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Thread: PolyCounts and what can be done about them

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: Halden, Østfold, Norway

    PolyCounts and what can be done about them

    Okay what I'm dealling with here is this: A Hammerite Chapel. It contains 13 Solid Brush, 37 Air Brushes, 24 objects (so far), and an optimized polycount of 400 when entering. The Solids are boders on the room, and pedisuls for statues and objects, I still need to add lights, AI's (up to 14 at one time) and more objects like wall hangins and fonts, switchs, and scrolls and books. Any ideas on what to do?

    So far the set up is like so far:
    Screens

    *Edit Screenshots Sorry Angelfire doesn't let direct access to images, I'll try something else later.
    Last edited by dhin; 1st Feb 2002 at 17:32.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    well... poly count 400 doesn't sound that bad actually... but if you want to make it smaller, you should perhaps build some walls or something inside the cathedral to reduce the line of sight.

    I'm using D1, but poly count 400 shouldn't be too high. When it gets bigger than 1000, your FM will probably crash. (the exact limit is 1024 or 1048, I can't remember)

    -Tomi

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Germany, near Cologne
    400 is just fine, but if you still need
    objects an AI..
    You can let brushes "float" to reduce
    the polycount. There's a tutorial somewhere on TheCircle on that,
    called "floaters and you" by
    camelhammer. Check it out

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: The Maw Of Chaos
    Yeah, real simple concept actually. You know, everything is made up of triangles, right?

    So if you have an 8-sided column that intersects the floor, you have not only the small number of polys on that column that face the user (4 of the 8 faces, or 8 polys), you also have to connect ALL of those polys to the FLOOR, which breaks up the floor into dozens MORE polys.

    The solution is just to make your columns hover over the floor a tiny, tiny bit, not actually touching it, and saving you hundreds of polys in the process.

    At this late date in FM-making, this method isn't an option -- it's a necessity. It will let you make levels of so much greater detail . . .

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: Halden, Østfold, Norway
    I just add screenshots so you can see what I'm talking about. Angelfire is really pissy though, sorry.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: ashland,or,usa
    I'd say 400 is alright, don't add any more brushes though.

    As far as the floaters thing, it does cut down on polys but I think you're all right. The prob with floaters is that that method can increase cell complexity. Since this is how Drom accounts for AI paths you might want to look at the cell count #'s before and after floating.

    run show_cells and go in game with light_bright on and see how they look, the fewer the better, more important than polycount.

    The thing you'll notice as you add objects (especially AI's and other animated things like torches) is not that your polycount will increase but your framerate will drop dramatically, try and keep it above 20 fps, lower will be choppy.
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  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: The Maw Of Chaos
    Yes, I have to agree heartily re: objects. Often there's a temptation to just say 'screw it, I'll just dress this area up with objects, it's easier'. This can be disastrous to your framerate.

    The object (or group of objects) that will absolutely kill your frame rate are the trees. Maybe it's just my machine, but I have to budget 5 fps for every tree I add to my areas. In fact it seems like any partially transparent object, be it a heavy particle effect or a window or tree foliage, really hurts my frame rate. Whereas objects like paintings or generators that use no transparency seem to run much faster. Maybe it's just me.

    If I find myself constrained in the fps department, I try to use really creative lighting before I add any objects. A room that looks *terribly* bare with only 1 or two lights can look beautiful with multiple colored lights. Although I also reccomend avoiding lots of dynamic lights.

    Just some general ideas, ramblings, etc.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Germany, near Cologne
    I definitely agree on the trees. So if
    you want to construct anything like
    a forest it's probably best to do it
    with brushes, good textures and a rock
    here an there to block vision a bit.
    Haven't gotten out anything really cool
    though

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: The Maw Of Chaos
    To me, making most types of outdoor terrain is easy, except for forests. I don't like the pagan forests in Trail of Blood at ALL until the part at the very end with the Treebeasts; that was handled very well I thought. But forests are insanely difficult in the Dark Engine -- unless, of course, you just place a lot of trees. In which case, may God have mercy on your soul when people try to run that.

    I've actually managed to pull off some fairly convincing non-tree terrain; the following screen doesn't show you the whole river (it curls around to the right from where it flows down a hill) but enough to show you the curves. I'm particularly proud of the river itself, as it is practically seamless.

    http://mrluc.homestead.com/files/GardenCliffs.jpg

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: The Maw Of Chaos
    Btw -- ok, to prove that it really has been a LONG time, I HAVE FORGOTTEN THE ROOM BRUSH SHORTCUT. You know, the one to put a room brush around the currently selected brush . . .

    Man I got used to the Serious Editor; I feel like a n00b all over again.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Germany, near Cologne
    shift-insert (on my german keyboard
    at least)

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: the s is for sucks
    shift+insert is right.

    Use floating brushes...but only in areas with a really high poly-count (near 800-1000).

    And keep the line of sight short...especially in forests or city streets. If you look down my entire street the poly-count flys to like 2000 then crashes, I put gates and bends in the road to cut it down.

    As for when it crashes...it depends on the computer...mine crashes at about 1200 polys and I'm on a P1 233mhz with 100mb RAM.

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  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: Halden, Østfold, Norway
    So does air vs solid brushes really matter than much then?

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: The Maw Of Chaos
    Dark Engine has a limit of 1024 polys, I believe; it shuts down at anything above that. You can change this while in the editor, but it's not currently an option in an FM. Even though most peole's computers can now handle the limit (although the limit plus lots of objects still slows down GeForce 2 cards), you always want to build a ways below the limit, generally 800 or less. Because if you get any higher than that, well, someone playing your FM might find a point of view that raises the polycount over the limit. Better safe than sorry.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: The Maw Of Chaos
    I have an idea . . .

    I was just thinking, closed doors block visibility . . . hmmm.

    So if one could make a grid of resized, large closed doors whose skins are transparent, and use room triggers to close and open them . . . could we make some kind of clumsy sector-based distance culling, and cover up our handiwork with fog?

    Hmm. Sounds silly. But it's a thought.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: Halden, Østfold, Norway
    Objects can't be seen though transparentices, but if fog where used you could in theory cover them up and if the doors moved soundlessly then it could work. You would still see the light from tourches be not the tourch until the door opened and the doors would have to be triggered before the fog cleared enough for the player to notice. I don't know though if the poloigons would still be counted if you can still see them.

    But I would like to know.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: The Maw Of Chaos
    Hmm, here's the problem I see.

    Doors can block visibility when closed; however, I think -- not sure -- but I think that they can only do this if they're sealing off a portal that already exists, a native one created by the BSP process. I don't think 'objects', even if they have vis-blocking abilities like doors do, can block off areas unless they seal off a whole portal.

    Although, hang on a sec.

    What about double doors? So if our huge-door-method was to work, we could have them touch the 'sky' and the ground, overlap each other . . . also, the world would have to be made of many separate portals, not just one big one, or the doors wouldn't block vis, but it could still work with some tweaking.

    As to fog covering it -- yeah, that's the idea, have fog hide what's happening at range. I had to use a similar approach for visibility in the Serious Sam engine; you could designate any poly a portal and set a texture and a distance, and it would switch from being a portal to blocking visibility at that distance. However, this was meant to conceal interiors and economize by not drawing interiors at a distance; it wasn't meant for large terrains. So we had to cut the world into cubes and have the fog distance at just below the portal distance.

    This would be an even bigger hack, an even weirder solution. But, hey -- it reall could work, could let us make some pretty big areas. Of course, the big problem would be filling those areas with buttery content. And also, this might not work.

    Still, I like the idea of using resized doors to block large chunks of visibility! This has a TON of potential applications if possible.

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