Gameplay preview

meisdavidp said:
Just a quick comment, If I haven't been misreading, one of the comments being made as to why video clips aren't being made has been lack of a computer able to make good videos. (If I'm wrong about that, ignore this post). What you might consider doing is running the game in 640x480 rather than 1024x768. That way you could definately have the full spec mapping and glow mapping implemented and while it wouldn't perfectly reflect the final quality of the game, it would be easier on your computers and ultimately would make the files more accessable to those without broadband. Just some more ideas for you guys.

I'm not sure I understand how a reduced game resolution equates to smaller file sizes.
He's talking about reducing the size of the videos. That wouldn't make enough of a reduction to save dial-uppers much, they'd still spend weeks downloading.
Um... let me just say that as a former dial-up user myself, not to mention since I make anime music videos, there's a very simple rule. assuming all quality setting of the video compression are the same, the larger sized video will be bigger than the smaller sized video. It's not rocket science. So, if you're going to make the video 640x480, one ought to go ahead and capture it in 640x480 and save your computer the trouble of both the more memory-intensive initial capture and also the need to resize later.

Btw, Manic, Download accelerators are a godsend to dial-up users. I still remember being blown away by those killer 10-15 kb/s download speeds... College has spoiled me. I get impatient with anything less than 80 now...
t.c.cgi said:
I'm not sure I understand how a reduced game resolution equates to smaller file sizes.
I have no idea what the situation is like with Saga, but Standoff would be much smaller if we didn't have higher resolution versions of every single pre-rendered screen in the game, and of the HUD graphics. All our videos are in the same resolution, otherwise it'd be much, much worse.

Before we decided to release Standoff in episodes, the plan was to release the 800x600 and 1024x768 files as separate packages, even.

So, well, I think Saga could consider doing that if their in-game videos are going to be rendered in different resolutions. I'm not sure what the gameplay video-clips have to do with the game files, though, unless he meant that it'd make the video-clips more accessible to dial up users as well.
Well, the Cutscene videos are rendered in Max I think, and are not that big compared to the video quality. I'd say the intro comes about 20-30 MB, and the outro maybe 20 MB, and a smaller one between the missions.

The download size of the upcoming release will be something between 200 and 250 MB. Unfortunately, releasing lower resolution packages will not really solve this, and is not even possible

The only thing that is really saved seperatly for different resolutions are the interface files. This folder contains about 3000 files (so now you know another reason why it has taken so long, though luckily we didn't needed to change all of them :D ) and this one is compressed only 44 MB (uncompressed 150 MB)

Actually, because of the working time involved we have not even reworked the 640 interface, only the 1024 variant. And the game will run even on middle class machines good in 1024x768.

I think what meisdavidp meant, was my comment that the first videos I recorded ingame are a little choppy. But maybe that's just a subjective matter, since I'm used to play with 85 FPS, and so a 30 FPS video is a noticable difference. The quality of the ingame vids are not that bad at all.
Standoff looks much better on low-res outside the cockpit. :)

I did play it on hi-res, but sometimes I switch back to low-res for nostalgia.
Starman, you're correct in that I wasn't talking about the cutscenes. I meant the in-game captures. Thanks for clearing up about the 640x480 not being reworked. I highly suggest that somewhere in the installer program you make this fact very clear.

Btw, 30fps is plenty for distribution video. I edit my videos in either 23.96 fps or 29.97 frames per second because as far as videos go, that's pretty standard. Your typical animated movie has been shown in theatres in 23.96 fps then telecined to 29.97 fps for the dvd release. The other notable reason for this is that even using a lossy codec like div-x or xvid that works off of key frames and interpolation, the computer would still have to deal with that many more frames and the filesize would be that much larger.

In general, you just need to remember that gaming and video are almost two entirely different worlds as far as visuals go. Games throw away frames once they've been shown so that higher framerates make sense and look nice. In fact, higher than 50fps and you should be looking at ways of making the game prettier so that you are left with a pleasant frame rate of 30-50 fps while making the most of your machine's memory.

In video, you want a consistant frame rate of either 23.96 or 29.97 fps. Otherwise you'll end up with timing issues when you compress the audio.

There's a great guide to working with video and audio here, although it deals specifically with working with dvd rips and anime. Taught me everything I know about working with video and has links to some very impressive open-source tools.

There's a section dedicated to making your video files more compressible and at the same time prettier (by way of smoothing and sharpening filters) that you might want to have a look at especially if you're still working on your cutscenes.

Edit: I just reread your post and those filesizes for the cutscenese seem almost too reasonable. How did you get them so small?
meisdavidp said:
Edit: I just reread your post and those filesizes for the cutscenese seem almost too reasonable. How did you get them so small?

Good Question :) I have no Idea myself, since I'm not used to Max (in fact, I'm working in Truespace, not perfect, but quite useable for my cause). I maybe a little mistaken about the videosizes, since the intro is only partially done, and the outro get's a few scenes re-rendered. Maybe they will become a little bigger. But I think the download size will stay below 250 MB (the current beta without movies is 200 MB) and the videos will be compressed too.

As for the resolution, it is possible to play the game in 640x480, but there might be issues with the HUD then (not fully sure though) and there will be only the old Freespace-interface available, maybe compared with some of our new buttons :(

But I really doubt that anyone will need to play in that resolution. Before switching to that, you can first disable TGA-Maps and other stuff that requires more graphic-power.
I guess I really should clear up what I originally meant about file sizes. I was actually only talking about the preview videos that we all hope you'll release in the near future. Still, having read your responses, it seems like the lower resolution would be more trouble that it's worth and wouldn't represent the final program at all. Seems like you guys have this planned out pretty well. Please keep us informed.

Wow. One more post til 2nd Lieutenant. Notice how I was mature and didn't waste that post announcing it.
Oh. THOSE videos. While it wouldn't be any trouble, really, to render in a lower res(with the exception of the lack of 640x480 interface graphics)... it really would not be able to give enough detail to be worth the time.
meisdavidp said:
Wow. One more post til 2nd Lieutenant. Notice how I was mature and didn't waste that post announcing it.
I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people wouldn't even announce it at all.:)