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Author Topic: [Resolved] A possible alternative for seamless areas  (Read 2456 times)

BraxFC

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[Resolved] A possible alternative for seamless areas
« on: Sep 30, 12, 03:04:46 AM »

We're just starting to dig into everything so forgive me if this seems like an obvious option but I had this idea when it comes to seamless areas.

From all I've read, we're being told that if we want to stitch a seamless world together to do it in a square grid, which causes the possibility of running up on a four-way corner or areas like so:



Plus this requires HeroCloud to bring into memory the other 8 surrounding areas, for a total of 9 areas.

My idea is to simply shift every other row of areas over like so:



This means you'd never have four areas intersecting (just three at most) and you'd actually only require a total of 7 areas to be in memory.

Does this make sense to anyone or has this been tried and solid reasons why we should not consider this approach?
« Last Edit: Oct 03, 12, 01:25:17 PM by HE-Cooper »
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jcsmith562

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #1 on: Sep 30, 12, 04:58:12 AM »

It would help. We wound up using connector areas so our map looks something like the image attached. The black areas are full sized areas, the blue ones are connectors. You can fake the in between.  That helped us a lot with memory usage and stuttering while crossing seams, and allowed us to use areas that were a little larger than the recommended specs (for the black areas), which made designing areas a lot easier.

The basic idea is the same though, limit how many larger spaces are linked at any given time.

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BraxFC

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #2 on: Sep 30, 12, 05:07:43 AM »

Yeah, I read your post awhile back on the different options you guys tried. Very informative, thanks!

I believe you said in that post you made your main areas (the black ones) 1kmx1km, and the connectors 512mx512m, right?  If so, have you done any load testing on the black areas after you've filled it with assets, NPCs etc?

I don't mind having connector areas, and I think it's a brilliant solution, but it just seems like the world would feel like a bunch of rooms with hallways in-between.  Know what I mean?
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jcsmith562

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #3 on: Sep 30, 12, 05:26:11 AM »

We've been alpha testing since the end of June, and it seems to be holding up fine so far. The starting city has around 200 npcs in it and the surrounding area.

I agree on the connectors, it's not a completely ideal situation. You can cover it up with mountain objects across the areas but you still have funneled connections. Players often won't pay attention to it though as it's often the way it's done.
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FI-ScottZ

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #4 on: Sep 30, 12, 09:37:43 AM »

Quote
we're being told that if we want to stitch a seamless world together to do it in a square grid
Actually, I've read Cooper advising numerous times here not to arrange in a grid for just that reason.  Furthermore, the areas do not need to all be square nor the same size.

So, yeah, it is definitely a good idea to keep the number of areas that meet at a corner to a minimum.
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Scott Zarnke
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CTO, Forever Interactive, Inc.

BraxFC

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #5 on: Sep 30, 12, 12:29:45 PM »

We've been alpha testing since the end of June, and it seems to be holding up fine so far. The starting city has around 200 npcs in it and the surrounding area.

That's some good info to have, thanks!  Didn't you say the large areas were on average 1km^2 and the connectors were 512m^2?


Quote
I agree on the connectors, it's not a completely ideal situation. You can cover it up with mountain objects across the areas but you still have funneled connections. Players often won't pay attention to it though as it's often the way it's done.

It's about compromise and I can certainly appreciate that!


Quote
Actually, I've read Cooper advising numerous times here not to arrange in a grid for just that reason.  Furthermore, the areas do not need to all be square nor the same size.

So, yeah, it is definitely a good idea to keep the number of areas that meet at a corner to a minimum.

Definitely.  It'll take some rearranging of the map we designed in Photoshop but I think we're going to go the "main area and corridors" method.  It just seems to make the most sense from a load point of view.
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Stadi_Thompson

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #6 on: Oct 01, 12, 10:54:47 AM »

It is irrelevant to have a completely seamless world for an mmo. WOW has boundaries, mountains, large meshes, but you get the illusion that it's "seamless".  Guild Wars 2, the same, has choke points (example JCsmith's design), huge mountains and mesh object blocking things etc. I never seen a post about WOW or GW2 or any other large world mmo saying "OMG! the world is not seamless, I am not going to play this game", it is also irrelevant to your user base. Think the word "seamless" is being over thought by some. No mmo is truly seamless, trying to make a seamless grid is pointless for a normal mmo game.
« Last Edit: Oct 01, 12, 01:48:19 PM by Stadi_Thompson »
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BraxFC

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #7 on: Oct 01, 12, 01:00:30 PM »

If I'm wrong I apologize, but there seems to be a bit of venom in your post, Stadi.

I completely understand that world building is all about delivering your desired results using illusion(s) to remain within the limitations of technology, human resources, whatever.  I also think any player that doesn't want to play a game just because he can't go ANYWHERE he wants on the map would find many more things in a game to complain about anyway. ;)

We've done a boatload of research on the matter and are in the middle of revamping our map to move away from the seamless grid concept because we too now see the light. :)
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Stadi_Thompson

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #8 on: Oct 01, 12, 06:20:17 PM »

Not aimed at you, sorry about that, was just in general from a lot of seamless post bundled up around the forums.
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VarlBlackgem

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Re: A possible alternative for seamless areas
« Reply #9 on: Oct 01, 12, 10:28:37 PM »

It is irrelevant to have a completely seamless world for an mmo. WOW has boundaries, mountains, large meshes, but you get the illusion that it's "seamless".

Indeed. Just the other day, I was in Azeroth and noted in the middle of downtown Stormwind a seam running right underneath my very feet while I was smelting at the forge. A seam I had never noticed for years. Heh. I also experience them every time I fly and know when I cross one in flight via a slight stutter. Does it ruin my game play? No. For years, I thought it was lag, but now that I know the truth, I could care less as long as the seam stutters don't DC me.
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