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Webwing
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:41 pm Post subject: Big map question Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 10

I need to design a map that will be used in a game engine. It has approximately 15km x 15km.

I was watching the Flight sim tutorial which has a huge terrain, 51kmx51km. However in our game the terrain will be played from the ground. We will also allow the player to zoom out quite a bit but he will probably not be able to see the whole island. Im not sure the settings used in the tutorial will apply to our needs since I still have doubts about how many zones to use and the adequate size for my project.

Also to be able to load a map this size in game we will need to use a few tricks, probably paging and LODs so as to make it playable.
In the tutorial they use a single 1024x1024 zone and 50 meters per tile.

What would be the ideal set up for my project?

Thanks
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ALicu
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:21 pm Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

Hi,

Because your game is played at the ground level you need to choose a denser zone resolution that in that tutorial. Most probably you will need between 1 and 10 meters per tile (as you probably know a tile is a quad made of 4 terrain vertices, so a tile size is the distance between two terrain vertices).

Because you are using such a dense resolution you will need to create multiple terrain zones. For example, in the extreme case of 1 meter per tile, you will create approximately 30 by 30 zones of 512 tiles each (usually you use power of two resolution for zone tiles).

Because these zones occupy too much space to fit at once in memory you will need to use the Grome swap for this. This allows you to swap in and out of memory zones so only the zones that you are currently work on are in memory at one time.

Unfortunately swapping is deactivated in the demo version (in case you don't have a license). You can see it in work in various video tutorials though.

You can start with a map imported from a real world source by using various built-in import plugins (dted, raw, bt). They are capable to swap out to disk zones as they are created so you don't risk running out of memory. Or you can create some zones with the create tool, swap them out and create others using the snap tool.

The next Grome update (to come shortly), even if I cannot tell more details for now, will allow you to split, merge and change resolution of zones at any time. This will ease your work by allow you to create initial low res zones, all in memory, apply general large details filters and then increase their resolution step by step and add details. It will also have special mass creation tools based on grids of various sizes.

Let me know if I can provide more information.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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Webwing
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:23 am Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 10

Thanks for your answer Adrian!

We have already decided to get Grome. There might be a better terrain editor around but if there is, it sure is very well hidden! Wink
Ill be buying a license soon, early next week at the most.

For now Im playing with the demo to see if I can manage to get used to it. The way layers and selections work has scared me a little, I must admit. It will take some time to get used to it since its so different from any other program I used before.

As for the map itself it seems to me going to 1 meter per tile would be insane! Very Happy
Ill make a few tests with 8 meters and 4 meters per tile to compare the results.

Let me take the opportunity to ask you about the assets in Grome. I remember reading that we can use all the textures, vegetation and trees in our product without any copyright issues. Is that correct?

Oh, I forgot an important thing. The update you mentioned seems perfect for what Im trying to do. Can you give me an estimate of when it will be out. Is it a matter of days, weeks or months? I might just go playing with it and do other things and wait to do the real work when the update comes out.

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ALicu
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:16 am Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

Hi,

Quote:
As for the map itself it seems to me going to 1 meter per tile would be insane! Very Happy
Ill make a few tests with 8 meters and 4 meters per tile to compare the results.


8 meters should be enough for ground level games. I recommend using zones of 512 x 512 or 1024 x 1024. That will mean 4 by 4 km or 8 by 8 km per zone.

Quote:
For now Im playing with the demo to see if I can manage to get used to it. The way layers and selections work has scared me a little, I must admit. It will take some time to get used to it since its so different from any other program I used before.


Yes, the layering system may seem complicated at first. That is because the terrain editing based on layers and multiple zones is very complex (think of Grome as a Photoshop, working in a way 3DS Max works, with multiple layers, but not only on a single image but on multiple zones and you can realize that editing can become complex). But once you get the hang of it you work really fast in this way. Please refer to the video tutorials for examples.

Quote:
Let me take the opportunity to ask you about the assets in Grome. I remember reading that we can use all the textures, vegetation and trees in our product without any copyright issues. Is that correct?


Yes, all the assets that come with Grome can be freely used. Also all the plugins you create, all the scenes you make are your property.

Once you are a Grome client you have access to:
- a library of 200 terrain textures
- a library of industrial buildings in collada format and their textures
- a library of grass and bush textures to be used for detail layers
- binary version of Graphite renderer

Quote:
Oh, I forgot an important thing. The update you mentioned seems perfect for what Im trying to do. Can you give me an estimate of when it will be out. Is it a matter of days, weeks or months? I might just go playing with it and do other things and wait to do the real work when the update comes out.


We are trying to get this build out by the end of the year. Nevertheless I am sure we can send initial builds to some of our clients some faster than that.

Also to be noted that many of the tasks you can already perform with the current build too (creation of big zones at once), using the existing plugins.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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Webwing
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:01 am Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 10

Thanks Adrian,

I sent you guys an email. Im trying to get a license but the form gives me an error saying it does not accept free email servers. Mine is not!!!!

Once that is sorted and I have my license Ill start work on the map. Once the basics are covered and I run some tests Ill get in touch with you about the update. The features you mentioned will be awesome.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:49 am Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

Hi,

Yes, it seems that there is an option in the online shop database to block free domains emails (I don't know why yours is considered free domain). That is a measure to try to stop credit card fraud. Anyway I've currently disabled this option so your payment should be now accepted. Let me know if you have any more problems.

Best Regards,
Adrian
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Webwing
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:20 pm Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 10

Thanks Adrian,

Everything is working now, program installed and activated.

Now is time to get serious! Smile

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ALicu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:22 pm Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

Great! Please don't hesitate to ask for support here.
Regards,
Adrian
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Webwing
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:05 am Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 10

Ive started working on my big map and to my surprise the performance is pretty good.
I followed your advice regarding the size and number of zones. I have been editing the terrain, zooming in and out without any problems. I havent put any vegetation in though.
Anyhow so far no need for any swap or other techniques.
Probably because Im using 8 meters per tile and not 1 meter like in your original example, Im guessing.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:43 am Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

Hi,

In case you have a map of 51 by 51km, at 8 meters per tile, you will need to create approximately 12 by 12 zones of 512 tiles each. I don't know if this fits in memory (it should fit for 64bit build for system with over 4GB of ram or so). When you see that your system starts to loose performance and starts working with the native operating system swap (which is slower than using the built in Grome swap since it has generic purpose), start swapping out zones to disk.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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Webwing
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:28 pm Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 10

Oh no, 51 by 51 km was the tutorial. Mine is 16 by 16 km.
Im using 16 zones. Each of around 4 by 4 km with 512 tiles. Should be enough for our needs.

Its working very nicely. Im really impressed with Grome.


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