The Ur-Quan Masters Home Page Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 27, 2020, 10:48:09 pm
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

+  The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum
|-+  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release
| |-+  General UQM Discussion (Moderator: Death 999)
| | |-+  Upgrade the graphics!
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Upgrade the graphics!  (Read 3490 times)
Yuptar
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 51



View Profile
Upgrade the graphics!
« on: September 12, 2006, 05:51:37 pm »

Now why is it that everyone takes it for granted that new music is needed for this game, and likes the new music, but no one seems to care that most of the CPU power that goes into running the game is being used to 'stretch' the old graphics to many times their original size on a real-time basis? If anything it is easier to re-render the old graphics to a larger size than it is to produce new music. And doing so once would be dramatically more efficient than doing so many times a second for the entire time the game is running. At the very least we ought to have a 640x480 version of the graphics since that is the standard for the PC and smallest resolution available in Windows. How much trouble would it be to have the game executable able to use multiple options in default graphics sizes?

Someone with a bit of talent in Photoshop could go beyond 'smoothing' the larger graphics and improve their color qualities. The 256 colors of the originals are outright garish in contemporary displays. 16-bit color would allow the Ur-Quan to have a fairly realistic 'bug green' color with an actual sheen. And the Kor-ah could be truly black, with a sheen, instead of that weird grayish color they are now. Lots of other races would benefit from subtler colors and a bit of texture, as well.
Logged
Lukipela
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3619


The Ancient One


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2006, 09:40:58 pm »

This has been brought up a few times before. The problem is that the core team are dedicated to making a faithful conversion of SC2. That means SC2 on new computers, not SC2 with new graphics and sounds.

Thus, any improvements in these areas must come from someone else. On the music side, we got lucky when the Precursors stepped forward and started remixing everything. Even though that project seems to have died out prematurely, they still managed to create a whole lot.

In a similar fashion, new graphics would require a team of volunteers ready to make new graphics, or even just improve the old. No such individuals, let alone teams, have stepped forward. If someone without enough knowledge and vigor steps forward and forms a team, I'm sure we'l get new graphics. If not, we wont.
Logged

What's up doc?
OOPMan
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 44



View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2006, 11:05:21 pm »

Gah, this is kind of silly in a lot of ways...

First off, taking the original graphics resources and pumping the bit-count up and then apply smooth filters and the like in Photoshop wouldn't actually work very well. You just get some extra-blurry textures. Also, cutting a 32-bit image down to 16-bits is viable, because you're removing data. Pumping an 8-bit sprite up to 16-bit basically just gives you a 16-bit sprite with only 256 different colours. And no matter how much time you spend with that smudge tool you're probably only going to make things look worse...

That would leave you with the option of hiring a full-time art crew to completely re-create everything. Not going to happen this century.

Anyway, the graphics as they are are bloody perfect. Seriously, I highly doubt anyone could come up with a better looking Ur-Quan than we at the moment....
Logged

"My boot, your face..." - Attributed to OOPMan, Emperor of Eroticon VI
Yuptar
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 51



View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 11:43:41 pm »

But you're seeing them 'upgraded' all the time as you play the game -- unless you are playing at 320x240 with no scaler effects. Why not do this 'up-rendering' once for several higher resolutions and save a lot of CPU power? A 'manual' re-rendering would allow for individual touches to each image and so look better than the automatic version we get now.
Logged
GeomanNL
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 167


I love YaBB 1G - SP1!


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2006, 12:40:49 am »

I'm not an expert, but I think it's difficult to change, because physics in UQM are pixel-based. So if you change resolution in one place, then physics changes too.
Logged
Censored
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 627


Somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep.


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2006, 02:43:07 am »

In a similar fashion, new graphics would require a team of volunteers ready to make new graphics, or even just improve the old. No such individuals, let alone teams, have stepped forward. If someone without enough knowledge and vigor steps forward and forms a team, I'm sure we'l get new graphics. If not, we wont.


Shame on you all!

What's this, have we been forsaken?!

So what if it's 5 pages off the front page. It's still there!

http://uqm.stack.nl/forum/index.php?topic=2899.0
http://uqm.stack.nl/forum/index.php?topic=2899.0
http://uqm.stack.nl/forum/index.php?topic=2899.0



The only reason this was not implemented is the engine does not support better graphics. yet.
Logged

"You boldly enter our space! Approach this Dreadnought as though it were a recreation base and then play the dumb hominid?
Who do you take us for, Captain... Spathi!?"
Yuptar
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 51



View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2006, 04:25:22 am »

Well, I read the whole thread. Improving the ship images is a good start, but I don't see a single dialog portrait in that thread. I hope there are also plans to upgrade those?
Logged
Lukipela
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3619


The Ancient One


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2006, 08:44:38 am »

I'm sligtly confused as to why you linked the same thread three times. Also, try as I might, I find no mention of why it wasn't implemented, only lots and lots of pictures of ships.
Logged

What's up doc?
Novus
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1938


Fot or not?


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2006, 10:21:01 am »

But you're seeing them 'upgraded' all the time as you play the game -- unless you are playing at 320x240 with no scaler effects. Why not do this 'up-rendering' once for several higher resolutions and save a lot of CPU power? A 'manual' re-rendering would allow for individual touches to each image and so look better than the automatic version we get now.
There are quite a few advantages to the current way of doing things:
  • Easy adaptation to any resolution, not just whatever the graphics artists have done.
  • Easily implemented (write scaler once, use it on all the graphics with no additional work).
  • CPU/GPU power is readily available on most systems to UQM; why not use it instead of using extra disk space and RAM?
  • Adding a scaler at the final stage of the graphics pipeline is technically easy, as only a little part of the graphics code is affected.

A better comparison would be to the improved interpolation in the MOD mixing; PC SC2 used nearest-sample resampling at about 8 kHz on Sound Blaster cards (urgh! GUS rulez forever Grin), while UQM goes up to 44 kHz linear interpolated on pretty much any hardware.
Logged

RTFM = Read the fine manual.
RTTFAQ = Read the Ur-Quan Masters Technical FAQ.
Yuptar
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 51



View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2006, 07:47:04 pm »

Easy adaptation to any resolution is what vector graphics are good for. Forcing ancient 256-color bitmap graphics at pre-PC resolutions to fit modern displays is a waste. Nearly all systems have plenty of RAM and disk space to spare anyway. And it doesn't affect the performance of your system nearly as much to 'waste' RAM or disk space as it does CPU.

Also, CPU power is readily available on systems that aren't doing anything else. You are assuming that UQM will be played like 'Quake' or something where it is the center of attention the whole time it is running because it's such a huge, powerful program. Instead, I think UQM is mostly a 'pass-time' program that you play while taking breaks from something else, and so it ought to be minimal in resource usage.

Now, converting all of UQM's graphics to vector format, that would be a good idea. You could then have them scale to any size and look good with much less CPU power.
Logged
Culture20
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 917


Thraddash Flower Child


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2006, 05:26:02 am »

Now, converting all of UQM's graphics to vector format, that would be a good idea. You could then have them scale to any size and look good with much less CPU power.
New collision detection schemes would need to be written (assuming they're currently pixel-based), and UQM would cease to work at reasonable speeds on a lot of perfectly good hardware.
Logged
OOPMan
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 44



View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2006, 10:55:00 am »

Yuptar, if  "Forcing ancient 256-color bitmap graphics at pre-PC resolutions to fit modern displays is a waste" is such a waste then why is it, exactly, that UQM, not to mention DoomsDay (The extra-spanky Windows port of Doom/Heretic/Hexen) look, to be frank, bloody great at high resolution...

The same can be said of playing SNES and NeoGeo games in an emulator with 2xSaiSuperEagle scalers in usage.

Converting everything to vector graphics, on the other hand, sounds like a horribly large amount of work. Unless you plan to do a shoddy job and make everything look like a flash game (And while flash games don't look bad, they also don't look good, not in the same way hand-crafted bitmap graphics look good [I wonder why it is, exactly, that Doom still looks good in this day and age? Possibly because the non-vector graphics used are extremely well done])

Look, no one's stopping you from going and re-writing the UQM engine to support what you want.

But keep in mind that UQM is, first and foremost, a port of SC2, not a re-enactment of SC2 using newfangled graphics tech...
Logged

"My boot, your face..." - Attributed to OOPMan, Emperor of Eroticon VI
Novus
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1938


Fot or not?


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2006, 02:46:07 pm »

Easy adaptation to any resolution is what vector graphics are good for. Forcing ancient 256-color bitmap graphics at pre-PC resolutions to fit modern displays is a waste.
Vector graphics have many major problems in this sort of application:
  • Size and processing power required increases with complexity, unlike for bitmaps; time wasted due to overdraw (or complex tricks to avoid it) can be especially large for complex vector graphics.
  • Rescaling and rotating a bitmap (with many types of filter) is a heavily hardware-accelerated feature in consumer PCs (although vector graphics can similarly be aided by polygon-drawing hardware, this is to a lesser extent).
  • The display routines for vector graphics are much more complex and prone to compatibility problems and unpredictability in small-scale drawing than the corresponding bitmap routines (compare e.g. SVG to PNG).
  • Post-processing using various filters is easily done to bitmaps in advance; doing it to vector graphics requires doing it requires CPU power on a par with or worse than bitmap scaling.
On the other hand, we have some advantages:
  • Simple combinations of geometric figures can be drawn quickly from a small description.
  • Temporal interpolation is much easier to do in a sensible way (morph between keyframes by moving vertex positions => moving objects; morph between keyframes by bitmap interpolation => crossfade).
This means that vector graphics are good for simple, clear, designs that need to be rescaled (diagrams, icons), but work badly for small and detailed objects (most of the sprites in UQM), anything with natural complexity (photos, planet surfaces in UQM). The dialogue portraits could benefit from vector graphics use, though, for the reasons outlined above.

In the case of UQM, one should further note that the existing graphics are bitmaps and changing them to vectors would require extensive artistic and programming work. Tweaking scalers is, in comparison, a piece of cake.

In any project, doing a lot of work for an uncertain gain, when almost the same gain can be achieved for almost nothing, is foolish.

Quote
Nearly all systems have plenty of RAM and disk space to spare anyway. And it doesn't affect the performance of your system nearly as much to 'waste' RAM or disk space as it does CPU.
I disagree on this point, for reasons outlined below.

Quote
Also, CPU power is readily available on systems that aren't doing anything else. You are assuming that UQM will be played like 'Quake' or something where it is the center of attention the whole time it is running because it's such a huge, powerful program.
I think it's a valid assumption. What sort of CPU-intensive application would UQM be competing against? Another game? I don't think most people can pay enough attention to UQM and another game more complex than Minesweeper to get anything done. A web browser? How about disabling Flash instead (works for me)? A C compiler doing a massive grind? I do this a lot myself; increasing compile times by 50% (and this is on an old Athlon XP running debug mode UQM with every single option at its most CPU-intensive) is quite acceptable; I lose track of time when blowing up Ur-Quan anyway.

Most games I've seen default to full screen for a reason: the player's entire attention is fixed on them during play. While some games may feature brain-dead slogging that requires minimal input and attention, I don't think UQM is one of those. If you want more convincing data on this, we could have a quick poll.

Quote
Instead, I think UQM is mostly a 'pass-time' program that you play while taking breaks from something else, and so it ought to be minimal in resource usage.
Even we accept your assumptions about usage, that's an argument for minimising RAM and disk usage, not CPU. Pause UQM, and its CPU use goes to 0 instantly (if you're not actively playing it, there's no particular reason to have it unpaused). However, if it's using a lot of RAM you may need to starting swapping. Similarly, disk footprint is always there until you uninstall. This is also a good argument against prescaling the graphics. Most of the standard content package footprint (10 MB) in UQM is graphics. Upscaling to 1024x768 and assuming the same compression ratio (it could be slightly better in practice), we get about 100 MB, which is almost as bad as the 3DO speech pack. Naturally, it gets even worse for higher resolutions. Also, the RAM footprint increases correspondingly. Given that I've seen more machines with an Athlon XP and GeForce 4 (or equivalent) and 256 MB RAM than a Pentium 2 and a non-OpenGL capable graphics card but 1 GB of RAM, I think we can assume that CPU and graphics power is less a bottleneck than RAM.
Logged

RTFM = Read the fine manual.
RTTFAQ = Read the Ur-Quan Masters Technical FAQ.
Yuptar
Frungy champion
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 51



View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2006, 09:39:39 pm »

Argh... always complications. Well, I hope the project to redo the ships gets extended to the dialog portraits. The redone ships look great. (Although I hope they are available in more than just the 'largest' size -- 320x240 is too small for most PC displays today, but 1600x1200 is still too big for many systems to easily handle.) A similar upgrade for the pictures you see when talking to all those alien races would make the game look dramatically better.
Logged
Culture20
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 917


Thraddash Flower Child


View Profile
Re: Upgrade the graphics!
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2006, 12:59:27 am »

320x240 is too small for most PC displays
I run UQM at 320x240 quite a bit; and the screen size makes play on a PDA possible (just like scumm games from lucas arts).
Logged
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!