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mstark

DPI Scaling for PE, much more important than resolution

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It might be fairly unplayable on that screen (and others like it, it's the same DPI density as a Retina Mac). But, judging from the imagery released so far, it's possible it will remain playable, seeing as the target high resolution renders looks quite heavily zoomed in when played on a regular monitor. Playing PE on a high DPI screen might end up looking something like what playing Baldur's Gate looks like on a 1080p 24" screen, you see a lot of the map but it's still highly playable (and I prefer playing that way anyway, it gives a good overview of the action!).

 

Anyway, it is VERY likely that high resolution screens on laptops will become the defacto standard soon enough, even for casual buyers. Why? Because it's where the market is going, laptops are taking the same direction as smartphones. It's a relatively cheap upgrade, and much more attractive to casual buyers than a better CPU or GPU.

 

I was hoping for an even higher target resolution to be included with the game, or at least as an optional download (as I'll be getting a 4k monitor once they drop down to sub $1000, presumably next year). When I asked, Josh replied with incredulity at the sheer madness of the idea of rendering all the areas out at those sizes :D.

 

So much for true high DPI support, but I'm happy we're getting two sets & zoom capability built in :). They confirmed a UI that will have scaling options, meaning that, at least, text will remain readable on high dpi screens. Hopefully.


"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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One thing to note is that in the video where they showed off the characters, you can zoom in closer than the viewpoint showed ... so I guess if you play at the most zoomed in viewpoint you'd be alright I guess.

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I was hoping for an even higher target resolution to be included with the game, or at least as an optional download (as I'll be getting a 4k monitor once they drop down to sub $1000, presumably next year). When I asked, Josh replied with incredulity at the sheer madness of the idea of rendering all the areas out at those sizes :D.

 

Just to give a frame of reference, the map you saw in the visual demo has 1.3 gigs (uncompressed) of 2D data.  That's not a particularly large area.  While compression will significantly reduce that, you can pretty easily extrapolate what the size on disk will be for a full-sized area and, from that, for an IE-sized game.

 

Now, if you want to double the length and width of those screens for even higher resolutions, you're looking at roughly 4x the pixel density and roughly 4x the size on disk.  So, for the visual demo area, that's 5.2 gigs of uncompressed 2D data.  It really does not make sense for us to render out at those resolutions.

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Just to give a frame of reference, the map you saw in the visual demo has 1.3 gigs (uncompressed) of 2D data.  That's not a particularly large area.  While compression will significantly reduce that, you can pretty easily extrapolate what the size on disk will be for a full-sized area and, from that, for an IE-sized game.

 

Now, if you want to double the length and width of those screens for even higher resolutions, you're looking at roughly 4x the pixel density and roughly 4x the size on disk.  So, for the visual demo area, that's 5.2 gigs of uncompressed 2D data.  It really does not make sense for us to render out at those resolutions.

 

Just keep in mind that in as short as 5 years time this won't sound as ridiculous as it might to you now, even in an uncompressed state and depending on what kind of compression you are using (lossless, lossy and what is the ratio?) might not even right now.

Baldur's Gate came on 6 discs at the time and was also kind of lonely in that at the point in time. Many 3D games like Max Payne 3 or RAGE have already arrived at being 25-30GB+ and both consoles will transition to Dual-Layer Blu-Rays and the possibility of multiple of those for a single game exists.

Personally I'd even download 100GB of Optional texture data easy and was hoping Carmack would provide as he promised, but he didn't: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/06/id-tech-carmacks-keynote-in-full/ Hell I'd even pay extra for it.

 

At the very least, just make sure that you don't "lose": http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/190432/postmortem_overhaul_games_.php?page=4 that original model/source data, artwork and everything and there might be the possibility for something like this in the future, since if you keep your promises the game might just very much still sell pretty well in 10-13 years time and might very well require that extra "touch" by then: http://www.gog.com/catalogue (order by bestselling)

Edited by D3xter

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5 years is a long time in terms of game development and PC hardware.  At 5.2GB uncompressed for a small area, 100GB is probably far shy of the data for a game of this size.  It would probably be pushing a terabyte.  And remember, we're not talking about just clicking a button to render out at a higher resolution.  The textures on the objects in the environment actually have to support that density.  I.e., we would need to build every texture at double the size (4x pixel data) to maintain the appropriate density.

 

It's true that Max Payne 3 and RAGE push huge amounts of data.  They're also huge budget games that primarily sell through physical retail channels.  PE is a ~$4 million budget game built primarily for digital distribution with a small team of environment artists.  Instead of pushing enormous amounts of detail for ultra-high resolutions that few players use (or will be using in the immediate future), I'd rather target the most common resolutions at the low and high ends, which Steam overwhelmingly shows are 1366x768 and 1920x1080 -- and get as many high quality areas done as we can.

 

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

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does the 'target res' for an asset size resemble 1 screen of the closest zoom ie closest zoom = 2560x1440 of actual map pixels ?

 

I did read the thread where you posted this

 

http://diogenes-lamp.info/images/eternity_resolutions_iwd.jpg

 

and the largest map size would be like 6x6 default zoom screens or something (well that will probably be skewed now due to 16:9)?

Edited by Sensuki

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4K PC monitors won't be sub $1000 next year, maybe budget TVs will be. Under 1% is going to be using 4K PC monitors for gaming next year on the Steam hardware survey. 2560 x 1440 is going to the area of growth.

 

High res screens on laptops are not a relatively cheap upgrade compared to CPU and GPU, you'd also need a significant GPU upgrade to run games on them, and their resolutions are 2560 x 1440 and 2880 x 1800, not 4K.

 

2560 x 1440 might overtake 1920 x 1080 in the next 5 years, but there will be few tears on running 1080p content on 1440p monitors. It's not a priority for a small budget game to have graphical fidelity to be future proof years from now when 10-20% might have 4K resolution monitors.

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If pixel density is enough for current monitors, it is also enough for future monitors if you don't plan start use much bigger monitor from same distance.

 

Although it could be handy trick if you could adjust text for higher PPI as it would make text more readable. So for example in 4k monitors you only scale backgrounds for bigger resolution, but text is renderer for target resolution.

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Don't you mean the other way around? scale the text for higher res/ppi ?

I think what they've chosen to do is very good, they have essentially targeted the high res assets at the next standard so they will have longer staying power.

Also with the zoom feature, I think (Josh may confirm or correct this) that a 'screen' will be the default zoom, of which you can zoom in closer, so say 10 years from now if you wanted to run P:E on a ridiculous res monitor, just zoom in to the closest view all the time.

ALSO remember that they own the art assets, so in future times they can always re-render them ....

Imagine if BioWare didn't lose the BG game art files and BG:EE had some nice high res textures (although they probably still would have cheaped out and given us the crappy res tablet UI art for the PC :down:).

Edited by Sensuki

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I am not sure if this is the right terminology, but that is how I meant it. In scaling you take already rendered item and stretch or shrink it to fit on the screen, but if you want item to actually have same PPI than monitor you need to render it to monitor's resolution.

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Now I get you, I was confused because I am pretty sure that's what they are already doing.

Edited by Sensuki

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Will zooming, if playing on a 2560x1440 monitor, resort to pixel doubling or will the max zoom level be a 1:1 representation of pixels? Just curious.

 

I understand the arguments against even higher resolutions very well and, for what a single users thoughts are worth, I'm happy with the direction the game is taking in regards to its resolution & scaling (but we can always dream, eh? :) ). I don't mind the ant farm feeling of playing PS:T on a WQHD 27" screen, and if, in the future, I'd be playing PE on a 4k 27" screen, its scale would look relatively similar to that of today's PS:T experience if played on the higher target resolution.

 

@AwesomeOcelot, there are already 4k monitors at $5.5k, and TVs for $1.5k. 365 days from now, I believe the prices will be significantly lower. Keep in mind that the current 4k monitors at $5.5k are aimed at professionals, with 1.07billion colours and good colour space reproduction, one aimed at a wider market wouldn't require the same specs and could likely be produced at a cheaper cost.

Edited by mstark

"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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If you play game now in 27" screen it will look same in future on 4k 27" screen as there is as many pixels for every inch of the screen, there is of course possibility mod more map to come visible, but without such there is no difference, except that text will maybe be more pleasant to read in that 4k monitor.

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^not true, you might have misunderstood what I said. I'm playing PS:T on WQHD (2560*1440) today, which makes it look quite small but still playable. I compared this to playing Project Eternity on a 4k 27" (4096*2160, far more pixels per inch) in the future, thinking the experience may be quite similar, due to PE's higher target resolution. PS:T would become entirely unplayable on such a monitor, unless played at a non native resolution (which, unfortunately, would result in noticeable blur due to bad upscaling).


"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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Put if map is rendered to 2560x1440 resolution and 4k support is implement by scaling it to 4096*2160 resolution, it will look same in both of those screens. similar  when comparing watching DVDs (720x480/576)  in 32" pal  tv, 32" hd ready tv (720p) and  32" full hd tv (1080p). picture is same size in all of the tvs as picture is scaled from dvd resolution to tvs resolution.

 

Only way to make game look smaller in same size monitor is to mod it to show more map, which causes game to zoom out, similar how PS:Ts high resolution mods work.

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AFAIK, the graphics are rendered to a "target resolution" of 2560*1440 - meaning that is the resolution at which it will look ideal, and scenes will be designed with this specific resolution/aspect ratio in mind. However, that doesn't mean that you can't play the game at any resolution you'd like, if you'd play it on a higher resolution monitor you'd would see more of the map, but at a smaller scale - exactly like the old IE games - unless I manually set the resolution of the game lower than the monitor's native resolution. You won't have to mod the game to do that. At least that's how I assume it will work, and if it doesn't, I will certainly mod the game to play at whatever native resolution I'm currently on.

 

The IE games were designed to a target resolution of 640*480 (and later 800*600), but that doesn't mean that's the only resolution you can play the games at (BG2 natively allowed resolutions up to 1024*768 if I remember correctly, PE will most likely allow you to play at any native resolution) :).

Edited by mstark

"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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There are a number of tricks that they can use to improve the final output files for the game without needing it to be 6 Blu-ray's worth of data. The biggest one is they would need their source files to be created in a higher bit rate quality before exporting to the final render. Here's some tricks I use in my line of work as a multimedia designer. I try to always work 1.5x larger than the final output in 16 bit or 24 bit color mode so I capture a much broader range of values and colors. This also allows for flexibility and allows the image or video to be able to scale up without looking like crap. The final image just pops more than working in standard 8 bit mode after I compress it, versus starting at 8 and going to 16-24 bits. One thing I noticed in the video was the values seem to be kinda narrow versus preferably 7-9 step system. (More specifically related to the characters versus their environment, which makes them just blend in and not really stand out.) The added contrast in each map will give the appearance of more details and better graphics without needing to do a bunch of extra work. I understand too this is early and they're still testing some ideas out. I hope they create the models in a higher quality and scale them in a bit better though. Maybe they could render the characters and textures out as an image sequence inside Unity to help with their animations and save space. I know they have also been experimenting with a new program in the past few weeks that should really make their final images pop too. As long as they keep a strong color and lumina space, I think it will really be fine even at 2560x1440 resolution.

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They can and probably will do it so that you see same ammount map regardless what resolution you use, by upscaling or downscaling their rendered maps, instead of scaling how much they so map to player, I suspect this because of zoom function and what Josh have said about their plans.

 

 

Biggest problem in IE games was that they didn't have dynamic GUI-HUD, which caused lots of problems in scaling game to different resolutions. And because IE games didn't have good inbuild scaling, they need mods to work on different aspect rations and high resolutions, which mod gui to work with different resolutions and zoom map to fit new gui. I don't know if mods use map zooming because of lack of scaling support in engine or because modders like better view where you can see more action and less detail. But PE should have real time rendered GUI, and Unity supports scaling of maps instead of only showing more of the map on the screen.

 

Screens scaling is common place technology in consoles, where games are rendered to specific resolutions and then scaled on tv-screens resolution. Same goes with PE, their maps are rendered to specific resolutions and then they scale them to right size for monitor, so that game looks somewhat same on all supported resolutions. IE games did same, but they had inbuild support only for few resolutions, because of infinity engine's poor support for multiple resolutions. Unity don't work same way if Obsidian don't make some changes how it handless 2d scaling.

 

http://beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=46241

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5 years is a long time in terms of game development and PC hardware.  At 5.2GB uncompressed for a small area, 100GB is probably far shy of the data for a game of this size.  It would probably be pushing a terabyte.  And remember, we're not talking about just clicking a button to render out at a higher resolution.  The textures on the objects in the environment actually have to support that density.  I.e., we would need to build every texture at double the size (4x pixel data) to maintain the appropriate density.

 

It's true that Max Payne 3 and RAGE push huge amounts of data.  They're also huge budget games that primarily sell through physical retail channels.  PE is a ~$4 million budget game built primarily for digital distribution with a small team of environment artists.  Instead of pushing enormous amounts of detail for ultra-high resolutions that few players use (or will be using in the immediate future), I'd rather target the most common resolutions at the low and high ends, which Steam overwhelmingly shows are 1366x768 and 1920x1080 -- and get as many high quality areas done as we can.

 

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

 

Now you're being deliberately misleading for the sake of the argument. If it was 4x more data (ignoring compressibility/sameness, black areas or anything like that which would likely decrease that factor) and it would "be pushing 1TB" (on the consumer side of things), then your game at Release as it stands right now would be at least 250GB, likely above that, correct? And that only using hypothetical 1920x1080 renders and not the 2560x1440 ones (which I assumed were already announced as the upper limit?) It could *only* possibly have 4x more data than the finished game as it is meant to come out now at the most, since it is only 4x the resolution.

 

Further, none of the games previously discussed have textures specifically made with 4K displays in mind for that matter (nor do the games tested on 4K displays I mentioned in the other thread like Tomb Raider, Battlefield 3 or Bioshock: Infinite), but especially not RAGE, which was suffering from id's Megatexture tech and was lacking almost all detail at close range: http://cloud.steampowered.com/ugc/559795813595399061/F1958D8B82E7B677F77127D078EBFDE564A0E038/

This doesn't change the fact that all of these games will likely look a lot better and sharper at higher resolutions, aside from washed-out textures.

 

Nobody was asking to create the entire game at 4x the required detail for all assets involved, just if there could be a 4K upper limit render with the correct size proportions to the lower two (1280x720, 2560x1440 last I've heard) that will coincidentally make all the vector-based 3D geometry be sharper for the people with the required displays instead of either blurry zoomed things or 4x the size of a 1920x1080 screen and thus tiny. It's further also highly unlikely that the highest upper limit for all asset detail, including models and textures before compressing them down to an arbitrary highest resolution will somehow exactly have a cutoff of visible detail at exactly 1080p, especially since you don't have to optimize the scenes and 3D geometry for real time rendering and can make them without fastidiously counting polys.

 

I remember all the theorizing about Dark Souls being made for 1024x720 since the consoles couldn't display more, and there couldn't possibly be any improvements on an increased rendering resolution, after all it was "meant" to be played that way. I even remember some developers arguing this at great lengths and effort: http://www.bluh.org/dark-souls-pc-controversy-an-analysis/

Well, it turned out this wasn't exactly true:

http://imgc.rauch.co.uk/1110

http://imgc.rauch.co.uk/1111

 

One would think you would probably want people to see your work at its best, and not compressed down to whatever "industry standard" most people seem to employ at the moment.

 

Even very simplistic games with textures meant for 640x470/800x600 or thereabouts at the time they came out rendered out at higher res look significantly better since they don't have to rely on interpolating non-existent pixels for larger res screens. Take for instance System Shock 2:

http://abload.de/img/shock22013-04-2705-12dpf94.png (640x480 @ 1600x1200)

http://abload.de/img/shock22013-04-2705-12qef87.png (1280x800 @ 1920x1200)

http://abload.de/img/shock22013-04-2705-124wfbf.png (1920x1200)

 

And physical distribution is actually disadvantageous to size limitations, since games have to fit on discs of specific sizes and suffer from overt compression that comes with that, by the involved costs of having multiple discs on Retail releases: http://www.shacknews.com/article/53976/rage-will-look-worse-on

I don't know of any imposed size limitations by Steam for games/Patches or any Extra Content/"DLC" that Higher Res Renders could come as (Other games like Sleeping Dogs or Skyrim also come with completely Optional High Res Texture Packs and similar that every customer can decide if they want to install or not: http://store.steampowered.com/app/202181/ http://store.steampowered.com/app/202485/ ).

I even remember some games like Witcher 2 having ~11GB Patches till Steam streamlined their Content Delivery System to Update just differing pieces of single files: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2655049

Edited by D3xter
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I can see the DPI issue here with 27" + screens, but for lower res screens it'll be kinda non-existent. I did recall Josh saying something about pixel doubling to make your 4K screen say look similar to the 1440p version, characters are rendered in real-time so that's probably not a problem either.

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I scaled example screen from PE's kickstarter campaing to future proof 12800x7200 resolution to check how it would look

 

Warning picture is over 12 MB

https://8uuxpq.sn2.livefilestore.com/y1pG-zQAVObVBzKCO_TkMkIBua0lNN7DG3_EpobLBZwbDeTjW0MnAAhq9CHTb04meFWruRmTjv4Wbekl1aQoHTOITVfgYScQukq/PE-TempleEntrance01-areasize.jpg?psid=1

 

Here is orginal (1 MB)

https://8uuxpq.sn2.livefilestore.com/y1pjZEGfD6qGmWYFZApw329XhIrGtoiJ5hs6vt-U1rUghann_wvvktLrfS5UJlxzV4vVxGImTfIGbb0tzKcLblkKr-pUyVtvt2Q/PE-TempleEntrance01-2560x1440.jpg?psid=1

 

So you can compare them in full screen mode and check if there is any difference.

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I scaled example screen from PE's kickstarter campaing to future proof 12800x7200 resolution to check how it would look

Not sure if you are being sarcastic (probably, I hope so), but taking a jpg and upscaling it would totally add detail as opposed to rendering it out at a higher resolution from the finished 3D models they are going to use for the scenes. xD

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It is to show that upscaling don't make it look bad.

 

 

Of course they could add more details to it if they render it to higher resolution, but that would add production cost so much (as Josh has stated), that they don't feel that higher resolution renders would be worth of it.

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Elerond, you forgot to factor in the size of the image and the monitor its being seen on. If it stays on the same 19" or smaller monitor for example, on screen it might not change the image too much, but viewing it at it's full size at that resolution on a larger monitor it does make it look a lot worst than if it was created originally at the bigger size and made smaller unfortunately. Maybe you didn't click on the image to see it with the added artifacts, but its not helping. Nice effort though. I think there's still options they can use. My Skyrim on PC is really high quality, almost photo real and I'm pretty sure I'm under 14 gigs with mods. Maybe they can look into making the game procedural like Skyrim in that manner.

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It's important to allow us to set the game to any resolution we'd like, that is the only way to ensure it will remain playable on as wide an amount of monitors out there as is possible (even if it means having to play the game at non-native resolutions). It's great that there are two different target resolutions, it will make the game look better on a wider variety of monitors, but locking the game to always play as if it was played at 2560*1440, or 1280*720 (depending on which texture set is used), regardless of the resolution and pixel density of your monitor, would not be a good idea.

 

I'm sure the renders will be made at a size that will play well with the majority of today's monitors at their native resolutions (if not tomorrow's), but I'm equally sure we will be able to choose which resolution we want to play the game at. People know to expect things look smaller on their above average pixel density screens (that's presumably why they bought them), no need to force them into playing the game with pixel doubling—unless they choose to—by manually setting the resolution of the game to lower than their native screen resolution.


"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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