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World On Fire And Ignis, Lackluster Graphical Effects


Jaawa
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Ignis:

 

Fire is a devastating thing, especially when you see footage of flamethrowers used in warfare, be it in real life or movies that do justice to the terrifying weapon. Ignis does nothing graphically, it is just like flamethrowers that have been in many many games years before it, looking nothing like the real thing, just a few puffs of really short range sprites or particle clouds. Look at this youtube video of a real flamethrower used by a marine soldier on a shooting range:

Now that looks scary and utterly powerful. Wouldn't it be amazing if Ignis had graphical effects of fire resembling that?

 

World On Fire:

 

Ember's ultimate skill, World on Fire, looks nothing like the skill's title suggests. In my opinion it doesn't represent the overall graphical fidelity and grandeur of the game at all. Having again, just a few puffs of timid effect clouds twirling around, it does nothing to suggest that Ember is actually lighting the whole room afire. Ember's 3rd skill, Fire Blast, has an amazing look to it, a ring of actual fire, it doesn't look like a collection of puffs, it is a roaring seamless blaze, giving off a real sense of power. I suggest Ember's ultimate skill should look the part, and have a graphical effect that would actually look more powerful than her 3rd skill does.

 

Thanks for reading, I like fire and I hope there are virtual pyromaniacs like me, who would love to have terrifying effects on these otherwise great and fun skills and weapons. Warframe's graphical style, effects and attention to detail is truly amazing to behold on many occasions (I have no qualms with other ultimate skills or weapon effects currently in the game), but these two I just had to bring up; they aren't up to par in a game with graphics this gorgeous.

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I got to ask a lot of animators once, "what is the hardest thing to animate in movies and games?"  the answers i got always was Fire and Water, as the first or second answer.

 

Then take in any number of limitations with what Can be animated in to Warframe.

maybe that is why it looks the way it looks now. 

can or will it be changed later down the road?  I have no clue.

if it could be?  fine by me. so long as making Pretty Pretty fire wont eat up resources or slow things down in game play.

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Being a 3d animator, I have to agree with ODC: at least part of it is resource load.

Yes, there are a lot of tweaks that could be made, but WoF as it is, is right about as good as I could make it within a reasonable timeframe. Sure, if i had one or two weeks with nothing else to work on I could probably manage to make it look better, but Warframe is still in Beta, and there's a TON of other stuff that needs worked on.

 

Think about priorities here: There are new power animations coming, new weapon models that will have to not only be shaped and texture, but ANIMATED, new frames with full animation sets (you do NOT want to know how much work that takes), and whole new MAP SETS. World on Fire is a great skill, and yeah, sometimes i think it could use some love, but it is in place now. They might well polish it more when they have more time.

 

Another concern: i'm already getting complaints about my use of embers powers from people. apparently even as thin as they are, it's making people angry that they can't see very well when i pop them. makes it kind of irritating to even try (and i'll fess up here: ive had one instance of a guys complaints getting so irritating that i stopped using the powers altogether until the infected finished mobbing him into the deck) (yes, i helped him back up afterward. and yes, he started complaining again right away even though the one i dropped had protected me long enough to save his dumb behind).

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What do you guys think about Fire Blast's look? Couldn't that same method of producing good-looking fire be adapted to Ember's World On Fire? And perhaps in some ways Ignisses fire too? I don't see it eating up much resources if they went about it the same way as Fire Blast (if that can be done, that is), I would love to hear your thoughts on this, 3D-animators and -modellers. I can understand how it would eat a lot of resources to cheaply just multiply the existing graphical effects in Ignisses fire and World On Fire, but that both probably wouldn't look good and isn't nearly anything I would want. An overhaul is more like it.

 

This is good that you replied, because I realized I needed to emphasize that what I'm giving feedback on and what I am suggesting is: World On Fire and Ignisses fire to be done more like Ember's Fire Blast is done graphically.

 

Second point: Can those be done in my suggested way? What would be the problems with that?

 

And also I would love to hear about other options or ideas to changing these effects, and of course disagreeing views to mine; do you find the effects sufficient, or even satisfying and fitting to the other graphical effects of the game?

 

PS. I understand how tiny an "issue" this is, but to me it is worth giving feedback on. Not just because of a weapon or a skill, but because of Warframe's graphical consistency, they are the only problems I see in it so far. And they do impact my gameplay, I don't use them that much, just because I'm very graphically inclined and don't get the same kind of satisfaction as I do from using other weapons and other ultimate skills.

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Fire blast DOES look good, but a lot of the effect is a texture overlay and some mild particle emission. The problem with the larger area effects is that the more area you want it to cover, the more particles it has to track. even some really darn nice machines have a hard time with particle tracking, and thats for PC; this game is also going to be available on consoles, which do NOT have the graphics capacity of an even moderate gaming PC.

 

WoF covers a VERY large area, and if you fill that area with particles, not only do ALL the players machines have to track and display the particles, particle polygons, particle opacity, trajectory, generation, fade, etc, but the HOST computer has to track all that AND report all that data back to the client machines. gets heavy on the systems AND the bandwidth in a hurry.

that isnt to say it CANNOT be done, just that it's hard to do it and make it look right.

That said, it might be nice to have a particle emission control in the settings that could let people with slower machines/connections scale how much they want on screen... hmm...

 

As for handling it more like blast, that COULD work, but it would require some really fancy surface tracking work with either a projected and animated texture, or whole new polygon structures shaped around the power area that would follow the floors and walls. Again: doable, but a SERIOUS pain in the neck, and prone to a whole host of new potential bugs (and if programmers use too much digital Raid in a day they start acting a little funny... :D ).

 

and again, i agree they need some more work. it is hard to tell just what you are hitting with them sometimes.

It doesnt bother me too much, but then i still remember when the best graphics around were in Lode Runner... *shifty eyes* i think i may have just dated myself a little there, but oh well.

 

This is something that I believe the devs will get to. They've already overhauled the graphics of Wall and World at least once since i started playing (ember was the first new frame i built), so if there are upcoming overhauls, they may be on a backburner until other stuff gets some new plaster slapped on. We have some DAMN good devs here though.

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Thank you for the amazingly informative reply niekitty!

 

A thought occurred to me; I wonder if these things could be improved with a bit of PhysX particle action, I quite enjoy the particle effects of Excalibur's Radial Javelin, maybe something like this could be done to at least the Ignisses fire?

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I do quite a bit of 3D Animation, and on top of them, fire is definitely the hardest thing I've ever had to animate. It's picky, very difficult to get looking how you want, and, if possible, I try to steer clear of it. You are right though, the Ignis doesn't feel terrifying. But I do tell you, when the Grineer Scorchers use it on me, it's more than terrifying seeing as it incinerates my shield and health in a matter of seconds!!

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Thank you for the amazingly informative reply niekitty!

 

A thought occurred to me; I wonder if these things could be improved with a bit of PhysX particle action, I quite enjoy the particle effects of Excalibur's Radial Javelin, maybe something like this could be done to at least the Ignisses fire?

Not a problem. :) I've been keeping my paws into animation for a little over a decade now, and i STILL try to avoid working on fire. XD

PhysX COULD help some, depending on how it is handled, but theres still a surprising number of gaming PCs out there that can't handle it. My gaming tower has no PhysX support, believe it or not. I've had a tremendous amount more luck making games (including warframe) run on WinXP than any of the stuff that uses the new memory formatting, but the card in this tower just doesnt support physics.

In the case of the Ignis though, as long as you could work some rangefinding and proper collision calculations into the system i can think of at least one way to improve it that wouldnt murder graphics resources, but it would make things MUCH harder on the programmers.

 

Stak is right on: Animating fire sucks burning reeses monkey.

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Fire and smoke just generally suck.. It's really difficult to make actual fire, or what looks like fire, so it's all about finding the best way to completely fake it. Most people go with fast-moving 2D textures. 

Looking at the smoke in the game, though.. It is sometimes wonderfully obvious that a use of Maya Fluids seems to be made.. There's always the chance that they can just play with that in order to create some more interesting-looking flames, which might satisfy..

Putting more of the fire's effects onto PhysX, while looking gorgeous, will make the community whine even more, asking DE why PhysX doesn't work on AMD cards, and shouting favouritism and unfairness, and all that nonsense.

As it stands, re-doing WoF's graphical appearance would be a whole lot of work and effort, having to come up with a new idea, and implement it, with stunning visuals.. I hope that it does get done one day, but there are a lot of other things that need work too..

Also, on the topic of Ember, I personally don't like the Overheat look. The flames that cover you are great, but I don't really like how it turns you into a low-res walking blob of ash. I think that could use a bit of a re-work, too.

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I love the feedback and fx banter in here!

Since you're interested in how these things work...Fire Blast works so well because it's stationary, so I can pop that mesh down and let it look pretty, very easy. World on Fire and Ignis have to move with you and be dynamic, this changes everything, especially with the range of PCs out there playing Warframe. I'm not 100% satisfied with Ignis either, but at the moment it works (and changes color with your energy color very soon!); as you said, there's a reason every video game flamethrower operates like that :(. There's a lot of stuff with a higher priority for the moment, but who knows, I might get a eureka moment in the future.

And Noogums, good eye spotting the Maya fluids. The smoke and fire have all been created with it.

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I love the feedback and fx banter in here!

Since you're interested in how these things work...Fire Blast works so well because it's stationary, so I can pop that mesh down and let it look pretty, very easy. World on Fire and Ignis have to move with you and be dynamic, this changes everything, especially with the range of PCs out there playing Warframe. I'm not 100% satisfied with Ignis either, but at the moment it works (and changes color with your energy color very soon!); as you said, there's a reason every video game flamethrower operates like that :(. There's a lot of stuff with a higher priority for the moment, but who knows, I might get a eureka moment in the future.

And Noogums, good eye spotting the Maya fluids. The smoke and fire have all been created with it.

Very interesting to hear, this thread has been an eye-opener in many ways. I would have never guessed about the technical hurdles that go with modelling and animating fire in videogames.

 

One more thing comes to mind about World on Fire, regarding that huge difference of stationary and dynamic fire:

 

World on Fire has those stationary fire effects that are plotted down on your path, your fiery footprints if you will. Could the whole skill's effects be changed into something based solely on that? Setting the whole room on fire, in a semi-dynamic way? The spots with most fire would be spawned close to you, so they would essentially follow you - but still be stationary, giving the illusion of being dynamic.

 

Another idea would be to mimic Frost's Ice Wave, just replace the ice with flame and have there be multiple waves of flames that would persist for longer and have a much longer range, maybe even snake around a bit. Perhaps a good twist to it to make it unique, would be to make the flames use your momentum as guide for where to spread; so basically if you are standing still, World on Fire would work as a blast similar to many other ultimate skills, and if you're running to a certain direction, the skill would produce a huge wave of fire into that direction.

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And Noogums, good eye spotting the Maya fluids. The smoke and fire have all been created with it.

I just recently had a project in which I chose to make a cigarette have dynamic smoke. Almost broke my poor PC trying to render that stuff, I don't know how to optimize the settings very well. Anyway, the minute I started projecting it, I was like "Oh my God, it looks like Ash's arm smoke!" That was a big penny, and it dropped hard. 

Thanks for commenting in here, Vaen! Always nice when we get to hear the Dev's side.

 

 

World on Fire has those stationary fire effects that are plotted down on your path, your fiery footprints if you will. Could the whole skill's effects be changed into something based solely on that? Setting the whole room on fire, in a semi-dynamic way? The spots with most fire would be spawned close to you, so they would essentially follow you - but still be stationary, giving the illusion of being dynamic.

They kind of had this going when WoF caused large spouts of flame to shoot up from the ground within your radius. I'm not certain, but does it still do this? It's an interesting start to dynamic/static effects.

Also, the trail of fire idea just makes me think "We gotta' get this Warframe up to 88 Miles per Hour!"..

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Also, the trail of fire idea just makes me think "We gotta' get this Warframe up to 88 Miles per Hour!"..

well as long as it isn't Rhino that might be possible! :D *drumsnare*

 

a fire trail might actually look pretty slick, but again, you're running into a bunch of particle emissions unless it drops fire textured meshes like Blast all over. ....actually... that might look pretty darn slick if it's done right...

 

Maya, huh?  explains a lot.

personally i've always prefered Max, but that's what i started with and i tend to work down in the nitty gritty of the poly structure rather than focusing in from an overall shape.  Maya sure as heck can do some nice stuff when you get the hang of it though, and its animation tools ARE better in my opinion than Max.

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well as long as it isn't Rhino that might be possible! :D *drumsnare*

 

a fire trail might actually look pretty slick, but again, you're running into a bunch of particle emissions unless it drops fire textured meshes like Blast all over. ....actually... that might look pretty darn slick if it's done right...

 

Maya, huh?  explains a lot.

personally i've always prefered Max, but that's what i started with and i tend to work down in the nitty gritty of the poly structure rather than focusing in from an overall shape.  Maya sure as heck can do some nice stuff when you get the hang of it though, and its animation tools ARE better in my opinion than Max.

With Ember getting up to that speed is quite a challenge too. Surprised my Syandana actually manages to catch wind.

And yes, I was talking about a sneakily dropped static texture, a small one. A bunch of them in a row, the one at the back vanishing as one under her feet is created. As long as the chunks aren't too big, it could look pretty neat. And slap some PhysX particles in there for some real pizzaz.

I use Maya because I mainly do animating. The fact that you can model and all that is really just a convenience. Though, since I'm used to it's modelling workflow, I'm pretty comfortable with it.

Haven't tried much of Max, can't give an opinion on it, but it's widely used, so kudos to everyone who learned that.

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XD

yeah, one of my friends got an alternate helmet for rhino and now hes outrunning me.

 

texture projection could make a drop trail look gorgeous if it's handled right.

 

Maya does animation REALLY well and smoothly, and its got nice smooth modeling tools that can do a LOT but tend to work a tiny bit better for organic and cartoon shapes at times. its not my strong suit, but i can respect the program.

Max does structural stuff really well, and its great for vertex/poly assembly modeling, plus it has some very nice inherent rendering options. the last version of maya i used could only output a huge mass of images that i had to assemble into an AVI file in a sepperate program. im HOPING that that version was just some borked education version or something, though.

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