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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why lesser graphics in MMOs compared to SP games?

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58 posts found
  Demarii

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 131

2/16/14 10:31:32 PM#21
Originally posted by Loktofeit

In a single-player game, the developer has far greater control over every scene. Each view you see is designed to fit neatly within comfortable poly, texture, cpu, gpu, etc limits. 

 

Imagine creating the props and hiring the staff for a play you are about to put on. Now imagine offering a stage, staff and props for anyone that wants to put on a play. 

This is likely the most accurate answer to your question without getting into details. 

The only thing I can add having worked on an MMO game system as an artist is the budget for everything is much tighter due to the dynamic nature of the game environment because you can't control it. In a SP game you know exactly how many characters there are what their polygons amount to, how much texture memory is in use.

In an MMO this is completely variable and out of the devs control because the players are often the biggest culprit for adding to all of different and major factors involved. Textures are by far still considered one of the biggest bottlenecks in any game, and having more system or video RAM does not negate this, you still have to process it all, and while there are methods for dealing with this like batching, they often do not work in MMO environments because of the levels of variability players want in their game and can bring to the scene. So the tendency is towards conservative detail use as you pick and choose careful based on overall gameplay design.

While pretty scenes are nice, if you can't play because its lagging then its all just a big expensive waste of development time... not to mention your brain will quickly disregard the pretty graphics after a while and tend to focus on what it really enjoys doing, puzzle solving in some form or another. MMO's tend to focus their development time and money on making mechanics that can maintain interest for long periods, SP games tend to focus on very specific and more shallow gameplay mechanics and more eye candy because they are smaller in scope and number of scenes to be produced.

Game design is all about compromise... how much for how much...

  Gestankfaust

Elite Member

Joined: 1/14/04
Posts: 1081

Very well. If you will not stop trolling threads, then I shall say.....NI!!

2/16/14 10:36:04 PM#22
Originally posted by inemosz

Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

Huh?

You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

"This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  Kevyne-Shandris

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/08
Posts: 1980

You can't † BURY † ¤¤ Holy Paladins ¤¤ As we will always __.- ASCEND -.__

2/16/14 10:38:58 PM#23
Originally posted by Gestankfaust
Originally posted by inemosz

Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

Huh?

You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

The West is attuned to the Disney school of animation.

The East is attuned to the anime school of animation.

 

When either is exported to another cultural sphere it's style is regarded as "exotic" to some, where to others it can be an eyesore.

 

I don't like anime animations as it reminds me of rotoscope in style, with the flickering of dropped key frames. It a headache to see, so not an anime fan. See w-a-y too many animations in MMOs that show it's from China, and avoid them like the plague.

  Gestankfaust

Elite Member

Joined: 1/14/04
Posts: 1081

Very well. If you will not stop trolling threads, then I shall say.....NI!!

2/16/14 10:42:56 PM#24
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
Originally posted by Gestankfaust
Originally posted by inemosz

Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

Huh?

You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

The West is attuned to the Disney school of animation.

The East is attuned to the anime school of animation.

 

When either is exported to another cultural sphere it's style is regarded as "exotic" to some, where to others it can be an eyesore.

Which has nothing to do with the point.

 

The west doesn't care about Disney...the East DOES care about anime.

"This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  Kevyne-Shandris

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/08
Posts: 1980

You can't † BURY † ¤¤ Holy Paladins ¤¤ As we will always __.- ASCEND -.__

2/16/14 10:48:18 PM#25
Originally posted by Gestankfaust
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
Originally posted by Gestankfaust
Originally posted by inemosz

Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

Huh?

You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

The West is attuned to the Disney school of animation.

The East is attuned to the anime school of animation.

 

When either is exported to another cultural sphere it's style is regarded as "exotic" to some, where to others it can be an eyesore.

Which has nothing to do with the point.

 

The west doesn't care about Disney...the East DOES care about anime.

Even you don't understand it.

 

There's 2 main schools of animations. Disney that started it all that the West was raised upon, and the Eastern animations we in the West know as anime.

 

Whenever players complain about animations, they don't know what they dislike, but they'll explain what's missing. They notice it's "off", because it IS off (anime drops frames, which causes the flickering effect seen in anime Added: in computer animations. Decades ago before the internet, it's due to how they aligned the cells to film, which in the East was off giving it a rotoscope like effect. They weren't taught how Disney did it). The Disney school is fluid animations, and you won't see the dropped frames, as care was used to align cells and time was spent on establishing correct motion.

 

The eye notices it.

  inemosz

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/13/12
Posts: 381

2/16/14 11:02:02 PM#26
Originally posted by Gestankfaust
Originally posted by inemosz

Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

Huh?

You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

No, I mean Asian MMOs look like Western SP games. 

Have you actually seen/played any of them?

Blade & Soul : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201312/02/20131202003923a0dna6i9fp63scsy.jpg

Black Desert : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201401/14/20140114053045a0doltaciez7x7n6.jpg

Bless : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201402/08/20140208041758a0dpdbknrgly9cfm.jpg

 

I'm not talking about the animation. Even if I were to talk about it, Eastern developers do better on it. Let's compare this 2 games which have similar gameplay/combat elements, which are soft-targeting, action combat,  blocks, etc.

ESO : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3y3kQN9LrI

Blade & Soul : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8g-pgHQ8dM

You can clearly see which one has the better animation.

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5211

2/17/14 3:17:16 AM#27
What amuses me here is that MMOs have been in a race to keep up graphically with SP games. They have ditched so much in terms of gameplay, roleplaying tools and the rest. Yet they still cannot keep up, was the "streamlining" worth it?
  Fusion

Old School

Joined: 5/21/03
Posts: 1352

2/17/14 3:31:27 AM#28
Originally posted by Robokapp
Originally posted by srsnoob
Originally posted by waynejr2
Originally posted by srsnoob
I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games. I thought that only information about player location, action, NPCs etc. is sent between the server and the player's PC so internet connection is not really a factor. That only the player needs a PC capable of rendering the graphic's files already installed on their hard drive, which many do evidently by highly successful and graphically intensive single player games released on PC. So why aren't MMOs produced with the same level of graphical detail? Are the limitations technical or is it more of a development time/cost issue?

If you have to ask........

With all the crap devs have to go through as far as graphics, animations and detail, do you really think the devs are being lazy about this or trying to hold back?  Just think about it for a little bit.

Uh why would I  think they are being lazy? I'm just curious for an advanced/technical answer. Like is having player characters on screen is more resource intensive graphics wise than having non player characters and why? What's the structure of the programming like? 

Let me try.

 

There are 375 players in a courtyard, in sight of one another.

 

Player 1 sees 374 players and himself.

player 2 sees 374 players and himself.

----------------------------------------------------

player 375 sees 374 players and himself.

 

If this was a singleplayer game, and everyone was a NPC, there would be 375 real-time 'objects' being calculated.

 

if this is a multiplayer game and those are actual players, there are 140625 'objects being calculated.

 

Now add spell visuals, and the server calculating their effects, both visual and numerical, in the right sequence.

 

Eve's answer was Time dilation. straight forward, time slows down to give the server time to compute. other MMOs chose simply to drop down the number of components in graphics of all kinds to reduce computation.

 

 

simply put, it's like this: what can you calculate faster?  25.1+71.5 or 5774.6733 + 22049.2345 ?

That's pretty much the most accurate reason & reasoning, why graphics are as they are in MMO's

I don't know where you got that EVE comment out of.... EVE does not have "real" 3-D enviroments, it has a backdrop of starts and a few planets it needs to render / calculate ontop of players and thus is far less resource heavy in terms of non-player related visuals.

Currently playing: -

Waiting for: Class4.

Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  Fusion

Old School

Joined: 5/21/03
Posts: 1352

2/17/14 3:35:54 AM#29
Originally posted by inemosz
Originally posted by Gestankfaust
Originally posted by inemosz

Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

Huh?

You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

No, I mean Asian MMOs look like Western SP games. 

Have you actually seen/played any of them?

Blade & Soul : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201312/02/20131202003923a0dna6i9fp63scsy.jpg

Black Desert : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201401/14/20140114053045a0doltaciez7x7n6.jpg

Bless : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201402/08/20140208041758a0dpdbknrgly9cfm.jpg

 

I'm not talking about the animation. Even if I were to talk about it, Eastern developers do better on it. Let's compare this 2 games which have similar gameplay/combat elements, which are soft-targeting, action combat,  blocks, etc.

ESO : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3y3kQN9LrI

Blade & Soul : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8g-pgHQ8dM

You can clearly see which one has the better animation.

You think B&S can handle as ginormous PVP battles as ESO can? i VERY much doubt it. They're pretty and resource heavy, they'll never reach the same amount simultaneous characters fluidly on the screen as ESO does.

You win some, you lose some, i rather have great fluidity with hundreds of players on the screen rather than 10 sparkly characters that starts chopping the game already.

Currently playing: -

Waiting for: Class4.

Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  Eighteen16

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/22/11
Posts: 145

2/17/14 4:19:17 AM#30
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
Originally posted by srsnoob
I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games.

Rendering bottlenecks.

 

Offline it's just 1 player with a much smaller land area to render. So objects can have more polys and textures can be 4096x4096 in size without much of an issue on a decent computer.

 

Online with more characters, and the need to have the vast space filled with life-like objects, requires keeping the polys to the level of offline games. So each character now has many less polys and texture sizes reduced, to make up for the missing poly used in the environment and moving objects.

 

The other factor is particle effects are really nice in offline games as it's but a few NPCs that you will encounter. Online, put 25 players in a small area with even WoW styled graphics, and it'll lag out a computer...that's almost 3x as many effects as a SP game (one of biggest improvements in computer performance is to turn down the particle effects).

 

This is about as good of an answer as you'll get on this. It is much easier to optimize a single player game, with a few exceptions. When a PC lacks a good CPU you are much more likely to get the rendering lag in MMOs, where you get past the loading screen but the players and NPCs are still not loaded and FPS drops significantly. It is also why other genres of online games are still behind PCs in the amount of players they can have, even with the new gen. What I would like to know is why there are still MMOs being released that look like 90s Disney reject cartoons (Hello EQN and Wildstar). 

  inemosz

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/13/12
Posts: 381

2/17/14 4:34:09 AM#31
Originally posted by Fusion
Originally posted by inemosz
Originally posted by Gestankfaust
Originally posted by inemosz

Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

Huh?

You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

No, I mean Asian MMOs look like Western SP games. 

Have you actually seen/played any of them?

Blade & Soul : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201312/02/20131202003923a0dna6i9fp63scsy.jpg

Black Desert : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201401/14/20140114053045a0doltaciez7x7n6.jpg

Bless : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201402/08/20140208041758a0dpdbknrgly9cfm.jpg

 

I'm not talking about the animation. Even if I were to talk about it, Eastern developers do better on it. Let's compare this 2 games which have similar gameplay/combat elements, which are soft-targeting, action combat,  blocks, etc.

ESO : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3y3kQN9LrI

Blade & Soul : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8g-pgHQ8dM

You can clearly see which one has the better animation.

You think B&S can handle as ginormous PVP battles as ESO can? i VERY much doubt it. They're pretty and resource heavy, they'll never reach the same amount simultaneous characters fluidly on the screen as ESO does.

You win some, you lose some, i rather have great fluidity with hundreds of players on the screen rather than 10 sparkly characters that starts chopping the game already.

Indeed, I agree with you. I was just answering the OP's question.

To be fair, Bless & Black Desert will also have siege wars just like in GW2 & ESO. Let's see how will they accomplish that with those cirspy graphics.

  WontoonRoo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/25/10
Posts: 13

2/17/14 11:25:16 AM#32

As far as the server goes in influencing a game's graphics... that is out of the question. The most a server will need to do is tell a client where mob/object A,B,and C is.

But, as far as why graphics are toned down for MMORPGs, I'd say there are a few reasons:

You can potentially have a lot of people on the screen, and that adds to the rendering cost. Big events with lots of people exhibit this problem. Workarounds for this have been made (for the most part), like priority rendering (mob -> party members -> everyone else. See: FFXI).

Not everyone will have a computer with the power equivalent of Godzilla, so and it would make sense (if you want a lot of people being to play the game with a decent framerate) to have graphics toned down or finding other ways and tricks to reduce rendering costs or ways to optimize the engine (like reduced textures). There are many video cards and hardware configurations to take into account, and the average person is not going to have a 4 GB graphics card or 16 GB of RAM in their system. Having various graphics settings could ease this.

Textures. Using 4096x4096 textures everywhere to convey your world would require some serious hardware. Textures still need to be loaded into memory (and if I am correct entire textures need to be loaded first before they are sampled, thus still needing to have that texture in its entirety in memory somewhere). Combined with the possibility of any number of characters showing up on your screen at any time for any reason, rendering cost is increased or decreased at random. Reduced texture sizes can ease this (provided I'm correct about textures being loaded in their entirety before being sampled down).

Shaders can also increase the load on the CPU and GPU too. Those real time shadows, sub-surface scattering, bump mapping, and volumetric lighting add to the rendering cost.

And that's all just the graphics side of things. Turning the graphics back a bit will allow more people to play your game without spending more cash to invest in beefier hardware, but turning them up will allow only a small portion of people to play your game with other people needing to invest in hardware to even be able to run it.

  Ender4

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Joined: 5/18/08
Posts: 2050

2/17/14 11:29:41 AM#33

I can't give you a technical answer but I can just relate my experience having played almost every western MMORPG ever made. The higher the quality of the graphics the cruddier the game plays. It is that plain and simple.

  RealmLordsKen

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Joined: 6/09/08
Posts: 272

2/17/14 11:38:42 AM#34
Originally posted by Loktofeit

In a single-player game, the developer has far greater control over every scene. Each view you see is designed to fit neatly within comfortable poly, texture, cpu, gpu, etc limits. 

 

Imagine creating the props and hiring the staff for a play you are about to put on. Now imagine offering a stage, staff and props for anyone that wants to put on a play. 

 

This matches my understanding as well.  Unpredictable scene complexity, background loading / unloading of assets, as well as system load from the constant near real-time dynamic updates from the server.

 

If I just uttered incomprehensible gibberish, assume that I'm tweaking. It happens.

  Loktofeit

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Joined: 1/13/10
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Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

2/19/14 7:33:10 AM#35
Originally posted by Scot
What amuses me here is that MMOs have been in a race to keep up graphically with SP games. They have ditched so much in terms of gameplay, roleplaying tools and the rest. Yet they still cannot keep up, was the "streamlining" worth it?

Yes, since graphics of any lesser quality would lead to the MMO being automatically rejected by many NA MMO gamers. 

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fovoroth

  Kevyne-Shandris

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You can't † BURY † ¤¤ Holy Paladins ¤¤ As we will always __.- ASCEND -.__

2/19/14 8:37:02 AM#36
Originally posted by WontoonRoo

Textures. Using 4096x4096 textures everywhere to convey your world would require some serious hardware. Textures still need to be loaded into memory (and if I am correct entire textures need to be loaded first before they are sampled, thus still needing to have that texture in its entirety in memory somewhere).

It's even more complex with offloading between CPU and GPU (sectoring). In games like EQII they banked on the wrong tech (CPU) which means most calculations are done via it, but it's slower than a GPU (what a GPU can render @ 30fps, a CPU can only process it @12fps...it's dog slow). So the best games balance computations between BOTH the CPU and GPU to reduce the I/O bottleneck that can develop. A building, for example, to optimize the processing will be cut up into sectors per level, and depending on the complexity of the scene (e.g., a lot of particle effects and/or a lot of polys) it's sectored according to which can handle the data chunks the best.

 

There's a lot of background processes going on for every object within a players FOV (and some out of view), and too many people think the GPU handles all the graphics, it doesn't and it can't. I/O bandwidth is the limiter.

  Ender4

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Joined: 5/18/08
Posts: 2050

2/19/14 9:27:10 AM#37


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by Scot What amuses me here is that MMOs have been in a race to keep up graphically with SP games. They have ditched so much in terms of gameplay, roleplaying tools and the rest. Yet they still cannot keep up, was the "streamlining" worth it?
Yes, since graphics of any lesser quality would lead to the MMO being automatically rejected by many NA MMO gamers. 

 


Not nearly as many as they lost because of their cruddy gameplay. It is painfully obvious that the market cares more about gameplay than graphics, just look at the most popular games on the market, they are all graphics lite, gameplay heavy.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19455

2/19/14 11:10:22 AM#38
Originally posted by RealmLordsKen
Originally posted by Loktofeit

In a single-player game, the developer has far greater control over every scene. Each view you see is designed to fit neatly within comfortable poly, texture, cpu, gpu, etc limits. 

 

Imagine creating the props and hiring the staff for a play you are about to put on. Now imagine offering a stage, staff and props for anyone that wants to put on a play. 

 

This matches my understanding as well.  Unpredictable scene complexity, background loading / unloading of assets, as well as system load from the constant near real-time dynamic updates from the server.

 

That is not true in an instance though, and much of MMO gameplay are in instances.

  syriinx

Elite Member

Joined: 9/24/13
Posts: 898

2/19/14 11:20:23 AM#39

Lesser graphics=more people can play and faster development

MMOs have serious problems getting out big updates and expansions these days.

  WereLlama

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Joined: 2/13/12
Posts: 198

2/19/14 2:32:56 PM#40

On iOS mobile development, each animated character on the screen consumes at least 1 draw call, and draw call count has a major impact on most apple devices.

So, in a single player game, the dev can limit the number of animated thingies to keep it 30+ fps on most devices.

In a multi-player game, the dev's have to plan for 30 or more players in the same area, which might drop fps to 5 fps like in the original raids of Everquest.

For EVE, I suspect they have to plan for 1000s of ships in the same area.  

-WL

 

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