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id: Rage too complex for modding

id: Rage too complex for modding

id Software reckons that the complex megatextures used in Rage may make the game hard to mod for.

If you were looking forward to tinkering with id Software's new Tech5 engine when Rage is released then we may have some bad news for you. id Software has revealed that the upcoming multi-platform shooter, Rage, might be a bit too complex for users to modify.

The problem it seems arises from the megatexture technology used in the game, a technique which involves using heavily compressed surface textures to ensure that no part of the terrain is repeated at the texture level. It's a fancy new technology developed by id, but the process requires textures of up to 128000x128000 pixels in size.

Not only does this mean that the megatexture technology is going to be prohibitively complex and detailed for many users, but the textures also take a staggering amount of processing power to create. Put simply, id doubts that any modders have the hardware available to them to even try and fiddle with the technology.

In the past id Software have always been very supportive of the modding community and have gone so far as to make all of their games and engines open-source once the next few titles have been released. Carmack and Co. have pledged that they will be doing the same with the id Tech 5 engine too eventually, but are unsure if anybody could yet process all the information - sounds like a challenge to us!

Naturally though, the issue does beg the question of why the engine requires megatextures and doesn't provide support for smaller, old-fashioned texture technologies.

Have you ever made a map or a mod? Let us know in the forums.

32 Comments

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liratheal 19th September 2008, 16:01 Quote
Eh. It'll get modded. Everything always does.
UrbanMarine 19th September 2008, 16:08 Quote
Too complex to mod because they won't release the SDK for years..
liratheal 19th September 2008, 16:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMarine
Too complex to mod because they won't release the SDK for years..

That's probably what they meant to say :D
alexandros1313 19th September 2008, 16:17 Quote
Let me take a stab at translating all that for the layman:

"We want you to buy the console versions. Mods may sway you into buying the evil PC version. So we kill mods".
Lepermessiah 19th September 2008, 16:27 Quote
Another once great PC dev goes to the dogs and stops supporting the community because of consoles. Consoles and everything they stand for suck royally.
Narishma 19th September 2008, 16:52 Quote
Yay another Rage bashing thread.
Paradigm Shifter 19th September 2008, 16:57 Quote
Hm. I suspect some enterprising soul out there will find a way to extract files so they can be edited quite quickly. Once that is done, it's really a matter of patience. Editing 128000x128000 pixel textures will take a lot, though. But unless iD are developing this game on some secret supercomputer, there has to be a normal PC out there capable of doing it. Besides... if a PC can't edit it... what hope have some of the consoles (with their limited amounts of RAM) got to run it? Or will the game run like a slideshow on everything because it's constantly paging textures off the disc?
Veles 19th September 2008, 17:04 Quote
I bet the hardcore modding crowd will be seeing this as a challenge. I would have thought they'd allow people to use regular sized textures though.

Another question is do we really need megatextures? Sure they're great for landscapes but are they really using them on everything? Such as smaller objects like barrels/cars/guns/etc.?

I suppose they could have one megatexture with loads of barrel textures so no barrel looks the same. IIRC, stardock changed it so ships in GalCivII were all covered by one massive texture, eliminating the need to load several different textures.
liratheal 19th September 2008, 17:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
Hm. I suspect some enterprising soul out there will find a way to extract files so they can be edited quite quickly. Once that is done, it's really a matter of patience. Editing 128000x128000 pixel textures will take a lot, though. But unless iD are developing this game on some secret supercomputer, there has to be a normal PC out there capable of doing it. Besides... if a PC can't edit it... what hope have some of the consoles (with their limited amounts of RAM) got to run it? Or will the game run like a slideshow on everything because it's constantly paging textures off the disc?

Like I said. Everything is modded eventually. Just because the devs can't see it happening doesn't mean it won't ;)

Unless they're developing on the Roadrunner. Then they might be right >.>
yakyb 19th September 2008, 17:11 Quote
hmm interesting ignoring the silly console comments above.

my best guess is that if a modder really did want to give this a go they could write themselves a CUDA based app or get the one for the upcoming photoshop that allows the editing of very large textures. now i cant remember how big Nvidia quoted initially.

now after that you would need a CUDA based mapping tool (or a super computer, cluster) to build the levels on function in the amount of time needed to build these things and yes its too complicated

however that begs the question what are they building the levels using?
liratheal 19th September 2008, 17:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
hmm interesting ignoring the silly console comments above.

my best guess is that if a modder really did want to give this a go they could write themselves a CUDA based app or get the one for the upcoming photoshop that allows the editing of very large textures. now i cant remember how big Nvidia quoted initially.

now after that you would need a CUDA based mapping tool (or a super computer, cluster) to build the levels on function in the amount of time needed to build these things and yes its too complicated

however that begs the question what are they building the levels using?

Computers from space. Mass effect is a true story, you see, but only ID have managed to get the alien tech, which is what they're using :B
Zurechial 19th September 2008, 17:22 Quote
While I'm an opponent of 'consolification' in most circumstances I think the early comments here are just jumping to conclusions and looking for an excuse to whine about ID now that whining about Epic has gone out of fashion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
Naturally though, the issue does beg the question of why the engine requires megatextures and doesn't provide support for smaller, old-fashioned texture technologies.

I doubt this is actually the case. While it's not impossible, I find it unlikely that the engine will throw up an error if a modder tried to use tiling textures smaller than 128kx128k pixels.

Given the prowess of Carmack & Co. and their general eagerness to support modding, I think it's more likely that if the engine is passed a cut-down 'megatexture' in the region of 16k x 16k pixels (an easily manageable texture size on any modern PC running photoshop) it'll tile it across the map.

If the engine supports it and if the modder is inventive enough, they could use shader maps, multiple passes of texture-layers or even film-grain shaders and the like in real-time in-game on that cut-down modder's-megatexture to give an impression of higher-detail similar to the progressive-texturing system used in the older iterations of the Unreal engine (used most effectively in the original Deus Ex).
It'd never approach the same level of detail and uniqueness provided by a true Megatexture created at ID, but it'd probably suffice for most modders and satisfy most players.

Additionally, I can imagine someone writing a command-line tool for morphing, flipping & manipulating the existing ID megatextures or applying Photoshop filters without rendering the texture - for an automated kind of texture-mangling to create something 'new' from the existing ID megatextures but on typical gamer/enthusiast-grade hardware.

Isn't the next major iteration of Photoshop going to be accelerated with parallel-processing via CUDA or similar?
If so, I'd imagine megaxtures would be somewhat less of an issue for anyone equipped with a GPU capable of that.
And who's going to be seriously trying to play Rage (nevermind mod Tech5) with anything less than an 8-series or similar?
Quote:
Originally Posted by GameSutra Article
Megatextures require huge amounts of processing power to be baked into their final form for distribution on the game disc; Willits alluded to a large number of computers working for a long time to process them, analogous to a CG render farm.

At a guess, this is referring to the conversion of a lossless-quality megaxture to a compressed-texture for use in-engine. If this is the case, it's only a matter of time before someone writes an alternate converter that converts faster but produces a lower-quality final megaxture, or spends less time on compression and creates a higher-quality, less-optimised final megatexture.
The above is conjecture on my part, but when it comes to modding: Where there's a will there's a way. That's what modding is about.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GameSutra Article
Willits envisioned modders developing modular chunks of gameplay that can be slotted into the extant Rage world, rather than full mods, as a potential solution. While the game's large central wasteland is a streaming hub world, its levels are instance-based.

This paragraph alone suggests to me that most of the accusations of console-preference aimed at ID are unfounded, and that they're eager to support modders on the PC (looking for solutions and providing workarounds), but are just publicly acknowledging and addressing the issue that, because technology has moved on, modding Tech5 simply won't be as easy for the average modder as it was with Doom and the Quake games when they came out.
The above quote even suggests to me something along the lines of the plugin system used in Morrowind and Oblivion, and I think that could do the job nicely with Rage, but I'd hope also that the modders wouldn't be locked into using a dumbed-down SDK-Lite aimed at the average user (TESCS and the NWN editor spring to mind..)
UrbanMarine 19th September 2008, 17:44 Quote
Consoles...when a full size PC bangs a micro size pc a console is born.

If Rage is a quality game why worry about the mods, the main game should keep us occupied for years.
chrisb2e9 19th September 2008, 18:45 Quote
Quote:
Naturally though, the issue does beg the question of why the engine requires megatextures and doesn't provide support for smaller, old-fashioned texture technologies.
maybe they are trying to move computer gaming forwards instead of keeping it stagnant. I get tired of seeing the same texture over and over again. sounds like a good thing to me.
As for not being able to mod this, like other people have said, modders will find a way. It might not happen in the first month, or the first year, but eventually they will have the tools to do it.
Quote:
Another once great PC dev goes to the dogs and stops supporting the community because of consoles. Consoles and everything they stand for suck royally.
What makes you think that they wont be support modding in the future, and why do you think they dont support modding for this game? because of consoles?
Quote:
The problem it seems arises from the megatexture technology used in the game
did you read the article?
Cobalt 19th September 2008, 18:49 Quote
Based on what has come out of the modding scene in the past it seems like an odd statement to me. I wonder what kind of computer is actually required. In the hardcore gamer market (where a lot of the modders come from in the first place) high end machines are a lot more common than you would otherwise expect in a game's audience. Unless they do require multiprocessor workstations to manipulate the textures, there are still going to be enough people out there with the required hardware.

Besides, just because terrain editing may be difficult due to the technology, what's stopping them from modding other parts of the game?
Narishma 19th September 2008, 19:30 Quote
Cobalt: I suggest you read the article because it answers both of your questions.
UrbanMarine 19th September 2008, 19:35 Quote
I suggest building a 25million server room and then attempting to make a 10x10 room in Rage editor. It should work :)
Star*Dagger 19th September 2008, 20:17 Quote
Consideirng the Fact that Carmack and Co have invented, advanced, reinvented and to many perfected FPS gaming they wont leave PC development to 2nd place.

Carmack is a genius on the order that a field only sees once every century or so.

Enjoy

BTW, 8 series is min spec now for gamers, by the time that game comes out it will be useless.

S*D
LordPyrinc 20th September 2008, 02:56 Quote
128000x128000 pixels for textures????

Now I see why the footprint of the install is so massive. How much of that can the average LCD screen actually parse into individual pixels? I don't know the answer because I'm too lazy to do the research, but what is the visual difference to the end user?
roshan 20th September 2008, 03:42 Quote
All the talking about Rage these days ,make me beleave the game is nearly finished and hit the market soon.
Bauul 20th September 2008, 11:34 Quote
So many people jumping to conclusions, including you Joe, bad journalism!

The megatexture works by having a SINGLE texture that contains the visual images for the entire map. It doesn't mean it all gets loaded at once (duh), just that all the texture information is held in one single file. Takes ages to render, but takes less time to display when playing the game. It's a brilliant idea (naturally, this is id) and should do wonders for the game's look. But obviously, calculating the display map and shadow map for a texture that's 8 square miles would take an age, hence their comment. It's nothing to do with consoles, and it's everything to do with a better end experience for the player. Now stop your trolling all of you and calm down.
CardJoe 20th September 2008, 12:46 Quote
I never said it was anything to do with consoles. We know that consoles can handle the megatexture technology as it's been used there before.

You're such an id Fanboy, Ben :p
ChuckyP83 20th September 2008, 17:48 Quote
A quick check in photoshop. A 128k x 128k image file is roughly 46GB. That would need some serious amount of HD speed or a ridiculous amount of memory to process that image at anything near snails pace. Granted using some sort of GPGPU program MIGHT speed that up assuming it can be coded to support 64GB of memory and whatnot so that the texture isn't being paged off the disk. Damn those textures are huge before they compress them...
ChuckyP83 20th September 2008, 17:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Given the prowess of Carmack & Co. and their general eagerness to support modding, I think it's more likely that if the engine is passed a cut-down 'megatexture' in the region of 16k x 16k pixels (an easily manageable texture size on any modern PC running photoshop) it'll tile it across the map.

That size is reasonably manageable. Its when you start editing it and the history states start filling up the memory, that you begin to get massive slowdowns with anything resembling a "normal" PC. Granted probably none of us have "normal" PC's. But given that no version of Photoshop is yet 64-bit, and can't really access more than 3-4GB then its kind of moot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Isn't the next major iteration of Photoshop going to be accelerated with parallel-processing via CUDA or similar?
If so, I'd imagine megaxtures would be somewhat less of an issue for anyone equipped with a GPU capable of that.
And who's going to be seriously trying to play Rage (nevermind mod Tech5) with anything less than an 8-series or similar?

This is just an opinion, but I dont think that using Cuda to accelerate image processing tasks is going to amount to much. Wouldn't the GPU need a copy of the image in its local memory? I don't know, but if it does then copying a 128k x 128k image to the GPU memory isn't going to happen. Even a 16k x 16k is a 750+MB raw file in PS which couldn't fit into most GPU memories these days unless you've got a 1GB version. I suppose for simple image manipulation tasks that GPU acceleration could definitely help though. Its just when you get into editing instead of just changing hue or using canned filters, that the GPU make less of an impact.
Hamish 20th September 2008, 20:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckyP83

This is just an opinion, but I dont think that using Cuda to accelerate image processing tasks is going to amount to much. Wouldn't the GPU need a copy of the image in its local memory? I don't know, but if it does then copying a 128k x 128k image to the GPU memory isn't going to happen. Even a 16k x 16k is a 750+MB raw file in PS which couldn't fit into most GPU memories these days unless you've got a 1GB version. I suppose for simple image manipulation tasks that GPU acceleration could definitely help though. Its just when you get into editing instead of just changing hue or using canned filters, that the GPU make less of an impact.

you would feed it a section of the image, have it process it and then feed it the next section and so on ;)
willyolio 21st September 2008, 07:00 Quote
all the more reason to favour tesselation instead of megatextures...
Bauul 21st September 2008, 10:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I never said it was anything to do with consoles. We know that consoles can handle the megatexture technology as it's been used there before.

You're such an id Fanboy, Ben :p


I actually just meant the "Naturally though, the issue does beg the question of why the engine requires megatextures and doesn't provide support for smaller, old-fashioned texture technologies. " bit. It's the equivilent of creating the world's most powerful electric car, and then lementing the fact it doesn't use petrol. The point is that it doesn't use petrol, so why complain? Same situation here.

And yes, id fanboy and proud of it! Now where's my trusty chainsaw?
CardJoe 21st September 2008, 13:06 Quote
And my point was that if they are keen to support the mod community, but aware that megatextures present a barrier, then why not create a mode for modders to use smaller textures too - especially if the technology already exists. It doesn't seem like the megatextures and standard textures should be mutually exclusive - surely they can support both?
Bauul 21st September 2008, 20:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
And my point was that if they are keen to support the mod community, but aware that megatextures present a barrier, then why not create a mode for modders to use smaller textures too - especially if the technology already exists. It doesn't seem like the megatextures and standard textures should be mutually exclusive - surely they can support both?

Not necessarilly. Much like the D3 engine was built with fully dynmaic lighting as the core feature of its design (and hence doesn't support the old-fashioned lightmaps method), id Tech 5 was built from the ground up to use of unique texturing (aka Megatexture) as its main feature. Shoe-horning in the old-fashioned tiled texture method is likely to be either a huge amount of extra work, or completely break the engine. I'm not saying this is a good thing and it is a massive shame, as some of the best mods ever were for id games, but don't you think that John Carmack, graphics engine super-nerd and massive supporter of the modding community, would have found a way to use tiling textures as well as unique texturing if it was possible?
CardJoe 21st September 2008, 22:25 Quote
That has to be wrong. The engine must support standard-sized textures for smaller objects and models - so the tech already has to be there in some form and it must only be a matter of finding a way to make it work on landscapes too.

As for John Carmack's motivations, I'm betting he's more concerned with pushing on to new things to worry about making the new stuff back-compatible, otherwise all of the id games would have been massively different.
Bauul 22nd September 2008, 12:10 Quote
I'll agree with you there, id have never been about supporting aging tech if it cost them technical advancement. Q3 was the first game to require a 3D Accelerator just to run, and I remember when they announced D3 the minimum requirements were for a line of graphics cards that hadn't been released yet.

I guess we're just not going to know until the game gets launched and someone pokes around in the engine. Although as I understand it they're using Unique Texturing on everything. The Megatexture only refers to the use of Unique Texturing on the landscape, and hence was present in the D3 engine as it was only a small part of the final product. id Tech 5 is using it for every bit of texturing in the level IIRC. So yes, whilst it does sound strange, I wouldn't at all be surprised if tiled-based texture rendering actually didn't exist in the engine at all.
cheeriokilla 25th July 2009, 19:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordPyrinc
128000x128000 pixels for textures????

Now I see why the footprint of the install is so massive. How much of that can the average LCD screen actually parse into individual pixels? I don't know the answer because I'm too lazy to do the research, but what is the visual difference to the end user?

It's not like characters have this kind of textures, they only use it for terrain, and what they probably do is paint the terrain as they wish with decals and everything and then the terrain mapping is saved into a big gigantic texture for easier processing maybe!?

What is for sure is that it's used for mapping terrain only, therefore, every single pixel will be detailed if you wish
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