Question about how large areas of space are handled in X4

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Axeface
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Question about how large areas of space are handled in X4

Post by Axeface » Sat, 15. Sep 18, 14:27

In Rebirth it looks like the game uses some kind of cell technology for large areas of space, space is cut up into 'blocks'? For example if you fly along for around a minute you will hit a 'wall' of sorts, and jump slightly as you move into a new cell - the position of targets you might have and objects often changes during this transition, even the music sometimes changes and audio stutters.
I always found it really jarring in Rebirth, it cuts up space and makes exploration feel less fluid. Is X4 still using this, if so has it been improved at all?

Zloth2
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Post by Zloth2 » Sat, 15. Sep 18, 17:29

I actually never really noticed zone crossings until recently. Now I'll often 'fall off' a capital ship when I've got the Skunk in the gravity backdraft and the ship crosses a zone border. I've been wondering if that might be because I've got more assets for the game to track? <shrug>

At any rate, it isn't a real big priority in my view. Some more work would be good but I wouldn't want to see a lot of time spent on it.

repatomonor
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Post by repatomonor » Sat, 15. Sep 18, 19:58

Egosoft said they are ditching zones. How will that work technically is not yet known, but if you watch the streams you might get a glimpse at it (pop-up assets)
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Solflame
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Post by Solflame » Sat, 15. Sep 18, 20:01

linolafett wrote:Just for dev language clarification and to get a better communication going by using already the correct terms:

We call the big hexagons "clusters".
Eacht cluster has a unique background.
Clusters are connected via gates.

Inside of a cluster can be several sectors.
Sectors have the cluster background but can be closer to a planet/moon. They are connected with super highways.

In Sectors are no player visible zones.
Zones are still in for dividing teh space into areas and view distance culling (performance) reasons.
You as a player will not see any named zones though. You are just in cluster/sector.

The small grey hexagons displaying the fog of war are not zones. They are just a purely abitrary grid layed on top of the map.
From thread linked in the Q&A sticky. So essentially similar to Rebirth w/o worrying about the zones having names.

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mr.WHO
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Post by mr.WHO » Sat, 15. Sep 18, 21:35

@Solflame: Thanks for quote - I wasn't sure how the X4 universe is build until you show this.

BTW: I wonder why they call it "clusters" - shouldn't it be "Star systems"?

scryp
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Post by scryp » Sat, 15. Sep 18, 21:53

If i could imagine right, Zones/Sectors are the smallest ones, and some Sectors form a Cluster, and some Cluster form a System/Star System

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Post by Solflame » Sat, 15. Sep 18, 22:10

I think clusters/systems are interchangeable really for the purpose of the game, as each cluster is connected by gates, therefore each cluster is in one "system" as it were.

The big thing is clusters define the area that's really accessible I think, whereas "system" is basically *everything*, even if it's so far off the beaten path it'd take years to fly there. Or something.

Also, this allows for clusters that are in the middle of deep space, outside of any influence by celestial bodies. Or inside a Dyson sphere. Or some other weird stuff. Can you imagine the Xenon Hub system in X4? O_o

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Post by DaMuncha » Sun, 16. Sep 18, 03:12

I hope theres more than 4 clusters. If we get only 4 or 5 clusters I will be very dissapointed. I was not happy that XR had only 3? on release.

What defines a cluster? its background? so they could easy make many many clusters, and just scatter stations around it. Given decent mod tools users could also make more clusters. It doesnt need to be limited to the small imaginations of game developers.

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Post by Sandalpocalypse » Mon, 17. Sep 18, 10:37

There's no point making tons of systems if its all duped content. In fact its counterproductive. You arn't really adding much for the player but you are hurting their performance.

In XR the systems had explicit themes, design goals, lore, and for the most part a lot of unique content. I expect X4 will be more like Home of Light - the new Argon systems didn't really have unique content, but they had explicit themes and configurations without bloating pointlessly.
Irrational factors are clearly at work.

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Post by repatomonor » Mon, 17. Sep 18, 11:07

DaMuncha wrote:I hope theres more than 4 clusters. If we get only 4 or 5 clusters I will be very dissapointed. I was not happy that XR had only 3? on release.

What defines a cluster? its background? so they could easy make many many clusters, and just scatter stations around it. Given decent mod tools users could also make more clusters. It doesnt need to be limited to the small imaginations of game developers.
Yeah, because X3AP made total sense with its insane number of systems. It was simply bloated and the universe felt empty, even though it was full.

Not saying that X Rebirth wasn't disappointing in this aspect as well, but as the poster above said, that game had a different goal: to create space cities (space GTA as Bernd said) and the game made it sure you don't miss those cities, since all of them had to be visited.

As for X4, I think it will have clusters around the number between X-Tension and X2. Not too much, but just enough that the number still makes sense and creates a variety, yet still leaves space for exploration. And since the absense of jumpdrives, the universe cannot get too big, otherwise players new to the X series wil instantly get lost and get bored with the game.
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Post by Vandragorax » Mon, 17. Sep 18, 12:29

Getting 'lost' in a space game (as in purposely exploring the unknown) is fun as long as it's possible to find your way back ;)

However I agree that X:R's more refined and meaningful clusters are a better approach. Hopefully X4 will be a nice balance between not having enough areas to make the game feel big enough, but not being too bloated just for the sake of having more sectors needlessly!
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ajime
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Post by ajime » Tue, 18. Sep 18, 07:32

im okay with the overbloatedness of x3 tbh. every system has unique placements of objects.

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Post by DaMuncha » Tue, 18. Sep 18, 09:18

ajime wrote:im okay with the overbloatedness of x3 tbh. every system has unique placements of objects.
And they had different races contesting for control of them and different encounters, the calm argon/boron space zones for my trade vessels and the sectors in constant war next to Xenon and pirate controlled areas.
Last edited by DaMuncha on Tue, 18. Sep 18, 10:40, edited 1 time in total.

CBJ
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Post by CBJ » Tue, 18. Sep 18, 10:36

I'll give a quick answer here:
  • The Zone is the smallest unit of space. These are the subdivisions referred to by the OP, and they need to exist for fairly fundamental reasons relating to the accuracy of floating point number representations. In XR zones were a fairly visible feature with names and so on, but in X4 they are intended to be, to all intents and purposes, invisible. Note: While I'm aware of a couple of very specific visual issues with flying across zone boundaries in XR, I'm not aware of all the visual effects described by the OP. However, I can say that between XR and X4 there is a significant difference in the way that inter-zone coordinate calculations are made, which may well alleviate the problems the OP was experiencing.
  • Moving up in size, the next unit of space is the Sector. This is the area of continuous space that you can fly through "normally" without the use of some form of gate or other similar device. In X4 these remain pretty big, but not necessarily as big as they were in XR. Note: Although they share a name with the "sectors" in X3, they are very different beasts. Sectors in both XR and X4 are much, much bigger than sectors in X3, so comparing numbers of sectors between the different universe models makes no sense at all.
  • The Cluster is next. This is a group of sectors that are close together in space, commonly sharing at least some elements of their visual background. There were only a few of these in XR, but they were pretty large. In X4 they are a bit smaller, but there are a lot more of them.
  • Finally, there's a System which, as the name implies, represents a star system. In the basic XR map there was essentially a 1:1 relationship between clusters and systems; in X4 some systems can span several clusters. Systems are more of a visual thing than a technical one.

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Post by DaMuncha » Tue, 18. Sep 18, 10:43

How many systems are in X4?

So lets take Sol System

Each planet would be a cluster

So you have Jupiter cluster, then Jupiter 1, Jupiter 2, and Jupiter 3 sectors within it.

Then you have Neptune, with Neptune 1, Neptune2, Neptine 3 etc.

Mars 1, Mars 2, Mars 3

etc.

Seeing as we allready know what the Sol System looks like, Wouldnt it be easy to put that system in the game? All you'd need to do is create Terran versions of the ship classes and some excuse for them to rejoin the federation.
Last edited by DaMuncha on Tue, 18. Sep 18, 10:55, edited 1 time in total.

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