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Author Topic: Some feature suggestions  (Read 9545 times)

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Uhfgood

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Some feature suggestions
« on: February 28, 2003, 07:41:34 PM »

Why not allow the software engine be able to do everything the hardware engine does (even advanced effects), even if it's not very fast?  Because I see no reason to use any special features if someone without a 3d accelerator can't use it.  It would take some of the game away, and if I had to, i'd rather just use the base features so that someone without the hardware can play the same game as someone with.

The other suggestion is to support music module playback (.mod, .xm, etc) without going to something like fmod or bass, at least unless you're planning on buying a resale license (and i'm sure they're expensive).

While Ogg is better than mp3 for just about everything, the music files would still be huge, of course if you have dialog you'd use ogg anyways but still, mod musics would be neat :-)

Keith
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Mnemonic

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2003, 09:35:36 PM »

Sorry, but I disagree. The compatibility mode is there only to be compatible with the (few) old video cards. My long term plan is to drop the software renderer completely when the right time comes, I'm certainly not going to improve it. You said "it would take some of the game away", but it won't take away any significant functionality, it just won't look that good as the accelerated version. IMHO it's exactly the same case as the 3D FPS games, you need to lower the resolution, lower the details etc.; you make the game look worse to make it run on your outdated hardware (at least *my* hardware seem to be *always* outdated when running those games :-))
Besides, those advanced gfx features would be too slow to be usable anyway. Actually, Direct3D8 provides the "reference rasterizer", which is a software implementation of all the 3D features and believe me, you wouldn't want your game to run *that* slowly...

About the MOD files... although I'm not completely convinced about the size issue (didn't Brassfire say her MOD file became much smaller after converting it to ogg? ;-) and those files are being streamed anyway, so size doesn't matter (not in term of used memory, that is), I can promise you that if I find some nice MOD library without licensing problems, I will gladly build it into WME.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2003, 09:39:19 PM by Mnemonic »
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Scarpia

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2003, 03:57:06 PM »

Hi again. I was just wondering. When I run in hardware accelerated mode on my system, the demo seems to run significantly slower than without. Doesn't this kinda defy the meaning of "acceleration"?


Scarpia
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Brassfire

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2003, 01:27:44 AM »

mod file: 3.25 MB
wav file of the same thing: 10.7 MB
ogg file from that wav: 0.99 MB

mod file, using the exact same samples and merely changing the composition patterns so it's twice as long: Very close to the same size.

ogg file of twice as long a composition: twice the size.

mod file, using the exact same samples and going FOUR times as long: Very close to the same size.

ogg file, FOUR times as long a composition: FOUR times the size.

So, for game music, where it is important to have a lot of music but not be too repetitive - such as during a long conversation or wandering around in a forest or city - mod definitely wins.

IF mod files were able to use the same compression as ogg for their samples... it would be the clear winner.

Midi would also be ok if there was a custom soundfont loader, you could make a couple of 20 MB soundfonts for your game rather than having 100-150 MB of ogg files.

Of course, being a musician, I'm planning on a LOT of music. For just a small amount of music, and definitely for sfx, ogg rules.

Basically:

mod - can make long music without worrying about lack of compression ratios, worry about sample quality
ogg - can make short music without worrying about sample quality, worry about repetitiveness and ease of looping
« Last Edit: March 02, 2003, 01:31:40 AM by Brassfire »
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Uhfgood

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2003, 01:31:02 AM »

dropping the unaccelerated mode are we? That's harsh... Well I suppose I can find something else when the time comes.

Keith
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Mnemonic

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2003, 09:40:44 AM »

Brassfire: Oh, ok, thanks for making it clearer for me.

Uhfgood: Like it or not but I really do believe the 3D accelerator is a standard today. At least I don't know of anybody near me who doesn't have one. Maintaining two separate renderers for WME is time consuming and I could spend that time on other features instead. Therefore I'd be happy to get rid of the less perspective renderer.
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Uhfgood

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2003, 08:05:02 PM »

Not to sound like a jerk or anything, but there are thousands upon thousands of old computers out there without a 3d accelerator.  As far as it being time consuming to support both, you're right, but if I knew how to do it, to me it would be worth it because it means everyone would be able to play games made with my system :-)

In anycase Wintermute is still the best system i've come across to date.  So i'll at least be prototyping my game in it, and possibly if I end up changing my mind, i may still use it anyways.

As far as mod musics verses ogg.  That ogg she made is only 1 minute.  The strength of a mod file is the fact you can have alot more time than that in music.  so 3.25 megs, is probably from the samples.  Now, if she were to expand the music to say... 10 minutes, it would still not grow that much bigger than 3.25 megs, wheras an ogg would still be 10 megs for that 10 minutes.  (Since an ogg is essentially like an mp3 with better compression).

The reason I say not much bigger than the original 3.25 megs, is that the patterns and notes might take a slight extra, but in my experience, the patterns aren't usually that big.

Now if you compress the samples in ogg format, in a mod, then you can really get the size down ;-)

Keith
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Mnemonic

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2003, 09:53:09 PM »

Keith, you seem to be forgetting about one important thing. Making an adventure game takes some time. Actually, it takes lots (LOTS!) of time. By the time you finish your game, things will change. Those "thousands upon thousands" old computers will be peacefully resting on a junkyard and you'll end up with an outdated piece of junk yourself. I certainly don't wanna WME to end up like that. Please respect this my strategic decision because I'm the one who's responsible for the engine, I'm the one who has the responsibility to the WME users.


About the MOD files... It's important to make clear what we want to achieve. Do we prefer a smaller distribution package or do we prefer smaller memory usage? Because, although OGG files may be bigger, they are streamed from the disk piece by piece, thus taking up only a small piece of memory. I can image MOD files will consume much more memory due to multiple channels playing simultaneously. Like I said before, the biggest advantage of MOD files is IMHO in the ability to dynamicaly change the music. The old Pinball Fantasies and Pinball Dreams games are great examples of it.
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Uhfgood

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2003, 11:07:22 PM »

How am I not respecting your decision?  I'm just voicing my opinion as well as praising your system.  As far as the adventure game taking a long time, yes and no, it really depends on the requirements, who's making it, etc... It could be done shortly or a long time, and still have high quality, then again, it could be done in a short period or a long time, and still be junk quality too.  And I will still disagree about the "old" computer thing...  They're still being used, and will be for years.  Especially with the economy (in the US i don't know about other countries) in a slump, people aren't upgrading as quickly as previously.

As far as OGG's and MOD's go, i'm talking about disk space.  It's more important to me (your milage may vary ;-) ), Plus mod's don't have to take up a lot more memory if you use your memory wisely.  (It would take X amount of memory when you preloaded the mod in and then processed it, and then of course your final buffer that you're playing from would be only the size of the one you would use for an ogg or mp3.  In fact you still have to decompress ogg's into memory for streaming, so in a sense there is not much of a difference.

Of course if you dynamically change the music the memory requirements can be bigger.  But then again you're only putting the samples in memory and the patterns, so it would still only be a matter of mixing them into a single buffer.

In any case, you can do what you like :-)  Like I said, when the time comes of actually implementing stuff, i'll figure something out, whether it be to use wintermute, or some other engine, or just start developing my own.

Keith
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Brassfire

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2003, 11:51:29 PM »

From the help file in ModTracker:

Quote
IT: Impulse Tracker Music Modules

Like XM modules are an extension of MOD modules, IT is a superset of S3M. Impulse Tracker Modules represent a major improvement over the other ones. If you never used instruments with FastTracker, IT songs could be considered exactly as S3M songs. However, the major improvement, besides the fact that, like FastTracker II, it doesn't have the 64-rows limits in patterns, and can have comments in the song (No need to edit sample names anymore), is the support for volume/panning/pitch envelopes and especially NNAs. The New Note Action option means that when you play a new note, the old one doesn't have to be cut abruptly, but can fade in the background, for example. If you are just starting to write your own mod music, I recommend starting with S3M modules (Or IT modules with no instruments), and then get yourself used to the volume envelopes and NNA effects.

Also, the tracker and the player will open zipped mod files. That's saving it in winzip and renaming to have an extension of *.itz

When I zip my file it's 2.02 MB instead of 3.25... worth looking into.

There is a faq about mod music at http://www.modplug.com/modfaq/index.html
And more info throughout the site.
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Scarpia

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2003, 11:52:01 PM »

I really don't want to get mixed up in this argument^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hdebate, but I'll post my two cents anyways..

About the gfx accelerators.... I, for one, have a computer w/o an accelerator (or perhaps it was just buggy, I'm not sure which), so I'm actually one of the people who experience problems with graphics acceleration, and I still think dropping the software renderer is the right decision. Sure, older computers exist, but they ARE slowly going out of use. I know that in a lot of lesser-industrialized countries, the older hardware will be in use for years on, but I'm not counting on one of my games to be the next world-wide adventure blockbuster, especially with a stagnant market for 2d point-n-click adventure games. I'm more concerned about the fact that even if my game is really great, chances are that very few will care (compared to modern 3d first person shooters or MMPORG's).


About MOD / OGG files: C'mon people, value the fact that WME already has good audio format support, and instead just go searching for a (quote) nice MOD library without licensing problems if you really want Jan to implement it ;-P


Scarpia


PS: Uhfgood: No matter how long you think creating a game will take, it will take longer. A lot longer :P
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Uhfgood

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2003, 01:01:07 AM »

I already have experience making/finishing games, just not adventure games yet ;-)

Keith
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Scarpia

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2003, 01:19:21 AM »

Anything online for download?  ::) always curious


Scarpia
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Uhfgood

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2003, 01:35:07 AM »

http://www.uhfgames.com

The gemfall and smiley demos are combined into one product (the uhfgames puzzle pack as I called it), and then LX1 demo is it's own thing.

They're not spectacular but they're finished :-)

Keith
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Jeroen

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2003, 11:55:41 AM »

Euh, I completely agree with Jan on the hardware acceleration matter. We decided to drop software rendering for Project Joe a long time ago.

Several reasons for this choice:

1. What Jan described: I think hardware support is standard nowadays, even a computer I own with a Matrox G400 runs Joe. If you want "old school adventures" which need to run on old computers; perhaps less hardware demanding engines like Sludge, AGAST or AGS are good options.

2. Development time. Very early in development we found out, in order to let everything look good, that we had to constantly keep track of what changes in software mode and not.... For example, a scene with free entities suddenly have ugly borders etc. I don't want someone to say "the game has serious graphics flaws" while he has acceleration turned off.

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Brassfire

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2003, 12:37:37 PM »

People aren't rushing to buy the latest cutting edge anymore, I hope for the day when computer technology settles down a bit. But when 2.x gHz is available, a 400 mhz is getting a little *too* obsolete. I wouldn't want to go lower than that unless I was running linux.

About MOD / OGG files: C'mon people, value the fact that WME already has good audio format support, and instead just go searching for a (quote) nice MOD library without licensing problems if you really want Jan to implement it ;-P

I'm sure there's one at sourceforge somewhere... or listed in that FAQ somewhere... but I'm not a programmer and couldn't tell a GOOD library if it bit me. :P

No matter how long you think creating a game will take, it will take longer. A lot longer :P

Oy... you're telling me... my game was in the "brainstorming" phase for over a year... of course, I was homeless for about 6 months and decided to concentrate on my other projects, which didn't exactly help... But I said I would give people more assignments if they finished the ones they had... and I couldn't update the site so everything was by email, so the team thought the project had died even though I was definitely still working on the game, so they stopped working. :'(

A couple of those people are interested in re-joining now. ::) They had a whole EXTRA 6 months to get their assignments done, so too bad. Now that we're in pre-production, anyone who doesn't contribute actual work gets canned. Muahaha. ;D
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Mnemonic

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2003, 04:48:02 PM »

People aren't rushing to buy the latest cutting edge anymore,
They never did :)

But I'm not talking about cutting edge here. WME will do just fine on a TNT2. And, come on, Keith, that card *is* cheap, don't tell me it isn't! It has nothing to do with the "economy in a slump"...


Anyway, I believe we don't need to continue this "to accelerate or not to accelerate" discussion. I told you my vision, and I'm pleased I'm not the only one who thinks it's the right direction.

Thanks to everyone for their opinions.


How am I not respecting your decision?  I'm just voicing my opinion as well as praising your system.
Don't take it bad, it wasn't meant so. As you know, I'm not a native english speaker so sometimes my sentences do not turn out the way I wanted them to ;D


No matter how long you think creating a game will take, it will take longer. A lot longer :P
*sigh* How true... May I add it applies to game engines too ;)
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Uhfgood

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2003, 06:49:05 PM »

You gotta admit though, a 2d adventure game shouldn't NEED a 3d card, i mean comon by it's very nature it's presented in 2d.

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2003, 08:00:23 PM »

A 3D card merely makes the use of some great graphical effects possible. Think of WME as more of a hybrid engine than a 2D engine. It's not full real-time rendered 3D, but it has capabilities that expand on 2D in all the right places. Actually, it's more of a "2D+" engine. ;)

I think Mnemonic is doing it just right.

The whole point of having more than one engine is that they do things differently. AGS might be better for your needs, but if so, ask Chris to add a few more gui things to the room-edit. *g*
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Uhfgood

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2003, 12:30:42 AM »

Yeah it's a hybrid now, but he says he's going to drop the non-3d accel'd part.

And AGS is slow as a slug, even WME is faster in software mode than ags is.

Chris said he asked the people in his forums whether they want speed optimizations or more features.  Guess what they answered? More features.

And most of them say the speed is fine for 320x200, however it's slow on that even sluggish on my Athlon 1.3ghz.

It appears alot of them would just rather keep adventure gaming in the hobbiest area, rather than commercial development.  But i'm making games to make money (well i like making games too but that's beside the point).

Besides WME is the best one out there so far, so even if I have to moan and groan because some people can't play my games, i'll probably use it.

Keith
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Banbury

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2003, 08:06:29 AM »

Hi,
my problem with 3D acceleration is, that it looks really bad on my ATI card. I don't have the same problems in software mode, so without it I couldn't continue with WME :'(. My computer is a laptop, so I can't simply stick a new graphics card in.
Please, don't remove the software mode in version 1.

Greetings

Banbury
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Mnemonic

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Re:Some feature suggestions
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2003, 08:30:44 AM »

People, don't panic!  ;D
As I said in my original post:

My long term plan is to drop the software renderer completely when the right time comes, I'm certainly not going to improve it.

It doesn't mean I'm gonna remove it tomorow. But you must expect the compatibility mode to be somewhat limited compared to the accele'd mode.
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