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Q about using ZoneInfo ambient lighting

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  • replied
    Originally posted by papabear View Post
    thank you for the reply.

    I assumed the numbers represented a percentage of lighting ...
    I should lower my lighting from 20 to like 2, I guess.

    As to making static meshes: Yes, I was referring to the convert to static mesh function in Uedit.
    ... I understand that Uedit creates poorly constructed static meshes ...
    ... a "picture frame"
    ... a custom designed crate, of which a few are movers as well

    Perhaps I should uninstall the version of Maya that I have, install the one on my UT2004 DVD, and find a good tutorial.

    it occurs to me that I could have copied and pasted the addition brushes (CSG? I'm still trying to understand and use the proper verbiage when discussing mapmaking) to each location - other than the movers.
    You're welcome.

    Most UE properties like lights have a value range of 0 to 255.
    So 127 would be about 50%.
    Yes, you should only use somewhere in the lower range. The amount you use will depend on the style of map.
    You should also set the color of the Ambient appropriately for the time of day.

    You will lose the better lighting/shadowing that CSG brushes have by converting to StaticMesh, but for simple objects like picture frames and crates you can probably get away with doing it without too much of a problem.

    The latest version of the Epic Maya PLE plugin is for 7.x I believe, so you will require that version of PLE. The latest download on Maya's site is 8 I believe. The version on your UT discs is around 5.
    So you would have to locate the proper verson 7 and serial key.
    Objects like frames and crates and other simple meshes are worth learning how to do in Maya, they are simple designs so they are easy to make.

    You can copy/paste brushes, but Duplicate is the better choice (also on the Edit menu).
    Using copy/paste often starts to slow down when the map gets more detail into it, and can take a few seconds before the pasted object appears.

    CSG = Constructive Solid Geometry, which is what the Add/Subtract brush construct system is. Many people call it BSP brushes, which is also fine. I prefer to use the proper name simply to remove any confusion in posts related to actual BSP problems so that people hopefully don't confuse that with CSG problems.

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  • replied
    Firstly, thank you for the reply. I’ve been reading much of what you’ve written, and it has helped me quiet a lot. (This is true for many other people here who have taken the time to answer questions here, as well as on the BUF forums.)

    As to the ambient zone lighting: I assumed the numbers represented a percentage of lighting, as in 0 was none, and 100 was full lighting. From what you said, the real range I should be concerned with is actually 0 to 10. So, I should lower my lighting from 20 to like 2, I guess.

    As to making static meshes: Yes, I was referring to the convert to static mesh function in Uedit.

    OK, so I understand that Uedit creates poorly constructed static meshes, as compared to 3DMax/Maya and that I may not (probably won't) see any speed benefits.

    However, since I have no clue whatsoever as to how to use Maya (which I do have, having downloaded the newest PLE version); I have been creating fairly simple static meshes in Uedit. Perhaps I should uninstall the version of Maya that I have, install the one on my UT2004 DVD, and find a good tutorial.

    In my case, I'm using the same Uedit created static mesh many times over; at least 40 times for one in particular, which is a "picture frame" into which I'm placing player submitted 512x128 banners. Another is a custom designed crate, of which a few are movers as well. So, for this specific map, I don't have to create these "picture frames" or crates from scratch each time I want to place one.

    Now that I've typed this in, it occurs to me that I could have copied and pasted the addition brushes (CSG? I'm still trying to understand and use the proper verbiage when discussing mapmaking) to each location - other than the movers. However, I seem to recall reading someplace that this isn't recommended, either. I could be misremembering, however.

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  • replied
    Not sure what the bumpity was for...

    ZoneInfo Ambient should normally be between 0 and 8 or 10 maximum, to simulate radiosity, or it has a tendancy to decrease the contrast of the map.
    Also note that Ambient pushes up the three main construct geometry types at differing rates, so StaticMeshes, Terrain and CSG Surfaces all "ambient" up at different rates causing irregular lighting.
    Hence it should only be used around 2 through 8 on most maps.

    "Self-lighted sheets" should normally be created by using a Shader Material with SelfIllumination texture and optional mask.
    These will be "unlit" but if the rest of the scene lighting is too bright, they may not be too noticeable as being unlit.
    Although you could also set them to bUnlit=True.

    If the fps is low, use "stat render" at the console in-game to see what geometry areas are causing framerate issues (ie: BSP render time, StaticMesh render time).
    Also if this is an indoor CSG type map, be sure to properly use layout and Zoning to optimize the map.

    Originally posted by papabear View Post
    Is it true that static meshes created in Uedit do not render any faster than the individual brushes from which they were created; that they do not impart any speed benefits for the players?

    I thought that static meshes were precached into each users video RAM when the map loaded, which would make things faster -- making it so that the same construct didn't have to be rendered in "real time" when it entered the player's line-of-sight (fulstrum?).
    I assume that you are referring to using the Convert To StaticMesh function on a CSG Brush(es)?
    You really shouldn't do this for many reasons: you lose lightmapped lighting, you don't achieve the speed advantage of "proper" StaticMeshes, all you really get is no BSP error issues and instancing.

    StaticMeshes (Hardware Brushes) are rendered by the video GPU whereas the CSG construct is managed by CPU before sending to the GPU.
    This doesn't make StaticMeshes faster by default (per se). The ratio of rendering time depends greatly on the CPU and GPU being compared. On current hardware, there is usually a 10x to 15x speed advantage for properly created StaticMeshes versus CSG.
    The big issue is that the Convert To StaticMesh does not create a properly optimized mesh, so speed-wise it may render as slow as CSG on your specific hardware.
    Proper StaticMeshes must be created with external 3D software such as Max or Maya, they should have their vertices welded, and a proper Simplified Collision.

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  • replied
    *bumpitty*

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  • replied
    Well, in the map I'm making, I did set ambient lighting to 20%, just to get that all around, all over, lighting effect. I've then used individual lights (sparingly), to create the shadow effects I wanted (to keep the map from looking flat )

    Perhaps the reason I don't see any change for the "self lighted" sheets is that I need to set their ambient lighting to something greater than the zone's ambient light level. D'oh!

    But, yeah, I am worried about the map's FPS "speed", which can get a bit low in the map's main room. Lighting was one area where I was wondering if I was doing things the OK way by using the zone's ambient light settings.

    (I've already added some distance fog, fixed some zoning issues, and removed some uneeded stuff so far -- all of which has increased the FPS by about 10, so far.)

    On another note: Is it true that static meshes created in Uedit do not render any faster than the individual brushes from which they were created; that they do not impart any speed benefits for the players?

    I thought that static meshes were precached into each users video RAM when the map loaded, which would make things faster -- making it so that the same construct didn't have to be rendered in "real time" when it entered the player's line-of-sight (fulstrum?).

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  • replied
    Ambient lighting is realy nice to use to prevent corners or the inside of a closet etc from ever being black. I think of it as the true background lighting. Maps that only use ambient light look very flat and unappealing but I believe zonelighting is much less a lag on performance than putting in the say 100 individual lights it would take to do the same thing.

    Ambient glow is useful for all types of meshes and is sort of like a variable partial unlit that is good for setting the lowest lighting you want a static mesh or mover to have but still have it highlight with the regular lights or special lit.

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  • replied
    since the light is baked in, you shouldn't see any real performance hits, espeicially with ambient light.

    it's always better to use individual lights rather than ambient lighting. i advise using ambient lighting VERY sparingly and at a very low level.

    you can make materials in UED that appear self lit.

    http://www.dregsld.com/tutorials.html

    good luck!

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  • started a topic Q about using ZoneInfo ambient lighting

    Q about using ZoneInfo ambient lighting

    I have a question about using the ZoneInfo ambient lighting (forgive me if I don't have the actual verbiage correct. I'm at work, and don't have UEd with me).

    Anyway, if I use a ZoneInfo's ambient lighting (as opposed to placing separate lights), will I cause a performance hit for the player's? I guess what I'm really after is this: Is it better to use ambient lighting, or individual ights (as long as there's not an excessive number of them), particularly for large rooms/zones?

    On a related note, does the Ambient Glow (under Display) for say, a sheet, actually do any thing? I want to make the texture that is placed on the sheet be kind of "self-lighted". (Or, maybe, the reason I don't see any change is that the graphics setting in my game are too low -- or at least the relevant one[s]?)
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