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View Poll Results: Is pushing video to its limits worth in tin New Dark FMs?

Voters
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  • Yes

    19 29.23%
  • No

    17 26.15%
  • It depends...

    29 44.62%
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Thread: Is pushing new dark graphics to its limits worth it?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2010
    Location: Post Glacial

    Is pushing new dark graphics to its limits worth it?

    Graphic slow down (very low FPs) is experienced in some of the New Dark FMs. Is this limited extra content really worth it?
    Yes, No, or It depends...

    Edited to change "video" to "graphics".
    Last edited by bjack; 18th Dec 2014 at 17:44.

  2. #2
    NewDark 64 Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    I say it depends, because graphics for graphics sake veers too close towards what Thief 4 is and what most modern AAA games are. If the graphics help to retain the atmosphere of Thief while also encouraging classic Thief gameplay mechanisms then I say go for it.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    i find missions that are over done and laggy to be shit compared to the classic fan missions that run amazing,so yes i think it matters a lot,as not everyone is going to get a top notch comp just to play thief fan missions,i am kinda sad to see some missions are so intense with graphics that i cant even run them,i also don't feel graphic make thief a better game,usually its at the cost of puzzles in game,making mission nothing more then eye candy with lack of mission content.


    i would rather play a mission with stock graphic witha great story line and puzzles,compared to a great looking mission with lack of content

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2013
    Location: some nondescript building
    Interesting topic. It's a genuine concern; every minute spent engraving details onto a wall is a minute which could have been spent expanding the level, albeit with lesser detail.

    Ideally "pushing newdark to its limit" means levels packed with more content, unrestricted by the harsh boundaries of old dark. The downside is longer build times. We're all still testing the waters, and there are a lot of missions on the horizon. So we'll just have to wait and see.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Absolutely Yes....without artists pushing the boundaries we would never have had 'Seven Sisters' by Lady Rowena, '7th Crystal' and 'Rose Cottage' by Saturnine, almost any of Sensut's missions and 'Kings Story' by Zontik. Even the great Komag was pushing the boundaries in his day.

    The fact is all artists, whatever their field want to do things that have never been done before, without their experimental inner urge the human species would be a poorer race on a cultural level

    yes it may be annoying if you do not have a machine that can cope with some modern missions, but to say they should restrict their missions to simplistic FMs to satisfy those who have older less powerful computers is like saying companies should not make smart phone apps as not everyone has a smart phone
    Last edited by fortuni; 18th Dec 2014 at 13:43.

  6. #6
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Given how resolution-limited videos are in the Dark engine, I have a hard time believing anyone made a video for their FM that burned enough bitrate to cause slowdown. Maybe they used a lossless codec? Still, doesn't seem like it would be so widespread an issue as to be worth starting a thread over it.

  7. #7
    At the risk of being forced to eat my own words later (anything I might release from this point on will most likely be dissected to the death ), I'll say this:
    I would say the real question to ask oneself is "Would my mission still be rewarding to play without all the enhanced graphics?" and if the answer is "no", then go back and rethink the whole thing. That's the short of it.

    If the answer is instead "yes", then, by all means, enhance the graphics all you want (perhaps at the expense of losing some potential players, though). Now, I'm not saying that having amazing visuals is a bad thing in itself, but it might steer you away from what really matters in a game (which, by definition, is a great deal, if not all, about interaction) and without the content to back it up, your mission just becomes an empty shell, so get your priorities straight; first add that great gameplay and story, have everything working, ask the above question again - and iterate if needed, then enhance the visuals if your time/energy/will/ability/etc admits it.

    Sure, if what you want to create is something to look at rather than interact with, do that (it's your mission after all and you can do whatever you want with it), although you will probably loose some potential players.

    Disclaimer:
    I took it that you by "video" meant "visuals in general"!?

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2010
    Location: Post Glacial
    Thanks everyone for your replies and participation so far. It seems some feel "meh" about it, and others outright "yes it is worth it" .

    I am one of the "no", but leaning toward the "it depends" people. I am not an FM maker and it is their prerogative to enhance as much as they can. Still, I do appreciate warnings, like those that were made for "The Farm" that slowness may be experienced. While my system is old, it is not super slow. I can play some pretty graphic intense games that blow away T2 visually (like Fable, The Lost Chapters, or Myst Uru). The Dark Mod plays fine on my system too. What concerns me is what looks like just simple additions to T2 are really slowing things down to a crawl.

    Still, for the most part I do not have any play issues with the majority of New Dark FMs. The exceptions are when there is of animation is added. Swaying plants, particulate fog, moving machines, etc. in very large open areas are the usual problems. I think that in other games, these items are suppressed if they are far from view. Is it true that in New Dark everything is active no matter how far away it is, as long as it is potentially in view?

    And Fortuni, I have played all those excellent FMs you mention and had zero problems with them video wise. I see nothing in New Dark FMs that blows away the visual coolness factor of King's Story though. I do love the new mantle and the other bug fixes, but super slow downs just for a little larger playing field with swaying grass? I don't think it is worth it.

    And qolelis, what I should have been more specific about is the added content that slow everything down to 2 FPS. Anything that slow down play drastically.

    Thanks again all!

  9. #9
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by bjack View Post
    And qolelis, what I should have been more specific about is the added content that slow everything down to 2 FPS.
    The word you wanted was "graphics", or even "visuals", but certainly not "video". Video means video.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2010
    I guess the answer to this question depends on the following:

    1) Is the limit you are approaching one that scales with CPU or GPU power?
    If it's the former then you probably shouldn't go there because CPU improvement is slow, whilst GPU's keep improving exponentially.

    2) Is the NewDark team continuing to improve performance scalability?
    We don't have any way to predict how much more development will happen but more performance hungry missions might prompt
    them to try to improve\optimize further.

    3) Are you doing something suited to the engine?
    For example, are you bogging down a map with scripting events to make AI behave more intelligently when you could instead build
    your mission on The Dark Mod where the AI are more intelligent by default and the source is openly available to add new features to
    the core project.

    NewDark has the primary advantage of being well suited to large open spaces, big cityscapes, etc. It still runs into issues where lots of
    detail is packed into a scene and especially seems to run afoul of performance when texture data is heavy (HD Mods are probably making
    some missions seem heavier than they would be using vanilla assets.) Skacky is an author who capitalizes NewDark's strengths...
    So I guess if you're asking "should mappers produce smaller maps so that the HD mod will run smooth?" I would say no to that. Graphic cards
    continue to have more memory on-board and grown in bandwidth quite quickly. I've got a cheap $60 GPU that runs faster than
    an 8800GS high-end card from a few years back. If people want HD textures, they should get better video cards not ask mappers to reduce
    their mission polys to 1999 levels

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    he is am example why doing massive graphics are not worth it,the new mission the farm has some rows of corn that lag the mission a lot,in the first part,but the question i have is did that cornfield make the mission better in anyway?even people with better systems also had a problem with it,just watch part one of the farm done by that one youtuber fen

    what happen to the days where game play was more important then graphics,my personal opinion is the new generation is at fault for that ,hence why game consoles only pump out games that look good but game play is shit over all,that is why 100% of all new graphically intense games fade out in less then a year and you never hear about them again

    a good example of this is the halo series,nothing more then unreal tournament 1999 with better graphics and perks,i am tired of people worried about graphics when the game it self has zero replay,i would rather see stock graphics and more game content.

    but in the end i think it comes down to new school gamers vs old school gamers

    i am 40 years old now and i think graphics are not that important if the game is shit in game play,that is why console systems are close to dead,we got Nintendo which makes games for kids now,play station and x box are pretty much multi player games,that are just rehashes of older games,nothing original,all we got left is pc and that is starting to turn to shit cause everyone is worried about graphics,and not game play,that is why thief 3 and 4 failed they worried to much about graphic and not game play ,i am kinda shocked to see people even ask this question after seeing what it did to thief,it should be common sense that graphic are not the way to go in a game

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    NewDark has the primary advantage of being well suited to large open spaces, big cityscapes, etc. It still runs into issues where lots of
    detail is packed into a scene and especially seems to run afoul of performance when texture data is heavy (HD Mods are probably making
    some missions seem heavier than they would be using vanilla assets.) Skacky is an author who capitalizes NewDark's strengths...
    So I guess if you're asking "should mappers produce smaller maps so that the HD mod will run smooth?" I would say no to that. Graphic cards
    continue to have more memory on-board and grown in bandwidth quite quickly. I've got a cheap $60 GPU that runs faster than
    an 8800GS high-end card from a few years back. If people want HD textures, they should get better video cards not ask mappers to reduce
    their mission polys to 1999 levels [/QUOTE]


    but you forgot one thing,its the 1999 thief and thief 2 and early fan missions is why we fell in love with thief,not thief 3 or 4

  13. #13
    NewDark 64 Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    I think I'm going to make two versions of every mission I make from now on, one with the newer graphics allowed by NewDark and one done in the old Dromed style with older objects and texture quality, and then see which gets more love.

  14. #14
    Brethren
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: Cathedral Row
    The original question was whether better graphics (via New Dark) in Thief FMs are worth it (I assume this meant in relation to what type of PC is required to run it). The OP never said anything about sacrificing gameplay. They didn't say anything about Thief 3 or 4 either.

    Given that, I would say the answer is yes. I'm guessing the majority of people have upgraded their PCs since 1998 - most have probably done it multiple times. Sure, there will be a few stragglers that haven't, but it's going to be a very small percentage. To restrict the quality of graphics just to appease this tiny portion of the fan base doesn't make any sense. The game should always be evolving, at least a little bit. Otherwise, we'd all still just be playing pong.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Downwinder, there really is no need to continually use the 's' word on this forum, there are many other words you could use to vent your displeasure.

    As for missions with gameplay / puzzles / atmosphere, i really do get the impression you have not played any recent releases, namely Morteus Liber, Exile: Being Thief 2, The Unknown Treasure....and so many other great missions, yes some missions do not have that special magic touch that makes them great, but that was just as true back in the early days of Thief as it is today, not every game has that special elusive superb quality to it....that's down to the authorship, the writing, the plot, the extra little twists put in the game by the author, the ambiance, the background music....etc and has nothing to do with graphic ND or Non ND, but obviously they can add to the ambiance in a massive way

    so to dismiss all recent releases as rubbish as you seem to do is is.....erm...rubbish IMHO, but more importantly offensive to all authors who strive to produce the very best missions that they can, superb ND graphics or not

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: France
    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    he is am example why doing massive graphics are not worth it,the new mission the farm has some rows of corn that lag the mission a lot,in the first part,but the question i have is did that cornfield make the mission better in anyway?even people with better systems also had a problem with it,just watch part one of the farm done by that one youtuber fen
    I thought it was a weird choice since it's winter time and the corn would probably all be chopped down and harvested. But then I also didn't get very far and the place looks abandoned- so maybe there's a story explanation to that. I wouldn't really say the mission was an example of "massive graphics." Those corn models seem to cause framerate issues in general. They were causing frame rate issues in the mission I'm working on (I only had 6-8 of them), so I opted to just remove them. At least the author warned that there may be stuttering in some areas and at least you didn't have to dodge around AI in that area or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    what happen to the days where game play was more important then graphics,my personal opinion is the new generation is at fault for that ,hence why game consoles only pump out games that look good but game play is shit over all,that is why 100% of all new graphically intense games fade out in less then a year and you never hear about them again
    I think 100% is way too high, but I can see that you're mostly venting and I understand your frustrations. I imagine most of the people here do since we're all fans of T1/2. I think the reason many non-multiplayer games with great graphics fade out in a year or less is because they're short, linear, and the fancy third person kill animations become tedious and gimmicky after a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    a good example of this is the halo series,nothing more then unreal tournament 1999 with better graphics and perks,i am tired of people worried about graphics when the game it self has zero replay,i would rather see stock graphics and more game content.
    I wouldn't say it has 0 replayability. I'm not a Halo fan, but it is what it is- An FPS where you shoot everything. People who play Halo generally stick around for the multiplayer, not the single player campaign over and over again. I assume by stock graphics in this instance you're referring back to Thief fan missions.

    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    but in the end i think it comes down to new school gamers vs old school gamers
    Come on, don't be that guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    i am 40 years old now and i think graphics are not that important if the game is shit in game play,that is why console systems are close to dead,we got Nintendo which makes games for kids now,play station and x box are pretty much multi player games,that are just rehashes of older games,nothing original,all we got left is pc and that is starting to turn to shit cause everyone is worried about graphics,and not game play,that is why thief 3 and 4 failed they worried to much about graphic and not game play ,i am kinda shocked to see people even ask this question after seeing what it did to thief,it should be common sense that graphic are not the way to go in a game
    What do you mean console systems are close to dead? Do you mean in your view?
    Nintendo has always made games for kids. Since the very beginning. Are you too mature to enjoy a Mario or Zelda game? Super Smash Brothers is incredibly fun for all ages.
    I don't consider Thief 3 a failure, unless you mean financially. It was a good game. Not great, but good. Focus on graphics is not why Thief 4 failed. Or perhaps, not the only or major reason and I think you know that.

    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    but you forgot one thing,its the 1999 thief and thief 2 and early fan missions is why we fell in love with thief,not thief 3 or 4
    So therefore, always keep them as close to stock as possible? Some early fan missions were not that great. They got a lot of praise that they didn't deserve mostly because we were all floored that they existed at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xorak View Post
    I think I'm going to make two versions of every mission I make from now on, one with the newer graphics allowed by NewDark and one done in the old Dromed style with older objects and texture quality, and then see which gets more love.
    Don't waste your time. I can tell you right now that the higher quality textured mission will get more love, but not because the other is bad. So long as the better quality doesn't make Thief look like a power point presentation, it'll win easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by fortuni View Post
    As for missions with gameplay / puzzles / atmosphere, i really do get the impression you have not played any recent releases, namely Morteus Liber, Exile: Being Thief 2, The Unknown Treasure....and so many other great missions, yes some missions do not have that special magic touch that makes them great, but that was just as true back in the early days of Thief as it is today, not every game has that special elusive superb quality to it....that's down to the authorship, the writing, the plot, the extra little twists put in the game by the author, the ambiance, the background music....etc and has nothing to do with graphic ND or Non ND, but obviously they can add to the ambiance in a massive way

    so to dismiss all recent releases as rubbish as you seem to do is is.....erm...rubbish IMHO, but more importantly offensive to all authors who strive to produce the very best missions that they can, superb ND graphics or not
    Indeed. Though he didn't mention any recent mission except for The Farm, I'd be curious about what newer missions he's "found to be shit."

    Quote Originally Posted by nbohr1more View Post
    3) Are you doing something suited to the engine?
    For example, are you bogging down a map with scripting events to make AI behave more intelligently when you could instead build
    your mission on The Dark Mod where the AI are more intelligent by default and the source is openly available to add new features to
    the core project.
    I've never seen heavily scripted intelligent AI cause any kind of slow down even in Old Dark. Ever.
    Last edited by Random_Taffer; 19th Dec 2014 at 10:07.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2004
    Location: Germany

    I also selected "It depends". Graphics may visually enhance gameplay, sometimes even a lot (think of, e.g., "A Night in Rocksbourg 3"), but for me, they're not the main reason for playing Thief. Pushing graphics to the max just because someone wants to doesn't make any sense for me. Doing it to create a visually stunning and fitting place may be worth it, on the other hand. However, I won't upgrade my (not so powerful) computers just because FMs get more and more demanding for hardware. While playing "Death's Turbid Veil", I had to look down onto the ground in some areas to avoid a slideshow. I can do that occasionally, but I won't do it on a regular basis if every new mission turns out to have such areas in store.

    As someone stated before: If the improved graphics are very important or even essential for the mission, go ahead and use them. If they just add a bit of eye candy and nothing else, however, they won't impress me much.

    Concerning videos in NewDark, well - one should be careful with these. For some reason, NewDark has problems on at least one of my machines even when just playing the original DEATH.AVI. That one didn't even give an ancient Pentium-II (350 MHz, ancient ATI pre-Radeon video card) any trouble with Thief 2 v1.18, but with NewDark, even an Athlon XP (1,7 GHz, Radeon 9550) will display it only with occasional stuttering. The higher the resolution of the movies is, the more stuttering will appear. Sometimes, even a fairly new Core i3 (2,3 GHz) based notebook with onboard Intel HD 3000 graphics produces only a slideshow with newer movies (e.g., the ones from "Island of Sorrow").

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Location: Deutschland/Germany

    I hope it's not gonna be a kind of sport - which author can create the most complex FM?

    For me as a player a good story is much more worth.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by zappen View Post
    I hope it's not gonna be a kind of sport - which author can create the most complex FM?
    well you may be in for an eye popping mission shortly

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2010
    Location: Post Glacial
    Thanks all so far for the replies and participation.

    I leave you with these questions... Why can my Athlon 64 3500 single core 2 GB system with a Nvidia 610 2 GB graphics card play The Dark Mod just fine, but not some of the new FMs without terrible slow downs?

    Why does a very simple looking corn field, or some swirling fog cost so many CPU/GPU cycles?

    Why can I play a game like Microsoft's Fable with AI that have flowing hair and moving mouths, synchronized to their speech? A game that has much more dense forests, moving lush trees, wing blown grasses, moving water, etc. than any T2 FM? Why do other much more graphically intensive and animated games play just fine, while some new T2 FMs that still look like 1999 play as if I am running on a 386 with 2 MB of memory?

    I guess playing some new T2 games is like pulling a trailer with locked brakes. The solution is not to find the cause of the locked brakes... the solution is to add more HP...

  21. #21
    The Necromancer
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: thiefgold.com
    Quote Originally Posted by bjack View Post
    I leave you with these questions... Why can my Athlon 64 3500 single core 2 GB system with a Nvidia 610 2 GB graphics card play The Dark Mod just fine, but not some of the new FMs without terrible slow downs?
    Why does a very simple looking corn field, or some swirling fog cost so many CPU/GPU cycles?
    Why can I play a game like Microsoft's Fable with AI that have flowing hair and moving mouths, synchronized to their speech? A game that has much more dense forests, moving lush trees, wing blown grasses, moving water, etc. than any T2 FM? Why do other much more graphically intensive and animated games play just fine, while some new T2 FMs that still look like 1999 play as if I am running on a 386 with 2 MB of memory?
    Yeah I never understood that. Some new T2 FM's have a bit of chop on my 16GB machine (not the end of the world, it goes down to maybe 25 fps); but playing Skyrim (an engine that has maybe 6 times the minimum requirements of Dark) with graphics maxed out, on top of a mountaintop, looking over the whole landscape, and it runs like butter...

    I say it depends. I like nice graphics, but gameplay is more important to me. The gameplay can make the graphics irrelevant if it's good enough. After all, Thief 1 has horrible graphics by today's standards, and I still consider it to be the greatest game ever made. And I still feel the same even after playing games and missions with much beter graphics

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    ok i have rethought the issues i have,and its 2 things ,graphics that cause lag in a missions and also missions where graphics take precedence over game play


    sorry if i offended anyone


    yes thief 3 was fun,but the slowdown and crippling movement did not help game at all,the only thing that saved thief 3 was the story and gameplay,i am willing to bet if thief 3 was redone with thief 2 old school style it would have been a better game,my example is t2x in my view was amazing and made thief 3 look like dookie as far as enjoyment.


    i would rather see cam vaders brought back to missions then over done graphics

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Bremerton Washington
    I look at graphics like over produced television shows. A good drama series or mystery series starts out well and moving along. Then in step the producers to make it "better". Rarely works and almost always degrades the show. The original gameplay of Thief and Thief 2 is what has made such as strong following that has lasted 15 years and even obtaining new followers when they discover what the original gameplay has to offer. I thought thief 3 was playable but its focus was on a graphics priority. Do they even make games with an editor any more? The success of the original DOOM with an editor is what started it all. The game might have failed without it. A first person shooter that one could learn to build and entire level in one day. (2 dimensions). The game was actually made by two guys working in a home garage. Another that had potential was "HARD WAR" that was under produced. Had huge potential as a space trading shooter with an editor. It was up for sale. Microsoft was thinking about picking it up but didn't. One of the reasons I am having difficulty getting in to DROMED is the small sized editor on my screen. Hell with game graphics. Improve the game editor for some of us poor sited dummies. Then again it needs new blood in game players. I am guessing most young game players don't even know there were once games that came with "editors". Big business may make less money but they can get a huge following. Maybe someday the execs will start looking long term.

    After saying all that I have to admit that I like the new graphics. The question is it worth it? If there were a stronger following or if it brought new interest in our world of Thief followers I would say yes. Barring that I would say no. I would say Thief is a strategy first person semi shooter. The emphasis on navigating in the environment in FP perspective. Not shooting. Should be simple enough. Hasn't been anything close to it in 15 years.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Germany
    Quote Originally Posted by Random_Taffer View Post
    I thought it was a weird choice since it's winter time and the corn would probably all be chopped down and harvested. But then I also didn't get very far and the place looks abandoned- so maybe there's a story explanation to that.
    There's an explanation. Of course. A book.

    Those corn models seem to cause framerate issues in general. They were causing frame rate issues in the mission
    When we started testing, the corn models were the same as provided by Renzatic (with huge object textures). They were modified for that mission by the author. They have much smaller mipmaps now. That saves about 4-5 fps.
    But there are more than 100 of them. So the corn is the fps-killer
    But one don't have to look at the corn.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2010
    Does NewDark have any "Object LOD" system?

    Or is it possible to implement one with scripting and blue-room tricks?

    That might help in "cornfield" type scenarios.

    Something's definitely fishy about a corn model that lowers NewDark to performance below The Dark Mod or Skyrim though.

    How many polys is that thing?

    Does the model have some sorta geometry leak (I know we've seen such issues with "internal leaking" in The Dark Mod)?

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