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Optimization: Attack of the giant zone portal!

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  • Optimization: Attack of the giant zone portal!

    Okay, I just discovered something to do with mapping that I want to share with everyone who's interested.
    And it burns my ass!!
    I just put a massive, giant, obnoxious zone portal right through the middle of my map, just for fun. I did it out of desperation really because my map is suffering from incredible 'lag' - FPS slowdown. And I thought that this might make some improvement.
    This simple act just doubled my FPS!!
    Go freakin' figure!!! (I'm happy but I'm also pissed.)
    This contradicts everything I've read about zone portals and the fact that they should be as small and as tucked away as possible - only placed in hallways or entrances/exits, etc. I was inspired to try this experiment having taken a closer look at some of the maps by the better mappers, one of which was TH-Breandor. Nachimir appears to implement his zones very wisely (at least from what I, in my limited knowledge, have gathered.) I realise he didn't do what I did but he does have some outdoor zone-portal-walls which I've seen used in other maps
    I have alot of wide open space in my map, so its been difficult, (to say the least), to optimize. Obviously, there's something to be said for placing a great swathing zone-portal through your map - especially when there's alot of outdoorsiness!

    Maybe someone can explain this seeming contradiction? Oh, and here's a couple of questions while your at it:

    1) Can a zone portal cross through another zone portal without causing any problems? Can zone portals cross through movers? (I think this was asked before) Cause I get BSPs when I have portals in mover doorways - and yet Nachimir gets away with it in Breandor.
    2) Would splitting a map in half (if effect, two separate maps) with a warp zone help with optimization of Framerate?
    3) Does a 'very large' skybox (whatever that is in relation to a very small skybox, or normal size...) contribute to FPS slowdown? Especially if your 'outside' in the open, on your map?
    4) What is the most judicious way of zoneing the 'outside' part of a map? What do you ask yourself when you decide your going to do this?

    Oh, and any optimization tips you can think of please. Mucho Gracias.
    ...and all is silent, save the voice of the clock...

  • #2
    Yeah, I have a lot of the same questions. TH-Train isn't exactly running at an acceptable FPS. I have to zone off much of the outside to create the movement illusion, and it only seems to be making it worse.

    When you placed the big zone portal, can you see other zone portals through it?
    It's not my fault everything you like is terrible.

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    • #3
      Hi Big_D,
      No, if you mean what I think you mean: being that if you line up two or more portals in a row (though I've never done this exactly this way as an experiment) your asking if I can see through the giant zone portal, other zone portals the way they look 'before they are rebuilt and invisible the way they are supposed to be in-game. If you are actually seeing them ingame as big ugly walls then they were not 'built' properly - they should not be seen ingame. At least thats what I'm assuming. I could be wrong. In my map I can't really see other zone portals through the big zone portal I made when looking by line of sight (but its a tough trick cause thats one half of my map (!) so maybe I'm not looking in the right spots.) I'm well up to my 64 zone limit so I have to be very judicious with where I put them.
      ...and all is silent, save the voice of the clock...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SiLeNt_NiGhT
        1) Can a zone portal cross through another zone portal without causing any problems? Can zone portals cross through movers? (I think this was asked before) Cause I get BSPs when I have portals in mover doorways - and yet Nachimir gets away with it in Breandor.
        WEll ,are you subtracting or adding the brush?

        Also, are you cutting straight through the door, or a little to the side?

        D oyou have the surface properties set o ZONE/PORTAL and SPECIAL POLY?
        "Just off the border of your waking mind there lies another time, where darkness and light are one. As you tread the halls of sanity, you feel so glad to be unable to go beyond. I have a message from another time."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SiLeNt_NiGhT
          In my map I can't really see other zone portals through the big zone portal I made when looking by line of sight (but its a tough trick cause thats one half of my map (!) so maybe I'm not looking in the right spots.)
          Thats exactly what I meant. I don't think there should be problems unless you do have a line of sight through one portal to another. (Of course, I have no idea, but thats how I understand zone portals)

          And about the doors: as long as the door is there before the portal, there should be no problems (again, as I understand it.)
          It's not my fault everything you like is terrible.

          Comment


          • #6
            Rad wrote:
            WEll ,are you subtracting or adding the brush?
            Also, are you cutting straight through the door, or a little to the side?
            D oyou have the surface properties set o ZONE/PORTAL and SPECIAL POLY?
            1) Zone Portals, at least the way I do them, are done with the 'special brush' button on Ued2 - I click zone portal and voiala! The settings are automatic. I don't think zone portal brushes fit into the category of add or subtract, do they? I know that the brush itself turns lime green. Is it possible to have a brush thats either subtracted or added normally and still be a zone portal???
            2) I want to have the portal straight through the door widthwise, from hinge to doorknob, so to speak. In a few cases I can't have the ZP slightly to the side of the door cause there's no space there; in other words the door is the same thickness as the wall, (though I could add trim I suppose). And I'd rather not shrink the door cause its already thin enough and even if a ZP is to one side of the door, and if you are in the room on the 'zone side' and happen to be looking at that door, your forcing the rendering of whats on the opposite side, no? So doesn't that defeat the purpose of having the portal? Also, TH-mover/doors do not act as zone portals from what I can see. It would be good if they could but...
            3) see (1) above

            Big_D, thanks for the tip, I'll check, I seem to remember putting the zones in the doorways first, and then the doors.ops: Anyhow, easy to fix.
            ...and all is silent, save the voice of the clock...

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, first of all my know;edge is nowhere near as super-comprehensive as someone like, say, Switch`. Some of these questions are reaching the limits of my knowledge.

              Originally posted by SiLeNt_NiGhT
              1) Can a zone portal cross through another zone portal without causing any problems? Can zone portals cross through movers? (I think this was asked before) Cause I get BSPs when I have portals in mover doorways - and yet Nachimir gets away with it in Breandor.
              Zone portals should be able to cross, whether or not they work like that depends on how complex they and the surrounding geometry are. I also think the 436 engine renders a maximum of 7 zones at once.

              Originally posted by SiLeNt_NiGhT
              2) Would splitting a map in half (if effect, two separate maps) with a warp zone help with optimization of Framerate?
              I'm not sure, but I would guess not. I'm almost certain it wouldn't speed up rendering.

              Originally posted by SiLeNt_NiGhT
              3) Does a 'very large' skybox (whatever that is in relation to a very small skybox, or normal size...) contribute to FPS slowdown? Especially if your 'outside' in the open, on your map?
              I'm unsure of the overheads of skyboxes, I guess smaller is better.

              Originally posted by SiLeNt_NiGhT
              4) What is the most judicious way of zoneing the 'outside' part of a map? What do you ask yourself when you decide your going to do this?
              I ask myself "How small can I make this area, and how can I occlude it rather than zone it?" Smaller spaces and occlusion with solids works much beter than zone portals - but massive zone portals are a last resort.

              Early versions of Breandor had loads of big zone portals (and the map was twice as big) you could get up to the top of the ruins, see over the house, etc, and i had to eradicate as many of them as I could.

              I now feel the urge to experiment; I'll get back to you if I find anything interesting or make anything useful.

              Comment


              • #8
                TUT doesn't like warp zones, I'd try to avoid using them in open spaces.

                Initial experimentation showed that some projectiles simply disapear when they hit a warp zone. Try to restrict using them to small spaces, where players are unlikely to want shoot/throw anything through.

                Also bare in mind that bots can't see/hear through warp zones and so having one along the centre of your map would cause a rather strange "deadzone" where bots wouldn't react to players and would be easily confused when chasing thieves (to the bots, the player would appear to suddenly disapear when he goes through a warp zone).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Okay, I've done some experimenting and here are some results:
                  1) I've taken my map and put a giant zoneportal through the middle of it vertically, as I said previously, and my FPS doubled. Great. When I took this to the next step and added another giant zoneportal, this time horizontally(my map has a major vertical element.), thus crossing through the vertical ZP and in effect creating 4 quadrants, there was not a problem having them cross one another. Also, I could see through the multiple walls of both ZP's with no problems or ill effects when ingame - however, there was a marked decrease in FPS. In fact the gain I experienced with one giant ZP was compromised and cancelled out by the second giant ZP. So I think I'm going to keep my one giant ZP and get rid of the other.
                  Next I'll check on the effects of various sizes of skybox and FPS resulting from them. Currently my skybox is rather large because I didn't like the results I got from smaller skyboxes. Also, I'm doing a few tricky things in my SB for effect.
                  ...and all is silent, save the voice of the clock...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks Dan,
                    I was considering the idea of some time in the future, creating a map where all the rooms and buildings were actually independent maps: meaning all the entrances and exits would be warpzones to other completely severed maps, yet would appear to players as if they were all connected together as a normal map would. I've noticed that independent rooms have great FPS, so I figured this logic would extend itself to a series of small disconnected rooms linked by warps...NOT!! Although if used sparingly, a neat 'Constantine type' level could be made with this idea in mind. Kind of Alice in Wonderland'ish. This sounded nice in theory but would probably result in disaster. Thanks for those tips.
                    ...and all is silent, save the voice of the clock...

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                    • #11
                      Okay, I've been experimenting with Skyboxes of varying sizes: They don't affect diddlysquat in terms of FPS.
                      I started with a fresh new map and a player start, then created a simple skybox 512 by 512 uu. Then did one 4096 by 4096 uu. No difference in FPS....that's right, none, and that's quite a size difference.
                      So it appears it doesn't matter how big a skybox is, you get the same FPS as long as you set it up correctly. Whatever it is that slows FPS has bugger all to do with the skyboxes and everything to do with the map itself.
                      ...and all is silent, save the voice of the clock...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I reckon warp zones do have untapped potential in Thievery, but currently they are just too incompatible with bots and projectiles.

                        I'm in the middle of exams right now, but when I've finished them, I'll look for some way to fix the problem with projectiles.

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