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Old 17th Aug 2000, 10:03 AM   #1
Ultron
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Taken from PlanetCrap
http://www.planetcrap.com/stories/135/
"S3TC for the Direct3D API for Unreal Tournament is a petition asking Epic to incorporate hi-res texture support into UT's Direct3D rendering. The petition currently boasts around 400 signatures, although some of them are clearly fake.

"The D3D users of Unreal Tournament have seen the light," explains Michael Fouquet, who created the petition. "For too long have we had to suffer with slow frame rates and poor image quality. This petition is here to stop it." He concludes: "Nvidia has even offered to help with this issue. Therefore, we would like to see the benefits of having S3TC (improved visual quality, higher frame rates) implemented into Direct3D."

The issue has been discussed on a few Unreal web sites, such as PlanetUnreal and Savage Daily News. As well as people requesting the S3TC support, one complaint being made against Epic is that there has been no response to people's requests. Indeed, this is part of the reason why Michael Fouquet created the petition.

However, when I asked Tim Sweeney why Epic had been staying silent, he said: "If by 'staying silent' you mean we haven't answered every question on every message board on the Internet, guilty as charged! Though, I've answered about 20 'why don't you support DXT1 under Direct3D in Unreal Tournament' queries in email."

When I asked Michael to explain more about why he feels the petition is necessary, he explained: "Performance for Direct3D users is not always that great. S3TC increases the frame rate by a great number. Also it makes textures go from 256x256 in resolution to 2048x2048 in resolution. I feel it's necessary because the Direct3D users deserve the same frame rates and image quality that S3 and Glide users enjoy (even though Glide has no S3TC support on older cards it still looks better than Direct3D). About time to make sure Epic hears us out."

Well, Epic has heard them out, but not in a way that will make everyone happy. Here's the rest of what Tim had to say on the subject:

Supporting DXT1 in Direct3D would very significantly slow down our texture management code, which isn't overly fast as it is. Though the DXT1 format is only 4 bits per pixel compared to 16-32 bits per pixel for our other textures on Direct3D, the DXT1 textures we shipped with are really high-res (many 1024x1024) so they consume a lot more video memory and texture bandwidth, as well as causing contention issues with other texture sizes and formats.

Some people then ask, "so why don't you support it as an option, and let us decide whether we want the really high res textures but a significant performance drain?" My view here has been closely influenced by the experience we had with Unreal 1's "Curved Surfaces" feature, an optional feature users could turn on which caused creature and player meshes (not world geometry) to be dynamically tesselated to up to 9X higher polygon counts, making them look more smooth and curvy -- also at a slowdown. Well, tons of users turned that option on thinking it would be cool, then later experienced the slowdowns and didn't realize the slowdown was caused by that one little "curved surfaces" menu option they had selected hours or days earlier. Moral of the story: don't add optional little features that cause major slowdowns.

So, we are definitely NOT going to add DXT1 support to the Direct3D code. We are influenced a lot by users' opinions; remember the recent Unreal 1 petition which shamed us into releasing the final Unreal 1 patch? But that was something that made Unreal 1 better; adding DXT1 to UT would make the game worse and we're not going to do it no matter how many people sign the petition."
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Old 17th Aug 2000, 10:30 AM   #2
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I think taking away options because the gamer might create slowdown for himself is silly. That being said, I wouldn't have the option turned on if it significantly hurt performance.
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Old 17th Aug 2000, 10:56 AM   #3
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Man...I think Tim is full of it on this one. He incorporated a "Detailed Textures" option into the D3D code...something extremely similar to what he is saying shouldn't be implemented because users might turn it on and forget about it and not know what's slowing their system down. Forget about it? Is he for real? How could you not notice those blaringly kick arse textures being enabled? I don't know how many of you have been through the D3D options in the UT.ini, but there are a *lot* of options that can be enabled/disabled with out being able to tell that the setting has been changed. I've been a big supporter of Epic, *especially* when ppl slam them and say how poor their code is, but this really makes me think twice. I think Tim needs to come up with a better reason to not incorporate this feature besides saying that some users will turn it on and forget about it. I'm thinking there are three possible reasons:

1) He doesn't think he can get his code to work with texture compression (or it would take an absurd amount of time to incorporate)

2) He's just decided that it isn't a priority enough to do the work on right now since there are more important things to do (i.e. porting UT to consoles, Unreal 2, etc.)

3) Somehow, he actually believes the reason that he's provided to us in regards to the performance hit and ppl accidentally forgetting it's enabled.

Hmmm...

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Old 17th Aug 2000, 11:04 AM   #4
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I think Tim's dead on here.

Do you guys even realize the number of bumblefűcks out there that have no clue what they're doing and then bitch and moan about it when something goes wrong? I'd say the intelligent portion of the UT community that could actually use and understand the implications of using DXT1 is about 1%. They would get such a bad rep from the other 99% that it's just not worth it.

My 2˘.. he's right.
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Old 17th Aug 2000, 11:30 AM   #5
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Well in that case

What would be a good idea would to include a readme with each patch they release explaing the new options they stick in!
At the moment when a new patch comes out and you see new stuff in the advanced preferences you have no idea what the hell it does, you just have to play .
Seriously though, it's pretty shortsighted of them. When we got the AGPTextures switch in there (v413 I think) there was nothing saying what it did, we either had to work it out for ourselves (fair enough, but I get fed up of keeping having to restart UT and try and work out what new setting has fux0red up my previously sterling framerates) or wait till someone posted it.
All I'm asking fo ris a readme with something along the lines of
"AGP Textures" This does blah blah blah. We do not recommend turning this on with NVida based cards"

/me crosses his fingers.

Rooster you have a point (regarding the b1tching anyway ), but have you seen how fine the game looks on an S3 piece of crap?
If they left it off by default this wouldn't cause a major problem (I'm still amazed by the amount of people who can't work out how to get to advanced preferences), and again this problem could be avoided all together by decent documentation.

Not that it matters anyway as they 'aint going to do it.

I'm off to go and look at Q3, then play some UT and cry
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Old 17th Aug 2000, 11:41 AM   #6
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What would be a good idea would to include a readme with each patch they release explaing the new options they stick in!

People don't even read the printed bound manual that comes with a game, you think these people are gonna read a readme file?

Again, we're talking 1% of the population.

Just like government, software companies have to cater to the stupid people.
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Old 17th Aug 2000, 11:47 AM   #7
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I propose a toast: to thinning out the numbers! It's the stupid people in life that make it sucky for the smart people, as seen here.
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Old 17th Aug 2000, 12:26 PM   #8
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Hi all! My first post.

What about placing the "toggle swtich" only in the advanced preferences screen? I don't think the average user even knows of it's existence. However, the people who take the time to research and use the advanced preferences should be computer savvy enough to know the trade-offs with using S3TC. Same as the "32bitzbuffer" (or whatever) option added in ver 4.25.

Just a thought.

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Old 17th Aug 2000, 12:51 PM   #9
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Thingol, 'Curved Surfaces' was in Advanced Options as well, so that wouldn't work.

I think Tim's right, to be honest. There are a lot of stupid people (like Terr... *SLAP* ok, everyone's probably tired of that now ) out there. UT runs fine for me as it is (except for the lag). Does anyone know exactly how much it would increase performance? If it's something like 20+ extra FPS, I can understand. But if it's just 1 or 2 here and there, I don't think it's worth pi**ing off those who aren't as knowledgable as us about stuff like this.

BTW: Y5, are we allowed to beat the censor now Rooster, another admin, has?
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Old 17th Aug 2000, 01:33 PM   #10
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I wouldn't mind a 10fps loss (take it down to 60 ) if it could have those textures.

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Old 17th Aug 2000, 02:37 PM   #11
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That's true Rooster. The majority of the ppl wouldn't know what it's for, and even if they did, they might not even know if they have the correct Detonator drivers (or even an nVidia card ) to take advantage of it. However, while 99% of the population might screw it up as you pointed out, I think about 98% of those idiots won't be in advanced prefs to begin with. Most of those ppl likely won't even see the option since they won't be in there. Very few ppl outside of the hardcore community get into the advanced prefs or edit their ini files. I really think Tim is overlooking a *key* feature here that a respectable portion of the community obviously wants. If he's really concerned about ppl changing it and forgetting about it, incorporate it into the GUI preferences with a warning about performance drops if enabled (like the 3D audio checkbox). I just hate to see such a useful and enjoyment enhancing feature get overlooked.

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Old 17th Aug 2000, 04:02 PM   #12
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Well...

Thanks to anyone who signed it. And also anyone who helped spread the word. It sure as hell looked like a great feature but if it cuts off frames than I don't really want it (unless it only chops off like 5 frames than I wouldn't mind). If it is as bad as Tim says it is than I guess its gotta be bad.

Now I'm not opening any arguments here but I wanna know some things.
Why does my Quake3 and SOF frame rates INCREASE with S3TC?
If they increase with those games why not with this one?
I'm not REALLY technical savvy so I don't know about these types of things that have to deal with programming and stuff.

Also about the advanced options on UT. I am just happy that im not one of those that can't figure it out or I would probably be running with 10 frames per second

Once again thanks for everyone signing the petition as well as Tim for answering it and at least clearing things up for us and not leaving us hanging. See you on the servers in a week
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