[Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

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tomchk
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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by tomchk » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 01:05

radcapricorn wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 00:37
tomchk wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 00:20
Should we be okay with a noticeable step backwards in effects quality compared to the last game released years ago?
We as players? I don't think we should be OK with that. Honestly, some of the effects X4's got nothing on Rebirth. Weapon and damage effects in Rebirth looked absolutely gorgeous, still do. Explosions in 4 look barely better than in DOOM. The '93 DOOM.
Thank you. I think they deserve a *bit* more credit than that! :) I appreciate knowing I'm not suddenly alone on this, though!
XR was truly gorgeous, and even today I rarely see a game that can hold a candle to its looks (and its sound effects, but that's OT).

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by Imperial Good » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 01:23

tomchk wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 16:55
However, I wonder if somehow DirectX would provide higher FPS for X4. My reasoning: I have a GTX 1070 and i5-4590, and I frequently experience choppy FPS in combat where otherwise the FPS is fine.
Vulkan is already an extremely optimized top of the range graphics API. Both AMD, NVidia and Intel offer very good support for it on most OSes (except Apple OSes...). There is no way that D3D11 or older can compete with it. D3D12 may reach parity, at best.
tomchk wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 16:55
I have a GTX 1070 and i5-4590
The i5-4590 is likely the bottleneck. Someone reported that moving from a first generation Ryzen to a third generation Ryzen gave them 100-200% more frames per second despite the actual performance boost being only ~28%. The choppy frame rate in combat could be caused by the low free processor margin not coping well with the increased simulation complexity that combat requires. It seems that with X4 once frame rate starts to fall it falls off fast.
tomchk wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 16:55
I also wonder if we might be able to get back a lot of the awesome "flashy" effects from XR much more easily with a DirectX implementation.
Not likely. DX is even more limiting than Vulkan.
tomchk wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 17:24
One other question about Vulkan: X4 appears to use v1.1, so I'm wondering if it's worth us trying this feature of using both discrete GPU and integrated GPU together, described here. Any thoughts or confirmation this works with X4? How does one activate it if the integrated GPU is enabled? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulkan_(API)#Vulkan_1.1
This requires the application be programmed to allocate work loads to both devices. The performance gain will almost certainly be negative as the CPU memory bandwidth will be hammered by the integrated GPU and hence reduce single thread performance which is most often the performance bottleneck. Even GPU performance might not be improved due to synchronization overhead.

This is one of those features which in theory is possible, but chances are getting a working or useful implementation is not. One would have to be majorly GPU bottlenecked for it to make a difference, the maximum difference is a few percent better at most (as most integrated GPUs are very weak compared to discrete GPUs) and it is highly prone to reducing performance due to the integrated GPU sharing resources with the CPU. The integrated GPU would need to use an additional 4GB of system memory as well.

The concept works better when one has 2 ore more discrete GPUs. However this still requires that performance be GPU bottlenecked to start with which is mostly not the case for X4.
radcapricorn wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 18:31
The GPU won't suddenly start working any faster if you switch to DirectX.
Actually this used to be the case with OpenGL vs Direct3D with some drivers. The actual performance of the API is determined by the driver and with the more complex to implement older APIs this was especially the case and one of the reasons game developers prefer to use Direct3D over OpenGL. One could easily create a very poorly optimized Vulkan driver if one desired, even if it makes no commercial sense to do so.
radcapricorn wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 18:31
if your GPU takes 'n' milliseconds to draw a given scene, it will take exactly the same time for that scene no matter if you're using DirectX, OpenGL or Vulkan.
This depends on if the executed shaders result in the GPU performing exactly the same sequence of operations to produce the frame. D3D and OpenGL, especially older versions, might be limited by how expressive the shader API is and so prevent some potential optimizations being implemented that can be implemented in Vulkan. These optimizations might result in the GPU generating a similarly looking frame in less time by using operations or data formats which one cannot use with the other APIs.
tomchk wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 18:41
Have you noticed a graphical performance decrease between XR and X4 on the same machine, such as in combat? Any thoughts on what causes this? I know X4 simulates *far* more in the economy, but it's combat effects where I see choppy FPS (feels like a slideshow sometimes, with lots of weapon fire), so it seems unrelated to "economic simulation".
It can be that free processor time margins were eaten away by the more complex economy and supporting scripts. Once the longest path is taking up 100% of CPU time then even little changes in game complexity could have large impacts on frame rate as the engine drops frames to maintain game speed.
radcapricorn wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 21:08
Entering a transporter room on any station is insta-drop to 30FPS and below for me. Four walls and a door, when it can be 40-60FPS outside that room. Sometimes ships crossing the dock force field cause a noticeable stutter. In some sectors, being 200-300km away from any station, and simply looking in the direction where stations are also easily cuts a third off of the FPS.
The frame pacing issues are often caused by dynamic loading of assets. It is especially bad if running off a mechanical drive, to the point it can be annoying to play.

Low frame rate can be caused by collisions. For example flying a L Destroyer inside a Xenon Defence platform, like in the demonstration save I provided in the beta forum, causes a huge FPS drop even on my new Ryzen 3900X, although it is now still playable.
tomchk wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 00:20
Should we be okay with a noticeable step backwards in effects quality compared to the last game released years ago? (At least some more explanation about why this was/is needed would be much appreciated. I know 3.0 will help, but it still looks worse than XR effects in previews I've seen.)
Is it a fair solution to disable effects on systems that should be able to handle them without any trouble?
A lot of this is subjective. Some people may find the X4 effects are improved over XR because they prefer them. In any case Vulkan API is not limiting what effects can be used as it is a cutting edge top of the range graphics API.
radcapricorn wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 00:37
We as players? I don't think we should be OK with that. Honestly, some of the effects X4's got nothing on Rebirth. Weapon and damage effects in Rebirth looked absolutely gorgeous, still do. Explosions in 4 look barely better than in DOOM. The '93 DOOM.
I honestly do not notice much of a difference. Most of the effects are still very much the same.

The only effect which was majorly downgraded was the destruction explosions. This was likely done for gameplay reasons as having an L ships exploding every 1-2 seconds in a big battle would clutter the screen too much with black holes and shockwaves.

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by Lord Crc » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 02:00

This seems to be a classic case of the XY problem.

If you want better performance, ask for better performance. If you want a game with fancier visuals, ask for fancier visuals.

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by radcapricorn » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 03:30

tomchk wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 01:05
I think they deserve a *bit* more credit than that! :)
For the explosion effects as they are currently? I don't think so. We've all seen them do way better work, so why should we congratulate them on regression? A spade is a spade, and a bad visual effect is a bad visual effect. IMHO.
Imperial Good wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 01:23
radcapricorn wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 18:31
The GPU won't suddenly start working any faster if you switch to DirectX.
Actually this used to be the case with OpenGL vs Direct3D with some drivers...
That's rather irrelevant. I appreciate that there's always a "technically...", but that's not what this topic is about, now is it?
Imperial Good wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 01:23
radcapricorn wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 18:31
if your GPU takes 'n' milliseconds to draw a given scene, it will take exactly the same time for that scene no matter if you're using DirectX, OpenGL or Vulkan.
This depends on if the executed shaders...
As above.
Imperial Good wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 01:23
radcapricorn wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 21:08
Entering a transporter room on any station is insta-drop to 30FPS and below for me. Four walls and a door, when it can be 40-60FPS outside that room. Sometimes ships crossing the dock force field cause a noticeable stutter. In some sectors, being 200-300km away from any station, and simply looking in the direction where stations are also easily cuts a third off of the FPS.
The frame pacing issues are often caused by dynamic loading of assets... Low frame rate can be caused by collisions...
Neither is relevant to the situations I mentioned. That's the thing. I can understand framerate drops in busy scenes. What I can't understand is 33ms frames inside a toilet, that is, transporter room. It's not collisions, and it's not loading of assets. Any transporter on any station. Go in - 30FPS. Stay in as long as you like, it's still 30FPS. Go out - normal ambient FPS. But what's especially frustrating is that a game in which framerate fluctuations are to be expected handles those fluctuations very, very poorly. For example, get a sudden framerate cliff, and your weapons jump way out of their maximum gimbal range, then limp back into allowed range. Or your analog stick registers way more movement, which makes it all the more infuriating in entering the aforementioned "toilet", as suddenly you can't even hit that keypad the first time. It's almost as if the game was written to run at and expect a steady framerate, even though it can't.
Imperial Good wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 01:23
radcapricorn wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 00:37
We as players? I don't think we should be OK with that. Honestly, some of the effects X4's got nothing on Rebirth. Weapon and damage effects in Rebirth looked absolutely gorgeous, still do. Explosions in 4 look barely better than in DOOM. The '93 DOOM.
I honestly do not notice much of a difference. Most of the effects are still very much the same.

The only effect which was majorly downgraded was the destruction explosions. This was likely done for gameplay reasons as having an L ships exploding every 1-2 seconds in a big battle would clutter the screen too much with black holes and shockwaves.
Even if that is the case, it was way way over-done. Even small fighter explosions got so castrated it's painful to watch. They're also very low resolution, which is immediately noticeable and contrasts with ship and the resulting wreck detail. And capship explosions? Gameplay/lore reasons is all well and good; fine, no jumpdrive - no shockwaves. Low framerate low-res sprite animation as a replacement though? Yuck! I'm pretty sure that X4 capship explosions won't stand up to even those in vanilla Freespace 2, let alone the SCP version; and it was released what, two decades ago, a year after Beyond the Frontier?
As for some other effects, you really don't notice? Damage effects on destroyed subsystems are just gone, now we only get those same low-res poofs and ugly wrecks. Awesome Plasma/JET beams, or heck, even Skunk's mining laser Mk1 would give a handicap to X4's beams. Thargon Tracer projectiles? Plasma projectile hits? Glowing sticky projectiles (which there's even an in-game mod for stickies)? Where's all this stuff gone?..

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by tomchk » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 03:45

Thank you—you have listed a number of the many effects that have vanished since XR without explanation. You also are willing to be more frank about the low res sprite explosions, and you’re right. You really are. The game has many things that look amazing, but the effects are arguably lower quality than Freespace 2. :(

I would so appreciate some explanation for these effects regressions and hope that we will get something better soon. I really believe this has bothered a lot of players.

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by Imperial Good » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 05:29

radcapricorn wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 03:30
As for some other effects, you really don't notice? Damage effects on destroyed subsystems are just gone, now we only get those same low-res poofs and ugly wrecks. Awesome Plasma/JET beams, or heck, even Skunk's mining laser Mk1 would give a handicap to X4's beams. Thargon Tracer projectiles? Plasma projectile hits? Glowing sticky projectiles (which there's even an in-game mod for stickies)? Where's all this stuff gone?..
From what I can tell looking at left over data some of the weapons were cut during the Beta. Since the game felt rushed around release time I would not be surprised if they just had not got around to implementing or polishing all weapons. The projectile stick is likely a left feature from such unpolished weapons.

The actual missile and beam effects are pretty much 1:1 with XR with exception of any shader differences. Plasma projectiles might be slow but they still act kind of like plasma. HET turrets and Pulse Lasers act kind of similar with exception of Pulse Lasers hitting stuff a lot more easily.

I do agree that some of the artwork does look low resolution and simple geometry, especially with some ships. This is apparently an issue the developers acknowledged and hence promised to improve upon with the Split for the Split DLC. Sadly they also mentioned that existing artwork will not be revised within the near future, I guess due to development resource constraints.

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by Falcrack » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 06:13

I'm with radcapricorn here, the effects need serious improvement. I am hoping that there with be major improvements with 3.0, but am not holding my breath.

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by tomchk » Sat, 5. Oct 19, 07:30

I can live with the models and basically everything else. There’s a lot of great work, despite some ugly or repeated designs that they have acknowledged. So many effects are the biggest eyesore, though. Here’s hoping...

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by tomchk » Fri, 11. Oct 19, 14:15

I believe Egosoft has here confirmed that the way Vulkan was used has caused poor performance, but big improvements are coming...
https://steamcommunity.com/app/392160/d ... 599971353/

“How many of those Games utilize the Vulkan API?

I may want to inform you that there are indeed tweaks in the making that will heavily impact the Perfomance... once they are ready to be released.”

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by Artean » Fri, 11. Oct 19, 15:08

tomchk wrote:
Fri, 11. Oct 19, 14:15
I believe Egosoft has here confirmed that the way Vulkan was used has caused poor performance, but big improvements are coming...
https://steamcommunity.com/app/392160/d ... 599971353/

“How many of those Games utilize the Vulkan API?

I may want to inform you that there are indeed tweaks in the making that will heavily impact the Perfomance... once they are ready to be released.”
Interesting.

Hopefully they will be ready by this afternoon, since I've planned to put in some serious X4 playing time tonight.
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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by eMYNOCK » Fri, 11. Oct 19, 16:13

tomchk wrote:
Fri, 11. Oct 19, 14:15
I believe Egosoft has here confirmed that the way Vulkan was used has caused poor performance, but big improvements are coming...
https://steamcommunity.com/app/392160/d ... 599971353/

“How many of those Games utilize the Vulkan API?

I may want to inform you that there are indeed tweaks in the making that will heavily impact the Perfomance... once they are ready to be released.”
I am sorry to say that, my reply in this Steam Topic wasn't meant to rise wild Speculations.

It was meant to point out the Difference between the Named Games and X.

Also the mentioned Tweaks were supposed to point at the API it self as it is an ongoing development project.

I simply can not know how the Development can or will impact X.

I am sorry if i pointed anyone into a wrong Direction, that was clearly not my intention.
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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by tomchk » Fri, 11. Oct 19, 17:28

eMYNOCK wrote:
Fri, 11. Oct 19, 16:13
I am sorry to say that, my reply in this Steam Topic wasn't meant to rise wild Speculations.

It was meant to point out the Difference between the Named Games and X.

Also the mentioned Tweaks were supposed to point at the API it self as it is an ongoing development project.

I simply can not know how the Development can or will impact X.

I am sorry if i pointed anyone into a wrong Direction, that was clearly not my intention.
Ah okay, sorry for confusing things here. Thanks for clarifying! Hopefully nobody will give you lots of heat, including me!
I will maintain hope that effects graphics will be brought at least to the level of XR and graphics-related performance will also be improved once "ready to be released". :D

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by Panos » Mon, 14. Oct 19, 03:02

tomchk wrote:
Fri, 4. Oct 19, 16:55
My reasoning: I have a GTX 1070 and i5-4590, and I frequently experience choppy FPS in combat where otherwise the FPS is fine. I don't think it's related to the extra CPU load I understand X4 requires for the extra simulation compared to XR.
DX11 or even DX12 would be worse on your 5y old i5-4590.

Your issue is the CPU. If you are on very tight budget, try to find a used and preferably delided 4790K. Is the only upgrade you can do, but do not spend over $100-120 for it. (nothing bigger is supported by your motherboard).
Also what's your ram capacity, speed & timings? It would greatly help if you tweak your ram to run faster, assuming can take it and you have 16GB to be safe.
In addition what's your operating system?
Ofc these won't resolve everything but improve to the best you can with your current hardware.

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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by Gavrushka » Mon, 14. Oct 19, 09:22

I'm a little uncomfortable with the stated minimum specs for X... A lot of people seem to be reporting issues with very powerful graphic cards and assuming the poor framerate is down to them.- I have a crap graphics card, and a reasonable processor *AND I DON'T HAVE ANY FRAMERATE ISSUES* - I've seen others say similar, and the penny has just dropped - My performance limitation on an I7 8700 paired with a GTX 1050Ti (16GB) still appears to be the processor. - I had run at low settings because I'd thought the GPU was the bottleneck, but now I run at high with the same almost constant framerate (limited to 60) unless I'm in heavy mass combat or around one of my mega stations. Even then, apart from the weird couple of stutters around stations on 1st approach, I very rarely drop below 30FPS even with the map open.

I expect the day will come (and soon) when optimisation shifts the balance towards GPU, but I'm pretty sure that a lot of issues raised over poor framerates are currently down to CPU issues, even with a water-cooled 2080 with its own electrical substation.

But perhaps I'm just old and confused! LOL
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Re: [Q for Egosoft] Any chance for DirectX Implementation?

Post by CaptainRAVE » Mon, 14. Oct 19, 10:21

tomchk wrote:
Sat, 5. Oct 19, 03:45
Thank you—you have listed a number of the many effects that have vanished since XR without explanation. You also are willing to be more frank about the low res sprite explosions, and you’re right. You really are. The game has many things that look amazing, but the effects are arguably lower quality than Freespace 2. :(

I would so appreciate some explanation for these effects regressions and hope that we will get something better soon. I really believe this has bothered a lot of players.
It is a huge shame. I guess we’ve lost effects for the simulated economy. Rebirth might have had its flaws, but visually it was stunningly immersive - standing on a capital ship during combat was breathtaking. X4 is much closer to X3 visually. I really enjoy X4, but I do miss the splendor of rebirth.

That said, for X4, upgrading from my old 4770k to a 9700k literally transformed my experience.

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