Excessive detail

Excessive detail

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Caydr
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Excessive detail

Post by Caydr » 17 Jun 2007, 21:17

I felt like bitching, so here I go.

No amount of detail is excessive if it's a unit that will only be seen in numbers of 50 or fewer in any realistic setting, for instance, a nuke launcher. If I remodelled a nuke launcher to be 1,000 triangles, it wouldn't be excessive. Even if I went to 10,000 triangles, you're never going to see more than one or two.

That's the opinion I had before I bought a GeForce 8800.

My opinion is now, "Excessive detail" is impossible. If I had the time, I'd remodel fleas at 1,000 triangles. The reason is, you'd need at least 600 of them to drop the game below 60 FPS - and even then, you'd hit 60 FPS because of the pathfinding required sooner than you'd hit it due to an overabundance of detail. If I remodelled commanders to 5,000 triangles each, I'd still feel justified. You are guaranteed to see a maximum of 10 of them at one time, or about how much the average graphics card would giggle about.

The definitive formula is:

If a unit must be seen in numbers beyond which the pathfinding engine becomes the main bottleneck, even on a top-of-the-line CPU, detail that bugger all to hell.


Geforce 8800 GTS 320mb is $270-$310 currently, and is the fastest thing you've ever seen. It could render the universe in a little less time than it takes to order a pizza. This is despite it being only a few months old, imagine how much less it could be by the time a large-scale mod is complete.

Don't develop mods for NOW, develop them for WHEN THEY'LL BE DONE. At the price of a single 8800, you get a card that makes the fastest 7xxx series quad SLI configuration look like a toy. And that's today! The smallest real mod project will take at least 6 months to come to full completion. 6 months from now they'll be much cheaper and even FASTER ones will be available! This is exponential growth. Make units that are 100 triangles. Big whoop, you can get 17,000 of them onscreen with common hardware. You can get 1,700,000 of them onscreen with an 8800. Woohoo. I know I'd love to have seventeen million units running around. Only problem is, no processor can handle it, so you're at a hard limit of about 500-1000 units, so all your optimization is a waste of time and effort, and it'll look like crap. Sorry, optimized crap.

Don't take it to the same extreme as I do if you want, but it is officially "OK" to require people to upgrade their pre-millennial computers in order to play what amounts to a brand-new game. This isn't TA. We need not delete faces on the underside of units. We need not delete geometry that won't be seen except rarely. We can draw details that most people will never even notice, it's allowed. Spring should automatically BSoD anyone who attempts to run a mod with any units that have less than 100 triangles apiece.
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KDR_11k
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Post by KDR_11k » 17 Jun 2007, 22:35

Caydr, let's not forget that many people playing Spring have cards that throw "missing extension" errors if they enable any details. Your 8800 is nice, I'm runnign a 6800 and I think you can find everything down to a Riva TNT in the playerbase. Very few people have a 300$ graphics card even among the regular gamers.
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Relative
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Post by Relative » 17 Jun 2007, 22:39

Screw you KDR!! OWNERS OF THE 8800 GTS/GTX, UNITE!! :twisted:
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AF
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Post by AF » 17 Jun 2007, 22:44

Caydr you have amde a gigantic assumption thats in the wrong.

Most users arent running top notch hardware.

Most users arent willing to buy the latest hardware as it is.

Geforce 8 series and Radeon r600 series cards arent brilliant. The drivers just arent upto scratch.

But most of all

Its not polycount itself that cripples a gpu. Any 5 year old gpu can draw millions of triangles, thats what theyre best at. But when has a triangle made a unit look pretty beyond a certain point?

So lets look at things

1) SHADERS

Its all fine but than 500 poly unit can look the same as that 10k poly while being half the filesize, twice as fast and look twice as pretty. Fine it could go down to 150 polys and be the optimized crap you talk about but more geometry != better graphics after a point.

Shaders are the next move on and shaders use most gpu power. More polys more shader claculations, more gpu work.

2) COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Wow I just upgraded my computer because I wanted ot play that new mod. *looks to the left* of look there's 10-20 computers with small incremental changes and none of them can play spring.

We should not be raising system requirements every 6 months, we should be lowering them! What you are saying is we should sacrifice having a scalable engine and alienate our userbase in favour of people with money to spend every year on the latest and greatest.

I'm good in general at RTS games, I like playing them, I specialize in them. This is not because I chose RTS games. Growing up I didnt have the money for the latest and greatest or even the standard blog hardware. I didnt have money for games, so RTS games such as TA and starcraft which ran on pretty much any computer where my games.

Imagine what the OTA community would say if you cranked up the system requirements according to moores law along with computer hardware? I doubt ppl would have bought OTA in the numbers they did. I know many ppl who wont move to spring because they run TA fine on their old 233mhz PCs and dont want to throw them out when they can happily play a good RTS without spending $200-$300 on the latest gfx card, especilly when you can buy an entire computer for less than that.

As a user with a Geforce 8800GTS like you, but with the next model up the 640MB not the 320MB, I have to disagree. I've been running with this card since february.

The system specs your talking about are the sort of hardware grunt currently in use by less than 1% of this community. A lot of the communtiy has issues running with shadows antialiasing and reflective shaders turned on. Only a handful of people can even turn on dynamic water, something even my 8800 cant handle.
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KDR_11k
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Post by KDR_11k » 17 Jun 2007, 22:45

There's a difference between detail and waste. Making a tiny tube 16 sided is waste. Using those polygons to model every bolt on the surface is excessive detail but at least you're using the polygons for something. Commercial games with 5000 poly models look pretty because they're just as optimized as every other model rahter than just sloppily made because "we can afford it". Optimization is to make better use of your resources, when you require a 8800 the mod better looks prettier than Company of Heroes.
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smoth
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Post by smoth » 17 Jun 2007, 23:14

In all fairness most units in my project, gundam, have 1000+ triangles per unit. However, there IS a difference between well used polies and waisted polies. I am not sure what suddenly promted this but tell them "get bent" caydr. I have never cared that you used high poly count. I always felt you just waste them on needless faces as kdr is saying.

In the end as I have said before do what you want, you are going to do that anyway. Again, I fully support using higher polies on models but using a bevel/extrude to bring out details needlessly is bad form.
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KDR_11k
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Post by KDR_11k » 17 Jun 2007, 23:25

Dude, just post a closeup of a Zaku and compare it with one of Caydr's models of a similar polycount. That should end this debate.
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AF
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Post by AF » 17 Jun 2007, 23:34

That and no amount of geometry is going to beat an good texture job
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imbaczek
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Post by imbaczek » 17 Jun 2007, 23:54

...except when geometry is the texture, which is how the real world kinda works ;p

anyway, there's no point in making fleas 1000 polys when they take up like 16 pixels of screen real estate AND move so fast that people don't care how they look like.
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smoth
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Post by smoth » 18 Jun 2007, 00:10

KDR_11k wrote:Dude, just post a closeup of a Zaku and compare it with one of Caydr's models of a similar polycount. That should end this debate.
Eh, I am not going to get into that. I have nothing to prove, in my mind I have proven to make nice models. Hell, the acguy with his arm extension segements and ROUND geomitry was like 1500 triangles. That and my gelgoog make me smile.. altough I am sure I will soon out do those two in the future. :P.
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AF
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Post by AF » 18 Jun 2007, 00:11

The continuous improvements of gundam appear to be following Moores law. This can only mean good things for the screenshot page.
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Zpock
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Post by Zpock » 18 Jun 2007, 00:42

Not to mention that every tricky polygon you add to the model makes UV mapping and texturing harder and harder to do. Using the texture as much as possible for details is an easy choise.

However, I would love to see 9k uber detailed models running around in spring in some mod.
Last edited by Zpock on 18 Jun 2007, 00:44, edited 1 time in total.
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trepan
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Post by trepan » 18 Jun 2007, 00:44

FWIW,
The next big lua feature will allow you to change
the unit models by manipulating the display lists.
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FLOZi
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Post by FLOZi » 18 Jun 2007, 01:03

trepan wrote:FWIW,
The next big lua feature will allow you to change
the unit models by manipulating the display lists.
:shock:

Could we use LUA to implement LOD?

Even if we can, probably wouldn't be very efficient? :(
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Ishach
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Post by Ishach » 18 Jun 2007, 01:17

Gundam is more detailed than ba but still dosent look very good and it brings my high end computer down to 20fps late game


I'd rather AA kept the same models and just had prettier textures
Last edited by Ishach on 18 Jun 2007, 02:00, edited 1 time in total.
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smoth
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Post by smoth » 18 Jun 2007, 01:43

I think that is more the fact that the units in gundam have like 98% of them are bipedal units. I find that animations can really really eat up fps.
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Peet
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Post by Peet » 18 Jun 2007, 01:53

Ishach wrote:Gundam is more detailed than spring
The mod...is more detailed than the engine? o_O
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Ishach
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Post by Ishach » 18 Jun 2007, 02:00

ba is spring
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rattle
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Post by rattle » 18 Jun 2007, 02:49

So if a sheep goes baaa it actually says spriiiing, right?
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SwiftSpear
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Post by SwiftSpear » 18 Jun 2007, 03:16

I'm not against "excessive detail" I'm against wasted polis. Adding poli count doesn't increase detail, it just increases poli count. Model with all the detail you need, within reason of course, but model efficiently.
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