Yeah, I know this isn’t utterly gamebreaking. However, it’s something that just gouges your eyes out when you see it. And no, this isn’t about enemies popping in in plain sight (opening field of ATG, im looking at you), because that’s more than likely an entirely different system. No, I’m talking about objects that rapidly change shape as you near them, I’m talking about pebbles that pop up on the ground, I’m talking about bushes that grow in front of your eyes, about dead bodies fwomping into existence… et cetera.
Before anyone pulls out “MUH IMMERSION LOL!11”… yeah. That’s actually my point. I’ll address this before going into examples. Immersion is a bit more complex than the meme implies.
It goes a bit further than “oh boy I’m totally right there in the dark world of warhammer fantasy”. Now, that’s also important, and that suffers fairly horribly when whenever you step, you get to watch the game hastily try to hammer itself together, praying to Sigmar that you aren’t looking at whatever’s failing to render. Immersion, at least the way I understand it, is also the process during which you engross yourself in the game and aren’t distracted by everyday garbage.
V1 was really good at immersion, because the only other game you could really compare it to was L4D, and it outshone it in every way, as far as the presentation went. The characterization, the levels, the variety, the everything. You didn’t really care too much about fairly severe glitches, or about the fact that some levels were MADE of geometry holes (wizard’s tower…).
V2, however, can only be compared to V1. And, speaking of holes… well, it’s covered in them. Simply put, every time I see this insane level of pop-in that, I swear, was never present in the game they made SEVERAL YEARS ago, I just can’t help but want to shake my head. It looks abjectly wrong. If this was a console game, or if this was slimdolphin’s first game, it’d not be a big problem, but it’s a fact that they can do better. That they have done better. But nope, not this time.
As a result, for anyone with a keen eye for detail, or anyone who played a lot of the first game, all these much more ambitious, vista-filled levels, fall far more flat, simply because it’s blatantly obvious they’re held together with duct tape and surstrommung. I feel shivers in my spine when I think back to Engines of War or Chain of Fire, but the levels in V2 are just… eh, they’re maps. They don’t create any kind of illusion.
Also, before anyone points and laughs at the OP for caring about nerd stuff like this when they have legend games to win - I play Legend frequently enough that yes, hurting my eyes on all this ridiculous pop-in is my main concern as opposed to winning games.
Now for some demonstration. I’ll be mainly using the very first part of Empire in Flames here, because we have a source for comparison - the very first piece of gameplay that shatfark ever showed for the game.
That footage notably lacks any of these issues, making one wonder what the hell happened since then, because sacrificing SO much to the gods of optimization…
We haven’t taken five steps, and you can already see that grass doesn’t really extend very far. It’ll pop into being as you walk forward.
Indeed it has - this picture is taken from the point I’m aiming at in the previous image. Reminder that this is the very beginning of the level!
Finally, the iconic vista from the gameplay reveal. Looking a little barren, isn’t it? No dead bodies hanging, little to no rubble spread around… Let’s zoom in a little closer:
Oh, there are the bodies. And a bunch of other stuff. Awkward, huh? Also, look at the houses on the skyline. Yeah, a bunch in the back just appear.
Compare with this shot from the trailer. Even with the video compression and with the use of V1-styled fog in place of volumetric lighting (which, the more I see of how horribly V2 handles rendering, the more I wish they’d go back to), you can see more detail in the distance; notably, the bodies. Not sure about the houses that pop in; they may not have been on the map back then.
It’s more than evident here that the grass just doesn’t bother to render past a certain point.
Things were a little less dire, and a bit too grassy, back in October 2017. The cut here clearly coincides with the road, creating a much more natural look for the grass.
Let’s revisit the gate vista from a closer point. Please note the wood… things floating in the air. It’s not that far at all.
Get just a little bit closer, and wowzers - that’s a signpost! And trust me, it isn’t alone. There are dosens of such victims of rendering in this game. Say hello to the dead bodies, strung up like common urki. There’s another casualty present in this picture, though. Look at the house to the left of the gatehouse, with the crashed roof.
Its roof all but changes design within a few meters. This is insanely prevalent in the game, one example of what must be hundreds. It’s surprisingly noticeable once you realize it’s there. Often times rocks or walls casually changing shape or texture can throw you off, making you think something moved there. It’s like a nice little real life sanity effect. Only it’s not nice, it’s hardly little, and I think my real life sanity is actually depleting when i look at this.
Now, I get that this is already absurdly huge, but I do need to make a few more examples that drive home how stupidly immense this issue is, and how less than optimal it is that it’s still in the game, even though it’s been half a year.
See the symbol of Nurgle there? Behind it, there’s a wooden plank sticking out of the wall. As you can see, there’s an insanely poorly rendered chain hanging out of it. Well, that chain always has a hitbox regardless of whether it’s rendered or not. At this point we’ve crossed into this word filter affecting gameplay. Oh, also? Yeah, the world past the tunnel just, kinda doesn’t exist. Whoops!
This problem can sometimes really diminish certain vistas. It’s bad enough that anything that’s far away looks low quality and empty, but sometimes it gets patently ridiculous.
This statue’s face goes from being a block of stone to a face-shaped block of stone, even though you’re drawn to stare at it as you descend into Karak Gnol. It’s not your eyesight failing you - it’s the game that refuses to render its assets.
Lighting is affected by this as well, very notably in AY and ATG, where you can literally see the AOE of shadows that are actually any good. Screenshots are from the game’s release, but nothing has changed. Look at the wall, above the fence, and watch the thick shadows compared to the light outlines. Trees don’t sway in this game.
Finally, as a demonstration for whoever is still looking at this thread, here’s something EVERYONE has seen and likely never realized how preposterous it was. You can’t avoid this even in the Keep - in fact, you’re spawned looking at a pretty bad case of bad rendering.
And yeah. I realize that in all likelihood, the issue is not with the rendering method used by the game, but instead the very assets that are so mangled. I get that it’s for optimization (even if I truly fail to see how this affects anything, considering that this game, as V1 before it, only tanks under lighting and CPU load). I realize that this isn’t asking bloatedsardine to fix red dupes or buff melee weapons. But honestly, this is one of the things that’s done its job to sever the bond I had with Vermintide, however silly this sounds. When the game’s hardly managing to do so much as exist before your very eyes… It’s hard to be invested.
I pray that this may be fixed. Some of this has gotten a little better with time - like the barricade at ATG, or the boxes after the elevator on Halescourge. Maybe one day. Maybe.