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Author Topic: Creating large maps  (Read 6122 times)

Charlizd

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Creating large maps
« on: Jun 03, 13, 07:21:14 PM »

Hi,

I know similar questions have been asked but i have not seen the answer i require, let me give you a run down of what i want to do and then hopefully someone can give me some wisdom, without pointing me to the wiki as it does not help me. There is several questions involved here.

I am creating terrains in World machine 2 then importing into hero which works perfectly but what i want to know is if i create an 8km sqaure terrain can i then just break that map up into seperate rooms and adjust visiblilty to an optimal level as opposed to creating several maps and seamless linking them?

So for example i import my terrain and it tiles it to however many tiles it may be, can i then just name each tile (room) from say A1 through to say A12 then proceed onto the next line of tiles and name them B1 through to B12 e.tc e.tc till i have all tiles named then go through and set visibility or do i have to say create a terrain of 1km sqaured and import 7 others of equal size to meet 8km and stitch and seamless link them?

Or what is the maximum size land mass i can create without using seamless link? I am not making an open ended world but several different worlds and don't feel i need to have a seemless link setup or don't want to if i don't have to.


what i am trying to achieve is less overheads and work for our already small team. I'm not trying to be lazy just trying to maximise our time without doing tedious things if necessary and as much as the wiki is helpful i think some of the simpler questions are not really answered or i am just reading it incorrectly.

WorldWideZ

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #1 on: Jun 04, 13, 01:31:19 AM »

As a area server is a individual process each instance of it can only hold so many players , so for your design you must think how many people would you ideally want to be able to interact in a given area.

Importantly heroengine is very flexible so if you find your giant single area a issue you can easily cut it up in to seamless system designed to spread the load.
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katoomm0m0

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #2 on: Jun 04, 13, 03:02:19 AM »

Before you get to committed to creating your world you really need to determine some things first.

One area is run on one server process, this means that you need to know how much load you can put on one server process and still have it run OK. The area server is going to be running all AI for your NPC's for the area and combat calculations etc., so until you know (roughly) how taxing your teams AI implementation is going to be on the server, and how much server resources your other systems are going to use, you really should not build your world, as you most likely will have to redo it again. A better approach would be to create a test area with with a vertical slice of systems implemented, to try and establish how much you can cram into one area, and then start building larger parts of the world.

I don't think the idea with just one huge area with lots of rooms will work out for you, not unless you are going to have a mostly empty world in regards to NPC's etc.

Anyway, that's my take on it :)
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Charlizd

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #3 on: Jun 04, 13, 05:32:17 AM »

Thanks for the replies,

So if i was to say upload my 8km area and cut it up into say 4 x 2km areas would that be viable? and if so as i cut them would they automatically be recognised as new areas? i am just trying to determine if it will be easier to import one large map and break it up or import several maps and try and piece them together.

If i import the one map it will save me a lot of time withe terrain sculpting as i had already done it in world machine prior to importing and nothing against hero's tools but world machine imo produces great terrain with minimal fuss.

But if i were to import 4 seperate ones it will complicate things to a degree as my terrain would then look generic, if you know what i mean. I'm just trying to make this process as  stress free as possible, which is hard i know :)

Oh and i will definately be making a test area before we get too far into i am just trying to get everything sorted and in place for when that time comes, doing my homework as they say :)

Chromehound

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #4 on: Jun 04, 13, 09:18:06 AM »

You can import one big area and break up the pieces later if you like.  You'll still have to create the new areas, and then delete the default heightmap, and bring in the broken up pieces.  In the area panel, use the bring selected instances here, or something to that effect - don't have it in front of me atm........obviously make sure you select the heightmap you're bringing in ;)
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Stadi_Thompson

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #5 on: Jun 04, 13, 01:52:52 PM »

Use seamless 2.0 linking, making a big arse map is the wrong way to do it, you will run out of resources eventually and your game will be unstable. You want to use seamless to load and unload data as you move through the areas. Rooms only control occlusion, they don't control load. You must split it up into a seamless grid if you want to create the illusion ove a seamless world. There is a wiki entry somewhere describing this. Good luck.
« Last Edit: Jun 04, 13, 01:59:53 PM by Stadi_Thompson »
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keeperofstars

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #6 on: Jun 04, 13, 09:55:18 PM »

And as far as the size you can do the areas all depends. City areas with lots of players need smaller linked areas, wide open country side where players will only occasionally pass through or progress through at smaller amounts can gain in overall size.

areas with lots of fighting by players or npcs, need to be a bit smaller.
All depends on how your combat / systems will be as well. If you are making a complex combat system with tons of data being calculated and managed in a variety of ways, then your going to make the areas smaller. If you have slower combat that doesn't do much calculations, IE a small random number generator for damage, etc then you can make the areas a bit larger.
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Charlizd

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #7 on: Jun 05, 13, 09:53:44 AM »

Thanks for the replies guys,

I can feel that headache starting already :),

Looks like the outcome is exactly what i did not want to have to do :(

I guess i will try and squeeze a few more  questions in,
 
If i was to still want to say have an 8km square map and have to do it with seamless 2.0 what would be the optimal Chunk sizes i can make without having to have a million and one areas and rooms to have to organize, just seems so much work for 1 map :(
and in essence it will not truly be an open world then would it as seamless needs to be setup in a bottle neck like area like a tunnel or doorway e.t.c (if i am reading the info on seamless 2.0 correctly) to work correct? i am making an open terrain map so there really isn't any area that is bottle-necked like a tunnel or anything to put the seamless link, how am i to overcome this obstacle?

I mean if i was making a massive world i could work with making bottle-necks such as passage ways e.t.c but i am making several decent sized maps that will be seperate from each other and not linked at all.
looks like i have my work cut out for me :)

keeperofstars

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #8 on: Jun 05, 13, 08:48:56 PM »

you don't have to bottle neck for seamless 2.0 to work just don't want to grid it up.

just need some off sets here and there to keep the potential that up to 8 areas have to be loaded to the client.

Lots of ways to easily make it work and look very natural.

http://screencast.com/t/995NlUVASbL see this image.

4 Areas all connected with a "hole" that could be a mountain, a wall, a temple, a hill that has an entrance to dungeon. Tons of options, can keep jigsawing them together and with just minimal things like mountains, large buildings etc keep players from ever knowing the difference, yet for the server it at any given point at most has to load 3 areas, to proxy data across. Thus highly efficient yet expansive in nature.

Also note that the areas can be different sizes and shapes, so for example the green might be a quest hub, that tends to have players heading out to the blue area for quests spread out over a more open area, or they can head to the Red area the player housing zone where no combat really goes on just house stuff. Then the black could be a more busy zone cause it's your "end game" area where after a while most players will be spending time.

Hope that helps.
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uexilon

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #9 on: Jun 06, 13, 05:13:52 AM »

In a city you could use your buildings to limit the information every player needs to receive/send.

A normal modern City would maybe look like this:

http://uexilon.ch/HE/seamlesslinking_advice.jpg

That means you'd have over 12 areas loaded because of the long streets where you can see everything that is miles away from you.

http://uexilon.ch/HE/seamlesslinking_advice2.jpg While here it would clearly be limited just by placing the builduing in a different way.


There's no perfect solution, but like the advice of keeperofstars, it should give you an idea on how to think about seamless. Keep the number of areas, players, needed Server load and displayed objects/polys in a good balance is the way to go. If you need to incrase one of these variables, you should decrease a bit of all the others.

If you need more players in a area for combat (higher server load), you'd want to keep the number of areas for instance at one or two, while you try to keep objects and polys low (well that's rather because of the client).

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HE-Cooper

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #10 on: Jun 06, 13, 11:57:55 AM »

Also, keep in mind, that all area connections are relative only to the area you are currently in. This allows for imposter and LOD areas to be loaded in the distance, but never actually reached by the player. It's complicated to set up, and requires "two deep" area setup, but sometimes is the required solution for intense geography.
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Amanda_Brooks

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #11 on: Jun 06, 13, 01:48:44 PM »

In a city you could use your buildings to limit the information every player needs to receive/send.

A normal modern City would maybe look like this:

http://uexilon.ch/HE/seamlesslinking_advice.jpg

That means you'd have over 12 areas loaded because of the long streets where you can see everything that is miles away from you.

http://uexilon.ch/HE/seamlesslinking_advice2.jpg While here it would clearly be limited just by placing the builduing in a different way.

Also, keep in mind that giving players the power of flight or flying mounts/vehicles removes the usefulness of buildings or other structures as a way of reducing the draw distance.
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keeperofstars

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #12 on: Jun 07, 13, 03:08:36 AM »

cooper any way you could toss us a bone and diagram out that "two deep" area setup. Might help some people trying to give the impressions of a super expansive city or world, but without having the issues that having blocked seamed links causes.

I bring this up cause everyone runs into how to make a city feel open without putting bottle necks in to cut down on 8+ area loads.

If you can load visible for lod / imposter viewing, yet the player well area the player currently is in doesn't care cause it's not seamlessly linked. might help some people manage things differently. I can see where it would get super complex, though just keeping tabs on all of it.

I know you still would have the problem of player travel to that area, but with smart building placement etc could provide the pieces needed to solve some key challenges.

Amanda as we talked doing a massive area where flying is involved and the players are able to fly high enough to get around all terrain / buildings, creates a whole new challenge. But if you can do this two teir setup it could allow you smaller areas, that can appear to see into a hundred miles without having as much area overhead. Since your kinda stuck with 8 areas loading at all times. Being able to keep them super small but yet easily visible to 4 areas over etc would probably work well for you.
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McMagic

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #13 on: Jun 07, 13, 05:09:09 AM »

...
« Last Edit: Mar 07, 14, 03:46:59 PM by McMagic »
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keeperofstars

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Re: Creating large maps
« Reply #14 on: Jun 07, 13, 11:46:46 AM »

grids are going to be rough to make work, well.

having 9 areas worth of data being synced to 1 area is going to be rough on that area. Have to remember for your character in the middle area to see players near the edge of all the other areas it has to load and maintain the same data as the area they are in.

So if you have 9 areas your single area has to deal with it's going to get messy. At that point you probably just better off saving the overhead of the proxying and just making a larger area.

with the exception of having flying characters / players that can go over all terrain, there is no reason to create a grid, with so many millions of ways to create gaps. Waterfalls, monoliths, caves, mountains, decayed ruins,  gorges, list goes on forever. Now the flip side to that is being able to implement what Cooper is hinting at, having the gap, but having those other areas show up as imposters / lod reasons. Which is why I asked if he could go into further detail.

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