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    Open environment like GTA

    Hello, I'm thinking on creating an open environment like GTA San Andreas. I'm not sure I have a clear thought on how to approach doing this, so I was wondering if there are any suggestions or ideas on how to go about doing this.

    I know i'm going to need to do level streaming. However, do I build this level in pieces, parts, and acres? Or, do I just create it like any other level where the objects are placed anywhere?

    Please feel free to leave any suggestion.

    #2
    Try checking this other thread out, haven't read through it myself but it seems like what you want.

    http://utforums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=722906

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      #3
      Questions about the level

      I like what I see from the mentioned thread; nevertheless, I came upon some questions.

      1. How much static meshes or collision models until it starts to lag or PMS?

      2. How big should I build each sections and how much detail can I add?

      3. If I created an environment like in GTA San Andreas how would I stream it to where the player can't see it load in the background even if the player is exposed to the environment in the distance? (Example: walking on top of a hill and can see houses the distance. How would you stream something like that?)


      I'm hoping to get a sense of direction and avoid unnecessary problems.

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        #4
        Well, there will always be a couple of methods you can use. Back in the day, when we did a rally mod for the Half-Life engine, there was the limitation in level dimensions.

        To overcome this problem, we scaled everything down, models where scaled a 1/4 of the size, this gave you the impression that the levels where huge when driving your rally cars.

        I believe it is possible to do the same with the UDK terrains and levels, keep the levels the same size, but scale everything down.

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          #5
          I was hoping to get some answers from the thread with my second post, but nobody really wants to answer them. Anyways I guess not a lot of people know about subject.

          That's OK, because I noticed while playing GTA San Andreas that where ever the player went is where it streamed. According to the GTA's set up, the level is streamed in a radius around the player. I'm guessing it's all programming.

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            #6
            Well do you really have to stream the level? Isnt distance fog counting as an occluder in the Unreal Engine? Either that or you can work heavely with LOD meshes. I think streaming would be handy if you split your town into different Islands.

            Also, mind that your detail level should be at a bare minimum, polygons are cheaper than textures.

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              #7
              im doing the same sort of thing Kasigawa, in terms of how big each level is i have a rule of thumb, each level i create has a terrain base X & Y are 120 and i have 4 of these in a square, i have 5 levels like this all done through level streaming, i have an old video of when i first started it which i re-uploaded to youtube if you fancy having a look http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APgl-sRLQGM

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                #8
                Originally posted by Visceral89 View Post
                Well do you really have to stream the level? Isnt distance fog counting as an occluder in the Unreal Engine? Either that or you can work heavely with LOD meshes. I think streaming would be handy if you split your town into different Islands.

                Also, mind that your detail level should be at a bare minimum, polygons are cheaper than textures.
                Oh, meshes are mostly not an problem. Problem here is in textures that meshes using. They will be loaded anyway in most cases, no matter if you can see mesh or not. Because you might see it at some point -;-. I can be wrong there, so forgive me and tell how it really works .

                And as about loding meshes. No point, not for all of them anyway. It's better to just cut them off at some distance. Faster and less memoro consuming, than stroing sevral versions of this same mesh.

                Even if you don't sream entire levels, you will need to stream content in that levels.
                And if you using terrain it can have from about 10% to 50% of total polycount of your level. And even very strong loding not help so much with that..

                Also the idea with scaling everything down it's very nice. Oh That will need to recreate every mesh from scratch, including characters with custom rig, but well, you are going to do it anyway ? .

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                  #9
                  These are all good suggestions, maybe by scaling the meshes down I can save memory; moreover, making each section of the map big, since meshes aren't a big deal that I thought it was going to be. Thanks for the advice.

                  If there's anything else I should know about, let me know.

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                    #10
                    Haha you guys could probably tell from my post that this streaming buisness is kinda news to me havent done it and probably wont for a while.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Kasigawa View Post
                      maybe by scaling the meshes down I can save memory
                      It doesn't really work like that. You won't save memory by making the meshes smaller since they are still as detailed. Though since Unreal Engine, for some reason which I have failed to figure out, has a max space, making the meshes smaller will allow you to work with seemingly bigger areas.

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