View Full Version : Truly outdoor levels and tutorials
25th Mar 2000, 01:37 AM
Just wanted to let you guys know i've been writing tutorials that will teach you how to make realistic terrains in UnrealEd(including texturing). This includes creating the grayscale heightmaps that you import to terraedit to get a nice controlled eveness to your levels, lighting, texturing, gameplay etc.
I have about half of them done and they'll be on my personal website once I launch it(site is mostly done too).
Here's an example of a terrain. The last one is the brush in a wireframe view.
http://www.geocities.com/i2ruthless/dmgrandcanyon1.jpg http://www.geocities.com/i2ruthless/dmgrandcanyon2.jpg http://www.geocities.com/i2ruthless/dmgrandcanyon3.jpg
When you're playing the game those big hills in the distance look like a skybox, it's a cool effect brought back from the Nublar days /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
25th Mar 2000, 06:21 AM
I must say that it looks great, but what's the fps and polycount (including nodes) when viewing those mountains ?
25th Mar 2000, 06:54 AM
25th Mar 2000, 08:16 AM
Are you the guy who made desolate sands???
25th Mar 2000, 08:36 AM
25th Mar 2000, 09:35 AM
Hey, Zero, how's the beach map coming along?
25th Mar 2000, 10:18 AM
Hummmm, oh ouch my toes.....
http://www.planetunreal.com/realworld/terrain.html http://www.planetunreal.com/realworld/bridgetoofar.html http://www.planetunreal.com/realworld/hillbase.html
for reference on how to use TerraEdit correctly, watch that poly count we all don't have PIV 1000's yet... /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
25th Mar 2000, 10:47 AM
TerOmen, Have you completed any runable levels using this terrain construction method which I have been using for months /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
You wouldn't be tring to take credit for inventing this method now would you...
A very cool idea to do some tuts for people but you must make it very clear that this technique can be very complex, and very prone to BSP issues if not done correctly.
Polycount... I must also stress is so important I didn't notice any mention of this within your first message...
A beautiful level is ok to look at but I believe completely pointless if you can't play it.
Constructing a playable outside terrain level with buildings and suitable player cover is very very difficult and time consuming to balance game play with beautiful eye candy and realism.
25th Mar 2000, 10:56 AM
I totally agree with you bastard'o. I myself have given up terraedit to construct my terrain (couldn't keep the poly's down enough), maybe I'll give it a new try in a couple of weeks but the method I'm using now is not that hard to manage and gives really good fps, low nodes and poly's.
25th Mar 2000, 05:29 PM
Please don't get me wrong guys I use terraedit for all of my terrains, I was only tring to make it clear that you have to use it correctly, it took me weeks of work a year ago to arrive at the correct formula for making terrain so the poly counts are suitable for the Unreal engine, so with a bit of effort you can indeed create very nice base brushes or even cut a brush into chunks and rework them within the editor for the correct look and feel.
You may be asking yourself why is Bastard'O so enraged by TerOmen naive approach, Well I was very concerned that TerOmen would lead people down a dark alley, so after hours and hours of work you would end up with an unplayable level.
Take a look at the dmgrandcanyon4.jpg, I wouldn't like to try to count the polys on that, texturing that brush alone would take many hours, aligning each one, only to find that if you are stood on the ground with "stat fps" your poly count would be 500-800 which I must say is ridulous.
That brush is only the start... add some building or tunnels... poly count up..
TerraEdit is a superb tool but you (TerOmen) I believe have not discovered the correct techniques for using Terraedit correctly yourself... But it can be done....
If you wish I could help you or we could work together on your tutorials.
For smooth gameplay, again I see no other reason for building levels else use a raytracing package like Byrce3D if you want the create stunning landscapes... you must keep the poly count no higher than 240 max for PII350's 200 or less for lower spec cpus, because when you add in a few bots, the engine will start to struggle.
25th Mar 2000, 06:26 PM
I know you use terraedit for your cool maps bastard'o, but you're the only one I know who uses it in the right way (=low polys).
Since I can't seem to manage it right now, I've just put it aside for a while (I was getting bored with all the bsp holes I cause trying to keep poly's down). I didn't try the stuff you explained in a previous post yet, but I will when I've got the time to experiment (=when the map where I'm working on is finally finished).
Just one question for you Bastard'o ; How do you make the image that you use in terraedit ? I really don't see an easy way making that elevation image.
26th Mar 2000, 01:36 AM
OK...first, I don't have a clue what TerraEdit is (haven't used it), but I suppose from experience that's a terrain modeler/render a'la Terragen or the old VISTA/VISTA PRO...
what's the deal here ? I've used them plenty...These are tools for other purposes (modeling/rendering terrain structures for NON REALTIME applications/projects)...
Sure you can grab your copy of Maya or Lightwave and make the whole world a single, detailed to the last speck, structure... but how will it play ?
The only 'defense' so to speak for using such a package are the modeling tools. They're well tailored to construct terrain... but still. What starts up as a tool for mappers to make things better can end up *very* easily ruining up things gameplay-wise.
Let's just use the right tool for the right job...this is like trying to pull a screw with a hammer.
Besides I yet have to see a 100% outdoor map... in that case it would be justified to use such a tool, since the outdoor itself *is* the map. The biggest outdoor-heavy maps I've played are arguably, CTF-Fin and CTF-Them. And there's plenty of detail there already to make a low end rig beg for mercy. In other words, how much detail you actually need to create an inmersing, well-done, fun map ? Not as much as to require the use of high-poly pumping terrain generators...
I don't mind detail... but NOT at the expense of gameplay.
Just a rant... I was feeling 'ranty' /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
If that's a word...
This is your brain...
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON INF... (bold /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif)
[This message has been edited by Chand (edited 03-25-2000).]
26th Mar 2000, 07:58 AM
Sorry I made this so long. I hope I made it worth the read. Spelling bites too /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif
Ok, I better clear this up right now before it gets more out of hand. Bastard_o, I am very sorry if I offended you but it certanly wasn't my intent. Countless hours behind the monitor studying high res terrain rendering and production(not game related) should let everyone know i'm very serious about this stuff.
A cool example. http://www.vterrain.org/Hawai`i/index.html
These kinds of levels bring an entireraly new kind of gameplay into play(just look at Dm-Terrain for an example), and as such I expect some critisism till everyone sees it for themselves. I'll try and answer every ones questions. I'll upload this map tonight so people can try it out and see if it's fast(if it's too slow then i'll fix my faults). If someone wants to they can create the buildings and add weapons and everyone and release it. hint, hint /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
These kinds of levels are very possible with current technology,and run fine on a p2 333 with 64mb ram and in software mode(a 300 or less may get overwhelmed if more than 3-4 enemies came onto screen). although Epic's terrain engine would allow for opened up maps, instead of tight hills and valleys. I've actually stayed away from releasing terrain maps because large viewing distances don't work well, and instead waiting patiently for a unreal based game that has a real terrain engine. Duke Forever "might" have one and Ut "might" also. And if they don't you know some game will. And imagine after reading the tutorials and learning how to make good terrains when these companies start putting terrains to work. Learn convential mapping first though. You can't get by on one style alone. I've spent time with a vast variety of game styles. Rpg, 3d shooter, racing, side scrollers. And sub varieties of each. Like 3d rpg, 2d rpg, overhead and then sub varieties of each of those sub varieties etc.
Andirez: "I must say that it looks great, but what's the fps and polycount (including nodes) when viewing those mountains ?"
I'de say it runs at about 400(guesing) nodes on the slowest area where you see both hills on screen. All the other areas average between 40-180 nodes. The hills are the lifesavers. They block alot of polys from view. It ran very decent on my 300mhz k6 when I made it. Real smooth on my 400 now. Just limited by the slow video card at 1024-768(banshee drops to like 23fps). It actually runs faster in software on the slower parts. I designed the terrain on paper to have some large buildings in the open area(thus covering up that area where it hits 400 nodes or so. But I don't have enough time to add all that stuff(it was just a pre lighted texturing,shadows test after all /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
INF_Neo: *Are you the guy who made desolate sands???*
Yea, i'll set aside a couple days to redo the buildings and fix the other stuff after I finish my Cyber Tactics map. www.planetunreal.com/cydeath (http://www.planetunreal.com/cydeath) So maybe 2 weeks.
Naughty5zero: *LMAO* [desolutedsands]*
/me slaps Naughty5zero :|
bastard_o: "for reference on how to use TerraEdit correctly, watch that poly count we all don't have PIV 1000's yet..."
All that will be explained in the tutorials. Don't worry. I'm not a newbie, I just keep quiet /infopop/emoticons\icon_wink.gif spend most of my time in #unrealed so you've provably never heard of me before.
bastard_o: "TerOmen, Have you completed any runable levels using this terrain construction method which I have been using for months "
Well, to answer that I released a Serpentine map a long time ago that had terrain. Although then I only knew how to use random generation and then add the hills in terraedit itself(very limited options). And boy, those textures. Wow, nothing more ugly than that(this was when I first learned about blended texturing /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. Heh, some friends and I just loved it back then though. Ahh, the wonders of time. lol http://www.unrealnation.net/lair/review.phtml?map=DMGreenland
I have been creating these kind of terrains almost from the time I bought unreal the christmas before last so I'm very well experienced with them. Maybe even the most experienced for this kind of stuff in Unreal.
bastard_o: "You wouldn't be tring to take credit for inventing this method now would you..."
Bastard_o, people have been using this method for years. As far as I can track back it was used first for large scale voxel creations. Maybe long before landscapes in video games. I'm not positive. I would never take credit for anyones hard work. Delta Force used it to generate the voxel terrains in the game. I assume they then applied a very high res texturing to that or used some kind of generater to cast random shades of green and what not.
bastard_o: Constructing a playable outside terrain level with buildings and suitable player cover is very very difficult and time consuming to balance game play with beautiful eye candy and realism.
That's one thing I have tried very hard to learn. When i'm generating terrains in photoshop and paint shop pro I had to learn how to picture that linier grayscale heightmap as the full level and predict where players would most want/need cover, what hills would keep fps up, what hills are big enough that they appear perfectly at distances for a more realistic and add that "cool" effect, what areas are cast over by shadows by the larger hills as they procide cover area to a certain extent. It takes quite a long time to get this down well. I'm still learning. Every terrain I make is 10x better than the last. Not just in graphics. I'm still not happy with the graphic quality of my textures. I'll never be I suppose . . . It's nice to hear you guys like them /infopop/emoticons\icon_wink.gif Thanks.
bastard_o: "Take a look at the dmgrandcanyon4.jpg, I wouldn't like to try to count the polys on that, texturing that brush alone would take many hours, aligning each one, only to find that if you are stood on the ground with "stat fps" your poly count would be 500-800 which I must say is ridulous."
That is a 2,000 poly brush. Umm, the tutorial on texturing will explain how you can create your terrain first, then play it and see where all textures should be. Then make a low res 256-256 texture and apply it to the entire level to get a general idea of everything. Then you go through and work on the high res one. I prefer 1024-1024 at the moment but I might dab in 2048-2048 textures later after a couple computer upgrades. Sure it takes about 6 hours to texture an entire level but look what you get a s a result(shadows from trees etc.). A level looking 40x better than just using the basic textures that come with Unreal. Making them high res isn't as much a difficulty as it is computer limited. Unreal would get a simular fps on that level with 2048-2048 textures because it handles textures well. Of course you split that into smaller files and spread them onto the level but i'll go into all of that later. All the textures take up just over 800k. No swett for a tnt2 or v2.
bastard_o: "TerraEdit is a superb tool but you (TerOmen) I believe have not discovered the correct techniques for using Terraedit correctly yourself... But it can be done.... "
Just the opisite. On a pursuit of better terrains terraedit alone can't handle it. You start hitting it's limits after a few months. Leveller ][, Terragen etc all help a lot. so does knowing what the average player wants. Studying up on technuiqes that professionals use. It's not all graphics though. Professional artists don't know much about what makes levels fun and enjoyable, just how to create the terrains and make them look good. I hate maps that get by on graphics alone . . .
26th Mar 2000, 08:01 AM
Bastard_o: I'll put a link on my site to your site so people have access to as many tuts as possible.
Been wanting to make these for about 6 months now and finaly found the time. Didn't notice that you were writing some also or I would have mentioned it in the first post. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
26th Mar 2000, 10:16 AM
I loved DMgreenland..
26th Mar 2000, 03:22 PM
Sadly you have misunderstood most if not all of my comments and suggestions.
Plus bent and distorted this whole issue.
Please do not release a level called Dm-Terrain because it will be conflict with a level which already exists.
We will have to continue this issue privately I believe and we can arrive at some kind or solution, I am still concerned about many of your comments and your arrogant, cocky view of terrain level construction.
Chand... "Besides I yet have to see a 100% outdoor map.."
All of my levels are outdoor maps...
26th Mar 2000, 05:55 PM
Okay, okay... now let's all stay friendly here /infopop/emoticons\icon_wink.gif
26th Mar 2000, 08:03 PM
Silly. I was talking about your map /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
Wellll sorrrrry if I sounded arrogant . . . /infopop/emoticons\icon_wink.gif j/k
I'm only doing this so other people will know what took me a year to learn.
26th Mar 2000, 08:04 PM
you need to calm down man
27th Mar 2000, 01:26 AM
TerAmen these are your words not mine please read it again, you will see that it was very misleading for me and everybody else...
A paragraph cut from TerAmen's EPIC message
"These kinds of levels bring an entireraly new kind of gameplay into play(just look at Dm-Terrain for an example), and as such I expect some critisism till everyone sees it for themselves. I'll try and answer every ones questions. I'll upload this map tonight so people can try it out and see if it's fast(if it's too slow then i'll fix my faults). If someone wants to they can create the buildings and add weapons and everyone and release it. hint, hint"
Surely you can see why I replied in the way I did.
Again I must ask you to be accurate when posting messages to this board.
27th Mar 2000, 03:42 AM
I'm not gonna argue with someone that doesn't want my help. I suggest we stop this now as it's hurting both of our reputations in the comunity. We both make outdoor levels and should get along even better than the other mappers.
I'm not replying to any negative posts anymore.
Have a nice day,
27th Mar 2000, 05:47 AM
I am not arguing with you, I want to help the Infiltration community, this is my function as moderator and the Infiltration lead level designer.
I am helping IMHO, I also hope my reputation will stay intact, if anybody feels I am out-of-order please say so, here or whatever I do not care, I will go with what people say.
If I am wrong so be it... I think not.
Your comment "that doesn't want my help"
I am sorry I had to laugh and guys I must apologise now for this but I don't want your help thankyou very much.
Again IMHO I believe that I am acting in the Infiltration Community interests what you say is very misleading and often wrong.
You do not tell the full story...
27th Mar 2000, 06:04 AM
sorry dude I wasn't thinking... not desolutedsands... but sanddunes... it was just some level that consisted of a lofted floor and a skybox... got the names confused... now THAT map was funny... desolutedsands... hmmm I've played that one... needs scale work and and a newer brush for the crm... oh and loose that music... I can't stand that music (maybe its just me but I doubt it) GREAT CACTI (sp?) (cactuses maybe, I dunno) anyways those looked good...
*LMAO* sanddunes... what a riot!
Neo: I've put it on hold (been busy with sf), and have decided to redo it since I've gotten some new ideas halfway through... the easiest way to implement the changes is to start over. Plus I need a ton of custom textures. Luckily I've found someone so shouldn't be long now. Also I'm broke so I'm not going anywhere this week for spring break. So I think I'll get the beta of the map out this week! Now all I have to do is find a place I can upload it to.
[This message has been edited by Naughty5zero (edited 03-27-2000).]
27th Mar 2000, 06:07 AM
I'de love to answer you but sadly I can't.
Now for telling the truth. Here it is. Plain and simple.
Making high res terrain maps is a very hard and complicated task. Don't expect to make a great level just after reading the tutorials. Also at the moment there is no "adaptive level of detail" on terrains in Unreal Tournament so it's best to keep your maps tight, to reduce the amount of polygons on screen at any one time. In other words. You can't make huge mountains and valleys with rivers running down them. Just cliffs and ledges and other smaller things like that.. Another point I want to stress is that you will need at least decent artistic skills to create the heightmaps and textures for your level. And yes, the levels run slower than convential level design. It's just a fact. I hate it but it's the truth. You'll want at least a p2 333mhz with 64mb and some kind of decent video card to play them. A p2 350 or 400 is better for achieving that magic 60fps. My K6/2 400mhz runs my current level at or around 30fps. Be warned, anyone with a K6/2's will need just that extra bit of raw horsepower that Intel users will not. So I'de recomend at least a k6/2 450 for playing big open levels at 60fps.
I will also stress that outdoor maps are more skill(planning) and aim oriented rather than quick reactions like a Typical Unreal map, where people are around every corner. Thus 30fps is more than enough for outdoor levels.
For an example. In the playtesting of my current map I've been getting most of my kills with quick reactions, headshots at 50 yards.
27th Mar 2000, 06:13 AM
Dm-SandDunes, heh I remember that. I guese the author just didn't try very hard.
Lose the music?!? No way! That stuff is just so funky, it makes me angry and want to hurt the enemy. Seriously, i'll change it in the final release if I come by something better.
27th Mar 2000, 06:14 AM
Excellent, The full story thankyou TerOman.
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