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Thread: About Teleporting Doors

  1. #1
    Purah
    Guest

    About Teleporting Doors

    Sigh. I read from Kathode's visit that there will be teleporting doors into buildings.

    Since Morrowind is still so far away from release, I will make my opinion clear now: Teleporting doors should be used as infrequently as possible.

    Bethsoft mentioned that the only benefit would be "being able to look out of windows." Unfortunately I see this differently. Teleporting doors destroy immersion: especially in a city. If I am loading a new area every time I enter a building that just sucks. If I load a map upon entering a dungeon, that is one thing (I'm ok w/ that) but if I were playing Heavy Metal, or Thief, or other such city and building centered games and had to load a map for every building, I would be ticked.

    Checklist of Advantages for NOT loading maps:
    1) Yes, you can look out windows.
    2) More immersion.
    3) Ability to listen at doors.
    4) Ability to enter a building several dif. ways: like down the chimney, through the cellar, by the balconey, and through the front door. (Yes, I am a Thief fan)
    5) Having an enemy chase you inside is heartpounding. Seeing them open the door and come in, or being able to lock them out is a true rush. It is just not the same when they "magically appear inside" and you assume they followed you from the street. This aspect of Baldur's Gate always annoyed me utterly.
    6) Seeing out windows is one thing. But seeing IN windows is much better! In Thief 2, I scouted a building near a light house with furtive wonder, peering through transparant glass (and very breakable) windows, trying to know what each room held in the way of guards and items, planning my attack from the shadows while guards whistled and rain fell from a stormy sky. It was completely immersive. I knew I could hit this building any way I wanted. It was just like being there. It was my favorite moment in T2 (nearly). Granted, Morrowind is not Thief...but, Thief levels like the light house and Gathering at the Bar offered a new method of scouting and entry (peering in and breaking windows). They (windows) are no longer asthetic. They are strategic and should be usable as emergency exits if the guards are called etc.

    Bottom Line: To think of windows as simple decoration is not the best thing to do in a cutting edge RPG. If FPS is worriesome, consider that most folks will have a better video card in a year.

    ------------------
    "Expect my visit when the darkness comes. The night I think is best for hiding all." -Ouallada
    See Calendra's Cistern at http://www.aros.net/~purah/

    [This message has been edited by Purah (edited August 21, 2000).]

  2. #2
    real_oRGy
    Guest

    Well, I know where you're coming from.

    But it's just not possible with the hardware on todays machines - and its not just video card.

    To accomadate the whole world map in memory, plus all the interior of every building, would require obscene amounts of memory and CPU just to keep track of it all.

    It would be nice, but we have to remember how big the whole thing is.

    I don't mind too much, as long as the loading doesn't take long and I see no messages saying "Loading.. Please Wait..".


    ------------------
    Lead Designer,
    Thievery UT.

  3. #3
    Andy
    Guest

    They were going to load the world dynamically somehow. Here's that part of the article:

    So here are some thoughts of what I remember while walking around the world. First off, buildings will be separately loading maps from the overworld. Todd said they toyed around with making everything being loaded on the fly, but the performance hit was just too great. The only real benefit they could really find with it was the ability to look out a window, and they decided that wasn’t worth a 10-15 FPS performance hit.

    I agree it might have been worth the hit. A largely seamless world without loading interruptions would be great.

  4. #4
    Purah
    Guest

    yep, have to agree w/ Andy. My whole comment was taken from the fact that Bethsoft said they had toyed with it and thus we know it IS possible.

    I understand the memory portion quite well, but it would be better to load a city map than to load each individual building.

    ------------------
    "Expect my visit when the darkness comes. The night I think is best for hiding all." -Ouallada
    See Calendra's Cistern at http://www.aros.net/~purah/

  5. #5
    Ishy
    Guest

    I do not see how this could be a major performance hit, unless the interiors of buildings are exponentially more detailed than the open areas. Ultima 9, in spite of being one of the most buggy monstrosities since, umm well, Daggerfall, still managed to have all the overworld sections of the map including buildings loading on the fly. With release not due for a year at least I am unable to imagine how the performance hit would justify such a loss of detail.

  6. #6
    Purah
    Guest

    Another thing to consider is if interior building maps are loaded individually (and I really hope Bethsoft finds a way to reconsider or at least minimize this type of loading) I really hope that windows, as well as the rest of the building's interior, will reflect time of day relevant to the "outside" world. Glowing windows and unlit candles in the middle of the night would be a tragedy and vis a vis.

    I am quite certain Bethsoft has already thought of this detail, but...I mention it anyway.

    ------------------
    "Expect my visit when the darkness comes. The night I think is best for hiding all." -Ouallada
    See Calendra's Cistern at http://www.aros.net/~purah/

  7. #7
    real_oRGy
    Guest

    Originally posted by Purah:
    I really hope that windows, as well as the rest of the building's interior, will reflect time of day relevant to the "outside" world. Glowing windows and unlit candles in the middle of the night would be a tragedy and vis a vis.

    Yeah, it would be highly unlikely for that to happen considering that in Daggerfall, if it was night outside, the ambient light inside a tavern (for instance) was lower, and the windows were dark.



    ------------------
    Lead Designer,
    Thievery UT.

  8. #8
    kathode
    Guest

    I too was dissappointed to here that interiors will be separately loading maps, but stop and think about it for a second. First of all, it was a major performance hit. While it's easy to make sweeping generalizations by saying that "everyone will have better video cards in a year" this is sadly not the case. The mistake that most people make is to assume that gaming companies target their products toward the power gamer. In actuality, to make a profit, gaming companies have to target the average gamer, the kind who makes purchases by going into wal-mart and seeing what has the coolest box. An optimistic view has the average gamer at the voodoo3/tnt2 video card level. Somewhat behind the curve. Even though video cards now have an average product cycle of 6 months, it doesn't mean the average gamer goes out and buys a $400+ video card as soon as it hits the market. And what happens when an average gamer goes out, buys Morrowind, and finds that they get 5-10fps? Anyone remember a little game called Ultima: Ascension?

    Ok, secondly, in the article I stated that performance was in the lower 20's. I also stated that there were hardly any NPC's around. The polygon count in NPC's is mind-boggling. Add to this the whole armor/clothing system (remember? They're actually wearing all that stuff, not just textures). Ok, so what happens when you get a whole town full of NPC's walking around, AND you have to render all the NPC's in buildings on top of that???

    Finally, think about this. Major dungeons in the game are going to be huge. Imagine a dungeon entrance that is set in the side of a cliff. The dungeon is enormous, spreading around for kilometers under the ground. You're walking around the countryside far off from the dungeon entrance. However, the dungeon is so expansive that some underground passages are actually under your character's feet. You can't turn off z-axis rendering in a multi-level 3d world. It doesn't work. So while you're walking around the overworld, the engine is rendering all these intricate passageways beneath you, along with any items there or any NPC's. There's no point.
    Like I said, I was also hoping for a completely dynamic loading world, but the technical hurdles are just too great.

    ------------------
    Webmaster: Destination: Morrowind

  9. #9
    Thumper
    Guest

    >You can't turn off z-axis rendering in a
    >multi-level 3d world. It doesn't work. So
    >while you're walking around the overworld,
    >the engine is rendering all these intricate
    >passageways beneath you, along with any
    >items there or any NPC's.

    Um, actually it does work in a way. No decent rendering engine these days spends much time on stuff that can't be seen, vertically or otherwise. That's the whole point of both BSP and portal style engines.

    I don't really have a good guess as to what problems they have unless it's trying to load the house areas in the background. The engine might have encur a fair amount of overhead loading all the houses you walk by just in case you might decide to enter them.

    In any case, loading a house ought to be very quick considering the amount of data needed should be rather small.

    [This message has been edited by Thumper (edited August 25, 2000).]

  10. #10
    kathode
    Guest

    Originally posted by Thumper:
    In any case, loading a house ought to be very quick considering the amount of data needed should be rather small.
    Haha, you really need to see this game in action. Small compared to the overall data of the world, but man, the polygon counts get pretty damn frightening with 3 or less people and some clutter on the screen. I'd hate to imagine it with all the shit that will be inside people's houses, not to mention the people in the houses.

    I can admit I could be wrong on my last point. I don't have much experience programming or level designing. But the first two points are valid concerns.

    Anyway, has there been a game that has pulled off completely dynamic loading like this? I know the Ultima 9 team tried it, got it working for small house-like interiors, but couldn't do it for dungeons. Why? Because the performance hit was so big. Hmmm... Also, think about how relatively sparsely populated Ultima 9 was. Max of maybe 3 people on the screen, and let me tell you, they were NO WHERE near as detailed as the MW models.

    ------------------
    Webmaster: Destination: Morrowind


    [This message has been edited by kathode (edited August 26, 2000).]

  11. #11
    ACT SMILEY
    Guest

    i suppose nobody thought of the approach
    -every town includes inside buildings-each town seperately loaded- each sub province (eg 5 areas in a place the size of daggerfall in highrock from daggerfall) is loaded seperately from those? dungeons count as 'out of town areas' to keep the inside/outside flow running??

    oh ang I stay 1or2 gens of video card behind- eg. when tnt2s were out I had a banshee now gforce2s are out i have a TNT2ultra so by then I'd have a gforce2gts...my pc is roughly average.When working on an engine problem, the best available now would be average when the game comes out, is my theory and I'm gonna try it in a thief2 FM where Im aiming to push 400 poly (recd is 250)

  12. #12
    real_oRGy
    Guest

    Yeah, remember also that Morrowinds terrain uses the usual heightmap system, which means you can't have caves, or dungeons without a seperate loading level.

    It's easy to romanticise about Thief and jumping in and out of windows, but they were just BSP levels. 7 out of 10 buildings in a Thief city level like LoTP were inacessible anyway, and a big Morrowind city will probably be about twice as big, at least, as LoTP. Not that Thief had great framerate, either.

    Personally, I don't mind as long as the loading messages stay away..

    ------------------
    Lead Designer,
    Thievery UT

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