Next gen graphics API's

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by zoombapup, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. Bad Sector

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    Yes, for 2004 i consider Doom3 to be a good looking game considering that what they were trying to present was presented realistically. But Doom 3 isn't the only "Doom 3 engine" game, there is also Quake 4 (which looked incredible imho) and of course Prey (yes they had to modify it but still they didn't used lightmaps). Also there is Enemy Territory under development (this image has no lightmap, but still it does look very good).

    And of course there is ID Tech 5, id's new engine (based on d3) which while adds penumbral shadows, it still doesn't have lightmaps. Yet, the video shown at WWDC was very good.

    EDIT: to clarify, i'm not against lightmaps or something. I just don't believe that if an engine removes lightmaps will automatically make it look worse, provided of course that adds something else - pure texture mapping alone won't do the trick (possibly).
     
  2. electronicStar

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    All I wanted to say is that in some cases, lightmaps will look better than any other method and will probably be less demanding for the videocard.
     
  3. Bad Sector

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    Well, this
    doesn't sound like this
    so that's why i reacted :) since i completely disagree with the first. However i agree with the second.
     
  4. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    I think you answered your own question right here. The primary blocker for indies looking at next-gen is the content explosion, not the tech.

    I recently consulted for a PC developer whose shader database contained FOUR HUNDRED shaders. Recompiling the shaders from scratch with their not-exactly-optimal tool chain took five hours. And that's just the beginning; building all the art to support these features is really expensive and time consuming.

    I agree that writing engines these days is getting easier as the tech advances. It's funny because you still hear some indie devs talk about how shaders are "scary", when in reality shaders make things massively easier by providing a far more generalized framework. Of course that's speaking from the engine development standpoint and ignoring the "min spec supported hardware" argument (which I agree with).
     
  5. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    400 shaders ? Man, they need to work on their SDK/tool-chain! Most of my games ship with a dozen at most and I get plenty out of all of them!

    Anyways, yes, content can be the killer. So don't write an RPG or FPS or anything that needs 50 characters and a terrabyte of level data. There's a shitload of smaller games that can be done better (visually) in 3D with little extra workload in the art pipeline.
     
  6. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    You missed my point. I've always said that small (but good) teams get much more work done than big teams. Small, good teams get work done. Large crap teams have meetings to talk about what didn't get done since the last meeting. There's no such thing as a large good team.

    What I can't believe is that a publisher would believe any of this.

    I thought the publisher accepted-standard team size for these kinda projects was roughly a googolplex and if you can't field that many, then saying "We don't need them" goes in as "We don't have them so we must be a crap company"
     
  7. ChrisP

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    I didn't think Doom 3 looked very good, but I put that down to the art and art style rather than the technology. The technology is quite good, and with the right art it can look stunning. See, for example, this Doom 3 mod. Some of the screenshots are absolutely beautiful, and it's all done in Doom 3, with the standard renderer.

    Good art is the main reason why games look good, not the renderer tech. The tech can help, sure, but it's in a supporting role. If your art sucks, then your game will look like crap, and that won't change no matter how many DX10 shaders you throw at it. Conversely, with great art you can create great-looking games even if your technology is quite basic. For example, check out these screenshots of a fan-made mission for Thief 2. The graphics are (arguably) reminiscent of Half-Life 2, but this is from a game engine that dates back to 1995, and whose renderer has a feature set comparable to that of Unreal. Unreal 1.

    (The best situation of course is to have great tech and great art. But my point is you can get away with having great art and bad tech more easily than great tech and bad art.)

    All of which goes to show that use of lightmaps or not is pretty much irrelevant with regard to visual quality, and engine quality. If lightmaps are appropriate, great, use them! If not, then don't. I think Doom 3's use of stencil shadows and fully dynamic lighting was appropriate given the setting and the mood they were trying to evoke.
     
  8. zoombapup

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    Although if those theif images didnt have the lighting in them and were fully ambient, people would be saying they look bad.

    If you look at most of the E3 trailers, there's very much a "sameness" to them, because by and large theyre using similar techniques (normal maps on characters etc).

    I think visual STYLE is far more important than tech, but having the right tech can help pull off the style (look at deblob and then imagine that with fully ambient envs with no shading baked in).
     
  9. voodooshaman

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    Speaking of next-gen/DX10 stuff ... can I reignite the old OpenGL/DX debate again? :D How is OpenGL doing these days compared to DX10? Is it hopelessly out of date? Can it handle geometry shaders (and other DX10-related features) in a nice cross-platform manner?

    I've done a bit of googling, and heard about something called the 'Long Peaks API' coming in 2007 sometime. Sounds like a big rewrite.
     
  10. tagged

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    Actually I believe they stated 30. 10 programmers and 20 artists, which is where you probably thought 18 from ;)

    <EDIT> Cut from the presentation:
    ~10 Programmers
    ~20 Artists
    ~24 Months Development Cycle
    ~$10 Million Budget

    $10m... WOW! I remember reading about how Black and White was $2m and thinking it was astronomical.
     
    #30 tagged, Jul 19, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2007
  11. supagu

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    OGL has been stagnant for a while, but yeah it will be revived with some new API's later this year.

    It can handle geometry shaders using extensions i think (or you can just get nvidia cg2.0 when thats available)

    under vista im getting nearly double the performance under dx10 than OGL and my dx10 renderer is rendering nearly twice as much (dx10 does nice shadows, ogl doesnt render shadows)
     
  12. Bad Sector

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    The nice thing about OpenGL is that since it is not "locked" to any operating system (like DX10 being locked in Vista), it provides those features under XP and Linux.

    As of OpenGL running very slower under Vista, i'm sure you're doing something really wrong. OpenGL drivers were forgiving in XP an less, but with Vista they're not anymore. There is an article in nVidia (or opengl.org, i don't remember) saying how to improve performance in Vista.
     
  13. Fabio

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    and Mac, and..
     
  14. princec

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    Particularly Mac...

    Cas :)
     
  15. Bad Sector

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    I'm talking about DX10 stuff here. I think GeForce 8800 is not supported in Macs yet.
     
  16. princec

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    You know, I have no idea what DX10 even really means.

    Cas :)
     
  17. zoombapup

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    Yeah, I must admit I was tempted to play with my 8800GTX to see how the geometry shader holds up in real world tests. But then I read about developing for DX10 being vista only and I'm not ready to move to that just yet (because I dont have to).

    So, I've been wondering if I shouldnt move to a GLSL based solution, or at the very least one that can work across GLSL/HLSL/CG etc.

    Dunno though. Generality kind of makes everything less performant.
     
  18. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Stick with DX9. It does shitloads of stuff very well. Ignore pre sm2.0 and the world's your oyster.

    Most of the new stuff in DX10 is not really required for games that we'll be doing and it's gonna be a bloody long time before it's deployed en masse. Even devs aren't cueing up for it yet.

    Unlike previous new versions, DX10 is effectively a new platform. Approach it like you would developing for 360 or PS3. Only you'll get sales this decade on the latter two!
     
  19. zoombapup

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    I'm not actually bothered about sales actually Paul :)

    I'm more interested in the possibilities it opens up.

    Going with GLSL would allow me to experiment with the DX10 feature set without needing vista anyway. So I dont see that as a bad thing.

    Maybe Cg2.0 would be the way to go though. Dunno.

    Maybe microsoft will try and make them make it vista only. Which is bullshit for DX10 stuff really. Like the videocard really cares what OS its rendering for. Sheesh.

    I'm mostly experimenting with graphics techniques to be honest because I'm feeling a bit rusty. Havent done commercial dev for nearly 4 years now and I'm feeling a bit out of it (I dropped off a lot of the private dicussion sites I used to frequent because I got tired of hearing a lot of the same old commercial game dev retoric).

    Strangely, I'm now tired of the usual casual game dev retoric too :) hoho!
     
  20. Bad Sector

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    When i said "DX10 stuff" i meant functionality introduced for DirectX 10, not the DX10 API. This functionality is available in OpenGL too and can be used via extensions in Vista, XP and Linux (given that your hw supports it). For example, using the EXT_geometry_shader4 and EXT_gpu_shader4 extensions you can use geometry shaders.

    The whole topic on DX10 features is not to make your game "DX10 only" (not even big companies do that) but to add support for it or at least learn it.
     

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