Improved performance all around!

Dec 202016
 
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Welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale update! How time flies. Paul, Cyrille and I have been working like crazy on a lot of different things over the last months.

Work has been roughly divided between enhancing the early access (fixing the bugs, adding features) and working on the final game (new locations, game mechanics, etc…).

By the way, just to avoid any confusion: some of the screenshots displayed in this update are from new areas which are not yet open to the public! They’re just a taste of things to come… 😉

(In the screenshot below Tilo -or is it the famed Red Ranger?- has found an old place in the forest. Some say it dates back to the War of the Green Flame…)

screenshot-2016_12_06-220314001

The new build update available today provides a solid cushion for the new mechanics (to which I alluded in the previous update) which will be part of the final game. It also represents a clean slate of some sort.

Indeed after the last build update we took a long hard look at what could be improved and we found several areas where we could do better (from an artistic, visual and coding standpoint).

We knew that since those changes were so fundamental we would lose previous saves compatibility. We didn’t take that lightly but we assessed the prospective benefits and we decided that since the game is still in early access it was really worth it. And we hope you will agree with us!

Performance:

Last time I alluded to performance improvements and I can confirm they are indeed substantial! As an example I tried running the game in 720p on a very old computer of mine which doesn’t even have a proper gaming card (it’s got an old Quadro) and while before it was struggling to reach a barely playable 20fps it now runs above 40fps!

Some other average machines that could barely run the previous build at 30fps in 720p can now do so at 1080p (or close to 60fps at 720p).

Finally on my powerful gaming machine the average framerate went from 90fps to nearly 150fps (which is admittedly a little ridiculous).

screen-shot-12-19-16-at-02-25-pm

So all in all I’d say it was well worth the effort! :)

But that’s not all: We have implemented a new kick-ass sectioning system that allows us to streamline everything we display and I’m happy to report that there is no more stuttering or micro-freezes when transitioning between areas.

Visuals:

As you guys know Ghost of a Tale relies a lot on tessellation and I reworked all the tessellation shaders using a new shader editor for Unity by Amplify which takes care of the remaining issues in previous builds: transition with distance looks much better, all the micro-cracks/back-faces scintillating artifacts are gone and finally it does a much better job at showcasing the humidity and wetness of some materials.

(In the screenshot below you can also see the improved sub-surface scattering shader on Tilo’s ears and hands)

screen-shot-12-19-16-at-03-54-pm2

Plus you get new settings to change the tessellation’s amount and distance to your liking.

Some textures have also been doubled in resolution for a finer look and detail mapping now plays a much bigger role in delivering crisper textures when seen up close.

Gameplay:

Tilos’ costumes are now directly affecting Tilo’s capacities as well as the guards’ detection. Cloth items now influence Tilo’s endurance, the rate at which he recovers his stamina, his sprint speed, auditive discretion and visual conspicuousness.

Costumes don’t affect Tilo’s health/stamina anymore, meaning there’s no issue anymore with losing health/stamina when switching between different costumes.

It feels much better because the new items now really have a discernible impact on Tilo’s skills. All this is in preparation for the upcoming game mechanic when you can find some costumes that allow Tilo to run around without being attacked right away by the guards.

(On the screenshot below you can spot Tilo in a suspended basket which works as a new shortcut between the top of the tower and the garden below)

screen-shot-12-19-16-at-02-08-pm-001

Xbox One:

There’s not a lot to report on that front unfortunately; we have submitted a build to Microsoft in order to enter the Game Preview certification process but that was a while back and we haven’t heard from them since.

Anyway, since this is totally out of our control we will keep concentrating on the PC version!

Regarding the new build I invite you all to go here to read the release notes for all the details.

Finally we wish you all happy holidays! Thank you for sticking with us throughout this year of development! And stay tuned for more Ghost of a Tale related news to come in 2017! :)

  41 Responses to “Improved performance all around!”

  1. Hey just wondering if you guys are still using shaderforge or are you guys using the amplify shader?

  2. man this is shaping up to be SUCH an amazing loooking game. I can’t wait to see the final release! I want this on my shelf and in hand soooo badly :)

    Great work Seith. I’m really excited for you!!!

  3. Since unity already supports tesselation in onpengl renderer and vulkan renderer is in development, I was wondering about the feasibility of a linux port after the initial release.

    • I don’t currently have access to a Linux machine, so no promises! But we’ll look at it after the initial release. And depending on how difficult/time-consuming the port is, it could maybe happen.

  4. Great update, love the improvements.

  5. Amazing work! You guys must be working yourselves up, but be sure it shows in all the lovely details here! I just don’t know how you do it but just keep doing it. This is shaping up to to be a major release in… Well, whenever it’s ready 😉 Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to playing it and also about the buzz this will cause. I guess you could say that for the first time since gothic 3 I’m hyped up 😀

  6. At least Xbox One gets a mention. Nothing at all about PS4? (The only system I have to play this on.)

  7. Awesome update!! Can’t wait to play thru it again over the xmas break.

  8. Performance updates may not sound like the most exciting thing to talk about, but I find it really great to hear about and whatever you did REALLY made a difference! What was the biggest factor, if you don’t mind me asking? Changing the shaders? adding LODs? Better mipmapping? Better level streaming? I find this kind of stuff fascinating!

    • Yes, performance updates can be dreary, hence the generous helping of pictures. :)

      The biggest performance boosters are the new sectioning system, optimization with actors, more efficient SSS shaders (ie: vegetation) and better data management. LODs are only used in 1% of the game, so we still have room for improvement there.

  9. Do these optimizations mean that we can play this at 4k 60fps?
    PS. Merry Christmas!

  10. What about GOG?
    I cant wait to play the final game. So far ita amazing.

  11. Hey, it’s looking great so far! The mechanical and atmospheric aspects of the game are great. I absolutely love the work on the menu. It’s gorgeous!

    Is there any development planned towards giving sounds and voices to all the characters? Even just atmospheric character sounds like squeaks when Tilo gets hit would be awesome. It’s hard to tell when I’m hit :(

    • Thank you Kevin! Yes, more sounds will be added later on to enrich the soundscape. Currently there is the bare minimum (and the rats attack sounds are not integrated yet).

  12. Truly amazing work! Thank you for all your hard work. I have one concern however. After getting the new update and having to start the game over (saves not working and all), I could only pick up 2 passes and not 3 (from the sleeping guard and courtyard table). I don’t know if my game only had that glitch or if it is universal. Just wanted you to know.

  13. Another amazing update.. Thanks Seith!

  14. The crazy thing about this game is it’s not gorgeous and technically impressive for a game made by one guy with a tiny supporting team – it’s just flat out gorgeous and impressive, full stop. And those are some crazy performance improvements! Great work as always!

    P.S. Any possibility of a VR port post-release? I’d love to be able to step into this world and look around (I’d buy that DLC!)

    • Thank you for your compliment, Stephen!

      We would need to look at how the game would behave in VR but after all Cyrille is a VR evangelist, so who knows… :)

  15. Hi Seith. What is Microsoft’s problem? Are they messing with ways to make the Kinect relevant again or are they too busy with Windows 11, seriously, they have a gem on their hands here. A genuine, piece of beauty that will enthral. I can see this being a family game. My 3 and half year old boy watched videos of the game with me, calling to Tilo to run when a rat saw him. He got so engaged with the game when those toothy things in the sewers were trying to eat him that this is another reason for me to want the game. I can happily sit with my son and we can enjoy it together.

    Am i going to have to find an antiquted village that has a pitch fork or two lying around so i can storm the Microsoft offices and tell them to pull their thumbs out of their asses.

    I really want to play Ghost of a Tale. That green fire at the beginning still gets me every time. There aren’t many games that pull you into their world on their terms. This is one of them.

    • Thank you very much for your kind message, Lee! I’m glad you and your boy got to enjoy Tilo’s (early access) adventure.

      Unfortunately as you can imagine I cannot really comment on the Xbox One situation. Except to say that your reaction somewhat mirrors ours…

      • No problem Seith. I know you’re probably loving the whole process of bringing this game to life fully, but as you’re a one man (with some very dedicated fellows) show, and not a huge conglomerate, it may get a little isolating. So if words of encouragement help, then so be it. Think of yourself and your guys as a Fellowship against a horde of Orcs and such not, and us forum contributors the funny, strange characters you meet along the way to help you to your goal.

        Only the other night, while using pillows as “Toothy Things” (as my little boy calls them) we played “Ghost of a Tale” across the sofa’s. Seriously, you need some merchandise too.
        You could do a George Lucas and keep all the Merchendising rights, becaome a billionaire and live on “Gallat Ranch”.

  16. No no no, that’s not the news about Xbox One I was hoping to read. Finally it is ready for Game Preview but MS just doesn’t respond? Man what a shame, of all these Game Preview games this is one that truly deserves it in my opinion. Recently MS added Astroneer to it, I hope Ghost of a tale is next. I’m going to make a thread on the Xbox One Reddit about this. Hope MS sees it! Hurry the *beep* up MS.

  17. Can’t seem to edit my message but wanted to let you know that i made threads about it here. Someone there said this should be sent to Major Nelson and i hope that can be arranged, because he’s the man that can bring this up to MS.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/xboxone/comments/5l6g7k/remember_ghost_of_a_tale_the_game_is_ready_for/

    http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/691088-xbox-one/74789989

    https://forums.xbox.com/en-US/thread/1100ba70-8b29-4156-b20e-dae6a03ab519

  18. I’m playing 2.67 on GOG now. Annoyed that my old saves don’t work, but I’m really enjoying all the improvements to the game. It feels so much more polished now.

    One potential bug I’ve found is that the sallet is not longer in the same place (on top of the barrel in the courtyard) even though Rolo’s map still points you there. I haven’t found it so far – has it just moved elsewhere?

  19. I woke up, walked my dog, had some breakfast and decided to check if there were any replies on Reddit. To my surorise Microsoft’s own Major Nelson replied with this:

    Message received. I’ll pass along your interest to right folks.

    He’s known to listen to people on Reddit and things changing, so this should hopefully mean it will be added to Game Preview sometime next year. Sjeesh i sure hope so, want to play this so bad.

  20. I’ve posted the links to the threads too buy for some reason they are still awaiting moderation. Either way, the Game Preview team needs to wake up now and bring this to Xbox ASAP. Would be absolutely insane if nothing is going to happen now.

  21. Hello, first I want to apologize for my terrible English.

    I learned about the GoT in July 2016 and since then watch the game. In January I got tired just watching and I decided to buy the game, immediately charmed me completely. Indeed, I think this game has a soul, in other words, its sense of play GoT can not express.

    I regret that I did not have knowledge about the game before, when the campaign was at Indiegogo because statue undead rat looks great.

    If possible, I’d like to game development contributed a smaller sum.

    Really, good job, keep it up.

    Libu

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