Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

64bit operating systems (like Windows 7-64bit) pave the way to expanding games in interesting ways.  Bigger worlds, more players, more unit types, more stuff.  It wouldn’t be fair to those who don’t have 64-bit OSes to have to pay for features and content they can’t use.

So the question is, would you support the creation of future DLC that is only available to those who have 64-bit?

To vote, go here: http://www.elementalgame.com/journals

  

//
Comments (Page 6)
on May 21, 2012

Hah... I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that with window versions. There's been a running joke around here of late that MS has a tendency to overreach every other version and fails, then make up on the next iteration and succeed. According to those trends, Win8 is bound to fail... then they'll make it up with Win9. While Win7 64 is going to be the next XP.

on May 21, 2012

You are still not answering my question. I originally ended my post with "Questions that could potentially lead to some answers, other than what are or aren't good examples." but ultimately deleted it as it is more passive aggressive than what is appropriate.
 

Perhaps I'm not making it clear, but to put it in the most impolite bluntly clear way possible:

"Unless Elemental is the most intensive RAM game ever made (for some strange reason), other companies had to deal with this as well and all of them so far (to the best of my knowledge, feel free to correct me here, the only case I know of are high resolution texture packs requiring 64bit system, which is really not the same) decided against it. Stardock is not an AAA developer and your games aren't groundbreaking from technical point of view. If companies "better" than yours don't see it worthy enough to do, the most obvious answers to "why Elemental?" are:

A: Stardock is leading the way here, all need to do it but for some reason (let's say scalability to current level gen of consoles) none had. Insert some PR talk about how Stardock is privately owned daring medium budget gaming company that can do what others can't.

B: Elemental is for some reason programmed or designed in a particularly inefficient manner and throwing more memory at the problem is the solution picked there.

When the obvious possibilities are either "they have great vision" or "they are incompetent" the more frequently correct one is clear. Or there is another explanation.

Which is why I think you should explain this more. Were we not on Fallen Enchantress beta forums where we all wish you to succeed but in some gaming "public" (r/gaming and so on) I'm reasonably sure the voice of the majority there would be pretty close to mine here: "Turn based strategy game like this to be the first one to demand 64-bit system? That is bizarre. What have they fucked up?"

Which I presume would be incorrect.

 

 

I'm going to stop posting in this thread unless I get a response so that I don't spam/derail it.

 


(Since you keep on bickering about examples: no, that is not a memory constraint in D3. That is a performance, efficient use of budget and mainly readability question. Blizzard games are designed for some time now to keep hardware requirements low and the gameplay readable. SC2 looks horrible from technical POV when compared to significantly older games like Company of Heroes, but having individually textured zerglings each with their own different model would be counterproductive. It needs to look like a zergling, players and viewers need to recognize it as such quickly and "everybody" should be able to play it. Same with D3 even though that is not designed to be an e-sports game. Long sword is a long sword, having many models for the same thing is useless and confusing from gameplay perspective. It should look like a long sword and telegraph what special ability it has if relevant. Hence it glows red when it has fire damage. And for example animating monk’s abilities with different weapons has been simply a budgetary decision as was stated long before release in their podcast as not worth it. Btw D3 takes around 900MB of RAM on my system. This is again irrelevant since I'm sure correct examples exist but you keep on bringing the specifics.)

 

 

on May 21, 2012

I'm yet to see anyone running a P4 with a Nvidia 6800GT as their primary gaming rig still.

Just like hardware, O/S's move forward, and fortunately, 64bit is going to be the way forward whether you come along kicking and screaming. To mee its a moot point, your stardock, you lead the industry in your games, and you might aswell lead the industry in technology moving forward.

As i see it, if you can be bothered upgrading your hardware through the times, maybe you should seriously think about keeping your software up to date as well. Will the software industry ever move forward if people keep complaining that they will be alienated because they cant move with the times?

Might aswell just stick with what we have and never progress!!

on May 21, 2012

"More memory isn't going to affect the game's graphics.  It affects the size of maps, the number of units you can have, the number of different objects you can have. 

 

Play diablo 3 and ask yourself, given their budget why are the items you get so similar or identical? It's a memory constraint. It's why sins doesn't have a 4th race, it's why galciv map sizes top out."

 

I understand that 3d maps and 3D models can take a lot of memory because there are thousands of polygons plus the textures to hold. So in the end it can take quite some space.

But for plain old data, that is ridiculous. I seriously think you should start encoding your information to save space. I'll give a not so meaningful example. Let say that for the map, you have

1 byte for the terrain type

1 byte for the Resource/special feature

1 byte for buildings

1 byte for something else

Each of these allows you a variety of 256 terrain type, resources type and building. That could be far more than what you actually need. Now if we consider the 2 gig limit, and would like to make a square map that fill up this whole 2 gig. That would means the the maximum map size would be

23170x23170 square.

Now it makes not sense to use all the 2 gig memory only for the map. Let use only 1/256 of the whole memory to make sure there is a lot of space for all the 3D stuff. So 1/256th of 2 GIG is: 8388608, so approximately 8 meg. That allows a square map of:

1448x1448 squares

Which is again huge for elemental. If you double the size of the struct above to 8 bytes because you have so many information to hold. If creates a square map of :

1024x1024 squares.

Again, way more than what you need. So even by being very generous and be restricted to only 8 megs for the map, I can create worlds that are much larger than necessary for the data content. Of course, the 3D map displayed on the screen would take much space because it's made of polygons.

I think you should try to see if there could be a better way to encode your data. I would be curious to see the data size of one of your map, or see the size of your struct for a square.

 

 

 

on May 21, 2012

HappyNihil
You are still not answering my question. I originally ended my post with "Questions that could potentially lead to some answers, other than what are or aren't good examples." but ultimately deleted it as it is more passive aggressive than what is appropriate.
 

Perhaps I'm not making it clear, but to put it in the most impolite bluntly clear way possible:

"Unless Elemental is the most intensive RAM game ever made (for some strange reason), other companies had to deal with this as well and all of them so far (to the best of my knowledge, feel free to correct me here, the only case I know of are high resolution texture packs requiring 64bit system, which is really not the same) decided against it. Stardock is not an AAA developer and your games aren't groundbreaking from technical point of view. If companies "better" than yours don't see it worthy enough to do, the most obvious answers to "why Elemental?" are:

A: Stardock is leading the way here, all need to do it but for some reason (let's say scalability to current level gen of consoles) none had. Insert some PR talk about how Stardock is privately owned daring medium budget gaming company that can do what others can't.

B: Elemental is for some reason programmed or designed in a particularly inefficient manner and throwing more memory at the problem is the solution picked there.

When the obvious possibilities are either "they have great vision" or "they are incompetent" the more frequently correct one is clear. Or there is another explanation.

Which is why I think you should explain this more. Were we not on Fallen Enchantress beta forums where we all wish you to succeed but in some gaming "public" (r/gaming and so on) I'm reasonably sure the voice of the majority there would be pretty close to mine here: "Turn based strategy game like this to be the first one to demand 64-bit system? That is bizarre. What have they fucked up?"

Which I presume would be incorrect.

I'm going to stop posting in this thread unless I get a response so that I don't spam/derail it.

(Since you keep on bickering about examples: no, that is not a memory constraint in D3. That is a performance, efficient use of budget and mainly readability question. Blizzard games are designed for some time now to keep hardware requirements low and the gameplay readable. SC2 looks horrible from technical POV when compared to significantly older games like Company of Heroes, but having individually textured zerglings each with their own different model would be counterproductive. It needs to look like a zergling, players and viewers need to recognize it as such quickly and "everybody" should be able to play it. Same with D3 even though that is not designed to be an e-sports game. Long sword is a long sword, having many models for the same thing is useless and confusing from gameplay perspective. It should look like a long sword and telegraph what special ability it has if relevant. Hence it glows red when it has fire damage. And for example animating monk’s abilities with different weapons has been simply a budgetary decision as was stated long before release in their podcast as not worth it. Btw D3 takes around 900MB of RAM on my system. This is again irrelevant since I'm sure correct examples exist but you keep on bringing the specifics.)

 

 

Outside of visuals, there's nothing inherently more technically advanced about a first person shooter or an RPG versus a strategy game.

Most games would gain relatively little from more memory presently (though this is changing as texture sizes get larger so that even a handful of units start to use a lot of memory).  Strategy games, however, have to keep an entire map in memory and keep track of all units at once.

In a first person shooter, the player may only "see" a handful of units and be viewing a tiny part of the map.  RPG's can bring up loading screens to swap out one piece of a map for another.  But strategy games can't.  They have to keep it all in memory at all times.  This limits the number of units and the size of the maps.

Suffice to say, the strategy games, particularly TBS games, are very memory hungry. The maps tend to be bigger, there tends to be more objects to deal with and there tends to be a lot more units. Those things require memory.

One of the reasons TBS games tend to look crummy (besides budget) is because the textures have to be smaller so that each unit uses less memory.  

In FE, it's exacerbated because players can design their own units so you get a lot less memory sharing than you would otherwise get. Not to mention, all those champions running around who can be equipped with their own armor, weapons, etc.  

Frankly, I'm kind of astounded that you don't see Fallen Enchantress as technically sophisticated.  You're playing a game where the map is deformable, your champions and sovereign can be personally equipped in great deal and visually change on screen, every AI player's computations is threaded out to as many CPU cores as you have, you can design your own units right down to their hair -- in both male and female versions which means doubling not just the models but also the equipment.  And you don't see how this is memory intensive?

Also, since you don't seem to be aware of it, Stardock was also the company that made the first 32-bit commercial game (Galactic Civilizations for OS/2). It was also the first company to release a commercial SVGA true color game (Avarice) -- the lead on that game went on to be the lead on the Age of Empires series. It was also the first company to release a retail game digitally at the same time (Galactic Civilizations for Windows). The art lead on the GalCiv aliens now works at Blizzard and was the lead character artist on Diablo 3. And lastly, Galactic Civilizations was the first commercial multithreaded game.

And why did Stardock do that? Because it was incompetent? No, because the game design required it.  Huge maps with thousands of units require a lot of memory (that's why I needed OS/2 to do GalCiv -- I needed a multithreaded OS and I couldn't be limited to 640K if I wanted huge maps with thousands of units).

Hopefully, I've answered your questions (and anyone else wondering the same thing) as to what 64-bit DLC would make possible -- bigger maps supporting more units for starters.

on May 21, 2012

larienna
"More memory isn't going to affect the game's graphics.  It affects the size of maps, the number of units you can have, the number of different objects you can have. 

 

Play diablo 3 and ask yourself, given their budget why are the items you get so similar or identical? It's a memory constraint. It's why sins doesn't have a 4th race, it's why galciv map sizes top out."

 

I understand that 3d maps and 3D models can take a lot of memory because there are thousands of polygons plus the textures to hold. So in the end it can take quite some space.

But for plain old data, that is ridiculous. I seriously think you should start encoding your information to save space. I'll give a not so meaningful example. Let say that for the map, you have

1 byte for the terrain type

1 byte for the Resource/special feature

1 byte for buildings

1 byte for something else

Each of these allows you a variety of 256 terrain type, resources type and building. That could be far more than what you actually need. Now if we consider the 2 gig limit, and would like to make a square map that fill up this whole 2 gig. That would means the the maximum map size would be

23170x23170 square.

Now it makes not sense to use all the 2 gig memory only for the map. Let use only 1/256 of the whole memory to make sure there is a lot of space for all the 3D stuff. So 1/256th of 2 GIG is: 8388608, so approximately 8 meg. That allows a square map of:

1448x1448 squares

Which is again huge for elemental. If you double the size of the struct above to 8 bytes because you have so many information to hold. If creates a square map of :

1024x1024 squares.

Again, way more than what you need. So even by being very generous and be restricted to only 8 megs for the map, I can create worlds that are much larger than necessary for the data content. Of course, the 3D map displayed on the screen would take much space because it's made of polygons.

I think you should try to see if there could be a better way to encode your data. I would be curious to see the data size of one of your map, or see the size of your struct for a square.
 

 

It's not the map itself that uses the memory. It's all the stuff ON the map.  You could have a crazy sized map if you restricted each of say 3 players to 100 units. 

But people want large maps so that they can have huge HUGE games with more cities, more armies, etc.  

on May 21, 2012

If you think about it, the Immense galaxy size of GalCiv II caters to the 64-bit end of the market.  Without an OS that allows applications to make full use of the memory, you'd have an out of memory error in no time.  And as Brad says, the bigger map size is where the fun is at.

Instead of rolling over the whole map with your unstoppable fleet of doom, you tend to find that the other civs have already had room to expand and develop their own fleets of doom.  The greater distance between where you build your ships and where you're waging war means that you need to temper your ambitions with prudence.  And of course, using engines is a lot more useful.

It's quite frightening when you see other civs (like the Thalans in my current game) with a fleet weapon strength comparable to your own and the capacity to keep churning more off the production line if you don't stop them.  But getting into scary battles where you're not sure if you'll get overrun is part of the fun.  But without the bigger map size, you don't quite have the same fear - you aren't relying so much on ships coming from five sectors away.

And yes, larger maps do take a lot longer to play out but it's not always about actually winning a particular map.  You can play for the satisfaction of battling against an enemy that can kick your butt, and kicking their butt even harder.

on May 21, 2012

Thank you for your detailed answer.

I actually am aware of your past though not that of your former coworker/employees, but I'm not sure it's really relevant to the present or the question at hand.

As to the level of customization and other features that Elemental has and are advanced/expensive even though I didn't realize it at first: I use them very sparingly so perhaps that's why.

I usually prefer these systems somewhat abstracted for 3d games since I don't zoom in and adore my units but only ever use them in zoomed out view where the added value of such features very much depends on whether or not it helps to read the game or in some other way improves gameplay. In Shogun 2 my cavalry is painted whole red, my pike ishigaru whole green etc. Painting each part of their armor different colour and giving my general specific type of helm only makes the battlefield more cluttered and has zero value for me. For example Heroes of Might and Magic series employs artifacts on heroes just as a simple icon in your inventory while Elemental actually models them in 3d on your hero. I do prefer the "HOMAM" way of things for multiple gameplay reasons that are irrelevant to this topic but since these features are expensive and part of the reasoning here I personally would say that they are definitely not worth it. But that is obviously not what most people here feel like and is part of the core design since beginning.

Thank you for explaining the reasons behind considering 64-bit only DLC, I'm glad to learn something.

 

 

 

edit:

speaking of the devil:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-05-21-some-frostbite-games-will-require-a-64-bit-os-in-2013-dice

on May 21, 2012

Frogboy
 

More memory isn't going to affect the game's graphics.  It affects the size of maps, the number of units you can have, the number of different objects you can have. 

 

Play diablo 3 and ask yourself, given their budget why are the items you get so similar or identical? It's a memory constraint. It's why sins doesn't have a 4th race, it's why galciv map sizes top out.

 

 

So you don't have a 64bit version of Sins?  I was thinking about getting Sins but am not a fan of RTS games unless it is more like a Total Wars/Homeworld where you have time to do things or at least pause the action to issue commands.  Does it have a TBS map like in Total War (but of space etc?)

 

on May 21, 2012

I don't see the point in alienating the 32 bit users...

Why not make the DLC for both?

 

Scratching my head here

on May 21, 2012

I sure as hell would!

on May 21, 2012

Frogboy



 

 Outside of visuals, there's nothing inherently more technically advanced about a first person shooter or an RPG versus a strategy game.

Most games would gain relatively little from more memory presently (though this is changing as texture sizes get larger so that even a handful of units start to use a lot of memory).  Strategy games, however, have to keep an entire map in memory and keep track of all units at once.

In a first person shooter, the player may only "see" a handful of units and be viewing a tiny part of the map.  RPG's can bring up loading screens to swap out one piece of a map for another.  But strategy games can't.  They have to keep it all in memory at all times.  This limits the number of units and the size of the maps.

Suffice to say, the strategy games, particularly TBS games, are very memory hungry. The maps tend to be bigger, there tends to be more objects to deal with and there tends to be a lot more units. Those things require memory.

One of the reasons TBS games tend to look crummy (besides budget) is because the textures have to be smaller so that each unit uses less memory.  

In FE, it's exacerbated because players can design their own units so you get a lot less memory sharing than you would otherwise get. Not to mention, all those champions running around who can be equipped with their own armor, weapons, etc.  

Frankly, I'm kind of astounded that you don't see Fallen Enchantress as technically sophisticated.  You're playing a game where the map is deformable, your champions and sovereign can be personally equipped in great deal and visually change on screen, every AI player's computations is threaded out to as many CPU cores as you have, you can design your own units right down to their hair -- in both male and female versions which means doubling not just the models but also the equipment.  And you don't see how this is memory intensive?

Also, since you don't seem to be aware of it, Stardock was also the company that made the first 32-bit commercial game (Galactic Civilizations for OS/2). It was also the first company to release a commercial SVGA true color game (Avarice) -- the lead on that game went on to be the lead on the Age of Empires series. It was also the first company to release a retail game digitally at the same time (Galactic Civilizations for Windows). The art lead on the GalCiv aliens now works at Blizzard and was the lead character artist on Diablo 3. And lastly, Galactic Civilizations was the first commercial multithreaded game.

And why did Stardock do that? Because it was incompetent? No, because the game design required it.  Huge maps with thousands of units require a lot of memory (that's why I needed OS/2 to do GalCiv -- I needed a multithreaded OS and I couldn't be limited to 640K if I wanted huge maps with thousands of units).

Hopefully, I've answered your questions (and anyone else wondering the same thing) as to what 64-bit DLC would make possible -- bigger maps supporting more units for starters.

Now I love it when you make post like the one above. Very intersting and infomative thanks.

on May 21, 2012

Jeez people!   If I was Brad I would think of stop asking you things since half the answers have unneccessary things like: "Yeah, if the game is good" and "don't exclude people that have 32-bit" <--- ....If people don't have 64-bit then it's their own damn fault!

 

I'm with it all the way.

on May 21, 2012

Tell us how you really feel.

 

on May 21, 2012

I worry about 32-bit systems for the BASE FE. 

If you have a 64-bit OS, FE will see 4GB.  But if you have a 32-bit OS, you only see 2-GB.  If it uses more than that, the game will crash ungracefully.

It's amazing how much memory things take now.

For instance, a modern ICON uses about 400k - compressed (And games deal with bitmaps under the covers).

Let's assume FE has 250 spells by the end.  The icons for those could eat up 100 MEGABYTES of memory when compressed.  Just the icons. Memory gets eaten up so fast now. 

Master of Magic, by contrast, was 320x200 with 256 colors. Or, to put it another way, the full screen resolution of MOM was about the size of a modern Windows icon and the icon has 4X the color depth.

The DOS machine that ran MOM would crash if it tried to store in memory 3 modern day icons.

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