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Normal Topic CTF-Blice (Read 233 times)
Feralidragon
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CTF-Blice
Jan 5th, 2020 at 11:50pm
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I was finally able to finish this map.
(and I finished it using mostly UEd 2.2, which was a life saver concerning node count limitations)

Please beware however that this is a map which pretty much pushes the engine to its utmost limits.
This means a few things:
  • the map is quite big: 85MB;
  • the BSP has a very high node count (58k, already optimized down from 78k) and is unstable: it doesn't have any collision bugs that I know of or any missing surfaces, but in certain odd angles in some places some parts may disappear or show a HOM (generally on corners and such), due to the super aggressive culling on the engine's part;
  • there are some lighting bugs I couldn't get rid of (maybe useful as a case study for future UT99 and Unreal patches);
  • there are a lot of effects going on: bloom, particles, clouds, snow, in the order of thousands (literally, in the order of 5k+ bloom effects, and several hundreds, probably up to thousands in particle effects);
  • the frame rate of the map is quite hideous, even on strong machines (good to benchmark your machine against).


Other than that, everything works: the map is bot-pathed, it's been minimally tested, the gameplay is simple and flows well, etc.

Therefore I have made 2 versions, the original full quality version, but with a poor performance, here:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/pkt1z84w48oo18d/CTF-Blice-Alpha.zip/file


and a lite version, with most effects stripped from it (a literal "select all -> delete" derived from the first map), but with a good performance (at least on my machine, I cannot vouch for a good performance in old machines):
http://www.mediafire.com/file/1tg7xfj24uuqr1m/CTF-Blice-Lite-Alpha.zip/file


Also, keep in mind that this is a first alpha release, and as an alpha I mean to make maybe 1 or 2 more releases to fix anything severely broken, or with minor improvements, depending on overall feedback.
But I don't mean to put much more work into this map as it is, because quite honestly it's not worth it to me, since it's likely never going to be played in real servers, due to its size or due to players getting lag nonetheless even in the lite version if their machine is not modern enough, hence being more of a tech demo at this point, and a map to benchmark performance against.

Furthermore, most of the lag from the full quality version could be fixed if I made a new effects package coded in a completely different way, it's only laggy since I used a very old effects package of mine, which while has a good performance overall (it was built for high performance), I didn't put much work into it in the first place (was developed in 2 days, years ago), and this map shows its performance limitations quite clearly, so this is a map I will potentially use to benchmark new mapping effects and tools against, should I ever do something like that down the road.

And with that, here are the screenshots of the map itself:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/1UmPhmf79HQfjh0GXa7V4ibTVdj3GM7-NvXSsvuJVzGOaz...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/rb66i3NkWTFFY-BX_BKZvucOzKVw3RuTp0v67-gyigdVDG...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/SHvgDcX1MmlUZ3GCHAfOLp4Ra4B2Pye0TV40LPOlzU6pE7...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/6NkrZIrq3isls4_fd6XgVNpVmHVK-STTF-1Idgye56Vwmq...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/01s00Qo10qNotfUInw1D3AynPsA4CHrxDOfkGLraLHDlKn...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/8Lfv4FBm-nNRWFxY8e-zpNnAAWO-VLTpH03UuIm4NJeO1H...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/IWnac_Qv3rkF7OvF5Ekm38-XHH9jAB5TuE6AG-mEPtsrbP...
  
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Hellkeeper
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Re: CTF-Blice
Reply #1 - Jan 6th, 2020 at 1:01am
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I'm impressed by the technical prowess, nothing short of what I expect from you. The amount of effects is considerable and the level of detail is very impressive. I went for the full version ans was able to run it with a choppy framerate.

Good benchmark for even modern rigs.

I suppose you experimented with different zoning approaches? The current way of only having three main zones is strange, as at least the lower corridors of each base could be separately zoned. I assume you tried something like that and kept portals to a minimum because of HOMs and BSP holes appearing when you changed geometry in such a radical way as adding portals.


Unfortunately I find the layout relatively poor. As for style, such a dark set of texture is usually unfortunate because it sucks all contrast and brightness out of the map and this is no exception: the inside of the bases is a muddle of grey and brown and the exquisite details are mostly lost in darkness.
  

You must construct additional pylons.
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Feralidragon
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Re: CTF-Blice
Reply #2 - Jan 7th, 2020 at 2:07pm
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I started this map back around December of 2018 (a little over a year ago), and it was even meant to be submitted to a contest.

It was meant to be a very simply straightforward map with a very simplistic layout (I don't like complicated layouts myself unless they serve a clear purpose), and all I had clearly in mind was the outdoors part with the terrain and the walls in the middle.

By the time I started to do the actual bases, I simply created a big simple room, and then kept adding more and more detail to the point that you have seen.

I wanted the base to have a strong contrast with the outside, and have the glowing stuff pop out, hence the texture choices, although it all ended up being dark grey/brown indeed, with some subtle details a bit lost among all the darkness, as you mentioned.

The bases also ended up a lot bigger than I intended, but by the time I noticed it was too late and just opted to finish it as it was.

I didn't put much thought in the zones themselves.
While I thought in dividing it more, by the time I saw how playable it would actually be, I simply limited the number of zones to exactly the ones I needed for location purposes alone.

I could have finished this map ages ago, but I kept hitting roadblocks with this one: BSP limitations and lighting crashes essentially, which were later solved last month by using UEd2.2.

This map is clearly not to have a serious gameplay, nor was it meant to have a proper layout other than the outside part of it, so it ended up being mostly an experiment to see how far my own old effects package could be applied to a map of this size before having performance issues, and also to experiment with BSP and apply a wide range of different techniques to achieve all the visuals I wanted to achieve, and keep everything stable, which on that regard was a resounding success to me.

If anything, this map gave me enough insight to later on develop a proper effects package of this kind (fast and more usable) and a more interesting map with more thought put into it than this one (something actually playable and fast, with a similar level of detail).
  
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Re: CTF-Blice
Reply #3 - Jan 7th, 2020 at 9:34pm
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First thing i thought when i saw this is how much it reminded me of the first area in the DAM level in Goldeneye 64  Grin

I installed the full version and amazing what you managed to do with just BSP. The attention to detail is stunning! Shocked  i can imagine the hoops you've been through building this. Shocked

If UT469 is going to include 227 features, is there any chance you're going to convert some geometry to meshes and use the native particle emitters? I can imagine that it could result in a significant performance boost, probably even make it playable (getting 15-25 fps here  Cheesy )
  
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Re: CTF-Blice
Reply #4 - Jan 8th, 2020 at 6:58pm
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Feralidragon
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Re: CTF-Blice
Reply #5 - Jan 19th, 2020 at 11:39pm
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Turboman. wrote on Jan 7th, 2020 at 9:34pm:
First thing i thought when i saw this is how much it reminded me of the first area in the DAM level in Goldeneye 64  Grin

I installed the full version and amazing what you managed to do with just BSP. The attention to detail is stunning! Shocked  i can imagine the hoops you've been through building this. Shocked

Thank you.  Smiley

BSP-wise, I only had real trouble while I was using UEd2.0 from UT99, since it came to a point that it wouldn't build, and if it built, it would crash.
Fortunately, UEd2.2 saved the day by essentially building things properly without crashing, and has extra texture alignment options which made things a lot easier for me.

Other than that, I didn't have any major issues with the BSP itself, mostly thanks to the usage of semi-solid geometry wherever I could, and so it was just a lot of time choosing shapes, textures, and a lot of vertex editing, clipping and intersecting to make the BSP building blocks.

Turboman. wrote on Jan 7th, 2020 at 9:34pm:
If UT469 is going to include 227 features, is there any chance you're going to convert some geometry to meshes and use the native particle emitters? I can imagine that it could result in a significant performance boost, probably even make it playable (getting 15-25 fps here  Cheesy )

Unfortunately UT99 v469 isn't going to include any of those 227 features, due to the type of agreement made with Epic (updates must be compatible with the previous official UT99 version, v436).

However, most of the performance drop is the rendering itself.
While I have included enough particles and glows/bloom to the point that the underlying UScript had an impact, most of the impact is the rendering of what are essentially hundreds of translucent sprites, especially outside as I used gigantic sprites to simulate snowy winds, and UE1 doesn't like big translucent stuff covering big areas.

But, if I end up getting back to developing stuff for the game for real, one of the things I want to do is to create a new package with all these effects, but a lot more optimized and easier to use, as the current package was just a first 2-day long attempt years ago.
  
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