Blizzard can already do these massive graphics changes that ain't a problem at all.
Thing is, WoW is a massive MMORPG, Areas can be crowded with thousands of pple in towns or at world bosses.
With this amount of Graphics nobody can handle it and everyone will lag out.
WoW has this styled graphics also for a reason
My computer could easily handle it, but there's something appealing about low graphics game. I don't get it.
I'd love to see reaction videos if this ever took place, the rage (of not being able to handle the graphics) would keep me entertained for hours :P
''The only true failure is when you stop trying''.
Last edited by rashen; 2013-05-08 at 05:04 PM.
If I want 'realistic' gaming graphics, I'll play BF3. If I want to play an MMO, I'm wise enough to know that you can't simply present that same level of visual clarity and expect the same level of performance.
WoW was made in the days when computer graphics were still quite primitive. Half life 2 is probably the exception to this, but even that looks 'primitive' these days. Lots of visible edges and corners on models, lighting that doesn't really look that impressive, fairly simply textures that don't require incredibly detail (walls, floors, etc). Other games from that time lacked in the graphics department and WoW is no exception. However, those other games died long ago and never saw graphical updates, while WoW has continued to upgrade and now looks like something from the current generation of games. It's got it's own style, and that style isn't one of trying to look like the real world. The only thing that I can see as needing an update are some of the old world tree models, and old world character models (and TBC races - they could do with it as well).
Rendering a game is not the same as rendering a CGI. Let's take avatar (the movie) as an extreme example. It took 40000 processors, and 104 TB of RAM to render all 240000 frames, each frame being 12MB each - It took 1PB (petabyte) of storage for the entire film. They used a 10000² foot server facility with HP BL2x220c blades. 1 second of some of the heavier footage (24 frames) took 2400 hours to render, or 100 hours per frame. You've got to understand that there's probably over 20 or so layers just to create the clarity of characters skin, and each of these needs to render separately and then all be rendered together. If we assume that takes 25 hours, then it's not so silly to think that it might take 75 hours to render the rest of the scene (note: I've never seen Avatar, but I'd assume there's some fight scenes with lots of particles and special effects -- even if they're only subtle, they still need to be rendered).
Let's take a look at the Cataclysm cinematic. I don't remember exactly, but I think I recall hearing that at one point, individual frames were 40MB each, particularly during the scene where Deathwing was flying over Auberdine and there was lots of fire, water spray, and smoke in the scene. I dare say it probably took them an entire year to create the cinematic from scratch.
Simply, you can't render truly realistic graphics in realtime. Home computers, even the best ones that money can build, simply aren't powerful enough to handle that. You can render very good graphics, but nothing close to 'true reality'. We're making advancement as it is, but it'll be many years before we get close to what we can consider looking truly real. Even then, people can respect game style, and see to do so more than respecting the reality factor of a game.
WoW does not need a new engine. Sure, more performance would be nicer in 25-player raids, but making that happen wouldn't necessarily happen with a new engine.
People often think that engines are compacted and not open to much change, but nothing could be further from the truth. As it is, the majority of engines will be tweaked as the project evolves and it's often the case (at least in the early versions) that the code for the engine will be spread all over the place, at least until they get the basic framework for the project down and then split the engine parts off into different units. People also think that the game is unoptimized, and they're right but only to an extent.
I've said it before and I'll say it again; There's only so far you can optimise before you start bringing errors in or seeing only negligible performance gains. Writing a thread of code isn't difficult, but accounting for variables, other threads, and synchronization is difficult. If you don't sync your thread, it's almost acting like another program on it's own. By that, I simply mean that it's impossible for the other threads in your application to know what it's doing. If you start accessing or changing variables from a thread, you risk creating access violations in memory, which causes an application to crash outright. You can get around this by 'locking' the variables, but then you lose much of the performance gained from your other threads (as they then have to wait for the variable to be unlocked before they can access or modify it).
Additionally, data is one of, if not the biggest performance loss in programming. I think only objects cause more loss. Dealing with small amounts of data isn't a problem and your engine and framework will handle it with ease. Start talking about something on the scale of WoW, 25 players, and network synchronization and you start to run into problems. It's not the speed of the network that's the problem, but the speed at which the data is processed ready to be reflected in the UI (at the addon API layer, which sits on top of the engine providing a secured and controlled way for addons - including the ones made by Blizzard and used in the default UI - to access that information).
As an example from one of my own programs, having to deal with 2000 'records', each which contains 5 pieces of data, takes approximately 10 seconds to parse through, and this is on an extremely optimized parser. Reflecting this data in the UI meant creating new objects. Each object only takes a few ms to create, but when there's 10000 pieces of data, it soon adds up.
With WoW, we can assume there'll be at least 50 pieces of data every few ms (data going into the server and data being received from the server), but the likelyhood is that it's more due to addons syncing on the addon channel. This data has to be parsed which takes time. Optimizing this parsing more would improve performance more than anything but the likelyhood is that it's already as optimized as it can be for a project such as WoW. Optimizing it more would mean losing some data from each piece which would result in there being less data to parse, but breaking some UI and addon functionality in the process. It's already going to be threaded, and it'd be difficult to split it off into more threads as we end up with data that's not in the correct order (i.e. combat log's don't follow the timeline correctly making theorycrafting, cause of death and other such post-fight research impossible to do). Sync would help prevent this, but syncing every time new data is received would negate much of the performance benefit from multiple threads.
Last edited by Chronalis; 2013-05-08 at 06:14 PM.
I do like that screenshot a lot actually. It adds a lot of detail into the world without taking away Warcraft's art style. In fact, this looks remarkably similar to the Warcraft 3 intro cinematic, if anybody recalls it? =)
If an engine update like this one was to come, I would embrace it.
I understand that some people don't have graphics cards capable of handling this, but that's okay. Just don't switch it on. The effects needed to display here are:
1) Particle leaf trees
2) Deferred rendering including deferred lighting (WoW already enables this if you run at above High foliage density, fyi)
3) Updated lighting model. Nothing dastardly complicated, and actually nothing that requires an update of any of the assets in the game.
I don't see why anyone wouldn't want better graphics, especially if you can scale it down like you can now so you can choose between current or amazing beautiful immersive graphics :S
I like the second picture that was posted since it upped the graphic quality while still keeping the cartooinish feel.
But honestly I like WoW's graphic style and wouldn't want to play it with Skyrim-esque graphics. The cartooniness gives WoW it's own unique identity.
every time the introduce a new expansion graphics are updated look at the old character models then look at the ones from BC,CATA,MOP they are more polished etc blizz would never do an overhaul of there engine enough people struggle with the current one
Truly an enlightened individual.
---------- Post added 2013-05-08 at 08:00 PM ----------
that graphics look amazing.. the way the light shines on the grass like that