When it debuted in the first Red Faction game in 2001, it seemed Geo-Mod would become a new standard for games. It allowed users to alter terrain and buildings, making nearly everything destructible, and opening new doors for what was possible in games.
Unfortunately the technology only exists in a partial state today. When it was upgraded to Geo-Mod 2.0, it abandoned the ability to alter terrain and switched the focus to destructible buildings. This seems to be the overall direction of today’s games, which is a pity, really.
In the original Red Faction, with the first version of Geo-Mod, players could tunnel into walls and build bridges by making tails along a mountainside. They could create their own trenches and form their own sniper spots. You could even tunnel behind an enemy base, leaving a hole through a wall to set up an ambush.
It was an awesome feature with near limitless possibilities, yet it seems almost forgotten today.
This may soon change, however, as the new Unreal Engine 3 reopens this door to game developers with its fracturing tool.
As Epic Games puts it:
Unreal Engine 3’s fracture tool makes it possible to create remarkably interactive, deformable worlds. Easily craft all types of destructible environments and objects that break apart just as you would expect them to in real life. Splinter walls and floors layer by layer. Blow apart rocky structures chunk by chunk. Add cool physics elements and particle effects. Unreal Engine gives you total control over destruction.
Basically it will let developers make any mesh in the game destructible, which means developers may be able to model the terrain as a destructible mesh.
For now, however, when it comes to destructible environments, it seems Minecraft is the last game standing.
Photo Credit: In both photos, Geo-Mod 2.0 is seen in action in Red Faction: Guerrilla. (Photo by Colony of Gamers)