has the ability to crouch/duck, crawl, and jump. Well, its bounding box would resize accordingly. Now, what if the model extends its arms/legs? Well, the bounding box should extend out along the length of the arms/legs, creating a smaller bounding box for each arm/leg (depending on how many are extended). And if you want to really get detailed, if a finger is extended, the bounding box should adapt to it as well, creating even more detailed collision detection. Just look at Trespasser for an example of decent hand-arm collision detection. Then the model would push away from the 90-degree, perpendicular polygon accordingly. Simple. No body parts sinking into normally solid polygons, and realism maintained. Make it so, Core.


Movement

Camera

Despite the fluidity of TR's camera, it could use tweaking to make it less jerky, particularly when moving the camera around manually. Unobstructed, the camera will zoom in slightly behind Lara after the player hits the look key. Why can't the camera simply stay where it is? Core should just implement zoom and full 360-degree vertical and horizontal rotation (ala Drakan) instead of the current limited-arc pan. Again, Core does it half-assed here considering how much attention they focus on Lara you'd think they'd want to show off her from every angle by letting the player pan all around her...

In TR4, when panning the camera, it sometimes doesn't go the same direction it should go, but it'll go the opposite direction for a split-second before resuming the correct direction. TR6's camera doesn't seem to have this problem but pressing the "look" button doesn't kick in unless it's held down for at least a second or 2--and Lara can't be moving (walking, running, crawling), crouched, hanging, swimming, or, well, anything really. Lara's head no longer turns while looking with a weapon drawn either.

Lara

Jumping: In TR6, Lara can no longer do a jumping somersault (jump + roll) and shoot while jumping.

Picking up objects: Objects just disappear as soon as she's knelt down and touched them. Why doesn't she at least drop them down into her backpack like Cutter does in Outcast? TR5 seems to have improved on this in its cutscenes at least.

Climbing into a crawlspace: There is one part in TR4's "KV5" level where Lara needs to climb down a spikepit to a crawlspace to get some secrets (shotgun shells and crossbow bolts), so when she reaches the crawlspace, her feet will dangle and she'll just hold herself up with her hands. But Lara has to safety drop to the crawlspace edge and then quickly hit the crouch button or she will prop her feet up in the wall-climb position and she'll be unable to crouch up into the crawlspace. Lara should be able to do this regardless if she's dangling by her hands or if both her feet and hands are on a wall.

Fluidity/smoothness: Some of Lara's movements should be more fluid; she's too jerky:

  • Jumping and grabbing edges: Her body incorrectly moves through the "air" and then jerks when grabbing onto the ledge. When she lets go of a ledge, she'll push off slightly (thus defying physics even more) instead of just dropping. It just doesn't look right. This is even worse in TR4 because her arms and head will also blip into the edge after she initially grabs onto it, and it takes Lara a split-second longer to go from the edge grab to pulling herself up.

  • Picking up something, pushing a button, or inserting a key/item into a slot: If she isn't centered on top of the object to pick up, or centered directly in front of the button or key/item slot, she'll blip to the center of these things instead of gradually moving, bending, and/or reaching for the object, button, or key/item slot. Update: this seems to be fixed in TR4.

  • Poles: New for TR4, when Lara gets off a pole near the ground, she'll blip towards the pole (and sometimes to one side) after stepping back. And why can't Lara grab the pole if she lets go of it from high up? Seems simple enough and it'll save her from taking needless damage or being killed by the drop.

  • Standing still: Turn slightly and she'll jerk into place if the turn isn't a complete step.

  • Swinging (rope/vine): In TR4/5, Lara's body doesn't swing realistically enough; her body lags and is slower than it should be.

  • Pushing/pulling: I can understand how Lara would have to adjust her body position when first grabbing something to push/pull, but after pushing/pulling, her body shouldn't need to move back on-center like she does in TR4. Plus the camera makes too much of a sweeping motion at the end of a push/pull animation...and it needs to follow Lara like it did in TR1/2 instead of staying in the same spot like in TR3/4.

Likewise, some of her movements are too fluid and should be more realistically jointed:

  • Turning (while standing or when on hands and knees): Her body will rotate smoothly within certain amounts of small-degree arcs instead of staying in-sync with her joints and her feet/legs lifting/settling accordingly.

New Moves

Typing of moves, how about some new ones?

  • Ambidexterity: Why can't Lara hold two things (besides the same gun) at the same time? Having to drop flares to ready a gun is just annoying. In TR4, not being able to push buttons while holding a torch where all those beetles are is irritating. It would also be nice to be able to vault, crouch, crawl, grab onto edges (and climp up), and monkeyswing while holding any gun(s), a flare, or a torch.

  • Grappling hook and rope: Throwing and climbing/walking on (up cliffs and/or across ravines, for example).

  • Lie down flat on stomach: Good concealment, ala Outcast, and crawl while in this position (for those really tight crevaces, for example--would probably require finer, more detailed collision detection). Added in TR6! I have yet the need to use it yet though, but at least it's there...

  • Lie down flat on back: A nice way to rest and she can play dead or something.

  • Sit: American Indian-style, upright on chairs/rocks/cliffs/buildings/etc, and while leaning against these things (like this: \___.). Surely Lara gets tired once in a while...

  • Eat/drink: Gee, who'd've thought? Seems Lara doesn't need to do normal, natural bodily functions like everyone else does...

  • Punching/kicking: Let's see how Lara is without her guns--besides a sitting duck--eh? Added in TR6! Unfortunately, there's no control over whether she punches or kicks--and forget about combo moves. Ah well...half-assed Core does it again.

  • Pick up objects: Not just directly under her either, but on ledges, places she has to stretch to reach, etc. like sticks/stones/small crates/etc (and use as tools/weapons ala Trespasser). In TR4, Lara can pick up things on pedestals. In TR6, Lara can pick up things at waist-high levels from many objects (desks, counters, etc).

  • 1st-person view perspective: OK, this isn't a new move but it would make some of these moves even cooler. It's a good way to feel really immersed...and 3D is all about immersion to me. Update: TR4 has 1st-person view but it's not that great. Having to use binoculars and their cheesy hourglass mask is just lame. I meant full 1st-person, Core! Always gotta do things half-assed, eh? And mouselook would be nice, too, since aiming laserscoped guns with the keyboard is a pain, especially when having to shoot specific body parts (like skeleton heads and shields)!

Animals/Humans

  • Tigers don't turn correctly. Not enough joints are being used so it looks like most of its body is stiff.
  • Jeeves (the butler) and other humans and animals will blip up and down vertical heights (i.e. steps) instead of correctly and gradually walking up/down them with no passing through edges (collision detection again).

Anthony Sims: "The animation of creatures in TR is also quite interesting. Basically, all creatures are composed of blocks of a number of rigid body parts (upper arm, head, foot etc). These parts form something called a linked system, where the parts are ordered and the position and orientation of one part effects those lower down the hierarchy eg if Lara moves her upper leg, then her lower leg and foot will also move.

While the linked system is quite flexible, the way TR uses it, makes little use of the linked system. Creatures are animated by looking at a table of values which specify the orientation of each body part at a given time. This means that all limb positions are predefined, which is why Lara's body is repositioned slightly at the beginning of many animation sequences, like unlocking something or grabbing a death-slide rail and why she often puts her feet through things."


Water
water shadow

Crawling: In TR3, Lara can crawl right into the water (if it's not too steep) and hold her breath for an amazingly long time (like forever) while buoyancy (water making the body lighter) has no effect on her. Update: this seems fixed in TR4.

Surfacing: When Lara surfaces she doesn't actually surface until she's well out of the water. She'll stay in her swimming position until reaching a certain point between the thighs and pelvis/waist. This is unrealistic since in reality when someone is half out of water they can't physically maintain a swimming position and start breathing again. Not Lara...she'll continue holding her breath stupidly. This is finally fixed in TR5.

Climbing out: Lara's shadow appears before she's actually even on the ledge she's climbing out of the water onto.

Ripples: While Lara's at the water's surface, she creates water ripples which remain a flat plane when she's in bobbing/rippling/waving water (the kind that moves up and down, simulating ripples or small waves). The ripple polygons should match the bobbing water polygon angles instead. In the first water parts of TR5's Rome, there are no Lara tread water ripples. In TR6, there are no water ripples from Lara at all, so that's one way to fix this bug, eh?


Artificial Intelligence

TR's artificial intelligence is pretty bad.

Buzzards/vultures: I read in one of TR3's previews that these wouldn't attack Lara unless she was damaged or poisoned. They always attack Lara even if she has full health and doesn't shoot them first.

Compys: These small green dinosaurs in TR3's South Pacific level will sometimes get stuck in "blip feedback loops" near the water when going for Lara. They run out into the water and then blip back to the shore and repeat this over and over until Lara moves to a different position. Sometimes they'll also even die at the water's edge for some odd reason.

The way animals react is too predictable. Animals still have trigger points where they will attack Lara and boundaries where they can't go beyond (like if Lara moves up a small step, suddenly the animal will stop coming towards her). Real animals aren't that limited. Note: supposedly these things were to be eliminated in TR4 with animals/enemies acting more like Lara and able to do the same things she can, but they still can't for the most part:

  • Skeletons can't climb up low heights and about the only thing they can do that Lara can is jump over edges. They also die from falling over the slightest edge if hit by a shotgun blast. Skeletons also have trigger points and boundaries. Keep trying, Core; you may just get it right some eon.

TR4's ninjas can also jump over edges, and monkeyswing.

If Lara is hanging from an edge, animals/enemies will mindlessly approach her shadow's position and start attacking it, even if Lara happens to be very high up. It just looks silly that they would attack a shadow...

TR6's AI is even worse than TR4's.

TRA's AI is just as stupid as TR1's.


non-seamless tiled textures
Textures

Texture tiling is atrocious. Misaligned textures are everywhere. Patterns don't match and the texture mapping is just all around bad. Does Core even know what "seamless" means? I doubt it. Just look at these terrible seams from TR3's water in the India levels (makes the water look like a grid).

Tiled texture image resolutions should be increased from 64x64 to 128x128 or even 256x256 for the PC/Mac versions of TR; they would look so much better and not be so aliased, especially masks, which, because their edges aren't blurred (bilinearly filtered), look even more aliased than unmasked textures. Just because the Playstation only has 2MB of video memory doesn't mean non-console TR versions should suffer for it. Start developing TR for real computers, Core! Texture resolution finally increased in TR6+.


Environmental Interaction

TR is about action and adventure yet there's hardly any environment interaction compared to other games, which makes for an otherwise boring immersive experience. TR could learn a lot from Half-Life, Trespasser, Thief, and other games in this respect. Half-Life has things (crates, doors, desks, benches, chairs, windows, bodies, etc) that break up when hit. Trespasser has fairly accurate physics modelling and much environment interaction. Some things can be moved in the TRs (stone blocks and crates, for example), and TR3 has glass that breaks and bodies that blow up into instantly-disappearing pieces when hit with grenades, but that's about it.

Why can't Lara's flares light flammable things on fire like cobwebs, hair (rats, human heads, etc), drapes, paper, carpet, etc? Fire can be pretty damaging and might help (or hinder) Lara out of/into a bad situation. Regardless, the variety of level design, puzzles, effects, etc with more environment interaction would be greatly increased. Update: TR4's demo has a flammable wood floor and the full TR4 has one part where Lara's torch can light a rope on fire. More, Core, more! "Uhuhuhuhuh...fire, fire! Settle down, Beavis."

Unfortunately, TR6 seems to have even less environmental interaction than previous TRs. :/

Later TRs have gotten more interaction but are still fairly static compared to most 3D action-adventure games these days.


Other

lens flare through rock

Backpack: It has seemingly, unrealistic infinite capacity--especially for its small size. It would be interesting to see Lara with a more proportional backpack though (like at least something size of a "standard" school backpack--one that covers most of her back), and better model accessory design. So no more pistols, magnums, and Uzis (which, incidentally, in TR4 do not appear in her holsters) from the same holsters; and shotgun, harpoon, M15, etc from the same back position.

It would also be nice if Lara actually had an animation where she takes off her backpack and roots through it trying to find the specific item--but that might get annoying after a while, especially if it's the same animation, so perhaps some variation: kneel, knee up against wall with backpack resting on it, etc.

Lara's "skin": Supposedly, in TR4, Lara's "skin" (polygon model) morphs and doesn't have any joints which split when she moves, making her body and movements look much more realistic and fluid. Well, her elbows and knees are still jointed and her neck polygons screw up when she shoots (in the demo). In TR6, her knee joints are still visible and one of her (and other AI human) legs will sometimes be stretched.

Lens flare: New for TR4, the lens flare is incorrectly used to show the sun's gleem. This effect is called lens flare for a reason--because it happens with camera lenses and should not happen with normal human vision. Since Lara is not a camera lens, this effect shouldn't be present. At any rate, it shows right through solid rock.

Menu loading: TR4's menu (title) level takes too long to load. This is especially annoying when loading a game because first the title level needs to load, then the saved games list comes up, when it would just be much more sane to simply display this list as soon as Lara dies without annoyingly loading the title level first. Efficiency, Core...get better quality assurance testers...who actually assure quality. TR6 is no better.

Shadows: While TR6's new shadows are cool (but hardly new to 3D games), they sure screw up a lot. Aside from barely anything else being shadowed, causing Lara's shadow to look like it's floating most of the time, on some surfaces it shows through on the reverse side even though the surface isn't transparent. See water surfacing for another shadow bug. TRA's shadows tend to flicker a lot and don't always show up; Lara's body also doesn't darken when in behind obvious shadows like in "Coliseum" behind a big column shadow.

Vehicles: TR4's jeep shuts off after Lara gets out; it should shut off before she even opens the door.


Links Links


Conclusion

Core should dump Eidos (Tomb Raider's publisher) and go it on their own because, year after year, Eidos has rushed the TR releases in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, often leaving bugs/glitches and poorly designed levels. For TR3, while the Playstation version was ready, the PC version was not, and even a patch to fix a saved game bug (and other bugs)--and a memory leak (which still exists)--was released within a week after TR3's release. If Eidos is just in it for the money (which they seem to just be, especially from their TR/Lara Croft milking: merchandise, the movie, silly ads/promotions--Lara as spokesperson for British technological innovation? Give me a break!--etc), TR will never survive. With all the 3D action-adventure, 3rd-person, TR-like games coming out, TR will be left in the dust as bigger, better, and "badder" games overcome/overpass/overtake it...and especially when they include level editors and are multiplayer.

Although Core fixed a couple minor bugs listed on this page, there are still many more that remain unfixed. Core should've taken their time with Tomb Raider 5, rebuilt the 3D engine from scratch (or at least fixed the above problems), thoroughly tested it (perhaps even issuing a public beta test), not rushed it yet again for the holidays, and released the level editor (which they actually did, much to my surprise). It's time Core and Eidos started treating its customers/fans with some respect.

Hopefully TR6 (Angel of Darkness) <rolls eyes at the cliche title> will actually have most of these problems fixed considering it supposedly has a completely new engine...but we'll see...

But, unfortunately (yet predictably), TR6 is even worse than the previous TRs in many respects. About the only thing it is good at is its graphics--when they're not flickering/flashing multiple colors, that is. TR6 was rushed too. Eidos has shown once again it's only in it for the money.

When will Core get it through its thick head that it just doesn't need Eidos anymore? In an odd twist of fate, starting with Tomb Raider: Legend, Eidos dumped Core and brought on Crystal Dynamics to develop TR7+. Go figure. Oh well...so long, Corpse!


Introduction Introduction | News/Updates News/Updates
Collision Detection | Movement | Water | Artificial Intelligence | Textures | Environmental Interaction | Other
Conclusion | Links Links


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