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Hello all, I've been a long time inactive on the forums lately, so apologies if this has already been addressed, but I've just gotten to wondering of how many 3D models can be rendered on screen in a 2.5D game, and of how many of these models can have advanced or basic AI.

 

Actually, I feel this is a gameplay impelementation request more than anything, but what I really want to see in game at some point or another is full scale battles being played out.  In the old IE games, technology limited what could be rendered and controlled on screen, and so battles were always fairly small and isolated affairs.  Given that our computers have improved quite a bit since then, I wanted to be able to play out a battle or two on even grander scale.

 

Everyone on these forums has seen the LOTR movies, or at the least read books depicting epic battles of full armies I can fairly assume.  The battle at Helm's Deep, Minas Tirith, etc - you get the picture.  Those are abolutely awesome, and I'd love to be a part of one, even if just as a little game avatar. 

 

Full scale battles crop up now and then in modern games, but as I've seen them in full 3D games tend to be extremely limited by rendering capability and processing power.  This usually means static battles - groups of warriors fighting endlessly around you in simple animation, untouchable by the PC.  While this itself is perfectly acceptable to me, I wonder if using 2D maps in PE can reserve some more horsepower for drawing more 3D models (bigger battles, better animations).  More, I wonder if modern processors can handle advanced scripting of several models or groups of models (platoons) such as to create a dynamic battlefield.

 

This doesn't mean that each indivual combatant on screen needs to have advanced AI, or even that AI needs exist at all outside of PC combat.  Maybe the battles could advance in real time along a prewritten script in response to player events (for pacing).  Maybe the player needs to respond to battle events to shape it accordingly.

 

Anyway, what I'm getting at is: how feasable is this?  How big, dynamic, and epic do you speculate these battles can get?  Are such scenarios even an element you would like to experience in PE?  Should I add a poll?

Edited by Pipyui

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The Witcher 2 did a pretty good job of depicting a big battle going on around you as you were wandering through the magic mist in Act 2, although what you could actually interact with was limited.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing some larger scale encounters in Project Eternity. That would be awesome - where you have your party, and then perhaps a few extra followers to control (as well as your own summons) vs a large number of enemies.

 

They don't have to be 'massive' but something that would really test your stamina reserves vs a lot of units.

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I wonder if using 2D maps in PE can reserve some more horsepower for drawing more 3D models (bigger battles, better animations).  More, I wonder if modern processors can handle advanced scripting of several models or groups of models (platoons) such as to create a dynamic battlefield.

 

I doubt the static backgrounds would make a huge difference.  When the camera is still, the "background" in a full 3D game is pretty much static anyhow - the big effort is in (re)drawing all the polygons that are moving around - animated fighting models, in other words.

 

There would be some saving, yes, but I don't think it will be significant.

 

I would not object to big battles, where the characters are surrounded by a horde of enemies, but I really don't expect to see anything more that, say... 50 models at the same time as an absolute maximum....

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Probably not a real problem, games have been doing good 40 character battles for a decade now, and as far as a battle you'd participate in that's about what you'd want to max out anyway. As long as there's low enough level of detail settings for characters and high enough minimum spec it'll be fine.

 

Still, leave interactive, good looking LOTR style battles for some uber expensive next gen action game.

Edited by Frenetic Pony

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I feel like the expansion to Baldurs Gate 2 tried to depict a full scale battle outside the city under seige, but they just had generated npcs file out of the sides of the map as you killed them.  I would like to have an actual strategic show down against 30-50 decent NPC's with my party and maybe 10 henchmen.

 

But then again, can that many characters even fit on screen without it just being a huge blob?

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can that many characters even fit on screen without it just being a huge blob?

 

Probably not, no.  Graphics cards have enough vram I should think now to keep loaded other characters off screen so the party can travel without loading seams though.  Hopefully then I could play out epic battles that flesh out more distictly than the brief one-card-tricks I usually end up seeing (e.g. "We're breaking the siege of the fortress today!  We'll need you to pull the lever on the gate to let our forces in through the front door.  Don't forget the second lever on the other side now!  Alright!  You did it!  We win, battle over!").

 

I wanna see my battle play out and evolve, even if along a prewritten script.  More combatants on screen at once might make this feel cooler, but I think this could be accomplished even without, so long as there's enough action going on onsceen to make me feel the combat around me.

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Keep the number of magic spellcaster special effects to a minimum, those extra sprites make a huge mess where you can't see anything that's going on.

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Battle sizes have been a pretty depressing downhill ride.

 

Can't remember for sure if Pools of Radiance actually had the biggest mobs, or if it just felt like that.

Being overwhelmed by a horde of kobolds was pretty great anyway.

While Skyrims lets assault the capital city with this army of ... 8 soldiers was not.

 

I'm pretty sure it's more an AI (CPU) limitation than that of GPU.

Total War can show a huge bunch of troops with high quality graphics,

but the troops are basically graphics in 20 or so per side "thinking units" or unit groups.

 

Even so, even considering the increased AI tasks,

you'd think a modern computer can handle more brains than that of BG1 age.

But that just doesn't seem to be the case.

 

In any case, it seems to me PE developers are just not too interested in big battles with hordes of enemies, 

more with small tactical fights with interesting varied opponents. Which isn't wrong.

 

Me, I'd rather face 65 orcs with varied equipment than a party of 2 orcs, 2 ogres, an ogre mage and a basilisk.

But I can see how others would find plain orcs or bandits boring and the other fight more interesting and memorable.

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I remember a fight within The Temple of Elemental Evil where my party of 5 had to face down perhaps 20 foes of equivalent level. There were many others were your party was matched 3:1. I even got waylayed by a horde of what must have been 30 Kobolds once. My fighter/rogue put the reach of his Halberd to deadly effect with his Great Cleave feat. Very satisfying. That game will be a decade old this fall (yikes!), I'm sure that Project: Eternity and it's Unity Engine will be able to match it.

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We will likely target the larger IWD2 and ToEE battles but not go significantly above that.  It's not necessarily a matter of engine capability, but I think it starts feeling less like a D&D/IE game when the ratio of foes to friends gets too large.

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We will likely target the larger IWD2 and ToEE battles but not go significantly above that.  It's not necessarily a matter of engine capability, but I think it starts feeling less like a D&D/IE game when the ratio of foes to friends gets too large.

 

What about occasions where a large battle is understood to be taking place around you, but your party still only faces the normal amount of enemies at a time, as is the case at the end of many RPGs? I don't know if the plot of Project Eternity will require such an event, but if it does are you confident that you'll be able to evoke the feeling of large armies clashing?

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We will likely target the larger IWD2 and ToEE battles but not go significantly above that.  It's not necessarily a matter of engine capability, but I think it starts feeling less like a D&D/IE game when the ratio of foes to friends gets too large.

Sounds good.

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We will likely target the larger IWD2 and ToEE battles but not go significantly above that.  It's not necessarily a matter of engine capability, but I think it starts feeling less like a D&D/IE game when the ratio of foes to friends gets too large.

 

What about occasions where a large battle is understood to be taking place around you, but your party still only faces the normal amount of enemies at a time, as is the case at the end of many RPGs? I don't know if the plot of Project Eternity will require such an event, but if it does are you confident that you'll be able to evoke the feeling of large armies clashing?

 

Thinking about it, you could fake it well enough with the forced isometric perspective. Have npc's fleeing a city, have sounds all around you, fireballs coming in from off screen, come across a battle with some a couple allies every once in a while, face 20+ enemies at once maybe. If it was called for.

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