*twirly* Bethesda tech trade-offs

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Shortbread, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Shortbread

    Shortbread Island Hopper
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    The graphics of yesterday... in 1080p.
     
  2. steveOrino

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    Yeah, Bethesda is going to have a lot of competition in this open world RPG genre this gen so they hopefully will do a better job in the visual department at some time. Looks like Skyrim with slightly better asset resolution... at least the PC will have something like ENB to help hide the ugly.
     
  3. DSoup

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    I think Bethesda are consciously aiming for different things with Fallout and Elder Scrolls, certainly compared to The Witcher 3. I completed the Witcher 3 main quest on PS4 and it's a fine looking game with vast, beautiful and diverse environment. It's a beautiful game on consoles and PCs - there's no denying that.

    However, the world is static in that the player, except in a few specific scripted events, can not change the world. This hut will have these things in and it will always be here. The guards will always be one of x limited models. For Fallout 4 (and previously Elder Scrolls games) the player can move things around to extremes. There was those in Oblivion and Skyrim who wanted to steal all the forks or cheese wheels and build a huge pile of cheese wheels anywhere they felt like. Fallout 4 is upping this by being able to build homes and communities. Multiple homes and communities and run trading caravans between them. You want to kill thousands of ghouls and put them in a 20ft high pile? Sure, you can do that and the physics engine and game has to accommodate that.

    Bethesda's RPGs, and more importantly their worlds, are about giving you as much freedom to do whatever that might take your fancy - certainly a lot more than exists in most 3D games. And something has to give. The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 are both open world RPGs but they're still chalk and cheese.

    It's a flawed argument to compare them graphically just as it would be to compare The Last of Us to Fallout 4 because they're post apocalyptic. Would I like Fallout 4 to look better on PS4? Yes, I would. Would I like it to look better at the expense of the freedoms I've come to expect from Bethesda? No, no a million times. The games are built to do very different things. The Witcher 3 is full of identical models with static textures, Fallout 4 is full of more varied (randomised) models using the layered armour model meaning they have a great variety in the equipment they carry and therefore how they look. This type of variation isn't free in terms of CPU or GPU resources.

    While it's common to consider the graphical abilities of games in a silo, games are not designed that way. The graphics have accommodate the game mechanics and the more open and varied and unpredictable you make the game mechanics, you more concessions you need to consider for the graphics. At least on consoles, that's why the PC platform is there - if you throw enough money at it, anything is possible.
     
    #3 DSoup, Oct 31, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  4. morphinapg

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    I was honestly surprised the game was 30fps. When I first saw those graphics, I thought for sure the reason must have been because it was going to be 60fps. They just must not have a very well optimized engine for this gen. There are other open world games that look significantly better at that resolution and frame rate on PS4.
     
  5. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Do those other open world games also let you put hundreds and thousands of objects together and interact with them with physics applied? If not, you're comparing apples and oranges.
     
  6. Shifty Geezer

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    If the game is designed to run at a decent framerate doing just that, but that isn't a part of the core gameplay, is it really a meaningful feature and a worthwhile compromise of the visuals?
     
  7. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    For some it is because you can use objects in the game world to effect combat strategies. More importantly, Bethesda think that these are worthwhile compromises. And using the metrics of commercial success (sales) and critic success (awards) a lot of other people seem to agree. As do Obsidian who created the Fallout franchise and created New Vegas. They had the opportunity to make different decisions and decided to follow what is clearly a popular formula.
     
    #7 DSoup, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  8. Shifty Geezer

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    But hundreds and thousands? People go around putting together piles of hundreds and thousands of things?
     
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  9. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Some people do, others like to use them in decorative ways. Personally I use objects to obscure the enemy's view of me, to create distractions and to use as ammunition. The nice this is in Bethesda games you can use things however you like - within the constraints of the game's physics.

    [​IMG]

    There you go. I guess some folks do it as a challenge.
     
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  10. Shifty Geezer

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    Is it worth sacrificing the quality of the visuals for everyone to allow a few people to stuff a room full of cheese without impacting framerate? Why not have the visuals at a higher base level and let the cheese-stuffers have to work with a lower framerate?

    It depends on how much flexibility requires how much compromised visuals to get the balance right. Targeting bazillions of interactive objects on screen at once is probably overkill.
     
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  11. DSoup

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    Unless Mr Cheese Collector is running a meaty PC, his framerate is suffering. The games seem balanced to handle between several dozen and a few hundred objects - varying depending on size, shape and physical properties of the objects in question. Should freedom to use the environment, and the objects in it, to gamer's advantage be removed for the sake of graphics? Because this is kind of a defining feature of Bethesda's games.

    Perhaps we should accept that not all games are meant for everybody and that developers make different decisions to accomodate their chosen game world mechanics and this will impact the visuals.
     
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  12. Billy Idol

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    We also have to accept that not all 'decisions' game devs make are on purpose and super well thought out with a hidden global secret goal we are to dumb to understand.

    As in every industry, there are just people that are more talented and dedicated to their work and some that are less capable. This especially is true for the tech and graphics aspect of a game...
     
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  13. DSoup

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    I don't know that Bethesda's games have a secret goal with regard to their design intentions. Objects in past games have had clear purpose. In Fallout 4 they have added purpose given objects can now be dismantled into component parts for crafting purposes, e.g. dismantling a microscope for the glass lens for a weapons sight. Like most mechanics in Fallout and Elder Scrolls, their use is not mandatory to complete the main quest line, only there to give the player options.
     
  14. steveOrino

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    Well their engine looks dated regardless. The limitations and crippling engine bugs will have to be documented once the game and striped down dev tools are released but its hard to play devils advocate based on past experience (especially Skyrim). Will we get more surprises like pants-on-head memory allocation/management blunders? lack of compiler optimizations? Broken tools? Terrible scripting limitations? Patches that break functionality and are never fixed? Zero asset creation support or documentation? Guess we will find out.

    I get it. Bethesda is probably going to ride a slightly modified engine till they are forced to change, given that moving an entire engine and tool chain they have been familiar with for a decade or more is not cheap. But I feel many other talented development teams (not held back by legacy tool chains) will try their hand at it and hopefully up the bar on what is possible in an vast open world game while retaining performance.

    This is not hating on Bethesda. For the most part I like their games but I can also expect much more of them given their success in the genre and the army of game modders and tool programers that have kept their games from falling apart at the seams so they are enjoyable long after Bethesda leaves the game for dead.
     
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  15. DSoup

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    I agree the visuals looked dated, anybody with eyes can see the gulf between Fallout 4 and other games on current gen consoles. As for the technical issues that plagued there earlier games, particularly consoles and particularly PS3, we'll have to wait to see!
     
  16. Clukos

    Clukos Bloodborne 2 when?
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    Thing is, with the massive success of their games can they afford to make a new engine that takes into consideration all or at least most of the current engine unique properties? I am almost certain they can achieve better looking graphics without removing them but they probably need to replace the engine in the first place, which is no easy task but one they can probably afford.
     
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  17. Malo

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    I'm sure the hope of millions is that they're secretly working on a new engine completely for the next Elder Scrolls, it's just that obviously Fallout 4 was in production already and there's no way they (publishers, investors etc.) were going to push it back a couple of years at least until it's possibly ready.

    With DX12 out now and everything pushing towards efficient APIs, they have to be doing something rather than just iterating the Gamebryo again and again.
     
  18. DSoup

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    The engine is capable of more, GECK shows that. It's the game. If you want to run hundreds and hundreds of scripts and AI and physics then something is going to give.
     
  19. Lalaland

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    The thing is though the physics in Bethesda games have always been a car crash of sudden acceleration and weird 3rd order effects. What I admire more than the determination to collect 30,000 cheeses or what have you is folk who spend the time to arrange tables or bookshelves with those super flighty object physics. I refuse to believe that the desired features of Gamebryo (thousands of interactive physics objects, accurately tracked) can't be matched with an engine that can allow for seamless country to town transitions, let alone buildings.

    Fallout 4 looks good in the way that every Gamebryo game modified with fan texture packs has looked good which is just underwhelming. Of course that's based on a few leaked screenshots which can't showcase better particle systems, AI or physics so I'll hold off final judgement until I play it myself.
     
  20. Malo

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    I think the argument for a new engine is to be able to provide a much better experience (in line with the best modded Skyrim out there) along with the other features at a better performance that only a new engine targetted at a newer API could achieve. It's not as if the ENBs + mods don't have a very high performance cost that is done with wrapper/injection.
     
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