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[FEEDBACK] When is a mission.pbo too big? (i.e., a barrier to players downloading it)

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Gents, I'm interested in your opinions.  How big a mission file are players willing to download?

 

In my next project, I want to use a couple .ogv video files that will make the mission.pbo file 20M to 30M.  These videos are core to the story, and too hard to recreate with scripted cutscenes.

 

In these days of cheap disk space and high band-width, I'm hoping players will be willing to download a file that big.

 

Note that it will *NOT* require any Mods, so that should reduce the perceived barrier to play.

 

What do you guys think?  What's the upper size limit players are likely to tolerate?

 

Thanks!

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anything over 5 megs is usually too much for players, tho if they're friends or you let them know why its so big then they might stay

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anything over 5 megs is usually too much for players, tho if they're friends or you let them know why its so big then they might stay

 

I can't agree more, was about to say the same 5MB is good, more than this and you'll see a lot of "X has left the server" or something like that (can't remember the exact sentence).

 

Also one point to note is how good the player connection is, personally mine is shitty, when I see missions with 50MB am just crying out loud.

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When my friends and I tried Mabunga, they all said something to the effect of "omg, 6MB? Whyyyy?".  Really anything close to 1MB seems a bit much, but then again we don't really play a lot of missions with sound effects which can understandably raise file size.

 

I think being conscious about image and sound file sizes helps a lot.

 

If I found a mission that was 50MB I'd slap the author in the face with a fish.  <_<

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Wait a minute...1 to 6 MB is TOO MUCH???

With all do respect.....WTF!!??

You guys are kidding,right? I meant, with today Net speed DL 10MB take what....10 second?

It's a shame that countless hours  spent to add that "something different"..that "special effect" that gonna make you go WOW goes wasted just because "omg, 6MB? Whyyyy?". 

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In all honesty, i never really give mission file size a second glance, if it sounds interesting, i'll download it regardless of how big it is........and if it's packed with all the goodness that is in Property of Mabunga, it's a no brainer!

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Wait a minute...1 to 6 MB is TOO MUCH???

With all do respect.....WTF!!??

You guys are kidding,right? I meant, with today Net speed DL 10MB take what....10 second?

It's a shame that countless hours  spent to add that "something different"..that "special effect" that gonna make you go WOW goes wasted just because "omg, 6MB? Whyyyy?". 

 

It has nothing to do with download speeds.  Everyone I play with has near-fiber speeds and unlimited downloads.  But the fact remains that most of this "something different" or "special effect" has usually turned out to be some stupid overly-loud 20MB MP3 of an AC/DC song that plays during a wasteful intro or huge texture images for some image that we'll see for a fleeting moment at the beginning of the mission.

 

Since JBoy had asked we'll take a look at his mission.  2.4MB of his 6MB mission is custom pathing for vehicles.  2.3MB is custom pictures or textures.  1.1MB is custom sounds (a third of which is 30 seconds of drums at the beginning of the mission).  So nearly the entire mission size is taken up by custom fluff.  While it does add a ton of flavor to the mission, the mission can be played without any of it.

 

Taking a look at apparently the most popular mission of the last year on Steam, The Thing CLASSIFIED SPECIMEN we find so much bloat. It's 53MB in all.  There's 30MB of music.  5MB of images, 16.8MB of sounds (9MB of which is 6 minutes of wind sounds...).  Then on top of all of that you need a load of custom mods as well.

 

Again sure it sets a scene and an atmosphere which might be neat and all, but when you just want to sit down and play ArmA all that extra stuff just gets in the way often.  ArmA is already laggy enough, no need to make it worse with audio and visual overload.

 

By all means add whatever flavor and special bits to a mission, but realize that not everyone finds a super loud 5 minute techno song at the beginning of a mission as cool as others might. :)

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Missions under 20MB are also fine, they download within a very little time. Missions above that start slowing everything down and damage the server, thanks to memory leaks.

 

Regards Arkensor

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In all honesty, i never really give mission file size a second glance, if it sounds interesting, i'll download it regardless of how big it is........and if it's packed with all the goodness that is in Property of Mabunga, it's a no brainer!

 

This +1

I never look or care what size it is, never once even gave this a thought.

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@kylania......."custom fluff" gives a mission it's own identity as was the intention of the mission-maker.....little interactive movies, designed to be entertaining.  Most missions that are devoid of "fluff" tend to be generic and boring.   :sleep:

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Good debate guys.  I hope more people chime in.

 

Other than the download, do images and sound files actually significantly slow a mission down?  I only test my coop missions with one friend, and we're geographically close (silicon valley), and we never seem to have lag issues.

 

I agree with Kylania about playing AC/DC songs during a mission, but a short music file for an intro or cutscene is fine with me.  And I believe that custom dialogue and chatter help a mission (punctuate task completion, task addition, and immersion. etc.).

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Just to keep this at a peaceful level, everyone is entitled to make or play "vanilla" mission without the "fluff".

 

BUT,like EVIL ORGAN mentioned, they tend to get very boring, at least.

 

Personally, I love a well made mission where the maker surprise me with a well plotted story, great atmosphere, twists and, almost like a movie, pushes me to wanna see the end.

To do so, lots of effort and extra "fluff" goes in to it. 

 

And is not always 

"a super loud 5 minute techno song at the beginning of a mission" 

Lets take jonnyboy latest mission for example, since it was mentioned.

Sure, you could have played without all the custom music and "mambo-jumbo" ( :P like that?) but without it you wouldn't feel (with little fantasy) like you're in Africa, hunted by ruthless  pirates. To me, it gives the same feeling you get watching "black hawk down" wen they almost get overwhelmed by Somalis on the final run. That's what separate a mission from a great mission.

Anyway..peace brothers! :D

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Wait did we somehow slip back into the year 2000 where stuff like this actually mattered??

If it's a multiplayer mission that's 50+mb then I can see people doing a double take when "receiving mission from host", but only due to some people getting into a mission a lot slower than others.

But as for single player missions, I wouldn't think twice about trying something 100-200mb.

Anything more than that I'm going to question why it's so big, but if it looks good I'm not going to worry about the size. Sure there's probably going to be a lot of "fluff" but if it makes the mission more immersive/entertaining then yes please!

 

JB don't for goodness sake, let an arbitrary file size limit your creativity. At the end of the day if your mission is good (which from you it's almost certainly going to be) then people aren't going to care how big the file size is.

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If it's an SP mission I can grab from a filehoster or steam, I don't really care about the size. Of course, I get suspicious when it gets over a few MB for no apparent reason. But in general, I agree that this "fluff", if well done, contributes to the overall mission. See Kydoimos' Resist for an extreme example of file size but also great benefit at the same time. (At least back when he had single missions uploaded.)

 

For MP stuff, I like my missions as small as possible in order to ensure a fast download from the server. If I create a series of not necessarily related missions for my clan, I tend to move common stuff (like sounds, textures, or script packages) in custom mods people can download in advance. As a direct result, the missions recently created by me are about 1MB in size with the mission.sqm being the largest single file, followed by the (scaled down) overview picture.

 

I'd advise a similar approach for SP campaigns as well where these resources are not copied from mission to mission, and thus drastically increase the size of the final PBO, but are instead placed in a common dir. My current campaign project has around 160 MB in total size from which just 8MB is made up by individual mission folders and the files they contain (usually just mission.sqms, descriptions, and mission flows).

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I don't care about the size either as long as it's reasonable < 50 mb. However, keep in mind that you can save alot of mb by compressing videos and music. The difference in quality is negligible in most cases.

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for SP i dont care but for MP it can be a big deal

 

because players download from the host or gameserver directly

so loading times and even server performance can be a big issue

 

some games uses redirect-servers for big downloads then again they are not Arma

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Kylania is right, of course. Large file size is often indicative of dreadful taste in music.

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All extra content should be objective. If it doesn't contribute any real value to the mission, keep it out.

10MB was the most I would tolerate in ArmA2's multiplayer scene. I dreaded seeing a 1MB mission bloated to 15MB by some kid who thought that adding a 10MB song with a 1 minute intro cinematic and a 4MB clan logo image would somehow put him ahead of the competition. Not to mention the metric shit-ton of script errors and performance issues that followed that stereotype.

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this is a very interesting thread. I have a mission at the moment that does have 2x custom tracks and 1 sound effect. But they are not your average ac/dc or Limp bizkit rock song to set the tone of the mission. I also have custom vehicle pathing in there too to set the tone of the insertion, this goes along with one of the tracks I used. Not only that, but if I knew how to script properly I would be able to condense alot of the scripts I have in there anyway to try to keep the file size down.

 

Atm the file size is 7.12mb, initially reading the beginning of this thread, I was dubious about the file size, but further down it was pleasing to know that there are people that don't second guess what they are about to DL and just go for it. There have been times in the past where I have questioned file size myself but thats only because I like to keep my file storage capacity under control. At the end of the day if people want to download it, they will, I would worry about the file size when it starts to effect your own system when you go to play it. 

Also though, you probably need to think objectively on your own work and say to yourself, does this or that really need to be there? does it really warrant any type of necessicity towards the mission or ideas you are trying to get across. 

Someone said about SP/Movielike style gameplay, this for me personally adds a great amount of immersion into the story you are playing. I think of a game a bit like a movie when I play it. When I watch a film, what keeps me hooked to it is the charactors and story etc, plus the visual aspect of it too. That is the angle I always look for when I play something, whether it be, a custom  mission for arma or a full game like MOHAW, I think cinematics either visual or audio make a big difference to the gameplay and make you want to see what is coming next. Obviously you need to take into account what I said earlier about what you really need to have and what you really don't. 

 

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in the end it all depends on whether people enjoyed the experience.

 

if they dont' have fun with your PBO (or whatever the aim is), then its all waste

 

if they do find the scenario fun/useful, then theres nothing wrong with it

 

 

one issue is that people have grown accustomed to certain things. people have grown accustomed to 1-3mb PBOs, and are thus uncomfortable with larger mission files (50-100MB+)

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Someone said about SP/Movielike style gameplay, this for me personally adds a great amount of immersion into the story you are playing. I think of a game a bit like a movie when I play it. When I watch a film, what keeps me hooked to it is the charactors and story etc, plus the visual aspect of it too. That is the angle I always look for when I play something, whether it be, a custom  mission for arma or a full game like MOHAW, I think cinematics either visual or audio make a big difference to the gameplay and make you want to see what is coming next. Obviously you need to take into account what I said earlier about what you really need to have and what you really don't. 

 

Yap, that was me, and I couldn't agree more with you. But then..that's me..not everybody it's seeking the same experience..

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Thanks for sharing all your opinions guys.  I see the major commonalities as:

  • "For SP, large files are ok"
  • "For MP, large files not ok, unless your content is compelling enough to justify it"
  • 50M+ is ridiculous, and 10M+ is questionable

Naturally, personal taste will drive what is "compelling".

 

I am encouraged to hear that many folks are not turned off by a larger file size, unless its ridiculous.

 

I think my missions are a cross between SP and small group MP.  I enjoy creating the unique story elements that require sounds and images, but I also want to play them with a friend.  If this means a 5M to 20M mission will lose the hardcore MP crowd, so be it.  If all you want is lean vanilla combat, stay away from Johnnyboy missions. :)

 

However, I will try to keep file sizes down by being selective, and reducing quality of sound, images and video. 

 

The .ogv file I want to put in my new mission was 50M at aspect ratio 1280:960, but its 16M at 960:720.  Still looks ok.  Files size is smaller at 800:600, but the video quality totally sucks so can't use it.

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Something i forgot to add also is, having images, briefings and the like shows that the mission maker has put thought into the presentation of their work. It makes it look proper and complete to a point of interesting. Subtle nuances like that shows effort regardless of filesize.

not downloading a mission due to it being over 5-6mb is kinda ignorant in a way to the mission maker. Again you don't wanna go ott on the filesize but at least put the effort in to not make it boring for the end user.

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i think size alone is not a factor at all ( i know right? :lol: )

 

the thing is, the hypothetic scenario is always like this. "i found a great mission and now i want to make my friends play it." so...at least one person already approves of the mission, as in, the download is potentially worth it. so the thing that zooloo described should already be a given. if it sucks it sucks. if the rest of the mission was amazing, that intro with that stupidly large song wouldn't matter. my guess is, it wasn't,

 

and now to something i'm not sure about but could be potentially my main point. i know..had a long day so excuse vagueness.

 

afaik (!) if everyone already downloaded the mission beforehand, which even in case of 50 MB is a laughable amount of effort, i'm almost certain that there won't be any loading from the lobby. only everyone just has to have the exact same version i think. so with the awesomely convenient steam workshop implementation it comes down to everyone having clicked a single button like 5 mins before the game starts. sounds pretty reasonable to me.

 

so with that in mind i would suggest, if you know you want those videos in there, just go for it and then put a big disclaimer so people download the mission BEFORE they play. easy.

 

 

ofc i agree with all above feasibility arguments. but also on hte other hand with EOs point. i don't agree with people treating all "fluff" the same. there is pointless fluff and then there's high production value. so fluff done well can be borderline art. not saying this happens a lot in arma mission making (seen some outstanding stuff though liek "Rookie") but then again back to my first point. if the mission has been validated as worth it beforehand then i don't see a problem at all.

 

if i'm wrong about the loading beforehand, feel free to ignore me :lol: 

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The .ogv file I want to put in my new mission was 50M at aspect ratio 1280:960, but its 16M at 960:720.  Still looks ok.  Files size is smaller at 800:600, but the video quality totally sucks so can't use it.

 

As I am sure it was mentioned before this could be uploaded as an optional mod and the mission created for users with and without the file.

This would be players choice as to wheterh they see the video. 

Similar to how some missions allow you to have mods present and it changes the units/vehicles spawned/available.

Obvious issue would be if the video gives some info you would miss otherwise.

 

 

 

Personally I would play with under 10mb mission file, but it depends on the host server. if it was quick and continuous file transfer i would wait. had one i recall trying to join with a mate that was 23MB it took 5 min and I left due to the wait. Net speed and ping no issue in that case.

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