Face count/terrain question

MC

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I've been struggling with making terrain for a while now, but I'm wondering how are you supposed to get away with realistic terrain without taking a heavy toll to the face count?
 
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There's really no magic trick, you simply have to reduce the complexity of the terran. You have to find the right balance between detail and performance. It's a tradeoff that factors into anything dealing with computer graphics.

If possible, put more detail into the textures or make use of entities/models for things that make sense as being such (trees, rocks, etc), so as to allow you more wpoly for terrain.
 

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Alright.

Right now I'm looking through the Half-Life stock maps and a lot of them have over 5,000 faces. When I play them I have no slow-downs whatsoever... so why would I want to limit the faces to 1,000?
 
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Are you getting this information from wpoly/epoly readings, or Hammer?

Are you familiar with render speeds (r_speeds)? Knowing about r_speeds and modifying your map to fix high-load areas is essential to proper mapping. I'll explain it if you're not, because I think you may be confusing total faces (as reported by Hammer's map info) with them.
 

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From Valve Hammer; I have yet to set-up the compilier. I was told that the recommended face limit was 1,000 and just a few minutes ago I was looking through the Half-Life stock maps and some of them went over 10,000 faces.

I'm somewhat familiar with r_speeds and w_poly, but I don't think I know enough about them.
 
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Don't go by the face readings from Hammer.

GoldSrc is a portal-based engine. In a nutshell, this means that upon compile, the map is broken up into sections, or "nodes" connected by "portals." Based on the player's position in the map, it will be determined what the player can see (if I can see a portal of node 1 from node 2, the render node 1 when I'm standing in node 2), and what the player can't possibly see (because it's obstructed by a wall, etc). Nodes determined to be unseeable by the player are not rendered, and ones that the player can see are rendered (though this isn't always accurate - HINT brushes are a manual fix, but you don't have to worry about that for now.)

So in short, what you're counting is the total number of faces, whereas wpoly and epoly are the number of faces currently being rendered. The limits you've heard to stay within apply to wpoly. They aren't concrete, but they work well for most everyone. You'll hear limits within ranges of 1000 to 1600. I'd personally say to try your best to stay under 1400.

You can't fully rate the map's performance until it's compiled. The software design ideal of "compile early, compile often" also applies to mapping.
 
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Yeah, like take a look at kong's Gero map, it's total faces are well over about 4000 if I'm correct, because he made that lab, but when playing, you won't see the lab and the terrain at the same time.

Actually hammer's face count can be in use, say now you've got a terrain-only map, where there aren't any sharp cliffs or something(only hills, etc.), then that might be accurate enough as to how many faces you'll see ingame. I always cut my map up so that it comes out to about 600 faces if I remember correctly, but that's only the ground, remember.
 
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And stuff you can't see does not add to your r_speeds, while in ESF you get to make outdoors landscapes where you can see the whole thing in pretty much one view.

-edit-

It's nice to see this part of the forum come to life again. Keep it up, goes for everyone.
 
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I replied same time as you cold ^^.

OH and that means that your terrain can't be TOO smooth, because like cold said, you see almost all the terrain, because you've got the ability to fly and such, in normal hl1, they could make city maps like your because you don't see the whole building, like the top and stuff.
 

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Oh... I remember reading something in a tutorial that you shouldn't let the player see at a certain maximum distance or something like that.

It's becoming much harder for me to keep the face count low, mostly due to the fact I put a lot of focus into detail so that the map doesn't look boring and it's kind of a habit of mine to include as much detail as possible.
 
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Well, be sure to put most of the detail in the textures. You can fake a lot of stuff, if you know how to work around it.
 
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Yeah, what cold said, it's understandable that you want to make it as detailed as possible, because you also map for hl2, and those limits are greatly increased, but always use textures, they can make the world's difference.

Oh and in esf, the max view distance should be as far as possible, trust me, it's super anoying to have a limit of how you far you see, I make the max viewable distance 15000, just to be sure, in normal hl I think you shouldn't make it too far, or just add the entity fog, but that doesn't look too good.
 

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Cold Steel said:
Well, be sure to put most of the detail in the textures. You can fake a lot of stuff, if you know how to work around it.
Texture are a pain, I've been trying to make my own but unfortunately I'm not very good at designing things of that nature.

donnierisk said:
Yeah, what cold said, it's understandable that you want to make it as detailed as possible, because you also map for hl2, and those limits are greatly increased, but always use textures, they can make the world's difference.

Oh and in esf, the max view distance should be as far as possible, trust me, it's super anoying to have a limit of how you far you see, I make the max viewable distance 15000, just to be sure, in normal hl I think you shouldn't make it too far, or just add the entity fog, but that doesn't look too good.
I'll see what I can do.
 

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