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Oblivion's Missing Physics Acceleration

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the sour-apples dept.

179

An anonymous reader writes "An article on GamesFirst discusses how much better Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion would be if it supported true physics acceleration. From the article: 'Oblivion lacks Casual Physics, and the result is a splendidly beautiful world that still requires a blind eye in order to buy into the environment...' How would Oblivion be different if there were more than just Rag-Doll physics, if bad guys reacted to the swing of your sword, or if mist realistically moved around you as you walked."

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"Lacking" isn't the right term. (4, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143372)

I don't know how you can possibly call the physics in Oblivion anything but "comic". It has nothing to do with 'Casual' or 'Targeted' physics. The fact of the matter is that well done targeted physics are more than good enough if your goal is a good game. We're not doing nuclear simulations here, and 'casual physics' with hardware acceleration is only required to check a box on the marketing list. The reason Oblivion's physics stand out as lacking is that they're so rediculous. Crumpled up wads of paper interact with other objects as if they weighed hundreds of pounds... as does every other type of object. Enemies that die are seemingly uneffected by anything you hit them with... except for the killing blow, where your .1lb arrow sends even the biggest, heaviest enemies flying so far that it makes a Kung Fu movie seem realistic. When you jump... Oh let's not even get into it.

Casual physics can actually subtract from a game, because it prevents you from making the obligitory tradeoffs between realism and fun. You don't wany full realism in a fantasy setting, quite honestly. If you're not going to use them though, please, pay attention to balance and details. It's that lack of attention to detail that makes the physics stand out in Oblivion. Stand out in a bad way, that is.

As an aside, this guy says that Oblivion is close to perfect in visual presentation. I'd disagree. It's great, and shaders are nifty and all, but... Well, let's just say that more notes being played doesn't mean it's a better symphony. Use discression with the shaders, guys. Just because you can is no reason for you to make every single thing shiny.

Also, all the Oblivion fanboys out there can hold off on flaming me. I'm totally addicted to the game, and I think it's great. It's OK to see negatives in something. Just because you spent $60 doesn't mean you'll be less of a man if let somebody give honest criticism.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143419)

Sounds exactly like Morrowind. Add that to the list of things that have passed into the sequel seemingly completely unchanged.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143442)

I wonder if you actually played Morrowind, or if you just tried it and wrote it off after an hour or so.

It's changed, just changed for the worse. There were no object interactions in Morrowind (you couldn't move things around in the game world while the game wasn't paused), so most of this stuff is actually new. Enemies going flying in Morrowind was non-existant compared to Oblivion. If you shot, let's say a Cliff Racer, it fell straight down. When you shoot a flying enemy in Oblivion, it flys back and to one side for 15 feet before bouncing off something, and flying off into some other direction. It's not uncommon to kill something and have it's body fly out of the rendering distance and out of existance so you can't loot it.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144014)

Enemies going flying in Morrowind was non-existant compared to Oblivion. If you shot, let's say a Cliff Racer, it fell straight down.

Floated straight down seems a better description.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144106)

If you shot, let's say a Cliff Racer, it fell straight down.

If you killed something, then slept the moment it died (ie as it was falling), it would generally end up on the floor not where you killed it, but where it was when it first attacked you.

Apart from that, yeah, things just dropped straight down (or as another poster pointed out, floated down) That's not terribly realistic, but from the sounds of it, Oblivion has gone too far the other way, with pinball corpses...

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144370)

There was a scene in a movie once (can't remember if it was "Sunset", "Bandits", or another film) where one of the main characters is hooked up to a stuntman rig. When he gets punched, he flies back about 20 feet through the air (as if he had been hit by a large truck instead of a punch). That's pretty much anaolgous to Oblivion's "death blow" physics.

-Eric

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

Wizardry Dragon (952618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143850)

And that's why Daggerfall, despite it's flaws, is still the best in the series. All this complaining about realisitic physics and shiny graphics and blah blah blah dont amount to squat if the game ain't fun, and I'm starting to get tired of running halfway across a feild to loot someone everytime I kill them.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143956)

"Just because you can is no reason for you to make every single thing shiny." Thank you ... I thought I was alone in thinking this. It seems like I see this in so many games lately, but nobody really seems to mind. Maybe it's an issue with texture resolution, but there's just not a enough subtlety in the specularity maps...

Casual - Causal? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144174)

I see everyone talking about casual physics but isn't this supposed to be causal? Because, frankly, physics that are more comic would also seem more casual rather than formal to me.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144277)

Does the prospect of realistic physics really ruin a game?

Is it really more fun when it takes 30 sword slashes to cut down an opponent in an RPG? Is it more fun when you hack a guy 15 times in the face with a dagger, then stab him and the knee and he dies? Is it fun when you block a swinging mace with your wooden bow and you don't even get knocked backward? Or how you can carry 349 of 350 pounds, and then pick up a coin and be completely immobilized?

Yes, many of these are gameplay mechanics that can be fixed without buying a $250 PCI card, but they are also elements that accelerated physics could really spruce up. Just because Oblivion in particular is a good game, doesn't mean it wouldn't be better if the world were more believable.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144466)

Does the prospect of realistic physics really ruin a game?

Did I say that? It doesn't seem to me that I said that.

Completely realistic physics would ruin Oblivion though. "Blown Away" effects add some fun to the game, but aren't realistic in any way whatsoever, for example. What's a realistic model for a fireball spell?

They don't need acceleration, or even true realism to spruce it up. They just need attention to detail.

All of this completely ignores the fact that you can use any physics engine you'd like, hardware or no, and it'll still come out crappy if you do as lazy a job as Bethesda seems to have done. People talk about physics engines like they're some magic or something. They're not. There's still a lot of work to use them. They just take care of the math.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144621)

whoops.. ever hit reply next to the wrong comment before? my mistake

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144561)

Is it really more fun when it takes 30 sword slashes to cut down an opponent in an RPG? Is it more fun when you hack a guy 15 times in the face with a dagger, then stab him and the knee and he dies?

That is because the hitpoint abstraction used in Pen&Paper RPGs was carried to computer RPGs as-is. It is trivial to build a hit location system with separate hitpoints for limbs and torso, or even do away completely with hitpoints and replace them with real wound tracking system. It doesn't have anything to do with physics, either.

Is it fun when you block a swinging mace with your wooden bow and you don't even get knocked backward?

Why would a guy blocking with a bow be any easier to shove than a guy blocking with a shield - either way it's a matter of force, mass and the friction between your feet and ground ?

Or how you can carry 349 of 350 pounds, and then pick up a coin and be completely immobilized?

A simple matter to fix by recalculating your speed, jump distance etc. based on your load and max load. However, it would be even more realistic to simply let you buy a cart if carrying capacity is going to be an issue.

Yes, many of these are gameplay mechanics that can be fixed without buying a $250 PCI card, but they are also elements that accelerated physics could really spruce up. Just because Oblivion in particular is a good game, doesn't mean it wouldn't be better if the world were more believable.

Please understand that basic physics, especially mechanics, are trivially easy - you can do them by hand in a reasonable amount of time. No current game contains enough individually moving items that a dedicated physics accelerator would be justified at $250. And if the number of items in the game goes up radically, the memory's gonna be a bottleneck - not only do those objects take a lot of it, but the data must be moved between accelerator and main memory (since the main CPU must have access to it for it to be usefull, so it cannot be kept in the accelerators local memory).

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144456)

I've not played Oblivion, so I'll not comment on it. However, on the physics side, the idea of "casual" physics does not mean that you have to forego trade-offs between realism and fun. Assuming that the physics engine is little more than a set of Newtonian physics equations, with dedicated processing power to them, you just have to change a few values to muck about with the physics of the world. For example, if you want an area to have low gravity, simply change the value of G in that area, viola, you have different gravity. The advantage is, everything in that area is affected by the changed gravity consistently. Unlike the targeted physics, you won't have errors where the player is affected, but a chair isn't. Fact is, you could generate a lot of unrealistic physics just by modifying base numbers. e.g. if you want to have the Hollywood bullet kick effect, just change the mass of the bullet as it hits.
On the other hand, would this be worth spending a bunch of money on, and filling another PCI slot for? I don't know. If games started taking it into account, ya I'd probably do it. Problem is, I don't see that it would be adopted much. For any new game, developers would have to make a decision:
1. Require the physics processing card. Which might potentially cause a game to not sell well.
2. Have the physics card usage be an option, which means the game needs to be developed for both options. This would increse costs quite a bit, for not much gain.
3. Say screw the PPU stuff and just keep doing what works. This option doesn't have too big of a down side, as they are unlikely to lose sales because of it.
The only way I see this whole PPU thing getting big is if some "must have" title comes out and either includes it in the box, or requires it. I just don't see that happening any time soon.

Re:"Lacking" isn't the right term. (1)

sidb (530400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144605)

...except for the killing blow, where your .1lb arrow sends even the biggest, heaviest enemies flying so far that it makes a Kung Fu movie seem realistic

That isn't an accident. I used to think that games should have the most realistic physics possible, up to the point when I got a job programming game physics. It turns out that total realism is less fun.

In one of the Tony Hawks, I recall an option to use more realistic physics -- the manual recommended not using it. Games like Smash Brothers are all about bizarre physics interactions. The vehicles in Halo skid and slide in a highly satisfying way unlike any real vehicle. Hell, the pieces in Tetris fall totally unlike real blocks. All of these things are based on reality, but subtly different, with plenty of special tweaks to achieve various game effects. In the end, the point is the specific dynamics, options, and goals the game sets up, and the physics are a tool to achieve those, not an end in themselves.

One might argue that in an RPG, realism is part of the point. But the game designers made a conscious decision to make enemies go flying when they get killed. Trust me, it was not an oversight. The really heavy wads of paper... OK, that's probably a mistake. Did I mention that game physics is hard? But that's another discussion.

requirements change? (2, Insightful)

skankinny7 (448458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143375)

Right, and then the game would probably only run on the top 20 supercomputers in the world :)

Re:requirements change? (1)

flogic42 (948616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143424)

Actually, it could run just fine on a desktop computer with PhysX [ageia.com]

How about if.... (3, Funny)

cjb909 (838363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143384)

What if Oblivion was projected in 3d holograms....and online....in space! Forget swords....more lasers! And Cheese Graters!

Sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143993)

That's subject to a patent.

Maybe... (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143400)

But would it make the game better, worse or no change at all.

Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (5, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143450)

I've played through Half-Life 2, with its (in)famous physics engine, and I've also put a couple of days into Oblivion. One of these two games has a lot of content to go with its eye candy, and is a game I'll likely replay again. The other is Half-Life.

Except for some of the silly physics (like being able to run the horse along a steep cliff without falling), I don't think Oblivion would gain much from being super-real-istic. I don't play Oblivion because I'm interested in real-world physics.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (2, Insightful)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143589)

Does physics add to gameplay? Yes. Immersion is key. Role playing games are all about immersing you into a fully realized world and allowing you to run around and do as you please. The more realism that world has, the more it can pull you in. Is this a really hard concept to understand? How could making our escapist gaming worlds more cohesive and realized be bad? Should we just go back to playing Adventure for our RPG satisfaction?

I don't play Oblivion because I'm interested in real-world physics.


No, you play Oblivion because you want to adventure in a cool fantasy world! The more realistic the fantasy world, the more clever and interesting your adventures would be.

Gaming is all about gameplay, yes. But good graphics, physics, sound, and all the other advancing gaming technologies add to the game developer's toolbox. Using the new tools provided by increasing technological capability developers can create better and better gameplay experiences. Sure the tools can be abused by hacks to develop games that exploit a tool rather than use it, but is that a reason to stop advancing altogether?

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143699)

Does physics add to gameplay? Yes. Immersion is key. Role playing games are all about immersing you into a fully realized world and allowing you to run around and do as you please.


Disagree. Role playing games are about experiencing a story and the lore of the game. Realistic physics wouldn't add to it, and it would suck up developer time instead of working on what actually does make the game fun. Unless the game's primary mode of gameplay requires it (for example, a newtonian space sim), realistic physics is a bad idea for ANY game.



No, you play Oblivion because you want to adventure in a cool fantasy world! The more realistic the fantasy world, the more clever and interesting your adventures would be.


I don't play Oblivion because TES has yet to make a game that doesn't suck. But ignoring that- a more realistic fantasy world wouldn't make better adventures. For that matter, part of the fun of games is that they *aren't* realistic. It would be realistic to make us shit every couple of hours too, but I don't want them to add that either.

As a side note- immersion sucks. I don't play games to be immersed. I have never been immersed in any video game, movie, etc. I play games to have fun. Most of the stuff devs put in crying "immersion" are not fun, and actively detract from the main point of the game. The devs time would be MUCH MUCH better spent improving combat, improving the storyline, improving balance, and actually working on what makes the game fun.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (3, Insightful)

Echnin (607099) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143875)

Final Fantasies are about telling a story; The Elder Scrolls are about immersing you in a sandbox-like game-world. There are different types of RPGs. Apparently you don't like the immersive kind, so what are you doing posting about what an immersive RPG should or should not be like?

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144095)

Disagree. Role playing games are about experiencing a story and the lore of the game. Realistic physics wouldn't add to it, and it would suck up developer time instead of working on what actually does make the game fun. Unless the game's primary mode of gameplay requires it (for example, a newtonian space sim), realistic physics is a bad idea for ANY game.

[snip]

I don't play Oblivion because TES has yet to make a game that doesn't suck. But ignoring that- a more realistic fantasy world wouldn't make better adventures.
You do realize you're talking about the wrong genre, right? Oblivion is not an RPG, it's a hybrid between an RPG and a 3rd-person shooter. In other words, it's kind of like Half-Life except with leveling and a non-linear world (perspective aside).

No wonder you think TES games suck -- you actually wanted something like Final Fantasy!

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144268)

Why do you assume that realism == mundane?

Would you have preferred Oblivion to be made using the Morrowind engine? Why/why not?

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144317)

The devs time would be MUCH MUCH better spent improving combat, improving the storyline, improving balance, and actually working on what makes the game fun.

Boy, that's what I'd call immersion. A better immersive storyline, improving combat so it's more believable for immersion, improving balance so you can be better immersed...

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144394)

And I'd call none of them immersion. Where did I say making combat more realistic? Usually I'd go the opposite way. Super Mario combat wasn't realistic- but it was fun. Street Fighter- same thing. WoW- same thing. Unless your game is designed on a sim, realism should be left at the door.

Balance isn't about making it immersive, its about making sure its not too easy, not impossible, and making sure that there's reasons to use different weapons/abilities/strategies.

You seem to have a different meaning to the word than the rest of the world uses.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144458)

Maybe I do, but it works for me and I'd prefer to live in my little world.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144441)

If you know what the perfect game is, as you claim to, why aren't you running ZeniMax instead of Mr. Altman, and why haven't you made a game that has outsold every other game for the whole month after it came out? If you're so right about everything, and you know what goes into a perfect game, then by all means be my guest and go make it. When it sells as well as TES has, you can come back here and rant about how great you are.

You're completely delusioned as to what TES is all about, expecting it to be something it isn't. If it doesn't fit your tastes, then fine, that's cool. Don't blatantlysay that the game sucks and nobody should play it no matter what people say. That isn't opinion, that is simply being a complete arrogant asshole. Just my two cents.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143719)

You seem to be under some delusion that immersion and realism are linked somehow.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144282)

Ha yeah. Silly me. Pole Position is totally more immersing than PGR3.

You seem to be under the delusion that realism == mundanity.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144442)

Realism is mearly one method of making a game immersive. I would argue that it's not always the best method.

Try using your imagination some time.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (5, Insightful)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144030)

"The more realistic the fantasy world, the more clever and interesting your adventures would be."

That's ludicrous. The statement should read: "The more realistic the fantasy world, the more of a real world it becomes."

If Oblivion's engine was realistic, then there would be no point in locks or lockpicking as I'm sure a fireball could set any door on fire and windows could be broken to crawl into any area. Also, item prices would change as supply and demand affect the worldwide economy. And you know what else?

There'd be no fucking monsters made out of ice cubes or perky, nubile spider-women who can shoot lightning.

I think the word you're looking for is not "realism" but "consistency" which has nothing to do with the physics engine and everything to do with how that engine (no matter how realistic or fantastic) is applied to everything. BUT... in video games, as in movies, you need to have something called suspension of disbelief. Otherwise, if I decided to just keep walking east, I wouldn't hit a magic force field that says, "You can't walk over there." Otherwise, I'd be wondering... where exactly are all the kids in Cyrodiil?

Personally, I prefer being able to walk up to a group of guards and hit them with a sword to send them flying like so many Agent Smiths. For every moment I have where I say, "Oh, that's stupid, why can't I carry this candle across the room" I have another one where I jump off the side of a cliff and get a one-shot kill mid-air on some bandit 80 feet below me, then land on the ground and eviscerate his companions while I simultaneously pick flowers. That is what Oblivion is about.

As far as the original submission, they asked: "How would Oblivion be different if there were more than just Rag-Doll physics, if bad guys reacted to the swing of your sword, or if mist realistically moved around you as you walked?"

I wouldn't care. It's already a fun game. This is what saddens me about the tech demos I'm seeing lately: "Look, the car falls apart realistically!" While that gets me to geek out for a few minutes I wonder if so much effort will be put into gameplay.

One look at the current quality of the average game and I think I have my answer to that question.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144685)

If Oblivion's engine was realistic, then there would be no point in locks or lockpicking as I'm sure a fireball could set any door on fire and windows could be broken to crawl into any area.

Ah - you've played Arcanum, I see. Disintegrate spell is the supreme key :). But a battleaxe will do in a pinch - swords have a nasty way of getting damaged when used on hard objects.

And it has a simple, ingenius way of increasing immersion - people go to sleep in their beds at night. That's when you rob a shop. Of course you can't use disintegration then, since it makes a lot of noise, so lockpicks still have their uses, not to mention automated mechanical skeleton keys...

Yes, Arcanum's the best CRPG I've ever played. Pity it won't work under Cedega or Wine :(.

There'd be no fucking monsters made out of ice cubes or perky, nubile spider-women who can shoot lightning.

Nubile spider-women ? Do you have links to any pictures ?-) Yes, I like monster girls; there's something extremely cute in them.

In any case, there's electrical eels in reality; maybe those spider-women are actually shooting electrified web strands at you ?

As for the ice cubes, I'm pretty sure I saw one move when I was cleaning my fridge ;)...

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (4, Insightful)

NichG (62224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144035)

The problem is tradeoff. Lets ignore development time, since putting in an actual physics engine can actually speed that up if it means you don't have to explicitly program stuff, the same way that putting in random generation stops you from having to tweak each individual NPC's name and appearance.

No, the tradeoff I'm talking about here is system specs. Oblivion is a good game, immersive, fun. It was a good game back when it was called Morrowind and ran on computers that would be laughable by today's standards.

Now, I'm not saying they should have kept the graphics the same in Oblivion. But I'm saying they could have and if the rest of the game is solid, that wouldn't make it a not-fun game. Since systems have gotten better, then they can choose to improve the graphics and thats great. But the sort of casual physics they're talking about in that article isn't something that could realistically be done on modern systems. I was even surprised that the physics in Oblivion could be done until I realized that they had an on-off switch for it, so stationary objects weren't simulated. Meaning they had to do at most a couple dozen nodes at once - not a big deal.

Or, to put it another way. I can make a game that solves compressible Navier-Stokes to derive the weather patterns so that the player can influence the weather via the butterfly effect. Or I can stick in a random distribution. If its free, I might as well do the former. But it isn't, so if I want anyone to be able to play my game, I choose to do the latter which is almost as good. Putting in by hand swirling smoke gives you something which takes you as a developer more time to do, but the benefit is that the computational difficulty drops and you have spare cycles to do even more interesting stuff. I'd rather have my cycles used for a really clever AI, or even an evolving world, than simulating the grass. And since I have a finite computational power, thats a choice that must eventually be made.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144182)

I'd rather have my cycles used for a really clever AI, or even an evolving world, than simulating the grass. And since I have a finite computational power, thats a choice that must eventually be made.
And that's why the article is talking about supporting hardware physics acceleration, with one of those special chips.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

NichG (62224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144565)

Sure but the tradeoffs still exist. Hardware acceleration means money towards that particular card means money that isn't spent on other aspects of the system. Also, restricting physics to the hardware puts a limit on the sort of physics that can be done if it HAS to go through the hardware. Since most physics can be expressed in terms of or at least take advantage of large matrix operations, that might be the best and most general way to go. Fourier transforms on the hardware are useful for certain kinds of physics, but I doubt it'd be too useful for the kind of thing that goes into games unless people start solving the PDEs for water ripples or whatever. But I don't actually know how its planned to go. Some of this could probably be taken care of decently by making graphics card interfaces a bit more general - since you can already do a lot of linear algebra stuff on 3d cards as it is. Afaik, the limit on graphics cards has more to do with sending information to the card and receiving it back than the actual computational difficulty of what it does, which would mean that on average there are some spare cycles that could be utilized there.

Specificity of the hardware was a big problem with the first 3d hardware. Basically the game's appearance was limited by the card and not the programmers. Its a bit better nowadays with shaders, and you can actually use some tricks to do general linear algebra on 3d cards but its not as fast as it could be since the card wasn't made for that purpose.

Re:Does physics really add that much to an RPG? (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144236)

Right. Progess is needed. Choices have to be made for performance and development reasons.

I wasn't arguing that Oblivion should have better physics now, but disagreeing with the position that it doesn't need better physics at all.

Perhaps you misunderstand escapism. (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144241)

"No, you play Oblivion because you want to adventure in a cool fantasy world! The more realistic the fantasy world, the more clever and interesting your adventures would be."

Maybe this is true of you, but in my fantasy worlds, magic is cool, mushrooms make you bigger, and flowers give you the ability to shoot fire. Making these worlds more realistic might help a particular genre, but it'd be of limited benefit to the games I play where things like magic, jumping over buildings, etc, apply.

I think the immersion I'm thinking about is different from the immersion you're thinking about. I think the folks who wrote Oblivion would better spend their time by making it so that having more than 2 human characters on screen doesn't grind an Athlon64 with a gig of RAM and a Geforce 6800 to 7-9 fps, or make the NPCs walk into each other before moving to go around. That would help my immersion a lot more than watching me fall off a cliff.

World of Warcraft has unrealistic physics on par with Oblivion. It hasn't seemed to hurt its popularity :)

Re:Perhaps you misunderstand escapism. (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144307)

For the sake of all that is intelligent and reasonable! Realism != Mundanity

Realism is not mundanity
Realism is not mundanity

Sorry to repeat myself but it will help you remember.

Maybe this is true of you, but in my fantasy worlds, magic is cool, mushrooms make you bigger, and flowers give you the ability to shoot fire. Making these worlds more realistic might help a particular genre, but it'd be of limited benefit to the games I play where things like magic, jumping over buildings, etc, apply.


And isn't it great when the game reacts appropriately to those actions? I'm not saying that the games should be carbon copies of the real world, but that their ability to create belivable fantasy worlds should be strengthened!

I am NOT arguing that Oblivion should have realistic physics coded in. No one would be able to run it! But I am arguing AGAINST the position that it (and games like it) shouldn't ever have realistic physics!

I guess developers shouldn't have ever adopted cool 3d graphics and more than 8 bit sound either? Huh? Because we all ran 386s for gaming at one point. Why ever develop for anything more!?

Gaah! GAAAAH! Brain broken.

Ah, you seem to think I'm attacking you. (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144460)

I assure you, I'm not. Believable fantasy worlds are not helped by the physics engine of Half-life 2, at least not in my mind, because part of the acceptance of magic is the realization that the gravitational constant may be different in that world, or that alchemy is alive and well, etc.

I'm just saying that there are a lot of other good things they could take the time to write for the game that would help a lot more, such as that AI I talked about. I've watched guards walking into walls for 20 minutes at a time in Oblivion. I've also seen mounted guards walk their horses straight into each other, then rotated on the spot, and moved around each other in perfect symmetry. That affects my suspension of belief a lot more than the fact that I can walk on cliffs in tricky ways.

Freak out about 386s just shows you're not reading my posts.

Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems. (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143470)

Physics realism in the game is nothing compared to the lack of social realism especially with regard to crime. If you steal something anywhere in the game, everyone in the game knows that it wasn't yours and may take steps to punish you for it.

You can steal a horse in one town and ride it to the furthest town away that you can get to, and everyone will know that it's not your horse. You can pick up an alchemy book to read it with no one in the room and put it back down when finished only to be accosted as soon as you open the door. If you kill a guard in an alleyway, every single guard in town will come straight for you to kill you.

Until the game gets social realism down, a few odd-looking collisions means nothing for my immersion.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143515)

This is so true, and has been so overlooked in this game. The physics are fine. The Social AI is what needs work. And I stopped playing oblivion out of frustration for the same reasons the original poster pointed out.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (4, Informative)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143600)

Besides the physics issue, anything that can be modded script wise (such as the stealing thing), has been modded already. There is a big community out there with a great number of mods for almost anything imaginable already. The stealing issue has already been fixed, as has the "psychic" guards.

Here is one among many: http://www.oblivionsource.com/ [oblivionsource.com]

If you can't find a mod for it, mod it yourself and let everyone else enjoy it!

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143771)

99 out of 100 of those mods have unexpected and undesireable side-effects.

There will be great mods for Oblivion. Almost none of them are ready yet though.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (2, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143859)

Is it a good game if you have to hunt down and install countless mods, all with unknown side-effects, just to make the game enjoyable?

If you can't find a mod for it, mod it yourself and let everyone else enjoy it!

What if I want to play a game, rather than write and exchange mods?

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143901)

What if I want to play a game, rather than write and exchange mods?


That's not the OSS way! All must write code! This is is /.! Heretic!

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143612)

No kidding. Whats the point of being a master lockpicker or laying out a huge plan to assasinate someone to gain access to their house if everybody knows what goods are hot and what goods aren't? I mean...if I'm in a house with a close door...and I loot EVERYTHING there, even if its a generic item, how in the HELL is some shop keeper going to know it was stolen? I mean...yeah, if it was an amulet that some guy never took off and I'm trying to hawk it, sure, I'd be a bit suspicious, but a metal plate? Whats the deal?

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (2, Funny)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143745)

Everybody writes their name on *everything*. ;)

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144385)

" I mean...if I'm in a house with a close door...and I loot EVERYTHING there, even if its a generic item, how in the HELL is some shop keeper going to know it was stolen?"

See, just one more reason why RFID tags are evil

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (2, Insightful)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143784)

Having played Morrowind, I understand why they made this game behave the way they did, but I can't say that I agree with it. In Morrowind, it was very simple to amass large quantities of wealth by stealing everything in houses and going off to the nearest trader, who would give you money in exchange. This was certainly much easier than killing the overpowering monsters that attacked you (especially as a thief) and then getting 5 gold for their pelts. I think, however, that they thought this was _too_ easy and too tempting for ordinary classes. I'd argue that while it is pretty easy, it is necessary. It's unrealistic to have people steal things and get caught by the simple fact that the item is "stolen." It's an invisible flag that doesn't make any sense. I think that the creators of Oblivion were bothered by how easily you could get away with stealing in the first game and decided that this was the way to curtail that. I believe that they should've just made the shops more strictly guarded. They should've made stealing harder, the penalties for getting caught maybe more severe. A lot of the ability to steal in Morrowind stemed from the fact that most shops had other rooms with no guards, no locks, or a petty lock and stuff sitting out everywhere with nobody looking after it. But yes, the stolen flag does indeed cut down on realism quite a bit, and I totally disagree with that decision. Part of what made Morrowind so fun was the ability to steal without getting caught in a realistic way.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

MoriaOrc (822758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143994)

I'd just like to point out that they did take a big step that may have been enough (on its own) to make stealing hard enough that you wouldn't end up with the kind of situation that you had in Morrowind. They made it so that if you wander out of the "show room" area of a store, or into any area you aren't supposed to be (some of the guard barracks, pretty much any private home during the night, restricted parts of a castle, ect) and the AI sees you then there is nothing you can do short of leaving the area (or killing you .. but I thought the point here was to not get caught doing something illegal) to get them to stop following you. My character has a sneak of 100 and speed/agi to match and I've tried running into a seperate room and closing the door while in sneak mode, they still know where you are. You can try it by going up the stairs in one of the shops in the Imperial City and standing next to the door to the store owners private room. The owner will walk over and look at you, then follow you around the store until you leave.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (5, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144040)

Part of what made Morrowind so fun was the ability to steal without getting caught in a realistic way.

If you're getting caught stealing in Oblivion, you're doing something wrong. Use sneak mode and make sure nobody sees you taking stuff. If nobody sees it happen, you get no bounty. If you have no bounty, guards won't try to arrest you. Sure, you still can't sell stuff to normal shops, but it's easy to join the Thieves' Guild to get access to fences (you have to advance in the guild to get access to better fences).

In all, I like Oblivion's theft implementation a little bit better. Sure, I have to seek out a fence to sell my stuff, but at least I know exactly what stuff is stolen and I don't have to keep track of who I stole it from. In Morrowind, the same "Stolen Property" flag was there, but hidden. If you didn't keep good track of what you stole and kept, you could find yourself weaponless or armorless if you ever got caught by a guard (because they took all of your stolen merchandise, just like in Oblivion). More importantly, if you stole an item from a shopkeeper, you could never sell that type of item to them again (whether it was the same item you stole from them or not). Even worse than that, some NPCs would even refuse you service if you ever stole from them (most notably enchanters, where they would refuse to enchant items for you if you stole from them -- whether you were caught or not).

Is it realistic that guards know exactly what you've stolen at all times, even if it was something you stole many game-months before? No. Does it hurt gameplay? Not really. Not nearly as much as it did in Morrowind.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144051)

The stolen flag seems to be a cheap way out of a hard problem. A better way would have been a proper scale of value. Ever had a garage sale? If you completely cleaned out Joe Peasant's house, you shouldn't be getting more than a pittance. Maybe you'd get more by cleaning out some sultan's castle, but then you've got the guards, magical traps, locks, etc. that all that fortune brings.

As for the "stolen" flag itself, a merchant should be able to recognize his own goods, and then figure out the rest. How many house's worth of stuff do you think you could pawn at a single shop in the real world before the clerk gets suspicious? So, at some point, the merchant should get suspicious of you, and that merchant should react accordingly (and not by using psychic powers to alert all his merchant guild buddies). As for a related criminal flag, if you're not seen, it didn't happen (heck, if you stole a fork, it wouldn't even be missed). Unless what you took was pretty darn valuable, which in the game world would probably be worth hiring a diviner to look into the issue.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (3, Funny)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143852)

You can steal a horse in one town and ride it to the furthest town away that you can get to, and everyone will know that it's not your horse.

Of course they know. They check the license plate and the bumper sticker - it's pretty obvious.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144042)

I agree thief is really quite hopeless. Then again, the other way I've seen it done (just go into every room where there's noone and loot) isn't very realistic either. I mean people will start to notice things missing, investigations, who has been in that room or seen people go into it, you'll have rumors flying around in the town about plundering etc. Like the merchant quest if you've done that, people will start to ask questions about where things come from. If you killed a guard, the guard would probably be strengthened. Maybe the guards have some sort of shout range, alarm horn or wharever. I can't really say that I care much personally since I'm out killing necros and closing oblivion gates, but each to his own. What I'm saying is that a proper social response is not "business as usual", and there's a damn lot of other game features that are important too. Quite frankly there's other things I'd like to see rather that trying to implement the intricacies of real social realism, particularly since I suspect people would quite quickly learn to work around them.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144229)

Or you can buy the house in Skingrad, enter the house, walk out onto the balcony, walk back in through the balcony door, run to the other side of the world, and get arrested for breaking in.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144484)

In a game where magic is common, we can just assume that there is an inexpensive spell cast on all shopkeepers that tells them if something is stolen or not. Same with guards.

It is foolish for us to insist that Oblivion be a real-world thievery simulation when it has much more blatant differences from the real-world (existence of magic, existence of monster races).

Having said that, I admit that I would prefer for the thievery to be more like real life. I am just not going to get angry and blame a fantasy video game for being 'unrealistic'.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144709)

The game's thievery is fine, apart from the lack of good loot. (Silverware and such are underpriced, but it's a quick fix in the construction set, or with any of a handful mods around.)

  I never understood all the moaning about 'OMG teh guards psycichally know what u stoled and they take it aways!' -- there's a spell in the game called "Command person" for cryin' out loud! They catch you for stealing, all they have to do is read one of those and say "Alright, which of these things did you steal, and who did you take it from?" (I imagine there would be limits on what they can ask, and probably some sort of advocate for the accused present, so as to prevent "I command you to sign this confession, you scaly Argonian bastard!" which would be a big problem in Southern Cyrodiil.)
  Oh, and the guards aren't psychic. When someone spots you committing a crime, the game models a shout (that carries farther than the regular dialogue can be heard) and any guards within the radius of the sound, even if they're on patrol outside, will respond. Before you break in and steal anything, make sure there are no guards AROUND the building. It helps if it an isolated spot, on a corner with no streets outside the wall.

  Tip: To lose a pursuit, get out of eyesight and begin sneaking. You need a decent sneak skill, and it helps to go completely still and get a bit of chameleon going. When the music changes after a few seconds, you've lost them. At higher levels of sneak this ability becomes ridiculously overpowered, but non-stealth classes may want to know this if you are being chased through the wilderness by a train of nasties.
  There are mods to increase ability to do this ("Attack and Hide" comes to mind) but they're insanely overpowering on stealth chars.

Re:Physics Realism? Pfft. There're bigger problems (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144716)

They had to make theivery 'bad' somehow, make it special. That's why they did all that stuff.

Is it realistic? Not at all. But something was needed, and that's what they put in.

Just wait for Crysis. (1)

sc0ttyb (833038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143488)

If you want all this mist-swirling and stuff interacting with you as you brush past it, just wait for Crysis. The engine looks very impressive. Let's just hope there's a solid game behind it!

waste of time (4, Insightful)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143493)

Jesus christ, the physics are fucking impressive for an RPG. They can only put so much effort and manhours into Oblivion, and with the ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF GAME CONTENT I'm surprised they even got a physics engine that is as fun as it is. True physics would have been nice, OK, but not worth the time. I mean, developers will release a game solely on the merits of its physics engine (see: Black) so it's not something that's trivial to add...

Wow...who cares about Oblivion (2, Insightful)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143513)

The /. article title and summary cover the least important topics about the title. It really has nothing to do with Oblivion except that they talk about how cool Oblivion would be if more physics were added and these physics were processed by a PPU (physics proccessing unit). I think this is a very interesting idea. Having a physics accelerator card that is completely dedicated to the physics of the game would add huge amounts of realism without performance drops. I think this could be cool. It might even change the way games are made. However, I'm not sure how many gamers will be willing to add another expense when they upgrade their system. But I think retailers would love to have another periphiral to sell that will increase a computer's performance.

Kvatch is burning (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143528)

The only thing that really annoys me is that fires don't die out. It's such a huge cause of disbeleif for me that I have serious trouble getting back 'into' the game each time after I've visited the city.

Re:Kvatch is burning (1)

bearl (589272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143638)

Those are MAGIC fires.

There you go adventurer; resume disbelief and on your way! ;)

Re:Kvatch is burning (1)

yammosk (861527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143822)

Wizards did it... :P

Obviously... (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143955)

Obviously there's an underground oil well which will burn for the next 500 years. Expect much sidequesty goodness in TES 7.

Re:Kvatch is burning (1)

MoriaOrc (822758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144077)

This really bugged me, too. If you've gotten to the quest where you have to get help from all the cities, I thought it was very unrealistic that the fires were all still lit in Kvatch. And when I went to talk to the Captain of the Guard, he was still standing in the exact same place in the castle hall, and he was still wearing his brown shirt and NO PANTS. I believe they were one of the many casualties in the "When you're level 25" version of Seige of Kvatch that involved alot of him falling unconcious.

On a more hopeful note, this WIP mod [elderscrolls.com] may interest you...

Smells like a press release (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143548)

So they claim that Oblivion would be much better with AGIA brand physics acceleration hardware support. And if they had just supported AGIA, then so much more realism and immersion would be possible.

'smells like a press release to me. Nobody has an AGIA physics accelerator card yet. That's like saying the game would be better on a blue-ray disk. I wholeheartedly hope that physics acceleration will become a more standard piece of gaming kit at some time in the future, but nobody has one yet.

The success of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion makes it the perfect example of what's missing from our current conception of next generation games... Oblivion lacks Casual Physics, and the result is a splendidly beautiful world that still requires a blind eye in order to buy into the environment.

Or maybe the success of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion shows that Casual Physics are not necessary for a great game.

Re:Smells like a press release (1)

ukpyr (53793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143787)

I'm glad I'm not the only paranoid person who thought this, it's better to be paranoid in a group.

Re:Smells like a press release (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143908)

Xbox 360 games are not managing to outperform mid-range pcs that are out right now.

360 games are plagued with low framerates, screen tearing, absurd amounts of jaggies, and a baffling complete lack of AF. If any time was spent on decent next-gen physics, 360 graphics would be to embarrassing to ship.

The 360 desperately needs some sort of AEGIA type add-on if the console doesn't want to be laughed out of the market when the PCs with an AEGIA card and PS3 start showing up in the next few months. Even though the triple-core PPC chip destroys anything Intel or AMD have or will have for a long,long time - the 360 is out of its league when the other machines arrive.

Re:Smells like a press release (1)

myspys (204685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144016)

That'd be Ageia [ageia.com] , not AGIA

Who knows (-1, Troll)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143585)

Who knows...maybe they did have this built in but scraped it to sell later as a $20 add-on? Do I sound cynical?

Re:Who knows (1)

Seta (934439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143873)

You sound strangely like a Microsoft marketing employee trying to sell me Windows Vista actually.

Yes you do. (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143888)

Oblivion uses the Havok engine which doesn't have support for hardware acceleration yet. Havok FX will support GPU-assisted physics acceleration, but that costs extra $$$ in licensing fees, so the chances of Bethesda adding that support in a patch are nil. The only engine that supports Ageia's PPU is their own PhysX API; I haven't used Havok's engine so I don't know how different they are, but Ageia's is pretty easy to use (and more importantly, costs nothing), so putting that in a future Oblivion expansion is in the realm of possibility, especially if they plan on having PPU support in Fallout 3 (it will use the same engine, so porting changes should be easier). So yes, you do sound a bit cynical.

Re:Yes you do. (1)

Fool_Errant (829472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144341)

The next-gen Unreal engine is already being built with the capacity to use the PhysX PPU chips, so if it has already been finalized, then there are at least 2 physics engines that have the capacity to off-load physics calculations to the Ageia PPU chip.

Re:Who knows (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143987)

No, actually you sound more like a flaming faggot.

Not the only realism problem... (3, Funny)

verbatim_verbose (411803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143604)

They should really do a little more research on other aspects of reality, such as how difficult it actually is to cast fire directly from your hands. Just what kind of world do these guys live in?

Easy, actually. (5, Funny)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143902)

1. Pour gasoline on hands.
2. Ignite said hands.
3. ????
4. Profit!

Re:Easy, actually. (2, Funny)

hyfe (641811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144647)

Nobody disputes that's it easy to set your hands on fire.

The tricky part is getting the fire off your hands and somewhere else. :)

The obvious answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143652)

They have to save a few good tricks for Elder Scrolls V.

Current video hardware isn't particularly well suited to physics simulations with large #s of interacting objects. If Ageis PhysX chip takes off (for example) we'll see a whole lot more 'good' physics in games. There is still a world of difference between genuine physics simulations (which can be arbitrarily accurate) and the level of accuracy dictated by real-time interactivity but shifting the burden onto hardware is a big step.

Even ignoring hardware requirements, implimenting decent physics requires a deep level of physics support in the very core of the game engine (esp. things like gradually destructable objects and malleable environment). If such features were not on the origional spec for the engine they sure wouldn't want to tack them in after the fact.

Last but probably most important, good physics doesn't directly translate into good gameplay any more than good graphics or good sound. Given a finite amount of developer time they have to predict the right balance that will produce a fun product.

Re:The obvious answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143905)

Actually, the main problem with physics on GPUs is nVidia's abysmal support for Pixel Shader 3 branching. It seems that 4096 pixels always follow the same execution path...

Re:The obvious answer (1)

Esterhaus_48 (634600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144146)

I absolutely agree with the above post. If developers were to dramatically ratchet up the phsyics complexity in modern game titles, the disruption would be felt in all areas of gameplay.
One thing that I know the average gamers grasp are bottlenecks, so I'll put things in those terms. Consider your favorite title, whatever that be. Now think of what efforts the developers put into balancing performance with image quality and, by association, realism. For many of the titles out there that you may consider your favorite, I'd hazard a guess that most are bottlenecked by the graphics card.
So, let's rebalance the equation just a bit by adding more objects to interact with. No longer can we get by with large polys that are parallax mapped to better approximate more complex geometries, because our collision detection and object deformation algorithms depend on higher raw geometry complexity. By raising the bar on the physics complexity, we've shifted the bottleneck a bit more towards the CPU and/or PPU, but in turn we've added more geometry to be sent to the graphics card. This geometry results in more fragments generated that must be processed, further increasing the workload of the graphics pipeline.
Now, I know what you're saying. We could certainly use techniques like occlusion culling and get rid of as much extraneous geometry as possible to reduce this overhead, but the bottom line is that the performance profile is now rebalanced in such a way that more physics added into the title may require that one adjust the other performance knobs a bit to maintain the same FPS. Things like resolution, aniso, FSAA, etc. The tradeoffs for moving closer to some asymptotic physics nirvana (regardless of CPU or PPU acceleration) may not be justified given the increase in workload on the graphics pipeline.
My point is, it's all about weighing the performance with the (subjective) image quality / immersiveness level. In so far as PCs are concerned (by comparison to console environments which has a known set of hardware speeds and feeds), we tend to lean towards ensuring adequate frames per second can be achieved in the 'average' configuration. The proverbial icing on the cake becomes toggle options in the video settings.
But, then again, this leads us to the issue of which options are available to whom, and how to establish a baseline for physics complexity in online titles, where players should have a level field, one which precludes the environment from providing advantage to one class of gaming configuration.

Frustration (1)

Ericn484 (713920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143758)

I could live without the physics engine that people are talking about if my game would just run smoothly! I purchased the game for my 360 and everything ran fine...until I updated my firmware and now the game locks up like every 5 minutes for about a minute and it really kills the gameplay for me. I haven't tried another game yet to see if it is my 360 or just obilivion that is having the problem but it has become so difficult to play! But when it does lock up, my entire 360 stops responding to me.

Re:Frustration (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143867)

I've had the same problem. Open up my inventory, wait a minute. Talk to someone, wait a minute. Talk to them again, wait another minute. And loading a new area? Another minute or so.

My problem went away after a while. Not sure what I did, but apparently, clearing the cache might do the trick. Hold down A (or was it the XBOX button?) during start-up. Either that, or re-boot a couple of times. :)

Either way, my lock-up problems are gone. Hope you have the same luck. :)

Too realistic means unplayable (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143794)

You don't really want realistic physics in your combat games. You don't have enough control to use it. If game combat had real physics, game players would have to have real martial arts skills. "No, no, your lead knee must be slightly bent before you start that throw". "Yes, sensi". Few gamers put in the dojo time to get those skills. You can't express them through a game pad, anyway. (A DDR pad and full VR gear, maybe. But even then you lack physical feedback, which is about 5x faster than eye/hand coordination.) Then you need an AI good enough to do real martial arts, a tough problem in itself.

Just insisting that swords actually hit a vulnerable point with enough force to cause damage makes play too hard. Guns, yes; we can do guns. (Basic problem of video games: players can shoot well and move adequately; little else can be done well through a game pad or keyboard.)

We know how to do much better game physics. What we're actually getting, though, is mediocre physics for everything in the environment. Which is all Ageia delivers; it's not better, you can just use it on more objects at the same time.

Question: If we had a first-person combat game that took two real joysticks to play, and considerable practice to learn, but let you do real martial arts, would you play it?

Yes (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144025)

But then your talking to a Grand Prix Legends player here. So perhaps I am not entirely normal.

GPL for those who don't know is a very though historic formule 1 game that focusses on realism. It was so realistic that it took fans a lot of time to realise that all the setups of the cars had been done wrong. Modern F1 games are made to ride as low to the ground because of airodynamics BUT the F1 cars in the era simulated do not even have wings.

So while all the players tried to get the cars as low as possible they were in fact making the cars impossible to handle. The cars instead needed lots of clearance in able to fully use their shocks to get around corners.

GPL is harder then most driving games as you need to special controls of being able to break and accelerate at the same time. So the usual joystick setup of only one axis for both just isn't good enough.

GPL is also a game in wich you shouldn't mind loosing. You probably just won't be good enough to beat the AI drivers. Then again the thrill of coming 10th in that game is infinitly greater then coming first in lesser race sims.

So I would like to play a game with more realistic combat, not to realistic offcourse (just as I can pause GPL for a bathroom break and don't actually have to fit enough to handle a high performance car) but giving me a real challenge in actually having to do some fighting and not just push a button.

I liked Oni. While not realistic you could at least use all your different moves to great effect. Far better then the regular hit or block. Still love that move where you ran to the side of badguy then swung around his neck kicking his companions in the face before snapping his neck.

But why can't we have both? GPL has lots of helper functions wich if all turned on make the game a lot easier. No fun, but a lot easier.

In fact all the really though sims do this.

Morrowind in fact had three different attack moves. Probably considered to complex for console players but there is no reason it couldn't have been an option in Oblivion.

So yes, I would buy such a game and I think I am not alone. True for every Operation FlashPoint fan there are plenty of gamers who could not handle the fact that bullets arc BUT that can be a selling point as well.

To me Oblivion is a nice game, just as soon as I got the instant kill mod because the current fighting get to bloody boring. Especially those damn gates. Endless non roleplaying level with boring enemies dropped around the place. Yawn.

Re:Yes (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144250)

Thank you for lauding the intended use of this technology instead of poo-poohing it like everyone else here. Racing, flight sims, sports games, fighting games, and a zillion new kinds of games could be made to take advantage of a PPU. And nobody says realistic physics have to mean reduced gameplay or fun. Not every physics-based game has to be as hard as GPL.

Re:Too realistic means unplayable (1)

Sawopox (18730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144336)

>Question: If we had a first-person combat game that took two real joysticks to >play, and considerable practice to learn, but let you do real martial arts, would >you play it?

As a matter of fact, I HAVE played such a game [klov.com] . Not a 1st person, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Besides, how can you not like a game featured in a Jean Claude VanDamme movie?

Hey, hey, wait a minute! (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143815)

If one see Oblivion's current hardware requirements, one should understand why things are like they are.

Sure, new solutions are appearing to more accurately reflect "accurate" physics, but the developers still have to cater for the large masses, not design for today's cutting edge graphics cards only. This game is bad enough as it is already. I have no doubt that if Betheshda could've made assumptions that most of the gamer community would have graphics cards supporting the real-time near physics acceleration, they could've designed for those.

Remember that Oblivion isn't supposed to be a tech preview, but a playable game that's supposed to be fun for a lot of people.

This complaint is maybe better left until 2010 or so, as I have no doubt we'll get much closer to this performane in the average PC in a quite short time.

If you want a real physics model (4, Insightful)

cafn8ed (264155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144122)

If you want a real physics model, go outside, pick up a rock, and throw it. For bonus points, you can throw it at your own window. You'll get a physics model, a destructible environment, and full stereo sound, all at once. Soon to be followed by an all-to-realistic economics model based on a goods and services, skilled labor market.

Meanwhile, um, Oblivion is a magical fantasy-based role playing game. I can't speak for anyone else, but I play games like that because they're NOT perfect models of reality. When I want reality, I turn off the computer and take a walk with my dog.

How would it be different? (1)

f1f2f3 (66764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144176)

How would Oblivion be different if there were more than just Rag-Doll physics, if bad guys reacted to the swing of your sword, or if mist realistically moved around you as you walked.
It would run at 1 FPS, everyone would be toast 5 seconds into the first fight, and it would sell 2 copies instead of 2 million.

Return on Investment (1)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144266)

Aside from making the game prettier, how much would physics actually help the game? All those calculations are expensive (be it in CPU power, or in actual dollers in the case of a dedicated physics unit) for the fact that they don't do much for the game itself. Sure it'd help with the sense of immersion, but we just had a story ealier today about how much better HL was than HL2 despite its lack of gee whiz physics or the latest in graphics technology. You have to think in terms of how much bang you get for your buck.

If you want a clear cut example of technology over substance, take a look at Deus Ex versus its sequel. I loved Deus Ex, but I'll be the first to admit that it's one hell of an ugly game. But that's made up for in spades by huge environments, innovative gameplay, and fantastic level design. By comparison, Deus Ex 2 was a veritable tour de force of technology- realtime shadows and physics made the game quite nice to look at (provided you had the horsepower to run it at higher than 800x600). The game, though, was a pale shadow of its predecessor- the levels were tiny, the gameplay had been oversimplified, and the level design was nowhere near as good. The basiscs made the first game great, not the extras.

Oblivion is by all accounts (I haven't played it myself) a great game. I've seen it played, and it doesn't look like physics would actually change the gameplay all that much, just add extra eye candy. Would all kinds of real time physics make the game better? Maybe. Would the difference be enough to account for the extra cost in both hardware and development time? Probably not.

FSM would say "Don't be afraid of evolution" (0)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144339)

There are 2 issues being argued here and the line is being blurred. A PPU will spawn new kinds of physics based games, yes, but it will also assist "ordinary" games in looking more realistic. Gameplay is an important aspect of games, but so is suspension of disbelief.

All you naysayers would have sung the same song in the pre-3DFX days, trust me. How many modern console games would be fundamentally different without 3D acceleration? Does Viewtiful Joe's camera ever rotate? Wouldn't Tekken be just as playable with simulated 3D dodging? Does a hockey game that scrolls up and down need 3D modelled characters? In general, don't hand-drawn 2D sprites look way more detailed than hardware-accelerated meshes? And yet we all own 3D cards to crunch the hell out of polys.

If and when this technology takes off, whether it's onboard or in a GPU or in a standoff PCI card, you'll love this technology when you finally adopt it. It will even make His noodly appendage more noodly!!

I love it when... (1)

PopeJM (956574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144354)

...you sit down at tables and everything flies off of them.

In other news... (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144367)

In other news: If a frog had wings it wouldn't bump it wouldn't bump its ass when it hopped. Film at 11.

Yeah there are a million things that could make any given game better. The physics of Oblivion hasn't made the game unplayable, or even unpleasant for me.

More potshots from the peanut gallery.

Why no real physics? It's because of Xbox 360 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144375)

The CPU for Xbox 360 is three 3.2Ghz cores, but they are in-order PowerPC cores that means each core is much weaker than say Pentium 4 3.2Ghz, so the whole CPU is comparable with or weaker than dual-core Pentium 4 3.2Ghz. This means they couldn't implement good physics interaction because of performance limit even though it runs at 30fps.

If it's for PS3, it would get better physics thanks to the Cell processor which was created for graphics and physics from the ground up, and the PC version would require Ageia PPU to enable full physics support.

When to say it's good enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144511)

The article's author I believe is describing systems beyond the capability of even the physics cards. Take his description of the falling snow. From his description, the current system is basically an visual overlay rendered snowflakes. What he wants is for each snowflakes movement to be calculated using the physics accelerator. To do this we need to store each flakes x,y,z location and a vector. At 1 flake per cubic foot, a 100ftx100ftx100ft area would have 1,000,000 flakes. That also assumes we don't store any info on flakes that have hit the ground. Since we no longer have a predictable snow pattern that can be a texture or a simple particle effect, every frame we have send the video card unique locations for a 1,000,000 diferent particles. Depending on the system, we are already sub 60 FPS video. It might be argued that you could just model the flakes around the players and npcs, to reduce load. In other words make concessions until you get acceptable performance. Which is the likely process used by the designers to come up with the current simplified model.

Realism in real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144631)

Who is this guy? What does he know about physics? I thought I was updated on the news of in-game physics but I must have missed the boat on learning about "targeted" and "casual" physics.
It seems like this guy has completely made these terms up!
I think that the Ageia PHYSX chip is going to rock balls but this article seems almost like a bad advertisement:
"...with a PPU, there's no reason that snowfall couldn't realistically build up on the ground, allowing you to leave footprints...", "...Agia currently sells a physics accelerator called PhysX. Their website lists games that currently have .... physics acceleration support (including ..."
How much is Ageia paying this guy? Because I'll do a way better job, and make up way cooler terms, like:
Goldbergian physics - Every in-game physics interaction has a wacky chain reaction to follow.

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