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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Tips and Tricks. (Read 3723 times)
Xavious
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Tips and Tricks.
Aug 5th, 2005 at 11:01pm
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I already started a topic such as this on the other forum, but i thought it may be nice to add it here. Obviously, you can feel free to add to it.

It will basically be a collection of useful little tid-bits that us mappers have thought up in our years of mapping, but only things that arn't likely to be covered in a specific tutorial.

Like i say, feel free to add to it. Topics like this live off varied input.

[Also please point out any mistakes i have made in my own tips, i often get things like these wrong lol]

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Giving the editor a little TLC

I find that many people comlain about the editor crashing and whatnot. Here are some simple tips:

#1: the GPF crash.

I always seem to get these while moving things around. When i move some lights, especially in areas with a large amount of polygonage, it crashes. Also, i get this error while editing the properties of some items, then accidentally clicking off the properties window. Thirdly, i get this error which accidentally clicking on the bars to change the window sizes.

Therefore, it would be advisable to avoid doing this.

Furthermore, sometimes when the editor crashes, the map can still be saved. If you get the error, then CALM DOWN. Stop, and think. Are you still able to click on the main editor window behind the error? If so, then go into File-> Save As and save it as a different name. Then open the map, and if it opens, then you can continue maping. If not, then yer screwed i guess...

#2: Rebuilding.

Many people who i've spoken to seem to rebuild very often. reallly, there is no need. You need only to rebuild if you change the geometry, or if you want to define the shadows on lights.

To be honest, i think that sometimes lights can look nicer if you DON'T rebuild, but i guess that depends on the surrounding geometry.

Also, the editor has a high probability of crashing during a rebuild (especially on slow machines or high-poly-ness-ish maps) so try to close any other programs you have running, to give UEd the maximum amount of resources on your machine, and ALWAYS SAVE BEFORE REBUILD (even if you have a low-poly map or high-end machne).

#3: Various.

I'm not sure about some of these, so correct me if i am wrong.

--Do not use any programs which automatically resize the other windows on the screen when they are used. for example, Trillian can be set up to automatically resize anything else on the desktop to make room for it at the edge. Opening such programs crashes the editor. You will get an error like:

runtime error ###: Editor cannot be resized or minimized during ****

(where ### is a number which i can't remember, and **** is a word that i can't remember)

The moral of this is this: Don't open these programs without first minimizing the UEd window.

--This isn;t exactly related to UEd, but always have some music or radio playing, or a TV switched on. If you are the stressful type, it will really help.

--Another little note about rebuilding: Sometimes on high-poly maps on slow machines, the UEd window will move into a 'not responding' state, I.E. parts of the window go white and the little status bar freezes. Do not immediately close (or end-task) the editor, since it is still rebuilding...It's just taking its time...

#4: Movers.

I believe this tip was already on zora's site, but since not many people go there, it might be nice to have it here too...

If you build a mover, and then rebuild and test and all that, you may find that you have textured it wrong or something errornous like that. Sometimes it mayu be a very complicated Custom Brush, which took you a while to make, even before you got to the intersecting stage. If this is the case, you need not do your adding and subtracting of brushes from scratch, simply right-click your mover, select copy polygons to brush, and re-add the new brush somewhere else, where you can fix any texturing errors.

Then you have only to re-intersect, add mover, set up all the mover-specific attributes...*yawn*


-----------------------------------------

[offtopic]

The code to change the size of text on this forum is seriously messed up. No matter what number i edited that title to, it always stayed that size...

[/offtopic]
  

As much as i try, i cannot seem to think of an interesting and amusing signature...I blame the stupid fools who stole all my ideas for decent signatures...&&&&Fools...&&&&I'll get you some day!
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Xavious
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #1 - Aug 8th, 2005 at 9:46pm
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#5: The Rotation Grid.

When you rotate a brush, it tends to snap into 16 different positions. This can be annoying if you are trying to get it into a certain position. This can easily be fixed by hitting the lowest button on the middle collumn of tools on the left of the viewports. The brushes can now be rotated freely into any position.

Note that if you turn on the rotation grid again while a brush is off-axis (ie not in one of the 16 pre-set positions) then you try to rotate it again, it won't reset into the rotation grid. To reset it, simply right-click it and select reset -> rotation.
« Last Edit: Aug 10th, 2005 at 11:18pm by Xavious »  

As much as i try, i cannot seem to think of an interesting and amusing signature...I blame the stupid fools who stole all my ideas for decent signatures...&&&&Fools...&&&&I'll get you some day!
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Xavious
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #2 - Aug 10th, 2005 at 10:41pm
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#6: Shiny Surfaces (oooooooooooh shiny! shiny shiny shiny!)

I've had a fair few people asking me about making a surface shiny. It is a simple procedure, easily done in just a few seconds.

Right-click the surface that you would like to be shiny, open its properties, and check both 'Mirror' and 'Transclucent.'

Simple, huh?

I also know of some people who did not even know that unreal had shiny surfaces! This is because they are using the default rendering device, on default settings.

If you cannot see any shiny surfaces, then go into your advanced options -> Drivers and check which driver is being used for 'GameRenderDevice.'

Then go to advanced options -> rendering and expand the device you saw in the 'GameRenderDevice.' Then simply set 'shiny surfaces' to true.
  

As much as i try, i cannot seem to think of an interesting and amusing signature...I blame the stupid fools who stole all my ideas for decent signatures...&&&&Fools...&&&&I'll get you some day!
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Xavious
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #3 - Aug 10th, 2005 at 11:03pm
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Thanks to my buddy Buster<KoR> for this next one:

#7: Ladders and steep slopes (and climbing in general)

If you want to make a ladder (if, for example, you wanted to get to a higher area, but cannot use a mover) then there are one of two things you should know:

First, the steps of the ladder need to be at least 2 units deep and 28 high. This will allow the player to ascend the ladder simply by walking straight forward. These figures might be a bit confusing, so i *ahem* drew a diagram:



I hope you all like my graphical drawing. It took me a whole hour!

Also, you can make an invisible ladder (add special brush -> invisible collision hull) and put it in front of a wall or steep slope to create the illusion of climbing up the wall. Just make sure the ladder is not touching the wall, or you will get rendering errors.

Never use ImageShack for Free Image Hosting because they like to lick thier grandmothers.
« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2005 at 10:29pm by Xavious »  

As much as i try, i cannot seem to think of an interesting and amusing signature...I blame the stupid fools who stole all my ideas for decent signatures...&&&&Fools...&&&&I'll get you some day!
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #4 - Aug 10th, 2005 at 11:42pm
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Where to start.. I'll start with one of my favorite tricks to..

A: Cut map size
B: Eliminate BSP

As you all know (mayyyybe), Unreal's engine is based on that all to familiar sonofa!#% - BSP!! Bit Space Partitioning is Unreal's attempt to divide the level into zones for faster rendering.. but its alot more complicated than that. The latest UT games utilize this, in the form of.. STATIC MESHES. Meshes with complex collision hulls, no more radial collision. I use MeshMaker for this simple task of making your own meshes. Here are the steps I go through to make meshes in place of complex, game-slowing file-size-adding brushes.

1: Make a brush, convert it to a mesh with meshmaker.
2: Add the mesh somewhere in the map
3: NOTE- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BSTATIC SET TO FALSE
4: Now give it a radius collision
|__You can set in your 2d windows your view to 'radial' so you can see a red radius around any actor you select, this radius is it's collision radius which is much easier to see than placing it and estimating on values.
5: There you go, now you have a mesh in place of a complex brush and it will severely cut lag and download size!

-Note- The mesh obviously doesn't have a complex collision hull.. to simulate this effect you can use BlockAlls with smaller collisions placed at points along the mesh.
  
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Turboman.
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #5 - Aug 11th, 2005 at 3:09pm
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okay here's one of my tips Tongue :

GIVING FRAMERATE BOOSTS IN EXTREMELY DETAILED AREA'S

i see so often that people have very high poly area's (often around 400/600 poly's) unoptimized, while they may look extremely pretty they can have a huge impact on older pc's (and yes, believe it or not but there are still people like me running unreal on a pentium 2), so i decided to write a little tutorial on increasing framerates, especially on older machines, well, it mostly wont work sufficiently for a pentium2 machine, but better machines will definately benefit from it 8)

incase you dont know what a poly is, it stands for polygon, and whats a polygon? its basically a triangle where a 3d world is built of, a square surface exists out of two polygones, this means a cube exists out of 12, although the polygons that count in performance are all the polygons in view, meaning when you stand inside that cube you will never be able to see more then 4 or 6 poly's in your view at once.

first try wandering around your scene with the console command "stat fps" to see your average polycount, here is a list i made showing the polycount tree to make more sense out of the numbers you see:

0-70: lowpoly scene, more a less the average polycount in most unreal scenes, extremely performance friendly but usually dated graphics for today's standard.
70-200: average polycount, has more impact on fps, especially anything above 100 can become a bit unstable on low end pc's
200-400 poly's: high poly area's, unoptimized this can be unplayable on low end systems.
400-600: very high polygon area's, unplayable on low end machines no matter what, current day levels have alot of these area's as high end machines can render this easily.
600-1000: are you kidding me? this is beyond what the engine can handle, so i'm surprised your game didnt crash yet or you didnt die in a giant bsp hole.

stuff to do to optimize performance in high poly area's:

use more semisolids, for objects like statues, rocks, pillars, or other detailed scenes placed around your map try to convert these to semisolids, semisolids give you a slight fps boost as they dont make cuts in the bsp yet they occlude like regular bsp geometry do.
also the use of meshes like PCUBE mentioned can also help alot in increasing fps.

set more surfaces to low shadow detail, especially on smaller stuff like wires, pillars, statues, or rocks this can help alot and make the decrease in quality barely noticable (the shadows become slightly smoother), i found shadows to have the most impact on fps, try to stand in a high poly scene with rmode 5 (default lighting view) and rmode 6 (texture view) and notice in rmode 6 your fps is far higher, this is because unreal stores shadow data in a lightmap which is also rendered over the texture itself.
also try to experiment with the other surface features like bright corners or dirty shadows(doesnt seem to be functional in final game)

when rebuilding the scene under the rebuilding window goto BSP and set optimization to "optimal", it should always be on optimal, no idea why epic left it on good.

stuff NOT to do when designing complex scenes:

DONT use fog in high poly area's, fog and other volumetric stuff will drastically bring down your fps, if you use fog try to limit it as much as possible, the more lights you apply fog to the worse your fps gets.

DONT use fractal/procedural lighting like shimmering water shadows or wavy torch shadows in high poly area's, while they look extremely beautiful they drain fps the most, sometimes even so bad they result in instant crashes on startup (even on faster machines) because of a limitation of the engine.
  
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SirFRagalot_HLK
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #6 - Aug 19th, 2005 at 3:25am
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edit: nevermind i found meshmaker (google'd it)

http://www.planetunreal.com/screen/meshmaker/
« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2005 at 5:53pm by SirFRagalot_HLK »  

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DieHard SCWS
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #7 - Aug 19th, 2005 at 5:18pm
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OFF TOPIC

Quote:
Thanks to ImageShack for Free Image Hosting


Imageshack will purge that picture soon and therefore render your tutorial incomplete very fast Sad, either submit that picture to this site, something i would prefferably like to see ! ! !

Create a picture map for that on this site: Hint Hint


For now you could edit your post with the link below so it won't go down:

http://www.celticwarriors.net/Media/Pictures/diagram7wk.jpg


But as said, i would prefer a link from this site, i absolutelly HATE to see broken links.
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Xavious
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #8 - Aug 19th, 2005 at 8:05pm
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OFF TOPIC

Thanks, much appreciated. Damned Imageshack!

I'll change the appropriate links.

Although...What did you mean by "create a picture map of that image on this site?"
  

As much as i try, i cannot seem to think of an interesting and amusing signature...I blame the stupid fools who stole all my ideas for decent signatures...&&&&Fools...&&&&I'll get you some day!
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DieHard SCWS
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #9 - Aug 19th, 2005 at 8:30pm
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Either Smirftsch or Pitbull should create a map inwhere they can dump picures needed for this forum.


You just sent the picture and they dump it inthere.
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Xavious
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Re: Tips and Tricks.
Reply #10 - Aug 19th, 2005 at 9:46pm
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Oh i see. I'll send it to pitbull then.
  

As much as i try, i cannot seem to think of an interesting and amusing signature...I blame the stupid fools who stole all my ideas for decent signatures...&&&&Fools...&&&&I'll get you some day!
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