The Return of System Shock?

Yeah they had the Thief 1 engine. (the “dark engine” it was called) That was actually one of the biggest stumbling blocks.

They had to take an engine made for software acceleration 8-bit graphics and update it to run 16-bit Direct3D. Thief wasn’t meant to have any cutscenes, any scripted behaviors that couldn’t be interrupted, etc. System Shock 2 needed that stuff, and it was really ugly how they had to hack it in. For example, when you see a “ghost” in SS2, they actually had to spawn a special AI with a custom “wait” animation, make it dumb, deaf, blind, and incapable of feeling contact, and then spawn it out of the world when the ghost vision disappeared.

The Dark Engine from Thief 1 was very much purpose-built, and Irrantional told me they had a heck of a time making it work with a different kind of game.

If you’re playing SS2, make sure and get this and this. Really improves the look of it all.

I know that overall they had trouble making the engine do what they wanted it to, but this case doesn’t sound like a great example of that. What you describe actually sounds like a pretty simple (other than the custom animation), sensible and elegant way of getting the ghost behavior out of an engine that wasn’t designed for it.

Sweet! That’s totally, like, PROGRAMMING. I’m not even really sure what point you’re trying to make here. They needed the engine to do something - display a ghost - the engine didn’t natively do that sort of thing, so they added it. Why was it an “ugly” hack, when the net result made the game more atmospheric and scary?

I’ll quote a popular phrase amongst programmers in my circle:
“Is a hack still a hack if it works?”

I’d say that the ghost thing was “hackish” but since it seemed to work well with minimal programming effort, I wouldn’t call it a full-blown hack. However, if it was properly designed, they wouldn’t need to use an AI actor, instead they’d spawn some kind of custom regular actor that only did what it needed to do. They wouldn’t use a pre-existing AI actor and just turn off all its AI functions, which is essentially what makes it hackish. The point is that they didn’t “add” anything, they “hacked” a pre-existing system to make it do something it wasn’t intended for. That’s where the terminology comes in.

shack news is now saying that EA is in fact working on System Shock 3
“UPDATE: Shacknews has received word from a very reputable source, who requested to remain anonymous, that EA is in fact working on a project referred to as System Shock 3. EA has yet to give an official response to Shacknews’ inquiries regarding the original story, but more information will be posted as it becomes available.”

I once had a bug where a function that was supposed to have a side effect (but didn’t) and fixed it by using the side effect of a function that was not supposed to have one (but did).

Would that be considered a hack?

wow… despite the Trademark registration I didn’t expect it.

Yeap, its one of the reasons that I came back to the game.

Aside from being confusing, uh… I don’t know. If it wasn’t supposed to have that side effect, then it would probably be considered hackish. More to the point though, it seems like two wrongs did in fact make a right in your case :P.

Just because it bears re-posting. I miss that guy.

And yes, an overabundance of books made Morrowind suck. Irrational/LGS, those sunsabitches know how to add backstory.

edit: yeah, I know it’s ironic… he used to post spoiler warnings back then. Everyone grows up, I guess.