Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Technical Question Re: ut2k4 terrain

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Technical Question Re: ut2k4 terrain

    Id post this on the LevelDesign forum, but... honestly, ive never seen an Epic person respond over there! lol

    I was just asking similar questions to the guys at Irrational Games pertaining Tribes: Vengeance. But it's really a core Unreal engine issue, and particularly relevant for ut2k4 (im asking these as a mapper/modder).

    two central concerns... (PS. if im just missing features in UT2k3, i would love to know)

    1. Terrain Scaling

    I've done quite a bit of work in ut2k3, pushing the terrain systems as far as i can as a mapper. I'm even working with a mod team that has ground vehicles & thus larger maps. in a nutshell, if you scale up the terrain you lose "detail" and stretch it, right?

    Rumor has it that T:V may perhaps have some new features and tools for terrain scaling. In other words, we may be able to scale up our heightfields while then adding more "detail layers" of some sort... almost like painting 1024x1024 resolution details onto a small selection of a 256x256 heightfield (that was how i understood it). I'm not sure if this is real...

    Can we expect some terrain tweaks relating to larger scale terrain in UT2k4? Any hints on what those might be?

    2. FPS/auto-occlusion

    On a related, but different side of the terrain dynamics comes raw rendering issues. Again, let me say im talking form POV of an outdoor-ORIENTED environment, so... no "learn to map with bsp & zone portals" comments please.

    Ive learned that a lot of the performance can be managed within UED by fiddling with your normal visibility settings, but then also this "sector size" variable for ut2k3. Yet, all considered, unreal terrain still seems like it tends to make some strange decisions about how to render "edges" of terrain... and given the skybox system, what normally happens is that we see flickering of terrain making the skybox visible (instead of fog, for example)... suddenly where there IS no sky. etc.

    Similarly, in the great expansions... ut2k3 starts to crank out 100,000s of polys. Thankfully, the game engine pounds these kinds of polys out rather smoothly, but terrain still starts to cough up huge performance hits once a whole scene is developed on it (i presume it's actually the lighting, not the terrain polys themselves which slows rendering). I've made massive terrains in ut2k3, and by themselves there's not a huge FPS drop. Sexy! But... very quickly, FPS becomes totally horrendous with the inclusion of some simple assets on top...

    From a mapping side, there's a deeper optimization challenge here... and one which i think has kept ut2k3 maps and modding on its knees for the most part. That's the challenge of finding proper "anti-portal" placement. Again, the fall-back solution for unreal is to turn our maps into BSP-oriented structures, but... that just isnt viable for today's modding/game dev scene.

    As it stands, the only viable means to make MASSIVE maps which also include a lot of game assets... is to chop up the terrain into visibility "zones" and pretend it is BSP.

    We have to basically place anti-portal _volumes_ under our terrain. This is VERY frustrating and VERY limiting, especially limiting on the types of gameplay and maps one can make. This isn't THAT bad, if thought through properly... but it's more like a work-around than a proper workflow. It's certainly a major, MAJOR limit on what you can actually do out-of-box, as I understand it.

    IMHO, this means that base ut2k3 isnt viable at all for flying vehicles (im curious about ut2k4)... or for mods/maps which want the larger vistas of games like Battlefield and Tribes (games engines oriented around terrain rendering, but then not as strong on the detail).

    The quickest solution from a mapping POV is to make terrain occlude rendering like an anti-portal... and maybe simplify the collision system for it. GOOD GOD that would be nice, and then unleash the engine's potential for outdoor mapping... oriented around terrain instead of BSP and smaller BSP zones. Heck, would be nice to see new zone-types which work for outdoor scenes, properly...

    Will UT2k4 have some new features for managing terrain rendering and occlusion?

    I assume so, cuz... from the previews of UT2k4, there's definately stuff going on i just cant fathom working properly within ut2k3 unless the overall poly counts are being DRAMATICALLY reduced.

    #2
    Very good post :up:
    Im interested in an official answer to this one.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, good post. The current UT2k3 version of the engine doesn't seem particularly optimised for outdoor levels. Maps like antalus handle it ok because they are hilly and not too large, but big open, flat maps just kill off the FPS.

      Any terrain set larger than 128x128 I've found sets a serious cap on the framerate. And anything larger than 256x256 kills it.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by NachoUK
        Yes, good post. The current UT2k3 version of the engine doesn't seem particularly optimised for outdoor levels. Maps like antalus handle it ok because they are hilly and not too large, but big open, flat maps just kill off the FPS.

        Any terrain set larger than 128x128 I've found sets a serious cap on the framerate. And anything larger than 256x256 kills it.
        yea, what he said (with like 500 less words).

        ive tried 512x512 heighfields, and... it's OK with serious "manipulation", but again... the moment you start getting more complicated lighting going... BAM, fps dies.

        obiovusly something new is going on with UT2k4... im just **** curious, and this has HUGE implications on this series as a proper mod platform, IMO.

        i know people tied to BF42 mods like EoD, and they just dont have faith in the engine for this kind of stuff... and I'd like to see the issue put to rest.

        Comment


          #5
          yes u raise an interesting point with that post, but may i ask an even more interesting question, how can the crispy creams at shop n save possibly taste as fresh as the ones made at the crispy cream shop if they get them delivered? :weird: i dont think they can

          Comment


            #6
            EXCELLENT Q's people !!! ... man oh man ... got some talented peeps (who most likely know more about this stuff than EPIC) .. hehe.

            EPIC ... you should listen and provide some qualified answers.

            -bi

            Comment


              #7
              This is one of my major concerns. I feel that this issue has restricted many maps and mods. After the troubles I've witnesses in larger scaled maps, when I heard that T:V was going to use the engine, I was a little suprised. As it is, without some changes in the way 2k3 handles outdoor maps, I can't see how it could pull off and tribes style map.

              And to be honest, onslaught not-withstanding, I think outdoor maps for BR and CTF could be dramatically improved with more expanisve terrain possibilities.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Big_Iron
                EXCELLENT Q's people !!! ... man oh man ... got some talented peeps (who most likely know more about this stuff than EPIC) .. hehe.
                why thank you

                Comment


                  #9
                  Yo ... not u Da Skizzle .... my post was for TseTse & NachoUK

                  Don't steal their thunder ..

                  -bi

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Big_Iron
                    Yo ... not u Da Skizzle .... my post was for TseTse & NachoUK
                    oh i see how it is :cry:

                    Comment


                      #11
                      j/k ... but keep it sane please ... tooooo much spam in this forum.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Roulette
                        This is one of my major concerns. I feel that this issue has restricted many maps and mods. After the troubles I've witnesses in larger scaled maps, when I heard that T:V was going to use the engine, I was a little suprised. As it is, without some changes in the way 2k3 handles outdoor maps, I can't see how it could pull off and tribes style map.

                        And to be honest, onslaught not-withstanding, I think outdoor maps for BR and CTF could be dramatically improved with more expanisve terrain possibilities.
                        absolutely.

                        as for T:V, ill just say the "rumors" are based on irc chats.

                        a programmer explicitly mentioned goals for both the terrain "detailing" and the auto-occlusion system. im not sure if they pulled this off or still have them as goals. but gosh it sure sounded cool.

                        im REALLY curious if epic themselves are doing something akin to this for ut2k4.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          oh no need to tell me, but if think thats spam u should have been here the summer before ut2k3's release! now that was classic spam. old skool members know

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Da Skizzle
                            oh no need to tell me, but if think thats spam u should have been here the summer before ut2k3's release! now that was classic spam. old skool members know
                            yea, i was there. it was stupid then and is stupid now...

                            this is kinda a serious thread, so... while im happy to bump it, perhaps even get in a flame war to raise the odds of an Epic person reading it... it's just not kosher to troll 100% of the time and insist on off-topic posts just to be "cute"

                            then again, i eat non-kosher foods.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              *deja vu*

                              What happened to the razzia mod TseTse?


                              Actually you do ask a very good question and I am hoping we get some kind of official answer on this. I hope they're doing something to improve outdoor maps FPS...cause if we have vehicles and have to play in tiny outdoor maps that will not be fun.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X