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Do we really need those graphics?
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Do we? DO WE?!
Yes, dammit! I have 100" screen I want to see ALL!
25%
 25%  [ 2 ]
Err yeah, they look good, I guess they are fine.
50%
 50%  [ 4 ]
I dunno I'm dumb lol
12%
 12%  [ 1 ]
Yeah, I think you're right, those graphics are a bit too detailed.
12%
 12%  [ 1 ]
NO! F**k no! We don't!!!!1111oneoneone
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 8

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MaxKing
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:00 am    Post subject: Do we really need those graphics? Reply with quote

Hey guys.
This issue has been mentioned (by me) few times already. This is what I said:
Quote:
This may not sound like a problem, but in fact, the complexity of graphics might cause many computers to have performance issues, and really, they are not that necessary. Just look at that covered with snow tree. What I see when I play is just a mixture of white and brown pixels. The tree looks really good when I zoom in on it - but it's not something I do while killing loads of enemies. Oh, and enemies are far too detailed too. Just look at the sniper in Gun Master - Once I was curious how does he look from close and I discovered it's a woman. Also arrows. You have images of very detailed arrows in purchase screen - but I don't see them, because my monitor's resolution causes me to see rough pixels. It took me long time of wandering why do we have Kissing Arrow skill in Winter Storm, until I decided to zoom in on it and realized these are not lips on the image - these are crosshairs.

http://www.lostvectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=21693#21693
Quote:
Players indeed like nice graphics, but come on, details you have are so small, nobody can even see them. Couple of times I used "Zoom in" option (Thank you for not using this stupid latest versions where right-click menu has nothing useful) and I saw really pretty graphics, but during a fight, I can't see them at all. I play at low graphics quality, multiple homing arrows looks like 3 kisses! (Maybe they are kisses of death, but when I look at it under zoom I see what it really is...). All the time I was mistaking electric arrow with ice arrow, and was wondering why it doesn't deflect ice from dragons, until I looked at it in zoom and saw the little sparks around. Beautiful effect, but completely not visible in "Show all" + low graphics. I think all those pretty drawings are just torturing my graphics card, processor and RAM. I would really suggest to make a new version with low quality drawings, really simple, just to see what they are. I'm not talking about replacing this version - just additional version for players with weaker computers, like me.

http://www.lostvectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1836&start=0
Quote:
Oh, and by the way, for everyone who suggest I shouldn't play any good games and compare bowmaster with Crysis:

Crysis is a (futuristic) simulator of a soldier. Players WANT good graphics, because that makes them REALISTIC. They can SEE those details and that makes them FEEL they are there. I played Modern Warfare 2 (on my dad's PC) and there were moments where I was feeling the game so much I was even missing my home.

But Bowmaster does NOT aim at realistic graphics. See, the difference between realistic and over-detailed is that realistic makes game look real (well, duh) while over-detailed does not make ANYTHING, because it's not even visible. As a result, the game simply consumes the computer resource, which is useless. Do you REALLY feel you need to have every branch of the tree to be covered with detailed snow? What's next, pimples on hero's face? I mean, snow on tree would even look good, if the tree was like 5 times bigger, because now it's just a tasteless mixture of white and brown pixels.

http://www.lostvectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1836&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

Additionally, I decided to SHOW you the problem. Here it is:

Can you see it?
1st image
I'm defending my tower, surrounded by dragons, shooting from all possible directions, with no idea how to get out of this situation. (I believe this is far too difficult - but well, maybe I just suck at this)
2nd image
A tree. I mentioned that many times. Look at the branches. LOOK! Compare it with the tiny little image beside. Can you even see them when not zoomed?
3rd image
I must say that is an impressive dragon, and very beautiful design. I really, really like it, and there is no irony in it (I love dragons). But this does not change the fact that I don't even see it when zoomed out.
4th image
And this is a pure madness. Grating in the window (!), animated fire under cauldron (!!), nails in the door (!!!)...
5th image
Did you know that those yellow dots are not really dots? They are orbs. And compare the arrow zoomed and not zoomed.

Now, those graphics are REALLY pretty. But what's the point in having such pretty graphics, if nobody can even see them? Please, discuss this issue, because I really don't know, if there is something wrong with the game, or it's just me.

___________________________________
By the way, if anyone cares, I lost. It was going pretty good, I didn't lose much due to the dragons (I had like 10% damage the last time I looked) but then a poison monster came and destroyed my house with ONE shot. One poison shot was enough to bring down whole the castle. Not multiple fireballs shot from dragons, but ONE FUC*ING POISON BALL. I don't get it, why does the poison even damage the house?!

Also, the game needs better damage meter in regard to buildings.
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archonblood
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you can turn the graphics level down in the settings. I prefer to have my games looking as pretty as possible. However, the latest patch, with the fire and poison numbers popping down and jumping around is a big distraction, one that I'd prefer not to have XD
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MaxKing
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

archonblood wrote:
you can turn the graphics level down in the settings. I prefer to have my games looking as pretty as possible. However, the latest patch, with the fire and poison numbers popping down and jumping around is a big distraction, one that I'd prefer not to have XD


You don't get my point, archon. It's like I like good graphics, but graphics here are useless. They don't make the game pretty because all those details are too small to be even shown. Look at the dragon up there. Do you see that amulet on his neck when you're shooting at him? Or look at the house, is that fire under cauldron necessary? What I mean is, if those graphics were reduced to a bit less detailed, but still well drawn, they wouldn't cause problems even on highest settings. Lowering graphics makes everything look awful and pixelated, while that is not needed, if only those graphics were just normal.
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kevow
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject: yea we need the graphics Reply with quote

DANG THOSES GRAPHICS LOOK VERY GOOD!!! I NEVER NOTICE IT UNTILL NOW. awesome!!!
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SharkAttack
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaxKing wrote:
archonblood wrote:
you can turn the graphics level down in the settings. I prefer to have my games looking as pretty as possible. However, the latest patch, with the fire and poison numbers popping down and jumping around is a big distraction, one that I'd prefer not to have XD


You don't get my point, archon. It's like I like good graphics, but graphics here are useless. They don't make the game pretty because all those details are too small to be even shown. Look at the dragon up there. Do you see that amulet on his neck when you're shooting at him? Or look at the house, is that fire under cauldron necessary? What I mean is, if those graphics were reduced to a bit less detailed, but still well drawn, they wouldn't cause problems even on highest settings. Lowering graphics makes everything look awful and pixelated, while that is not needed, if only those graphics were just normal.


I agree with everything you mentioned. That being said, what's the chance of the game being magnified to take advantage of some of these details? I suppose there'd be a lot less actual playing space, but the graphics are impeccable. When I first started playing this, back when it was fairly simplistic and there wasn't so much challenge, I would zoom in and fire at the baddies because I had tons of time and it was pretty cool watching cartoonish blood drops, half the size of my entire monitor, spraying from the various creatures. The way it is now, however, I fail to see what the use is for something so detailed. What a wonderful waste. Crying or Very sad
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LostVector
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:38 pm    Post subject: Crispy Vector Graphics Reply with quote

Graphics in Flash are rendered differently than in more traditional PC games that use bitmap texture images. Flash is vector based. This means that graphics are rendered as a series of lines and fills rather than a collection of pixel squares. The vector graphics are of course turned into pixels as they are displayed on the monitor but vector graphics allow you to endlessly zoom in without loosing picture quality. For example, if you take a circle as a bitmap and zoom in to the image you will eventually see the pixel squares. With vector graphics, you will never see pixels as you zoom in because the fill is recalculated and re-rendered.

This concept is similar to polygons in 3D games. If you turned off all the texture maps and just saw solid colors, when you change resolutions in the game menu the polygons will appear sharper at higher resolutions or more pixelated at lower ones. This is like what happens when you change the quality settings by right clicking on a Flash app. Now say you choose a low resolution. Objects like trees that are far away will not be as crisp as they were if you using higher resolution, but if you were to move towards those trees they will eventually take better shape and fill the screen (which is like right clicking and hitting zoom in a Flash app). The native properties of a tree is just series polygons and those polygons donít change the farther from them you get, unless the application is utilizing some form of dynamic ďlevel of detailĒ optimization. In this analogy, vector graphic ďstrokesĒ and ďfillsĒ are like polygons; they are calculated and take more CPU to render the more of them there are.

I agree, that the art assets are sometimes more detailed than necessary for the game as it currently is played. And perhaps I should disable the zoom to prevent people from seeing how cool the graphics are Wink But Iíd rather have more detail than less and the reason is, literally, scalability. I can make a small dragon or a big dragon that looks good by just changing the scale properties. With vector graphics, thereís no loss of crispness. The only limitation would be when I scale an art asset so big that you can see the rough edges of the strokes and fills. It would be like looking at a painting from inches away.

Now with all that said, what you mention is kind of true about CPU being used up by graphics that no one will be able to notice. Itís true that in a lot of cases, users will not ever notice the detailed bark on the trees, or extra detail given to those random cottages. However, using special optimization techniques and by virtue of how Flash automatically optimizes vector rendering, itís not a problem to have extra detail in the graphics. For example, if you have a super elaborately detailed image of a dragon with a million strokes, but scale it down to a single pixel, the Flash player magically knows not to render all those strokes in the flash app window. Or if you kept the dragon its native size but put it off screen, Flash would perform better than it was on screen. So Flash does some optimization automatically.

The easiest thing a user can do to improve graphics related performance is to change the quality rating. Winter Storm has this feature as an in-game option, but the user could also set it manually by right clicking and selecting to change quality. As a developer, I could spend my efforts further optimizing graphics and this is not to say that I donít at all, but I find that itís better to spend the effort to optimize the code. Once development settles down, the graphics can easily be adjusted without risk of adding any extra bugs and it may make a lot of sense to do so then. For now, enjoy how pretty everything looks and if you notice significant slowdown as a result of a new graphical updates then definitely let us know.

I can go further into the technical reasons why Iím able to efficiently use graphics that are, very truthfully so, too detailed for their own good, but for now Iíll just end with ďtrust me SmileĒ
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SharkAttack
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:04 am    Post subject: Re: Crispy Vector Graphics Reply with quote

LostVector wrote:

I can go further into the technical reasons why Iím able to efficiently use graphics that are, very truthfully so, too detailed for their own good, but for now Iíll just end with ďtrust me SmileĒ


Very Happy
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MaxKing
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goddammit, Jason! I know how vector graphics work, I'm a flash animator myself (My work, if anyone's interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KwDAd6nwD4). The point is in design orientation. When you design a very detailed dragon, you think about how detailed it is going to be. So you make, say, tiny, beady eyes in the dragon, because you think about picturing them in details. Then you make darker skin around them. And in zoom, it looks realistically. But I think you REALLY believe that Flash is "magically" optimizing it. Sorry, it's not. It's using, you know, calculations. And while most of the time it's right in what belongs where, it does not KNOW it. Look at that goddamn dragon. LOOK. You can't see it's eyes because they are too small. Same with that blue monster on the right of it (Viagra OD?). Tiny, red eyes. Looks good when zoomed, but invisible when zoomed out. Instead of thinking how PLAYERS will see it in game, you were thinking how awesome it will BE, completely ignoring that Flash will optimize it in it's own way, not really considering the eyes as something important.

Look at the wings of smallest dragons. Look at the fire from arrows. Look at the smallest trees. Do you see pixels on them? Because I DO. And I'm 100% sure if you designed them as small dragons, instead of shrinking the big ones, those pixels would look good. If you want, I will take my goddamn Flash out and design it for you and you will see it.

I think you have a slight misconception in what does "endless zooming" mean. While yes, you can zoom in those details, sadly you won't see all of them when zoomed out. What you will see are selected pixels painted by your computer in the way IT thinks is better. Then, YOU will see what is there - because you know what did you draw and you know what to expect. But all we, players, can see is that selection of pixels our computers show us. And while some of us might have 50" screens allowing them to see every details, the rest of us will see the pixelated dragon wings I mentioned.

It is time to state it: your game is needlessly over-detailed. You can write really, really long explanations of how vector graphics work and how easy it is for you to design those smaller dragons by shrinking larger ones, but it won't change the fact that there is no need to do it.

And really, no technical talk can be an explanation for your laziness. Trust me Smile
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belgerath
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:16 pm    Post subject: Pointless much? Reply with quote

So what you're saying, Max, is that you don't like how Jason is designing his game. Well, Jason has been designing games for a while now, and if this is how he feels comfortable designing, then do you really REALY want him to go out of his way to make the game less?

In the end, I myself enjoy the "pretty" qualities... True, I don't always see them, but the fact that they're there gives me a more respect for the game, because as I shoot tiny dragons with white lines with colors on top, I know that the fault is not in the game, it's in the computer, the resolution.

Finally...
Quote:
And really, no technical talk can be an explanation for your laziness. Trust me Very Happy


How is going into more detail lazy?
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MaxKing
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not that I don't like them. Why nobody seems to get my point? My point is that the game screen is far too small for us to see any of those pretty details, while they STILL consume CPU power. While you sure can lower the quality of the game to get better performance, it's a stupid idea because it randomly lowers every graphic in the game and makes everything look sh*tty. All we need are not that detailed graphics and we will not HAVE to lower the quality.

And he is lazy, because, as he said, he created them so he can simply scale them up or down without redesigning them. He just created a dragon and then re-colored and re-scaled it to create more.
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LostVector
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaxKing wrote:
It's not that I don't like them. Why nobody seems to get my point? My point is that the game screen is far too small for us to see any of those pretty details, while they STILL consume CPU power. While you sure can lower the quality of the game to get better performance, it's a stupid idea because it randomly lowers every graphic in the game and makes everything look sh*tty. All we need are not that detailed graphics and we will not HAVE to lower the quality.


Check out this experiment on Flash's performance. You may be surprised.
http://www.lostvectors.com/blog/2010/09/24/automagically-optimized-flash-graphics-experiment/

MaxKing wrote:

And he is lazy, because, as he said, he created them so he can simply scale them up or down without redesigning them. He just created a dragon and then re-colored and re-scaled it to create more.


You say lazy, I say efficient Wink

For now, Iím focusing development efforts on other priorities. Creating different versions of the same unit skins to fit different sizes would be cost prohibitive. Iím not debating that thereís no performance benefit to creating simpler graphics that are more appropriate for the zoom level. Iím not debating that people arenít able to see all the details that exist in the native source graphics.

Doing these graphical updates now when the game is still under development would be a waste of time. If I decide to remove details and then later want to enlarge all the graphics, all the effort I spent to make the graphics look good at a certain size is wasted because now the graphics look crappy blown up.

Besides, I am constantly making updates and sometimes optimize the graphics without telling people (thatís the trust me part). You asked why I have graphics so detailed that no one can see and I told you why. I didnít say you were wrong about more lines and fills using up more CPU. My technical explanation agrees with your statements. However, unlike OpenGL or DirectX for polygons, Flash does do some magic to optimize vector rendering (see the link to the experiment above). Of course this doesnít get me off the hook entirely as a Flash developer. I still need to be aware of graphics optimization tricks using both code (e.g. cacheAsBitmap) and the vector drawing optimization techniques (e.g. Shape optimize, manually reducing the quality, using flat colors instead of gradients).

After the countless tests and experiments Iíve done in the past to optimize graphical performance, the easiest and most effective and most stable solution to fit the development plan of Winter Storm is to enable the feature to globally change the Flash rendering quality. I added the feature in-game as an options button. Personally I use ďMediumĒ as things still look decent but it gives a good performance boost.
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klublife
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject: calling you out on making your own images, max Reply with quote

max, vector, i've got a great idea. instead of lowering the quality, make a separate image of all those dragons and such with less detail, and make that a "medium" setting, and have a very basic image for a low.

i don't know if this will make it run any faster, because i am sadly not a developer. however, if it works, this would solve the issue, right?

max, i recall you saying something about you thinking that vector should be making a separate image of a red dragon, along with promoting making one yourself, so go ahead. it makes it go into a final game so much faster.
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LostVector
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:40 am    Post subject: Re: calling you out on making your own images, max Reply with quote

klublife wrote:
max, vector, i've got a great idea. instead of lowering the quality, make a separate image of all those dragons and such with less detail, and make that a "medium" setting, and have a very basic image for a low.


Yes, that would make things run a little faster but it just means a lot of extra work for me for a marginal gain in performance.
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MaxKing
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to let you know, Jason, I'm on lvl 58 (point-click fire) and I have like 10 fps or so on lowest settings.

Jus' sayin'
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LostVector
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaxKing wrote:
Just to let you know, Jason, I'm on lvl 58 (point-click fire) and I have like 10 fps or so on lowest settings.

Jus' sayin'


Does it get that way after playing for a while without closing the browser? Does it get slow only when there's a lot of stuff on the screen or right when the game starts?
Do you notice slowdown always or when specific effects are visible (e.g. types of unit deaths or types of animations)?
What are your computer specs?
What browser are you using?

Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully I'll be able to better optimize the game so it runs smoother for you in the future.
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