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I hope things are more imaginative this time...Follow

#1 Mar 20 2010 at 4:41 PM Rating: Good
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Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed FFXI for many years and still have great memories from the adventures I had with friends. But what really hit me the hardest in the game was how restrictive the game felt to me. Like there was a whole other dimension that wasn't added. The best example I can think of would be the zone "Ifrits cauldron". It's supposed to be a volcano, but when you enter the zone it's just a maze of gray rock walls and open ceiling until you're deeper inside. Then it was just a maze of rock walls and rock ceilings.

When I imagined the zone, I actually pictured a rather large volcano. With paths spiraling the inside and outside of it. When outside you would have an amazing view of the jungle below and inside you would be able to look down into the pit below with plumes of smoke rising out of it.

Every final fantasy game I have ever played with just bristling with imagination and creative locals. Honestly I wish they would have designed XI with old FF games in mind.

-Bastok the city of human technology. It had a drawbridge and an elevator. It probably should have been more like Lindblum from FFIX. A giant airship tower in the middle of the city and train cars that take you from one area to another in the city quickly.

-Windurst the city of magic. Had a giant magical tree in the middle of it and they made almost no use out of it. The city could have been up in the tree.

A lot of the dungeons were just shallow repeats of another. upper delkfutts tower with its incredibly drab white walls ceilings and floors was the exact same as the fei'yin.

I'm just hoping they really pulled out all the stops with this game. I thought FFXI was great, and while using that game as a base they SHOULD be able to create something much more appealing to the masses.
#2 Mar 20 2010 at 4:55 PM Rating: Decent
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You know, Ifrit's cauldron had what you described. No amazing view of the jungle below (ps2!), but there were some rather large pits with smoke rising out of it (and once in a while, lava exploding from the hole).

What I would call FFXI's style is more "realistic" than overblown fantasy. Each style has it's place in my opinion.
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#3 Mar 20 2010 at 5:12 PM Rating: Decent
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Hyanmen wrote:
What I would call FFXI's style is more "realistic" than overblown fantasy. Each style has it's place in my opinion.


While I certainly agree each style has it's own place. And I think the game has plenty of room for both in it. What I saw was a more realistic set of zones. If realistic is the word I want to use. Even reality has some amazing features that would have been a nice addition to any game. The deliberately chose the name final fantasy. To me if you do this that means you want this game to be a representative of that series. I don't find it to be such at all and probably should have been released under a different name to prevent any expectations on my behalf and probably a lot of others too.
#4 Mar 20 2010 at 5:20 PM Rating: Decent
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One thing that really effects an MMO compared to a normal version of a game is that you have to worry about lag. If you put too much emphasis on graphics and landscape, you have people who cannot get the game to work.

A game can be good without good graphics. From what I've seen of Square since it has become SE is a high emphasis on graphics. I hope they take time to focus on the mechanics instead. Super graphics can come later.
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#5 Mar 20 2010 at 5:38 PM Rating: Decent
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While I certainly agree each style has it's own place. And I think the game has plenty of room for both in it. What I saw was a more realistic set of zones. If realistic is the word I want to use. Even reality has some amazing features that would have been a nice addition to any game. The deliberately chose the name final fantasy. To me if you do this that means you want this game to be a representative of that series. I don't find it to be such at all and probably should have been released under a different name to prevent any expectations on my behalf and probably a lot of others too.


Well, the first five-six fantasies certainly had a more realistic approach, so I think XI is made with those games in mind, rather than the newer ones in the franchise. Even the job system is a nod to the earlier fantasies, wouldn't be too farfetched to say that the world is as well. I think that's pretty much as representative as the game could be. Should Final Fantasy 1 have been released under a different name, as well?
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#6 Mar 20 2010 at 5:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Well, the first five-six fantasies certainly had a more realistic approach


Honestly, I can't argue with you on that one. you're right. All I can speculate is that may have been an issue of not being able to create what they could think up with the 2D NES and SNES graphics.

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One thing that really effects an MMO compared to a normal version of a game is that you have to worry about lag. If you put too much emphasis on graphics and landscape, you have people who cannot get the game to work.


Every MMO I've played to date has a variety of graphical tweak that can be made. I myself played FFXI on 256/256 graphics for the longest time on my garbage old computer. It is still however an issue that needs to be worried about. Lag vs Looks. A shame though. I love a good fantasy world. :)
#7 Mar 20 2010 at 6:16 PM Rating: Decent
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Oh that reminds me of when I first got ffxi. Burned out the hard drive twice trying to get it to play (warranty replaced both times XD). Point being those tweaks which i used dont always work.

Finally got my own pc two months later... yea thats right, i got a computer just to play ffxi. And if I like XIV enough im going to give it an overhaul.
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#8 Mar 20 2010 at 6:36 PM Rating: Good
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PS2 limitations.
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#9 Mar 20 2010 at 7:01 PM Rating: Good
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Personally, I'm more a high fantasy fan.

So while I can appreciate the need for a grounding in reality in order to give the fantasy some plausibility, I'd like to see the devs make good use of their banked plausibility with more reckless abandon throughout the game than miserly pinching their pennies to splurge on one or two notable zones at endgame.

#10 Mar 20 2010 at 7:49 PM Rating: Default
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I think you just thought of this to make a pointless thread, game was fine.
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#11 Mar 20 2010 at 8:17 PM Rating: Good
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*edit2* A couple links to mapping and level design based background info for anyone who is interested. I love the stuff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rza--bGIkbE&feature=player_embedded
http://www.unknownworlds.com/ns2/news/2009/03/occlusion_culling (first two are about NS2's dynamically lit maps they have developed for their own engine.)



*edit* on a side note, I believe all of those effects such as smoke and lava explosions are rendered to everyone at all times while in a zone. This really limits how many you can do and what you can do. Also, as light is also probably rendered real time for all players in the zone, it also limits actual light sources.


[Rant]*******************************************

For the size of the zones and the limitations on the technology, they did fairly well.

I think the largest part of the limitations is that they had to allow for large groups of people to be in the same area all at once.

The maps themselves are actually pretty horrid when you look at it from a dev point of view. I mean, many of the displacements don't line up, and the textures in many areas aren't blended, but just overlapped. (See unsewn displacements in highlands near the swamp zone, or the textures of the rock face bleeding through the sand in dunes.) ****, they even had cheap horrible water that didn't actually have any reflectivity. It was, quite litterally, a nonexistant sheet of 50%~ transparent moving texture.

A good way to see exactly how cheap the water is is to cast invisible on yourself. When you become transparent, the transparency of the water is not stacked, indeed, it is actually not visible at all. If you look through yourself towards water, you don't see the water at all, and you look the color of the skybox behind you.

Changing lighting dynamically is also something that they struggled with, because maps could not have prerendered light. Mix that with no division of the visible sections of the maps (A cave is rendered even behind walls), and it forced them to have the horribly short Z clip plane (range at which the map stops rendering). You can see the horrible lighting take effect especially in the dunes with the night to day transition, as the map recalculates the lighting, resulting in a momentary flash. This is a very similar effect when mapping with the source engine when working with Cubemaps.

In later areas, they did a much better job with the details and the design, but early areas especially just plain sucked. I couldn't play in bastok because I had mapped with valve's Hammer Editor, and could see every single triangle in the displacements.






********************[/rant]


anyhow, for what they were trying to do and with what they were doing it with, they did well. They sacrificed a ton of options by adding wide open areas with the possibility of hundreds of players in a single spot. Unfortunately, without canceling the PS2 version of the game, they can't make it any better.

anyhow, I dont think that XIV will have a much of a physics engine (mostly because it doesn't need one), So the only things that really push the limits in these maps will be particles and lighting effects, as well as what the player can make happen as far as lighting effects go on spell casting and such.

Edited, Mar 20th 2010 10:20pm by MetalSmith

Edited, Mar 20th 2010 10:32pm by MetalSmith
#12 Mar 20 2010 at 8:30 PM Rating: Good
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Mix that with no division of the visible sections of the maps (A cave is rendered even behind walls)


Oh wow.
That's something I didn't know. Why didn't they cull the geometry?
#13 Mar 20 2010 at 8:32 PM Rating: Good
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Not sure, but you can see this effect when you run into walls and are able to target mobs behind walls. In other words, the game renders everything within a radius of you.

I don't think they had much knowledge of online multiplayer gaming when they created this engine.

I'm not exactly sure how inefficient it is, but I'm fairly certain that incredibly is a good way to describe it. More so in the original areas than in other areas. Most of the later areas are designed better.

Edited, Mar 20th 2010 10:34pm by MetalSmith

*edit* Honestly though, it almost seems like the game doesn't have any sort of geometry, but simply planes that you walk on. but yeah, rendering the lighting really kills this game I think, that and particle animations.

Edited, Mar 20th 2010 10:38pm by MetalSmith
#14 Mar 20 2010 at 9:23 PM Rating: Good
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It was very inefficient and some sections were poorly designed from an technical point of view. But given the resources and hardware they had to use, I'd say they did a fairly good job for the period in which the game was actually concepted and designed.

XI originally had a train system, the center of which was in Bastok. Presumably it was taken out because of technical issues.

The OP has to realize that with video games studios, who must work with limited hardware, a developer always has to find a medium between what is conceptually awesome and what is technically feasible. Back then, when XI came out, it was a **** pretty game, ESPECIALLY by MMO standards.

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The maps themselves are actually pretty horrid when you look at it from a dev point of view. I mean, many of the displacements don't line up, and the textures in many areas aren't blended, but just overlapped. (See unsewn displacements in highlands near the swamp zone, or the textures of the rock face bleeding through the sand in dunes.) ****, they even had cheap horrible water that didn't actually have any reflectivity. It was, quite litterally, a nonexistant sheet of 50%~ transparent moving texture.

A good way to see exactly how cheap the water is is to cast invisible on yourself. When you become transparent, the transparency of the water is not stacked, indeed, it is actually not visible at all. If you look through yourself towards water, you don't see the water at all, and you look the color of the skybox behind you.

Changing lighting dynamically is also something that they struggled with, because maps could not have prerendered light. Mix that with no division of the visible sections of the maps (A cave is rendered even behind walls), and it forced them to have the horribly short Z clip plane (range at which the map stops rendering). You can see the horrible lighting take effect especially in the dunes with the night to day transition, as the map recalculates the lighting, resulting in a momentary flash. This is a very similar effect when mapping with the source engine when working with Cubemaps.

In later areas, they did a much better job with the details and the design, but early areas especially just plain sucked. I couldn't play in bastok because I had mapped with valve's Hammer Editor, and could see every single triangle in the displacements.


Complaining about this kind of thing in a game a decade old is kind of silly. Look at any PS2 era game circa 2003, and you'll find the exact same problems, and those games had the luxury of not worrying about internet lag.


I doubt we really need to worry about an Square Enix game not being pretty, now that we have the technology to closer match reality to concept.

Edited, Mar 20th 2010 8:35pm by Kirbster
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#15 Mar 20 2010 at 9:37 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm not trying to complain, but things like that really catch my eye.

misaligned displacements and flickering textures especially.

I do agree that it was very well done for what they had and what they were trying to do. It's more of a list of things that I hope they learned from for xiv from xi. Their first online game had these issues, hopefully their second will resolve most of them.

but yeah, I can't play in konstatch very long some days. With my waning interest in xi, I have little else to do but nitpick :P
#16 Mar 20 2010 at 9:46 PM Rating: Good
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It's more of a list of things that I hope they learned from for xiv from xi. Their first online game had these issues, hopefully their second will resolve most of them.


I agree. I'm a professional CG artist myself, and those little things always bugged me. But just looking at their alpha stuff, I can tell that they're already doing a pretty good job with the geometry, (They've gotten a lot of learning opportunities since FFXI, since it was the first game to not use the prerendered backgrounds) although I guarantee there will be modeler shortcuts that I'll notice everywhere, but most other people likely won't, but it's not like I can blame the devs. The game development pipeline can be hellish on deadlines.

Edited, Mar 20th 2010 8:47pm by Kirbster
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