Smoother cell transitions

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SkoomaPro
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Joined: 19 Jun 2014, 22:56

Smoother cell transitions

Post by SkoomaPro » 24 Jul 2014, 08:04

Is there anything that can be done about how moving from one exterior cell to another is handled? Normally, I would be able to deal with it, though I've found that if i move into the apparent origin of where four cells meet, I get treated to quite a few loading screens as a result of rapidly switching back and forth between cells. Is it possible for multiple cells to be loaded at once? I'm no coder, so I wouldn't know, myself.

That being said, I want to express how amazed and thankful I am to everyone working on OpenMW. It's awesome to see people working to bring my favorite game back to life even after all these years after its release.

Chris
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Chris » 24 Jul 2014, 09:30

SkoomaPro wrote:Is there anything that can be done about how moving from one exterior cell to another is handled?
Better (pre-)caching, mostly. Rather than just load what we need when we need it, start loading bits of things for what's nearby as you get closer, so when the actual transition occurs there's very little more that needs to be done other than to just connect it to the root scene node and start processing AI/scripts (similarly, cells that get unloaded can just be disconnected from the root scene node, and making AI/script processing stop, then the actual resources are freed when you get further away and the memory is needed).

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Gramblosh
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Gramblosh » 08 Oct 2014, 13:38

This is in my opinion one the mayor flaws of OpenMW. There are certain areas that are still terrible to explore cause almost every step leads to a loading screen. Worst example it Vicec, the way the cantons are placed you might trigger cell transition several times while walk from the upper outside levels to the lower ones. That happens in Original Morrowind too but on a modern 'quite ok but not super' rig that is just a short stutter. In OpenMW it leads to 1 or 2 seconds of loading time. What's most annoying with it is, at least in my case, that when the game crashes, it *always* crashes on cell transition (mainly exterior to exterior) so running along a road that is at a cell boarder (and there are more than I ever expected) is pretty adventurous in particular, when you get attacked.

Pushing that a bit more forward to the original short stutter would really be nice and it also might reduce the crashes.

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scrawl
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by scrawl » 08 Oct 2014, 13:39

I already implemented a loading threshold, so that walking on the same cell border line won't trigger loading repeatedly: https://github.com/OpenMW/openmw/commit ... 9f1b480c91

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Gramblosh
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Gramblosh » 08 Oct 2014, 13:42

Sounds good, looking forward to try that.

Uncanny
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Uncanny » 10 Oct 2014, 20:51

How about a feature that enabled connected cells to load when you are inside an interiors? Basically, after an interior has finished loading, it will find all the exits (most commonly doors) and begin to load parts of (or all of) the cells that they connect to?

For example, you start the game on the prison ship. And after that cell has finished loading, the engine locate the exit and slowly begins to load that connected cell (Seyda Neen) in the background. So when you eventually exit the ship, the loading time is reduces or perhaps none.

Of course, there should be a limit on how many connected cells that load, perhaps set by the ini file with the a default value of 1 or 2? When buildings have multiple exits but they all connect to the same cell (like the census office), it would count as 1.

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Gramblosh
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Gramblosh » 10 Oct 2014, 20:56

In most cases it wouldn't have to preload the cell you can exit to, it would just have to remember the exterior cell you came from, there are very few cases where you enter an interior and exit somewhere completely different.

Uncanny
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Uncanny » 10 Oct 2014, 21:18

That is true, but it would have some use. When you start a new game or load a saved game when you are already inside somewhere. And there are a few caves and dungeons that have multiple areas.
Or why not load a parts of a dungeon, cave or house if the players begins to move closer to their entrances? If all loading times could be reduced by only 1 or half a second more, then that would definitely make huge difference for the overall experience in the end.
With that said, having smother transitions when traveling across the landscape is much more important. :)

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Gramblosh
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Gramblosh » 10 Oct 2014, 21:49

Yes, sure, my comment was actually meant to add to yours.

Well, the transition to interiors is already pretty good compared to the original game. I just did a quick test, it takes about a second to enter a building in Balmora (like the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, Ra'Virr's Shop while it takes three to exit. Balmora also has one of the unsmoothest transitions EVAR, Dralasa Nithryon's pawnshop, because it's entrance (the door marker) is right at a cell border (Balmora -4,-2 -> Balmora -3,-2 while the shop itself is West Gash -4,-3). In the original game you hardly recognize it cause you only get the loading bar from the exit, in OpenMW you get two.

Tinker
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Re: Smoother cell transitions

Post by Tinker » 11 Oct 2014, 09:19

I do not see this problem, I tried Dralasa Nithryon's pawnshop and going in takes about 0.2 seconds at most, difficult to time exactly, going out takes the same time, not noticeably longer. In most places I do not even see the loading notice long enough to read it.

I tried out a few other places that are supposed to be bad like Vivec and hardly notice transitions the same leaving the prison ship to Seyda Neen, almost seamless.

I do not have a particularly special setup AMD FX 6 core processor (I do not think OpernMW is otimised for multicore yet) a GeForce GT 440 1Gb video card and Arch linux, I have all water and shaders on and max view distance. Perhaps I just hit a sweet spot by accident.
Arch Linux - rolling release, always up to date, often partly broken.

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