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[Official High Resolution Textures Post] Can we get a clarification on this?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
[Official High Resolution Textures Post] Can we get a clarification on this?

Adelbert's Avatar


Adelbert
01.06.2012 , 02:55 PM | #1
This is the 5th post about this issue:

1st post (117 pages long): http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=140954
2nd post (112 pages long): http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=151787

3rd post (125 pages long): http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=162569
4th post (148 pages long): http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=164481

*New Update 11/01/2012*


So here we go. The answer we wanted, and also probably the answer nobody wanted:

Quote: Originally Posted by StephenReid View Post
Hey everyone, thanks for bearing with us as we investigated the concerns raised here.

After investigation, it seems that the confusion here is a combination of a UI issue that's been resolved and a feature that's working as intended, but the reason why it's 'working as intended' needs explanation.

First, the UI issue. The preferences menu as it is seen on the Public Test Server for version 1.1 of the game is correct - there are only supposed to be two texture choices, 'Low' and 'High'. This replaces the original three-choice preference of Low/Medium/High because in reality, there was never supposed to be a 'Medium' choice - that was a bug.

Here's where we need to explain. As many of you have noted, your character in the game world is rendered using lower resolution textures than inside of cinematic conversation scenes. This was a deliberate decision by the development team. To understand why this was done, I have to briefly talk about MMOs and their engines.

In comparison to single player games and other genres of multiplayer online games, MMOs have much higher variability in the number of characters that can be potentially rendered on-screen at the same time. In MMOs, even though most of the time you'll see a relatively small number of characters on screen, there are certain situations in which many more characters will be seen. Some examples of these situations include popular gathering places in-game (in our case, the two fleets), Operations with large teams, and Warzones. In those scenarios the client (and your PC) has to work hard to show off a lot of characters on-screen.

During development and testing of The Old Republic, our priorities were to ensure the game looked great and performed well. In testing, we discovered that using our 'maximum resolution' textures on in-game characters during normal gameplay could cause severe performance issues, even on powerful PCs. There were a variety of possible options to help improve performance, but one that was explored and ultimately implemented used what is known as a 'texture atlas'.

To understand that I've got to get technical for a minute. When a character in the game is 'seen' by another character - ie, gets close to your field of view - the client has to 'draw' that character for you to see. As the character is 'drawn' for you there are a number of what are known as 'draw calls' where the client pulls information from the repository it has on your hard disk, including textures, and then renders the character. Every draw call that is made is a demand on your PC, so keeping that number of draw calls low per character is important. With our 'maximum resolution' textures a large number of draw calls are made per character, but that wasn't practical for normal gameplay, especially when a large number of characters were in one place; the number of draw calls made on your client would multiply very quickly. The solution was to 'texture atlas' - essentially to put a number of smaller textures together into one larger texture. This reduces the number of draw calls dramatically and allows the client to render characters quicker, which improves performance dramatically.

When it comes to cinematic scenes, however, characters are rendered using the higher number of draw calls and maximum resolution textures. This is because in those scenes, we have control over exactly how many characters are rendered and can ensure that the game performs well. The transition between 'atlas textured' characters (out of cinematics) and 'maximum resolution' textures (in cinematics) is mostly hidden by the transition between those two states (when the screen goes black), but obviously it's clear if you pay close attention.

In summary; yes, we had a small UI bug that unfortunately caused confusion over how the game is intended to work. The textures you're seeing in the course of normal gameplay are optimized for that mode of play. The textures you're seeing during cinematics are also optimized for that mode of play. They are higher resolution, but that's because we're able to control cinematic scenes to ensure good performance in a way we can't during normal gameplay.

We understand the passion and desire for people to see the same textures you see in our cinematic scenes in the main game. Because of the performance issues that would cause for the client, that's not an immediate and easy fix; we need to ensure we're making choices that the majority of our players will be able to benefit from. Having 'atlassed textures' helps performance overall, and that's a very important goal for us.

With that said, we've heard your feedback here loud and clear. The development team is exploring options to improve the fidelity of the game, particularly for those of you with high-spec PCs. It will be a significant piece of development work and it won't be an overnight change, but we're listening and we're committed to reacting to your feedback.
So no, we won't have high resolution textures in a 2012 AAA game anytime soon.

Thanks all for the support on this subject guys.

New Update 09/01/2012

We finally got a first response by Stephen Reid. I'll just quote it:

Quote: Originally Posted by StephenReid View Post
Hey all, wanted to let you know we're aware of this issue.

We're tracking down the details with the development team and will give you an update soon - hopefully later today.
I'll update this post as soon as we get that info.



Original 1st post with 117 pages: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=140954

I want to thank EVERYBODY for the support we are all giving to this post. Many good opinions here. More than 50 pages in 1 day clearly shows one thing: as customers paying for a 50$ product and worth 15$ a month, we deserve an answer.

//Update

Ok, since this has become the "official" post for the High Resolution Textures issue, I'm going to update this post for newcomers with the information we have at the moment. So, here are the facts we know:

1- The game had high resolution textures during beta. But they disappeared before releasing the live client.

2- You are NOT playing in high settings, no matter what your preferences window says. At this moment, medium=high, and there is no high, so you are all playing viewing your char's textures in medium quality.

3- This was expected to be fixed in the PTS. However, at this moment the issue hasn't been fixed for 1.1. What is more, they deleted the "Medium" quality option, and now there are only two options. Low and High. And yes, you are right: High is just the new Medium, as you can see in this screenshot:

http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/9238/swtor3.png

More info on this, by MaxWham:

Quote: Originally Posted by MaxWham View Post
Ok, I've made myself to download the whole Test Client, and that's what I've found:
Now there are only 2 options for "Texture Quality", "Shader Complexity" and "Character
Level of Detail":

http://floomby.com/content/Unhn91yMJ0

http://floomby.com/content/mx3gBmTTkS

http://floomby.com/content/axEz2UPYUE

This is how the game looks on Low:

http://floomby.com/content/5hsuNryE1E

And High:

http://floomby.com/content/SpcGe55FUk

So you see enviroment textures do change, but the character ones are always the same...
The options of "Low" and "High" only affect cutscenes, but unfortunately I can't make screenies during them...
4- Somehow, the high resolution textures are already in the game. But they are not being used while playing with your character. You can see em during dialog cutscenes. You can see them on your companions wardrobe preview window. And you can see them for 0,5 secs after clicking on your holo terminal in your ship. Here are some examples:

Medium: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...010419385.jpg/
High: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...010419390.jpg/

Medium: http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/897...2010710454.jpg
High: http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/553/hirez.png

Medium: http://imgur.com/NqI7j
High: http://imgur.com/M7Geg

ToonPhil shared with us this one: http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/364...htextures1.png

Another one from Adamant:

Medium: http://i.imgur.com/PsqBo.jpg
High: http://i.imgur.com/U1RMk.jpg

And yet another one: http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r...Comparison.jpg

One of the best high/med comparison photosets I've seen in this forum, by Rhykker: http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/5493/hirez.jpg

Gif showing the difference between both: http://m.uploadedit.com/bac/1325903803236.gif

and another gif: http://i40.tinypic.com/ip8wmb.gif

And a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WYWQ6HlYmA

And a WoW vs SWTOR comparison: http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r...Comparison.jpg

Also, I'm getting this technical information from the user Lemon_King. It's really impressive what some users like him are finding inside the code:

Quote: Originally Posted by Lemon_King View Post
FYI: Did some mining, in the Renderer where it handles Dynamic Models - There is code for once it has all the textures for a Player / NPC Dynamic model is resizes the texture by 50%. So forcing MipMap Bias to -1 won't work around this issue.
However, a crafty dll Mod for RemoteRenderer could get around this issue by setting the resize to 1:1 instead of 1:2."

XML Data for Controlling Texture MipMaps in RemoteRenderer.dll @ 0x00096B60
Code:
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<TextureObject>
<MagFilter>Linear</MagFilter>
<MinFilter>Linear</MinFilter>
<MipMapFilter>Linear</MipMapFilter>
<UAddress>Clamp</UAddress>
<VAddress>Clamp</VAddress>
<WAddress>Clamp</WAddress>
<LODBias>0</LODBias>
<MaxMipMap>1</MaxMipMap>
<Compression>Color</Compression>
<Type>Image</Type>
</TextureObject>

Direct Dump from RemoteRenderer.dll @ 0x000944B9

Shader Function for Downscaling Textures
Code:
#ifdef PS_1_x.#define TEX2D( value ) tex2D( tex##value, In.T##value ).#define EXTRA_TEXCOORD( value ) float2 T##value : TEXCOORD##value;.#define CONSTANT_SCALE( value ) ( ( (value) > 2.0 ) ? 1.0 : ( (value) / 2.0 ) ).#define RESCALE( value ) value += value.#else.#define TEX2D( value ) tex2D( tex##value, In.T0 ).#define EXTRA_TEXCOORD( value ).#define CONSTANT_SCALE( value ) value.#define RESCALE( value ).#endif.sampler tex0 : register( s0 );sampler tex1 : register( s1 );sampler tex2 : register( s2 );float4 consta : register( c0 );struct VS_OUT{ float2 T0: TEXCOORD0; EXTRA_TEXCOORD( 1 ) EXTRA_TEXCOORD( 2 )};float4 main( VS_OUT In ) : COLOR{ const float4 crc = { CONSTANT_SCALE( 1.595794678f ), -CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.813476563f ), 0, 0.0 }; const float4 crb = { 0, -CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.391448975f ), CONSTANT_SCALE( 2.017822266f ), 0.0 }; const float4 adj = { -CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.87065506f ), CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.529705048f ), -CONSTANT_SCALE( 1.081668854f ), 0 }; float4 p; float y = TEX2D( 0 ).a; float cr = TEX2D( 1 ).a; float cb = TEX2D( 2 ).a; p = y * CONSTANT_SCALE( 1.164123535f ); p += (crc * cr) + (crb * cb) + adj; RESCALE( p ); p.w = 1.0; p *= consta; return p;}........#ifdef PS_1_x.#define TEX2D( value ) tex2D( tex##value, In.T##value ).#define EXTRA_TEXCOORD( value ) float2 T##value : TEXCOORD##value;.#define CONSTANT_SCALE( value ) ( ( (value) > 2.0 ) ? 1.0 : ( (value) / 2.0 ) ).#define RESCALE( value ) value += value.#else.#define TEX2D( value ) tex2D( tex##value, In.T0 ).#define EXTRA_TEXCOORD( value ).#define CONSTANT_SCALE( value ) value.#define RESCALE( value ).#endif.sampler tex0 : register( s0 );sampler tex1 : register( s1 );sampler tex2 : register( s2 );sampler tex3 : register( s3 );float4 consta : register( c0 );struct VS_OUT{ float2 T0: TEXCOORD0; EXTRA_TEXCOORD( 1 ) EXTRA_TEXCOORD( 2 ) EXTRA_TEXCOORD( 3 )};float4 main( VS_OUT In ) : COLOR{ const float4 crc = { CONSTANT_SCALE( 1.595794678f ), -CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.813476563f ), 0, 0.0 }; const float4 crb = { 0, -CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.391448975f ), CONSTANT_SCALE( 2.017822266f ), 0.0 }; const float4 adj = { -CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.87065506f ), CONSTANT_SCALE( 0.529705048f ), -CONSTANT_SCALE( 1.081668854f ), 0 }; float4 p; float y = TEX2D( 0 ).a; float cr = TEX2D( 1 ).a; float cb = TEX2D( 2 ).a; float a = TEX2D( 3 ).a; p = y * CONSTANT_SCALE( 1.164123535f ); p += (crc * cr) + (crb * cb) + adj; RESCALE( p ); p.w = a; p *= consta; return p;}.ps_2_0
It is important to note that after 200+ pages, Bioware still hasn't said anything about this.

I'm also quoting this very well written post:

Quote: Originally Posted by GTownsend View Post
Well, that thread on the PTS forum shows that they at least know about this one and are reading it. I have faith in Bioware to fix this issue, I'm sure they understand the damage to their credit by removing the medium texture setting and changing it to be called "high" and obviously the cat's out of the bag now. I think in general if they answer the following questions here, most of us will be satisfied -

1. Please clarify the "work around" requested in the first post of this thread, including a clarification of the sentence: If you installed prior to 5:00AM CST on January 4th, 2012, your graphics will display as "Low" even if actual in-game settings are higher due to automatic preference detection. and if reinstalling the game from origin, or any other source will remedy this issue.

2. Please explain the removal of the "medium" texture setting on the PTS and its apparent promotion to being called "high" despite the fact that it still retains all of the characteristics and low quality textures of the current "medium" setting.

3. Please indicate if a fix is being worked on/implemented, and if so, when we may roughly be able to expect it.

Muddy textures are not a game breaker. You can still, as I have, have an enormous amount of fun with this game. I think we jump the gun if we say that bioware is sweeping the problem under the carpet, without an explanation, we wont know for sure if that is the case until 1.1 goes live.

That being said, this is a Triple A title, from a Triple A studio, and a Triple A publisher. We are indeed paying customers who really want noting more than an explanation. I think we all generally understand that this isn't a "snap your fingers" fix, because if it was they would have no reason to hold it back. The frustration from most reasonable people in this thread is one of lack of explanation/communication.

We can split hairs about if the issue is lighting, or if its textures (though the visual proof shows textures http://m.uploadedit.com/bac/1325903803236.gif). And we can say "Why not just settle? Its a good game," But the core of this problem is a simple one - missing high res textures, and the apparent lack of information on a fix.

Say you buy a blender at Wal-Mart, you have really been wanting this blender. You have read previews about it online, you have been watching videos about it, and have been ooggling at pictures of it. One of its prime features, often advertized is the new "Mega Frappe" button. This button helps to differentiate this blender from its competition.

Alas! When you buy the blender and fervently remove it from the box, you find that the Mega Frappe button has been pried out, and the words "Mega Frappe" have been crossed out with a magic marker. Surely you would feel like you have been just been, for lack of a better word, screwed.

Now, replace the words Blender, with SWTOR and Mega Frappe with Hi-Res Textures and I think that you will find that the frustration is indeed well placed.

I have faith in Bioware to fix this issue, but we really do need to be told what is going on.
//Update.


So, this is what the official known bugs forums says:

If you installed prior to 5:00AM CST on January 4th, 2012, your graphics will display as "Low" even if actual in-game settings are higher due to automatic preference detection.
Workaround: Your graphics setting will display properly once modified and saved.

Workaround: Individual preferences will display properly once modified and saved.


Also, it was stated on 1.0.2 patch that:

Upon a new installation and first launch of the game, settings files and in-game graphics preferences are now consistent with each other.

So, please Bioware, can we get a clarification on this? Does this mean that if we reinstall the game using the online installer, we will get high resolution textures everytime and not only during dialog cutscenes?

If not, any ETA on when the high resolution textures bug will be fixed?

Thanks in advance for answering this confusive situation.

StephenReid's Avatar


StephenReid
01.11.2012 , 11:02 AM | #2
Hey everyone, thanks for bearing with us as we investigated the concerns raised here.

After investigation, it seems that the confusion here is a combination of a UI issue that's been resolved and a feature that's working as intended, but the reason why it's 'working as intended' needs explanation.

First, the UI issue. The preferences menu as it is seen on the Public Test Server for version 1.1 of the game is correct - there are only supposed to be two texture choices, 'Low' and 'High'. This replaces the original three-choice preference of Low/Medium/High because in reality, there was never supposed to be a 'Medium' choice - that was a bug.

Here's where we need to explain. As many of you have noted, your character in the game world is rendered using lower resolution textures than inside of cinematic conversation scenes. This was a deliberate decision by the development team. To understand why this was done, I have to briefly talk about MMOs and their engines.

In comparison to single player games and other genres of multiplayer online games, MMOs have much higher variability in the number of characters that can be potentially rendered on-screen at the same time. In MMOs, even though most of the time you'll see a relatively small number of characters on screen, there are certain situations in which many more characters will be seen. Some examples of these situations include popular gathering places in-game (in our case, the two fleets), Operations with large teams, and Warzones. In those scenarios the client (and your PC) has to work hard to show off a lot of characters on-screen.

During development and testing of The Old Republic, our priorities were to ensure the game looked great and performed well. In testing, we discovered that using our 'maximum resolution' textures on in-game characters during normal gameplay could cause severe performance issues, even on powerful PCs. There were a variety of possible options to help improve performance, but one that was explored and ultimately implemented used what is known as a 'texture atlas'.

To understand that I've got to get technical for a minute. When a character in the game is 'seen' by another character - ie, gets close to your field of view - the client has to 'draw' that character for you to see. As the character is 'drawn' for you there are a number of what are known as 'draw calls' where the client pulls information from the repository it has on your hard disk, including textures, and then renders the character. Every draw call that is made is a demand on your PC, so keeping that number of draw calls low per character is important. With our 'maximum resolution' textures a large number of draw calls are made per character, but that wasn't practical for normal gameplay, especially when a large number of characters were in one place; the number of draw calls made on your client would multiply very quickly. The solution was to 'texture atlas' - essentially to put a number of smaller textures together into one larger texture. This reduces the number of draw calls dramatically and allows the client to render characters quicker, which improves performance dramatically.

When it comes to cinematic scenes, however, characters are rendered using the higher number of draw calls and maximum resolution textures. This is because in those scenes, we have control over exactly how many characters are rendered and can ensure that the game performs well. The transition between 'atlas textured' characters (out of cinematics) and 'maximum resolution' textures (in cinematics) is mostly hidden by the transition between those two states (when the screen goes black), but obviously it's clear if you pay close attention.

In summary; yes, we had a small UI bug that unfortunately caused confusion over how the game is intended to work. The textures you're seeing in the course of normal gameplay are optimized for that mode of play. The textures you're seeing during cinematics are also optimized for that mode of play. They are higher resolution, but that's because we're able to control cinematic scenes to ensure good performance in a way we can't during normal gameplay.

We understand the passion and desire for people to see the same textures you see in our cinematic scenes in the main game. Because of the performance issues that would cause for the client, that's not an immediate and easy fix; we need to ensure we're making choices that the majority of our players will be able to benefit from. Having 'atlassed textures' helps performance overall, and that's a very important goal for us.

With that said, we've heard your feedback here loud and clear. The development team is exploring options to improve the fidelity of the game, particularly for those of you with high-spec PCs. It will be a significant piece of development work and it won't be an overnight change, but we're listening and we're committed to reacting to your feedback.

Qishari's Avatar


Qishari
01.12.2012 , 11:59 AM | #3


The previous version of this thread has reached the 1k mark and so we've recreated it. While we do value everyone's opinions and your feedback is tremendously important, we ask that it is given in a constructive and respectful manner. Here are a couple things to keep in mind while you're participating in the discussion:
  • Insults and Rude Comments - You may not agree with what someone says but we do expect you to be respectful of others and their opinions. Being rude to them and insulting them is never allowed.
  • Trolling - We highly encourage you to be constructive. Inflammatory posts that are meant to do nothing more than provoke strong, emotional negative reactions from others is not allowed.
  • Please use the flag button - If you come across a post that you think breaks the forum rules, please flag it so we can investigate it.
  • Ignore Feature - If you find you simply cannot get along with someone, please add them to your ignore list.

We thank you for your effort in keeping this discussion constructive and respectful.


Other posts from Stephen in the previous thread:

Quote: Originally Posted by StephenReid View Post
That screenshot is from a cinematic in-game. As stated, cinematic scenes use high resolution textures because we have control over how many characters are rendered on-screen at once. This is how the game was always intended to look in cinematics. We did not 'remove' high resolution textures - they were always in the game for use in cinematics.

With that said, thank you for all of your responses. We understand everyone's desires around this issue, and although it's not going to be an overnight fix, as mentioned we're working on addressing this. Many of the suggestions you have made are similar to potential changes the development team is investigating...
To read the full post, please click here.

bobbyisrael's Avatar


bobbyisrael
01.12.2012 , 12:06 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by ToonPhil View Post
Until the game the actually looks like these newly released screenshots released today of Kaon Under Siege, I am staying unsubbed. Look at the shadows! The game looks nowhere near that good. Take a look!
http://media.pcgamer.com/files/2012/...r_siege_15.jpg

This is The first pic that made me wanna cry. My game looks good, a lot better than some of those bogus pics some of you have been putting up here. But in no way does my game come close to this. Please Bioware ( hat in hand). Lemme see the beauty you withhold from me. I promise my pc can handle it.

I'm gonna still sub regardless, and so is my guild. We love the game. But I just wanna see what this game can really do when the chains are taken off

Threefiddie's Avatar


Threefiddie
01.12.2012 , 12:07 PM | #5
1st!!

edit: damnit!


http://www.viddler.com/explore/massively/videos/511/

bioware, where are those graphics?

AnotherJaggens's Avatar


AnotherJaggens
01.12.2012 , 12:07 PM | #6
Sixth post, looks like issue is an issue for paying customers.

Stigas's Avatar


Stigas
01.12.2012 , 12:09 PM | #7
I'd leave this thread to die if I got an apology for the deceiving actions taken by BioWare. Waiting 25 days to confirm a suspicion that's been around since before release is shady business.

I understand technical hurdles and am more than willing to wait while you get it working the way you want.

I'm not willing, however, to be deceived by a company that's reaching into my wallet.
S'tigas \\ Iron Citadel

Rophez's Avatar


Rophez
01.12.2012 , 12:10 PM | #8
Can we get a response as to why you are still marketing the game with textures and settings that are impossible to achieve with your live client?

See today's press pack at MMORPG.com for an example.
Bioware - Please stop advertising with high resolution textures if they are impossible to implement in the retail client.

Nitewolfe's Avatar


Nitewolfe
01.12.2012 , 12:11 PM | #9
For those who are truly upset i would suggest contacting the BBB (better business bureau).
I did this with AOC when they advertised that the game had dx10 (i think it was dx 10 back then) and it clearly did not. I got a full refund from funcom.

It would clearly be worth letting the BBB know about this false or at the very least misleading advertising the EA/BW has decided to do.

DarthBetaTester's Avatar


DarthBetaTester
01.12.2012 , 12:11 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Rophez View Post
Can we get a response as to why you are still marketing the game with textures and settings that are impossible to achieve with your live client?

See today's press pack at MMORPG.com for an example.

Basically this.