2.3 Graphical Color Improvements to SWTOR

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in Graphics, News, SWTOR | 0 comments

SWTOR is getting something of a makeover in terms of colors. Most will agree that it’s an improvement but for those who have grown accustomed to seeing it in its darker fashion might not approve. Personally, I like it. I really think some zones were just a bit too dreary and drab with all the grey/brown. I like the improved colors and crispness of it all. It also seems to have more of a real feel and texture rather than the cartoony feel in some zones. I like this. One user shared some before and after pics on Reddit to help us see what the color changes look like: What’ll strike you first is the sheer colour in the game. These screenshots were taken in the exact same locations, with the same gamma/brightness/graphics settings.   Before:   After:    Before:    After:    To be honest, while I think this is a good move, I think the game needs a lighting overhaul in general. Again, I kind of have to agree here that even on some of the brightest planets in the game, everything always struck me as too dark. In fact, sometimes it even seemed like the shadows were too dark and I would get headaches after playing in certain zones for long periods of time. I think it’s a subtle enough change not to look like a whole new game but a good enough change to make it all have a fresher feel to it. What do you think about the new lighting? Good or...

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Developer Blog: Technical Changes in Game Update 1.5

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Graphics, Patch 1.5 | 0 comments

I apologize we are late with this one, but the fact that I live in Denmark, and BioWare have a habit of sending out news when we I sleep, it some times make it hard to keep up. Anyways, enough QQ for now! BioWare’s Technical Artist Ben Cloward, posted a new developer blog yesterday, informing the community about large  technical changes coming with  Game Update 1.5. It’s actually quite interesting that the team use so much energy optimizing the Hero Engine. When Patch 1.5 launches the flora an fauna in the game  is going to be more realistic. Instead of looking solid and therefore unnaturally dark when viewed against the sun, players with their Shader Complexity set to high will notice that leaves and grass will be moderately translucent, allowing sunlight to filter through them. Check out the blog post here....

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Republic Trooper Interview of Jeff Dobson

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Graphics, Jeff Dobson | 0 comments

Graphics are a huge part of any MMO and it’s something that I look for when choosing a video game to play. Good graphics greatly enhance the gameplay. SWTOR has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the animation and visual effects of the game. The art team at Bioware did an excellent job with the graphics but I sometimes wonder how it’s even possible to create such amazing artwork. RepublicTrooper.com went right to the source and did an interview with Jeff Dobson, TORs Art Director to ask a few of the questions that gamers like me often wonder about but never have the opportunity to ask. One of the questions Republic Trooper asked was “How many different types of artists are there and what are their roles?” Dobson answered by saying, “We have concept artists, character artists, environment artists, VFX artists, GUI artists, animators, and technical artists. The world design team is worth a mention here as well, because they participate a lot in the initial visual development of an area.” Image from www.flavivirus.net/swtorpano/ <- go check out some amzing panoramic pictures there.   Republic Trooper referred to the future of SWTOR with this question, “What major challenges do the art team face moving forward?” Dobson’s answer was an interesting one that gives all of SWTOR fans something to look forward to. He said, “We have already given you the coolest stuff we could think up for the past few years. We look forward to a future where we will have to continually out-do ourselves and think up even cooler stuff every few months to put in the fans’ hands.” To learn more about how the Bioware art team brings the SWTOR world to life, check out the full interview at RepublicTrooper.com. It gives you a better idea of all the time and hard work it takes for the artists to create a video game with such amazing...

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SWTOR Trick to Improve Graphic Performance

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Graphics, mods, tips and tricks | 0 comments

If you want to correct the high resolution texture issue that a lot of people are complaining about with SWTOR, then there is a little trick you can do to improve your graphic performance in the game. For some people, it might be too much trouble just to correct some shiny floors but for those who are comfortable with tweaking their settings, it’s a fairly simple process. *Keep in mind that adjusting your settings is done at your own risk. * You can change the settings for your SWTOR profile GPU profile. The idea is to is to force your ‘LOD Bias’ to -3. Nvidia Inspector is freeware that will help NVIDIA users. ATI Tray Tools is freeware that will help if you have an ATI GPU. Once you have these tools installed, go to the 3D settings and choose “additional” (should be a tab for it) and then set the LOD BIAS to -3 (negative 3). Save under the Profiles tool and link it to SWTOR under your Game Profiles. Then once you save it all and reopen the game, you should notice a difference. What does it do? Basically, this little trick with fix the reflective (shiny) nature of some of the game textures. This can help you increase your framerates and get smoother play, especially in certain areas. Do you know any tricks to help improve performance? Share them with us in the...

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Official dev response regarding blurry high quality textures: Shit storm incoming!

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in forum post, Graphics, Stephen Reid, textures | 0 comments

Almost since the first release day of SWTOR, users at the official SWTOR forum have raised concern about missing high quality graphical textures that was in the game during Beta. After investigating the issue, Senior Online Community Manager Stephen Reid responded to the problem and thereby started a tsunami on the official forums. Check out Reids answer below and follow the debate over here, but embrace yourself, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than there! Hey everyone, thanks for bearing with us as we investigated the concerns raised here.After investigation, it seems that the confusion here is a combination of a UI issue that’s been resolved and a feature that’s working as intended, but the reason why it’s ‘working as intended’ needs explanation.  First, the UI issue. The preferences menu as it is seen on the Public Test Server for version 1.1 of the game is correct – there are only supposed to be two texture choices, ‘Low’ and ‘High’. This replaces the original three-choice preference of Low/Medium/High because in reality, there was never supposed to be a ‘Medium’ choice – that was a bug.  Here’s where we need to explain. As many of you have noted, your character in the game world is rendered using lower resolution textures than inside of cinematic conversation scenes. This was a deliberate decision by the development team. To understand why this was done, I have to briefly talk about MMOs and their engines.  In comparison to single player games and other genres of multiplayer online games, MMOs have much higher variability in the number of characters that can be potentially rendered on-screen at the same time. In MMOs, even though most of the time you’ll see a relatively small number of characters on screen, there are certain situations in which many more characters will be seen. Some examples of these situations include popular gathering places in-game (in our case, the two fleets), Operations with large teams, and Warzones. In those scenarios the client (and your PC) has to work hard to show off a lot of characters on-screen. During development and testing of The Old Republic, our priorities were to ensure the game looked great and performed well. In testing, we discovered that using our ‘maximum resolution’ textures on in-game characters during normal gameplay could cause severe performance issues, even on powerful PCs. There were a variety of possible options to help improve performance, but one that was explored and ultimately implemented used what is known as a ‘texture atlas‘.  To understand that I’ve got to get technical for a minute. When a character in the game is ‘seen’ by another character – ie, gets close to your field of view – the client has to ‘draw’ that character for you to see. As the character is ‘drawn’ for you there are a number of what are known as ‘draw calls’ where the client pulls information from the repository it has on your hard disk, including textures, and then renders the character. Every draw call that is made is a demand on your PC, so keeping that number of draw calls low per character is important.  With our ‘maximum resolution’ textures a large number of draw calls are made per character, but that wasn’t practical for normal gameplay, especially when a large number of characters were in one place; the number of draw calls made on your client would multiply very quickly.  The solution was to ‘texture atlas’ – essentially to put a number of smaller textures together into one larger texture. This reduces the number of draw calls dramatically and allows the client to render characters quicker, which improves performance dramatically.  When it comes to cinematic scenes, however, characters are rendered using the higher number of draw calls and maximum resolution textures. This is because in those scenes, we have control over exactly how many characters are rendered and can ensure that the game performs well. The transition between ‘atlas textured’ characters (out of cinematics) and ‘maximum resolution’ textures (in cinematics) is mostly hidden by the transition between those two states (when the screen goes black), but obviously it’s clear if you pay close attention.  In summary; yes, we had a small UI bug that unfortunately caused confusion over how the game is intended to work. The textures you’re seeing in the course of normal gameplay are optimized for that mode of play. The textures you’re seeing during cinematics are also optimized for that mode of play. They are higher resolution, but that’s because we’re able to control cinematic scenes to ensure good performance in a way we can’t during normal gameplay.  We understand the passion and desire for people to see the same textures you see in our cinematic scenes in the main game. Because of the performance issues that would cause for the client, that’s not an immediate and easy fix; we need to ensure we’re making choices that the majority of our players will be able to benefit from. Having ‘atlassed textures’ helps performance overall, and that’s a very important goal for us.  With that said, we’ve heard your feedback here loud and clear. The development team is exploring options to improve the fidelity of the game, particularly for those of you with high-spec PCs. It will be a significant piece of development work and it won’t be an overnight change, but we’re listening and we’re committed to reacting to your...

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