An update on NWN2 and PWs

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Dark_EK
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An update on NWN2 and PWs

Post by Dark_EK » Sat Apr 15, 2006 10:08 am

A small update on NWN2 and PWs.

http://nwn2forums.bioware.com/forums/vi ... &forum=100
J.E. Sawyer wrote:Hello, my friends. This is mostly a cautionary message for PW builders based on some questions that were asked in the chat last night. Of specific note was a question asking if we had run a module with 300 areas in it.

The answer is not only "no," but "not even in our dreams". It's true that the average gaming rig is a lot beefier today than it was when the original NWN was released. But the complexity of our areas -- both interior and exterior -- is dramatically greater. One consequence is that a NWN2 area tends to have a hefty memory footprint. This is especially true on exteriors, where super texture-layered height-mapped terrain is stuffed full of trees, bushes, and high-detail buildings. We are still in the process of optimizing our data and beautifying areas intelligently, but we're typically looking at 6-9 megs for a mid-sized NWN2 exterior. On the extreme end, big areas run upwards of 20 megs.

This might not seem like that big of a deal on machines that often have 1 or 2 gigs of RAM, but when you throw in ten of these suckers and a bunch of interiors that are all part of the same module, you are on a highway to the proverbial danger zone. Combined with the game's overhead for doing everything else, it's a lot for a server to deal with.

For people playing our "OC" and building adventure modules, none of this should be a big concern. You can chop up your modules into whatever size you want and people can just deal with lugging the party around. For PW builders this may cause logistical problems for how large your modules can be. If you were planning to have a series of areas running continuously from Baldur's Gate to Lathtarl's Lantern (a personal favorite), you will need to have a server forged by the hand of Bane himself. Or maybe twelve 30th level arcanists. Either way, it's a big deal.

I know this is probably less encouraging news than, "Yeah, we're running 500 areas in a single module!" but I figure that letting everyone know now is better than letting you figure it out through trial and error after the game comes out. Lest this come off as a tepid, eye-roll-inducing "temper your expectations" message, let me end with clarity:

NWN2 areas take up a lot of memory. The exteriors take up even more memory. If you are planning to have huge chains (10+) of large exteriors and interiors linked in a single module, it's not going to run smoothly on current hardware.
Looks like a big chance of a 'no'?

Themicles
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Post by Themicles » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:45 pm

I understand what he is saying.
What I don't understand is what the hell textures have anything to do with running a dedicated server...
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terryrayc
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Post by terryrayc » Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm

not sure...what I don't understand is why the size of the mod should even matter. If you ask me it's a design flaw if it does. I don't care if the mod has 500 areas in it and it,s 120mb in size...it shouldn't load the entire mod into memory anyway. It should extract the mod into a temp area and only load things such as NPCs, scripts, HB items and such. it an area uses 20mb of memory as it's footprint it should only efect the client when they enter and load that 20mb into their memory, not the server.
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jaythespacehound
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Post by jaythespacehound » Mon Apr 17, 2006 2:15 am

Yeah I have to agree with you two, I'm confused :?

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Post by JollyOrc » Mon Apr 17, 2006 5:13 am

look further down that thread to see that texture size is indeed irrelevant for the dedicated server.

I think the difficulties arrive partly when you introduce more or less dynamic walkmeshes instead of pre-fabricated ones, and also with the size and detail of said walkmeshes.

You still need to store these in the server, to check if the location data the client sends is plausible.
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terryrayc
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Post by terryrayc » Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:43 am

ya the walkmeshes will cause issues.
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Themicles
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Post by Themicles » Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:41 pm

Keep in mind that the above quote was probably made under the assumption that most people will try to run a large PW on a single computer. If we've learned anything from NWN1, that's just a bad, baaaaaadd, idea.

EDIT: I don't even run 500 areas on the Twin Cities server, and never plan to. The current area amount is pretty much our set limit with a few small exceptions before we start building a new server.
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