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Thread: Object and brush size limits

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Land of two pubs

    Object and brush size limits

    I've seen more posts about the limits on numbers of objects or brushes, but what about their sizes? If I have large cliffs to block the horizon or walls to separate a large air brush, how far can they span?

    Picture, if you will, a wall that spans the middle of a large air brush, but only one part of it has a portcullis where you can reach the other side. In theory, that wall can include a solid brush for the portion with the door, with another same-textured object to continue the wall and reduce cells.

    In terms of distant objects, I think the largest one's I've seen were the bay cliffs in the Bones FM. Since working with Blender, I've been able to put three shorter horizontal cliffs along the border of a large air brush, but haven't tried longer ones that might be the same distance as a wall.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    The main problem with extremely large objects is that the engine has a tendency to cull them if the centre of the object is too far off-screen. Shouldn't be much of an issue if it's for distant scenery, but you may want to consider breaking objects into smaller chunks if the player can get up close.

    Technically, you can have terrain brushes as large as the level limits without it crashing. However, if your texture scale is too small on a very large brush, you can get errors and crashes, and extremely long sightlines can also be problematic. You can also eat up cells very quickly if you have large brushes that aren't cubic.

    In my current mission I have some air brushes that are over 400 units long without any ill effects.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Pushing my luck with Dromed
    And if you're using a 4:3 monitor and get things just right with object visibility, people with 16:9 monitors may still see those problems.

  4. #4
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Not sure I completely understand what you mean about the wall. Are you saying that you have a wall spanning the width of the air brush but only a part of that wall is a terrain brush, and the rest is an object? If so, that won't necessarily save cells. In fact, it's more likely to produce more cells than if the wall was just completely one solid brush.

    As far as the size of distant objects, you can make them huge, but they will distort so it takes some trial and error to get things right. Also, what R Soul said. Take a look at the huge oversized bushes we used in mission 1 of Scarlet Cascabel.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Land of two pubs
    Quote Originally Posted by Tannar View Post
    Not sure I completely understand what you mean about the wall. Are you saying that you have a wall spanning the width of the air brush but only a part of that wall is a terrain brush, and the rest is an object? If so, that won't necessarily save cells. In fact, it's more likely to produce more cells than if the wall was just completely one solid brush.

    As far as the size of distant objects, you can make them huge, but they will distort so it takes some trial and error to get things right. Also, what R Soul said. Take a look at the huge oversized bushes we used in mission 1 of Scarlet Cascabel.
    Yes, I meant only part of the wall would be a terrain brush, and the rest an object. I've been debating whether or not to do this because an FM like King's Story had a large amount of terrain brushes. I will look at your FM for some ideas, thanks!

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Land of two pubs
    Quote Originally Posted by R Soul View Post
    And if you're using a 4:3 monitor and get things just right with object visibility, people with 16:9 monitors may still see those problems.
    I didn't consider that. I should probably start changing resolutions temporarily when testing out bigger objects.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Land of two pubs
    Quote Originally Posted by nicked View Post
    The main problem with extremely large objects is that the engine has a tendency to cull them if the centre of the object is too far off-screen. Shouldn't be much of an issue if it's for distant scenery, but you may want to consider breaking objects into smaller chunks if the player can get up close.

    Technically, you can have terrain brushes as large as the level limits without it crashing. However, if your texture scale is too small on a very large brush, you can get errors and crashes, and extremely long sightlines can also be problematic. You can also eat up cells very quickly if you have large brushes that aren't cubic.

    In my current mission I have some air brushes that are over 400 units long without any ill effects.
    It doesn't sound too worrisome apart from trial and error. Good luck with your current mission!

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    The other issue you might run into is that objects get lit uniformly. This might make the object stick out, depending on the surroundings, and the light sources around.

  9. #9
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by trefoilknot View Post
    The other issue you might run into is that objects get lit uniformly.
    They do not. Flat-shaded polygons within objects get lit uniformly. By setting object surfaces to Gouraud-shaded and sufficiently subdividing them, you can even get a rough approximation of per-pixel lighting on objects.


  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    Wow, good to know—I never knew that was possible!

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Location: Ireland/Poland
    That does not change the fact, that objects often stand out from brushes in terms of lighting, due to lack of mapped shadows. This is especially important for large architectural objects, where you would expect noticeable shadows cast on them. Plus Dark Engine does some kind of a line of sight check between center of the object and the light source and increases the overall brightness. It is noticeable for example, when an AI walks into the light - the lighting pops-in and out, so to speak, when he walks into and out of the light radius.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Land of two pubs
    Quote Originally Posted by PinkDot View Post
    That does not change the fact, that objects often stand out from brushes in terms of lighting, due to lack of mapped shadows. This is especially important for large architectural objects, where you would expect noticeable shadows cast on them. Plus Dark Engine does some kind of a line of sight check between center of the object and the light source and increases the overall brightness.
    If I understand correctly, the overall brightness needs to be reduced? In Blender-->Object Mode I select a lamp, usually a Hemi, and change the brightness. Then I switch to the object to be exported, reduce Diffuse and Specular materials, and click 'Shadeless' under shading if the object has jagged edges or rough polygons. This is helpful when sunlight is applied and reveals exposed edges, although the brightness of the object is increased if the lamp is fairly bright.

    There are also settings in Blender for objects to receive and cast shadows.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    You won't carry over any lighting information from Blender unless you bake the textures, or much material information outside the diffuse texture name. You do want to make sure your edges are smooth-shaded to avoid obvious polys ingame.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Land of two pubs
    Quote Originally Posted by nicked View Post
    You won't carry over any lighting information from Blender unless you bake the textures, or much material information outside the diffuse texture name. You do want to make sure your edges are smooth-shaded to avoid obvious polys ingame.
    I don't really do any textures baking, I just change values for Diffuse, Specular, and Shading after I assign and unwrap materials. Here are two screenshots of cliff objects under Raycast lighting; the first has noticeable edges and the second has some edges but appears more smooth. I've noticed that if I click Shadeless under Shading, the lighting appearance for that object will appear different in-game with DromEd:


  15. #15
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    All you're really doing is setting whether the object is exported as flat-shaded or Gouraud-shaded. In Dark's object format, flat or Gouraud shading is set on a per-material basis. IIRC you can't manually specify smoothing groups; they're automatically generated by BSP based on the angular difference between adjacent faces.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Pushing my luck with Dromed
    There are several exporter plugins for Blender and the one being used here could be using the 'shadeless' material flag to control the shader type that's written to the .e file.

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