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I finally have a workable idea to improve the gaming engine.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion > Suggestion Box
I finally have a workable idea to improve the gaming engine.

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
11.12.2019 , 09:37 AM | #1
Yeah, I know, cue the naysayers who will say:
  • The Devs are understaffed! (nevermind they hired a bunch of people and overhauled the gearing system, improved the engine in a number of different ways, updated the way inventory works, and oh yeah, still delivered an expansion with a couple planets, a flashpoint, and an Operation)
  • The devs will never get rid of the Hero Engine- they are married to it now! (True - but my idea doesn't involve abandoning the Hero Engine, but I doubt the people who will say this will read the post far enough to get that)
  • The Devs are too busy making content to do this! (That didn't stop them from making actual engine improvements for Onslaught!)
  • The task is TOO large to expect it to ever be done! (Which is why my idea breaks it down into managable steps.

And so on... Let's face it, naysayers are going to naysay. And they will be right....until they are wrong.

Point is, I'm pressing on, and I think this idea is a workable one.


The development team should start delegating tasks to the Vulkan API (or if wholly incompatible running in parallel, then DX12) for cards that support it, and run it alongside the current implementation of DX the game is on now.

This isn't outside the realm of possibility as MMOs have done it in the past, running off of their version of DX and when a new version is released, running in tandem another version that focuses on an aspect (DDO famously ran an older version of DX while using a newer version for water, and then grew it out from there).

Understand that the main thrust of this isn't for the game to look all "new, shiny and modern". The main thrust is for performance, and there are a bevy of cards out there that can support more than SWTOR will allow them to, and if the developers can offload some of it, it can help performance in a major way.

Really, what this is, is NOT replacing the heavily modified version of the hero engine they have.

It's updating the Graphics API to be able to handle what the game can do, as well as slowly, very slowly migrating the hero engine to use the new API, which if they do this right and document it well as they do it, will also allow them to eventually leave behind the spaghetti code the original team left them, at least in terms of graphics.


However, the key here is how to go about it - it would be a massive task to do it all at once, and could introduce all sorts of bugs and issues.

Which is why you DON'T do it all at once.


My idea is to pick an instance - lets say for the sake of argument, Toborro's Courtyard Operation. It's instanced, and contained. It is also a single encounter in a single room.

Now take that instance, and work to convert just that instance to DX12 (or Vulkan if possible, because it has far less overhead, which leads to MUCH better performance). If instead of focusing on an aspect, you instead focus on an instance, you have a controlled environment that you can use, and because you are addressing everything in that instance, it will allow you to build up a code library a second instance can use. On Launch of the game, it detects if the video card is DX12 capable. IF it isn't, the instance uses the current code set. If it IS, it used the DX12.

Because it is a singular instance too, if things aren't going to adapt well, the development team can then pull the plug quick and not have lost too much time. My assumption is that such a thing would be on test center to test the viability of it.

And if it DOES work?

Now you utilize the existing code base for what you just did, and do the same thing for another instance - lets say the Monolith. And then another. And as you build up your code base for the new API, you start to tackle a little bit more - lets say instanced heroics, then flashpoints, then full fledged operations. And eventually, you get to the point where your code base is SO large, that now utilizing it for the open world is no longer something that feels insurmountable.

The process would take YEARS to be sure. This isn't something where I'd say abandon everything to do it. BUT - all it starts with is one instance. One room with a boss. That's it. THAT is doable. And who knows where it could lead to? As they say - the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

Rion_Starkiller's Avatar


Rion_Starkiller
11.12.2019 , 10:22 AM | #2
I thought the limiting factor is that this game is 32-bit, thus can only run DX9...?

I could be wrong here. Memory hazy
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Nemmar's Avatar


Nemmar
11.12.2019 , 10:43 AM | #3
Why are you telling us this? We all agree the engine needs improvement. But this is something for the suggestions forum.
The ones you need to convince are Bioware/EA.

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
11.12.2019 , 10:49 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Rion_Starkiller View Post
I thought the limiting factor is that this game is 32-bit, thus can only run DX9...?

I could be wrong here. Memory hazy
There wouldn't be any limiting factors to moving some things to at least DX11, if that were indeed the case, but I don't believe it is necessarily...

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
11.12.2019 , 10:54 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Nemmar View Post
Why are you telling us this? We all agree the engine needs improvement. But this is something for the suggestions forum.
The ones you need to convince are Bioware/EA.
Because a groundswell of support in the forums can be used by the development team to justify to those holding the purse strings that it would be worthwhile to do. I've been around enough MMOs, including a stretch where I DID have direct communication with the development team of one former MMO, and office politics are indeed a thing - not so insidious as most imagine, but I learned that it ALWAYS helps to have some demonstrable public support in an easily digested format (such as a large single thread, vs a million smaller ones) for the development team to bring to the people who hold the purse strings and say "see - they want this. Let's make this part of our ongoing plans."

It absolutely helps.

Transcendent's Avatar


Transcendent
11.12.2019 , 11:27 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
"see - they want this. Let's make this part of our ongoing plans."
I mean, sure, it would be nice to have an updated graphics api that is easier for the developers to work with and brings performance improvements to our side of the game. Absolutely agree on that part.

However I'd rather they put that development effort into new content if there is a direct choice between A and B.
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JediQuaker's Avatar


JediQuaker
11.12.2019 , 11:29 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
It's updating the Graphics API to be able to handle what the game can do, as well as slowly, very slowly migrating the hero engine to use the new API, which if they do this right and document it well as they do it, will also allow them to eventually leave behind the spaghetti code the original team left them, at least in terms of graphics.:
The limiting factor in SWTOR's performance is the CPU, not the graphics card.
Hold water, a sieve may not, but hold another sieve, it will - Yoda..

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Lhancelot's Avatar


Lhancelot
11.12.2019 , 11:38 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
Because a groundswell of support in the forums can be used by the development team to justify to those holding the purse strings...
Hold on now... I aint saying YOU said this, but according to some, the forums are only a microcosm of naysayers who have nothing better to do in life than to complain on the SWTOR forums! lol.

I can appreciate your willingness to be positive and recommend ideas on the forums but my only thought is how we universally have asked for other things here, only to have BW only acknowledge the things they already plan to do or are willing to do and totally ignore the topics we have railed non-stop on. Crafting, RNG, more story, etc., etc. fall into this category.

I just don't think BW gives a rats *** what we write on the forums, tbh. Except when we off-topic, and make other missteps regarding who and what we write.

But I like threads like this it gives us a mini-playground to play in for awhile, so by all means create more. Plus, I'd like to see them improve upon their game in technical ways, no doubt. (Their launcher is a POS, they could start fixing that and Bitraider for one.)
TRUE
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthSpuds View Post
RNG is counterproductive because it massively increases player dissatisfaction.
FALSE
Quote: Originally Posted by olagatonjedi View Post
As I detailed in another thread, RNG give the players more control over their gearing.

neopunkleviathan's Avatar


neopunkleviathan
11.12.2019 , 12:01 PM | #9
To the Original poster.

I hear what you are saying. But be real. You would need a new game and new mechanics/story for what you are suggesting.

I personally am fine with the Graphics. Granted, the system is taxing on computers under GTX1080. But that is just my opinion.

World of Warcraft have listened and improved their Engine, multiple times infact. But since Ive been playing WoW since 2005 I kinda SEE the game for what it is. I dont want them to make new games all the time, that is just stupid.

But there are so many creative developers and individuals who make game. Exiting games. Just play something else is my last thought to OP.

Jett-Rinn's Avatar


Jett-Rinn
11.12.2019 , 01:10 PM | #10
I know I'm in the minority but I really don't have an issue with the graphics, I use reshade, turn everything up to high and play in 3840X2160. I'm more concerned with the flow and quality of content going forward.
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