January WvW culling & loading changes

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Posted by: Habib Loew.6239

Habib Loew.6239

Gameplay Programmer

Next

In the January update we’ll be making a couple of preliminary changes to WvW.
1. The first of our engine changes will be coming on line to help improve character load times by using fallback models.
2. We’ll be switching over to the culling methodology that we trialed in December.

The engine change we’re making uses fallback models to represent characters until their detailed models are fully loaded. The fallback models are cached so that they can display without any asset load delay and there is a distinct fallback model for each race/gender/armor-class combination. As a result of this change players will be able to see characters represented as fallback models as soon as those characters are reported to the client. Once the specific, detailed model for a given character is completely loaded from disk the fallback model will be replaced with the detailed model. This visual compromise will help to ensure that players see other characters as quickly as possible in WvW. Please note that this change does not eliminate delays due to culling, it only addresses delays due to asset load times. Players on higher spec machines would therefore expect to see fallback models less often than players on lower spec machines. This change also lays the groundwork for more extensive uses of fallback models in future updates.

In December we ran a one matchup trial of an updated culling system. Based on all the feedback we received, both during and after the trial, we will be transitioning to the updated culling system that we used in the trial. This update allows the culling system to handle allies and enemies separately so that being surrounded by a group of allies will not impact the culling of enemies (and vice-versa). The general consensus after the trial is that this system lead to a better player experience in WvW. We further saw that some of the issues people had with the new system were related to asset load times rather than culling issues so making this change in combination with our character loading improvements should lead to an improved overall experience. It is important to note, however, that while we believe this change is an improvement to the WvW experience it does not fully address the issues with culling and we are still working towards our goal of removing culling from WvW completely. This change is intended to give players an improved WvW experience while we continue work on our more comprehensive solution.

While this update only contains a couple of visible changes to WvW it lays a lot of important groundwork for future updates. We have some exciting changes coming and this update is just the beginning!


ArenaNet Gameplay Programmer

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Posted by: Moxtidus.4576

Moxtidus.4576

Keep going

January ends soon. Time to share some details about big WvW Update in Feb ? Some hints?

(edited by Moxtidus.4576)

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Posted by: Liquid.9672

Liquid.9672

Hurray for progress! Looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Thanks for continuing to work on this. Hopefully the day comes when the problem is completely solved.

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Posted by: Amity.8549

Amity.8549

Glad to hear it, I look forward to what the future of WvW brings.

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Posted by: Proumbro.1376

Proumbro.1376

As a software developer myself, I really like this idea that you have laid out and look forward to more exciting implementations

Almost makes me want to be a gaming systems programmer

Shiro No Shinigami – Necro
“Life is a beautiful lie, and I am a painful truth.”

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Posted by: Doomdesire.9365

Doomdesire.9365

Anet never fails to deliver. Thanks for the update!

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Posted by: BrockMcCleery.9562

BrockMcCleery.9562

Good, took awhile for a fairly standard technique, but at least it is finally here.

And you could make them stick figures for all I care, as long as I can see them/target them. That would be somewhat humorous, a big wall of charging stick figures. Give em all axes for max effect.

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Posted by: Visionary.5681

Visionary.5681

Nice work Anet

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Posted by: Causic.3798

Causic.3798

Yes!!! I’m so excited for this!

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Posted by: Barab.9016

Barab.9016

Thanks for working to improve the one aspect of your game many of us love

Kurthos “When Jade Quarry awakens, they will ask themselves, when were we ever asleep?”

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Posted by: Kerithlan.1659

Kerithlan.1659

Is it possible to temporarily increase server caps until the 28th? There are a lot of people moving around right now and it’s getting very difficult to get everyone where they want to be before they’re no longer able to move.

I understand that you guys want populations to disperse more, but the reality is that we (and other servers) have several guilds and groups of friends split between different servers right now, and it’s nearly impossible for them to join their friends.

Most players would rather play with their friends than not, and for a lot of them transferring isn’t an option because free transfers are going to close before they can choose a smaller server.

Lailah Seraphim – Guardian
Men of Science [MoS] – Tarnished Coast

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Posted by: Deadcell.9052

Deadcell.9052

Sounds great and looking forward to the changes, but on a negative note , culling is going to be a forever problem as long as the huge zerg mentality remains, find ways to spread out the crowds across the whole map and add incentives for defending and other task, there is far to much incentive offensively and defensively to just run around in the largest groups possible and plowing through everything.

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Posted by: Majik.8521

Majik.8521

Good, took awhile for a fairly standard technique, but at least it is finally here.

And you could make them stick figures for all I care, as long as I can see them/target them. That would be somewhat humorous, a big wall of charging stick figures. Give em all axes for max effect.

lol. that would be funny. having a bunch of stick figures running around.

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Posted by: fivekiller.1432

fivekiller.1432

But will enemy nameplates actually appear along with the models now?

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Posted by: covenn.7165

covenn.7165

This is similiar to what they did in DAOC back in the day and it worked wonders to reduce lag and stutters in large fights. They also had no culling.

You could also help this situation some by reporting the models to the client earlier, i.e. before they are in visual range. That way the client is already aware of them before they load on screen.

DAOC did this as well for performance reasons. Sure you would get what we called ‘lagdar’ when off screen models were reported to the client, but it was much much preferrable to not seeing people at all.

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Posted by: Sypsy.7318

Sypsy.7318

Will there be an option to keep enemies (and even allies) as fallback models?

For people with lower specced machines or bandwidth limitations, it could increase performance? It could also just be a preference, since having a model “update” could be distracting while trying to track them.

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Posted by: awe extender.1908

awe extender.1908

We appreciate the good work and the communication!

Godspeed

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Posted by: Humposaurus.5764

Humposaurus.5764

Soo… how can we tell whats skills are being used by these new models? Will there be a cast thingy underneath the targetted player? Or do we just have to guess..

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Posted by: Lukhas.1962

Lukhas.1962

Thanks for working so hard on this game and for giving updates and content so fast!!!

Don’t hate what you don’t understand.

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Posted by: RoyHarmon.5398

RoyHarmon.5398

Soo… how can we tell whats skills are being used by these new models? Will there be a cast thingy underneath the targetted player? Or do we just have to guess..

How can you tell now?

I would imagine it’ll be the same.

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Posted by: Boulderbolg.3460

Boulderbolg.3460

This is great news, thanks!

GL for Team Riot [RIOT] on Blackgate NA – Small Group WvW Focused
http://teamriot.org/riot-media/videos/http://www.twitch.tv/teamriottv

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Posted by: Iruwen.3164

Iruwen.3164

Will there be an option to keep enemies (and even allies) as fallback models?

For people with lower specced machines or bandwidth limitations, it could increase performance? It could also just be a preference, since having a model “update” could be distracting while trying to track them.

I was about to ask the same. I guess there will also be many players with high-end machines who want to keep this on at all times to squeeze out the last bit of performance. Loading the models bit by bit shouldn’t hurt though as it’s primarily a question of available video memory.

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Posted by: Shifted.6912

Shifted.6912

Nice, can we get reduced spell effects now?
I think that’s the biggest fps killer..

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Posted by: Liraz.8062

Liraz.8062

1. The first of our engine changes will be coming on line to help improve character load times by using fallback models.
2. We’ll be switching over to the culling methodology that we trialed in December.

This is great news! Is there any chance this new culling improvements will be making their way to the rest of the game, outside of WvW? If no, why not?

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Posted by: VOLKON.1290

VOLKON.1290

Didn’t the culling methodology trialed in December cause a sea of other issues? I seem to recall it making things far less pleasant… like not being able to see allies. However, maybe combined with the “fallback” method… hmm.

Thanks to you and all Habib for the efforts you’re putting in.

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Posted by: Krakah.3582

Krakah.3582

Does this change address what seems to be a hard limit on total models being rendered?

Example being, a large 3 way fight with over 100 players in the lord room of SM. Players are all within 1000range but the client won’t draw past a set limit.

-KNT- BG

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Posted by: Kuldred.2436

Kuldred.2436

The December culling ‘fix’ didn’t actually fix anything, you just made the culling different. It is/was still rediculously rampant.

So no actual fix or even progress on culling for the January update, got it.

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Posted by: Habib Loew.6239

Previous

Habib Loew.6239

Gameplay Programmer

Next

Krakah, no, the behavior that you’re describing is the server culling which characters get reported to your client. This update doesn’t eliminate that, though it biases the algorithm such that being surrounded by allies won’t cause you to be unable to see any enemies (and vice versa). Disabling culling entirely is something that we’re working on still and this update lays some of the groundwork we need to do that.


ArenaNet Gameplay Programmer

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Posted by: Advent.6193

Advent.6193

I’m glad to hear it’s at least being worked on. Fact is, between Mesmers (my main, and 1st 80) and Thieves … the culling biz leads to some major bad reputation/hate. At least post-culling, we should see a good deal of that vanish.

Malegryne (Sylvari Mesmer, occasional Commander). Ferguson’s Crossing: [PRD/BRB/DMT/OMFG]
Other 80s: Any but Warrior

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Posted by: VOLKON.1290

VOLKON.1290

Krakah, no, the behavior that you’re describing is the server culling which characters get reported to your client. This update doesn’t eliminate that, though it biases the algorithm such that being surrounded by allies won’t cause you to be unable to see any enemies (and vice versa). Disabling culling entirely is something that we’re working on still and this update lays some of the groundwork we need to do that.

I recall an effect where when surrounded by enemies you wound up unable to see allies around you, and even then the enemies would often appear en masse. It was rather disconcerting. That really wasn’t much better than now and really made it difficult to work together with people you could no longer see. Hopefully recent enhancements have been included to prevent that?

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Posted by: style.6173

style.6173

Is this the same “fix” that was rolled back because players overwhelming said it didn’t work? Hopefully you were speaking of some other test that I wasn’t a part of.

The first fix was miserable and loaded allies and enemies separately. Essentially if you were running in a zerg, you wouldn’t be able to see your commander and so you had to basically run around in map view.

It was a horrible experience and so hopefully the new change is something different.

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Posted by: Mif.3471

Mif.3471

/hugs my SSD

:P

(Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy one)

Tarnished Coast | Best cookies in all of Tyria

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Posted by: Kyuzo.4675

Kyuzo.4675

Nice, can we get reduced spell effects now?
I think that’s the biggest fps killer..

Having the ability to adjust the amount of spell effects would also make the game play better imo. Many of the skills we use have visual cues that skilled opponents are looking for and react to. I’m pretty sure that conditions like burning were not meant to be a cloaking device. I think it encourages a bit of button mashing from players when all that they can see is a mass of spell effects even in relatively small groups.

[AD] Devona’s Rest

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Posted by: Scarn.6810

Scarn.6810

/hugs my SSD

:P

(Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy one)

I have one, but I installed on my large capacity disk drive. I guess I should stop being lazy and just reinstall on the SSD already.

Thief, Maguuma

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Posted by: covenn.7165

covenn.7165

/hugs my SSD

:P

(Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy one)

What does an SSD drive have to do with server side culling?

I have one too and even have the game installed on it. Still culls.

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Posted by: Omaris Mortuus Est.2738

Omaris Mortuus Est.2738

I thought the conclusion of those December trails was that it was not liked at all, and now you’re bringing it back??? :S

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Posted by: Chaba.5410

Chaba.5410

/hugs my SSD

:P

(Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy one)

I have one, but I installed on my large capacity disk drive. I guess I should stop being lazy and just reinstall on the SSD already.

Me too! LOL! I’m kind of afraid to uninstall and reinstall even. Don’t want to miss out on game time.

Chaba Tangnu
[SIC] Strident Iconoclast / Fort Engineer [NERF]

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Posted by: Chaba.5410

Chaba.5410

/hugs my SSD

:P

(Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy one)

What does an SSD drive have to do with server side culling?

I have one too and even have the game installed on it. Still culls.

Loading models to render is a local issue.

Chaba Tangnu
[SIC] Strident Iconoclast / Fort Engineer [NERF]

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Posted by: Chaba.5410

Chaba.5410

Since getting heavy into WvW during the trial without knowing there was a trial going on and then experiencing the terrible culling effects after the trial ended, I’m glad to hear that the trial culling method is returning.

Chaba Tangnu
[SIC] Strident Iconoclast / Fort Engineer [NERF]

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Posted by: Froze Steel.7604

Froze Steel.7604

/hugs my SSD

:P

(Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy one)

I have one, but I installed on my large capacity disk drive. I guess I should stop being lazy and just reinstall on the SSD already.

Me too! LOL! I’m kind of afraid to uninstall and reinstall even. Don’t want to miss out on game time.

Why uninstall? Drag and drop on SSD. Create new shortcut. Play game. All I did works fine.

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Posted by: Froze Steel.7604

Froze Steel.7604

/hugs my SSD

:P

(Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy one)

What does an SSD drive have to do with server side culling?

I have one too and even have the game installed on it. Still culls.

Loading models to render is a local issue.

This.

There are 2 issues people are running into. Server side culling and your PC Sucks and cant load everyone fast enough. SSD/low rez models takes care of sucky pcs.

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Posted by: Skreemin.1064

Skreemin.1064

Woohoo! I’m excited to see the improvements.

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Posted by: crystalpink.2487

crystalpink.2487

I’m glad to see this update.

IGNs: Euphemia Hime (Elementalist), Pinky Pearl (Mesmer), Avicenia (Ranger)
Vanille Morgana (Necromancer), Chibi Asura San (Engineer)
The Bunnies [Bun]

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Posted by: Gilgamesh.2561

Gilgamesh.2561

I wish there were an option to normalize all armor models in WvW. In fact, exactly like how it’s done in sPvP. Maybe even a setting to normalize physical characteristics. I don’t personally care about what people look like in WvW. It’s a zerg, I don’t care about appearances. I would prefer less lag and less culling.

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Posted by: Crunchy Gremlin.5798

Crunchy Gremlin.5798

have to be careful with having the client know too much information before its visible.
hacks.
DAOC had radar hacks where people could “see” all the of the enemies and such around them.
I am under the impression that kind of hack is completely foiled by the same issues that cause the culling. client doesnt have the data because the game is trying to give the players current data.
wrong/right?

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Posted by: Kezorian.5107

Kezorian.5107

This update can’t come soon enough, WvW is getting out of control with certain guilds and players purposely exploiting culling.

Co-Leader of Onslaught [OnS]
Believegate – #freepot
http://www.onslaughtclan.enjin.com

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Posted by: silverfire.2547

silverfire.2547

Can we please get the option to never load customized models? A dropdown similar to forcing team colors for all but for forcing fallback models only would be amazing.

I’m on some decent hardware and rarely if ever see culling issues, but theoretically I should get a couple extra frames out of forced models. (cl_minmodels from CS comes to mind.)

Mira Alluvion (Me) | Hanna Bulwark (W) | Sophie Dusthaven (Th)
[CoSA]/[WWGD] // Sorrow’s Furnace (since August 2012) US West Evening Shift

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Posted by: Thrashbarg.9820

Thrashbarg.9820

Gonna jump in here to say a big THANK YOU to Habib for this update.

I can’t see how anyone would think the current culling method is better than the trial one. Well, I can actually, those are the people who zerg-ball as their only tactic. Who cares if you can see enemies when all you are doing is running around in lawnmower mode, right?

In my opinion it is 1000 times better to see your enemies than allies. You can count dots on the mini-map if you are scared there aren’t enough people around you, or use some sort of voice communication, or hell, even type…..

Any time someone complains about the trial culling method and claims they actually prefer not to see their enemies all they are really saying is “don’t nerf my invisible zerg ball!”.

(WvW Legend) + (5 × 80s) = A bunch of WvW nubbbins with low skills.
stuff stuff shiny shiny…..

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Posted by: Vissarion.6509

Vissarion.6509

Will there be an option to keep enemies (and even allies) as fallback models?

For people with lower specced machines or bandwidth limitations, it could increase performance? It could also just be a preference, since having a model “update” could be distracting while trying to track them.

this pretty much ^

add an option to reduce or remove completely effects from spells so low end pcs dont suffer so bad with low FPS!!!

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Posted by: Indo.8629

Indo.8629

To start, you should fix your invis abilities. Lot of the complaining is coming from when mass groups of players are able to invis from a couple spells(or in the mesmer wall case, there is no cap to the number it can invis) and then even though the invis effect may wear off after 3 seconds, for whatever reason it takes an additional 3-5 seconds for that person to load on the enemies screen. Players are abusing it and I think most of the vocal complaining is coming from this more than anything else.

Tempest Wolves – The Sanctum
80k kills and counting

(edited by Indo.8629)