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Why lesser graphics in MMOs compared to SP games?

srsnoobsrsnoob New Orleans, LAPosts: 44Member
I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games. I thought that only information about player location, action, NPCs etc. is sent between the server and the player's PC so internet connection is not really a factor. That only the player needs a PC capable of rendering the graphic's files already installed on their hard drive, which many do evidently by highly successful and graphically intensive single player games released on PC. So why aren't MMOs produced with the same level of graphical detail? Are the limitations technical or is it more of a development time/cost issue?
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Comments

  • Stuka1000Stuka1000 Posts: 867Member Uncommon
    Simple answer is that single player games do not have to render dozens if not hundreds of players on screen at the same time in real time.
  • GruntyGrunty Fort Worth, TXPosts: 7,042Member Uncommon

    Because the game client in a single player game controls all actions and appearances except your own.  The client 'knows' what everything looks like and can load it quickly. MMO's have to deal with hundreds of other players' actions and appearances and possibly pass that information to your PC. Your local machine's client doesn't know what all those other players look like and what actions they take until it is given the information from the remote server.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,473Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games. I thought that only information about player location, action, NPCs etc. is sent between the server and the player's PC so internet connection is not really a factor. That only the player needs a PC capable of rendering the graphic's files already installed on their hard drive, which many do evidently by highly successful and graphically intensive single player games released on PC. So why aren't MMOs produced with the same level of graphical detail? Are the limitations technical or is it more of a development time/cost issue?

    If you have to ask........

    With all the crap devs have to go through as far as graphics, animations and detail, do you really think the devs are being lazy about this or trying to hold back?  Just think about it for a little bit.

  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,228Member Uncommon
    Besides all the players running around, the world is persistent whereas a single player game can load you into a portion of the world and not have to worry that your client needs to know that players are there (within reason). Otherwise you get stuff like pop-up which is annoying enough when the environment does it, but absolutely horrible when players just start popping up because the game can't render them fast enough.
  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Behind you, ORPosts: 1,520Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by eric1000
    Simple answer is that single player games do not have to render dozens if not hundreds of players on screen at the same time in real time.

    Hundreds leading to thousands is more like it. I know most areas would not have that many, but they have to allow for it. PvP combat and raids...not to mention the central hangout hubs.

    Besides that, some MMOs have the NPCs to account for too.

    image
    "This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  • imsoenthusedimsoenthused Tulsa, OKPosts: 64Member
    MMOs want to have extremely low minimum requirements to encourage population size as much as possible. The fewer graphic options you have to build in to your engine the cheaper your development. So why start with an engine that needs a $500+ video card and then spend a ton adding graphical options that let it run on lesser hardware? Sticking to a less advanced engine means that it might not look as phenomenal on top end hardware as it could, but you'll spend a lot less making it run decently on some kids hand me down laptop, and that's a big portion of their target market. That's why the visuals in the new ESO have more in common with Oblivion than they do Skyrim.
  • srsnoobsrsnoob New Orleans, LAPosts: 44Member
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games. I thought that only information about player location, action, NPCs etc. is sent between the server and the player's PC so internet connection is not really a factor. That only the player needs a PC capable of rendering the graphic's files already installed on their hard drive, which many do evidently by highly successful and graphically intensive single player games released on PC. So why aren't MMOs produced with the same level of graphical detail? Are the limitations technical or is it more of a development time/cost issue?

    If you have to ask........

    With all the crap devs have to go through as far as graphics, animations and detail, do you really think the devs are being lazy about this or trying to hold back?  Just think about it for a little bit.

    Uh why would I  think they are being lazy? I'm just curious for an advanced/technical answer. Like is having player characters on screen is more resource intensive graphics wise than having non player characters and why? What's the structure of the programming like? 

  • johnismejohnisme ladysmith, BCPosts: 71Member Uncommon
    You were give pretty well all the proper reasons why mmo graphics needs to be toned down and you still ask,just accept the fact that its that way for a reason.
  • RobokappRobokapp Dublin, OHPosts: 5,205Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games. I thought that only information about player location, action, NPCs etc. is sent between the server and the player's PC so internet connection is not really a factor. That only the player needs a PC capable of rendering the graphic's files already installed on their hard drive, which many do evidently by highly successful and graphically intensive single player games released on PC. So why aren't MMOs produced with the same level of graphical detail? Are the limitations technical or is it more of a development time/cost issue?

    If you have to ask........

    With all the crap devs have to go through as far as graphics, animations and detail, do you really think the devs are being lazy about this or trying to hold back?  Just think about it for a little bit.

    Uh why would I  think they are being lazy? I'm just curious for an advanced/technical answer. Like is having player characters on screen is more resource intensive graphics wise than having non player characters and why? What's the structure of the programming like? 

    Let me try.

     

    There are 375 players in a courtyard, in sight of one another.

     

    Player 1 sees 374 players and himself.

    player 2 sees 374 players and himself.

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

    player 375 sees 374 players and himself.

     

    If this was a singleplayer game, and everyone was a NPC, there would be 375 real-time 'objects' being calculated.

     

    if this is a multiplayer game and those are actual players, there are 140625 'objects being calculated.

     

    Now add spell visuals, and the server calculating their effects, both visual and numerical, in the right sequence.

     

    Eve's answer was Time dilation. straight forward, time slows down to give the server time to compute. other MMOs chose simply to drop down the number of components in graphics of all kinds to reduce computation.

     

     

    simply put, it's like this: what can you calculate faster?  25.1+71.5 or 5774.6733 + 22049.2345 ?

    image

  • NitthNitth AustraliaPosts: 3,684Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Robokapp
    if this is a multiplayer game and those are actual players, there are 140625 'objects being calculated.

    Why would a client need to know about that many objects?

    A Server yes, because that what it does. in fact when you look at servers in general they can throughput many more objects than that without even a sweat.

    Broadcast your data, And revive all relevant data from other players in the cell.
    Use the client side power to leverage graphics rendering with the data received.

    image
    TSW - AoC - Aion - WOW - EVE - Fallen Earth - Co - Rift - || XNA C# Java Development

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon

    In a single-player game, the developer has far greater control over every scene. Each view you see is designed to fit neatly within comfortable poly, texture, cpu, gpu, etc limits. 

     

    Imagine creating the props and hiring the staff for a play you are about to put on. Now imagine offering a stage, staff and props for anyone that wants to put on a play. 

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • srsnoobsrsnoob New Orleans, LAPosts: 44Member

    Originally posted by johnisme
    You were give pretty well all the proper reasons why mmo graphics needs to be toned down and you still ask,just accept the fact that its that way for a reason.

     

    I know it's that way for a reason. I want to know the details of the reason. Do you guys think I have some kind of agenda? LOL. I'm just trying to learn something. This is not a conspiracy thread. 

     

    Originally posted by Robokapp

    Originally posted by srsnoob
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games. I thought that only information about player location, action, NPCs etc. is sent between the server and the player's PC so internet connection is not really a factor. That only the player needs a PC capable of rendering the graphic's files already installed on their hard drive, which many do evidently by highly successful and graphically intensive single player games released on PC. So why aren't MMOs produced with the same level of graphical detail? Are the limitations technical or is it more of a development time/cost issue?

    If you have to ask........

    With all the crap devs have to go through as far as graphics, animations and detail, do you really think the devs are being lazy about this or trying to hold back?  Just think about it for a little bit.

    Uh why would I  think they are being lazy? I'm just curious for an advanced/technical answer. Like is having player characters on screen is more resource intensive graphics wise than having non player characters and why? What's the structure of the programming like? 

    Let me try.

     

    There are 375 players in a courtyard, in sight of one another.

     

    Player 1 sees 374 players and himself.

    player 2 sees 374 players and himself.

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

    player 375 sees 374 players and himself.

     

    If this was a singleplayer game, and everyone was a NPC, there would be 375 real-time 'objects' being calculated.

     

    if this is a multiplayer game and those are actual players, there are 140625 'objects being calculated.

     

    Now add spell visuals, and the server calculating their effects, both visual and numerical, in the right sequence.

     

    Eve's answer was Time dilation. straight forward, time slows down to give the server time to compute. other MMOs chose simply to drop down the number of components in graphics of all kinds to reduce computation.

     

     

    simply put, it's like this: what can you calculate faster?  25.1+71.5 or 5774.6733 + 22049.2345 ?

    But wouldn't the server handle the information about those players and then send to you? Like if one player is wearing Shoulder Pads of Strength, the server would send that info to you and then your computer would render that player with those shouldpads from the files already on your hard drive. The server wouldn't actually compute any graphics would it?

    After thinking about it some more I think it may have more to do with animations than anything else. Even in single player games if there are a lot of animations and particle effects going on the fps can drop, and in an MMO there will be lots of players so lots of animations. Now I'm wondering if it is possible to make a really gorgeous looking MMO (texture wise) that can handle a lot of players, but with really basic or bare bones animations.

     

  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade KingsmouthPosts: 2,641Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games. I thought that only information about player location, action, NPCs etc. is sent between the server and the player's PC so internet connection is not really a factor. That only the player needs a PC capable of rendering the graphic's files already installed on their hard drive, which many do evidently by highly successful and graphically intensive single player games released on PC. So why aren't MMOs produced with the same level of graphical detail? Are the limitations technical or is it more of a development time/cost issue?

    If you have to ask........

    With all the crap devs have to go through as far as graphics, animations and detail, do you really think the devs are being lazy about this or trying to hold back?  Just think about it for a little bit.

    Uh why would I  think they are being lazy? I'm just curious for an advanced/technical answer. Like is having player characters on screen is more resource intensive graphics wise than having non player characters and why? What's the structure of the programming like? 

    My guess would be that it largely has to do with NPCs being limited in their actions, they will always be following some kind of script - while player characters constantly send information back and forth with all the crazy stuff they do. image

    Not to mention there's a LOT of 'em. Even on games like GTA you'll be hard pressed to find the kind of huge gatherings that MMO hubs tend to see all the time.

    My SWTOR referral link for those wanting to give the game a try. (Newbies get a welcome package while returning players get a few account upgrades to help with their preferred status.)

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by srsnoob

    I know it's that way for a reason. I want to know the details of the reason. Do you guys think I have some kind of agenda? LOL. I'm just trying to learn something...

    ...but I rather be given the answer by someone and then argue with them than do the slightest bit of research on this very common question.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • SirPKsAlotSirPKsAlot bagong silangPosts: 224Member
    Quite funny, like 3-4 answers that were quite technical and then OP says, no I want a technical answer. Funny mate.

    image
    Currently playing: Eldevin Online as a Deadly Assassin

  • srsnoobsrsnoob New Orleans, LAPosts: 44Member

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Originally posted by srsnoob

    I know it's that way for a reason. I want to know the details of the reason. Do you guys think I have some kind of agenda? LOL. I'm just trying to learn something...

    ...but I rather be given the answer by someone and then argue with them than do the slightest bit of research on this very common question.

     

    How was I arguing? Obviously now I am arguing with you because I don't know how anyone could take offensive to my replies or see it as an argument. And what is wrong with asking this question? Maybe I'll be given an answer that I haven't seen before. Thanks for the link BTW.  

     

    Originally posted by SirPKsAlot
    Quite funny, like 3-4 answers that were quite technical and then OP says, no I want a technical answer. Funny mate.

    Uhhhh when I replied that, I didn't say the answers I was given weren't technical. I was responding to that one guy that was suggesting I had an ulterior motive for posting this question you dumbo. FUNNY MATE.

  • lunatiquezlunatiquez San Fransisco, CAPosts: 381Member

    Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

    Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

  • imsoenthusedimsoenthused Tulsa, OKPosts: 64Member
    Originally posted by inemosz

    Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

    Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

    I don't think that's very accurate, in spite of using old technology I still think GW2 is probably the best looking MMORPG on the market. Of course, part of the problem when talking about how "good" the graphics in a game are it has as much to do with personal preference and art direction as it does the technology of the engine.

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by srsnoob
    I wondering if anyone has a technical answer for why graphics in MMOs need to be toned down (not as detailed) compared to single player games.

    Rendering bottlenecks.

     

    Offline it's just 1 player with a much smaller land area to render. So objects can have more polys and textures can be 4096x4096 in size without much of an issue on a decent computer.

     

    Online with more characters, and the need to have the vast space filled with life-like objects, requires keeping the polys to the level of offline games. So each character now has many less polys and texture sizes reduced, to make up for the missing poly used in the environment and moving objects.

     

    The other factor is particle effects are really nice in offline games as it's but a few NPCs that you will encounter. Online, put 25 players in a small area with even WoW styled graphics, and it'll lag out a computer...that's almost 3x as many effects as a SP game (one of biggest improvements in computer performance is to turn down the particle effects).

  • DemariiDemarii Regina, SKPosts: 131Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    In a single-player game, the developer has far greater control over every scene. Each view you see is designed to fit neatly within comfortable poly, texture, cpu, gpu, etc limits. 

     

    Imagine creating the props and hiring the staff for a play you are about to put on. Now imagine offering a stage, staff and props for anyone that wants to put on a play. 

    This is likely the most accurate answer to your question without getting into details. 

    The only thing I can add having worked on an MMO game system as an artist is the budget for everything is much tighter due to the dynamic nature of the game environment because you can't control it. In a SP game you know exactly how many characters there are what their polygons amount to, how much texture memory is in use.

    In an MMO this is completely variable and out of the devs control because the players are often the biggest culprit for adding to all of different and major factors involved. Textures are by far still considered one of the biggest bottlenecks in any game, and having more system or video RAM does not negate this, you still have to process it all, and while there are methods for dealing with this like batching, they often do not work in MMO environments because of the levels of variability players want in their game and can bring to the scene. So the tendency is towards conservative detail use as you pick and choose careful based on overall gameplay design.

    While pretty scenes are nice, if you can't play because its lagging then its all just a big expensive waste of development time... not to mention your brain will quickly disregard the pretty graphics after a while and tend to focus on what it really enjoys doing, puzzle solving in some form or another. MMO's tend to focus their development time and money on making mechanics that can maintain interest for long periods, SP games tend to focus on very specific and more shallow gameplay mechanics and more eye candy because they are smaller in scope and number of scenes to be produced.

    Game design is all about compromise... how much for how much...

  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Behind you, ORPosts: 1,520Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by inemosz

    Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

    Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

    Huh?

    You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

    image
    "This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Gestankfaust
    Originally posted by inemosz

    Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

    Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

    Huh?

    You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

    The West is attuned to the Disney school of animation.

    The East is attuned to the anime school of animation.

     

    When either is exported to another cultural sphere it's style is regarded as "exotic" to some, where to others it can be an eyesore.

     

    I don't like anime animations as it reminds me of rotoscope in style, with the flickering of dropped key frames. It a headache to see, so not an anime fan. See w-a-y too many animations in MMOs that show it's from China, and avoid them like the plague.

  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Behind you, ORPosts: 1,520Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Gestankfaust
    Originally posted by inemosz

    Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

    Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

    Huh?

    You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

    The West is attuned to the Disney school of animation.

    The East is attuned to the anime school of animation.

     

    When either is exported to another cultural sphere it's style is regarded as "exotic" to some, where to others it can be an eyesore.

    Which has nothing to do with the point.

     

    The west doesn't care about Disney...the East DOES care about anime.

    image
    "This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Gestankfaust
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Gestankfaust
    Originally posted by inemosz

    Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

    Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

    Huh?

    You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

    The West is attuned to the Disney school of animation.

    The East is attuned to the anime school of animation.

     

    When either is exported to another cultural sphere it's style is regarded as "exotic" to some, where to others it can be an eyesore.

    Which has nothing to do with the point.

     

    The west doesn't care about Disney...the East DOES care about anime.

    Even you don't understand it.

     

    There's 2 main schools of animations. Disney that started it all that the West was raised upon, and the Eastern animations we in the West know as anime.

     

    Whenever players complain about animations, they don't know what they dislike, but they'll explain what's missing. They notice it's "off", because it IS off (anime drops frames, which causes the flickering effect seen in anime Added: in computer animations. Decades ago before the internet, it's due to how they aligned the cells to film, which in the East was off giving it a rotoscope like effect. They weren't taught how Disney did it). The Disney school is fluid animations, and you won't see the dropped frames, as care was used to align cells and time was spent on establishing correct motion.

     

    The eye notices it.

  • lunatiquezlunatiquez San Fransisco, CAPosts: 381Member
    Originally posted by Gestankfaust
    Originally posted by inemosz

    Do you mean lesser graphics in western MMOs?

    Asian MMOs graphics can be compared to SP games.

    Huh?

    You mean their MMOs look like their SP games? Cause yeah....they both look dated. They have no tech that would make them ahead of the game. Trust me. Try looking at the difference of models before you speak.

    No, I mean Asian MMOs look like Western SP games. 

    Have you actually seen/played any of them?

    Blade & Soul : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201312/02/20131202003923a0dna6i9fp63scsy.jpg

    Black Desert : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201401/14/20140114053045a0doltaciez7x7n6.jpg

    Bless : http://i1.2pcdn.com/node14/image/article/201402/08/20140208041758a0dpdbknrgly9cfm.jpg

     

    I'm not talking about the animation. Even if I were to talk about it, Eastern developers do better on it. Let's compare this 2 games which have similar gameplay/combat elements, which are soft-targeting, action combat,  blocks, etc.

    ESO : 

    Blade & Soul : 

    You can clearly see which one has the better animation.

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