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Is it me or Baldur's Gate look better than POE?


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I'd say an average scene is somewhere between 50 and 100 million triangles.  It varies a lot depending on area size and what's in the scene.

 

If you're not skimping on triangles, how come the terrain is so flat and regular in many outdoors places?

 

Take Dyrford for example... On a dirt road / dirt town square like that where people, horses, wagons, etc. move through all day, one would expect the ground to be extremely uneven, with both

  • gently sloping hillocks and hollows on a larger scale, and
  • localized surface irregularities like bumps/ridges on a smaller scale

all over the place. Yet you've made it look like an artificially flat surface with a dirt texture.

 

Same with the grass-covered wilderness areas... it's like the grass grows on a perfect artificial plate, rather than on soil.

 

Isn't this something where you could have easily achieved more realism, seeing as you're not constrained by the poly count and rendering technique limitations that real-time 3D games suffer from?

"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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I prefer the artificially flat surfaces anyway because then they don't have to use different heights for the terrain which in my experience playing the game simply does not work well with their current sorting/occlusion sytem.

 

Hendyna stands on an uneven piece of ground and simply looks like she's clipping through the floor. If that's going to be the case, I'll take flat every time.

 

The Dyrford Crossing also has several gnarly issues with heights, navmesh and sorting. Maybe it could be improved in the future, but as it is now, I'll take IE style flat surfaces, please.

Edited by Sensuki
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I'd say an average scene is somewhere between 50 and 100 million triangles.  It varies a lot depending on area size and what's in the scene.

 

If you're not skimping on triangles, how come the terrain is so flat and regular in many outdoors places?

 

Take Dyrford for example... On a dirt road / dirt town square like that where people, horses, wagons, etc. move through all day, one would expect the ground to be extremely uneven, with both

  • gently sloping hillocks and hollows on a larger scale, and
  • localized surface irregularities like bumps/ridges on a smaller scale

all over the place. Yet you've made it look like an artificially flat surface with a dirt texture.

 

Same with the grass-covered wilderness areas... it's like the grass grows on a perfect artificial plate, rather than on soil.

 

Isn't this something where you could have easily achieved more realism, seeing as you're not constrained by the poly count and rendering technique limitations that real-time 3D games suffer from?

 

 

We did experiments with varied terrain, and it doesn't work out too well because how the navmesh works and how it gets optimized by Unity. Subtle variations in terrain are lost on the navmesh, and characters will float above the ground (moreso than they do already on sloped/uneven terrain). Flat terrain works well for character animation too. We found the flatter the better. 

 

Sometimes too much detail on the ground makes everything look very "noisy" and "crunchy" in the render. It can be a detractor for how the scene looks. 

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There is actually very little to be gained from uneven surfaces.  Because of the isometric camera, changes in height don't read well.  Subtle changes - like rolling plains - are nearly imperceptible.  You do get shadows cast, but if it's something like a grassy surface, those shadows would be diffused and wouldn't show the height change very well.  If we were to ignore that and still go for some sort of undulating height, you get issues like the one Sensuki mentioned.  The navmesh now must meet up with the height changes perfectly, otherwise you get characters clipping through the ground or floating in places.  Generally both.  This also makes it take far longer to create as we can no longer just work with flat planes to control nav.

We also have the issue of making placement of props more difficult.  Everything now has to conform to the slope it's placed on and we can't just snap things around to the ground plane anymore.  We have to move everything to fit and rotate it to make sure it's at the correct angle.  Now we have added time and difficulty to scenes to get results that may not even look particularly good.  That's not even accounting for problems like effects that are placed on the ground and would now have to account for situations where you'd cast consecration or something on non-flat terrain.

 

The net result is that you have a very time-consuming process that doesn't add much visually and causes a host of other issues.  This is something that we did experiment with early on and the idea was quickly scrapped.

 

The best way to go about it is a sort of terraced system where you have flat areas with ramps or stairs connecting them.  This solves a lot of the problems by minimizing the time you spend on an uneven surface.

 

EDIT:  I guess I could've just said, "what Adam said."

Edited by sdunny
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How can people complain about the game not being in 3D when the project was clearly inspired by Infinity Engine games.

 

It's like waiting for a new Ferrari and complaing when released because it is a sportscar and not a truck.

 

I purchased POE and i was excited since announce because i really wanted an isometric rpg with beautiful handcrafted 2d areas, if i wanted 3D modern style i would just go for Dragon Age: I and ignore this project.

 

However, i have an high end pc and i consider graphics pretty important in a game, but beaside that i always thought that 2d backgrounds are visually better in terms of details and art, old games such Temple of Elemental Evil are still nice to look even in 2015, while 3d games get old after a couple of years, visually talking.

 

The only things that should be in 3d even in 2d games are the characters, for better animations and physic.

There are also isometric 2d\3d Hybrid examples that are really nice, such as Diablo 3.

Edited by Mazisky
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We did experiments with varied terrain, and it doesn't work out too well because how the navmesh works and how it gets optimized by Unity. Subtle variations in terrain are lost on the navmesh, and characters will float above the ground (moreso than they do already on sloped/uneven terrain).

Forgive my ignorance, but I've seen this mentioned a few times now. Can't you just disable the optimization to import the mesh unmolested?

 

LxA0poo.png

 

This option determines the order in which triangles will be listed in the mesh. This operation might take a while but will make the geometry displayed be faster. You should use it if you generate a mesh from scratch procedurally and you want to trade better runtime performance against higher load time. Internally it converts the mesh to triangle list and optimizes the triangles and vertices for both pre and post transform cache locality.

Sounds like it only affects the display performance of the mesh, but since the navmesh isn't displayed, you shouldn't lose anything by turning it off?

 

 

Mesh Compression

Increasing this value will reduce the file size of the mesh, but might introduce irregularities. It’s best to turn it up as high as possible without the mesh looking too different from the uncompressed version. This is useful for optimizing game size.

A mostly flat plane with a few bumps here and there, shouldn't take up much disk space to begin with?

Edited by BrainMuncher
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Are maps being done in 3D and then worked over in "2D" programs? Or do you start with a map/area in 2D and then add the 3D pieces where its needed? What is the reason for using one option over the other?

The maps are hand drawn 2D.  They were never anything other than flat surfaces with some 3D effects on top of them to give the illusion of depth.  They went that way mostly to maximize visual quality while keeping cost down and staying true to the IE games.

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I've just watched the latest 1 hour stream of gameplay by Josh. I'm kind of worried about POE. The art or visuals in Baldur's Gate 2 seems to look better than POE to me. The buildings, the backgrounds, sceneries looks very bland to me. It's no where near the quality like the first tech video that was shown. Even Divinity Original Sins look leaps and bound more beautiful. This is not a troll thread. I'm seriously worried about the final quality of the game that will be released on March. The earlier section of the game probably will look better as they are much polished. Based on the latest stream that by Josh, not only the arts but the UI is equally dull and bland to me.

 

While i'm extremely excited about the game, but after the latest stream it put me off. I probably just wait for the game to release and listen to player's feedback and watch move videos before i put in my money. Thanks

IMO PoE looks much better than the still stunning BG games (apart from the ugly sprites). So yeah, it's you.

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Are maps being done in 3D and then worked over in "2D" programs? Or do you start with a map/area in 2D and then add the 3D pieces where its needed? What is the reason for using one option over the other?

The maps are hand drawn 2D.  They were never anything other than flat surfaces with some 3D effects on top of them to give the illusion of depth.  They went that way mostly to maximize visual quality while keeping cost down and staying true to the IE games.

 

That's incorrect. The backgrounds are created in a 3D program and then rendered into a 2D image. After that they might do a bit of paintover with Photoshop or similar program, if required. The same technique used in the original IE games.

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IE area maps had a greyscale BMP file with rudimentary height information that went with the area map, which basically faked height:

AR0307HT.png

 

This is for the Thieves' Guild hideout  from BG2 (and it's not scaled down, the auxiliary map files were very low-res).

Edited by Varana
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To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

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I like the font ligature. Gives the game that much more unique character. I suppose it's as divisive in that respect as the film grain in Mass Effect.

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"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

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I like the font ligature. Gives the game that much more unique character. I suppose it's as divisive in that respect as the film grain in Mass Effect.

am admitting that the first time we saw font ligature, we attempted to wipe it off our screen-- thought it were lint or a bit o' dog hair or some such. then we thought it were a mistake. then we thought, "isn't that odd?"

 

is quirky, but if it adds some kinda increase o' atmosphere for folks, then we is okie dokie with it.  is far better than ubiquitous "ye olde" or thees and thous being added to dialogue to make seem more... crusty? font thingie doesn't hurt our game experience and we doubt it took any real effort to add it to poe.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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Yeah, it's mostly harmless --especially since it's optional. I'm pretty sure it took even less resources than enabling Big Head mode.

"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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