Best in Class Graphics

Any idea what setup allows best in class graphics with room to grow. Bethesda just launched Starfield and their approach was very successful, you need a high quality graphics card. I have a MacMini M1, I was using an Apple TV prior. I am interested in best in class as an example to demonstrate the possibilities to friends and family. I often give the example of developmental pediatrics, you would not put a high school cross country runner in baby shoes, you would spend more at each stage to promote athletics at each level of development.

I was thinking I7/RTX 4070. Many companies including MyWoosh and Bethesda specifically suggest both basic and ideal gaming platform specifications as part of their marketing, it’s pretty much industry standard.

I recall seeing a list somewhere but can’t find it now; but any new generation GPU is absolutely overkill; I don’t see Zwift ever changing all that drastically in the graphics department anytime in the next half decade; not to the point that you’d need something that fast and modern at least.

Any PC with a discreet GPU from nearly the past decade that was in the upper end, will run the Ultra profile.

Oldest listed card I can find that runs Ultra is the Nvidia 960, which is a 9 year old, midrange card.

Is it efficient compared to something newer? No… but to prove a point; you can buy 960’s on ebay for literally $50 and below.

Unless we knew that Zwift was going to greatly up their graphics settings (LOD changes, texture increases, draw distance changes, increased particle effects), it would be one thing.
But since there’s zero mention about any overhaul, there’s no “growing” needed.

The only reason why these newer “competitors” need faster cards, because they’re going to extremely heavy engines that do more GPU loading, and have extremely high, wasteful textures, and need the VRAM (this has become a massive problem in the current industry for the record). Also because of their reliance on generic graphics engines.

Zwift’s graphics engine was built internally if I recall.
So the reality is, with Zwift it’s not that huge of a deal.
The fact it was able to run on near decade old smartphones and tablets up until this summer, is proof enough that it doesn’t require anything modern.

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Thanks. My brother started Zwifting on my advice. He just moved on from the Apple TV to M2 MacMini. The reference standard seems to be 60 fps with no drops. He sets the resolution to achieve that.

I think gaming companies must constantly improve visualizations or they will be left behind, like the Sims. I assume the goal of the company is profitability, and that requires a combination of prior users and new users, and a focus on lowering costs. Lowering costs can be achieved by offsetting costs, encouraging users to increase the specifications of their hardware, with the goal of always improving the in game experience. It’s the same idea of forced obsolescence that Apple relies upon in their mobile and laptop divisions, with another focus on cloud based delivery of applications and media.

Apple for instance always suggests upgrading regularly. It’s a natural part of the modern consumer cycle that Microsoft had to learn the hard way, improve constantly or lose users and margins to your competitors.

That’s why it’s so important to know, what’s the state of the art that maximizes the visuals, what is the plan for visual expansions/improvements in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, what’s the road map?

That was based on my M1 experience, idea is reminding others to upgrade, it helps the company by automatically creating an improved user experience.

Guide here: Zwift on PC: The Ultimate Guide to Running Zwift at Its Very Best | Zwift Insider

TL;DR: Zwift doesn’t take advantage of multiple CPU cores so there’s no advantage to an i5 or i7 over a much less expensive i3. A 12th generation i3 is fine. (read: won’t be the bottleneck)

I’ll leave it to others to recommend a GPU but it’s pretty clear Zwift isn’t demanding enough to require a new, or top-tier GPU. Even at 4K, an RTX3000 series is fine. (still skip the i7 as it’s overkill but maybe pop a newer i5 in there)

The issue with your argument is you’re talking about something iterative.

Long term games generally do not see graphical overhauls, maybe tweaks here and there, but nothing complete.

Look at one of the biggest games still being played today, Grand Theft Auto V.
Released 10 years ago as of this week, and still getting additions to this day.
It has seen zero graphical improvements across its decade of development, and only growth of its own internal structure in terms of missions and unique capabilities of vehicles and the like. (granted, for being a 10 year old game it still looks really dang good)

World of Warcraft has been around how long now, over 20 years?
Visually they’ve managed to stick to the roots, and do some upgrades to things like the lighting and shading portion of their engine, but overall it still looks very much the same as it did back in the 2000s.
They too went with a cartoonish appearance; and it still holds up extremely well today.

Zwift has developed a very specific visual appearance; that’s why it works.
It was designed to look a bit on the cartoonie side, so it can remain this way for years to come, and still look fresh.
It only looks outdated to anyone that’s been using it for so long.

Imagine what the competition trying to appear realistic will look in 10 year’s time by comparison; or games that also tried to appear very realistic in the past few decades… they all look a bit uncanny valley and weird. And years down the road, someone else will try to do the same thing, and then get stuck in the same place.

Zwift made the right choice in going for this visual approach.
It won’t bite them in the rear, like it will for those going for a realistic look.
And it’s something to aim for; they can hire multiple designers who can aim to achieve a similar design by going off of what’s been presented up to this point.

If Zwift is to ever see a huge growth in visual development, it won’t be for a while to come, as it would be a massive undertaking; which is also exactly why you never see it with videogames either, unless something was missing/wrong in the first place.

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100% this.

Some of Zwift’s competitors are way down in the uncanny valley already. Even if they had the underlying game mechanics or social aspects (they don’t), they’d remain deeply unsettling and thoroughly un-fun.

I’d point to the popularity of AAA games like PUBG, Fortnite, Team Fortress 2, and Borderlands: there is nothing “photo-realistic” about them - they’re live action cartoons. Zwift has found the winning formula that balances realism against fun.

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That said; a “new” Ultra graphics profile would be nice.
ie: better LOD distances, higher textures at distances, more riders visible.

The fact you can go out and buy a $50 GPU for Zwift, or a $2000 GPU, and it appear exactly the same, is slightly unfortunate.

(Obviously this isn’t completely true, as a 960 probably won’t run Zwift in 4K mode like a 4090 could, but generally speaking the point gets across, the “ultra” profile… could do with a wee bit of updating)

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There are many visualization options not being considered. Take ‘cards’. You ride past anyone on Zwift, a card pops up, tells you something about them, you can decide right then to connect with them, added to your linked in, posted, now everyone knows at your work, you bike, you support biking, etc, it’s a community, someone is looking for a job, they connect with you, you forward their resume, etc, that’s market power, that’s the social value of visualizations, or a referral to the mechanic at Sports Basement, or a recommendation on a group set for your next bike, or a suggestion for Zwift merchandise. I would pay $5 per month for option of winning real world gifts like a bike shirt, visual pops up, sometimes it’s just random. BF Skinner demonstrated the value of operant conditioning with unpredictable schedules, all of that relates to a connection with visualization. MyWoosh has some great graffiti visuals on buildings in their European world. Zwift can purchase a license from ChatGTP, generate all sorts of fun visuals uploaded daily, so billboards, advertisements, etc, never the same, and so what it’s not copyrightable, that’s not the point, it’s the AI driven visuals as adding visual depth to an otherwise static works.

I agree, many platforms with immersive in game Non Player Character experiences did not need massive GPU improvements, but driving games do, it’s just an industry standard. MyWoosh recommended an RTX 4090, they paid for UCI racing privileges, they expect their users to purchase top equipment, top trainers, top computers, top displays. They did this to signal, there is big foreign competition now in the space. Zwift has to react and focus on meeting industry standards. Bethesda partnered with AMD, they set the standard, with Starfield, they spent 8 years making the game, everyone has to upgrade at one point. I tested my MacMiniM1, GPU limited at 45 frames per second on ultra setting at 4k, which means they are 50% short on Graphics ability already on a fairly standard platform. Thus, they would have to recommend a more powerful platform, that’s a corporate responsibility to facilitate users in making the best consumer decisions. Staff tested the settings, staff suggests the following options.

None of this is really magic, it’s done all the time in the gaming space by companies that have forward looking goals of sustaining and growing the user base. With better graphics and in game experiences comes the ability to charge different rate levels, essential for any media business moving forward from ESPN to HBO to Disney. There is a base rate and a more premium bundle. That’s a fair pricing model based on delivering better service.

i am on ultra at 1440p getting usually 80-95fps (my monitor is capped at 95hz) with two displays so i can watch crap on youtube and BS with people on discord simultaneously and my gpu is a 1060 3gb. doing all of that does use all 3gb of that gpu vram according to aida64 so maybe get the 6gb version of the 1060 if you do want to cheap out on the gpu like me. or consider a gpu that costs slightly more than £60 instead lol

the full build (i3 12100, gtx 1060 3gb, mb is a super basic asus h610 which is probably the cheapest one that will take a 12th gen intel cpu) was specced for me by dave higgins from zpcmr purely to run zwift on and the parts totalled probably about £325. for other games you would want a better gpu, i think the 3060ti is supposed to be the best value for performance gpu for general gaming at the moment (~£250) and a bigger SSD than what i required but somewhere between £500-£600 can get you a pretty nice setup. but if zwift is all you want then you can spend much less

an i7/4070 build is going to cost £1200, probably more. if you just put a 3060ti or something in my current build then you would probably be good to go at 4k on zwift for the rest of eternity

I’d rather have IndieVelo, or even Zwift’s physics (Zwifts individual rider physics other than unrealistic CDa isn’t bad and PD4.1 has improved drafting a lot too) over MyWhoosh’s pretty graphics but lousy simulation of real life physics. For that matter is the UCI going to pay for all these expensive 4090’s required by WC competitors (who are normally young and not earning big $) ?

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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I think you can watch the UCI’s, when Van Der Poel crashes, that was awesome, wins the race gritty, Jersey torn, shoe broken.

Without crashing, Zwift is lacking a key aspect of real world physics. I love to gravel bike downhill on single track, I’m not going to bomb down that trail, I’ve done it before and been thrown off the bike. The probability of crashing creates a skill set feature.

NVidia’s physics X was introduced over a decade ago to simulate virtual world destructive environments. These are not abstractions.

The in game experience has to move forward:

  1. Best in class visuals, a constant reason to upgrade
  2. In game physics, with the potential for crashing
  3. Increases of atmospheric effects
  4. Optimization of user interface (if you are not wearing a heart rate monitor, don’t show heart rate in the left upper screen)
  5. Ability to set screen preferences (show me top three or five riders nearby, more than 5 is visually overwhelming)

Much of this can be done with a script. You can let users decide on night riding, morning rides, rain and snow, to leverage atmospheric effects, to feature the graphics, and ideally the physics, like slipping.

The TacX Neo has superior road feel, it’s accurate as to gravel and bridges, and can simulate rain slippage. Zwift could have partnered with Garmin. Why Garmin, they have the best in class hardware at the affordable price point, that’s Garmin’s mission and always was. Their software lacked any level of best in class beyond road feel.

My point, the market is going to inflect 2 to 3 years from now, tremendous improvements in hardware, system on a chip on fabric with AI modules on the fabric, tremendous step up in graphical power and superior efficiency. Gaming companies have to create the market to absorb new potential users.

MyWoosh specifically targeted Australia, South America, Arabia, and are improving their UCI race world, partnered I think with Unreal. They are using their UCI presence to gain global users outside the reach of Zwift, the causal user that is not interested in a subscription.

Look at the YouTube views of a the Zwift UCI race, only 3,000 views. Look at the number of users on any given day in a Zwift World, a few thousand. Then look at Fortnight, Minecraft, they are generating over a million concurrent users every hour of the day. Look at Roblox, these companies crossed the chasm, they scaled to a massive and consistent user base. The promise of best in class visuals and new world possibilities was always the attraction for new users.

Gary

Thanks for writing back. Yes, the game is optimized for Win/Tel systems, and RTX, with the MacMini using all graphical cores at ultra settings and 45 frames per second consistently which is good, but not great and lacks room from visual growth. That’s about the level of an pre RTX 2000 series card.

Take a look at Hollywood. I was at a Stanford conference at the Business school on media, the real dollars are in ‘IP’, intellectual property of a well established franchise further monetized and ‘merch’ or merchandise. Look at Demon Slayer, best in class Animation with tremendous suspense and voice acting, penetrated the United States market, now a billion dollar franchise.

Best in class performance often brings best in margins. Do you know Zwift had no rehab model. Do you have any idea how much cardiac rehab pays in the United States. People post cardiovascular surgery of any type are prescribed sessions of cardiac rehabilitation. They sit on a 1970’s exercise bike, they pedal using an old power estimate system of METs, the only visualization is a three lead EKG, transmitted to a set of monitors at the nursing station. It’s only watched when the patient develops ectopic bears overall. The system however basic is extremely socially advanced and determined by evidenced based outcomes.

Medicare has no problem with reimbursement. We are not talking $15 a month. We are talking thousands of dollars of bundled payments. Cardiac stress testing and cardiac rehabilitation remain the most profitable areas of biking in North America. We don’t see it that way, because it’s not fun, it’s not optional, it’s not a game. It’s extremely professional with providers very committed to patient outcomes.

Gary

Don’t mix up graphics style with graphics quality.

I like Zwift’s graphics style. It makes sense for the reasons you said, it’s fun, it allows for some creative freedom with routes.

The graphics aren’t good quality though. They are OK, but they’re not ‘good’ (and I run at ultra everything at 60fps). I’m convinced they’re handicapped in terms of what they can do because of the overall CPU load. In terms of the overall proposition though, there are many things that need complete revision before graphics. In terms of interesting visuals zwift are still ahead of the competition, with maybe the new mywhoosh Belgium world the only exception.

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For what it’s worth, the specs shown on the MyWhoosh website and the reality of what it takes to run are not the same. It will run perfectly fine on a much lower spec PC. They also have AppleTV support planned for Q1 24, and already support Android and iOS.

most people just don’t have good setups. part of the reason zwift is popular is because it runs on a potato. there are countries in the world where people have to game on components like the gt 1030. from what i know about brazil for example, luxury consumer electronics have like something like a 400% markup (maybe more, i’m just remembering off the top of my head)

i remember offering to send an argentinian friend a nintendo 3ds for free a few years ago and he told me not to bother as it would never get through customs

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I think MyWoosh is going to skip Apple TV support and go for Mac. Apple TV is a legacy platform. It was useful in 2018, and in 2024 is visual dead weight.

The Emigrates right now is flush with oil money, Zwift in 2020 was flush with VC funds. Zwift has to begin leveraging the user base for ideas and volunteering support moving forward.

My kids have to do volunteer work as a California High School graduation requirement. My son volunteers through cross country at the Santa Cruz Triathlon with friends on the team the entire day.

Every company in technology needs a volunteer program for kids. It could be reviewing graphical roll outs, riding a world for thirty minutes as a tester, etc.

To develop the programs, you obviously need outreach and a lawyer with common sense to review the disclosure agreements, terms, conditions, etc, schools are doing this all the time.

Bottom line, moving forward visuals are going to be the secret sauce. A company without a specific visual plan is going to underperform when it comes to market valuations. There has to be programs to encourage kids to use virtual athletic programs. An example is racing for miles, not time. Kids races can’t be about direct competition, that’s not a viable model. It had to be super visual, and tied to parents, and friends, even schools, raising money for a reasonably safe charity, like the Red Cross.

Gary

Wait until 2025, Intel fabs are coming on line in central Ohio. These are the most skilled manufacturing workers in the world by average productivity. This is their chance to finally demonstrate hard work, innovation leadership, and know how moving forward.

Do you really think Ohio State is going to drop the ball? They are going to win on yields. They are committed to beat Taiwanese Semiconductor on performance. What they can’t do is code at the level of Silicon Valley, that’s not their forte. They are not the super creative types, they are business business, you order we deliver, you order we deliver, over and over.

It’s up to Zwift to move their graphics platform forward. Their management has to get on the bike and start pedaling. They have to give users a reason to upgrade. Users do want new features.

I spent about $800 this season simply upgrading the gearing on three bikes. I wanted one by, 38 in front, 42 in back, because I’m weaker than my friend, truth be told. My other friend, he’ll beat me every time, he upgraded to another e-bike, a heavy clunker with a motor, crushed us both on the 3,000 foot vertical especially the last section at the top.

Markup for my three bike improvements, basically $350 of mechanical work, new chains, cassettes, derailleur.

Markup for my friend’s e-bike, $2,500 right out the door, pure profit and no work.

Delivering superior graphical performance overtime is scalable, it’s the less work more profit model, it’s eye candy, it’s what kids and women want, it sells OLED screens and new camera modules, Gucci and Fendi pocket books, it’s where the profits will always be, the human occipital lobe had 2.5 the density of neurons than any other area of the brain, visualizations are the key way humans react to positive stimuli. That’s the driver for selling a sports car, a Rolex watch, an I-phone, the UCI endorsements, it’s 80 percent visual.

Gary