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Sage Sundi interview on PCGamer.comFollow

#1 Nov 15 2010 at 11:19 PM Rating: Good
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I didn't see this posted yet, so I figured I would.

Interview: Final Fantasy XIV developers apologise to unhappy players

Quote:

PC Gamer: FFXIV hasn’t scored very highly across the majority of gamer websites and magazines. What’s your response to complaints like poor menu implementations, cryptic instructions, lag, lack of monsters?

Hiromichi Tanaka: All the points you mention are things we are planning to fix straight away. This morning, we announced our plan of version updates. So you can see we are reacting very quickly to all the feedback we are getting from our players. We believe that, because the expectation was so high, it made it even more disappointing for the players.

There was a lot of feedback we received during the beta phase which we should’ve managed to implement before the launch, but because we found a lot of bugs during the beta phase, we were focusing on fixing them. That’s one of the reasons we were not able to implement all the things we were planning to do in the first place. That’s why we do feel very sorry for the people who are unsatisfied with the game status.

PC Gamer: I understand you’re fixing many of these issues, but looking at the official website, where you’ve announced what you’ll be changing in Nov/Dec – a lot of these things are basic gameplay elements. Do you think FFXIV could’ve benefited from more development time?


Hiromichi Tanaka: Because it’s an MMO, time is always not enough. We always need more time, especially because we expect players to enjoy the game for five years to ten years. Release timing is only one of the points that we go past – it’s not a final goal we achieve. So we will continue working on it with the players, and listening to them. This will continue, and the development team is really working hard to improve the game.

PC Gamer: Would you have liked it if the release date was maybe a couple of months later, to smooth out the last kinks?

Hiromichi Tanaka: It is very difficult to make the decision. If we had more time, we probably would have had to fix more bugs, and so it was very difficult to judge which time to release the game, because we want people to enjoy it as soon as possible. That’s why we made the decision to release it now.

Sage Sundi: If we had three more years (laughs), we would’ve had three more years worth of implemented content. But we had six months [from the first stage of alpha testing], so that’s where we are with the game.

PC Gamer: When I met you before, I asked if any other MMOs inspired you during the development process, and you only mentioned FFXI. You also mentioned you hadn’t played World of Warcraft. Do you think any design issues could’ve been avoided if you’d played other MMOs?

Hiromichi Tanaka: We have a big development team. Some people do play WoW, some play Everquest 2, some people play Star Wars Galaxy. So all their different experiences were combined in the game. One person’s idea is not going to make the full game, in one specific shape.

Also, if everyone was playing the same thing, then we might have ended up with a copy of one particular game, so that’s something we also wanted to avoid. Further to game experience, when we listen to all the player feedback, those players have experience in different MMOs. So when we listen to them, that means we are listening to the player’s experience of different MMOs. So that’s how we get the feedback.

One of the main focuses we had for FFXIV was introducing the excitement of MMOs to Final Fantasy fans, so that’s why we didn’t want to have a copy of other existing MMOs. We don’t think the amount of experience of the development team has of MMOs was actually affecting in any way.

Sage Sundi: When we listened to all the feedback from the players, some really expect the same game style as WoW, some expect something very similar to Everquest 2. But then again, some feedback is the standard to all the MMO audience. So, really deciding which feedback is important as an MMO – not just because one title is doing that – what should be implemented in FFXIV is very challenging to decide, but that’s why we have several different teams worldwide listening to different feedback, and we do analyse what should be implemented in our game.

PC Gamer: Recently, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada said that “Currently, the service isn’t satisfactory”. Can you comment on that?

Hiromichi Tanaka: From the game design point of view, we do agree, and all of the development team do understand that it’s not up to the expectation, and that a lot of players are unsatisfied with the quality of the game itself.

One of the reasons for this, as we discussed earlier, is that a lot of issues should’ve been fixed during the beta phase. But because we were focusing on the debugging side of issues, we were not able to implement everything before launch, and that’s one of the reasons we believe it’s in its current state. So all the team is working hard to update it and fix those issues as soon as possible.
PC Gamer: Wada went on to say “We’re in the middle of quickly improving it. We want to do everything we can to win back players’ trust.” What do you believe will win back players’ trust and get people to return to the game?

Sage Sundi: That is the actual game improvements we are trying to do. If the players see what we are working on, and if we can bring all the satisfaction to the players, we believe that that will bring back the trust.

Also, after we got all the feedback during the beta stage, the players might’ve thought that we were not listening to them, because we were focusing on fixing the bugs – we need to make sure that they know that we are listening to them. We think more transparency is something very important between the development team and the players. But we believe when they see all the updates we are planning to do, they can be assured that we are listening to them and taking all their feedback seriously.

PC Gamer: At the moment there’s very little reason for people to quest with each other. Are there any features we can expect in future that will encourage players to get together? Are there any plans to put in dungeons/raids/PvP?

Hiromichi Tanaka: Exactly – that is the plan. We are planning to put more content in so people can enjoy party plays, or playing with other players. Because the armoury system was so designed to be convenient to solo players, it seems like it’s really focusing too much on solo gameplay at the moment and there’s not much point at joining the party at this stage. But what we’re trying to do now is give more unique identities to each character class, so it will have more meaning to be a different class in one party – that’s something we’re starting to implement in this upcoming version update and the next version update. That’s something you will notice that’ll be different, so people will be experiencing more exciting party plays.

PC Gamer: Why did you decide to implement quite strict limitations on the amount of Guildleves you could do in a day?

Hiromichi Tanaka: That was our intention, because the reward of completing a Guildleve is so big, we didn’t want to have it unlimited. If it was unlimited, the players who have a lot of time can keep on doing them and get a high level really quickly. But the initial plan for the Guildleve was to allow players who haven’t got much time to still get a good game experience. That’s why we didn’t want the Guildleve to be unlimited.

PC Gamer: Will there be any plans to ease the limitations? They’re quite strict at the moment.


Hiromichi Tanaka: Yes, we are trying to adapt the Guildleve system itself, so we are looking into adapting those restrictions. Also, there will be more variations to the quests you can experience, so please look forward to those as well.

PC Gamer: Recently, players have been posting videos of terrain they think was copy and pasted (eg. 1, 2 – maps showing all the relevant areas). Is that the case, and if so why?

Hiromichi Tanaka: Since FFI, we have always used the same design to show the scenery. We have one map divided into different parts, and then we use those parts. Otherwise, the data size is going to be terabytes. So, from the memory size point of view, it’s important to compile the data size. That being said, because we wanted the game to be seamless, we do understand there’s a lack of variation. So that’s why we do want to have more unique aspects in the area, depending on what area of the game it is. However, even for the 3D version for other MMOs, using the same data is quite common in designing the game.

PC Gamer: I understand when it’s elements of a landscape, like a tree or rock. But these seem to be whole areas, to an extent that you don’t see in something like WoW.

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the explanations for that is the size of the parts of the data that we use. Back in the days of FFXI and even WoW, the memory of each part was much less than what we have to use now. These days, because of the graphics, the same size of the parts costs more memory size. If the PC itself has that same size of the- has got larger in the same manner, then we can increase the map in the same way. But the same size of the data is now like ten times more memory size, so that’s really costing the game data size.

PC Gamer: If WoW could do it then, why isn’t it doable now?

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the reasons why is because of the quality of the graphics – it’s different from WoW. What we’re trying to do in each part is costing more memory. Basically that’s the difference. WoW was designed a few years ago, before FFXI. FFXIV is designed with the latest graphical technology; that’s why it costs that much of memory data.

PC Gamer: On the website, you mention seasonal events. Can we get any hint of what’s to come?

Sage Sundi: Because the world in FFXIV has a different culture compared to our actual world, we can’t really expect the same thing as Christmas and New Year. But there’ll be something very similar that you might recognise. How you actually experience the new event will be quite interesting, so we hope you look forward to that. It’s coming very soon.

PC Gamer: Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to people who’ve bought FFXIV and are maybe feeling a bit put out?

Hiromichi Tanaka: We have announced our plans for the new version update, and we do understand you were expecting them to be implemented in the first place. But we hope to make the game better and better with your co-operation, and we hope we can progress together with the players. So hopefully you will take a look and see how the world and the game experience will change and how it’s evolving. And if you like it, we do hope you give it a try again and enjoy it.

PC Gamer: Thank you both for your time.


Awful lot of World of Warcraft talk in there...

Edited, Nov 15th 2010 9:58pm by KuroiOokami
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#2 Nov 15 2010 at 11:29 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:

PC Gamer: Recently, players have been posting videos of terrain they think was copy and pasted (eg. 1, 2 – maps showing all the relevant areas). Is that the case, and if so why?

Hiromichi Tanaka: Since FFI, we have always used the same design to show the scenery. We have one map divided into different parts, and then we use those parts. Otherwise, the data size is going to be terabytes. So, from the memory size point of view, it’s important to compile the data size. That being said, because we wanted the game to be seamless, we do understand there’s a lack of variation. So that’s why we do want to have more unique aspects in the area, depending on what area of the game it is. However, even for the 3D version for other MMOs, using the same data is quite common in designing the game.

PC Gamer: I understand when it’s elements of a landscape, like a tree or rock. But these seem to be whole areas, to an extent that you don’t see in something like WoW.

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the explanations for that is the size of the parts of the data that we use. Back in the days of FFXI and even WoW, the memory of each part was much less than what we have to use now. These days, because of the graphics, the same size of the parts costs more memory size. If the PC itself has that same size of the- has got larger in the same manner, then we can increase the map in the same way. But the same size of the data is now like ten times more memory size, so that’s really costing the game data size.

PC Gamer: If WoW could do it then, why isn’t it doable now?

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the reasons why is because of the quality of the graphics – it’s different from WoW. What we’re trying to do in each part is costing more memory. Basically that’s the difference. WoW was designed a few years ago, before FFXI. FFXIV is designed with the latest graphical technology; that’s why it costs that much of memory data.


And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 12:30am by Zorvan
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#3 Nov 15 2010 at 11:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.


I don't agree that AoC looks that good.
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We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

#4 Nov 15 2010 at 11:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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I get what SE is trying to pull with the terrain; virtually no MMO has terrain that looks this good. Aion comes close, but it's still fairly simplistic.

The problem comes, like they said, that fancier terrain takes up a gigantic amount of memory. That's why they had to copy/paste stuff.

Unfortunately, simplistic terrain that isn't copy/pasted is much better than copy/pasted awesome terrain.
#5 Nov 15 2010 at 11:46 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't think he is lying in what he says, but it is probably not the whole truth.

Money rules the world, and more varied environments would have cost more. The memory problem was most likely a factor, but money is even more important factor.

Of course they won't ever outright admit it. Companies never talk about money because that's always bad PR, even if completely true.
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We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

#6 Nov 15 2010 at 11:52 PM Rating: Good
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I'll give em credit for trying...at least it's not the FFXI remark of "The .... is working as intended."
#7 Nov 16 2010 at 12:07 AM Rating: Default
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Quote:
I get what SE is trying to pull with the terrain; virtually no MMO has terrain that looks this good. Aion comes close, but it's still fairly simplistic.

The problem comes, like they said, that fancier terrain takes up a gigantic amount of memory. That's why they had to copy/paste stuff.

Unfortunately, simplistic terrain that isn't copy/pasted is much better than copy/pasted awesome terrain.


I'm not all that knowledgeable about programming, so maybe I'm missing something here, but how does fancier terrain taking up more memory require copy and pasting from a memory standpoint? If terrain A takes up 10MB and I put it in two places, isn't that still 20MB?

From a development standpoint it'd be easy to see why fancier terrain was harder to add, and I can't believe that's not at least partially the reason.
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#8 Nov 16 2010 at 12:35 AM Rating: Decent
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Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.


I don't agree that AoC looks that good.


Who's talking about looks? AoC is just as graphically intensive as FFXIV, if not moreso. It has nothing to do with whether you like the look or not, it has to do with how much resources are used. And again, AoC has NO copy and paste terrain whereas FFXIV does.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 1:35am by Zorvan

And for the record, AoC stomps FFXIV as far as the look of the terrain goes IMHO. But then again, DX10 adds a whole bunch of advantages over DX9 as well.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 1:38am by Zorvan
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#9 Nov 16 2010 at 12:38 AM Rating: Good
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Who's talking about looks? AoC is just as graphically intensive as FFXIV, if not moreso. It has nothing to do with whether you like the look or not, it has to do with how much resources are used. And again, AoC has NO copy and paste terrain whereas FFXIV does.


I don't agree with that either. I can play AoC with settings capped without a drop in my fps, same can't be said of XIV.
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We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

#10 Nov 16 2010 at 12:40 AM Rating: Excellent
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Kachi wrote:
Quote:
I get what SE is trying to pull with the terrain; virtually no MMO has terrain that looks this good. Aion comes close, but it's still fairly simplistic.

The problem comes, like they said, that fancier terrain takes up a gigantic amount of memory. That's why they had to copy/paste stuff.

Unfortunately, simplistic terrain that isn't copy/pasted is much better than copy/pasted awesome terrain.


I'm not all that knowledgeable about programming, so maybe I'm missing something here, but how does fancier terrain taking up more memory require copy and pasting from a memory standpoint? If terrain A takes up 10MB and I put it in two places, isn't that still 20MB?

From a development standpoint it'd be easy to see why fancier terrain was harder to add, and I can't believe that's not at least partially the reason.


It helps if you think of the map not so much as a continuous, seemless sort of structure and more like a grid. Simplifying fairly heavily, the engine loads the terrain topography, texture, details, etc. and then places those on the grid to make up the map. With the "copy pasta" setup we see now, it can load one terrain block and place it in numerous different places on the grid to make a large map, but it only needs to load and store each block once and then it just reorients it and places it as needed. If each square on the grid represented an entirely different terrain element than the rest, you'd have to load each one of those blocks in order to be able to present the kinds of vistas we have now.

Or, to put it more simply, if you've got a 3x3 grid that uses 3 different blocks each repeated 3 times, you only have to use enough memory to store 3 different blocks (and people blast you for copy pasta terrain design). If you go for a fully unique layout with all 9 blocks in the grid being completely different, you roughly triple the memory requirements. 10x10 grid reusing the same 5 blocks in copy-pasta style suddenly requires twenty times the memory if they wanted to have each grid fully unique. Etc, etc. Love it or hate it, the maps in XIV are pretty massive. The benefit is that you can find a high spot and if your rig is good enough you can see across a vast distance and it renders seemlessly as you move through it. The downside, as we know, is that the terrain repetition starts to stand out.

Edited, Nov 15th 2010 10:42pm by Aurelius
#11 Nov 16 2010 at 12:41 AM Rating: Decent
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Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
Who's talking about looks? AoC is just as graphically intensive as FFXIV, if not moreso. It has nothing to do with whether you like the look or not, it has to do with how much resources are used. And again, AoC has NO copy and paste terrain whereas FFXIV does.


I don't agree with that either. I can play AoC with settings capped without a drop in my fps, same can't be said of XIV.


FFXIV also has a crappy new engine which is far from optimized. Don't mistake bad coding for graphics intensive.
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#12 Nov 16 2010 at 12:43 AM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
Quote:
I get what SE is trying to pull with the terrain; virtually no MMO has terrain that looks this good. Aion comes close, but it's still fairly simplistic.

The problem comes, like they said, that fancier terrain takes up a gigantic amount of memory. That's why they had to copy/paste stuff.

Unfortunately, simplistic terrain that isn't copy/pasted is much better than copy/pasted awesome terrain.


I'm not all that knowledgeable about programming, so maybe I'm missing something here, but how does fancier terrain taking up more memory require copy and pasting from a memory standpoint? If terrain A takes up 10MB and I put it in two places, isn't that still 20MB?

From a development standpoint it'd be easy to see why fancier terrain was harder to add, and I can't believe that's not at least partially the reason.


As far as I know, models, textures, etc. only need to be loaded once. The initial cost, so to speak, of each item is relatively high (big image files, polygons, etc.). However, telling the system to load this model at locations A, B, C, and D with rotations W, X, Y, and Z is fairly cheap (a set of coordinates + a rotation value). It would be similar to the old pixel-line backgrounds we used to see on webpages. You can make a fairly good-looking background by putting in a pixel-high row that gets repeated from top to bottom of the page. The browser only has to download the initial image once (< 5kB), then display it over and over again based on a very small text code (< 200B) in the .html file. So, by copy-pasting, FFXIV can make relatively large zones without requiring the enormous load times that would normally require "zoning". At least, this is how I understand it.

Edit: What Aurelius said.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 6:47am by BrickLayer

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 6:54am by BrickLayer
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#13 Nov 16 2010 at 12:50 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:

I'm not all that knowledgeable about programming, so maybe I'm missing something here, but how does fancier terrain taking up more memory require copy and pasting from a memory standpoint? If terrain A takes up 10MB and I put it in two places, isn't that still 20MB?

From a development standpoint it'd be easy to see why fancier terrain was harder to add, and I can't believe that's not at least partially the reason.


Not necessarily. For example, each different terrain has to be stored, so if I have 10 different terrains at 10 mb each that's 100 mb I need in memory. However the cost to use them is only the cost to access the stored data, not the actual data of the terrain. Each time the terrain is used it is not necessarily copied, your just only using one stored terrain, and its accessed many times. It's like a televised event, where there is only one event going on, but I can see it through many tvs. Its a lot easier to simply film it and televise it on TVs to each person who wants to watch it, than it is to build a venue and throw an event for each person. However, the more different events I want to have the more money I spend on separate venues.

Edit: lol beat to the punch... sometimes I don't even know why I try

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 1:52am by sirhenrywalton
#14 Nov 16 2010 at 12:52 AM Rating: Good
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FFXIV also has a crappy new engine which is far from optimized. Don't mistake bad coding for graphics intensive.


Then where do these claims come from? "Aside from being completely different, AoC and XIV are completely the same!"
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We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

#15 Nov 16 2010 at 12:52 AM Rating: Good
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Zorvan wrote:

And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 12:30am by Zorvan


They're just trying to avoid using "ps3 limitations" as an excuse so early on into the game's release because all **** will break lose.
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#16 Nov 16 2010 at 12:55 AM Rating: Default
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Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
FFXIV also has a crappy new engine which is far from optimized. Don't mistake bad coding for graphics intensive.


Then where do these claims come from? "Aside from being completely different, AoC and XIV are completely the same!"


Um, they are both graphically intensive, just FFXIV has a sh*tty engine on top of it?


EpedemicOptikz wrote:
Zorvan wrote:

And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 12:30am by Zorvan


They're just trying to avoid using "ps3 limitations" as an excuse so early on into the game's release because all **** will break lose.


Funny thing is, people can get a rough idea of what the PS3 version is going to look like right here:

FINAL FANTASY XIV® for Windows® - Recommended In-Game Settings
The following in-game settings are recommended to run the game smoothly.

Resolution and Display Mode 1280 × 720 (windowed)
Ambient Occlusion OFF
Depth of Field ON
Shadow Detail Standard
Multisampling 4 × MSAA
Buffer Size Window Size
Texture Quality High
Texture Filtering High

If people run their game at those settings, they'll see exactly what the PS3 version will look like ( except it'll be fullscreen and not windowed, of course).

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 1:58am by Zorvan
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#17 Nov 16 2010 at 12:55 AM Rating: Decent
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I'll give em credit for trying...at least it's not the FFXI remark of "The .... is working as intended."

not in this one yeah but they sure did in their last one a few days ago basicly saying that mobs diss-engaging and regaining all their health is working as intended (well i think they said they just need to tweak it a little but its basicly how its supposed to be.)

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 1:56am by pixelpop
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#18 Nov 16 2010 at 12:56 AM Rating: Good
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I can run AoC all day on my laptop, on pretty decent settings, but I can not for ffxiv
#19 Nov 16 2010 at 12:58 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Um, they are both graphically intensive, just FFXIV has a sh*tty engine on top of it?


And from this we somehow get to this:

Quote:
And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.


You just said they are different, which is why these claims are meaningless.

How much loading is there in AoC in the first place? The starting area was filled with them.

Quote:

If people run their game at those settings, they'll see exactly what the PS3 version will look like ( except it'll be fullscreen and not windowed, of course).


They have already said the texture quality will suffer when going from PC to PS3.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 9:59am by Hyanmen
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We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

#20 Nov 16 2010 at 1:01 AM Rating: Decent
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Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
Um, they are both graphically intensive, just FFXIV has a sh*tty engine on top of it?


And from this we somehow get to this:

Quote:
And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.


You just said they are different, which is why these claims are meaningless.

How much loading is there in AoC in the first place? The starting area was filled with them.

Quote:

If people run their game at those settings, they'll see exactly what the PS3 version will look like ( except it'll be fullscreen and not windowed, of course).


They have already said the texture quality will suffer when going from PC to PS3.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 9:59am by Hyanmen


Go to Khitai in AoC, not the "old world" zones. Khitai is not heavily instanced like the older areas.
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#21 Nov 16 2010 at 1:03 AM Rating: Decent
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Go to Khitai in AoC, not the "old world" zones. Khitai is not heavily instanced like the older areas.


Well, yeah, I am kinda expecting the newer areas to look much more varied in XIV too, as the dev team gets better at using their engine. Just like with XI.
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We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

#22 Nov 16 2010 at 1:08 AM Rating: Default
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Zorvan wrote:
Quote:

PC Gamer: Recently, players have been posting videos of terrain they think was copy and pasted (eg. 1, 2 – maps showing all the relevant areas). Is that the case, and if so why?

Hiromichi Tanaka: Since FFI, we have always used the same design to show the scenery. We have one map divided into different parts, and then we use those parts. Otherwise, the data size is going to be terabytes. So, from the memory size point of view, it’s important to compile the data size. That being said, because we wanted the game to be seamless, we do understand there’s a lack of variation. So that’s why we do want to have more unique aspects in the area, depending on what area of the game it is. However, even for the 3D version for other MMOs, using the same data is quite common in designing the game.

PC Gamer: I understand when it’s elements of a landscape, like a tree or rock. But these seem to be whole areas, to an extent that you don’t see in something like WoW.

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the explanations for that is the size of the parts of the data that we use. Back in the days of FFXI and even WoW, the memory of each part was much less than what we have to use now. These days, because of the graphics, the same size of the parts costs more memory size. If the PC itself has that same size of the- has got larger in the same manner, then we can increase the map in the same way. But the same size of the data is now like ten times more memory size, so that’s really costing the game data size.

PC Gamer: If WoW could do it then, why isn’t it doable now?

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the reasons why is because of the quality of the graphics – it’s different from WoW. What we’re trying to do in each part is costing more memory. Basically that’s the difference. WoW was designed a few years ago, before FFXI. FFXIV is designed with the latest graphical technology; that’s why it costs that much of memory data.


And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 12:30am by Zorvan


AoC in a lot of ways looked worse than wow. yay they made good looking tits. That is AOC's claim to fame. The rest was garbage.
#23 Nov 16 2010 at 1:11 AM Rating: Decent
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I wonder what PR company SE is employing right now. . . All these interviews sound the same. . .

More importantly. . . wonder what the company is spending to be told how to respond to the current 'issues'

Of course, I am just speculating.
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#24 Nov 16 2010 at 1:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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Zorvan wrote:

And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 12:30am by Zorvan



AoC zones are smaller than FFXIV zones by far. If you stray from the roads in FFIV you encounter less repeated terrain.
And while i hate to say PS3 limitations but using hi-rez textures vs low-rez textures(wow) requires more memory which is not expandable in PS3. So maybe the trade off for having large scale seemless maps and Hi-rez textures is having repeated terrain models.
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#25 Nov 16 2010 at 1:26 AM Rating: Good
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I don't find the copy/pasta overworld terrain to be a big issue to me. Everything else, I can agree with though. The game in general needs more work.

I kinda wish there were more dungeons though. The ones I've seen look very well designed, but geared way too high of a level.
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#26 Nov 16 2010 at 2:24 AM Rating: Excellent
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Hyanmen wrote:
I don't think he is lying in what he says, but it is probably not the whole truth.

Money rules the world, and more varied environments would have cost more. The memory problem was most likely a factor, but money is even more important factor.

Of course they won't ever outright admit it. Companies never talk about money because that's always bad PR, even if completely true.

This depends entirely on who you ask. I'm sure the development team itself doesn't care a whit about how much money the game makes, they do care about the memory footprint, load time, and visual appeal; because programmers and designers, in general, do what they do because they like what they do (and most likely they get paid a monthly salary anyway). The management cares about the money, profit reports, and gross income.

I've seen people say things like: "You're fooling yourself if you think they care about anything other than your money." And while that may be true of Square Enix, a company is an arrogate of it's employees. As a programmer myself I would say to such people, you're fooling yourself if you think those programmers don't care about how good their program works. Ultimately, it's a matter of semantics, as it all comes to the same end. But it isn't blind optimism that makes me sure that there are more than a few people in Square Enix that truly care about their product and making it good. I have very little faith in Square Enix as a company at this point; I do, however, believe that the people working directly on the game are trying their best to make something they can be proud of.


------------------------


That being said, this entire interview kind of smacks of underlings being told to stick to the official story and being uncomfortable with it.

This question in particular:
Quote:
PC Gamer: Would you have liked it if the release date was maybe a couple of months later, to smooth out the last kinks?

Hiromichi Tanaka: It is very difficult to make the decision. If we had more time, we probably would have had to fix more bugs, and so it was very difficult to judge which time to release the game, because we want people to enjoy it as soon as possible. That’s why we made the decision to release it now.

Sage Sundi: If we had three more years (laughs), we would’ve had three more years worth of implemented content. But we had six months [from the first stage of alpha testing], so that’s where we are with the game.

This felt a lot like Tanaka-san at least, was not terribly comfortable with the release date, and would have loved a few more months to work out the kinks, but did not want to make waves.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 3:30am by Hulan
#27 Nov 16 2010 at 2:36 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
This depends entirely on who you ask. I'm sure the development team itself doesn't care a whit about how much money the game makes, they do care about the memory footprint, load time, and visual appeal; because programmers and designers, in general, do what they do because they like what they do (and most likely they get paid a monthly salary anyway). The management cares about the money, profit reports, and gross income.


I didn't mention this because I don't think it really matters.

In my opinion there aren't that many really -bad- MMO developers out there. Give them what they need, and they will make the game work. But at the end of the day, what the management decides is how the game will turn out, no matter the talent behind it.

When talking about MMO's, people often talk how X company devs are better than Y company devs. I think this is largely false. Both companies have talented devs, but the real difference comes from how both are managed. Some companies give their devs less breathing room, but their management understands MMO development better than many others. Other companies let the devs act freely and be creative, but don't understand how MMO development might differ from normal game development. In the end both companies have great, talented devs, but the upper management will ultimately decide how the game turns out.

And more often than not, it boils down to money and resources. No matter how talented your art team is, if you are given too few resources and manpower to work with, it will mirror the end result.

Quote:
This felt a lot like Tanaka-san at least, was not terribly comfortable with the release date, and would have loved a few more months to work out the kinks, but did not want to make waves.


There's no doubt Tanaka did not make this decision alone, but I am sure if there is someone in there who could have affected the decision it is him. He is the guy managing budgets and the like. At the end of the day, I can see why he would be made responsible for this.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 11:38am by Hyanmen
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#28 Nov 16 2010 at 2:44 AM Rating: Good
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This is your typical PR interview to make nice after you angered your fan-based. Acknowledging they had to release the game in beta stage and with full knowledge of a lot of things they still need to fix doesn't sit well with me. HOW can they expect players to enjoy a game with this many problems? Of course, we had high expectations for this game, which means they should have taking all the time they need in beta...

In hindsight, we can pretty much guess this is a money issue for them to push this product out. For this greed, SE will pay for a short-lived MMO game and follow the path of other poorly executed MMOs in recent years.
#29 Nov 16 2010 at 2:47 AM Rating: Good
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To be honest the copy and paste didn't bother me that much. I really like the fact that SE is becoming more and more transparent, to both the media and us.

I would settle for smaller more varied maps though. Perhaps in an expansion in a year or so. I think from now on SE knows they are being scrutinized and even though I'm sure the devs are working as hard as they can, I hope putting them under the microscope really forces them to marry their own artistic integrity with something that a lot more people will want to play.

In general I think SE is getting it. I can excuse the need for wanting to do something different and not make a FFXI or even WoW clone, but just make it work. Like I've stated numerous times, I like the idea of retainers, just not the implementation. I love the class system, but make our characters more distinct (as they hinted in the interview). I love the casual aspect, but let's get some parties going as well too.

I have my fingers tightly crossed.
#30 Nov 16 2010 at 2:50 AM Rating: Good
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Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
This depends entirely on who you ask. I'm sure the development team itself doesn't care a whit about how much money the game makes, they do care about the memory footprint, load time, and visual appeal; because programmers and designers, in general, do what they do because they like what they do (and most likely they get paid a monthly salary anyway). The management cares about the money, profit reports, and gross income.


I didn't mention this because I don't think it really matters.

In my opinion there aren't that many really -bad- MMO developers out there. Give them what they need, and they will make the game work. But at the end of the day, what the management decides is how the game will turn out, no matter the talent behind it.

When talking about MMO's, people often talk how X company devs are better than Y company devs. I think this is largely false. Both companies have talented devs, but the real difference comes from how both are managed. Some companies give their devs less breathing room, but their management understands MMO development better than many others. Other companies let the devs act freely and be creative, but don't understand how MMO development might differ from normal game development. In the end both companies have great, talented devs, but the upper management will ultimately decide how the game turns out.

And more often than not, it boils down to money and resources. No matter how talented your art team is, if you are given too few resources and manpower to work with, it will mirror the end result.


This is a good point. I guess it comes down to a null sum, we can only hope that whatever their motivation, the negative responses make them put their collective backs into it.

Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
This felt a lot like Tanaka-san at least, was not terribly comfortable with the release date, and would have loved a few more months to work out the kinks, but did not want to make waves.


There's no doubt Tanaka did not make this decision alone, but I am sure if there is someone in there who could have affected the decision it is him. He is the guy managing budgets and the like. At the end of the day, I can see why he would be made responsible for this.

I suppose that may be true, although I have always heaped most of the blame for (in my mind) almost all of the problems in FFXIV on Wada-san's shoulders. I see it like we wanted a new house, so we purchased some land and drew up some plans for a nice house. But when we got there, being told it was ready to be moved into, only the foundation had been laid. The foundation was very nice, and they promised to have the rest of it done by the end of the year, but we were understandably upset that they expected us to live in a hole dug in the ground.

Perhaps I have been attributing too much of the decision on Wada-san, press releases painted him as a decision maker, and so I saw him as one.
#31 Nov 16 2010 at 2:53 AM Rating: Decent
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Zorvan wrote:
Quote:

PC Gamer: Recently, players have been posting videos of terrain they think was copy and pasted (eg. 1, 2 – maps showing all the relevant areas). Is that the case, and if so why?

Hiromichi Tanaka: Since FFI, we have always used the same design to show the scenery. We have one map divided into different parts, and then we use those parts. Otherwise, the data size is going to be terabytes. So, from the memory size point of view, it’s important to compile the data size. That being said, because we wanted the game to be seamless, we do understand there’s a lack of variation. So that’s why we do want to have more unique aspects in the area, depending on what area of the game it is. However, even for the 3D version for other MMOs, using the same data is quite common in designing the game.

PC Gamer: I understand when it’s elements of a landscape, like a tree or rock. But these seem to be whole areas, to an extent that you don’t see in something like WoW.

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the explanations for that is the size of the parts of the data that we use. Back in the days of FFXI and even WoW, the memory of each part was much less than what we have to use now. These days, because of the graphics, the same size of the parts costs more memory size. If the PC itself has that same size of the- has got larger in the same manner, then we can increase the map in the same way. But the same size of the data is now like ten times more memory size, so that’s really costing the game data size.

PC Gamer: If WoW could do it then, why isn’t it doable now?

Hiromichi Tanaka: One of the reasons why is because of the quality of the graphics – it’s different from WoW. What we’re trying to do in each part is costing more memory. Basically that’s the difference. WoW was designed a few years ago, before FFXI. FFXIV is designed with the latest graphical technology; that’s why it costs that much of memory data.


And yet AoC, which is just as graphically intensive, probably even moreso in fact, manages to do fine with no copy and pasting of any areas.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 12:30am by Zorvan


yea.....no buddy, AoC doesn't look this good.
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#32 Nov 16 2010 at 3:01 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
I suppose that may be true, although I have always heaped most of the blame for (in my mind) almost all of the problems in FFXIV on Wada-san's shoulders. I see it like we wanted a new house, so we purchased some land and drew up some plans for a nice house. But when we got there, being told it was ready to be moved into, only the foundation had been laid. The foundation was very nice, and they promised to have the rest of it done by the end of the year, but we were understandably upset that they expected us to live in a hole dug in the ground.

Perhaps I have been attributing too much of the decision on Wada-san, press releases painted him as a decision maker, and so I saw him as one.


Yeah, usually the CEO is seen as "the guy" who manages these things..

But at least from looking at how XI was managed, I always saw Tanaka as a very cost-effective fellow. One could imagine him in a meeting with the devs: "the players want instanced Dynamis but we need more money..." "Humbug! We'd go over the budget for nothing!"

I doubt Wada cares that much really. XI is 8 years old by now, I would guess he just lets Tanaka and his team to act pretty much how they want, and expects Tanaka to keep him up-to-date as he most likely has more important things to deal with, considering the size of the company.

Of course this is all speculation. But Tanaka is the one managing the project as a whole, not Wada. Komoto is probably there to lead the development of the game itself with the other devs, and not so focused on other parts of the project. I wouldn't blame him, as this is his game and I'm sure he'd spend a fortune on it had he the chance.

Edited, Nov 16th 2010 12:09pm by Hyanmen
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#33 Nov 16 2010 at 3:07 AM Rating: Decent
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Ah, thanks guys for the explanation. So let me ask this-- is this a client-side issue or a server-side issue (or both)? I assume it's a client-side issue, and if so, aside from actual storage limitations (e.g., PS2 HDD), they could make it so that the game only renders nearby areas, but you'd lose that ability to view the far off distance (or at least it'd be severely hampered).
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#34 Nov 16 2010 at 3:14 AM Rating: Decent
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The issue with XIV is not that the graphics are more intensive than other games that are out. The problem lies in the programming. This game is poorly coded and not at all optimized as it should be. Just because a game is more taxing on your GPU doesn't mean that it's because the graphics are better or more complex.

It's a DX9 game. There is no reason at all that my GTX 480 shouldn't chew it up and spit out the bones at moderate to high graphics settings. My rig is capable of running DX11 games like Metro, AVP, BFBC2 and Dirt at extreme settings and still maintaining average FPS above 60 FPS. Actually in all of my benchmarking tests only Metro and AVP dipped below 60 FPS at any point and this is running at stock settings.

Regarding the interview, I keep hearing the same talking points about 'listening to the players', 'incorporating feedback' and 'working hard to fix the issues'. I really don't understand how it even got to this point. They're admitting that the game wasn't ready but they released it anyway. I have no idea what possessed them to do that, but it's costing them big time.
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#35 Nov 16 2010 at 3:35 AM Rating: Decent
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Hyanmen wrote:
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Who's talking about looks? AoC is just as graphically intensive as FFXIV, if not moreso. It has nothing to do with whether you like the look or not, it has to do with how much resources are used. And again, AoC has NO copy and paste terrain whereas FFXIV does.


I don't agree with that either. I can play AoC with settings capped without a drop in my fps, same can't be said of XIV.


That's because FFXIV is badly programmed. It runs much slower than it should for the graphics features it has. It doesn't even have global shadowing.

Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
FFXIV also has a crappy new engine which is far from optimized. Don't mistake bad coding for graphics intensive.


Then where do these claims come from? "Aside from being completely different, AoC and XIV are completely the same!"


It's obvious just by looking at it. Compare it to something like the Heaven 2.0 Unigine engine demo/benchmark and you'll see that it lacks the rendering features of a modern graphics engine. It's basically a 2006 engine, only much slower than it should be.

Even SE themselves have admitted that Crystal Tools was a horrible mistake. They would have been better off licensing Unreal or CryEngine instead of wasting years developing an engine that was obsolete before the games based on it even shipped.



Edited, Nov 16th 2010 5:47am by Lobivopis
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I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
#36 Nov 16 2010 at 3:39 AM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
Ah, thanks guys for the explanation. So let me ask this-- is this a client-side issue or a server-side issue (or both)? I assume it's a client-side issue, and if so, aside from actual storage limitations (e.g., PS2 HDD), they could make it so that the game only renders nearby areas, but you'd lose that ability to view the far off distance (or at least it'd be severely hampered).


If textures are loaded into GPU memory, it would seem like a GPU limitation (~1GB RAM on most mid-level GPU's). I'm not sure how much of the terrain, models, etc. get loaded into system RAM, which is still capped at around 3GB for 32-bit users.
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#37 Nov 16 2010 at 3:49 AM Rating: Decent
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Ah, ok, that would make sense. I was thinking in terms of HD memory, but that's a much more sensible limitation.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#38 Nov 16 2010 at 3:55 AM Rating: Good
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FilthMcNasty wrote:
The issue with XIV is not that the graphics are more intensive than other games that are out. The problem lies in the programming. This game is poorly coded and not at all optimized as it should be. Just because a game is more taxing on your GPU doesn't mean that it's because the graphics are better or more complex.

It's a DX9 game. There is no reason at all that my GTX 480 shouldn't chew it up and spit out the bones at moderate to high graphics settings. My rig is capable of running DX11 games like Metro, AVP, BFBC2 and Dirt at extreme settings and still maintaining average FPS above 60 FPS. Actually in all of my benchmarking tests only Metro and AVP dipped below 60 FPS at any point and this is running at stock settings.

Regarding the interview, I keep hearing the same talking points about 'listening to the players', 'incorporating feedback' and 'working hard to fix the issues'. I really don't understand how it even got to this point. They're admitting that the game wasn't ready but they released it anyway. I have no idea what possessed them to do that, but it's costing them big time.


I'm confused why SE felt they should program FFXIV for DX9 when it's supposed to be "future proof". I think back over the years of the mastery of SE on the consoles, yet they seem to fall short on the PC front. Do you guys think that SE chose DX9 because it would be easier to emulate for both the PS3/PC versions?

I'm a bit surprised SE admitted to releasing the game unfinished on the PC yet held it back on the PS3 due to technical problems. I felt that FFXIV would of made more of an impact if they delayed the game til March. Now SE burned so many bridges with long time players that they might not ever recover as a company. This mistake goes way beyond FFXIV as far as I'm concerned.
#39 Nov 16 2010 at 4:06 AM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
Ah, ok, that would make sense. I was thinking in terms of HD memory, but that's a much more sensible limitation.


Yep. Everything is stored on the HD, then it would seem that the assets in your vicinity are loaded into memory on-the-fly to keep things seamless. How big the vicinity is, how expensive the assets are (hi-def vs. standard def, etc.), hard drive speed, bus speed, memory speed, etc. should all come into play when the copy/paste side of the tradeoff is determined. With a little less copy/paste, the game install may have grown by a few GBs, but maybe the textures would have had to be compressed a bit more, the polygon counts reduced, the number of models on screen reduced, the number of different character customization options reduced, and so on, so as to compensate for the increase in data loaded (or pre-loaded?) to memory each time you enter a new zone.
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