I like big arguments!
Seriously, we have quadcore 64-bit CPUs, many GB of memory, and lightning fast storage drives such as SSDs.
Indeed we do but:
- Each CPU core is at most 2x faster than the best single-core CPUs ever developed (for desktop, let's keep that at a 3.80 GHz Pentium 4 or an Athlon 64+ 3800). And nobody really got this whole "parallel programming" right for games, at least: they are mostly single-threaded affairs, still.
- We have more RAM, but unfortunately, the speed of RAM didn't keep up with the multiplication of cores. So today you can buy an 8-core i7 CPU...too bad that RAM isn't actually 8x or even 16x times faster than the DDR or DDR2 used 10 years ago.
- Having fast secondary storage hasn't been an issue since the days of UDMA, unless you still have to deal with insufficient RAM, and really need fast page swapping.
In any case, the power of individual CPU cores has hit a plateau/brickwall, at least for now, and you only see "additive" improvements, which however don't translate automatically into better systems. That's also part of the reason why you don't have this constant change in hardware requirements that you had during the 90s, where the CPU power gap more than doubled overnight with the introduction of the Pentium, and when in 1997 a Pentium 200 had 10x the power of a 486 DX/66 which was "the shit" just 3 years ago.
Woolie Wool said:
Rome: Total War: Alexander was a completely antiquated game when it came out,
Even WoW had a completely antiquated graphics engine but guess what, that didn't prevent it from becoming a massive hit.
Rome II looks perfectly fine to me
So it does to me, but is that an actual in-game screenshot taken with usable detail settings and in a realistic gameplay situation (in what tactical situation you face your own troops taking cover?), or just a prepared pose? Also, while the models themselves are obviously better than the older Rome...they are still at most Doom 3 or Battlefield 2 in quality. And I only see about two dozens of them on the screen. No Modern FPS would "fly" with that quality of enemies (compare e.g. Far Cry 3 and others). We also need to see what kind of AI an individual unit has in those games. Does it simply follow orders like "go there", "stand ground" and "fight back if attacked"? Is so, that's a totally different situation than a FPS.
E.g. in a game like Battlefield 1942, the main CPU hog was not the number of actors or 3D models visible: it was the percentage of CPU time dedicated to AI bots (!), which could even be set by the user (max 25%). That's another thing to consider: modern FPS have way more complex AI than Doom (even if we all might be inclined to disagree...) and spawning thousands or even "just" hundreds or even a few dozens of them at once, will be a bigger performance hit than the rendering itself. Even in Doom, the time dedicated to handling its simplistic AI in NUTS.WAD-like maps can easily exceed the rendering one.
So, it's really a vicious circle. To have better graphics, you need to cut down on active actors. To cut down on active actors without (?) sacrificing gameplay, you need to make each of them "smarter" and harder to defeat. But by doing so you also increase CPU hogging, other than GPU hogging, so you hope that the next CPU & GPU generation will allow you to beyond. But when those come out, players will have greater expectations, so there you go again....a 2x CPU power increase every 3 years is really not enough to give even Doom 3-quality visuals to Doom II Hell Revealed gameplay, sorry.
Woolie Wool said
But at any rate, scenarios where you see more than 10 or 12 monsters on screen in the original Doom games are exceedingly rare; horde gameplay is an invention of PWAD authors. Doom is not Serious Sam.
"Exceedingly rare" if you play it on anything under UV, maybe. Even E1 on UV can become pretty crowded. The left-hand door in E1M3, for example, just makes you wish you had access to a RL (if you didn't get it in E1M2 already). And let's not even speak of NM gameplay. Even the PSX version had more than 10 enemies on screen quite often.
Last edited by Maes on 04-13-14 at 13:31