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The Dark Mod Great Summer Vertical FM Contest!


Fidcal

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As my map is one of the maps that grayman and others can't play due to bad optimization on my behalf/old computers on their behalf, is it okay if I make an overhaul and try to optimize so he and the other low-enders can enjoy it? Or is it not allowed to do these kind of improvements?

Yes but existing votes stand. Any technical changes to enable this FM to work on some other systems is OK so they can vote so long as it is by noon UK time on Saturday.
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I don't like the idea of a "low-end version" of any map. There should just be one released version, optimized well if you can, but more than one version is a bad plan I think.

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A voter can change his own votes. So you can't stop that.

 

I would also like to suggest a moratorium on contests. I'd rather see missions come at a more spaced pace and fully polished olish. Reluxum et Noninteruptum WIPums. (Plus, and this is true but honestly not the "real" reason I say what I've said: I don't relish a whole series of Horra... ...or Grinchings... )

"A Rhapsody Of Feigned And Ill-Invented Nonsense" - Thomas Aikenhead, On Theology, ca. 1696

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I don't like the idea of a "low-end version" of any map. There should just be one released version, optimized well if you can, but more than one version is a bad plan I think.

 

Me neither. It is going to be awful for the community if there were multiple separate versions of the maps.

Map upgrades are entirely a different thing, as long as the old work is superceded. There is always things to improve.

 

However, the best situation is that the map is polished to its full glory before initial release, and after it is released it stands on it own, without the need to improve it anymore.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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mapvars is the answer. I've discussed this a lot in the private forums but can't raise any excitement. They provide extra options so the mapper could make two variations within the same map and the player chooses between high quality and performance and still have three separate difficulty levels.

 

I used a mapvar in Heart so if the player doesn't like formal 'Secrets' he could turn off the messages.

 

All maps should be optimised for performance so the only changes that could be optional are really to sacrifice quality. For instance, you could reduce AI but that affects gameplay and is really a difficulty change. But there are quality changes that can help. For example:

 

A room with say 6 or 8 lights close together. I have a kitchen with an oven and range which have 5 fire lights plus there are 3 other lights nearby. I could replace the 5 lights probably with 1 or even turn them off but it wouldn't look so good. But a player with a low end PC might prefer that to chugging through at 5fps.

 

The way it works is this: a script reads the mapvar setting of the player and deletes or triggers different settings at map start. I argued for some standard mapvars. That way, players could permanently configure for them and they would work in any map. So for secrets I created mvr_show_secrets (see Heart readme.) If everyone used this then players can config this to 0 permanently in their autoexec.cfg if they don't want secrets messages and it would work in all maps.

 

For performance one could have say, mvr_performance. The default must always be 0 because if the player hasn't set it then it always defaults to 0. In this case 0 should be normal quality. So the player sets 1 for low quality/better performance. It might even be used to add even higher quality say 2 for those with super machines or even replaying in 5 years when we all have more powerful machines.

 

It's more work but less than making a completely separate FM.

 

[EDIT] I intended to add these mapvars to the wiki but it never happened. If used it is important to standardise othewise we have a different mapvar for the same thing in every map so players have to fiddle around in the console or autoexec every FM they play.

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Or then the mappers and the community should simply acknowledge that everyone cannot be pleased at the same time. And the missions will not run smoothly for those who do not see the effort to obtain a faster computer.

 

The difficulty of making a 'high performance' and 'low performance' options for the mission is the fact that the definition of high and low performance computers are ambiguous. In the heart, there was the option of choosing high or low. I assumed my computer is a high one, as it is: it runs all the modern games with perfect framerates. But still the high option was stuttering for me and I had to resort to the low one. I couldn't help thinking that what kind of monster machine runs this detail level smoothly.

 

Therefore, mappers probably should stick to decent framerates for a decent machine, instead of making missions for the computers available 5 years from now.

 

If it works better with fewer lights, use fewer lights. Don't make a diluted version of the mission to the losers who do not have the killer machine for 5 lights.

 

Oh, and I was playing hitman 3 the other day and a thought occured me. What's with the TDM AI anyways? Is it the AI polys or the thinking which causes performance issues? In hitman 3 there can be tens of AI's in view simultaneously, all walking, thinking and doing things, with absolutely zero impact in performance.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Yes, it's very sad that the id Tech 4-engine renders lights so inneficently. I do not know much in computer programming or graphics, but other engines, as Hitman does it better. But it may be that it doesn't have to look as good as in a dark sneaking game where the light is 80% of the mood...But TDM has been developed through 5 years and at that time the best choice for the original game must have been Doom 3.

 

Don't throw eggs on me, but how cumbersome would it be to import all assets from TDM (that can be imported) into a newer engine, like the engine from Unreal 3 :unsure: I guess all models would be relatively "easy" to translate and all material files also. The big cake should be to transform all gameplay stuff and frobbing and such...This is in no way a silly critiscism to TDM, just a theoretical thought :)

Edited by Fieldmedic
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I think the answer is a categoric "Don't even think of it". ;)

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I think the answer is a categoric "Don't even think of it". ;)

 

But as I thought of it the damage is allready done ;)

 

But joke aside, we'll have to wait for Thief 4 and then (hopefully) will get able to cram in lights and AI without the need for (as much) optimization. :rolleyes:

 

 

YES you should allways optimize no matter how powerful the engine is!

 

 

EDIT: To clearify the spoiler at the end; In this case I was referring to the MAPPER optimizing his map building (with lighting, visportals, AI and other restrictions) to the engine used. NOT that the programmers should break their asses to optimize the engine so it fits the game/mod (That surely may be done after tons of work though).

Edited by Fieldmedic
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CPU Vertex Animation?

 

With regard to the issue of why AI takes such toll this is one of my biggest questions "Is having the CPU animate AI and calculate AI shadow volumes a double-whammy of ultra-hard floating point math that would be better to be done on the GPU?"

 

We won't know the answer until Id Tech 4 goes Open-Source but we can guess by replacing AI models with ones that don't have much geometry and don't animate. If having five cubes path-finding in front of you causes FPS to drop like a rock then it's the AI algorithm itself. Conversely, if we make five animated AI perform a robotic pre-determined action and strip it of any path-finding then that would also clear up things. It may be that these other games are doing more of the latter. Rather than letting the AI think for themselves most of their actions are scripted (and not scripted to enhance their thinking as is done with this mod...).

 

And my monsterclip comment about putting it on the ceiling was only half colorful exaggeration. I was flying around Bikerdude's Business as Usual and some AI saw me way up in the sky and started throwing things at me. So the AI path-finding does go up. I presume this would also mean ceilings? I don't know if putting monsterclip on a ceiling would have any weird side-effects though...?

 

So these are questions that beg for some experiments to see what is possible with what we've got and what may be possible in the future with GPL Id Tech 4.

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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thief 4's on the crystal dynamic engine, which defines stealth via line of sight and not hiding in shadows, plus dont expect there will be an sdk for it due to the way the engine works, the world is a void and all assets including rooms are made in 3dmax and plonked into the crystal dynamics engine.

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But joke aside, we'll have to wait for Thief 4 and then (hopefully) will get able to cram in lights and AI without the need for (as much) optimization.

TDS was a nice warmup, right? Perhaps with a new team developing the tech there's hope.

 

I'd wager that if/when id tech 4 goes open source though you can expect just as much modding to happen to it as with quake.

 

YES you should allways optimize no matter how powerful the engine is!
I do not know much in computer programming
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thief 4's on the crystal dynamic engine, which defines stealth via line of sight and not hiding in shadows, plus dont expect there will be an sdk for it due to the way the engine works, the world is a void and all assets including rooms are made in 3dmax and plonked into the crystal dynamics engine.

 

Probably DRM-ed to death too.

 

So mods and fan missions will likely be replaced with "Expansion Content" that can be purchased (but only for consoles...).

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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Okay, I'm done with my mission!!! I need just to have a couple people test it for catastrophic bugs.

 

My own performance tests:

New laptop with onboard Intel HD Graphics (more like Intel CRAP Graphics)

- not playable, mostly get about 4 or 5fps, in a couple spots down to 3

Old laptop with a good ATI Radeon x1600 card

- totally playable, get 15-20fps throughout, a couple spots down to 12 (I use v-sync, hence the factors of 60)

My desktop with nice GeForce 9600 GSO

- very smooth, sometimes 60fps, usually 30fps (again, with v-sync)

 

So I'm guessing it's acceptable for the community overall, but sorry to you out there with on-board graphics.

 

So, how to do a bit of beta-testing???

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CPU Vertex Animation?

 

With regard to the issue of why AI takes such toll this is one of my biggest questions "Is having the CPU animate AI and calculate AI shadow volumes a double-whammy of ultra-hard floating point math that would be better to be done on the GPU?"

 

We won't know the answer until Id Tech 4 goes Open-Source but we can guess by replacing AI models with ones that don't have much geometry and don't animate. If having five cubes path-finding in front of you causes FPS to drop like a rock then it's the AI algorithm itself. Conversely, if we make five animated AI perform a robotic pre-determined action and strip it of any path-finding then that would also clear up things. It may be that these other games are doing more of the latter. Rather than letting the AI think for themselves most of their actions are scripted (and not scripted to enhance their thinking as is done with this mod...).

 

And my monsterclip comment about putting it on the ceiling was only half colorful exaggeration. I was flying around Bikerdude's Business as Usual and some AI saw me way up in the sky and started throwing things at me. So the AI path-finding does go up. I presume this would also mean ceilings? I don't know if putting monsterclip on a ceiling would have any weird side-effects though...?

 

So these are questions that beg for some experiments to see what is possible with what we've got and what may be possible in the future with GPL Id Tech 4.

 

Most all games now use skeletal animations so I really don't think that matters. In fact you'd be crazy not to use them.

And the anims are 'predetermined'. But they can be interupted and flow into other anims, the best thing about skeletal anims.

 

Even the AF's (ragdolls, body volumes) aren't overly complex, but probably more so than Doom3. We have armored areas, etc...

 

Sure, cubes would render better due to 2000 polys less per model.

 

Most likely it's the thinking. Did I hear something? Did I see something? Got to investigate... Of course this takes more than Doom3, Doom 3 AI just spawned, attacked, died. There were ususally no more than 3-4 at a time in small enclosed spaces.

 

Lighting, well, it is dynamic. That's a big impact right there because lighting is always being calculated. It might be able to bo improved when the source is released, but I don't think it's worse than T3's lighting performance.

 

Sure games like Halflife might perform better, but the AI are just like Doom's, they spawn atttack and die. And they don't have real time lighting, just prebaked lightmaps which is fine for that gametype. I'm also sure that games like hitman and assasin's creed ai are pretty much like our rats, they just wander in zones, maybe react to bumping into things by moving, they might even be scripted to cower if the player attacks. But they certianly don't 'think' like ours do and search, open, close doors, wait for other ai to go through doors... Our AI are very smart and that makes the gameplay. Making them dumb and robotic might improve performance but at the cost of the entire reason the game is fun.

 

And monster clip on the ceiling WON'T make AI not see you, it just makes them know they can't reach you so they throw stuff. They already know they can't go that high so it doesn't matter. Pathfinding covers all areas, it just says whether or not they are accessable, it doesn't make them go away.

 

==========

I'll test Komag! (tonight)

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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