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Z-Fighting, Culling/LoD glitching

SE Enlisted: 2011-10-24
2013-10-03 07:26 , edited 2013-10-03 11:15 by antiHUMANDesigns
Dearest DICE

You've done a good job with BF4. The sound is amazing (I'm an audiophile), the animations are the best, the map design on Siege of Shanghai is the best I've ever seen (truly not kidding), and I'm generally happy with the basics of the design choices for the gameplay.
I'd love to say the graphics are great aswell, but I've got a few issues with the graphics' side of the game. The art and rendering is great, but...

--- 1. Z-Fighting ---

To make sure we're using the same terms, I'll define what "Z-Fighting means". (Perhaps you're using a differnet word for it.)
Z-Fighting refers to when the depth buffer (Z-buffer) can't distiguish the Z-value of 2 polygons that are too close to eachother during depth testing, relative to the "near" and "far" clip planes, so it more or less randomly renders fragments of both polygons, when in reality one should be occluded by the other.

BF3 had some serious issues with this, most notably on Operation Firestorm. When using 12x scope, this was extremely apparent, and was a huge eye sore.
I can't tell for sure how well this issue is resolved in BF4, but I did see some of those wooden fences having Z-fighting issues.

It's sad to see something like this in a game from 2013. Haven't we known abut z-fighting, and learnt about it for 20 years already? And the strange thig is that those wooden fences are causing Z-fighitng as if you're doing double-sided rendering. The backside of the fence, facing away froom the camera, should be culled by backface culling, right? But it appears like either those are being rendered anyways, instead of culled, or that you've accidentally put 2 objects in the exact same spot, causing the Z-fighting.

In either case, it looks as bad as a missing texture, or perhaps worse.

--- 2. Culling/LoD and abusing the glitch ---

When standing on the road along the water in Siege of Shanghai, I look down the road and see an open road with not much on it. Then I aim down sights with my ACOG, and suddenly a few cars just pop into existence in front of me.
This may be caused by being on "low" setting, thought I think the same happened on "ultra". That should not happen. It's not acceptable that I can see through something like that, and here's why: It doesn't cull the players. So, I can see the player hiding behind that car. I can even spot him (Q), but if I aim down sights, I can't, because suddenly there's a car in the way.

Some times I can spot people through "walls", as long as I don't zoom in with my scope/sights.

All objects need to be rendered and taken into account when doing occlusion checks. I truly hope this is fixed for the release of the game.

--- 3. Level of detail, foliage, texture resolution ---

In BF3, I was sad to see that when I zoom in with my 12x scope at a far away location, the texture resolution on the terrain didn't improve. But don't get me wrong, I understand the issue; You can't load and unload the textures fast enough to fix that, it can reasonably only be fixed by having more textures in gfx memory, and we don't normally have that much memory on our cards, right? At least I hope that's the reason, because otherwise I don't see an excuse for it.
So, I can clearly tell that frostbite 3 does the same thing. It's sad, but I guess I'll have to live with that, but I was hoping you could do something about that.

But here's the real issue:
Foliage and level of detail. I think they -are- stored in memory, fully ready to be rendered, but they are being culled because of LoD at the distance they are from the camera. But when the player zooms in, they should be rendered at a higher LoD. You've got some form of frustum culling, I assume, so why is this not happening?
This was a huge disappointment in BF3, because as a sniper, I lay down in the foliage on the hill of Caspian Border. It was annoying to try to get a clear view because of the grass around me kept coving up my vision, so I moved around until I got a clear view.
However, for the sniper on the other side of the map, looking at me, there is no foliage around me. He could spot me a mile away, lying on a flat, clear, clean, low-resolution-textured flat thing, even when zooming in on me. So, I myself have to deal with my own foliage, but my opponents don't. And it looks really bad when you zoom in with a 12x scope.
Now, in BF4 we're got 40x scopes. I can only imagine the size of those texels.

So, please, for the love of Battlefield 4, render foliage when zooming in.

--- Conclusion ---

I love Battlefield (since 2142), and I'm enjoying the gameplay so very much while fighting in close to medium ranges. But when going long range, it really isn't even OK for a AAA game from 2013 to do what it's currently doing with LoD scaling. It's bordering on being unacceptable, and possibly the one sole thing that could make me regret spending money on it, and possibly even cancel my pre-order.
I'm not hating on the game, or frostbite 3, I'm showing my concern for something that I like (love) well enough to want to voice my issues with, hoping that it may be addressed for the good of the game and its longevity, and most importantly its fanbase.

I have sent 2 messages (on twitter) to someone working at DICE, politely asking whether the Z-fighting issues from BF3 have been resolved for BF4, and I have been ignored both times. As a customer, I'd like to have my questions and concerns for your products answered. I'm asking you once more, politely, to please give me (us all) some basic information on the state of these issues in BF4, if they have been resolved since BF3.

Thanks for your time

It wouldn't do it justice.
I think, therefore I am, I think.
NO Enlisted: 2011-10-27
2013-11-29 12:08
Detailed AND very informative post!

No wonder it goes totally ignored and unanswered by Dice/EA. (Ie. They are as usual.. totally clueless)

Oh, and incase anyone misses it, i DO have theese problems too :)

I had the same problem with my Ti560, and now with my brand new R9 270X card. Same Z-Fighting in distances, and horrible annoying when being a sniper.

DE Enlisted: 2013-01-23
2013-12-14 01:04
Also Z buffer fighting on BF3 and BF4, have 560 Ti .
US Enlisted: 2011-10-25
2014-01-26 18:03
I've been talkin' about this for YEARS now, everyone thinks I'm crazy. It's a quality issue when I zoom in looking for my target, I shouldn't have that much flickering. It's a problem on all platforms and is related to poor use of culling and layering. They put all stages of an object into one LOD object, and that's the problem.
PK Enlisted: 2012-07-06
2014-01-27 07:12
Great post! Just use the 40x scope and you'll know how ugly the textures look and how every texture flickers. It's even worse than in bf3. It completely ruins sniping for me. I guess DICE doesn't give a shit.
US Enlisted: 2013-04-07
2014-01-28 17:01
I am running a GTX 670 and I get this issue as well. It is also very much visible on Silk road and Guilin peaks.
DK Enlisted: 2011-10-28
2014-02-26 23:49
I hate this problem.. DICE FIX IT
Enlisted: 2014-03-22
2014-04-02 22:07
GTX 780 Ti and I get constant z-fighting graphical issues at distances, it's very ugly.
RU Enlisted: 2013-03-23
2015-01-10 11:35
It's appears that videocard vendors must expand z-buffer capacity in their hardware and new standarts!?
I have too this problem.
Enlisted: 2011-12-05
2015-01-11 03:14
Same problem. What a shame.
Enlisted: 2014-11-03
2015-02-16 08:21
fix this please its terrible on my r9 280
Enlisted: 2014-09-08
2015-10-26 14:43
its 2015, and i cant play battlefiel 4 properly, because everything is flickering and it causes me a headache. i'd post a YT video, but i guess thats not allowed here
TR Enlisted: 2011-10-31
2015-12-17 15:07 , edited 2015-12-17 15:08 by haciserkan
xToyfelchenx said:
its 2015, and i cant play battlefiel 4 properly, because everything is flickering and it causes me a headache. i'd post a YT video, but i guess thats not allowed here
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