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  1. #1
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    Default What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    Hopefully my title stood out to you, and if you're reading this right now, perhaps you're wondering the same thing, or maybe you didn't even realize that it happened in the first place.

    This might come to a surprise to some of you--though it shouldn't if you have your shadows turned on--but the shadows of Everquest II only work for a little while, then they turn themselves off.

    This has perplexed me for years and in fact is the reason I quit the game the first time I stopped playing it, but a month or so after release.

    There has been a graphical bug with the shadows of Everquest II since BETA. Ya, you heard me, I said, "since BETA".

    Basically what happens is, after playing for some time, your shadows simply disappear. It's amazing really, but what's even more amazing is that apparently according to the EQII development team, the blatant fact that this bug occurs UNIVERSALLY ON ALL PLAYER'S SYSTEMS, it (and I quote from reading an official developer e-mail sent to me but a few months ago):
    Response (TSR Dennis G.)

    11/16/2007 12:17 PM

    Greetings Joshua,

    Thank you for contacting Sony Online Entertainment. I apologize for the confusion, the issue regarding shadows disappearing after a period of time is a known issue and is being investigated. However it is a low priority at this time as it does not effect gameplay in terms of stopping a player from progressing in the game. When a solution is found it will be implemented in a future patch.

    Regards,

    Dennis G.
    Technical Support Representative
    Sony Online Entertainment

    ------

    Wow, excuse me? When a solution is found? This bug has been in this game since beta. According to my records (when my account was formed the day this game went live), Everquest II has been out since Tuesday, November 9th, 2004. This was four years ago, holy crap!

    For those of you who had no idea, or didn't know this issue has existed since then (before then in fact), take into consideration that SoE has blatantly ignored that the issue had even existed until around 2006/2007, go figure!

    In fact from the information I was able to gather, SoE was not willing to acknowledge this issue until their official development release movie for Kunark in which during the showing of the expansion movie, the shadows in the video stopped rendering, a sight that was noted and distributed throughout the internet by frustrated gamers who could run EQII on great settings with shadows, only in reality "without" shadows.

    I would like to bring this shadows concept to everyone's attention for two primary reasons. One, for many of you who may not have known this, or who haven't been playing since release; one of the major selling points of Everquest II was its obviously superior graphics engine. The specifications to running this game on higher settings (in the time of 04) were nearly ludicrous in stature, an idea that SoE considered as they stated that the game was being optimized to render their beautiful engine's features such as its lightning, bump mapping, pixel shaders, and... waddia know, SHADOWS!

    So in other words, SoE's primary selling point was it's graphics engine, and one of the engine's greatest assets were its shadows system; a system that has, keep up with me on this and pay very close attention to what I'm about to say (as blatant fact): "never worked".

    Now to elaborate my disgust about this game altering/reducing flaw in this game's very technology, some screenshots to show some of you what some of you may be missing (and others who don't even realize it yet).




    This is JUST the shadows, and while some of you may argue the difference is slim, unfortunately, these pictures (while doing justice) honestly just don't do enough.

    The picture on the right has shadows turned on, the picture to the left is a result of no shadows at all. In my personal opinion, the Conjuror on the right is more attractive; her features are more pronounced, her eyes are darker, giving her a more feminine appeal, and if I could have made a video of this all in motion instead (to view the shadows turning and changing on a whim) the true beauty of shadows would be divulged to you all.

    The fact of the matter is, notice a difference from this picture or not, shadows do make a difference, and Sony's blatant disregard for their own promises from their own game to us as their customers and even fans, is a blatant disregard for us as anything but profits.

    Again, it's disgusting. SoE should fix this game, even if it meant turning their profit margins to absolute zero. It would be more appropriate to give their customers the best experience possible without regard for income than it is to leave things as they are to rot, just to make a quick buck.

    Oh and on an end note, unfortunately this picture isn't as good posted here as it is on my own machine. I don't know why that is because I really wish I could show many of you the true pristine nature of the EQII shadows system in detail. If you have the rig to test it out I emplor you to go for it. Dance around a well lit place with your avatar and check out those excellent shadows. Then I emplor you to walk into a zone such as the Misty Thicket, attack about 20 mobs and start area nuking, watch those pretty little shadows just disappear!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    I have to agree with you, its pretty fucking slack. Not that i can raid with shadows on anyway, but yeah it goes to show just how much resources are put into the gfx engine.

    I mean it's still the best looking game out there in my opinion in terms of sheer numbers of art assets and quality, but some engine optimizations for the latest hardware is sorely needed
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  3. #3
    Celestial Voices dakkota's Avatar
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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    Rumor has it Call of Duty 4 makes Eq2 look cartoony. I would not confuse Eq2's ability to crank up the settings makes it visually better than new games. I mean your just taxing your PC (not really gaining visual quality) when you start saying display 10 spec lights instead of 3 and render the map/complex shaders 5x as far as before, and render 10 characters with maximum textures instead of 5, etc. Eq2's shadows are pretty barbaric looking anyway compared to the ones you see in CoD4 or Crysis now. Of course I got to give eq2 credit because it took till 2008 till I could build a PC capable of running maximum textures and maximum on all the other special fx.

    I run shadows since I got a Pc capable. Maybe I am not looking close enough but I have never had issues with them. Though I only use character shadows now. Some of the other shadow settings seemed to be a tad buggy anyway, like walking by building shadows I would sometimes see them "flicker". But seriously, I have shadows on and will run around killing stuff for ever without rebooting my game...I have never had them vanish on me.

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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    I was told by a friend of mine who was a dev for other games that this is actually an issue with Nvidia and does not occur on ATI cards. I found that profoundly ironic considering Nvidia was endorsed by SOE as the card of choice for a long time. I cannot confirm or deny this as I have not had an ATI card since EQ1, and early on at that.
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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechasean View Post
    I found that profoundly ironic considering Nvidia was endorsed by SOE as the card of choice for a long time.
    Aye but that only means they have a deal with Nividia not that their cards are any better.
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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    EQ2 engine has allways been quite horrible, not just shadows, but it's not optimized at all. On launch i had quite decent system for that time and i was able to play on high perf, even high quality at some places, now i have pc 10x faster than that and it's maybe 10% faster in EQ2. Also i can't enable AA or AF anymore.

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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    This game looks so shitty without AA, but it adds quite a lot of lag on raids because of particle effects

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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    Quote Originally Posted by *Hardain* View Post
    EQ2 engine has allways been quite horrible, not just shadows, but it's not optimized at all. On launch i had quite decent system for that time and i was able to play on high perf, even high quality at some places, now i have pc 10x faster than that and it's maybe 10% faster in EQ2. Also i can't enable AA or AF anymore.


    It's funny that you say that because when I first played EQII in 2004 in beta my computer specs were around this: Geforce TI 4200, 128 meg, 512 megs of ram, Pentium 4 processor and I ran EQII on medium settings or so at about 10 FPS (if memory serves).

    I've upgraded several times and it's odd how not only can I currently play ANY game on the market (any game I've played that is, including games such as Call of Duty 4, Quake IV, Doom III, Command and Conquer 3, Quake Wars, and Bioshock, to name a few) on FULL settings (EVERYTHING completely cranked), but even online in a very graphically intense game like Quake Wars, with 30 people on the same screen running around shooting and blowing each other to kingdom come, and STILL have 30+fps doing so and yet on medium-low default settings in EQII with my textures turned to maximum, I'll average about 15-20fps in EQII.

    There's just no excuse any longer. I'm getting my nose into game design, I've done game design portfolio projects, I've modded multitudes of games, I've done scripting and texturing, I've done a little bit of a lot of things including intensive study into game design and game theory and I've yet to see a GOOD reason why a game such as EQII cannot be made to run with my 2 gigs of ram, Geforce GTX overclocked core clock 7950 512 meg video card (which runs EQII just as fast as my 6800 256 card did by the way).

    When will our computers be good enough Sony? When we have 4 video cards, 8 processors, and our own personal nuclear power reactor in our basement to power the thing?

    Give me a break! By the time this game actually runs to typical gamer expectations, there will be a game out that dwarfs it graphically in EVERY SINGLE WAY--and it'll probably run three times as fast. Heh.

  9. #9
    Celestial Voices dakkota's Avatar
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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fomka View Post
    This game looks so shitty without AA, but it adds quite a lot of lag on raids because of particle effects
    If you run 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768. I run 1680 x 1050 and I hardly have any issues with jaggies. AA has always been one of the most frame crushing options to enable and as resolution goes up it becomes less noticeable visually. If you don't run wide-screen, trying upping the resolution to 1280 x 1024 and then disable AA. You would probably get a much better visual gain while maintaining a better framerate. Although i'm not sure what relation you are talking about with AA and particle effects.

    To the other post that said its poorly optimized, I think the game just lets the user adjust and crank up way too many options that normally are bottlenecked or limited. I think it just is un-optimized and you have to do most of the optimizing yourself. Even on fastest PC's I think to slide every bar up is still unrealistic. I mean what you can get like 30 spec lights at once? lol that is just stupidly graphic intensive and excessive. Particle effects too. You are able to make it display 8 spell results per character. Obviously nobody considered that even 1 spell result per character, with 23 others triggering at once is just stupid. I don't know a lot of people who could run that kind of stuff at over 30fps with maximum quality. I could show you two graphic profiles that look almost the same from mere visual observation, but one will lag all to hell because I jacked up the wrong settings. Oh and RoK fucking eats ram, I can run my graphic settings a *significant* step up in any non-RoK zone verses these colossal sized maps.

    But CoD4 runs better than my Eq2 does (in high action scenes), which is ironic because it blows anything eq2 has to offer out of the water.

  10. #10
    Soviet Gangsta Fomka's Avatar
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    Default Re: What the hell happened to this game's shadows?

    Quote Originally Posted by dakkota View Post
    If you run 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768. I run 1680 x 1050 and I hardly have any issues with jaggies. AA has always been one of the most frame crushing options to enable and as resolution goes up it becomes less noticeable visually. If you don't run wide-screen, trying upping the resolution to 1280 x 1024 and then disable AA. You would probably get a much better visual gain while maintaining a better framerate. Although i'm not sure what relation you are talking about with AA and particle effects.

    <snap>

    But CoD4 runs better than my Eq2 does (in high action scenes), which is ironic because it blows anything eq2 has to offer out of the water.
    I run eq2 either on my 19" monitor (1280x1024) most of the time. And AA clearly makes a difference there. Tho sometimes I run eq2 on 32" lcd tv, but it is another story. The difference in picture with and without AA on 1280x1024 resolution is soooo big (at least for my taste). Regarding frame rate - no difference for me while solo/grouping, but on raids it makes some noticable difference.

    And yeah, compare laggy EQ2 to Crysis/CoD4/Assassin's Creed which pretty much dont lag....

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