On the status of trees


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

I was wondering on the current status of trees in the game.

As I understand it, right now they would be a source of raw materials.

Could we make more use of them?

Are they always the same or do they have different heights, thicknesses, etc?

There are three interactions I think would be interesting to have regarding trees:

- Climbing: the ability to climb a tree for scouting or ambush purposes.
- Building: the ability to create certain temporary structures in them.
- Destruction: the destruction of a tree for economic or aesthetic purposes.

Some questions arise right away? Can anyone climb trees? What skills or attributes are involved? Does burning a tree down generate fires on the trees that are nearby?

I was thinking of trees as I think they could be a decent trial to test interesting mechanics on a smaller scale.

Goblin Squad Member

Speaking of trees, I was noticing that in all the screenshots I could find, the trees are rather thin and sparse. They look somewhat like aspen or something. Are there plans for "super-dense-forests" anywhere? I'm talking about such a density of large trees that looking in a straight line more than 50ft will yield nothing but trees - enough to get lost in, if one did not have a map.

Goblinworks Game Designer

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We recently got an increase in tree densities that may not be apparent on screenshots. They're not tremendously dense, but forests do feel like forests. We're trying to balance the right feel with not overloading your graphics processor drawing too many objects (plus potential pathing and encounter placement issues), so the tree density may still change over time as we figure out how that works best on the widest variety of machines.

You don't harvest trees directly (they're static objects; if you could cut them down, your client would have to constantly ask the server whether the tree is present, so we couldn't draw nearly as many of them). You gather logs from fallen tree gathering nodes that appear more frequently in forests. Logging outposts to gather bulk wood for building structures will do so by "cutting down trees," and will consequently work better in forests, but you probably won't see a lot of that onscreen.

Climbing and building in trees is not an easy thing to do (it requires accounting for the precise shape and location of the tree in a way you don't have to if you're not climbing up in it, plus balance concerns with AI), but it's not impossible. I wouldn't count on it happening anytime soon unless the community decides that treehouses are their #1 crowdforging demand ;) . Destroying them is basically impossible for the reasons listed above (it would mean treating all trees as dynamic rather than static objects).

Goblin Squad Member

Thank you Stephen, that makes it much clearer.

Goblin Squad Member

I am hopeful the trees, quantity, and types, light effects and such can create an ambience as well as an environment. I remember the first time I took a character through Duskwood (in WoW) it was VERY creepy. They did a great job with that zone with the spider webs, blinking eyes, spooky music....my favorite pre-Cata zone! Very good mood setting.

There is a chance for many different types of woods, forests, glades, and the like. In LotR Fangorn Forest was very menacing with its thick growth, gnarled limbs and roots, uneven terrain. All these things are achievable and will help set the mood, and enhance things like the difficulty of gathering rare wood types in a dense forest with Dire Wolves or Treants fighting against the harvesters.

Goblin Squad Member

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Duskwood was pretty awesome, I agree. WoW was absolutely great when it came to giving areas a specific flavor amd atmosphere.

But compared to how the world of PFO will be built, these areas in WoW were tiny, and they had the resources to handcraft pretty much every square inch of them and fill almost every corner with something interesting.

Having said this, I think it is possible for PFO to create atmosphere through cheaper means. For instance, stuff like buzzing flies above a swamp , a flock of Birds taking into the air in the distance, butterflies flittering around a rosebush or fish swimming in a pond.

The thing is, these can be done as Particle effects, so do not have to be implemented as true 3D assets that would bog your client down. They can not be interacted with off course, but they *can* be triggered easily, for instance when a player walks across a triggerlocation, a flock of partridges suddenly takes off in the air.

That would help a lot for immersion, and would not be a huge load on the servers and/or client. I think. :)

Goblin Squad Member

Tree climbing can come in handy.

Goblin Squad Member

As can animals pouncing from trees.

Goblin Squad Member

Harad Navar wrote:
As can animals pouncing from trees.

dropbears .

Grand Lodge

Neadenil Edam wrote:
Harad Navar wrote:
As can animals pouncing from trees.
dropbears

Dear God, where?!

Goblin Squad Member

KotC Carbon D. Metric wrote:
Neadenil Edam wrote:
Harad Navar wrote:
As can animals pouncing from trees.
dropbears
Dear God, where?!

In the trees

Goblin Squad Member

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I'd like to throw in a suggestion, mr. Cheney.

For settlements, once you start diversifying "looks" you should be able to create houses that "look" like they are trees. I mean a little reskinning and boundaries tweaking might be in order, but the overall system should remain the same, just the appearance, which you will be doing anyone if you decide to diversify in terms of looks.

Goblin Squad Member

BrotherZael wrote:

I'd like to throw in a suggestion, mr. Cheney.

For settlements, once you start diversifying "looks" you should be able to create houses that "look" like they are trees. I mean a little reskinning and boundaries tweaking might be in order, but the overall system should remain the same, just the appearance, which you will be doing anyone if you decide to diversify in terms of looks.

You forgot the most important question Brother: Can we HUG the trees ?

Goblin Squad Member

Better still, can trees hug us?

Goblin Squad Member

Get a haircut, hippies

Goblin Squad Member

But Tombstone....

I'm BALD!

Goblin Squad Member

Ugh.. with all this tree hugging going on it will be only a matter of time before we get a Half-Tree.

Goblin Squad Member

Banesama wrote:
Ugh.. with all this tree hugging going on it will be only a matter of time before we get a Half-Tree.

You joke.

Goblin Squad Member

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Dario wrote:
Banesama wrote:
Ugh.. with all this tree hugging going on it will be only a matter of time before we get a Half-Tree.
You joke.

Well if we're going this route, then allow me to introduce you to the Redneck Tree

Goblin Squad Member

That's not people hugging trees. That's the other way around. =P

Goblin Squad Member

hahahahaha xD

Goblin Squad Member

<plucks his banjo> pling-a-ding ding dinggg.

Goblin Squad Member

Redneck song.

Goblin Squad Member

You mentioned a banjo?

Goblin Squad Member

BrotherZael wrote:
You mentioned a banjo?

This has gone too far! Trees are ok, but banjos are ...not trees.

Goblin Squad Member

:I they can be.

Goblin Squad Member

Banjos were originally African introduced to the US by slaves.

Lutes, Dulcimers and Sacbuts would be more suitable to the medieval setting.


Wha'?

Huh?

Trees?

Well...

Okay.

Goblin Squad Member

For some reason, every time I see this thread, I think of this song.

Goblin Squad Member

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For some reason, every time I see this thread, I think of /r/trees.

Goblin Squad Member

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After viewing several alpha streams, most of the woodland hex areas seem sparsely populated with trees. I understand the computer processing issues...my video card is a GTX 560 (decent, not great) and it struggles now with some normal loads. But if the visibility were reduced in a really dense forest (say to 100 or 150 feet), wouldn't the need to process all the foliage 151 feet away be reduced or eliminated?

So, as you move onto thicker forests your visibility goes down, the viewable distance is reduced, and fewer trees, shrubs and bushes (and later animals) that must be processed by the video card. This would make PvP in the super dense forests really tough, parties could stumble into monster camps with little warning, and parties might even get lost if the minimap is not showing them where they are correctly (from a spell, disorientation, poison, or any other reason).

Goblin Squad Member

Hardin Steele wrote:
After viewing several alpha streams, most of the woodland hex areas seem sparsely populated with trees. I understand the computer processing issues...my video card is a GTX 560 (decent, not great) and it struggles now with some normal loads. But if the visibility were reduced in a really dense forest (say to 100 or 150 feet), wouldn't the need to process all the foliage 151 feet away be reduced or eliminated?

Though I'm no expert in such things, I believe the issue is that having the computer constantly drawing and removing things in a certain distance based on what you can see at this moment would actually take more computing power than simply drawing all the things within the specific distance. Would be interesting to hear if my guess is anywhere close to the truth. :)

Goblin Squad Member

Correct. Part of the issue is that the game needs to track everything with in render distance constantly to determine whether or not it should be shown. Even if it's not shown, it's still got to be prepped in case you suddenly turn, or strafe, or move in any way that suddenly makes it visible, or you get really bad pop-in. Density is bane because the hardware spends more time on draw distance than visible distance.

Goblin Squad Member

Stephen said they would be more populated later on.

or i thought it was stephen. Maybe it was Lee...

Goblin Squad Member

BrotherZael wrote:

Stephen said they would be more populated later on.

or i thought it was stephen. Maybe it was Lee...

Leephen?

Goblin Squad Member

a_goblin00

Goblin Squad Member

Leephen it is

Goblin Squad Member

I hate to necro a thread but this seemed to be the most appropriate place for this note.

Last night watching "Adventure Time with Bonnie" it was clear that tree density is still very low, everywhere. I bring this up related to the recent (and not so recent) discussions on the effectiveness (or over effectiveness) of ranged attacks. Folks have argued to scale down ranged attacks to give the melee characters a better chance. I don't favor this.

The reason: the current tree densities are so low that they create a terrain that is almost perfectly suited for ranged attacks. Long sight lines, few obstacles, no underbrush. Ranged attacks should be much more effective in this type of terrain than melee.

If tree densities were increased in some areas (and they should be), reducing the line of sight distances and adding underbrush (could be a concealment bonus to targets), ranged attacks would become less effective. There would be more opportunity for ambush. Melee characters would have a better chance to get at the ranged attacker before getting smoked. In short, the more densely forested areas would tip the scale to the melee character. This is as it should be.

By having variable tree densities and underbrush, it would add more flavor to the game. Caravan routes, travel routes, etc. would all have to be carefully selected, taking into consideration the potential threats based upon the tree density. It would give scouts and rangers more opportunity to find the best routes. And if tree densities changed over time in a given area, that would be even better (today, this is a low density tree area; next week, no one has been exploiting the lumber resources so now its dense forest).

More fun for my ranger! :) But also, I think, it provides a better mix of terrains that favor certain play styles and character builds.

Hardin Steele wrote:


After viewing several alpha streams, most of the woodland hex areas seem sparsely populated with trees.

This would make PvP in the super dense forests really tough, parties could stumble into monster camps with little warning, and parties might even get lost if the minimap is not showing them where they are correctly (from a spell, disorientation, poison, or any other reason).

Stephen Cheney wrote:


We recently got an increase in tree densities that may not be apparent on screenshots. They're not tremendously dense, but forests do feel like forests. We're trying to balance the right feel with not overloading your graphics processor drawing too many objects (plus potential pathing and encounter placement issues), so the tree density may still change over time as we figure out how that works best on the widest variety of machines.

Goblin Squad Member

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Tyncale wrote:

But compared to how the world of PFO will be built, these areas in WoW were tiny, and they had the resources to handcraft pretty much every square inch of them and fill almost every corner with something interesting.

Yeah like GW2, where every frame is hand painted beauty. So they put an absurd density of mobs in the area to make a pretty small area seem very large.

GW2 is like swimming in honey.

CEO, Goblinworks

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The tree density is about right for forests based on the kind of mechanics that we are going to have in the game. There are practical limits to how many trees we put I to the environment and how tough it is to render a frame, and we are balancing speed vs. density.

Some of the things you're asking about like sniping from cover have to be mechanics not visual effects anyway - "sniping" needs to be a condition, not an environmental positioning.


Also, there's currently no such thing as cover—you can shoot through trees, the ground, and possibly even buildings.

Goblin Squad Member

Thanks for the response, Ryan!

I just don't want to see ranged attacks gimped for being more effective in a (designed) terrain that is almost perfectly suited for ranged attacks. I also, however, wouldn't want to see all ranged characters running around because other play styles can't compete.

My ambush comment was actually related to melee characters being better able to ambush ranged attackers in more dense forests (or being able to engage he ranged character sooner since sight distances would be closer), not so much sniping as ranged attacker.

I know you guys are balancing all kinds of things, including the rendering issue and taking into consideration some points raised on these boards, so I'll leave that to you and trust you'll do what you think is best for the game.

Thanks!

Goblin Squad Member

I think it is a visual thing myself (as in physical LoS to targets, whether or not pathing can "see"), but I'll have to wait until I am in-game to really comment on this again.

Goblin Squad Member

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The main issue I have with the trees is they all look like they were planed 10-15 years ago. Where are the old growth forests.

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