View Full Version : The best of both worlds

01-24-2005, 01:09 AM
I like the fact that Myst 5 is going to be realtime 3D. On the other hand, I hear the pain of those who said the 3D environments in URU couldn't match the quality they saw in the other Myst games. I am thinking why can't you combine the best of both worlds to have real time 3D and high detail the way Revelation did with overlaying animations on top of the still pictures? Only this will be overlaying high detail texture and bump mapping on top of a 3D environment. The computer playing the game will be able to not only generate the dimensional perspective so the user can wander about, but also constantly update the texture algorithyms so they can be properly applied to the scene. OF course, this means a users' computer must be high powered, but for Myst games, that is (or should be) a standard disclaimer! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

01-24-2005, 02:04 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by poutrew:
OF course, this means a users' computer must be high powered, but for Myst games, that is (or should be) a standard disclaimer! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Ironically, the reputation of Myst as being a forward-thinking franchise has changed over the years into being a series of games that you could play on your grandparents' computer they bought back in '96 so they could get emails from you with pictures in them. I can't even begin to describe the number of people who wailed at the measly 233 MHz processor requirement of Exile, and there were a large number of folks put off from the start by the concept of moving to realtime because these days, Myst is a game that people with older, less advanced computers can still play and actually enjoy, and the 6 years between Riven's release and Uru's release have taken their toll on the makeup of the Myst market. Because of that, Cyan has to try to do very advanced things with very limited resources because not everyone in the Myst market is going to have an nVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra or an ATi x800 with 512 MB of video RAM (I don't...). Some people are lucky they even have anything beyond an Intel i810 chip (someone at Intel should be shot for passing that off as a "graphics chipset") in their $499 Dell.

Given the extreme variance in the PC market between the highest of the high-end and the lowest of the low end (AOL actually still has instructions on how to install their software for Windows 3.1 users if that tells you anything at all...), and given that Myst is so incredibly mainstream that it's almost universally shunned by the people who upgrade their systems every 3 months to keep them at the top of the pile, Cyan has to do a whole lot with very little. Thus, you get a game that is targeted at people who may only have a GeForce 2 card and can't be bothered to upgrade just for the sake of one game (it's when one game turns into 20 or 30 that it becomes time to think about maybe upgrading eventually... trust me, I live with folk of this type http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif). There's a few things in Uru that take advantage of higher-end stuff, like the water in Eder Gira, but for the most part it's baked lighting and shadowing on top of fairly mid-range textures and meshes. The fact that Uru was built for massively multiplayer doesn't really help things much either, I must admit... high-poly environments don't behave well online with 80+ high=poly people roaming around them http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

I have more to say, and I almost said it here, but I feel it would be well deserving of its own thread because I don't want to derail this one http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

01-24-2005, 10:35 AM
Being an independent game developer and a Computer Science major I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the number of textures and the quality of said textures to make the game as you suggested would be a prohibitive amount for a game as extensive as most of the myst games. From what I see on the screenshots, it looks like the realtime rendering of the game is much better than Uru because of the high quality textures, which will make use of higher end machines. I think we are a long way off from a realtime 3d environment as visually stunning as Revelation.

On a side note, realtime 3d is so much better than looking at pictures with overlayed animations. I loved Revelation, thought it was highly visually stunning, but I still don't think it was immersive enough because you still had points to walk to that you were constrained to. But that is for a different thread.

02-02-2005, 06:01 PM
Just to add my 2 cents in ;-)
I've loved every Myst game that's come along. But I was tickled pink when Real Myst came out, and then awed by Uru (I was also lucky enough to have been a beta tester on Uru--so I got to see the whole process which was amazing). Unfortuanly Uru never made it to quite be the MMRPG it planned.
Yes you really do have to take into concideration that in Uru (well what WAS planned) you have several people running about and they didn't have the servers to handle it. And too, with any RealTime 3D some things have to suffer. I.E. the detail of the models and such. BUt I have to give Ubi a big pat on the back at what they accomplished with what they could work with. Uru, Dni, and Path of the Shell were trully beautiful places to get lost in.
Now though I loved the clever way that Ubi incorpoorated animation and live action in IV, I have to say I have to lean to the openess of a realtime 3d game, as you can aimless wwander around and explore so much more than like in IV where you are almost guided and limited to see only what that make of game allows.
Again don't get me wrong, I loved IV, and spent many a sleepless night seeing as much of it as I could while playing. And I agree, the stunning graphics in IV we will not see in a realtime 3d for quite awhile. And I am one of the lucky ones who actually own a nvidia 5900 Ultra (even this is slow compared to the new cards out there now) I see how again V may (to some) suffer because of restraints to run on lower powered computers. But with the talents I've seen at Ubi, I know it will still knock our socks off!

BTW, is there a beta for V? Did I miss the sign up? ;-) Never hurts to ask


02-05-2005, 11:03 AM
First unfortunately I believe we are still 4-5 years away from having the proposition by poutrew being realized. It would be great, but as the other posters suggested the lower common denominator of the PC users has to move higher in order to be able to take advantage of the most advanced graphics. That said, I must admit that I myself am a fairly avid gamer and my machine is just a notch under the best out there right now. I love the first person shooters and the latest and greatest in real 3D. I played Myst and all of the sequels at the respective times they came out. The exception is Myst IV, which I am playing presently. I for myself am 100% for the pre-rendered scheme despite the restricted (i.e. slideshow) way the game plays. Even as a big fan of first person shooters and real 3D there is something to be said about the pre-rendered Myst games. The reason I am playing Myst IV only now and not when it came out is because I did not know it is pre-rendered and thought that it is like Uru. I do not want to criticize real 3D ala Uru, but it is my personal prefernce to have the Myst games pre-rendered. Otherwise the game will come accross as childish from my perspective. Once again this is only my preference and as they say to each his/her own.

02-05-2005, 12:01 PM
I have a technology question... Can Procedural textures be done in realtime, and how would they look on environment geometry?


02-05-2005, 12:18 PM
It would be interesting to hear an answer to this.
Procedural textures are much more efficient than a bitmapped/pixel texture, as it's mathmatical and should in theroy load and update faster. You would also avoid the sometimes ugly "tiling" that some textures in some games blatently show.
I must admit I do not know of any games/programs that I've researched that do this. There may be certian restrictions that will not allow this, but I don't know.
Also on another note: Many programs get around the obvious "tiling" effect by using "decals" carfully placed textures on top of the main tiled texture to "break-up" the look of a tiled texture.


02-05-2005, 02:09 PM
Generally speaking, procedural textures tend to look a lot worse than bitmapped textures drawn from reality because there's only a limited number of settings you can manipulate in a procedural texture to try to approximate the same thing you could get with much more detail out of a bitmap of sufficient size. In my opinion as someone who has played with procedural textures in the past and present, whatever advantages you would reap in memory usage aren't worth the reduction in overall environment quality to use a procedural texture over a bitmap. Plus, bitmap textures are generally faster to create than procedurals because if you know what you're looking for you can just go snap a photo, while with procedurals you have to spend a lot of time tweaking and adjusting and fiddling with settings to get it to look right.

I think the only really good looking procedural textures I've seen of late are the ones used to generate the moving clouds in Revelation, but that sort of thing has fairly limited applicability (like, you can only use it to make skies http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif). Now, using procedurals as a suplement, especially for things like grit and grime, is a rather more useful application of a procedural because then you're very quickly and effectively able to add a degree of variation to an otherwise rather monotonous bitmap rather than having to draw it in by hand in Photoshop on a seperate map http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif.

02-07-2005, 06:18 AM
Wanna see what procedural textures can do? Check out theprodukkt (http://www.theprodukkt.com/kkrieger.html)'s demoes. They have a FPS game that is 96 kilobytes in size. They accomplish this by (among other things) generating nearly all of the content procedurally.

Now, if you remove the size constraints and use both bitmapped and procedurals in appropriate places, you could probably accomplish some very nice looking stuff with much lower requirements than going for simply higher-res textures.

That's just an educated guess. I have very little first-hand experience with realtime engines.

02-14-2005, 05:41 PM
Anybody who has seen the unreal 3 angine previews would realise that it is already possible to create high quality 3d in real time in equal standard to that of Myst Rev.
And if you have played either doom 3 and/or half life 2 you will have already seen the beginings of it.
The current/next generation (as above and due out this year) of mainstream games will support pixel shader 2.0 they can be used for some stunning results, but the next gen after, probably mainstream 2006/7 will start to support pixel shaders 3.0 that is the point where you start to get true photo real results.
I do advise having a quick look at unreal 3 engine shots to see what I mean.

02-16-2005, 01:59 PM
See, by what people are saying here, photorealism is a "long way off"... Not really, it just will not come about in the way most PC gamers would have expected it to. It will first be accomomplished on the next generation consoles that are currently in development. The major difference between PC and Console games, is that for PC games, a "lowest common denominator" must be considered. For Consoles on the other hand, every system is the same, and next generation consoles have some very impressive technology in them, technology the likes of which "PC's" have never seen before.

Mark my words, the games in development now for next gen consoles, (which are VERY graphically impressive) are no where near what will be accomplished on the same platform several years down the road when programming and development companies have become familiar with programming on that platform. For a glimpse of what next gen consoles are capable of check out www.elderscrolls.com (http://www.elderscrolls.com)


02-16-2005, 02:02 PM
sorry about the double post. But it is important to keep in mind that this game, and everything you have seen in it's screenshots (elderscrolls iv: oblivion, that is) has been created for a console that is not even finished being developed. Everything that you see has been created to work with what is already known about the systems (both ps3 and xbox2) but both will likely be higher and more impressive in specifications when they are released.