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Bluddy
04-29-2019, 05:00 PM
A lot of people have complained about graphical issues. I think DL looks pretty good, but I think it's good to try and come up with some realistic (and not so realistic) improvements that can be made to the graphical engine.

Bluddy
04-29-2019, 05:16 PM
* As mentioned elsewhere, I think the shadow map needs to be optimized heavily. A 15fps drop on high end cards is too much, especially when the game can sometimes drop by around 20fps by itself. This can be done with the current ARB programs, but it's obviously simpler in glsl.

* Shadows on small plants/grass should be removed (i.e. noshadow 1). It doesn't look natural because a) shadows at that level shouldn't really be visible. b) shadows at that level are diffuse c) we're simulating a lot more small grass than is really modeled using textures and bumpmapping, and putting in those little shadows takes away the illusion.

* I recommend looking at some video of Titan Quest (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pbJu8Y_l2s&t=483s) for ideas. This is the game that preceded Grim Dawn, and it's quite beautiful for its age.

* Notice that ground textures are more patchy and larger than those of DL. I wonder if the tile system is a limiting factor in DL, as is the coarse texture mixing. You look at the ground a LOT in these games.

* Also, Titan Quest uses a LOT of plants -- grass, wheat etc.

* The plants rock, moving back and forth, when a creature animates nearby.

* Bows shoot actual arrows, together with a white motion trail indicating the attack. It doesn't make sense to use glowing projectiles for non-magical arrows.

Bluddy
04-29-2019, 06:00 PM
* This is relevant (http://www.iquilezles.org/www/articles/texturerepetition/texturerepetition.htm). I think larger ground textures, as well as reducing texture repetition using technique 1 or 3 in the link, would provide a lot of bang for the buck in terms of improving image quality in the game.

megaflux
04-30-2019, 10:55 AM
titans quest looks ALOT better than grim dawn too though..

i think the low rez models turn people off more than anything else in soldak games. i mean alot of diablo 3 or torchlight 2 had barely any foliage and people played the heck out of them (out of 10 people who have "played" titan quest i would bet only 2 played it at launch, it wasnt nearly as impressive as it is now and without things like lilith mod it was almost a waste of time before this last dlc).

sure the tiles could use some work, but i honestly see the knee jerk reaction coming from the character models and fx on spells.

im betting your frame drops have more to do with running around spamming earthquake all day than they do with actual shadows.

Bluddy
04-30-2019, 11:01 AM
sure the tiles could use some work, but i honestly see the knee jerk reaction coming from the character models and fx on spells.


I hear that, but Titan Quest doesn't have fancy models and still looks good. A lot of that comes from just composition of scenery though. I do think the animation is also lacking, but that's really expensive to fix.


im betting your frame drops have more to do with running around spamming earthquake all day than they do with actual shadows.


Oh no -- Shadow knows what I'm talking about. On a high end graphics card, you lose around 15fps from turning on shadow maps. They need to be fixed -- they're implemented the wrong way for modern GPUs.

Bluddy
05-01-2019, 11:16 PM
I looked carefully, comparing DOP to Zombasite. As old as DOP is, it looks more 'professional' in the outside areas and forests. This is because the grassy areas don't rely on textures, which look generally weak. Instead, there's a ton of grass deposited on those areas, making them look good.

Castruccio
05-01-2019, 11:34 PM
I looked carefully, comparing DOP to Zombasite. As old as DOP is, it looks more 'professional' in the outside areas and forests. This is because the grassy areas don't rely on textures, which look generally weak. Instead, there's a ton of grass deposited on those areas, making them look good.

I always thought DOP was Soldak's best looking game. Still do.

Bluddy
05-02-2019, 12:08 PM
I always thought DOP was Soldak's best looking game. Still do.

Boot it up. Pay attention to how much grass is everywhere. That's what makes the difference IMO. That and more restraint in terms of varieties of trees and bushes per biome.

Zombasite and DL both have low-quality ground textures for the outside. They're low resolution and they're extremely noisy. The earth textures from DOP were nicer than the textures Zombasite has. The mulch texture from Zombasite is kinda nice, especially because it also has bumpmapping that highlights the pieces it's supposed to represent, but it's still not great.

Now the tiling system limits the kind of textures you can have: you can't have any patterns, or they'll be obvious and repetitive -- unless the patterns are supposed to be there. That's why caves look good; tiled floors look good; the dunes of deserts look good etc.

But the relative weakness of the textures can be offset by a lot of grasses and bushes. Big swaths of grass with a few bald spots of ground make for great, natural-looking grasslands, for example. Unfortunately, the grasses in DL aren't great either. They're made fairly badly using alpha transparency, meaning that there's a lot of grass that's there, but you can't even see it, when it's supposed to be covering up the ground.

Bluddy
05-02-2019, 12:15 PM
One way to solve the texture pattern repetition problem is what I linked above: rather than the current method of alpha blending with 2 textures one on top of the other, you can use a fragment shader to blend neighboring tiles together. You'd then get the effect you have now, plus the ability to take the same texture and tile it next to itself, with one of the textures rotated or mirrored. Of course you wouldn't want this for places where the pattern is important, but in places where you don't want to show a clear pattern, it would really help.

Bluddy
05-09-2019, 11:50 AM
Shadow, when placing two different adjacent textures, how does the engine decide which one will blend into the other ie. which one will have the alpha mask applied to it, revealing the other one beneath?

Shadow
05-09-2019, 12:32 PM
Shadow, when placing two different adjacent textures, how does the engine decide which one will blend into the other ie. which one will have the alpha mask applied to it, revealing the other one beneath?

If I remember correctly, the base texture will be whatever is actually in that location, then it will blend in all neighbor textures.

Bluddy
05-09-2019, 12:37 PM
Right, and if you have two different textures next to each other, you can't have them both blend into each other, right? One should stay whole, and the adjacent one should blend, if I'm thinking through this correctly. Is there a flag in the editor about which one should blend and which one should not, or is there a scheme to determine it? Or am I thinking about it wrong?

Castruccio
05-10-2019, 11:52 PM
* As mentioned elsewhere, I think the shadow map needs to be optimized heavily. A 15fps drop on high end cards is too much, especially when the game can sometimes drop by around 20fps by itself. This can be done with the current ARB programs, but it's obviously simpler in glsl.

* Shadows on small plants/grass should be removed (i.e. noshadow 1). It doesn't look natural because a) shadows at that level shouldn't really be visible. b) shadows at that level are diffuse c) we're simulating a lot more small grass than is really modeled using textures and bumpmapping, and putting in those little shadows takes away the illusion.

* I recommend looking at some video of Titan Quest (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pbJu8Y_l2s&t=483s) for ideas. This is the game that preceded Grim Dawn, and it's quite beautiful for its age.

* Notice that ground textures are more patchy and larger than those of DL. I wonder if the tile system is a limiting factor in DL, as is the coarse texture mixing. You look at the ground a LOT in these games.

* Also, Titan Quest uses a LOT of plants -- grass, wheat etc.

* The plants rock, moving back and forth, when a creature animates nearby.

* Bows shoot actual arrows, together with a white motion trail indicating the attack. It doesn't make sense to use glowing projectiles for non-magical arrows.

I just want to second this suggestion about the optimizing the shadow mapping. I have a GTX 970 and it doesn't handle the shadow map all that well. The frame rate is much better on simple shadows, which really shouldn't be the case on a 970. As it stands, I'm not sure how many people playing this game could really run shadow map in its current state at a stable and decent FPS.

Shadow
05-14-2019, 05:55 PM
I looked carefully, comparing DOP to Zombasite. As old as DOP is, it looks more 'professional' in the outside areas and forests. This is because the grassy areas don't rely on textures, which look generally weak. Instead, there's a ton of grass deposited on those areas, making them look good.

You actually can get more ground cover in Zombasite & Din's Legacy. Go to the console and change the user var r_detailModels to 1.0 (default is 0.5/that's also the max in options screen).

Bluddy
05-14-2019, 09:19 PM
You actually can get more ground cover in Zombasite & Din's Legacy. Go to the console and change the user var r_detailModels to 1.0 (default is 0.5/that's also the max in options screen).

Oh cool! Playing around with it quickly, 0.7-0.8 looks really nice, while 1.0 might be overkill.

I've changed my mind somewhat since making that comment. Different games do things differently, depending on what artistic abstraction they're using. Interestingly, the grassland ground texture in DOP was kinda odd, but you could never see it because of the foliage, whereas the texture in the town had this flowing quality to it and could probably represent an abstraction of grass a little better. I tried it in DL though and it doesn't look good -- the pattern stands out too much.

As for genre differences, for an FPS, high grass looks much better than a texture. But for an ARPG that's viewed from high up, a good looking texture can be better, and one problem that occurs for example in DOP is that too much vegetation can obscure items on the ground and make them hard to notice.

So my ideal for DL at this point is good looking ground textures + a little more vegetation.