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View Full Version : Serious Discussion: Eye Candy versus Playability



XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:00 AM
Salute All

This is not meant as a criticism of Oleg or FB, which is a tremendous accomplishment. The design decisions have been made, and the game is what it is. I am bringing forward this discussion as a way to look ahead at the potential new Sim which Oleg will produce in the future.

Anyway... here goes:

I'm sure many have had the same thought.

I find myself wishing that Oleg had not spent time upgrading the visuals from IL-2 to FB, and had instead used the time and effort to improve the ability of the Sim to maintain more players online without lag or other problems.

I have a system as follows:

PIV 2.53
ATI 9700Pro
1 Gig of PC1066 RAM
80 Gig HD.

My old system, which I flew IL-2 in, was:

AMD T-Bird 1.133
GF 2 64 mg
512mg DDR 266
30 Gig HD


To tell the truth, I don't see a huge difference in the visual quality between IL-2 and FB. My new computer gives me an improvement in framerate, but visually, the new Sim seems perhaps 10-15% better.

But I do see a definite difference in FB's ability to handle large COOP missions, or lots of players on Dogfight servers.

Maybe I am not so visually sensitive as some, but for me, playablility becomes more important once a basic level of visual immersion is reached.

I want to see a good damage model, and good Flight Model, but having that extra sparkle of on the surface of the water isn't a priority.

I would much sooner lose a bit of the eye candy and have 40 planes flying comfortably online, along with lots of AI aircraft and ground units.

I am hoping that in his new future Sim, Oleg sets as his priority, getting the netcode straight, and a maximum number of planes in the air.

Any comments?

Cheers RAF74 Buzzsaw

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:00 AM
Salute All

This is not meant as a criticism of Oleg or FB, which is a tremendous accomplishment. The design decisions have been made, and the game is what it is. I am bringing forward this discussion as a way to look ahead at the potential new Sim which Oleg will produce in the future.

Anyway... here goes:

I'm sure many have had the same thought.

I find myself wishing that Oleg had not spent time upgrading the visuals from IL-2 to FB, and had instead used the time and effort to improve the ability of the Sim to maintain more players online without lag or other problems.

I have a system as follows:

PIV 2.53
ATI 9700Pro
1 Gig of PC1066 RAM
80 Gig HD.

My old system, which I flew IL-2 in, was:

AMD T-Bird 1.133
GF 2 64 mg
512mg DDR 266
30 Gig HD


To tell the truth, I don't see a huge difference in the visual quality between IL-2 and FB. My new computer gives me an improvement in framerate, but visually, the new Sim seems perhaps 10-15% better.

But I do see a definite difference in FB's ability to handle large COOP missions, or lots of players on Dogfight servers.

Maybe I am not so visually sensitive as some, but for me, playablility becomes more important once a basic level of visual immersion is reached.

I want to see a good damage model, and good Flight Model, but having that extra sparkle of on the surface of the water isn't a priority.

I would much sooner lose a bit of the eye candy and have 40 planes flying comfortably online, along with lots of AI aircraft and ground units.

I am hoping that in his new future Sim, Oleg sets as his priority, getting the netcode straight, and a maximum number of planes in the air.

Any comments?

Cheers RAF74 Buzzsaw

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:09 AM
What can I say?

Ditto! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:17 AM
Thats why you can adjust the intensity of the graphics in your options.

A more interesting thread would have been: "Vain attempt at realism vs playability"

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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:22 AM
The big difference is if you can run FB in perfect mode. The water and reflections are the big deals there. The sky model is different and the mountain maps also seem to be the big improvement on the ground with complex geometry compared with the flat IL-2 maps. The trailing damage particle efx and other particle efx's are very complex compared to IL-2's.

As for if anyone can run all this with everything to "ultimate" mode is another question....

But you can't design a sim, game, or any graphic/cpu intensive program that you want to have more then a 2 year projection without setting it up that way from the start. Unless you don't really care about becomming the benchmark for the next several years. Also adding to it will have a small to medium hit on the main core of the program without calling for a total re-write as you upgrade it. Hardware will be there as we all know, you just have to "try" to project the software in front the curve.


DW

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:51 AM
After extensive testing, i've concluded the following:

Shooting stuff is far more fun than dissecting the game.

Thanks for listening.


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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:55 AM
Firstly is this an opinion of an every(wo)man gamer or the position of the head of the Scorched Earth dev team? A lot of players, if you believe Ubi & Oleg, are never going to use your parser or dynamic generator as they only fly by themselves offline. These people have no reason to consider netcode as against graphics/dynamics.

Secondly I think you're talking apples and oranges. The choice to improve the visuals was not made at the expense of net playability. There was a conscious design choice in IL2:FB to improve certain aspects of the IL2 graphics and sim engine which included water effects amongst many others. In fact one of the features promised was the increase in multiplayer maximums to 32 players. However, just as with resolution, colour depth, graphical scalings, it was understood that the playability of a server depended on ensuring it ran within it's limits. Not everyone had the PC/connection to run an 8 player server in IL2, not everyone has the connection/PC to run a 32 player Coop in FB.

Oleg has said that there were no changes to the netcode from IL2 to FB. To him it was a case if it wasn't broke don't fix it. He now sees that FB's netcode is not handling multiplay as well as IL2 and a fix is on the way.

In summary, Oleg intended to enrich his sim for the majority of gamers (offline players) while at the same time he did not set out to p*ss off online players. Ie he maximised the feature set for the target audience for what was always going to be a product for sale.

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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:58 AM
this is the same argument as the "its only a patch not a new game" argument


it goes like this

Premises
1) For online play only kills matter
2) Graphics changes do not help get kills
3) I play play online

Conclusion
Therefore graphics changes do not matter.



FB is a "new game" mainly because of the graphics changes. Most Fb players use it offline and want the graphics changes.

The fact that a very small self-centred minority of players go online and shoot at each other and would have preferred a free patch with more planes and a game engine suited to fast online dogfights is irrelevant.

The online capability of the game is an "addon" and no-one really cares what online players want they are a tiny minority.

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 01:59 AM
Damage modeling is much deeper than IL-2 (visuals are also amazing when compared, much more than 15%). There are MANY new flyable planes that weren't in IL-2.

here is a screen showing FB, I will post another with almost the same shot in IL-2.


<img src =http://www.world-data-systems.com/aerofiles/albums/userpics/panorama1.5.jpg>

I also believe that the revamped engine is worth the time spent since almost NO ONE is able to play with settings maxed plus aa and af-visually it's the most future proof game available.

This screen is 6xAA, 16x quality AF 1024x768@32bit "perfect".

It's not playable at these settings and I have a semi-highend rig.

I will agree that the netcode is shatty though-something the patch will fix.

rogo

<center><img src =http://www.world-data-systems.com/aerofiles/albums/userpics/normal_K4-sig2.jpg>


"Those who long for exaltation look upwards. But I look downwards for I am the exalted." This was a quote from Nietzsche as he flew in his FW190 @ 20,000ft looking downwards.

/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 02:17 AM
i've been waiting for a thread like this.

what i don't understand is this... i can play il2 with almost the highest settings, which surprises the hell outta me. everything looks excellent too: clouds casting shadows, random trees on the terrain, very detailed a/c, etc. also with these settings i get decent fps (not close to 60 mind you, but i could easily scale down and get that.)
now on fb, it is completely different. i am on the lowest settings on everything, and i have even turned down the texture quality in my conf.ini to what should be 25% quality. the thing that gets me is that it's hardly playable, and this is on a quick mission. fps's are at about 20-25 and i get random "lag spikes" as i like to call 'em (this is single player mind you.) granted there are many additions to fb and i would expect a deal of performance difference, but i had very good graphics in il2 and now i'm down to a 1980's flight sim with fb.
i know my system aint the best but i just feel that i should be able to play fb with the lowest settings at least. err.. i don't quite meet the sys. specs - i have 128 megs of ram but i play games that require 256 all the time, so i don't think thats an issue. so in short i think performance completely overrides graphics, especially in a game like this which requires such precision and concentration. in a turn based strategy game, for instance, you could play with 10 fps if need be.

p.s. i run il2 with 1024x768x32 and fb with 800x600x16 and it still doesnt help.

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 02:26 AM
Timmothias wrote:
- i've been waiting for a thread like this.
(SNIP!)
- at least. err.. i don't quite meet the sys. specs -
- i have 128 megs of ram but i play games that require
- 256 all the time, so i don't think thats an issue.
- so in short i think performance completely overrides
- graphics, especially in a game like this which
- requires such precision and concentration. in a turn
- based strategy game, for instance, you could play
- with 10 fps if need be.
-
- p.s. i run il2 with 1024x768x32 and fb with
- 800x600x16 and it still doesnt help.
-
-

<u>MINIMUM SPECIFICATIONS</u>
Computer: Pentium III 800/AMD Athlon 700 or better
Memory: 256 MB of RAM ( 512 MB is recommended)
Operating System: Windows(r)98/ME/2000/XP
DirectX: DirectX 8.1 or higher (included on disc)
Video Card: 3D video card (DirectX 8.1 compatible) w/32MB RAM (64MB recommended)
CD-ROM: 4X CD-ROM or better (Not recommended for use with CD-RWs)
Audio: Direct 8.1 compatible sound card
Internet/Network Play: Internet connection (56 kbps or better) or LAN for multiplayer
Hard Drive Space: 1.1 GB

Not quite? not quite? You have half of the minimum, 25% of the recommended...

Flight sims are very very very dependant on system memory, your doesn't cut the mustard.


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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 02:27 AM
i said that...

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 02:34 AM
cripes though. i knew i shouldnt have said that because the only responses i would get would be "upgrade your system". my point was: on a quick mission with one plane, i'm getting terrible framerates at a much lower visual quality then the orig. il2 even though i have made more than enough sacrifices (in my mind) to make up for the lack in sys memory. sure the official answer would be to say that your system does not meet the requirements so no matter what you won't be able to play, but i play a lot of games with my measly 128 that require 256.
man i wish i didn't write that part because then there could be an actual discussion

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 02:36 AM
Screw online playability improvements. If in the next few years we get a % of extra computing power; I'd like to see that extra power devoted to realism. The visuals are cool and I really like them, but what if instead of fancy visuals we had the following:

1. Real world weather effects. Not just some turbulence but dynamic wind (up and down drafts), and complex storms.

2. Model maintenance and mechanical failure problems. Metal fatigue, and individual plane quirks: how many times has your AC been repaired? How many flight hours on that Engine? "Sorry Vasili, no oxygen tanks are available today; try to keep it low".

3. Improved FOV options such as the ability to move ones head side to side up down, ect.. Also, if your virtual pilot was susceptible to more than just red/blackouts. For example as you continued to perform high G maneuvers you views moved more slowly; or control input was sluggish to simulate fatigue.

4. Improve AI, I'd fly CFS1 graphics if the AI were unpredictable and genuinely skilled. Let's have a QMB with AI options like Skill, Morale, Fighting style, Fatigue, eyesight, experience, and leadership.

Basically I'd like computer flight sims to fulfill the promise of "As real as it gets".




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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 03:10 AM
Ouu Ouu(insert Arnorld Horshack's hand) I didn't even read past the 1st post..shame on me.

I vote for total immersion if you pc is a rocket and can do all the candy but not at the cost of mega online flyer actions. By now there must be a way to 'nice' way to explain in an instant server macro.."Dear Flyer..We need you..due to..try these sites for help..your skill is not in question..boot." <-- I'll get it 1st!

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 03:24 AM
Wow! I just read the others posts. I guess as a developer one must go with the numbers. If it's true that only a very small percentage care about online use. I can only speak for myself. I've spent more money than I care to think of on worthless gaming. I have 4 kids..little time..and payed $30 for FB. My kids lost my manual and I don't know how to show a buddy tracks so I bought a 2nd copy for the manual and to interest my pal. I buy pc systems based on online gaming potential. Think about that. Game cost 30 but atleast 1 guy waits for a decent online game to buy a 2000 dollar upgrade if the game will meet online demands...add tracker..20 joysticks..3 graphics cards..".50 for 2 players" lmao No money in online gaming..puttuey! :P

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 03:49 AM
It's the old saying "you get what you pay for."

THe game is the standard-your system the variable.

If you spend $400 on your system you can play near pefect settings with AA and AF, if your computer is crappy, you won't get the performance you desire.

I am in a different camp than the poster, I would like to see game developers RAISE the hardware standard so that games will eventually USE the complete API instead of a generation or two BEHIND the contemporary API.

Rogo



<center><img src =http://www.world-data-systems.com/aerofiles/albums/userpics/normal_K4-sig2.jpg>


"Those who long for exaltation look upwards. But I look downwards for I am the exalted." This was a quote from Nietzsche as he flew in his FW190 @ 20,000ft looking downwards.

/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 05:20 AM
S~

I'm with Georgeo too..sorta. I want it all! I want to do and see whatever I should be able to with the machine I'm flying, riding, commanding, driving..ect. I'm a greedy duck. This sim has come closer than any other I've seen. It replicates G's as best it can without the technology of the 'forcefeedback flight suit'. By the way-I vote for that as the next flight sim gimzmo along with a perfect TrackerIR system. You pull 5 g's and the suit starts to cut off your *****..hehehe. Not a perfect simulation but getting closer!

I differ in my opinion only because I want it all and then the abilility to use any learned skills to compete in an organized manner with fellow flight sim addicts online in major competetions where there are set goals to be acheived, individual and team victorys to be won, along with team losses and individual incentives for LIVING! More than simple pushing the 'new life' button. What price could a game give you for dying that would be do-able? Take away some earned skill? Na- what would hurt the most? Time! Muhaaaa! lol The mechanics or CO make you sit there 5 minutes too long..complemplating your stupid last move! hehehe. Go to bed-Ned!

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 05:21 AM
why should i choose?
I can have both

The Sun is Gone
But I Have a Light
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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 05:42 AM
Rogodin wrote:
- It's the old saying "you get what you pay for."
-
- THe game is the standard-your system the variable.
-
- If you spend $400 on your system you can play near
- pefect settings with AA and AF, if your computer is
- crappy, you won't get the performance you desire.
-
- I am in a different camp than the poster, I would
- like to see game developers RAISE the hardware
- standard so that games will eventually USE the
- complete API instead of a generation or two BEHIND
- the contemporary API.
-
- Rogo
-
-
-

i assume you are talking to me, and i understand what you are saying. but my point was that visual quality diminished greatly on my system and yet performance decreased greatly as well. i would be perfectly fine if performance was fine on my subpar pc with worse graphics, especially with all the scalable options, but unfortunately the adjustments change little for some reason or another.

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 06:04 AM
That's because the game engine was retuned for a higher end system-of course IL-2 will work better on your system than FB.

FB has HIGHER minimum specs.

So you are disappointed because IL-2 plays more smoothly and looks better than FB on your system?

That's what a newer game should do to old hardware.

rogo

<center><img src =http://www.world-data-systems.com/aerofiles/albums/userpics/normal_P-47-1-uncompressed-Sig.jpg>


"Those who long for exaltation look upwards. But I look downwards for I am the exalted." This was a quote from Nietzsche as he flew in his FW190 @ 20,000ft looking downwards.

/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 06:14 AM
Boy you gotta wade through a bunch of fanboyz kneejerking and the MYTH that online gamers are a minority to basically find NOTHING intelligent on this thread except for Buzzsaws initial post.

I agree totally Buzz, the graphics improvement was slight compared to the hit online playing took. I believe the Eye Candy should take a back seat to online playability.

Whoever told Oleg that because Ubi's servers are empty meant the online crowd was small did him and the gaming community a grave disservice. There are 10's of thousands of online players.

Just look at how many are signed up for VEF or VOW and multiply that by a lot because the majority of online players don't fly those wars.

I hope Oleg listens to what you are trying to tell him Buzzsaw. Online playability has to have a higher priority over eye candy.

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As real as you want it to be.

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 06:34 AM
I don't really think it's choice between eye candy and online playability. But i do think FB was a major step back when it comes to online gameplay. Where it should have been a step forward.
Don't get me wrong, im getting a lot of fun out of this 30 Euro worth game. Only i do find it strange that FB actually went back in performance compared to IL2 when it comes to the amount of planes it can handle. More than 32 planes in a mission is an absolute no go in FB. And you have to stay under 24 if you want it to be warp free. No matter what connection everybody has.
Well, i hope this will be all over with the patch and we'll probably forget about all this and talk about what a great game Forgotten Battles is, an instant classic /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif .

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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 07:46 AM
Pent - according to a friend who is working for a software (game) developer as level designer there are at least 5 players who don´t play online for every online player. If any of the numbers floating around on the total number of sold copies of FB the online lobbies would be SWAMPED by players if you were right - but compared to other games they aren´t.

In my opinion the future of online gaming isn´t the current "I host - you join" stuff, but more a "network" of dedicated servers. The problem is that you cannot insist on DSL or cable connections on the player side since a lot of people (worldwide) cannot get access to anything better than a 56k connection (at best). That is THE limiting factor concerning online features and netcode.

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XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 08:09 AM
I play CS online .. i can get literally 20,000 servers up some nights, most occupied.

I play NWN online and can find at least 500 to a 1000 servers up some nights.


I play FB online i am lucky to find 500 people combined across UBI and hyperlobby .. neverlone 500 servers.



Furhtermore .. I am the only person I know locally who plays FB online everyone else is into offline play

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 08:16 AM
I also tend to agree to somepoint with RAFBUZZSAW. For me adding the Mustange ect ect ect isnt as big of deal as making the AI aircraft that are in the game flyable in cockpit. Again a Wellington,110, ju-88, Hampden, etc etc etc would have added more to the game in fun and possibly creating more interest in that you could have a more dynamic game, A goal oriented map gen would have been great, and its out there now to some degree in scripted servers, but again not designed and incoporated by Oleg. The pause and glitch issue would have been wonderful if addressed better and perhaps thats why im not all ***** over lock on..Think of a missle doing mach 3 or 4 tracking a target 7km out, then screen freeze...Boy it will be so maddening. Till this is bugged as best as can be, then I wont worry bout lock on.

This might have be a different tack as well, but what if the playtesting group was expanded more? might find some new viewpoints better and perhaps rereshing. just my opinion...

XyZspineZyX
07-18-2003, 11:29 AM
The cockpits are to crazy, and drop fps down to half, they use way to many polys especially for all strucktures on the walls and floor which can just be a flat or 4 polys with a 3d texture on them. The do look extremely sweet but certain ones drop fps to 25-30 kinda low for a p4 3.06 1gig ddr and ge4 ti 4600, it was much faster with mu radeon 9700 but mine burnt out about a month ago



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