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Old 02-09-2012, 06:47 AM   #31
L1qu1d
 
 
 
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Yup, awesome game, but for some reason I prefer playing it on the PS3 when its locked at 30 fps.

Maybe it's because I have the big screen at least.

Anywho, thanks for the game, but unfortunately you can't come into the pc market and not expect an up roar like this when you give a game with incomplete settings.

You mentioned budget, but unlocking frames doesn't seem like it was something that would've been too costly:P

Latest patch didn't bring the v-sync for me.

Thanks!
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:11 AM   #32
DFNathan
 
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Interestingly, running the engine at a variable framerate isn't crazy expensive, but probably more so than you would think. I'm writing this here not to be defensive, but because I think folks here are curious and care about technical details. So here goes...

The Psychonauts engine was written as a variable timestep engine, the way many PC games were and some still are. The core idea is that the game will update at the maximum rate the hardware allows. That means that you have to handle variable length updates. On some machines at some times a frame might be 10ms long, on another machine, 50ms. This allows you to do things like run well w/ out vsync, but it also has downsides, especially in systems that rely on numerical stability like physics. Fortunately, Pnauts doesn't use "real physics" like Havok of Bullet, and it's game-y physics worked ok w/ a variable timestep.

When we started the Brutal Legend engine, we decided to switch to a fixed timestep approach, mostly because we'd be using a lot of "real physics" (Havok for BL, Bullet for later games) but also because of some specifics about how our multiplayer works. A fixed timestep approach means that we always update by 33ms per frame (1/30 of a second) no matter what. If the frame takes less than 33ms, we wait. If it takes more, game time starts to move more slowly than real world time (though we play some tricks to catch up). This assumption is baked into the engine at many levels, and that's where the cost change comes in.

To really get truly variable performance, we have a few options. All of which are straightforward, but take a decent amount of time/money, because they touch on fundamental assumptions the engine makes.
* Go to a variable rate sim like Pnauts. This would require fixing up tons of places that "bake in" the assumption of 30 Hz as well as adding some special treatment code around physics so that it doesn't explode when the framerate fluctuates wildly. The cost here is mostly just in fixing all the little errors and then in QA time to actually catch the ones you didn't think of originally.
* Add render interpolation. The renderer already runs independently of the main game. We could keep the main game at 30 Hz but run the renderer at a variable rate. Many RTS games take this approach, but to actually see benefit you need to add a lot of code that can interpolate between different frames of game data. This work is straightforward, too, but the renderer is already a complex beast. Render interpolation can also hurt you if you are actually running at or below 30fps as you're running extra interpolation logic but not actually benefiting from it, so you have to be smart about when to turn it off. The main cost here is just the manpower required for a senior rendering engineer to go in and make all of these changes.
* Re-render old frames. The dirtiest approach is to re-render the same frame multiple times. This approach will look like > 30 fps if you measure on fraps, but you're actually just getting duplicates of the same frame, so it really isn't anything more than a cosmetic/PR "win".

Anyway, that's the straight scoop. As always, we really appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism. As we do more and more work on the PC platform we're trying to keep upping our game, improving the quality of our PC engine w/ every release. I wish it could happen sooner, but believe me that it's happening as fast as we can make it!
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:25 AM   #33
L1qu1d
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFNathan View Post
Interestingly, running the engine at a variable framerate isn't crazy expensive, but probably more so than you would think. I'm writing this here not to be defensive, but because I think folks here are curious and care about technical details. So here goes...

The Psychonauts engine was written as a variable timestep engine, the way many PC games were and some still are. The core idea is that the game will update at the maximum rate the hardware allows. That means that you have to handle variable length updates. On some machines at some times a frame might be 10ms long, on another machine, 50ms. This allows you to do things like run well w/ out vsync, but it also has downsides, especially in systems that rely on numerical stability like physics. Fortunately, Pnauts doesn't use "real physics" like Havok of Bullet, and it's game-y physics worked ok w/ a variable timestep.

When we started the Brutal Legend engine, we decided to switch to a fixed timestep approach, mostly because we'd be using a lot of "real physics" (Havok for BL, Bullet for later games) but also because of some specifics about how our multiplayer works. A fixed timestep approach means that we always update by 33ms per frame (1/30 of a second) no matter what. If the frame takes less than 33ms, we wait. If it takes more, game time starts to move more slowly than real world time (though we play some tricks to catch up). This assumption is baked into the engine at many levels, and that's where the cost change comes in.

To really get truly variable performance, we have a few options. All of which are straightforward, but take a decent amount of time/money, because they touch on fundamental assumptions the engine makes.
* Go to a variable rate sim like Pnauts. This would require fixing up tons of places that "bake in" the assumption of 30 Hz as well as adding some special treatment code around physics so that it doesn't explode when the framerate fluctuates wildly. The cost here is mostly just in fixing all the little errors and then in QA time to actually catch the ones you didn't think of originally.
* Add render interpolation. The renderer already runs independently of the main game. We could keep the main game at 30 Hz but run the renderer at a variable rate. Many RTS games take this approach, but to actually see benefit you need to add a lot of code that can interpolate between different frames of game data. This work is straightforward, too, but the renderer is already a complex beast. Render interpolation can also hurt you if you are actually running at or below 30fps as you're running extra interpolation logic but not actually benefiting from it, so you have to be smart about when to turn it off. The main cost here is just the manpower required for a senior rendering engineer to go in and make all of these changes.
* Re-render old frames. The dirtiest approach is to re-render the same frame multiple times. This approach will look like > 30 fps if you measure on fraps, but you're actually just getting duplicates of the same frame, so it really isn't anything more than a cosmetic/PR "win".

Anyway, that's the straight scoop. As always, we really appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism. As we do more and more work on the PC platform we're trying to keep upping our game, improving the quality of our PC engine w/ every release. I wish it could happen sooner, but believe me that it's happening as fast as we can make it!
Before I start, I just want to Thank You very much for your efforts, and I am glad you understand that this is not a straight shot at the company or it's practices per say.

You have to understand the frustration of a PC gamer and the fact that we can have a short fuse, sometimes on companies that deserve it the least.

Your explanation was more than enough to shut up my technical side, but you have to understand the neglect for PC gaming has driver us to be very inconsiderate, very anal, demanding and just over all unrealistic.

I am very glad, surprised and excited that you took the time to respond, I can sometimes forget that giving criticism is much easier than fixing it.

I do want to say that I did enjoy your game for all the right reasons, and I'm sure no1 is BSing that to get on your good side. And I and the rest of the gaming community can't wait to see your guys bring us into the next gen of gaming.

Thank You

Fyi

30 vs 60 fps is the last thing PC gaming has (other than graphics) please don't take that away from us
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:00 PM   #34
DFNathan
 
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Totally understand where you (and others) are coming from. You care a lot about the PC and have often invested a lot of $$$ to ensure that you have the best gaming experience possible.

We want to give you that experience whatever platform you play on. We're not quite there on PC yet, but we're working at it steadily. In the mean time, some posts on the forums are the least we can do
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:19 PM   #35
L1qu1d
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFNathan View Post
Totally understand where you (and others) are coming from. You care a lot about the PC and have often invested a lot of $$$ to ensure that you have the best gaming experience possible.

We want to give you that experience whatever platform you play on. We're not quite there on PC yet, but we're working at it steadily. In the mean time, some posts on the forums are the least we can do
I guess you could give us each Ferraris but, your posts will do

Have a good 1
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:05 PM   #36
ititj
 
 
 
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I'm having a blast so far with this game. No performance issues and the game is entertaining. The only thing I don't like is the keyboard+mouse controls feel clumsy so I have to play with a gamepad.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:29 AM   #37
Metro
 
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Well now that you all have gotten about a million dollars in charity from the Kickstarter donation maybe use some of that over and above the adventure game budget to polish PC releases in the future. Personally I'm just happy you're out from under the yoke of THQ and that you'll release all platforms simultaneously or at least within a couple of months of each other and not a year+ delay.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:05 PM   #38
DFNathan
 
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FYI that a new patch will be posted in the next few hours that adds support for FXAA and, by command line, 2x and 4x SSAA. Please see the release notes for more specifics. Also, these features will be standard in all future PC projects (like Stacking!)

PS - There's also a vsync option in the menus now, but it's the same behavior as before - i.e. no true ability to run at fps > 30.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:22 PM   #39
TJF588
 
 
 
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*skips a whole lotta* On my previous laptop, which was a hand-me-down better than what I was using, the game ran so sluggishly. I'd have to pull up the system specs (my little sister's using it now), but it had an Intel...thing (processor?), and because it was Toshiba, I had to use workarounds to update the AMD graphics, so maybe tat contributed. Anyway, my current "rig" handles it pretty well, but the biggest things I notice are that the battle screens are sometimes positioned to the right, such that that edge is "cut off", and it feels like there's a slight delay of input response during critical hit events (not enough that it can't be adjusted for, and I don't know how it compares with my PS3 experiences). I also think there might be spots of either slowdown or blurring during some battle animations (but I'm not confident in that), and the camera has, in at least one battle, been focused on a spot where the enemy wasn't (it was to the right/upper-right of that focal point).

And, er, THAT'S ALL. I want moar CQ, as I'm sure many of us do, so considering the ear-to-the-ground going on here, I'm sure such a fancy's traversal to PC will be only smooth.

(FTR: Sonic Generations was likewise slow on my previous laptop (it's not even that old!), but it runs fairly smooth at least on lower settings on this baby.)
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:25 PM   #40
Aftcomet
 
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I just want to update this thread as I'm the OP.

The game will still lock at 30 FPS for me but if I pause and un-pause it it will lock at 60 FPS. Combat and cut-scenes are still 30 FPS.

I'm willing to live with this because I love Double Fine and the game is great.
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