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Videogames Latest: Starfields of Glory


Werthead
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Hmm. the 4070ti route was financially appealing, but the lack of vRAM means it may struggle significantly with future-proofing (I've seen some people complaining about how it handles things like Last of Us Part 1 and other games out this year versus the 4080). The scores for the 4080 versus the 4070ti were based on how they perform in games that are several years old (CP77, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the last couple of AssCreeds, Total War: Three Kingdoms etc), and there seems much more doubt on how it will handle Starfield and other upcoming games.

Edited by Werthead
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No chance I'm picking up starfield before the previews are out. After the disaster class that was 76, you would think it would be...unlikely that Starfield ships in anything close to that state but I'm okay to wait.

Also, I know some of the selling point is that there are x number of worlds to explore, but tbh, it's all about quantity over quality and if they're just boring planet one after the other, it'll be quite disappointing.

Edited by Raja
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39 minutes ago, Raja said:

... if they're just boring planet one after the other, it'll be quite disappointing.

100%

I think a lot rides in how well the procedural generation comes off and if there's enough variety and interest in those thousand worlds. I also hope their quests aren't bland fetching stuff and that the overall story is compelling ... but I think those are actually secondary to whether or not the quantity translates into an itch to keep exploring (and a reward for doing so).

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1 hour ago, Raja said:

No chance I'm picking up starfield before the previews are out. After the disaster class that was 76, you would think it would be...unlikely that Starfield ships in anything close to that state but I'm okay to wait.

Also, I know some of the selling point is that there are x number of worlds to explore, but tbh, it's all about quantity over quality and if they're just boring planet one after the other, it'll be quite disappointing.

FO76 wasn't in great shape due to their inexperience with multiplayer (not a problem here) but FO4 and Skyrim were mostly fine (if anything, their early patches broke each game further before they fixed them even later on). And given the launch state of almost every PC game for the last couple of years, if they come out anything like FO4 or Skyrim on launch, I'd consider that a big win.

What was interesting was that when Microsoft bought Bethesda in 2020, apparently Starfield was already almost feature-complete and they wanted to ship it in 2021, but Microsoft assessed the game and felt they could really increase the visual quality of the game by sending in their optimisation hit squad and then also go hardcore on QA withe Xbox's own QA teams working on the game alongside Bethesda's inhouse team. And they pushed back the game twice (unofficially to late 2022, and then officially to September 2023) because they felt they would rather use that extra time to polish and optimise like crazy. Which hopefully turns out to be true (if this launches in a shitty state after all that, Microsoft need to have a serious look at themselves).

More amusing is that Bethesda don't seem to have entirely agreed with this, with Howard noting that if it was up to him they wouldn't have spent so long on the game, but the game has benefitted from the extra time and care. Certainly from the previews, that seems to be graphically true.

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8 minutes ago, Werthead said:

FO76 wasn't in great shape due to their inexperience with multiplayer (not a problem here)

There were a lot of issues in that game, and not just because of the multiplayer. Terrible performance, the game looking worse than modded fallout 4, towns copy pasted from Fallout 4, a 50gb patch on day 1 that did nothing, a 'beta' that was only available at certain times of the day. The list is endless *before* I even get to the bugs.

Given that it was their first multiplayer game, I'm sure that had some effects on the final product, but the absolutely terrible MP experience could have been forgiven if the rest was even half decent.

I'm pretty fogiving of games with bugs if I'm enjoying the experience of playing the game, so I'm sure starfield will have more than enough bugs, but the balance is right, I'll be fine paying that money.

Not gonna preorder though, gonna wait for hands on impressions. Like I said, I doubt they fuck up that badly again.

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2 hours ago, Raja said:

Also, I know some of the selling point is that there are x number of worlds to explore, but tbh, it's all about quantity over quality and if they're just boring planet one after the other, it'll be quite disappointing.

 

It's always a worry with procedural generation in exploration-heavy games, for me (one reason why I'm not as excited for Hyper Light Breaker as I otherwise would be). In this instance they've supposedly generated it then gone and curated the planets after, but it depends on what that means- my suspicion being they've manually added a point of interest or story focus on each planet, not much deeper.

 

I ran into that problem in No Man's Sky and I didn't even get off the first planet. Just didn't feel drawn to explore the world. I will give it another go at some stage like. But you really can tell the difference between something that's been crafted to draw you along and something that's just, even really well, gone through a calculator to build stuff up. 

 

Not that I'm likely to have the means to play this for like a decade anyway, but hey ho.

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1 hour ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

I just noticed the PC specs require a solid state drive.

Is that a first in gaming?

I'm not sure. I heard that the expansion for CP2077 has also included an update to the system requirements to include a SSD at the minimum level. 

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I've heard that while it's the minimum recommended requirement for CP2077, it'll still run on regular hard drives, it's just not optimal. In fact, a lot of the bugs people encountered in the early days of the game (e.g. lots of t-posing, floating items, etc.) were related to people having it on HDDs, which streamed in data too slowly for the game engine.

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3 hours ago, Raja said:

There were a lot of issues in that game, and not just because of the multiplayer. Terrible performance, the game looking worse than modded fallout 4, towns copy pasted from Fallout 4, a 50gb patch on day 1 that did nothing, a 'beta' that was only available at certain times of the day. The list is endless *before* I even get to the bugs.

Given that it was their first multiplayer game, I'm sure that had some effects on the final product, but the absolutely terrible MP experience could have been forgiven if the rest was even half decent.

I'm pretty fogiving of games with bugs if I'm enjoying the experience of playing the game, so I'm sure starfield will have more than enough bugs, but the balance is right, I'll be fine paying that money.

Not gonna preorder though, gonna wait for hands on impressions. Like I said, I doubt they fuck up that badly again.

Fallout 76 had higher-resolution textures than FO4 out of the box and a completely revamped lighting engine. Although still not up-to-date, the game looked comprehensively superior to FO4 on release, and replaying FO4 shortly afterwards, the latter felt somewhat more washed-out. There's also the mod that translated the FO76 gamespace into the FO4 engine (to try to turn it into a full singleplayer game, although I'm not sure it got very far) and the first thing you noticed was how less dynamic the world looks with the FO4 lighting solution.

I'm also not sure what towns were copy-pasted from FO4, that's a new complaint to me. The game did use a ton of reused FO4 assets, though, which people did moan about (semi-justifiably, it's the same world after all).

2 hours ago, polishgenius said:

It's always a worry with procedural generation in exploration-heavy games, for me (one reason why I'm not as excited for Hyper Light Breaker as I otherwise would be). In this instance they've supposedly generated it then gone and curated the planets after, but it depends on what that means- my suspicion being they've manually added a point of interest or story focus on each planet, not much deeper.

It's worth noting that Oblivion, Fallout 3 and 4 and Skyrim all had procedural generation applied to them after creating the basic world map, to determine the placement of foilage, forests, rocks etc, and then they go in and hand-shape it after. This is the same thing, albeit on a much larger scale.

From what they've said, they divide each planet into distinct zones which are at least 1x1km but could be larger (the ones around the handcrafted cities seem to be much bigger). Each zone is contiguous with the surrounding, so you could walk right around each planet, but that would take several to many hours. When you land in a zone, the game applies a list of conditionals which auto-generates points of interest (structures, caves, resources, possible enemies, wildlife) conditional on the type of world it is. The clever bit is that it can apply entire quest chains and locations to these apparently-randomly encountered zones, so just rocking up to a random planet might generate an entire, fairly substantive side-story.

You might end up thinking, "Hey, it would be easy to miss this," but it's not, because another player would have exactly the same quest chain showing up but on a totally different planet. You won't notice until you replay the entire game from scratch, or you're watching multiple streams of people playing the game and they're encountering the same things in different places.

How far that rabbit hole goes down is unclear. They probably figure that most players will visit all of the quest-required planets, maybe a few obvious POIs (Earth, I suspect, will be a big draw even it's an uninhabitable wasteland) and then ~20-50 of the vast morass of unimportant rocks to get some resources or something but otherwise leave that side of the game alone (obviously there'll be an insane hardcore who try to build a base on all ~1,000 worlds or something, like the small number of people in Elite: Dangerous who try to fly to the centre of the galaxy, but not too many).

That's not like No Man's Sky, which is entirely 100% procedurally generated, all the time, with the accompanying jankiness. It is smoke and mirrors meant to suggest greater depth, but then that's true of all video games (open world ones especially).

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Fallout 76 had higher-resolution textures than FO4 out of the box and a completely revamped lighting engine. Although still not up-to-date, the game looked comprehensively superior to FO4 on release

It did not look better than the state FO4 was in when 76 came out though, and that is what you're competing against as opposed to what FO4 looked like on release. And the stuff I've listed barely goes into all the issues with the game ( PC menu systems being terrible - with UI designs particularly being at fault)

As for lighting, SkillUp went through the lighting & visual changes ( i've time stamped it) , including issues with art assets taken straight from Fallout 4. You might say 'completely revamped lighting engine' - but interiors specifically looked so bad that the 'revamp' to me means nothing.

Edited by Raja
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On 6/17/2023 at 8:29 PM, Werthead said:

Fallout 76 had higher-resolution textures than FO4 out of the box and a completely revamped lighting engine. Although still not up-to-date, the game looked comprehensively superior to FO4 on release, and replaying FO4 shortly afterwards, the latter felt somewhat more washed-out. There's also the mod that translated the FO76 gamespace into the FO4 engine (to try to turn it into a full singleplayer game, although I'm not sure it got very far) and the first thing you noticed was how less dynamic the world looks with the FO4 lighting solution.

I'm also not sure what towns were copy-pasted from FO4, that's a new complaint to me. The game did use a ton of reused FO4 assets, though, which people did moan about (semi-justifiably, it's the same world after all).

It's worth noting that Oblivion, Fallout 3 and 4 and Skyrim all had procedural generation applied to them after creating the basic world map, to determine the placement of foilage, forests, rocks etc, and then they go in and hand-shape it after. This is the same thing, albeit on a much larger scale.

From what they've said, they divide each planet into distinct zones which are at least 1x1km but could be larger (the ones around the handcrafted cities seem to be much bigger). Each zone is contiguous with the surrounding, so you could walk right around each planet, but that would take several to many hours. When you land in a zone, the game applies a list of conditionals which auto-generates points of interest (structures, caves, resources, possible enemies, wildlife) conditional on the type of world it is. The clever bit is that it can apply entire quest chains and locations to these apparently-randomly encountered zones, so just rocking up to a random planet might generate an entire, fairly substantive side-story.

You might end up thinking, "Hey, it would be easy to miss this," but it's not, because another player would have exactly the same quest chain showing up but on a totally different planet. You won't notice until you replay the entire game from scratch, or you're watching multiple streams of people playing the game and they're encountering the same things in different places.

How far that rabbit hole goes down is unclear. They probably figure that most players will visit all of the quest-required planets, maybe a few obvious POIs (Earth, I suspect, will be a big draw even it's an uninhabitable wasteland) and then ~20-50 of the vast morass of unimportant rocks to get some resources or something but otherwise leave that side of the game alone (obviously there'll be an insane hardcore who try to build a base on all ~1,000 worlds or something, like the small number of people in Elite: Dangerous who try to fly to the centre of the galaxy, but not too many).

That's not like No Man's Sky, which is entirely 100% procedurally generated, all the time, with the accompanying jankiness. It is smoke and mirrors meant to suggest greater depth, but then that's true of all video games (open world ones especially).

I managed to get to the centre of the galaxy in Elite. Almost shat myself as when I jumped into Sag- A (the centre), there was a supermassive black hole right in front of my ship

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4 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

I managed to get to the centre of the galaxy in Elite. Almost shat myself as when I jumped into Sag- A (the centre), there was a supermassive black hole right in front of my ship

Elite's thing for using the largest gravwell in the system to slow you down is a little intimidating there. Not as bad as a neutron star where you have to have ultra-fast reflexes to frameshift out of there before just dying from the radiation.

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On 6/21/2023 at 8:35 PM, Derfel Cadarn said:

I managed to get to the centre of the galaxy in Elite. Almost shat myself as when I jumped into Sag- A (the centre), there was a supermassive black hole right in front of my ship

Years ago I actually tried to do the same, but half-way through I got bored and stopped playing Elite altogether... I guess there is very little motivation to pick it up again and start away with doing mindless jumps for hours, with just some refueling stops inbetween. My poor dude still stranded in space...

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Huh. Sony was going to use the same deal it had to make Ghostwire Tokyo and Deathloop timed PS-exclusives on Starfield, and Microsoft were so irritated that bought Bethesda outright and made Starfield Xbox exclusive.

Meanwhile, I'm doing my first Fallout: New Vegas replay and decided to do it lightly modded. Only 53 mods installed this time around.

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The fact that "only" 53 mods is lightly modded is both hilarious AND somehow true is really quite the accomplishment. 

Also, you know you're truly running a Bethesda game when you spend more time setting up all the mods than you do actually playing it.

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