3D Horrible texture/object popping

Recommended Posts

What are the commonly used methods that would prevent the texture/object popup in games?

I'm not sure that any actually exist as even the latest SW Battlefront 2 has frequent texture/object popup. If my memory serves me right, I think Gears of War might have had a good solution for this in the form of slightly blurred backgrounds.

Also, why do other devs don't realize that this completely breaks the visual integrity of the game, when did this become acceptable?

Edited by Armantium

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Armantium said:

What are the commonly used methods that would prevent the texture/object popup in games?

Object popup has mainly to do with draw distance which is entirely up to the programmer/s.  Its a performance issue, although in one case I heard it partially had to do with an occlusion culling technique.  You'll notice draw distance as a setting in some games, setting it to 'ultra' usually eliminate object pop up.  Draw distance can be affected by the value of the far clip plane.

Texture pop in has to do with availability of a texture in a device readable format at the time its needed.  Some games don't load all textures into memory at once because there isn't enough memory to fit everything.  Hard drives are an order of magnitude slower than RAM.  So loading something into RAM takes time.  To eliminate pop in you'd need to prefetch textures, which would require you to predict what becomes visible, which can involve predicting what the player does.  Another option is to have alternative textures that are similar to multiple textures and temporarily use those textures while the real texture is loading. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, that's a great answer.

Can you remember a single modern AAA game that didn't have terrible pop-in? It's really weird to me that this is being so widely tolerated.


Edited by Armantium

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is more like we have to live with it than we tolerate it ! In the past, we did not have much, we put a knife cutting fog close by and stop drawing ( think Turok, Unreal 1 ), now the far clip is usually at infinity and we have to draw technically to the end of world, and we have to do it at higher resolution than ever before.


Memory and performance are not unlimited. The hardware deal with performance for texture on the distance, with mip maps, so only memory is an issue with them. Geometry is more complicated, if you draw a thousand triangle model in the distance covering 2 pixels, you will never hit the performance mark, and so we do have LODs. Well done LOD and transition can be impossible to see, but a game amount of asset has boom too, and LODs are more and more automatic geometry processing than artist done, with not enough time to inspect every single case.Then even with LODs, performance may still miss the mark, so the last LOD is just to not draw, hopefully, it happens far enough than you don't see it disappear, especially in complex environment that have the time to occlude it before that, but your world is a desert with a palm tree in the middle, you will have issue here !


Then for texture streaming, until we have a terabyte of memory for our GPU, we will have to deal with it, and then we will still have to deal with it because we always want to draw more. 4K need twice the texel density for four times the memory to achieve the proper visual ( no texture magnification ), 8K will be 16 times more ! 


The final though on that, most of the time, LOD transition and texture streaming are unseen because they work, but sometimes, you may have trickier location in games challenging your system or possibly all the players carry their own customized character, giving even less memory for the rest of the world. Then failure may happen, textures get kicked out more aggressively for what is on screen and because of that, they need more time to get back, giving even more trouble to the system.


My advice, if you do not want to see streaming and popping, play a game that does not need it, like smaller indie games that are likely to fit in memory.

Edited by galop1n

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

In theory we can avoid popping by blending texels and geometry, but in practice we won't yet:

Detail reduces to one half (over the thumb)

Need more complicated geometry processing which has a performance cost.

Need to have at least two LODs in memory and process them both.

Put's more constraints on offline asset processing, which is already hard.


So, the situation will improve in the future like with everything else.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Armantium said:

Can you remember a single modern AAA game that didn't have terrible pop-in?


2 hours ago, JoeJ said:

In theory we can avoid popping by blending texels and geometry, but in practice we won't yet

While not exactly blending, several modern games do try to smooth out LOD popping by using a dithering-like effect. Here's a blog post on how Assassin's Creed 3 does it; Far Cry 4 uses a similar effect, and maybe GTA V too?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, dietrich said:

While not exactly blending, several modern games do try to smooth out LOD popping by using a dithering-like effect

I've noticed this in Quantum Break and FarCry / Nier... QB seems to improve it with some TAA like technique and i really like the result - best LOD switch i ever noticed. It would be interesting to get something with a temproral effect alone - without the need to render two LODs, but i assume the duration we can get is too short in practice. (QB has a duration of about 0.5 seconds, maybe they do it indeed just by postprocessing.)

But rendering 2 LODs really seems a waste. A better way would be to have geometry that consists of both LODs (lerp vertices from a fused to a seperated position for more detail), but this has all the downside mentioned above. Anyone knows a game that used such a technique already for enviroments and not just characters?


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Until there is unlimited resources for rendering ( processing power, memory etc ), there will always be tradeoff in rendering. Devs usually choose the lesser of 2 evils. Nothing is free, but step can be take to minimize the visual anomalies. You can use some form of progressive mesh for all visual representation, but then you pay the price in requiring more processing power to do so...so would you prefer a game that doesn't pop, vs one that runs like 'you know what'. I agree its can be distracting at times, but for the most part this shouldn't be a show stopper for any good game ( unless you are more interesting in how the game looks vs the story. ). Ex..and this is just my opinon/preference. Assassin's Creed ( the first game ) on XBox 360 , was so bad that characters (NPC) would pop into the scene almost right next to you, but it did not ruin the experience for me as the game itself was more engrossing that I was able to overlook those issues..


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Emerald_Eel_Entertainment
      Forest-themed levels in 3D linear games seem to be tricky to pull off as. I primarily refer to first person games though this can easily be applied to third person games and possibly top-down games.
      Older games were limited by the hardware used at the time so texture space and polygon counts were important to manage. These games uses a flat texture of trees to create the illusion of depth or create rocky cliff walls to obscure parts of the scene the player is not meant to view.
      An example of a linear forest level is Forest Edge from Disney's Donald Duck: Goin' Quakers on the PlayStation 1.

      A relatively recent example of a linear forest level are portions the Outlands White Forest from Half-Life 2: Episode 2 on the PC. You can see that it looks more like a small narrow valley. For gameplay and readability it works well and doesn't feel artificial though it's not quite a dense forest.

      Outlast 2 did have areas set in tree-filled areas but the only indication of not being able to go through some bushes or trees are invisible barriers, which supposedly works but feels very artificial in my opinion.

      Some games in recent years like The Forest and Ark: Survival Evolved have made fully explorable forest levels but they are non-linear open world games. Since the respective games aren't linear in nature they have no need to funnel players through areas designed to be traversed.

      How can depth and believability be achieved without making the player confused or lose their direction? How can making a linear forest level be done without making the environment appear artificial?
      I created this topic as I'd love to hear what you guys think. I don't think there's a right or wrong way going about making a 3D linear forest level.
    • By mister345
      Hi, can somebody please tell me in clear simple steps how to debug and step through an hlsl shader file?
      I already did Debug > Start Graphics Debugging > then captured some frames from Visual Studio and
      double clicked on the frame to open it, but no idea where to go from there.
      I've been searching for hours and there's no information on this, not even on the Microsoft Website!
      They say "open the  Graphics Pixel History window" but there is no such window!
      Then they say, in the "Pipeline Stages choose Start Debugging"  but the Start Debugging option is nowhere to be found in the whole interface.
      Also, how do I even open the hlsl file that I want to set a break point in from inside the Graphics Debugger?
      All I want to do is set a break point in a specific hlsl file, step thru it, and see the data, but this is so unbelievably complicated
      and Microsoft's instructions are horrible! Somebody please, please help.

    • By komires
      We are pleased to announce the release of Matali Physics 4.0, the fourth major version of Matali Physics engine.
      What is Matali Physics?
      Matali Physics is an advanced, multi-platform, high-performance 3d physics engine intended for games, virtual reality and physics-based simulations. Matali Physics and add-ons form physics environment which provides complex physical simulation and physics-based modeling of objects both real and imagined. The engine is available across multiple platforms:
              Android         *BSD         iOS         Linux         OS X         SteamOS         Windows 10 UAP/UWP         Windows 7/8/8.1/10         Windows XP/Vista What's new in version 4.0?
               One extended edition of Matali Physics engine          Support for Android 8.0 Oreo, iOS 11.x and macOS High Sierra (version 10.13.x) as well as support for the latest IDEs          Matali Render 3.0 add-on with physically-based rendering (PBR), screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) and support for Vulkan API          Matali Games add-on  
      Main benefits of using Matali Physics:
              Stable, high-performance solution supplied together with the rich set of add-ons for all major mobile and desktop platforms (both 32 and 64 bit)         Advanced samples ready to use in your own games         New features on request         Dedicated technical support         Regular updates and fixes
      The engine history in a nutshell
      Matali Physics was built in 2009 as a dedicated solution for XNA. The first complete version of the engine was released in November 2010, and it was further developed to July 2014 forming multi-platform, fully manage solution for .NET and Mono. In the meantime, from October 2013 to July 2014, was introduced simultaneous support for C++. A significant change occurred in July 2014 together with the release of version 3.0. Managed version of the engine has been abandoned, and the engine was released solely with a new native core written entirely in modern C++. Currently the engine is intensively developed as an advanced, cross-platform, high-performance 3d physics solution.
      If you have questions related to the latest update or use of Matali Physics engine as a stable physics solution in your projects, please don't hesitate to contact us.

      View full story
    • By JustASpaceFiller
      I'm studying games art at uni and have been tasked with studying the phrase 'Character artists are higher skilled than Environment artists'. The topic is based around modelling in 3ds Max and ZBrush. I am required to gather opinions from outside sources.

      I myself think that character artists have more skills as they need to pay closer attention to details. They have an important job role as they are creating the main focal point of a game. Even in 1st person games there are cut scenes where the model is used.
    • By Slack Dragon
      Download here: https://slackdragon.itch.io/dungeon-chop-chop
      Dungeon Chop Chop is a Singleplayer / Co-Op Rogue-like Adventure game currently in development. 
      All feedback is greatly appreciated
      An admirable soul tainted by darkness has laid waste to 
      the land. He has robbed civilians of their riches and lurks in 
      a dungeon locked with sorcery and guarded by monsters. 
      With treasure to claim, demons to slay and eternal fame to 
      be won, adventurers travel from far and wide to test their 
      strength against this enemy. 
      Many have tried and not a single one has returned! 
      Will you be the challenger who finally breaks the seal and 
      restore peace to the land? 
      Consider supporting us at:     https://www.patreon.com/SlackDragon
      Check us out on Twitter:    https://twitter.com/SlackDragonDevs
      Lead   Shannon Stefan Programmers:
      Lead  Harrison Jack Artists:
      Jerome Tin David

  • Popular Now