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Stop making horrible console ports - a guide


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#31 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:30

It might be safe to say they (Rockstar) sort of learned their lesson for Max Payne 3 (or they may have totally given up on the PC in GTAV, but with the new delay they might change their minds after all). Mind you there's still the hitch about the unskippable first intro but at least they got rid of GfWL and coded in their own Social Hub overlay.


The biggest issue with Max Payne 3 was the pre-rendered cinematics. It's incredibly jarring going from 2560x1600 @60fps with very high texture quality, tessellation, anti-aliasing and AO only to jump to a pre-rendered cinematic at 1280x720 @30fps (if that) with terrible texture quality and minimal graphics settings. When I first played the game I actually thought it wasn't working properly because the graphics looked appalling but it turned out to be an incredibly long cutscene.

Games should use in-game cinematics so that they scale with resolution and the bizarre thing is that half the cinema were in-game; it's just that those which weren't ruined the experience. I can understand that consoles don't have the memory for that but there's no excuse on PC. So even though the engine itself was well optimised I thought it was only an average port.


#32 Mark

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:33

You know it's going to be a decent PC game when there's a launcher where you can set all of the graphics settings before the game is even launched and there's an advanced button :)

#33 Wakers

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:42

You know it's going to be a decent PC game when there's a launcher where you can set all of the graphics settings before the game is even launched and there's an advanced button :)


Eh, no, actually. That's the sign of a bad port. Nothing more annoying than having to close the game, go back into the launcher, test settings, close game and so on, rather than being able to do it from an in game menu.

I understand that some features would require a restart anyway, but games like Skyrim that won't let you change anything as simple as resolution without going out of the game and back into the launcher are very lazily done.

They don't have to add a bunch of dx11 features. The performance boost(which in some cases the game needs) from a decent dx11 renderer alone would be more than enough for gw2.


The performance issues in GW2 arise from having too many objects on the screen, be it players / environmental decals / particle effects / interactive objects. All of which is CPU stuff so none of which would really be improved by adding DX11 features. DX11 wouldn't stop the frame rate drops in WvW nor in the major cities, so it doesn't need to be up on their priority list.

#34 Mark

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:44

Eh, no, actually. That's the sign of a bad port. Nothing more annoying than having to close the game, go back into the launcher, test settings, close game and so on, rather than being able to do it from an in game menu.
I understand that some features would require a restart anyway, but games like Skyrim that won't let you change anything as simple as resolution without going out of the game and back into the launcher are very lazily done.


The Elder Scroll series has been like that since the Morrowind days (maybe before). I've always been quite happy with this format. Bonus if you can change stuff in game too but I've never seen a game with loads of graphic options that doesn't have them all in a launcher, rather than the actual game.

#35 Javik

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:54

I agree with everything he said. If you want to look at a company that treat their gamers right look no further than Valve. They do it the sensible way, they make games for PCs then port them to consoles. Ok, I admit a graphical update to source is overdue but Valve still seem to get PC gaming better than any other game developer on the market. If more people saw what amazing things can be done with powerful PC hardware when it's truly taken advantage of I feel PC gaming would start to take off again. It's disappointing to be left out because I'm not part of the achievement junkie casual gamer fad. Or if you're going to port games from console, at least do it properly.

The biggest issue with Max Payne 3 was the pre-rendered cinematics. It's incredibly jarring going from 2560x1600 @60fps with very high texture quality, tessellation, anti-aliasing and AO only to jump to a pre-rendered cinematic at 1280x720 @30fps (if that) with terrible texture quality and minimal graphics settings. When I first played the game I actually thought it wasn't working properly because the graphics looked appalling but it turned out to be an incredibly long cutscene.

Games should use in-game cinematics so that they scale with resolution and the bizarre thing is that half the cinema were in-game; it's just that those which weren't ruined the experience. I can understand that consoles don't have the memory for that but there's no excuse on PC. So even though the engine itself was well optimised I thought it was only an average port.


I adore the Mass Effect series, but sadly even in ME3 the quality of the pre rendered cinematics is extremely poor, I really can't understand why devs keep using outdated crap like Bink video when there are such better alternatives out there.

#36 Wakers

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:58

I think it's 50 / 50 when it comes to putting the advanced options within the game menu. A quick look through my Steam list seems to confirm this, it's normally the ports that use the launcher.

#37 Javik

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:01

I prefer having them within the game menu. Having to use extra launchers just adds complication to the process IMO

#38 +jamesyfx

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:03

We've had bad ports for a really long time, I don't think it will go away.

I remember years ago I played Final Fantasy 8 on the PC. Now THAT was a bad port. I remember literally having to guess what buttons to press to exit the game once it was open (I'm pretty sure I had to hold down Shift and press one of the Function keys. Can't remember exactly). The music was all wrong too. :(

At least with modern ports you can at least be sure that the Esc key will bring up a menu of sorts.

#39 Javik

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:09

Assassin's Creed wasn't well ported either. I think you had to do something like 16 button presses or clicks to quit the game, thankfully alt+f4 also closed it.

#40 OP Denis W.

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:10

The biggest issue with Max Payne 3 was the pre-rendered cinematics. It's incredibly jarring going from 2560x1600 @60fps with very high texture quality, tessellation, anti-aliasing and AO only to jump to a pre-rendered cinematic at 1280x720 @30fps (if that) with terrible texture quality and minimal graphics settings. When I first played the game I actually thought it wasn't working properly because the graphics looked appalling but it turned out to be an incredibly long cutscene.

Games should use in-game cinematics so that they scale with resolution and the bizarre thing is that half the cinema were in-game; it's just that those which weren't ruined the experience. I can understand that consoles don't have the memory for that but there's no excuse on PC. So even though the engine itself was well optimised I thought it was only an average port.


If they were prerendered then it looked bloody good enough to fool me. :p

Anyways it was a clever trick to hide the loading of new maps/assets in the engine by showing a prerendered clip during the loading process and then offering the player to skip it once stuff's done loading.

#41 Javik

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:13

If they were prerendered then it looked bloody good enough to fool me. :p

Anyways it was a clever trick to hide the loading of new maps/assets in the engine by showing a prerendered clip during the loading process and then offering the player to skip it once stuff's done loading.


The same trick they've employed in some of the CoD games, black ops springs to mind. I knew what was going on, but rendering cutscenes during a loading break does make sense.

#42 Mark

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:31

Worst pre-renders I remember seeing recently were in Alan Wake.

#43 +Lovell

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:47

Assassin's Creed wasn't well ported either. I think you had to do something like 16 button presses or clicks to quit the game, thankfully alt+f4 also closed it.


You sure? I didn't think you could quit the game?

#44 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 00:01

Worst pre-renders I remember seeing recently were in Alan Wake.


They weren't good but Max Payne 3 was definitely worse. The Alan Wake cinematics also didn't try to pass themselves off as being in-game - there was a noticeable break.

Anyways it was a clever trick to hide the loading of new maps/assets in the engine by showing a prerendered clip during the loading process and then offering the player to skip it once stuff's done loading.


Yeah, I can understand why they're used but if they're going to go that route then they should pre-render them at 1080p @60fps with maximum settings, then compress them further if needed to fit on the game disc. Especially as Max Payne 3 was released on PS3 with it's Blu-ray drive - they should have taken advantage of the extra storage space for higher resolution cinematics. It just doesn't make any sense to me. :huh:

#45 Blackhearted

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 00:07

The performance issues in GW2 arise from having too many objects on the screen, be it players / environmental decals / particle effects / interactive objects. All of which is CPU stuff so none of which would really be improved by adding DX11 features. DX11 wouldn't stop the frame rate drops in WvW nor in the major cities, so it doesn't need to be up on their priority list.


WoW is known to be quite cpu bound as well, and it gained quite noticeably from a dx11 renderer.