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Where Tds Went Wrong


bob_arctor
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Okay I was thinking about where TDS went wrong and where it went right after reading about the rotating cats which actually had some good animations, only unused, just lying in the game folder.

My main problem with TDS:

 

The framerate. There is just something about that engine, a hacked up hybrid mish-mash I think, same as in DXIW, that it cannot run well whatever your computer. My computer is not the best in the world ever but I get the same frame rate no matter which options I raise or lower. And that's on both my computers, only the better one shares its frame rate with the worse one.

In parts it's worth it and TDS is beautiful, I'm thinking in places in the first half of the museum, it's really good. However when I went back to classic Thief there was still an elegant beauty and I really noticed the smoothness, and now I can't go back.

Of course in other parts TDS is ugly or just bland and blue, so it's not even worth it.

 

So whatever you do in the Dark Mod don't hack it up or have stupidly made levels so there is a frame rate under 20, it would just be horrible and so dispointing and hard work to play.

 

What other potential pitfalls do people want avoided a lot?

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Okay I was thinking about where TDS went wrong and where it went right after reading about the rotating cats which actually had some good animations, only unused, just lying in the game folder.

My main problem with TDS:

 

The framerate. There is just something about that engine, a hacked up hybrid mish-mash I think, same as in DXIW, that it cannot run well whatever your computer. My computer is not the best in the world ever but I get the same frame rate no matter which options I raise or lower. And that's on both my computers, only the better one shares its frame rate with the worse one.

In parts it's worth it and TDS is beautiful, I'm thinking in places in the first half of the museum, it's really good. However when I went back to classic Thief there was still an elegant beauty and I really noticed the smoothness, and now I can't go back.

Of course in other parts TDS is ugly or just bland and blue, so it's not even worth it.

 

So whatever you do in the Dark Mod don't hack it up or have stupidly made levels so there is a frame rate under 20, it would just be horrible and so dispointing and hard work to play.

 

What other potential pitfalls do people want avoided a lot?

 

Well, the main pitfall of TDS was that the engine was not optimized as well as it should have been. The Doom 3 engine is a sweet ride, and is more advanced than the T3 engine, but you must keep in mind that we are adding all the Thief style systems to Doom 3 and this is naturally going to add more overhead than vanilla doom 3. I'm sure there will be optimizations later down the road that will recover some of that overhead. :) As it stands, I haven't upgraded my system in two years and my system still hasn't crumbled under the weight of the extras we've added. By the time Dark mod is released though, I'm sure the majority of machines out there won't even blink at running it. :)

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Well it can run fine on mine, but my computer was state of the art as of summer 2005, which was more than a year after TDS release.

 

I find that most console-PC ports have poorly optimized engines. A recent release that comes to mind is Stubbs the Zombie, which is graphically the same or worse than TDS, and runs choppier.

Loose BOWELS are the first sign of THE CHOLERA MORBUS!
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I find that most console-PC ports have poorly optimized engines. A recent release that comes to mind is Stubbs the Zombie, which is graphically the same or worse than TDS, and runs choppier.

 

Very probably. In general, you can optimise for high speed or small memory usage, but not both. No points for guessing which one is a priority in console development.

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Things to remember:

 

-Games with gameplay as complex as Thief will always have lesser framerates when compared to similar straight shooters; there's just so much more going on that it's mindboggling that it works at all.

-Anyone can make either a fast or slow map for any game - it's not so much the engine as how you use it (I say 'not so much' because yes, some engines are slower and some are faster - but one could make a closed level of boxes in T3 and have it run faster than a full castle scene in TDM).

 

Regular Doom3 runs at less than 20FPS for me at almost all times (1.4 GHz, GF4), and I've got a TDM scene which drops to 16FPS and it's only at about half detail so far, with no AI or portals.

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Is that your processor holding you back there?

 

I find TDS runs badly on a 3ghz P4, 512 RAM (Although presumably RAM is not much help here: if Xbox has only 64 or whatever 1.5gb won't help me!) Gf6600gt, at any of the slider settings, makes no difference, and I try to have it at 1280*1024 because that's my monitors native resolution. No AA.

Which I suppose is a high resolution but I don't care, it's still quite a good PC compared to the recommended specs so I should be able to run it no problems, if it were a better engine.

 

As for DXIW it runs poorly on that PC with any settings or resolutions as well, probably even less optimised than TDS.

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I play at 1280x1024 on a Radeon 9800 XT and it is playable, although visible slower and less smooth than other games. You may find you can improve performance by changing certain graphics card settings outside the game, for example if you are forcing 8x AF in the drivers you are going to get a slowdown.

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Is that your processor holding you back there?

I would imagine so, because the card seems to handle itself well. I think D3's minimum spec might even be 1.5, so I'm below that. As for the map, I guess it's to be expected as I have a quarter million tris in view so far. It might not even work out without redesign/rethinking, since I have so much more to add at this point. :mellow:

 

I find TDS runs badly on a 3ghz P4, 512 RAM (Although presumably RAM is not much help here: if Xbox has only 64 or whatever 1.5gb won't help me!) Gf6600gt, at any of the slider settings, makes no difference, and I try to have it at 1280*1024 because that's my monitors native resolution. No AA.

Wow, methinks people sometimes protest too much. ;) I played through TDS at framerates between 25 at highest and 8 at lowest (which was far too frequent). You're all spoiled what with your fluid framerates and your liquidy water and your heat haze!

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You're all spoiled what with your fluid framerates and your liquidy water and your heat haze!

 

That is true. I first played TDP on a P166 with 32 MB ram and SOFTWARE rendering (Videlogic GrafixStart 410 if I remember rightly). Frame-rates were in single figures, and if you exploded a zombie with a fire arrow there would be about 5 seconds of disc thrashing before the explosion happened, at about 1 FPS.

 

It is amazing now that it was acceptable to play under those conditions, whereas these days I would not tolerate less than 20 FPS in any game.

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the only problems with framerates will mainly depend on map design. If i decide that i want a beautiful map that eats the framerate then its easy to do. it's much harder optimizing it to look good and run well. Obviously framerate takes preference over tiny details such as a fully 3d grate when it can just be a texture.

 

there will however be a "base" loss in framerate which includes ai/lightgem/etc

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ogh, and tds ran at ~40fps constant.

 

System:

Athlon XP 2600+

GF6600GT

1.5gb RAM

AN-7 Motherboard

 

Not too spectacular obviously. I had AntiAliasing and shit like that off of course and was running it at 1024x768. I have a CRT monitor, I hate LCD's and their "Native" Resolution.

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Doom3 Runs at a constant 60 fps and at worst in one or two areas no less than 30. AT FULL GRAPHICS.

That means Full Anti-aliasing, 1280X1024, Max Quality Graphics and I even Tuned Doom3 to run with more polygons.

So Im ready for anything this mod can throw at me. :) cheers!

Edited by AtariThief
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Dave the gameplay code would not be THAT processor intensive that it reduces frame rates a significant amount. dyanmic shadowing would be considered graphics code and not gameplay code, and the testing for how illuminated the player is in the world would simply be a line of sight and distance test just like in T1/T2.

 

I'm assuming that this is also how it's done in tdm (paging dr sparhawk for more information)

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...and the testing for how illuminated the player is in the world would simply be a line of sight and distance test just like in T1/T2.

 

Actually it is not done like that as it is too inaccurate. The "weak" version traces from light to player but is inaccurate. The "realistic" version has a pyramid shaped object that is put in place of the player every frame and is analyzed that frame how lit up it is. The player never gets to see the pyramid even in thirdperson.

 

The "realistic" version kills framerate by about 5fps on my comp.

 

AFAIK, you will be able to switch between the versions if you so wish (obviously only for performance reasons)

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Dave the gameplay code would not be THAT processor intensive that it reduces frame rates a significant amount. dyanmic shadowing would be considered graphics code and not gameplay code, and the testing for how illuminated the player is in the world would simply be a line of sight and distance test just like in T1/T2.

Sorry, but no. It's strange to say that with such conviction, without knowing or seeing what's going on in the coding. :huh:

 

Sound prop (not the D3 stuff), AI behavior (and all the incredible behind-the-scenes), the lightgem, even just determining if the player is visible beyond using a single trace (a method useless in a thieving game), to name just a few gameplay factors - these things add up substantially. Do you believe they come free? The lightgem itself drops the framerate by several FPS.

 

I'm assuming that this is also how it's done in tdm

To say "would simply be" above, is not even close. :) Ooh, I'm hoping to see sparhawk and Ishtvan do some schoolin'! They'll make yer ears bleed.

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... and the testing for how illuminated the player is in the world would simply be a line of sight and distance test just like in T1/T2.

 

LOL. Where did you get THIS from? There is no way that such a simple algorithm could determine how illuminated you are. Actually the illumination code is one of the most performance intensive code in the whole mod. This is also due to not having acess to the renderengine, so when Doom 3 is released as GPL, we can make it better.

Gerhard

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It's not as simple as looking at the light position and properties. Lights have their own shaders. They can have several render passes, each with a different image, and set of options. Each render pass can change its shape, size, coloration, and other things based on shader parameters and time. For example, when you see lights behind moving fans in D3, it's not actually calculating shadows from the fan, or even rotating the light entity... The light is still, but the rotating shadows are how the light's shader is set up to appear. It's simply not feasible for us to try to recreate the calculations that Doom 3 is doing.

 

The only good way to test the player's lighting, is to render something in the player's position and see how it's lit. (with any other way you'll have problems with certain shadows not being dark, or certain bright rooms not being bright - think T2X) However, the D3 SDK only allows us to render screenshots to files - which would be too slow - so Sparhawk has managed to hack the game somewhat and write code that can read what's on the screen and send it back to the SDK code, but it has its own performance penalties. Hopefully when the full D3 source is released, we'll be able to do the light-gem the "right" way to improve performance, but for now Sparhawk's light gem behaves great with respect to testing player lighting.

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The only good way to test the player's lighting, is to render something in the player's position and see how it's lit. (with any other way you'll have problems with certain shadows not being dark, or certain bright rooms not being bright - think T2X) However, the D3 SDK only allows us to render screenshots to files - which would be too slow - so Sparhawk has managed to hack the game somewhat and write code that can read what's on the screen and send it back to the SDK code, but it has its own performance penalties.

 

Oh, so that's what the render pipe is for.

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