Why I hate Unreal Tournament 3
TomChick - News - 02/27/08 - Link

I just spent three hours wrestling with what should have been a very good shooter, but is instead a frustrating instance of Epic's lack of communication. To all those third-party licensees of the Unreal engine out there: I feel you.

There are some really nice touches in Unreal Tournament 3. It's mostly more of the same, but UT2004 was good enough to merit more of the same. And the new Necris vehicles are different enough to give UT3 some solid "new game" kick.

But here we are two mega-patches after the release or is it three? I've lost count and I still can't figure out how to set up the game I want. I just want to run a simple LAN game with me and my buddies against bots, but sometime I want us to split up into separate teams, each with a couple of bots. Sometimes I want a whole bunch of stupid bots against us human players. Sometimes I want the maps and game types to cycle. Sometimes I want to turn on or off a mutator. In short, I want to play the way I want to play.

But there's no easy way to do this in UT3. In fact, using the game itself as a front end, it's effectively impossible. Yep, impossible. As in "can't be done no matter what you do". There simply isn't an option within UT3 to actually configure most of the game's setting, which is a dramatic step backwards from UT2004.

So I spent the afternoon trying to learn server commands and .ini files and admin login stuff and bSetThisValue=x entires. The bulk of my time was spent trying to figure out how to set an admin login password so I could actually log into a server as its admin. How hard is that supposed to be? It apparently requires writing some sort of batch file to kick start a dedicated server. Of course, UT3 itself explains this nowhere, and most of the traffic about it on the internet is from people who've been doing this sort of thing for the last several Unreals, so they take it for granted that you know things like where the batch file goes.

I had a similar experience with Quake Wars, which was a big pain in the ass until I finally figured out how to log into a server as the admin. At that point, everything opened up and now it's the game of choice when it comes to setting it up however the fuck I want, something Unreal Tournament 3 refuses to allow, even after I spent three hours on it this afternoon. Maybe there's a class I'm supposed to take to get certified in UT3 Server Administration. Until then, I'll just stick with Quake Wars.

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