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 Post subject: run riven as real time?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:42 am 
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I am curious. Would it be possible to run Riven as a real time 3D game using the same wire models, textures, and effects? I mean exactly the same detail. I know some scenes in Riven took up to an hour to render. Have computers come far enough to now render them in 1/30-1/60 of a second?

Educated guesses only please. Here is some info on the Riven modles. If you know what modern graphics cards are capable of, you might be able to help.
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Some of the scenes took over an hour to render on Cyan's SGI Indigo Workstations (they had 13 of them). At the time the game was made, the various islands which make up Riven was the largest wireframe models anyone had been working with. A single Riven island is represented by about 2.5 million triangles. Intricate detail can be found throughout Riven, from wind-shifted topsoil blanketing a mountainside, to the knotted woodgrain of a table top, to Riven shimmering water, which undulates, reflects and glints in the sun. Riven was in the making for over four years.

(though images in riven were 608x392 pixels and 256 colors, this was scaled down for storage purposes. Lets up that todays standards for the comparison)

Also note: I think each island as a whole was 2.5 mill triangles, not each scene. From the wireframes I have seen, they are not as complex as todays traditional games, but the high rez textures and effects are pretty hefty.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:45 am 
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Do they still have the models?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:58 pm 
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I would guess that they would still have the models. I mean would you go throught that much work and then at the end ditch the models?

Also, does anyone know a way to export the Uru models into something like Maya or 3D max? (Im thinking about trying to put them into a Halo CE map)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:04 pm 
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IIRC someone from Cyan said that it was easier to redo the Myst Library for POTS from the scratch than using their old wire frame models from Myst.

Converting data from one format to another is a lot of work.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:17 am 
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Ok, let me rephrase my question. I am asking if it is possible to run something with the same detail of riven in real time (30-60) on current graphics hardware?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:28 am 
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No, it's not possible.

Working with realtime 3D is different from prerendered in a lot of very fundamental ways. Even putting aside the basic technical hurdles (tons of trianges, huge textures, photorealistic lighting and shaders), most of Riven is unique, and you just can't run a realtime game that way. Look around Uru and you'll see a lot of flat surfaces and repeated shapes and textures, that's why it only takes a few gigabytes instead of requiring it's own multi-terabyte file server to run.

Even if you could render Riven in realtime, a lot of the still renders were retouched by hand in a photo editor. And certain things might be designed in such a way that they only work from certain angles. And there's a bunch of live action cutscenes. And nothing is set up with collision, so that you can walk around and bump into things. It just goes on and on...

The best we could possibly hope for someday is a new version of Riven rerendered in higher resolution (or heck, while we're dreaming, panoramic nodes and animated transitions like Exile and Revelation). And even that would be a huge undertaking, something they might consider when Uru is on the cover of Newsweek and they're trying to figure out what to do with their piles of money.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:05 am 
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...oh, you mean sort of in general.

Sure. If you gathered up a bunch of the most talented graphics programmers on earth, and had a lot of time, a few of the most expensive graphics cards linked together, and a stack of industrial strength hard drives, I guess it could just about be done.

A lot of it depends on scale. If you were willing to settle for something a lot smaller than Riven, and didn't need any interactivity, you could run something that looked about as good on an expensive home computer. Check out the 3DMark demos (which run at about a frame every two seconds on my machine).


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:55 pm 
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Ok, lets get super unrealistic and pretend I'm super ritch in current time give or take a year.

Here is my computer.
A dual cpu system running two quada-core 64-bit processors
8gb of DDR2 ram.
Two dual core GPU cards running in SLI mode.
3TB of hard disk space spanned across a RAID array (in a configuration as to where the OS sees it all as one continuous space.)
Each HD is 10,000 rpm SATA 3.0Gbits.
An OS that is built to handle and take advantage of all this.
Drivers that offer full suport.
The Riven.exe is a 64-bit app and compatible with all said above.

With this set up, do you think we could run Riven in real time? With all textures, and effect shaders turned on :)

You know... one day... before I die. I bet I will see something like this in my own home. My grandfather grew up with no computers what so ever, the phone was something new. And when he died last year, he had one of the best computers on the market. That computer was literally thousands of times better then those in the 70's. And those computers were thousands of times better then the first computers. How many thousands of time better will our computers be in 40 years? Would they even surpass the power of what is said above? (I'll keep my conjecture to myself)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:11 pm 
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Tiran wrote:
IIRC someone from Cyan said that it was easier to redo the Myst Library for POTS from the scratch than using their old wire frame models from Myst.

Converting data from one format to another is a lot of work.


Actually the Myst Library from POTS was just some retexturing from RealMyst...

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:25 pm 
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It's possible, even on a current high end machine it's possible.

Catch is Graphics quality would have to be much lower, and your still going to be stuck on paths. Just as helpless to hop over to the really cool parts as you were in the point and click version. The way Riven was designed with each island on it's own disk can be broken up further turning each section into a selfcontained age. Each one of the transports then becomes a entrance/exit with the loading going on behind the movie of you zipping around.

A favorite day dream is the entire myst series playable thru Uru in one long story arch. It's just a lot of work, and not likely to happen any time soon.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:49 am 
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What they COULD do is rerender Riven in higher resolution. Possibly in nodular form a la Exile and Revelation. However, when even realMyst is hard to run on normal people's computers, imagine Riven with it's detail and large environments being run that way...

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:07 am 
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I think that it would be easier to just rebuild the areas in another game. The engiens will all be there, all you need to do is make the enviroments. (Yes I know no small task) If you use something like Half Life with physics engine and all already there, it is very close to making any other map, just MYST style. You could also put in items like the Eddie and whatnot to make it even more realistic. WAY easier than importing the old models. But by all means get the old models, if they can be taken into 3D max then that would make making a map a LOT easier.
PS if anyone is interested in doing this I am there!
De'Narran

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:32 am 
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The techniques used to make an offline rendering vs. a realtime game seem similar, but there's a whole bundle of fundamental differences. Procedural textures are normally used extensively throughout prerendered images, and while they _can_ be emulated through pixel shaders and running the emulated versions through pixel shaders is faster, it's nowhere near fast enough to be realtime given the number of procedural textures you normally use. Aside from all the postprocessing in Photoshop that always happens in prerendered images (most of the small blades of grass in Riven were added in later and weren't present in the original models), if you're just exporting the model, there's a very good chance it won't run at a playable framerate, even on the computer you mentioned.

That being said, if you were to make the game from the beginning with a target of realtime rendering, you can use different techniques that take longer to create. They make almost no difference in pre-rendering speed, but they would make a large difference in realtime rendering speed. If you've got the absolute fastest machine available today that would cost you around $15,000USD, overclocked it out the wazoo with a water cooling unit or preferably a bunch of cascaded peltier units to get the important parts below 0'C, and the content was designed from the beginning to be rendered realtime on the latest hardware, it's possible to get something that looks mostly-realistic running realtime.

For a demonstration of what it looks like to use some of the most demanding 3d graphics such that it only barely runs on even the above-mentioned system, have a look at Crysis. There's some comparison screenshots available that were taken realtime in the Crysis engine (the real photos are on the left with the screenshots on the right), as well as some regular in-game screenshots, not to mention some hi-definition videos. It's terribly impressive. And it struggles to run smoothly even with a yet-to-be-released we-signed-an-NDA-with-video-card-manufacturers-to-get-hardware-6-months-before-the-public this-computer-is-running-so-cold-from-the-cooling-I-use-it-to-keep-my-drinks-cold computer.

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Last edited by RIUM+ on Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:47 am 
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Crysis looks pretty neat. I love these translucent leaves. :)


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