Comments on first try

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Time4Tea
Posts: 27
Joined: 01 Jan 2020, 00:27

Comments on first try

Post by Time4Tea » 01 Jan 2020, 00:42

Hi,

I'm a fan of Morrowind and I downloaded and tried OpenMW just now. I just wanted to give a handful of comments based on my first impression. I made a new character and played for about an hour and a half, doing some things around Seyda Neen. Not using any mods, just the vanilla game (I'm not very experienced with mods in general).
  • The first thing I noticed was that the resolution for the intro videos and main menu weren't right. The image was compressed horizontally, with black bars at the sides. However, the screen size and resolution in-game seemed fine. I am playing 1920 x 1080 on Windows 8. Playing around with the graphics settings, either in the launcher or from the main menu didn't seem to resolve it. Could that be a bug, or is it known?
  • I read somewhere that OpenMW allows the view distance to be increased; however, the view distance seems similar to the original, with a white haze a certain distance from the player. Am I missing a setting somewhere for that?
  • I take it it's not possible to transfer saved game files to OpenMW from the original game? (I noticed that the file formats seem to be different)
Otherwise, the game seemed to run great and looks fantastic. I'm looking forward to running through a complete game!

Thanks for what you are doing on the very cool project! :-)

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Capostrophic
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Re: Comments on first try

Post by Capostrophic » 01 Jan 2020, 14:43

1. Not a bug. Menu/loading screen backgrounds lack aspect information (they're 2048x1024, stretched from whatever aspect they're supposed to be), so it's forcibly set to 4:3. This allows vanilla textures to not be stretched. You can disable the forced aspect by adjusting this setting, this will allow widescreen-intended background textures to work.

2. Also a setting, 'viewing distance' in Camera section of settings.cfg. You can either adjust that directly (and see the nothing beyond the loaded cells by default except the water) or, in 0.46.0 nightly builds, enable distant terrain and adjust it to a higher value from the game itself (the increased limit is about 10 cells or a value of 81920 units). Of course if you adjust it directly you can set it to any positive value and see Solstheim or Project Tamriel's Stirk or whatever.

3. ESSImporter tool is a thing but it's very unfinished (no support for magic effect conversion, journal conversion etc.). Unfortunately it's not currently a development focus.

Time4Tea
Posts: 27
Joined: 01 Jan 2020, 00:27

Re: Comments on first try

Post by Time4Tea » 01 Jan 2020, 17:00

Ok, thanks very much for explaining that. I played around a bit with the cell loading and viewing distances and turned the resolution down to 1600 x 900, which seems to give decent performance with a cell load distance of 2 (which is really nice).

So, stupid question, but I guess I should be able to improve the performance with larger viewing distances, if I upgrade my graphics card? The one I have right now is fairly old - GeForce GTX 1050. What would be the main factor for improving the performance with bigger cell load distances? Video RAM or GPU specs?

Sorry to be a nuisance, but I just love to see a beautiful landscape vista when I crest a mountain ... ;)

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Capostrophic
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Re: Comments on first try

Post by Capostrophic » 01 Jan 2020, 22:05

I wouldn't have recommended increasing cell load distance anyway. Ever. It's a can of worms, really.
I don't think 1050 is that old. There isn't a card with a better price performance ratio yet.
Just stand by for more engine-side optimizations, there are still many many tricks up the sleeve. Also try setting up Project Atlas and Morrowind Optimization Patch if you haven't done that yet.

Time4Tea
Posts: 27
Joined: 01 Jan 2020, 00:27

Re: Comments on first try

Post by Time4Tea » 02 Jan 2020, 02:26

Ok, thanks for the tip. I also just read in the guide about cell load distances greater than 2 possibly breaking some quests, so I'll turn it down again.

I'm surprised by what you say about the GTX 1050. I bought that card probably 4-5 years ago, so I would have thought by now some of the more powerful ones would have come down in price (I admit I haven't checked though).

It's exciting to hear there are some things in the pipeline to improve the performance with more distant cells - I'll await those eagerly! :-)

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Capostrophic
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Re: Comments on first try

Post by Capostrophic » 02 Jan 2020, 10:47

GTX 1050 is 3 years old (released October 2016). I'd say it's only slightly dated (especially when it comes to playing games from 2002). And a lot of OpenMW users (cough android users cough) have weaker GPUs.

One thing is that while 0.46.0 (make sure you're using it already) includes a lot of distant terrain and general code-wise optimizations, its nightly builds for Windows are not made with some powerful time-costly compiler-side optimizations. The upcoming release might have a more smooth experience than what you can find in the unstable builds.

Time4Tea
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Joined: 01 Jan 2020, 00:27

Re: Comments on first try

Post by Time4Tea » 02 Jan 2020, 15:42

Hmm ... ok, I could have sworn I bought it prior to that. But, I haven't double-checked, so I'll take your word for it :)

It seems like a good GPU, although I haven't tried it with any super-demanding, more recent games. Trying to play OpenMW with large view distances is the first time I've really seen it struggle with anything.

The OpenMW version I'm using is the latest one I saw on this page, which looks like 0.45.0. Where can I get hold of 0.46.0? Is that the nightly? If so, I will definitely give that a try and see if it performs better.

The upcoming release that you mention - can I ask when that is expected? Which version would that be? Also, is there a page anywhere that shows what the current development priorities are? I'd be curious to see what is in the pipeline for future releases :-)

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Capostrophic
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Re: Comments on first try

Post by Capostrophic » 02 Jan 2020, 19:50

Yes, the nightly.
The upcoming release is 0.46.0.
can I ask when that is expected?
I don't know.
Also, is there a page anywhere that shows what the current development priorities are?
It's a volunteer project so the plans aren't exactly set in stone. You can check the bug tracker and github/gitlab repository commit log and pull/merge requests to follow the development.

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AnyOldName3
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Re: Comments on first try

Post by AnyOldName3 » 02 Jan 2020, 22:10

A few years ago, three years was very old for a GPU. However, Nvidia have realised that they can make more money by not releasing new GPUs very often and charging more for them when they do, so there's only one generation of cards that's newer, and none aim for the same price point as the GTX 1050. That might be why you thought your card was getting old when it kind of isn't.

Part of the reason why a decent modern GPU can't do as much as you'd hope in OpenMW with long draw distances is that things were done pretty differently twenty years ago when Morrowind was being made. Things like long draw distances weren't a concern as no computer that existed could handle them, and things that seemed like good ideas or not to matter one way or the other on the hardware that existed at the time often don't scale well. There are some things OpenMW can do about this but doesn't yet, and other things it won't ever be able to do. Overall, things should get better over time.
AnyOldName3, Master of Shadows

Time4Tea
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Joined: 01 Jan 2020, 00:27

Re: Comments on first try

Post by Time4Tea » 03 Jan 2020, 04:49

@Capostrophic: I just installed the latest nightly and the performance does seem better, thanks. I've got the tile loading set to 1 with distant terrain turned on and it seems pretty smooth on 1600 x 900 and looks great.
AnyOldName3 wrote:A few years ago, three years was very old for a GPU. However, Nvidia have realised that they can make more money by not releasing new GPUs very often and charging more for them when they do, so there's only one generation of cards that's newer, and none aim for the same price point as the GTX 1050. That might be why you thought your card was getting old when it kind of isn't.
Ok, that's interesting and quite surprising. I have to admit I haven't done much shopping around for GPUs since I bought this one. Nvidia isn't the only GPU company though - they must have quite a dominant position in the market, if they can afford to just sit back and release new product at their leisure like that. I imagine it must also be affecting new game development, if consumers aren't upgrading their hardware as often as in the past?
AnyOldName3 wrote:Part of the reason why a decent modern GPU can't do as much as you'd hope in OpenMW with long draw distances is that things were done pretty differently twenty years ago when Morrowind was being made. Things like long draw distances weren't a concern as no computer that existed could handle them, and things that seemed like good ideas or not to matter one way or the other on the hardware that existed at the time often don't scale well. There are some things OpenMW can do about this but doesn't yet, and other things it won't ever be able to do. Overall, things should get better over time.
Ok, thanks for the info, that's very enlightening. This probably isn't a contender for original idea of the week, but couldn't it be possible to load up just the structures and larger vegetation for the more distant tiles, without the smaller stuff, creatures, items, etc? I'm sure doing it is easier said than done though. Anyway, it's great to hear that there are some things in the pipeline to improve performance with larger draw distances and I look forward very much to seeing the future releases.

Again, sorry if I come across as critical. I think the engine is really awesome and seems a lot better than the original one. I was experiencing a lot of frustrating crashes with the original on my machine recently, but OpenMW seems a lot more stable :D

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