Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Poll results : Most NWN2 players don’t own hot rods!

At least that it the safest interpretation I can make of the answers to the question we’ve been asking these past few weeks: What resolution do you play NWN2 at?

According to the poll results, about 3 out of 4 NWN2 players do not play the game at max resolution. About half play at the average res of 1280*960/1024.

Since I think it’s safe to presume that players would play at max resolution if they had the machine to do so, I conclude that most people who play NWN2 don’t do so on killer machines. On the upside, I think we can say that somewhere around 75% of players play on pretty decent ones.

If this tells us anything as builders, IMO, it is that we have to be mindful of the performance of our mods (expressed in fps), and most particularly of their areas, if we want them to be playable by the majority of the playing community. Making huge areas with loads of VFXs, shadow casting lights, grass and tons of tree varieties and seeds, even if one’s own machine can handle it, may make one’s mod inaccessible to most players, or at least make it a less than enjoyable playing experience.

This probably goes without saying, but it doesn’t hurt me at least to have it confirmed in this way.

On the other hand, the toolset allows so much creative freedom, that a builder might still chose to make the mod and areas he/she envisions, even if it means cutting oneself off of much of the player base.

If you make another interpretation of these results, please don’t hesitate to write it up here.

Also, if you know of other aspects of (offline, not PW) mods that can have a perceivable effect on performance, please do share them. For instance, is the surface mesh complexity of exterior areas much of a factor: everything being equal, do areas with less mesh variation (flatter, smoother terrain) perform noticeably better that those with lots of it (peaks and valleys, noise and bumpiness)?


Anonymous said...

I just happened to stumble across your blog while looking over some modules for possible download. I find your work (potentially) very interesting. What keeps me from playing NWN2 very much is the whole hardware issue. I am running a P4, 3.4 gig Intel, one gig of ram w/ a 512 nVidia GEForce 7300 GS, running XP SP2. With everything else on the machine turned off and nothing else running in the background, and after installing MOTB, I have to crank all of the graphics to rock bottom in order to get a decent playing experience.

Meanwhile, on another machine with half the horsepower, I can crank NWN1 up to maximum graphics with everything at top level and it plays smooth as silk.

When you do a side by side comparison of how NWN1 looks with all graphics options turned on... versus how NWN2 looks with all graphics options turned off... well. NWN2 just doesn't look that much better. Not when you consider the obscenely high hardware requirements.

I do still (rarely) play NWN2 because I like to try out some of the new modules that the community has made.The community content is significantly more fun IMO than the OC. But most of the time it isn't worth the pain to me.

Just FYI.

I also had to turn off hyper-threading in order to get NWN2 to run, which irritated me somewhat.

(NWN Vault ID)

SirChet said...

Sounds to me like all you need is to step up your older video card, and then you would certainly see a big difference between the two versions of NWN.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if I were a hard core gamer, I might consider it to be worth the expense of upgrading my card. But I am not, so I don't. The days when I was willing to shell out money for hardware in order to run a particular piece of software are behind me now. These days, I keep looking until I find a piece of software that runs on the hardware I have. I am too old, and too poor, to go that route any longer.

Besides, I still haven't come close to playing through all of the modules available for NWN1.


SirChet said...

Happy Gaming Gezer, NWN1 is a great game!