Silicon Knights, Epic Continue Legal Sparring

By Chris Faylor, Sep 14, 2007 1:07pm PDT Silicon Knights has responded to Epic Games' rebuttal and motion to dismiss the Canadian developer's lawsuit regarding its grievances with the Unreal Engine 3 during the development of Too Human (X360).

Filed by Silicon Knights on September 7, the 29-page document specifically addresses Epic's attempt to get the case thrown out and its claims that the company has nothing to gain if it delivers lacking technology to licensees.

"For Epic to attempt to dispute the merit of those allegations [of the original suit] under the auspices of a motion to dismiss is improper," it reads, according to Next-Gen.biz. "Therefore, EpicÂ’s Motion to dismiss should be denied in its entirety, Epic should be ordered to answer the Complaint, and this case should proceed to discovery and trial.

"The profits Epic assured for itself by having Gears of War as the marquee title for the Xbox 360 dwarf any gain Epic would receive from Silicon Knights purchasing a subsequent licenses for the Engine," it continues. Silicon Knights has accused Epic of holding back Unreal Engine 3 optimizations and features until after Epic's Gears of War was released, as to guarantee it would be among the most technically impressive, and therefore best selling, titles on the platform at the time.

As part of its lawsuit--the allegations of which include Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, and Breach of Contract--Silicon Knights has demanded that Epic hand over all of its profits from Gears of War.

In its initial response, Epic stressed the significance of Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack signing the Unreal Engine 3 License Agreement, which states that Epic "[does] not include any warranty that (i) the functions performed by the Unreal Engine... will meet [Silicon Knights'] requirements, nor (ii) that the operations of the Unreal Engine... will be bug free or error free in all circumstances, nor (iii) that any defects in the Unreal Engine... can or will be corrected."

In the days following the the lawsuit's original filing, Shacknews polled multiple developers with Unreal Engine experience. Responses ranged from positive to negative, though none claimed to experience problems as severe as those of Silicon Knights.

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  • Somebody should send these guys a few copies of Bioshock.

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        • Well since you asked about DNF, here are some GB quotes I have collected regarding the engine, George is welcome to comment if their have been any changes, the quotes are in the format used on the official 3DR forums since I have compiled for that purpose, many of them are from Shacknews, the February 15nd 2005, May 26th 2005 and November 16nd, 2005 quotes should answer your question about UE2:

          [quote]Unreal. But we basically rewrote 100% of the rendering and it's all different now. The game won't look like U2 or UT2k3 or Splinter Cell. We still use the backbone of the Unreal engine (editor, scripting language, etc), but all the visuals are redone. Hopefully it's worth it [/quote] - George Broussard, April 17nd, 2003.

          [quote]Engine is. The damed game is the problem :)[/quote](When answering the question: "so uhmm, is it done yet?") - George Broussard, May 15nd, 2003.

          [quote]We've 100% rewritten the rendering engine. From scratch. All of it.[/quote] - George Broussard, May 29nd, 2003.

          [quote]We'll leave that as a secret for now. Suffice to say we think we are more than competitive.[/quote] - George Broussard, September 21st, 2003.

          [quote]Our rendering engine has virtually nothing to do with Unreal anymore. It's all ours and not really comparable in any wa/quote] - George Broussard, September 29nd, 2003.

          [quote]Yeah, but just the overall structure. Editor, scripting language, networking etc. We've completely gutted and written our own [B]AI system[/B], [B]renderin/B], [B]particle/B], [Bkeletal animatio/B] and more so it won't look/feel like an Unreal game at all I don't think. In hindsight, I don't think licensing an engine was a smart move for us. We're pretty uncompromising in what we want to do, so we don't like having limitations. What killed us was not having the programming staff to do what we wanted to do effectively and not recognizing that for a long time. Chalk that up to inexperience.[/quote] (When answering the question: "woah . . . can we ask if you are still using the UNREAL engine ?") - George Broussard, January 7nd, 2004.

          [quote]Yes, in hindsight, writing our own engine would have been the way to go, but that wasn't an option once we were so deep into things. We basically stepped back in early 2002, said "This just isn't going to work or be what we want" and spent most of 2002 re-writing things to get us where we needed to be, once and for all. Most of 2003 was spent on content creation and hring new people. Once we were able to make progress, content creation bottlenecks emerged that needed to be dealt with. So, it's been an interesting journey, but one I do not recommend be repeated, by anyone, ever Haha...[/quote] - George Broussard, January 7nd, 2004.

          [quote]Done, mostly optimized, ready for prime time. There isn't a single engine feature holding up production. We could ship now if we had all the content done.[/quote] - George Broussard, January 14nd, 2004.

          [quote]It's a full DX9 engine.[/quote] - George Broussard, January 14nd, 2004.

          [quote]No reason to freeze, as we have time to trickle in features until the game ships. But it's complete enough now that we could ship with no excuses and be happy.

          But just like in Duke 3D, when that engine was done, we still added small features like slopes and went back and retrofit the levels. We will still add things to the engine, as we can, where they make sense, and most importantly - where they won't delay us. We will add things if they are cool and don't impact things, but we will not add features that will cause big delays or mass reworking of exisiting content.

          Also you guys (and make note of this), should not get overly excited. My talking does not mean you will see the game "soon". Don't read anything into my statements.[/quote] - George Broussard, January 17nd, 2004.

          [quote] think 1) we're sufficiently advanced so as to not look dated when we ship and 2) we will continnue to add features until we ship. But they are all fluff features. We have enough to ship now, and that's a great thing for development because we can make the game with no excuse like "We need X to do Y". We don't really have any unknowns right now. We just have a lot of work to d/quote] - George Broussard, February 17nd, 2004.

          [quote]There are very few rendering/core engine bugs. The recent past has been spent just on optimizations and squeezeing every millisecond we can out of things.[/quote] - George Broussard, March 22nd, 2004.

          [quote]Everything is different. Our [B]visibilit/B], [B]renderin/B], [B]everythin/B]. You could bring in raw geometry, but there's no guarantee it would ever run, as any level made in Unreal may be apples to oranges to what you would do, or how you would do it with out stuff.[/quote] - George Broussard, April 13nd, 2004.

          [quote]Yes.

          If you already support 2.0 then 3.0 is easy to support. It's nice that 3.0 is here to develop on, but most developers aren't even using 2.0 at the moment, so the 3.0 stuff is likely here too early.

          DNF has a full HLSL pipe and we can pretty much support any rendering mode or feature that cards can d/quote](When enquired if they support Shader Model 3.0) - George Broussard, May 12th, 2004.

          [quote]We have nothing to do with Unreal, 2k3/4 rendering and we've 100% written our own [B]rendering[/B], [B]lighting[/B] and [B]visibility[/B] for DNF. Apples and Oranges.

          We will be visually competitive.[/quote] - George Broussard, May 14nd, 2004.

          [quote]Yeah. We basically spent 4 years trying to get to a solid tech base that we could make the game with, for varying reasons. Learned a lot of valuable lessons about licensing tech, as well as what's needed to alter it, when you're ambitions go beyond the tech that you licensed. So scrap a lot of time and work to a learning process.

          But we've been on solid track and a solid engine for a while now and are just cranking on the game and content.[/quote] - George Broussard, July 14nd, 2004.

          [quote]Our engine will be just fine, thank you :)[/quote] - George Broussard, August 8th, 2004.

          [quote]Unreal Engine III looks like Doom 3 with higher res textures and features like HDR rendering. But the main thing that's impressing people is simple the poly counts on models and the resolution of the textures. That's what I'd expect, shipping after Doom 3.[/quote](When answering the question: "I have over heard rumors about you guys starting over in 2002. If you are still using the Unreal engine like I assume you guys are would the technology of unreal being improved all the time. Is there a chance the game may look like the Unreal III Technology engine.?") - George Broussard, August 15nd, 2004.

          [quote]I think we split off around Unreal 2 level tech and wrote our own rendering, and a lot of other things.[/quote] - George Broussard, February 15nd, 2005.

          [quote]Will you switch to Unreal 3 engine for DNF?
          No. Its a fantastic looking engine, but we want to finish on what we have.

          Will you use Normal Mapping?
          Yes.

          Have you had trouble regarding Dynamic Lights with Unreal 2's renderer?

          Our rendering is 100% different than Unreal 2. We wrote our own.

          Will it the lighting system be as good as Doom 3's?
          Yes.[/quote] - George Broussard, May 26th, 2005.

          [quote]Very late 2002. The rendering was up and running and we knew it would all work.

          As for why we didn't grab Doom 3 in 2001 with Prey? Maybe we should have, but we had tons of gameplay code that would have been a nightmare to port over. We maintained all that through our engine upgrade.

          Also Doom 3 as an engine was still a long way from being done as a shippable engine in 2001. It was a while before things stabilized and were prety solid, as is always the case with engines in development.

          Ahh....hindsight[/quote] - George Broussard, May 28th, 2006.

          [quote]Pretty much had a new renderer by Nov 2002. The content redirection coincided with the tech change and we went forward once we knew things were stable and going to work on the tech end. So accounting for end of year slow down and Xmas vacations, you can assume a pretty much fresh start from 2003 forward.[/quote] - George Broussard, June 30th, 2005.

          [quote]Neither. We broke off many moons ago. About all we use from Unreal now is the [B]editor[/B], [B]networking[/B] and [B]Unreal Script[/B].[/quote] (When answering the question: "Seriously, though. What version of the Unreal Engine is DNF going to be using? Unreal Engine 2.5 or 3.0?") - George Broussard, November 16nd, 2005.

          [quote]3, after a restart on a new engine early 2003. At least it's been fairly smooth from then. Before that....ick.[/quote] (When answering the question: "and what year are we on now?") - George Broussard, January 5th, 2006.

          [quote]Don't worry. When I say tech complete, I mean we could ship if all the content were done. It's fairly easy to add and update shaders and we do so all the time. The graphics guys are ahead and always have time to add in bells and whistles. Many things like per pixel blur, depth of field etc, have zero impact on game content and drop in, in a few days.[/quote] (When answering the question: "If you are tech complete for a year, and the game is still not done; so by the time it ships it's more then a year tech complete. By that time, aren't graphics/tech out-dated ? ") - George Broussard, March 30th, 2006.

          [quote]Yeah, those things are in and have been for a while. And yes, we've been fundamentally tech complete for longer than a year. But this is a case where you just say things without thinking and then people pick the details apart in print later.[/quote](When answering: "So are those things in ? Second of all haven't you been tech complete since 2004 ? That would be make 2 not 1 year. Not that it real matters that much." With "those things" referencing motion blur and depth of field in the above quote) - George Broussard, March 30th, 2006.

          [quote]Physics and animation systems are virtually finished and shippable. It's simply maintenance and polish from here on out. We haven't needed to make substantial changes to those systems in months. The changes we have made, were made without great effort.[/quote] - George Broussard, August 31st, 2006.

          [quote]We started with the Quake engine, but within six or so months we switched to the Unreal engine. However, I’m reminded of the story about the man who claimed to own the axe that George Washington used to chop down the cherry tree. The man said, “Yeah, it’s the same axe alright, but the head and handle have both been replaced a few times over the last 200 years of use.” The same applies with the Unreal engine we licensed so long ago.[/quote](When answering the question:"DNF is also famous for its use of engines but the truth on the matter is") - Scott Miller, March 20nd, 2007.

          [quote]Multi-core support is in and quite nice. We all run Core Duo 6600's and 7950/8800, ati 1900 level cards.

          Multi-core is the future and the game is pretty much going to require it. You really have to, to make a game competitive with modern consoles, or beyond. One cpu isn't enough anymore.

          64 bit will come, but is lower priorty. Vista/64 bit isn't a priority for us at the moment.[/quote] - George Broussard, April 19nd, 2007.