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#79317 03/07/03 11:33 PM
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Who told you that what you believe to be true must be true! It is not true.
Firstly, the jerkiness you experience must be related to mouse pointer update rate and image update rate mismatch. If a character is involved then that burp is related to time of character generation stopping your character from smoothly advancing at the expected rate. Once the characters are generated you shall never feel that jerk even if you exit and re-enter the abbey hundreds of times.

Only I do experience it again when I move from section to section. It has nothing to do with the mouse. What did yuo mean by this? I realise there is a jerk as random stats are appied to objects and creatures, but they are almost undetectable. I mean pauses that last a quarter to half a second.

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One serious cause of jerkiness is the loading of wave files from media on demand, such as that monolog you say on entering the abbey for the first time calling it a creepy place.


That is to be expected. And that's why I want the sound files on my hard-drive.

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Everything the program needs within a world MUST be in RAM.

Wrong. Everything you can see and hear must be in RAM. The rest can be omitted until it is required.

Says who, YOU? If it is not in RAM then the programmer made a mistake he regrets right now reading your sad words. Everything within a world needed by that world is absolutely REQUIRED.
When would be that UNTIL, when you need to see it and oops we have to load it and your game JERKS? Give me a break. I am not telling you what the geniuses do here and there; I am telling you what we teach in the University for the want-to-be-programmers.

Emphasis on can. It is not a requirement. In the strictest sense, you only require your immediate surroundings in RAM. Look at Dungeon Siege. It is one entire seemless world. Is that all loaded into RAM when you start the game?

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Even the conversations are in RAM.

Again, only as required.

You misunderstood my quote, as I pointed to the conversations archive that you seem to have never read.
It is on the page right before your commented status.

Sorry, my mistake. I took that as the spoken conversation.

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You are right that data-stream rates are fine, but access time between the two is a great difference and was my point from the beginning. To access a file on a disc takes about 3 or 4 seconds. To access the same file on a hard drive is almost instantanious.

And that is why we taught our students that critical data must be RAM Resident.
Your pseudo-instantaneous does not measure up to multiples of the speed of light which is not instantaneous either. So loading time must be eliminated altogether because execution time is quite a burden by itself.
Now, did you understand?

I said almost instantanious. I do understand the principals (spelling?) of inertia and energy flow. Yes, I do understand and see your point. My opinion on the matter is that medai should be cached ahead of time, but still remain within memory size restrictions.

For someone so concerned about hard-drive space, you seem to have a lot of RAM to spare. That is another luxury many do not have.

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Any time spent in loading and saving data is dead time in which the program is technically HALTED

Not necessarily. You can have hard-drive operations in the back-gorund. Windows does it all the time. Provided the code managing the data flow doesn't take CPU time away form the game processes, there is little trouble.

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No game designer may gamble by keeping that data on a hard disk as quality tests shall disqualify the design instantly.

Yet that is one of the key components of almost every business database in the world.
Databases aren't stored in memory because they are too big.

So what is your freaking point, or did you even have a point at all, or are you just quibbling?
Arenít we discussing real time performance of RPG games!
What does BUSINESS applications have to do with our discussion sir?

My freaking point is that you seem to be saying that hard-drives are an inappropriate choice for storing excess data required during run-time. Swap files and real-time hard-drive access is used in most software applications, whether business or entertainment. Plenty of games use hard-drives effectively for storage of temporarily static components.

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Hard disk space is not an issue for you but it is a very big issue for millions of computer based applications users.

And RAM for the rest of us.

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Swapping (floppy) disks is definitely responsible for half the crazy people on this forum including me. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

I hate swapping discs too, but I don't mind it during installation if it means not having to do it agian.

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Installation should never happen because there are systems that run from flash memory cards.

Which most computers do not support. When flash memory takes off, after DVD does, I'm sure software will be released on it and it will be better than ever.
Hell, let's just go back to cartridges. They're fast and have the storage of whatever modern ROM chips can provide.

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This means that for now it is a step of technical advancement to load and run applications automatically with every possible plug and play automatic detection.


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In the future, your DVD-RAM should be your bootable drive from which you may run your favourite or multiple operating systems.

So you put the Windows (or Linux or whatever) disc in, turn on the computer, swap discs to load your application, and swap discs again to get the datafiles you need to work/play.

I hated doing that on the Commodore Amiga 1000.

I think if you can have all of your favourite applications on the hard-drive, it takes away the need to ever swap discs for any application ever. If a reliable alternative to CD-Key can be invented, it would be a disc free system. Hell, you could download everything you ever needed off the Internet!

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Take for example Play Station II and realise that a DVD application does exist in the manner I describe.

Good point. Aside from the OS is hard-coded into the machine, that is a near perfect hard-drive free game system. If they could somehow save save-games to the DVD, it would be even better.

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Do you think that Play Station II is jerky in its performance because its games run from DVD or CD?

Good point. Although, I'm yet to see a Play Station game that has an entire world in one and not separate levels that take minutes to load. If you can point me at one, I'll have a look.

Sleep well! Stay bouncy!

#79318 04/07/03 12:04 AM
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On the other hand, during playing in one and only one world at a time, you gain the fabulous digital sound tracks streaming directly from DVD into your sound card and on to your valuable ears. Similarly, video-clips may be played as native video formats directly into hardware equipped for playback of MP3 formats or whatever the standard may be.


OK, you are an expert in this field as you say. But experts seem to lose contact to the "real" world (believe me, I am an expert in that!) and tend to forget what was before they created some cool tings.

Means: Haven't you ever played a game from CD by now? Let alone the loading time at the beginning of a "level", especially the sound issue is very annoying. Why annoying you will ask? I don't know what a real expert can do with CDs/DVDs, but my experience with games shows me that there is a significant amount of loading whenever music and sound is involved. DivDiv has different music tracks for different areas for example... RRR might have the same. Then maybe different music tracks for different fight situations... not to forget the speech system... and all of that loading from DVD? I still doubt the fact that this might get as fast as from HDD - and (which is almost more important for me) the drive would have to work all the time. Now, do you know how annoying such a working DVD-Rom can be?
Fact is that personally, I always disabled music whenever it was directly from CD. And I'd rather chop my hands off than doing this with DivDiv's or RRR's music (which will be as good as in DivDiv I hope).


Did I ever say that CDs or DVDs better a HD on access time! Quote me.
The problem in this discussion is that you all seem to be arguing on the wrong issue.
I am one step ahead on solution.
If LOADING time is a problem then we have to get rid of LOADING during RUNTIME.
A good programmer must make the decision of WHAT is necessary and needed versus unnecessary from a time sequence criterion point of view.
Within a world, the graphic ELEMENTS are not that much of a huge chunk of data before assembly.
With fast processors, and Swen announced Pentium III 445 MHZ as a minimal requirement and 128 MB RAM. I think that Larian Studios have already calculated the requirements. Add to that the hint on demanding DX 9.0 compliancy for direct 3D and bingo it is all clear.
So basically speaking they shall LOAD the graphic elements of a world into RAM then assemble the world by executing the code. As for sound and music streams they may be channelled through DMA advanced architecture from DVD or CD to the sound card directly under code instructions without any LOADING
If I am still not clear on this topic please let me know the point on which you may wish for me to expand on.

Kind regards.


#79319 04/07/03 12:11 AM
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Hi all. I think I just found the right topic to join the general discussion <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

@DAD:
Sorry, but I somehow fail to see your point. Why?

First: Consoles use the system you described. There are no rpgs like <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/div.gif" alt="" /> or Baldur's Gate for consoles...

Second: RAM isn't big enough to load all data required for playing a game. Harddrives are superior to dvd drives concerning speed...

As long as no one can come up with a convincing explanation/solution for these two issues, I'll still install all my games to my loved harddisk.

And now to get back on topic: If I had the choice between a cd and a dvd edition, I would take the latter; but, as many people already mentioned, I'm not sure if the time is already right for such experiments...

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/offtopic.gif" alt="" /> Nice to be here and I hope <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/riftrunner.gif" alt="" /> will be a great game...


Firstly, I did not describe any consoles.
Secondly, Swen already announced that <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/riftrunner.gif" alt="" /> demands 128 MB RAM and those who do not have that much MUST upgrade their systems to play the game.
Thirdly: We need not compare the access time of data from a media when no access is required at all.
Fourthly: thank you for making the right choice by favouring a DVD.
Sixthly: Welcome to the forum. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


#79320 04/07/03 12:28 AM
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Getting pretty tired of Mister DAD knows it all smirk


Drink your Super Yellow Potion. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />
You might be able to keep up then. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

But how on earth did you guess that I knew it all if I never revealed that secret. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />
You must have noticed. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />
Keep it as a secret, OK? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />

#79321 04/07/03 12:47 AM
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You have to be kidding me. What is taught in University is the one and only truth? LOL


Academia is the house of research and knowledge.
Ignorance is not to be shamed of for those who seek knowledge.
Others SHOULD duck.
You are welcome to challenge a professor on his subject, but you should welcome the black ball and the F.
Fair is fair, right?

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

#79322 04/07/03 03:17 AM
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We seem to have made progress in this discussion although it was advancing on a parallel rail rather than perfectly on topic.
I feel being forced to be more verbose and I should apologise to those who love short notes.

Now I shall not wade into simulations such as Sim City more than just mentioning it for reflection.
Please recall any game that comes with an editor to grasp the concepts.
1- There is a basic land size option.
2- There is a basic pallet for the terrain and water types which are based on bitmap tiles.
3- There are land/ sea options which you may overlay the scenery with.
4- There are static or non-functional graphic features that do not register hot points detectable by mouse pointer.
5- Finally you add the active graphics coordinates to which the user may interact or is being automated by software.

On the other side of this issue we have a graphics card that comes with a special type of memory accessed by the graphics processor to display its contents.

I shall discard my case where my system can display 1600 x 1200 pixels at full 32 bit colour descriptors.
So let us visit the standards.
Larian Studios was quite professional on the resolution choices to cover the market.
640 x 480, 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 are the standard three resolutions we have around.
Now let us investigate the limits of demanding RAM.
1024 x 768 x 16 bit colour for (565) technique was quite a professional choice.
This means that each screen you see demands 12,582,912 bytes or 12 MB for short.
It so happens that we can define a virtual screen with a much higher resolution and swap memory content in a flash of time the first upper level is 4 visible screen tiles with a total of 48 MB.
The second upper level is 9 visible screen tiles totalling 108 MB.
Now read carefully.
In this situation you have a screen right in front of your eyes and 8 screens ready for scrolling and inspection. With a 128 MB RAM you have 20 MB available for system dynamic link libraries and your game. Some graphics cards come with 32, 64 or 128 MB of Video-RAM, which means that the system is relieved from being concerned about the place in which to place the graphics.
Once your character becomes technically inside a new screen some programmers on sensing that condition reconstructs the set of nine screens and that is a very bad decision.
A much better technique is the mini-map and the virtual border; with all your graphics elements resident in RAM you only need to update the hidden border as your character advances in coordinates without any loading from media during runtime. This means that your virtual screen may be only slightly bigger than the standard resolution such as 1200 x 1000 x 16, which is only 19.2 MB.
Some programmers prefer to use 80 x 80 graphic background tiles while others prefer a 64, 92 or 128 squares for addressing issues, but all should do fine.
The divinity wizard male is the largest graphics description files and they total 172 MB; now that may not be in RAM of course so how does the programmer use those files.
We all know that a character could be standing, walking, running or fighting and simply those files contain all such 3D animations. This fact dictates and demands LOADING data in real time from media to use in the game. There is a technical error made by L.S. in which they keep full graphics of 3D which absolutely unnecessary because you cannot rotate the world. North, South, East and west are fixed for the background.
Your character may be ordered to move in any direction in 360 degrees but only 8 gifs are required per status of motion (Standing, walking, running and fighting), so we are talking about 32 gifs but we need to consider the armour/ weapon combinations too. And here is the dilemma; can those bitmaps be saved statically beside the image lists used for constructing worlds?
Advanced techniques may save the day by applying skins and motion skeletons as well as making house construction sets RAM resident. This means that you shall see your character holding the correct weapon image rather than a standard axe for all axes. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />
This means that you shall see fabulous armour and style sets being animated on the fly.
So rather than wasting the power of your CPU in data transfer between media and RAM the CPU power shall be dedicated to calculate the skins wrapping the skeleton in a specific direction of motion to create a specific gif on the fly and voila. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />
That is why I complained from the fact that <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/div.gif" alt="" /> had hundreds of useless weapons and Swen already acknowledged this problem and :rift; shall have less but more unique and fabulous weapons. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" />
Random battlefield generators mean that no static libraries shall ever be in service of the game in the way it was in <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/div.gif" alt="" />.
So what do we have here now with such very advanced programming technology; we have a graphics construction set rather than Pre-rendered gifs (animated clips).
We have one animation queue to fill rather than 8 at a time and we can do it On The Fly.
If the game demands 64 MB RAM and put every skin and skeletal description in that RAM then you have a fabulous performance that was absolutely impossible on the Z80 Sinclair.
A Pentium III running at 500 MHZ with 128 MB RAM is a very fair demand today.
The data bus never runs at the high frequency of the processor but typically runs at 33 or 66 MHZ only.
Thus, even the RAM data transfers are not as fast as you might believe it is or should be.

Now, by applying THIS advanced programming technology, we eliminate data loading at runtime completely and we do not need to worry about the performance of hard disks CDs or DVDs at runtime.
The music data Stream may be channelled to the audio card to run concurrently and without any supervision keeping the DVD running and hot for an audio-wave clip on demand.
Finally, we may have a bonus of video clips at the end of each act or even at critical quest-completion events to run directly from DVD, and we shall never experience any jerks of any sort whatsoever.

When the game starts, it needs to read a tiny configuration file to setup the resolution appropriately and nothing more. Occasionally you would want to save your game and rather than saving 48 MB for each game you only need to save key information, which is mainly significant numbers for counting things and saving coordinates of those things. My estimate is below 1MB of memory for each save.

So, mainly, our discussion included arguments passing over heads, because I never endorsed the current programming techniques, which demand installation on hard disks as an obvious solution.

My proposal was to adopt a much more advanced programming technology to get rid of hard disk runtime loading dependencies. I believe that Larian Studios are on their way to do just that even though in steps or in a little bit different way.

Read the latest interview with Swen and you shall catch the drift.

Cheers.


Last edited by DAD; 04/07/03 03:21 AM.
#79323 04/07/03 07:59 AM
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Yawn


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#79324 04/07/03 12:43 PM
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Yawn

Indeed.
I didn't read that. It's too much, what are you arguing about anyway, CD or DVD? The game will be on CDs as 9/10 of the consumers don't have DVDroms.

#79325 04/07/03 12:55 PM
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They can do both. I know of a handful of games that were released on both formats. Riven and Baulders Gate spring to mind.

#79326 04/07/03 01:32 PM
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riven? the sequel of myst?
i'm surpriced! wasn't that an "older" game?
that's r(eminds me i just bought myst 3 and hadn't the chanche of playing it yet <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" />


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#79327 04/07/03 01:53 PM
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Exile isn't as good as Riven. It has a story, but is more formulatic than a mysterious adventure. The puzzles are a lot more obvious, except for in the tree.

#79328 04/07/03 03:16 PM
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Voting for 4 CD's. I just see no need to buy one, yet. Maybe when games get to the point of "please insert CD #35 when installing a game, well then I'll buy a DVD. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />

#79329 04/07/03 06:39 PM
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Yeah, I think everyone has to drink a whole lot of Stamina drinks to keep up here

#79331 04/07/03 10:15 PM
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If LOADING time is a problem then we have to get rid of LOADING during RUNTIME.


*slapshisforehead* OMG! Why didn't I think of this before?! This simple idea should have come into my mind years ago! Actually when I played VC-20 games and waited some 10 minutes for a game being loaded from cassette! That was great and you didn't have loading during the rest of the game. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />


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#79332 04/07/03 11:13 PM
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i know...bg has 5 cd's you dont see me going crazy...



+1 CD expantion <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

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If LOADING time is a problem then we have to get rid of LOADING during RUNTIME.

Then we should buy a full garbage bag of RAM and leave <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/riftrunner.gif" alt="" /> to load overnight to play in the morning.

#79333 05/07/03 02:47 PM
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isn't RAM mutch faster then a harddisk?
if the RAM prices is going to get down even more.isn't it possible that in some time (10 years?) the harddisk would be replaced bij some kind of RAM? now that would be nice <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />


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#79334 05/07/03 09:12 PM
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I wonder what the RAMifications of implementing something like that would be <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif" alt="" />


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#79335 06/07/03 12:15 AM
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The othe thing is that most comercial computers have a RAM limit. Mine's about 2.0Gb, not enough to copy a DVD into.

#79336 06/07/03 02:20 AM
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You might try duct tape... I am not sure if it will work <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" /> but maybe DAD succeeded in it.

#79337 09/07/03 07:05 AM
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nice to have healthy arguments all around but things are a tad 2 tense here. or is it just me?

DAD makes good point(s) but just because he knows his stuff (the guy's a pro) & he struts it don't make him a roaring lion. he's telling it like it is. yeah, ok, so he roars a bit.

the matter at heart still stands at where it should be: 4 CDs vs 1 DVD.

DAD, if u're as good as what u say, i sure hope Larian will ask u 2 join the team 2 make the best game ever. just don't make us spend more than what we can afford. ;-)

man, this forum & its populace never cease 2 amaze me. don't hold back your genius now. jest is alright, not sarcasm.

& yes, my 2 cents. & if i'm ever wrong in any way, please accept my apologies & do tell me where i got it wrong.



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