I work in the 3D industry (film & television) and since UT99 I've wanted to give this mapping thing a go. The capabilities of the U3 engine have got me pumped to dive right in, so I've been saturating myself with as much technical mapping info as possible but I've been unable to find information regarding a few things.
I'm keen to just start playing around, but I'd like at least a rough guideline as to engine recommended limits, so I'd like to throw a few questions to the experienced mappers.
Hopefully my questions aren't too stupid!
1. What is the scale, in unreal units, for a character (height and width)?
2. Taking 'average' to mean roughly as big as a manta, what is the maximum recommended poly count for the 'average' static mesh? Obviously it depends heavily on the topology, but this question relates more to #3...
3. Given the above estimate, what is the maximum recommended number of static meshes visible (still trying to understand zones and antiportals) at any one time?
4. What is the recommended maximum texture size per mesh, per map type? How many map types are supported? (ie. spec, diff, amb, etc.)
5. How important is striping (not sure what term is used in gaming - triangulation order) to performance within U3?
6. Is it both more memory efficient and more performance efficient to build pattern-repetitive objects - say, a picket fence, for example - with the one static mesh repeated many times rather than one big mesh?
7. Should I build redundent tesselation into large flat surfaces for better vertex lighting? Is there an alternative approach?
8. Any other technical tips or potential pitfalls I should know about? HUGE topic, I know, and I'm not asking for a step-by-step, I'm just after some pointers to get me started.
Any general tips for developing a map that plays well? Right now I'm more interested in just learning the editor, and seeing how well my skills translate across to gaming, but it would be nice if all the work put in results in a playable map!
Apologies for the wall of text, and I hope some of you can kindly offer some of your time to answer a question or two!