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Pre SG 1.0 archive

Postby EvilFutsin » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:35 am

I need to get off my lazy ass and try this thing! :lol:

Oh and write another review, too, I should probably do that. >_>
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Postby ReD NeCKersoN » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:45 am

Sorry for my lack of feedback so far. (Been busy.)

This level looks great! But I seem to get the lowest framerates of any map in SG so far. I play with fairly high settings but I also tried it with compressed textures which didn't seem to make any difference. 34 fps from this angle & no bots.

Image

It'd be a shame to make such a pretty level & then recommend that everyone play with low settings. Sort of defeats the purpose of your "eye candy" efforts. No?
I think the hint brush layout could be tweaked further? It'll help when you're inside certain structures, but there's not much that can be done when viewing the level from a high vantage point. Another option would be to reduce the number of func_rotating doors & breakable windows. Pardner did this for NNC & gained about 10 fps I think. (Testers haven't seen this version yet.)
I made a short video that shows me using r_showtris a bit while playing with 3 bots. I didn't check the whole map but the last section of the video where I am in the outer wall area is what gave me a clue about your hinting style. Don't pay attention to the fps counter in the vid. It isn't accurate when recording with fraps.

<object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/sHZpP1XiIQo"> </param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/sHZpP1XiIQo" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"> </embed> </object>

The level is indeed a work of art for your first map & I hope my criticism about the fps doesn't sound like complaining. But I have a pretty good computer, so I can only imagine what some others will say on the servers. "UGH....LAAAAAG!!" :| Maybe we can improve the performance a bit?
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Postby Joe Kari » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:24 am

Yes, you found the evil spot where nothing can be done to improve performance ! ;)
At this place, 3/4 of the map geometry is visible, and cause it's one of the higher spot, hint brush can't help.

No offense, but on my computer there is 2 SG map that are more CPU consuming : CoyoteBluff and Lake. On those 2 maps I must change my screensize from 1280x1024 down to 800x600 or I can't hit anything. I still can play Alamo with full quality graphics on my computer.

My computer is 5 years old, and was a low price computer (it's not an Athlon but a Sempron, my G-Force video card wasn't the more expensive the day I buy it) so I was expecting that it will run fine on most computer.
You know, I've got 60~70 FPS on most area, there is only 3 places that hurt, the one you found (as well as just under that place), the second floor of the big house while looking outside, and standing on the wall we see at the left of your screenshot. I've got only 35~40 FPS there. But everywhere it is fine.
I'm really sorry, but the hint brushing can't be better, the only thing that can be done is to remove object (wagon, market and most of object in the big house), but it's a hard price just for those 3 places, isn't it ?

I have already tried to move into wordspawn most of func_door_rotating just for testing, it doesn't change anything, and I've tested it with breakable, they only hurt framerate when they are exploiding.

You know, we have done many thing to keep it playable on old computer, and trust me, Coup' George was really sad everytime I say to him : resize this texture it is too VRAM consuming ! And I was sad too everytime I have removed one mapobject to save polycount. We have change the lightmapscale from 0.125 to 0.25 to save VRAM as well. I have made a very complex hintbrushing (if one day you will open my map in radiant, you will see how complex it is, and every single hint has one specific task to achieve). And I would love using multi-texturing, but I have surrender :S
It is the concept of the map itself that is CPU-killer, just like Lake.
Sure, next time we will choose a concept that is really much more easy to optimize ;)
Probably duel map, more easy to have kick-ass graphics without performance counterpart.

Another point is that, if we compare Smokin' Guns to other still living Q3 mod, like World Of Padman or Urban Terror, we see that they can't run with full quality graphics on old computer (on this two game I have compressed texture enable and have turned texture quality to medium). One more time, I don't have to lower graphics quality on my map. So here is the question : should all SG map keep the same in order to still run on very old computer ? Or should we improve our map to follow the path of other Q3 mod ? IMHO, we should follow the path of World Of Padman and Urban Terror, just because old computer can still play with low graphics setting. So no difference for old computer.
There is only one boring thing about this : old Iron Claw map vs new SG map. As long as Iron Claw map aren't tune up, it would be boring because old computer owner can't have a config that works with all map, they would have full graphics on Iron Claw map, but should change their setting every time a SG map is loaded on a server.



Well, let's talk about something else :)
I've spoted one bug in my map, on the saloon door, sometime this texture disappear :
ImageImageImage

Not sure about this, but I think it's related to a bad mipmapping. I will try to fix it (remove mipmap for this tex) before releasing my map to the public.
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Postby Tequila » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:06 am

About FPS, maybe we should retrieve some FPS statistics and/or graphics settings from clients to servers. This could help to see what are requirements for most of players after analysis.

About the saloon door, I've noticed in game there was a problem here but I forget to talk about it. Also when closed, it seems to be a simple piece of wood, so It seems we can't open it. Maybe the two pieces are too closed together when closed.
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Postby Joe Kari » Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:44 pm

@ ReD :
Can you please give me detail of your computer ? I remember that you have got a more powerful than mine, so I'm really curious... I want to understand why you have got the same framerate than mine (and possibly slightly worst) on high place of my map. Especially, I want to know if you have an AGP 8x or better. If you have an video card on AGP 8x, this mean that my polycount exceed the bandwidth of AGP 8x, so everyone having this material would experience bad framerate regardless of his video card and CPU.
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Postby ReD NeCKersoN » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:11 pm

AMD AthlonXP 3200+
1 gb ddr ram
256 mb GeForce 6800GT
8x AGP
DX 9
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Postby L3th4l » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:37 pm

I get bad FPS on your map too, at least for my setup they are bad.

My Setup:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Windsor 3.2GHz
4gb corsair DDR2 ram
2 8800 GTX's in SLI - PCI Express

*NOTE* Q3 engine does not use SLI correctly and puts 90% of the load on one card.

On Lake I never drop below 110 fps with 6 bots and firing a gatling gun.

On your map with no bots and firing a gatling it will drop between70 and 80 fps depending were I am. Add 3 bots and fire gatling the fps drops between 60 and 73 depending where I am..

Considering my setup that is not good.
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Postby Joe Kari » Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:40 am

Okey, I have made some change for improving performance, like brush alignement in order to have a more effective hintbrushing. This is slightly less beautiful but I have gained around 5~10 fps.



Here is my FPS on various place of the new version of my map.
My config : AMD Sempron 2400+, 512 Mo ddr, nvidia GForce FX 5200 with 128 Mo VRAM, 8x AGP.
My config of the game : 1280x1024, full quality except particle and gunsmoke turned off.
Playing with no bot.


Image
66fps



Image
83 fps



Image
81 fps



Image
66 fps



Image
54 fps



Image
46 fps


Image
54 fps



If you want to test it, I have made a rough compilation of the map (without bounce) :

wq3public/downloads/beta_testing/maps/zzz_alamo1.pk3

(You can download this too : wq3public/downloads/beta_testing/maps/zzz_joekarimat1.pk3 if you don't want to have a notex on the saloon door).

The name of the map is "alamo", so you can compare with the "wq_alamo" you already have.


I have greatly optimized performance of the bot support too. Of course the price is that they are less funny. Difficult to evaluate... I think they use now half of ressource they used before those change.

EDIT :
Here is couple of screenshot of your favorite gatling test with 6 bots.
ImageImageImage
57/68/43 fps
Note that the last one with the score panel with transparencies, I lost 10 fps.
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Postby Tequila » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:16 am

@L3th4l:
Can you check you have the "r_ext_compiled_vertex_array" cvar set to 1 ? For me, that cvar was set to 0 even if is set to 1 by default (maybe it was set to 0 sometime in the past in my config...). Then my system config is a little less powerful than yours but when I set it to 1, I got my FPS doubled in the worst FPS spots... I understand that cvar is only useful if graphics card can support it, so maybe it won't be useful in older configs.

@All:
Btw, I was very interested by the ReD video about r_showtris test. If think ReD has touched a maybe renderer problem and/or limitation.

The renderer seems have difficulties to limit the number of objects to show in the world scene. With r_showtris, I can see things behind walls in some spots while only looking at a wall. Then if you strafe a little you can find spots where that things disappears.

I understand the renderer is giving too much things to the graphics card... Too much things that won't be displayed anyway. So the renderer is passing too much time to prepare invisible things.

Another interesting test is to check the same spots with "set r_speeds 1". At that spots, some of the monitored values just divides by 2 to 4... I checked also Tillian to compare and I found the the same kind of problem.

I will try to play a little with renderer to see if we can had a cvar to limit that problem. If I found a way that does not 'cut' drastically the scene, we would be able to have another useful slider in graphics settings.

Hope so, then maybe we would keep Alamo as beautiful as it should. :wink:
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Postby L3th4l » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:55 am

@Tequila

Mine is set to 0
That setting is forced to 0 because it can cause crashing and jitter.

As for what the r_showtris is showing. It is not renderer problem, it is like that because his hint brushing is not working properly. Proper hint brushing would reduce what is being rendered at one time.

@Joe

I will test it out later today.
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Postby ReD NeCKersoN » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:41 am

The following is to benefit folks who are interested. Joe & the rest of the mappers here already know what I'm about to say. But it's relevant to the thread I think.

It should be noted that a mapper simply cannot "hint brush" his way out of a "box style map" with an outdoor environment when viewed from above. The best you can do is to hint brush within the buildings & tunnels. Having doors & windows reduces the possibilities in buildings. The same holds true for most of the current wq levels. It only gets worse when we try to heavily decorate to make the scenes more realistic. Hammers, buckets, barrells, wagons, trees, etc all add to the polycount. I guess the ICI guys didn't decorate quite as much in some of their maps because of this.
Most level designers don't learn about proper layout to avoid this situation untill after they have nearly completed their first level. I was no exception, but sort of got lucky with CB in that I was able place a few hints that actually helped a great deal. Not as much for HeH. Some simple planning is in order next time I decide to make a new map. I'm sure Joe will think twice about making a box map next time too. :wink:

To elaborate, wq_dry is a box map because you can spectate from above any building. br_durango runs so well because it is a corridor style map where most of the structures touch the ceiling of the skybox. Try r_showtris in each of those & see the difference. ;)

What we really need is for someone with a truly old pc to test The Alamo & report their performance. I can think of a few people around here that qualify. (I won't mention any names.) :lol:
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Postby Joe Kari » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:10 am

My cousin have a 7 years old computer :
AMD Athlon 1600+, 256Mo ddr, don't remember his video card except it's an ATI with 128Mo of VRAM, and 4x AGP.
He run SG with this setting :
800x600, 32bits, medium texture quality, compressed texture, no gunsmoke, no particle.
I don't have screenshot, but it runs around 10 fps slower than on my computer. So it's playable. Some time he experienced a little lag.

I have made some test with other map, "Lake" run slightly faster than Alamo on his computer (that's not the case on mine), probably because he plays @ 800x600 (weak point of Alamo is the polycount, while in Lake it's the number of texels that have to be rendered). CoyoteBluff run as fast as Alamo.
Oh and he don't care about the Hangem' High's mirror ! 8O
I was surprised to see that he can stand in front of the mirror with around 30~35 fps (he got 35~45 everywhere else) while I have got less than 20 fps + lot of lag on my faster computer (I got 40~50 everywhere out of the mirror influence).
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Postby Breli » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:45 am

firstly, I have to apologize that I wasn't able to test this gem of a map so far :cry: ... even worse, I gave away my very old and very slow computer so I can't test it under extrem conditions.

However, before I do any testing I want to say this: don't waste too much time on optimizing the (or for) quake engine. we all know that it is VERY old and, thus, has all kinds of problems. We are already streching the engine way beyond its capabilities with CB, Lake, Alamo and other maps. The engine will do fine for the SA but I don't see any future for it beyond that. This mod has to move to a better engine in the mid-term anyway so any performance tweaking of the engine now is heroic but, ultimately, futile.
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Postby Breli » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:03 pm

So now here is some feedback :)

First of all, very well done! Your new textures really make a BIG difference. I was always annoyed about the low quality of our "out of the box" textures. Aren't you guys interested in remaking all textures :lol:

I haven't found any major bug so far but I have a few gameplay related proposals:
- Whats the point of being able to run around outside of the main fort? I propose that you make some more additional breaks in the outter wall so that players can use this way to move around the map

- I propose to make the outter wall a little bit more interesting and provide some more possibilities to hide behind crates. Otherwise, players will shy away from it I guess

- I propose to get rid of the banks in the middle of the church. they make movement unnecessarily bumpy

- I seem to be missing a texture?

Image

- Performance: I tested with my notebook (1,86 GHz single core, 1GB, X300 ATI graphics with 128MB dedicated video ram) and a few bots and everything to max at 1280. I got down to 25FPS when firing a gatling from one of the towers. It is certainly not a fast map and people with old computers will be hard pressed ... not much you can do about it if you want to keep layout and eye-candy

- And yes, I had an eagle in the very first dev version of Backwater :) ... didn't look nearly as cool as Joe Karis so i got rid of it ;) ... I propose to move the eagle over the fort though ...

More feedback to come if I find some more time ... :)
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Postby Joe Kari » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:48 pm

Hi Breli !

Hey the missing texture is one of your !
This mean that I should made a copy of your texture in my directory... Maybe it's a texture that you have used in one of your unreleased map (and I may have selected wq3breli_metal in radiant without checking it).
Thanks for reporting it !

About the outer of the fort, we will design it later, remember it's the Alamo 'Tiny' version ;) This way, it can be played with only few player. The huge version will be more designed for Bank Robbery (or deathmatch with a lot of player), robber will spawn outside the fort. The breakable wall of the fort, as well as the breakable 'wood wall' at the entrance of the fort, and the secret ladder, all this stuff was added in prevision of the huge version (they aren't really usefull in this version of the map).
I just hope that we will be able one day to release the huge version. Before mapping it, I have to find a way of expending my map without performance issue. At the begining, I was planning expending it in front of the fort, but it is now impossible. The outer wall part should extend where it can't be seen from inside. I want a river, a bridge, some ruins, a small village where robbers (mexican) will spawn, and a train (to move safely close to the fort without been sniped) and a station. And a tunnel. If I can do it this way, it would be wonderful !

For the eagle, Coup' George agree with you, but my skybox isn't too high... I will think about it again.
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