1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Gaming The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by The_Pope, 31 Mar 2006.

  1. Nottheking

    Nottheking What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    9 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I WAS about to place in a rather huge post I had spent a half hour working on, but I had forgotten about the odd quirk of vBulletin, which I'm rather incensed still exists on the Internet; it logged me out for "inactivity" after 5 minutes, and prompty dumped my post when I tried to submit it. Had I remembered this, I would've saved a copy of it, which I normally do. Curses.

    With luck, I may come back tomorrow and try again, when I'm not feeling so angry.
     
  2. Nottheking

    Nottheking What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    9 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I decided to go back and write it again. It's different from before, obviously, and incorporates a few more replies.

    At any rate, I've been playing Oblivion quite extensively, logging 135 hours of play time since I got it on the 21st, without a pre-order. (!) Yes, that works out to around 9 hours a day. I’ve been spending most of my free times on it, and have been largely absent from the Internet in that time, even.

    I don’t know what method of testing was used for the article, but I find it to be a little pessimistic; I’m getting things great on my PC, which it at 1280x1024, x6 AA and x16AF, (no HDR, obviously) with the settings either maxed or set beyond the max through the INI file. For instance, I have EVERYTHING set to reflect in the water, which normally only reflects the ground, sky, and city walls/towers. I also have the “blood decal” setting set to many times the normal level. (it applies to decal duration/count; max is 10 seconds, 10 decals; I have it at 300 seconds, 30 decals) Oh, and I’m using an X800XT.

    Well, minus the oddity of AA and HDR on the PC, (which was an intentional “cripple” placed in there by BethSoft, not a technical limitation) you won’t find a way to be dissatisfied with either, unless you’re dissatisfied with the game itself, that is.

    Either path is viable, and if graphics are your chief concern, one should stick with whatever platform they’ve got best set up.

    Ignore what the others said; unplug your joystick or gamepad.

    Not really; it’s a matter of taste; for me, I want x6 AA, dangit! The ONLY exception is if I’m playing a game at 320x200, 8-bit palletized. Old VGA goodness.

    Aside from that, I see a clear need to have my AA, and at x6, not x4 or x2, at even 1280x1024. I can live more easily without HDR.

    It could be possible it is working; as far as it’s been known, the limitation is only artificial; BethSoft placed it in there, even though they effectively acknowledged that it was 100% possible to use both together in their game.

    Sorry that is incorrect. That assumption is actually a lie that was first circulated by some Xbox fanboy. The two don’t even have the same CORE CLOCK SPEEDS, for cryin’ out loud! I consider this article at Beyond3D to be REQUIRED reading for any discussion of the GPU in the Xbox 360.

    A few of the chief differences between the Xbox 360’s core and any modern PC graphics card:
    • The unified shader architecture has apparently made it difficult for some to tell the exact shading power. However, note that the 48 “shaders” the R500 has do NOT match with what each pixel shader unit (PSU) is in any modern graphics chip; rather, each of the shaders in the Xenos consist of only one ALU, instead of two in each pixel shader; PC graphics vertex shaders, on the other hand, have 1 ALU. As a result, the Xenos has “only” a total of 24 billion operations per second of shading power, as opposed to, say, 25 billion per second for the X1800XT, 65 billion per second for the X1900XT, or 67.6 billion per second for the X1900XTX.
    • The raster pipeline design was made for low heat production, not immense brute strength. In effect, there are only FOUR ROPs for the Xenos, compared to 16 for almost any high-end video card. However, they can apparently blend four color samples into a single write, though they only actually do one write at once. Also, they can double their fillrate if handling only Z operations, but then here you do toss the use of AA, which has little point for a Z or stencil pass, and is only used for color passes.
    • One thing that the Xenos actually DOES share with the PC is the TMU structure; it is independent of the rest, like with an X1k card, and it has four quads with four TMUs apiece.
    • The real killer for the chip’s performance is the fact that it only has two memory controllers, giving it a 128-bit memory interface typically used for mid-range or low-end cards, rather than a 256-bit (4 controller) interface used for any high-end video card. That means in spite of the 1.4GHz GDDR3, it’s performance is much less, like that of a plain Radeon X800, which has 700MHz RAM, or like the X1600XT or 7600GT, both of which have the same memory bandwidth style as the Xenos. This bandwidth is also shared with the CPU. The only consolation that might be found here is that the EDRAM tile buffer means that overdraw does not increase bandwidth usage; the framebuffer writes will come at the exact same rate no matter what.
    Believe it or not, I actually don’t have something against the Xbox 360; it’s an amazing, and powerful, gaming machine. However, I have little tolerance for the flurry of misleading, and outright incorrect, information that floats about. I do appreciate it when people take the effort to get things correct.

    That’s quite a bit excessive, don’t you think? And the console is much more useful than cheating. That’s not what it was primarily used for in Morrowind, and it’s not much of what it’s been used for in Oblivion. In Morrowind, it was used for both TCL (toggle collision) for when the clipping got the player stuck; for Xbox players, the only option was to reload. Perhaps the most popular command, though, was RA, (reset actors) useful for when NPCs wound up clogging the doorways, (particularly the door to the guild guide in the Balmora Mages’ Guild) or when they managed to fall through the floor.

    In Oblivion, I use it for the “save” command; simply input “save *****” to make a named save. Also, there is the “TDT” (toggle debug text) command, that allows you to monitor performance as more than a simple FRAPS framerate counter. (and anyways, running FRAPS will drain your performance)

    As for DirectX 10, it would be mistaken to assume that the Xenos is DirectX 10, as DX10 isn’t even finalized yet. Rather, it’s kinda like a DirectX 9.5. Many of the same tweaks seem also present in the R5xx desktop cores as well.

    Incorrect again. The 10MB of EDRAM really isn’t “fast,” the 256GB/sec figure was fictitious, and referred to the potential EFFECTIVE write speed of the ROPs. And it doesn’t mean that AA is “free.” It only eliminates the problem of increasing memory bandwidth usage, but it does nothing for the fact that it increases the load due to more shader processing and more textures being applied. The Xbox 360, from what I’ve seen, also doesn’t do anisotropic filtering whatsoever. It does use trilinear, but not anisotropic, as the latter tends to increase video RAM usage, and RAM is something that is still actually in short supply, even though it’s a far improved case over the original Xbox.
     
  3. Kaze22

    Kaze22 What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    3 Dec 2005
    Posts:
    419
    Likes Received:
    0
    First of all when someone starts talking trash about beating a Oblivion Gate in 57 seconds it's obvious what they're using the console for and second I didn't say that the Xenos is DX10 card I said it's a modified DX 10 Card which mean's it's in between. As ATI would not want to stiffle there next gen card sales by putting it in a gaming console, but with that said the Xenos architecture is far more efficient than even the fastert Video Card in the market today (Developer Cards Excluded). Don't get too hung up on clock speeds and tech specs, the architecture is what drives games, the fastest PC GPU to date must go through several hardware/software intermediates to process a game so without MS DX 10 support even the highest clocks speeds will yield in limited results.
    But within the next year with the release Vista plus G80 and ATI R600 we'll see PC gaming back on top.
     
  4. Nottheking

    Nottheking What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    9 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Even in the case that they ARE using the console for nothing but cheats, (I note that in Morrowind, oddly enough, the capbilities of the console paled compared to clever use of alchemy) I don't feel that you gave the propper rebuttal.

    I believe you mean "modified DirectX 9.0c GPU," not "modified DirectX 10 GPU." The API used for the Xbox 360 does happen to be a modified version of DirectX 9.0c, but it's still called that. It does not claim SM 4.0 capability; indeed, it claims precisely SM 3.0 capabilities, and nothing more, though it does, in fact, seem to have a few differences.

    As for efficiency, you are correct; the Xenos has the most efficient arcitecture of any commonly-produced GPU today. However, I think you might be confusing "efficiency" for "power." In the computing world, the two are normally diametrically opposed; the least efficient graphics arcitectures do happen to be those used in ATi Radeon and nVidia GeForce GPUs, but those two do happen to be the most powerful. At the opposite end is the arcitecture found in GPUs such as PowerVR chips; they have little processing waste, and a very low thermal envelope, but as a result, their power simply cannot even come close to what ATi or nVidia's chips can do. This is one of the unique elements of the R500 Xenos; it may not be quite as efficient as a PowerVR, and in strength it does get the crap beaten out of it by any high-end PC video card out today, (let alone 2- or 4-GPU setups) but it manages to produce an admirable ammount of power (roughly somewhere between ATi's X1600XT and X1800XL, depending on the "balance" of the application in question) while being very efficient.

    My comments on clock speed happen to simply be because it's one of the basic-level factors of performance; the number of particular graphics units (be they TMUs, ROPs, or shader ALUs) is pointless for determining performance unless you also know the clock speed; you multiply both numbers to get the maximum fill-rate, which is where you finally have a USEFUL statistic. You combine all such similar useful factors together to get the performance of the GPU.

    As for the "arcitecture is what drives the games," that is true, but note that the Xenos, in overall arcitecture, is actually little different from modern video cards; it still goes through the exact same process. In fact, which is one of the keys that Microsoft hopes will make the console successful: PC raphics programmers can go to work on the Xbox 360 without any real additional learning. (both the Xenos and modern video cards use the same API, after all) The only real differences are with the arrangement; chiefly, the GPU is tile-based, which as I noted, helps to eliminate the excess bandwidth usage caused by overdraw, (and make sure that framerates, while not necessarily higher, are more consistent, as fluctuations in the usage of VRAM bandwidth is perhaps the number one cause of inconsistent framerates) and the fact that it slightly differs from the X1k's shader arcitecture by only having one pool of ALUs, rather than separate pools for pixel and vertex shader ALUs.

    While a console will never actually best the most powerful PC on the console's release, (though the Nintendo64 did actually come close) the Xbox 360 is a place where it's readily evident what the console's real main strength is: unlike PCs, it's the perfect place to try and expiriment with new types of technology; they won't yield more power for the console, but if they prove viable there, they can be transfered over to the PC as well. ATi seems to have gotten this down right; it should be noted that ATi's R300 GPU seemed to keep a lot of features from the "Flipper" used in the Game Cube, and it also appears that ATi, which had apparently been finished with the R500 since early 2005, had taken some things from it and applied them for the R5xx desktop GPUs.
     
  5. WilHarris

    WilHarris Just another nobody Moderator

    Joined:
    16 Jun 2001
    Posts:
    2,679
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gold.
     
  6. Kaze22

    Kaze22 What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    3 Dec 2005
    Posts:
    419
    Likes Received:
    0
    LOL thats priceless. Nah I think I gave him just enough rebuttal. Anyway all proper rebuttal aside I think you make some valid points. Since we are having a nice little discussion on video cards, I'm just gonna add my two cents on the whole PC vs Console issue.
    Having played both console and PC games for years, I've come to realize one thing. That how a game runs has very little to do with a video cards raw power but rather the harmony of code and hardware.
    As always PC's on paper have much more power both in terms of CPU and GPU when compared to their console counterpart, but console games almost always run smoother than their PC counter-part. Why is it that a video card with twice the clock speed can barely manage to perform at the same rate of it's measely console counter-part.
    Reason being as a another member of the forum pointed out that consoles have a more direct hardware to software interaction with less driver, OS variables, this is mainly due to it's singular design.
    The best analogy would be a the creation of a sports car, now in a professional race a car tailored to one specific driver will almost always yield better performance than simply an all purpose fast car.
    The PC video card is very much like that all purpose fast car, while the console tends to be that customized specialy tuned car for that one perticular driver. Even if the all purpose fast car has more horse power it's performance is stiffled by it's poor driver and vehicle interaction, while the specialy tuned vehicle suits the drivers every needs and can out perform the faster vehicle in a real race.
    I don't know if you can understand my analogy, but what it boils down to is how the code interacts with the hardware, and consoles always win on that department. Which is why we see an ATI X1600 although and paper similar to the power of the Xenos yet in practicle run does not even reaching half of it's final output.
    When code is written to function on one unified hardware, it will always run smoother than the same code running in an all purpose machine.
     
  7. Nottheking

    Nottheking What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    9 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Whoops. Didn't mean to put two "p"s in there. (writing so much like that, I make a lot of typos, and occasionally, I let one or two slip by. I do correct the vast majority of them)

    Well, while you are correct on the "harmony" part, you are also neglecting another factor: in almost all cases (Oblivion included) one of the keys to the game running so well on the console are settings that are actually reduced; GameSpot, for instance, noted that the Xbox 360 version actually cuts back a little on foliage. (which has been shown to be one of the chief performance hogs) Likewise, on the original Xbox, many ports, like Half-Life2, and Doom3, were significantly cut-down from their PC versions; both appeared to actually run at 320x240, (which is all you can get if you use a composite video cable anyway) as well as having many things reduced.

    Also, I do know that the "raw power" of a piece of hardware is far from the final determining factor in performance; it's only one of three types. The other two are the capabilities and design of the hardware, and the design of the application being run on that hardware to test it. Hence, for instance, the nVidia GeForce FX 59xx series originally was competitive with the Radeon 9800 series, as texturing power was what cards were based upon, and what was emphasized on popular benchmarks like 3Dmark01 and even 3Dmark03; the former had apparently zero pixel shader usage whatsoever. However, in later tests, such as 3Dmark05 and 3Dmark06, placed increasingly large loads that were related to the pixel shader capacity of the graphics cards; at these, the GeForce FX cards, which had half the number of pixel shaders of comparable Radeon cards, (and reportedly less-developed shaders overall) lagged.

    That is correct, but that is also the entire point of the creation and use of APIs; originally, simply making an application to run on multiple brands of hardware required, at the very least, a re-compilation for each such platform, if not an entire re-write of the code. This was highly problematic, for instance, for VGA adapters and sound cards.

    This is why DirectX was created in the first place, so that Windows could be a much more viable platform, eliminating many barriers.
     
  8. Ultimate RPG Gamer

    Ultimate RPG Gamer What's a Dremel?

    Joined:
    5 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Iv'e played the elder scrolls oblivion and well iI liked how it seems like the enemies are really trying to kill the real you with the 1st person view. the only trouble control wise that I'm sure a lot of people had was sometimes after an intense arena match in the game you may have accidentally switched ur talk command to loot so what would happen is when you tried to talk the guards would think you stole from this person even if you were just looking at what they had on them. If i had a recommended player stats in mind for beginners i'd say go for being born under the mage and be what they call a Battle Mage which is adept at healing and attack Spells as it is Physical attacks. That way when ur weapon is destroyed you can hit ur foes with fire spells and you can also heal making you almost unstoppable.Thats about All I have to day on this game and I agree its one thats essential to any game collection in fact I own it if what I said about it is any indication.
     
  9. Bauul

    Bauul Sir Bongaminge

    Joined:
    7 Apr 2007
    Posts:
    2,173
    Likes Received:
    38
    One always wonders what goes through people's mindsets when the resurrect a three year old thread just to absent mindedly wax lyrical about a game most people haven't touched in ages.
     
  10. dire_wolf

    dire_wolf Last Of The Dovakhiin

    Joined:
    24 Jul 2002
    Posts:
    2,432
    Likes Received:
    21
    Fookin hell it's been three years already? I vividly remember waiting excitedly for my play.com collectors edition to drop through the door, only to sell it 2 weeks later through sheer dissapointment . . .

    Also, this is probably the most useless thread res i've ever seen

    *SPAM* :lol:
     
Tags: Add Tags

Share This Page