The Talos Principle
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Serious Engine 4 technical questions
I've been quite amazed at how an indie studio is able to develop such advanced game engine technology in-house as Serious Engine.

I'd like to know what to expect in terms of the game's graphics and hardware requirements and what's changed since Serious Engine 3.5.

  1. DirectX support: I've noticed in one of the more recent updates to Serious Sam 3 that experimental DirectX 11 support was added. The system requirements for The Talos Principle specify DirectX 9, but call for a video card with at least DirectX 10 support (and preferably DirectX 11 support). To what extent is DX10/11 used, and is it required to run the game? (This isn't an issue for me as my laptop has a GeForce GTX 780M GPU, but I'd like to see some clarification on the requirements.)
  2. Environment rendering: From what I can tell, The Talos Principle will have environments filled with vegetation. Serious Sam 3 has tended to slow down significantly in areas with lots of grass, but can run smoothly otherwise at close to max settings on my system. Have you made any specific changes to the engine to improve performance when rendering complex environments of this sort?
  3. Performance with many actors on screen: It's my understanding that Serious Engine is optimized to handle lots of actors, such as enemy monsters, on screen at a time. This draws a comparison with Ubisoft's AnvilNext engine used in Assassin's Creed III and IV, which is claimed to handle up to 2000 people on screen at once. What advances have you made since Serious Engine 3.5, if any, with respect to this?

Once again, this is truly amazing engine technology from an indie studio, and I look forward to the release of The Talos Principle.

--DragonLord
Последний раз отредактировано bwDraco; 12 июл. 2014 в 10:38
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AlenL  [Разработчик] 12 июл. 2014 в 6:00 
1. DX11 is not required, but will most probably be used by default if available. Mostly because it allows for better performance and smoothness of framerate.
2. There were numerous performance improvements all across the engine. But I wouldn't say that The Talos Principle is that heavy on vegetation. Certainly more than SS3, as SS3 mostly happens in desert. But this is not a jungle-based game. :)
3. We have some drastic performance improvements in rendering many characters, but you won't see that in Talos, as there are no "masses of enemies" in that game. But you will in SS4.
Great. Better frame times and overall performance, especially with DX11 hardware, are always welcome. I'd like to see more trailers for both Talos and SS4 as development progresses, so I'll be on the lookout for any new developments.

--DragonLord
Any specifics on what DX11 features (tessellation, SSAO, etc.) will be used, and how they will affect performance and graphics quality? What about utilization of multiple processor cores?

--DragonLord
Последний раз отредактировано bwDraco; 12 июл. 2014 в 10:49
AlenL  [Разработчик] 14 июл. 2014 в 5:30 
Most of the changes and improvements are very technical internals that are hard to explain in a short text. In general - it is all faster, and there are some rendering quality improvements. No, tesselation is not used. Multi-core rendering is there, yes, and is now default. It will also be improved in speed compared to the one in SS3.
Will SE4 support distant sound perspectives? So sounds that "happen" far would actually sound far, like the gunshots in Half-Life 2, for one, how they don't only sound fainter when faraway, but also the sound quality is different, like more muffled.
Like in this video, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC0_E9y3I4I
AlenL  [Разработчик] 14 июл. 2014 в 10:52 
Hm, that's an interesting idea, Solais. Will look into it. (Btw, I think that most of what you hear in that video is actually sound occlusion, not distance muffling. Nevertheless, the idea is sound. Pun intended. ;)
Последний раз отредактировано AlenL; 14 июл. 2014 в 10:54
Interesting... so I enabled DirectX 11 mode in Serious Sam 3 and noticed a 2-3% increase in frame rates. I suppose this improvement will be a lot larger in Talos and SS4, right?

--DragonLord
AlenL  [Разработчик] 15 июл. 2014 в 0:12 
There are lot of factors influencing the performance difference. On some machines it will be more than on others, eg. And especially, and maybe that's what you are seeing now, if you are GPU-limited (eg. if rendering at high resolution, with antialiasing, etc), then changing the API usually doesn't make a difference. It makes most perf difference if you are CPU limited.
Solais, there is one neat feature in the Serious Engine, HRTF (binaural audio):

dsd_iSoftwareProcessing=3

No idea why it isn't availble from the menu...

BTW Doom 3 supported speed of sound simulation initially. It wasn't great idea...
AlenL  [Разработчик] 17 июл. 2014 в 4:19 
Yes, we had the same experience with speed of sound being reported as a bug, so we had to remove it. It was cca 1999. ;)
Автор сообщения: AlenL
Multi-core rendering is there, yes, and is now default. It will also be improved in speed compared to the one in SS3.

How much improvments are we talking about for this; or are you still limited by GPU software?

Also, will this game take advantage of multi-gpu solutions D3D11? (I dont use it in SS3 due to this)
AlenL  [Разработчик] 20 авг. 2014 в 4:57 
The APIs all still require that we do most of actual driver calls on the main thread. :( Nothing much we can do about it at this moment.

Multi GPUs are always a problem since (a) doing split frames is unworkable with modern 3D effects that can span pixels from one range to another, and (b) doing one-card-one-frame is in the hands of drivers and that still causes microstutter and similar problems.
Sorry for bumping this thread but have you and your team made any progress on multi-gpu support Alen? i'd like to know as that can affect my purchase of this game.
AlenL  [Разработчик] 26 окт. 2014 в 13:01 
The (a) and (b) points in my post above still stand. Performance and smoothness of multi-GPU systems are largely dependent on the driver. The frame timing logic is very sensitive here, and it is way beyond our control. I've tried starting a discussion on how to fix the frame timing problem - what is something that would require a special API, and it bothers even single-GPU systems, just less often - but so far, no response. This is a general problem for almost all games, and everyone is just looking the other way. Shrug.
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The Talos Principle > Общие обсуждения > Подробности темы
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