Jump to content

Level design based around hardware issues.


dumpster
 Share

Recommended Posts

I decided to go one-console for this generation. I'm getting old, there's too many wires, I barely used my Switch. I plumped for the first console I could find in a store and this gen I'm Xbox Series X all the way.  My first next gen game was Resident Evil Village.

 

Three quarters of the way through, you get to a building with a lift.  You go up to the top, grab an item, take the lift back, do the puzzle, then back to the top.  It strikes me that the level has been designed around loading times and the lift journey takes much longer than you'd expect because the game is loading the next area each time. It's like so many other games where walking to a distinct new area involves traversing a winding path thats long enough for the console to dump where you came from and start loading the next bit.  Breath of the Wild does this a lot, for example.  I think this was used in a presentation by Sony about the benefits of SSD.  The route to the next area is designed into the map because it gets loaded into memory when you're on the way there. If you have the power of a next gen console you can keep the action going , without the need to leave long journeys in the map to mask loading.

 

 

This starts me wondering about the benefits of back compatibility.  I love Microsoft's approach to BC, because it means that you know your games will work in the future.  If you have an Xbox One and buy Resi8 then it works, and it's going to run even better if you buy a Series S or X in the future.  

 

But Sony have back compatibility as well, but on PS5 you buy specific PS5 games, or play PS4 games. Sometimes the game comes with a specific update on the PS4 version. 

 

You're going to get games on PS5 that are designed for PS5 that are not intended to work at all on PS4.

 

Do publishers have the intention to make Xbox Series X titles that are not Xbox One compatible?  Because whilst their approach to BC is admirable I can't help feeling that it's going to stifle innovation on the platform as coders try to maximise sales by ensuring their games work on as many revisions of the Xbox as possible.  If they do that, we'll see Xbox Series X games that have maps and layouts to mask loading times that don't exist if you're playing on the latest console. 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, dumpster said:

Do publishers have the intention to make Xbox Series X titles that are not Xbox One compatible? 

 

Didn't MS commit to ensuring that all their first-party games up to a certain date would run on both generations? (What was it, the first two years after the Series S/X's launch?)

 

Have third-party companies announced anything similar?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even with SSDs, some devs are going to make loading lifts because they'll always try and exceed what's possible and some devs are going to make loading lifts cos they don't have the time or manpower to optimise any further. I wouldn't worry about it, because honestly most of the time it doesn't matter. Every story needs a lull in the action and every game will need areas of respite for the player.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Nick R said:

 

Didn't MS commit to ensuring that all their first-party games up to a certain date would run on both generations? (What was it, the first two years after the Series S/X's launch?)

 

Have third-party companies announced anything similar?


except MS FLIGHT SIMULATOR obv. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@dumpster

 

We're still in this cross-generation period, so the type of thing you describe is to be expected for another year or so, I'd say. Already, though, we're starting to hear about developers ditching the last gen for their upcoming games.

 

I didn't notice what you describe in Resi 8, myself - the routes to the different areas of the game felt natural to me, and were certainly a lot less obvious than the constant squeezing through rocks to disguise loading times you saw in last-gen games, like Jedi: Fallen Order, for example.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Medium and Flight Simulator are current gen only so far.

 

I wouldn't expect to see a huge number of third party games like that anytime soon - the install base is limited by components shortages and so many big games are delayed due to the pandemic that the cross gen period will go on longer than usual.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not so bothered by loading lifts that I think old and new generations should get their own "versions" of games that keep the lifts or remove them. I'm often more interested in a studio's first original project(s) for a new generation. What can developers create with the things they've learned from the past but the opportunities offered by new hardware?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, dumpster said:

It's like so many other games where walking to a distinct new area involves traversing a winding path thats long enough for the console to dump where you came from and start loading the next bit.  Breath of the Wild does this a lot, for example.

 

 


Until you get revali’s gale and can fly up high into the air and glide huge distances at speed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, revlob said:

For example, regarding the recent remaster of Quake, did you know that originally each of its levels could not exceed 1.4MB in size? It's not quite clear why the size of a HD floppy was chosen, as Quake was released on CD

 

I did not know that!

 

I wonder if it was for ease of transfer, backup and storage during development, though if any games company at the time had money to spend on the latest kit, it was id.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, revlob said:

I was hoping this was going to be a thread about celebrating the ingenuity of deveopers working magic in order to overcome hardware limitations.

 

For example, regarding the recent remaster of Quake, did you know that originally each of its levels could not exceed 1.4MB in size? It's not quite clear why the size of a HD floppy was chosen, as Quake was released on CD, but I think it's fascinating id Software worked under that imposition. Having to tweak the level geometry in order to skirt under such an incredibly low threshold, and yet the end result was Quake, is truly an accomplishment.

 

Was that size limit a limitation of the engine? Or could the engine handle bigger levels, but id voluntarily restricted their levels to that size for some reason? (The reasons @Fry Crayola suggested sound plausible.)

 

Did modders come up with workarounds in order to make bigger levels?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, dumpster said:

My first next gen game was Resident Evil Village.


Three quarters of the way through, you get to a building with a lift.  You go up to the top, grab an item, take the lift back, do the puzzle, then back to the top.  It strikes me that the level has been designed around loading times and the lift journey takes much longer than you'd expect because the game is loading the next area each time. It's like so many other games where walking to a distinct new area involves traversing a winding path thats long enough for the console to dump where you came from and start loading the next bit.  Breath of the Wild does this a lot, for example. 

Breath of The Wild is an open world in which you can walk, run, ride your horse, fly , etc. It’s not like the in the example you just gave in which loading is being masked, unless you mean the shrines? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, dumpster said:

This starts me wondering about the benefits of back compatibility.  I love Microsoft's approach to BC, because it means that you know your games will work in the future.  If you have an Xbox One and buy Resi8 then it works, and it's going to run even better if you buy a Series S or X in the future.

 

But Sony have back compatibility as well, but on PS5 you buy specific PS5 games, or play PS4 games. Sometimes the game comes with a specific update on the PS4 version. You're going to get games on PS5 that are designed for PS5 that are not intended to work at all on PS4.

 

Do publishers have the intention to make Xbox Series X titles that are not Xbox One compatible?  Because whilst their approach to BC is admirable I can't help feeling that it's going to stifle innovation on the platform as coders try to maximise sales by ensuring their games work on as many revisions of the Xbox as possible.  If they do that, we'll see Xbox Series X games that have maps and layouts to mask loading times that don't exist if you're playing on the latest console.

 

I have no idea how you've gotten the idea of backwards compatibility means that games will be based around or continue to release on old hardware, that doesn't even begin to make sense - it just means old stuff is playable on your new machine.

 

You're literally just talking about cross-gen games, which'll be the same for both platforms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Fry Crayola said:

 

I did not know that!

 

I wonder if it was for ease of transfer, backup and storage during development, though if any games company at the time had money to spend on the latest kit, it was id.

 

They certainly did, John Carmack used a ultra expensive widescreen full HD CRT in 1995 to develop the game, way before it became mainstream:

 

89aUz1S.jpg
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Nick R said:

Was that size limit a limitation of the engine? Or could the engine handle bigger levels, but id voluntarily restricted their levels to that size for some reason? (The reasons @Fry Crayola suggested sound plausible.)

 

Did modders come up with workarounds in order to make bigger levels?

 

It was never a technical limitation, as far as I can tell, there was never any such limit in the engine itself. I've read that it may have been for ease of development as Fry says, but then I'm sure id software had access to networked machines at the time, so I'm not sure what advantage chucking floppies around the office would have had. It may have been only a non-functional requirement stipulated in order to ensure performance on older hardware.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought this was going to be about how amazing old racing games used to be because tracks would try and hide the pop up with twists and turns. Where as now you can see hundreds of miles so they just make long boring straight lines because they can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Ketchup said:

I thought this was going to be about how amazing old racing games used to be because tracks would try and hide the pop up with twists and turns. Where as now you can see hundreds of miles so they just make long boring straight lines because they can.

I missed an opportunity to mention Burnout 2, goddammit.

 

1 hour ago, Thor said:

The OP's issue is why Halo Infinite is going to disappoint. Infinite has to run on all Xbox machines, from the  Series X right down to the original Xbox One that could barely run last gen's games at 900p.

Yes, that's exactly it.  My example (Re8's elevators) is a bad example because ultimately the Devs can just program the lift to stop moving when the game has loaded.  If you're playing on a Series X you'll have a shorter lift journey. This might piss off the speedrunners, but you see the point.   

 

But the Halo example sums up exactly the point I badly made.  The maps and level design will have to cater for the lowest spec console it runs on.  If you're running to the top of a mountain as the game frantically loads in the next area, the route will be as long as the slowest console needs it to be.  A game that is designed for cross gen can't truly take advantage of your shiny new hardware, and this is a problem as Microsoft have decreed that all their games will be cross gen for a certain period.  By the time we see lots of Xbox Series S/X specific titles, the PS5 will have more exclusives that really show off their hardware.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Innovation comes in many forms, Breath of The Wild is largely regarded as one of if not  the greatest games of all time, and that’s running on hardware ostensibly less powerful than an Xbox One. 
 

On other hand Microsoft Flight Simulator could not possibly run on last gen hardware and makes use of pretty much every bit of technology going. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember the tail end of the 360 era I got so bored of games because I knew how much memory the machine had so I knew how big an area was going to be before seeing the walls.

 

I don’t think we’ll ever see that vision that Sony has where the game is just being constantly streamed in from the SSD. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, dumpster said:

But the Halo example sums up exactly the point I badly made.  The maps and level design will have to cater for the lowest spec console it runs on.  If you're running to the top of a mountain as the game frantically loads in the next area, the route will be as long as the slowest console needs it to be.  A game that is designed for cross gen can't truly take advantage of your shiny new hardware, and this is a problem as Microsoft have decreed that all their games will be cross gen for a certain period.  By the time we see lots of Xbox Series S/X specific titles, the PS5 will have more exclusives that really show off their hardware.

 

Nah, sorry this is a really outdated take, like that was a thing discussed at launch a year ago, but Microsoft backed off their minimum cross-gen thing like six months ago, Flight Sim launched current-gen exclusive last month - keep up!

 

And Sony backed off their "we believe in generations" thing too with the sneaky announcement that all those games they pretended were next-gen exclusive were actually cross-gen, so now we're actually in opposite-land where Sony has no announced next-gen exclusives incoming, whereas Microsoft has a bunch (and we're in the even weirder situation where Sony has no big games coming this Xmas, but Microsoft does, for Playstation as well as Xbox).

 

I still don't get how you got any of these premises from the OP that any of that affected third party stuff, or what that has to do with BC though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, dumpster said:

A game that is designed for cross gen can't truly take advantage of your shiny new hardware, and this is a problem as Microsoft have decreed that all their games will be cross gen for a certain period.  By the time we see lots of Xbox Series S/X specific titles, the PS5 will have more exclusives that really show off their hardware.

 

That's always been the reason why console generations do matter. Dump the aging old shit and reset the baseline for development.

 

The Asians seem to be currently carrying the flag of the old PC spirit of fuck the current hardware, design and build your games for the future hardware to come, instead of having to make them fully playable on existing older, lower spec PCs.

 

The most impressive game out of Gamescom was the South Korean developed DokeV, which clearly went beyond something like the latest very mundane Call of Duty or any other known Western multiplatform game. The supposed console ports are going to be interesting for that one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Harrisown said:

I remember the tail end of the 360 era I got so bored of games because I knew how much memory the machine had so I knew how big an area was going to be before seeing the walls.

 

I don’t think we’ll ever see that vision that Sony has where the game is just being constantly streamed in from the SSD. 


Didn’t we see this starting with Grand Theft Auto 4? They streamed off disc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Ketchup said:

I thought this was going to be about how amazing old racing games used to be because tracks would try and hide the pop up with twists and turns. Where as now you can see hundreds of miles so they just make long boring straight lines because they can.

Nailed it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, deerokus said:

Ms did say their games for the next two years or so would all be cross gen. They said it two years ago, people seem to forget, so that two years is up. Obviously everything is delayed so you can extend that window a bit.


everyone else thought they mean two years after launch :coffee:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.