Feralidragon wrote:But oddly enough, generally speaking, Unreal and UT99 were the only ones which aged well in terms of graphics: they're visually old, but they're still pleasant to look at, unlike later versions, even when comparing hideous maps of different games with each other.
You're probably just as high on crack as I am because UT99 has more than its fair share of vomit-inducing maps and UT2004 has more than its fair share of tear-jerkingly beautiful maps. It all comes down to map choice in the screenshots.
The way I see it, UT99 has more "original" content than UT2004.
Especially if you try a Bunnytrack server one of these days to check how beautiful and atmospheric UT99 maps can really be.
The UT2004 maps which are really good, are in many levels superior to most UT99 maps without a doubt indeed, I have seen real gems when I played on several servers, but the thing is, starting with UT2004, most of the maps started to become static-mesh heavy and the lighting became more diffuse and a lot poorer, with less and less BSP and just poor quality overall, making many of the maps look like they were made of lifeless plastic.
And with the years going by, new versions and new games overall are only making UT2004 standing out even more by how poor and plasticized the graphics are overall.
And the problem is not the lack of BSP or the static meshes themselves, the technology itself is great and UE2 has pretty much everything UE1 had, the problem is the way it was often used, and these assets started to be heavily reused across tons of maps by many different mappers with a lot less creativity, so most maps overall just look exactly the same with different layouts, with barely any creativity or new assets in them at all.
They may have higher resolution textures and more detailed assets, but they are a bore to the eyes and uninteresting more often than not, while in UT99 at least mappers are almost forced to create their own assets and details through BSP, and to actually use the lighting system to its limit to create jaw dropping areas and original details.
I could never get nearly the same level of atmospheric and awe from UT2004 maps that I still get from Unreal and UT99 maps.
And only a few modern games over the years have been able to give that kind of feeling, and none of them were UT99 successors, they were different games using modern engines.
And UT3 is the worse of them all by almost every level, with just one or another map actually looking good both detail and lighting wise.