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  Click here to go to the first Rift Team post in this thread.   Thread: Leveling up the Tech in RIFT

  1.   Click here to go to the next Rift Team post in this thread.   #1
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    Default Leveling up the Tech in RIFT

    Hi folks! Snedhepl here, reporting to you on the state of the tech union. In this letter I'll be discussing what's gone on in the past year, both in terms of features and internal processes, as well as a bit about what's planned for the coming year. This will also include an in-depth discussion of our most exciting feature: true multicore support for rendering.

    In the past year we've added a number of new features. Some of these were more visible, like the new intrepid instant adventures and assault mode. Others, such as the auction house optimizations and on-demand guild loading, were less visible. Other engineering battles, such the war on bots, the improvements to leaderboard performance, and the reporting system are only visible indirectly.

    Intrepid adventures have been a huge success! There have been a few minor technical issues with them (as there often is with new features), but the improvements have been worth it. The auction house optimizations also went well, significantly improving search time.

    Itís also important for us to recognize that not every feature launched smoothly; on-demand guild loading had quite a rocky start! There were a number of server crashes as well as major bugs. Despite the pain, the improvement has had visible results: the memory usage on some of servers has been reduced by approximately 25%, resulting in better server performance.

    As for the Dark Arts, our bot hunting continues to bear fruit as well! Each day more bots are detected and removed from the game. While this may seem like a small issue, bots have a negative impact on the economy and removing them improves gameplay balance.

    Some other notable accomplishments include the wardrobe system. While our previous system was alright, the upgrade has made it, in my opinion, the best in the business. You are now able to dye your clothing with any of 99 colors. The items you collect no longer need to be kept in your inventory to use, nor are you restricted to armor or weapon types you can equip.

    Additionally this year, we accomplished a first for RIFT: the addition of a new class. The Primalist was an impressive feat, though the engineering team canít take all the credit as the Systems Design team worked through countless iterations, responded to gameplay feedback of players and peers, and spent many nights and weekends to bring the new Calling to life.

    Last but not least of the improvements have been the changes to the reporting system. A few months ago we quietly made some improvements to the system. Previously when you reported someone, the person was placed on your Ignore list. Now, Ignore puts a virtual ďblack markĒ on the person. This mark persists cluster-wide on the offending account; switching characters or even shards wonít eliminate the Ignore. If a player accumulates enough black marks, the information gets sent to Customer Support for investigation and action. If they continue to get reported they then become muted by the system until a Customer Support agent takes action.
    Before we begin to talk about engineering processes, I'd like to define a term I'm about to use: "technical debt" (or "tech debt"). This is the generic term not just for bugs, but for any technical work that's done in a way that is hard to maintain or difficult to extend. Maintenance is important: creating a program of any kind is much like building a house... but one that constantly requires remodeling, rewiring, and new additions. It is the unfortunate reality of programming work that occasionally you don't get to lay a good "foundation" before building a new "room." Doing that means you just incurred tech debt. It also means there's more work to be done to ensure that things will work properly in the future.

    Every engineering department has certain methods that they use to tackle features, bugs and communication between disciplines. During the past year we've been ramping up the war on tech debt. This has always been something that's important and gets done, but to improve further we're formalizing the process. For instance, nearly all feature work is now followed by two weeks dedicated to technical debt. The improvement here is that we can focus on improving things in blocks of time. Itís been shown in a variety of studies that people, especially software engineers, suffer significantly from changing tasks mid-stream. By ensuring we have blocks of time reserved we can improve their focus on the problems and make everything even better going forward.

    Now, for the most exciting upcoming feature: true multicore support! This is really huge news, and itís been kept under wraps for more than a year! This is about the biggest change we can make to RIFT. It is, essentially, changing the way the entire game engine renders. Any bigger and weíd basically be re-writing the game from scratch.

    Why is it important? RIFT runs in a graphics API called DirectX 9 (DX9). This allows the RIFT client to talk to your computerís graphics card. The problem is that DX9 is showing its age and was designed with single-core computers in mind, and DX9 places a fairly large burden on the CPU. Technology has since advanced and now multiple core computers are the norm. RIFT will soon have true multicore support, which allows us to use every core on your computer to provide better frame rate and improved response time while ensuring that your CPU speed doesnít throttle your graphics card.

    ďHey, Snedhepl -- I donít understand all this technobabble gobble-dee-****. Make sense!Ē Imagine you were designing a vehicle to transport people from CPUville to Graphic Card City. The people are the rendering instructions. To get them to Graphic Card City, youíd make a bus. Itís going to be the most efficient vehicle to get folks from one place to another. Several years later, the road from CPUville has now been upgraded to a four-lane highway. Is a bus still the best choice? Well it takes quite a bit of time to load up a bus until itís full. It takes a while to accelerate or to change lanes. So we switch to cars. The car usage isnít perfect. Upon arrival the people still need to line up properly, and itís a lot of work to dictate how people drive. They might even crash! (Yes, Iíve been dying to make that joke here.) Cars are, however, much better now that you have those additional lanes. You can load the cars up quickly and get them zipping down the road. This is what true multicore support will do for RIFT.

    Multicore support is in private Alpha and we hope to have this change out for a public beta in the near future. Weíre very excited that we can now talk openly about performance improvement thatís been in the works for about a year and a half!

    We canít wait to hear what you think!

  2. #2
    Prophet of Telara Zaber's Avatar
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    Question What API Rift going be under now DX11 or DX12 or can't share that yet? There other API not sure they be support as you guys been working on this for very long time.

    But I think it's a good change can't wait to try out the change when it comes and see how much jump I get with fps.

    Anyhow nice job and good work.
    Last edited by Zaber; 02-04-2016 at 03:44 PM.

  3.   Click here to go to the next Rift Team post in this thread.   #3
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    It's still DX9 actually. Which makes the feat more impressive in my opinion. While we have no formal plans for DX11 or 12 support yet, the work we did here would be required if we were to choose to go down that path.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaber View Post
    Question What API Rift going be under now DX11 or DX12 or can't share that yet? There other API not sure they be support as you guys been working on this for very long time.

    But I think it's a good change can't wait to try out the change when it comes and see how much jump I get with fps.

    Anyhow nice job and good work.

  4. #4
    Soulwalker
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    Default Beta Release

    Please let us know if there is anything the community can do to support you in these efforts. These improvements would be 100% game changing for Rift.

    Keep up the amazing work.

  5. #5
    Prophet of Telara Zaber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snedhepl View Post
    It's still DX9 actually. Which makes the feat more impressive in my opinion. While we have no formal plans for DX11 or 12 support yet, the work we did here would be required if we were to choose to go down that path.
    Ah cool can't wait to see it in play. And thanks.

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    Thank you for the letter, there's lots of interesting things, and it even makes sense!:)
    Would be really exciting to know more about the dark side of Rift, in letters or livestreams - it's all very interesting and cool. Can't wait to see all the tasty changes and new stuff. Keep up the great work!


    Also,
    transport people from CPUville to Graphic Card City.
    this is adorable:D
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    RIFT Fan Site Operator
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    Thanks for sending help!

    So excited for this news and so happy its being shared one question please? Can we have this version of Volan as content? THANKS!

    12293_LevelingUpTech_blog720x332.jpg

  8.   Click here to go to the next Rift Team post in this thread.   #8
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    The next step big step for multicore will be a public beta. So obviously the community can help with that

    As for broader efforts:
    Always submit your crash reports.
    When filling out bugs be as detailed as possible.
    And always remember the devs and players are on the same side: trying to make Rift an enduring and fun game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talcon View Post
    Please let us know if there is anything the community can do to support you in these efforts. These improvements would be 100% game changing for Rift.

    Keep up the amazing work.

  9. #9
    Shield of Telara Necalli's Avatar
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    Snedhepl, you almost make it sound like we'll be seeing it on the PTS by March. You can't tease me like that.

  10.   Click here to go to the next Rift Team post in this thread.   #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Necalli View Post
    Snedhepl, you almost make it sound like we'll be seeing it on the PTS by March. You can't tease me like that.
    Why only on PTS? ;)

  11. #11
    Shield of Telara Necalli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ocho View Post
    Why only on PTS? ;)
    ............

    Ocho.... if you are wrong....

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    Sned (and Ocho):

    Any chance that 2016 will at long, long, LONG last give us that most desperately wished-for feature...

    ACCOUNT-WIDE IGNORES?

    (I mean this in both senses - that a) if you ignore someone on one of your characters, ALL of your characters have said individual on ignore, and b) if you ignore a character on someone's account, ALL of their characters are now invisible to you.)

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  13.   Click here to go to the next Rift Team post in this thread.   #13
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    I make no promises on this happening, but we've done some back-end work to make cluster-wide ignores something that would be easier to do. So let's just say I hope we get a chance to do it.

    The "black marks" I talk about in the post are cluster-wide though: if someone accumulates enough they do end up being muted on every character on that cluster, not just the character they were naughty on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samuraiko View Post
    Sned (and Ocho):

    Any chance that 2016 will at long, long, LONG last give us that most desperately wished-for feature...

    ACCOUNT-WIDE IGNORES?

    (I mean this in both senses - that a) if you ignore someone on one of your characters, ALL of your characters have said individual on ignore, and b) if you ignore a character on someone's account, ALL of their characters are now invisible to you.)

  14. #14
    Soulwalker
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    So is this the same tech that's been discussed for like 4 years now? Are we going to wait another 4 before anything happens with it?

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    Being DX9 still is pretty disappointing as it's near impossible to actually get "true multi-core support" from it... But my mind is open I guess.

    RIFT will soon have true multicore support, which allows us to use every core on your computer to provide better frame rate and improved response time while ensuring that your CPU speed doesn’t throttle your graphics card.
    Every core? So... does this include people who have 8 core CPUs like myself or those running server CPUs? Also what about hyper-threading?

    I know most game engines struggle to get more than 3 cores working without crashes, is there currently significantly more crashes when using more than 3 cores in Rift?

    Most optimized game I've played that uses DX9 has to be Blades of Time, wasn't 100% sure about CPU usage but I never dipped below 120fps (capped, max graphics) on my 8320 and the graphics were pretty awesome too.
    Last edited by Riseofseren; 02-05-2016 at 02:17 AM.

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