• Welcome to the largest (sim) racing website in the world!
    Blurring the line between real and virtual motorsports.

WIP Gizmo Trail

Discussion in 'Racer Tracks' started by luthobu, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Cosmo°

    Cosmo°

    Messages:
    284
    Ratings:
    +54
    No need to apologize for asking about feedback :)

    The concept of the large map is great and I like exploring all areas and just driving around (reminds me of the original Midtown Madness, where I made up my own stories and reasons to get from one end of the city to the other). The diversity is welcome and generally atmosphere and immersion are well done.

    Still, I find it difficult to actually enjoy it because of technical reasons. Performance drops by a factor of eight compared to default Carlswood for me, which means going from triple digits to under 30 frames. While there is a lot of detail and individual texturing, the framerate doesn't balance out with the visual impact in my opinion.

    I can get it up to about 50fps by disabling shadows for most objects and solidifying movables, which allows mostly smooth driving, but then it becomes too flat, graphically, of course.

    My suggestion would be try to simplify and unify things first of all. You can combine small mesh objects into slightly larger groups that can then have LOD added where beneficial. Many textures can be combined (all the separate billboards could be grouped into fewer files), shader materials can be massively simplified (if a lot of things use the same shader, why have several materials?). All that would make working on the project tremendously easier and more fun for everybody, it improves performance and makes it more futureproof as well.

    It's a lot of work for sure, but better to do it now than dropping the project because it gets too tedious later (now?).
     
  2. Mr Whippy

    Mr Whippy

    Messages:
    3,003
    Ratings:
    +475
    This is exactly it.

    The detail isn't the problem, the track has now just reached that natural time when optimisation is going to be key to making it truly useable.

    In Racer we often reach this point with content and the struggle is that to get stuff looking truly good vs other contemporary games AND getting decent FPS, is all down to being a tight git with optimising.

    There is probably weeks of working going through it all and condensing things down, then going through and applying LOD cut-offs to stop drawing certain objects when they are not relevant etc...


    A big job, but ultimately it needs doing.

    This is an ace track, just it's got to the point now it needs a spring clean and tidy up :D

    Do that, and then it can progress further, and as Cosmo says, it'll make it more enjoyable and easier to work on moving forward, AND probably look better while also getting more FPS :D

    Win win!

    Dave
     
  3. luthobu

    luthobu

    Messages:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +179
    Thanks for the comments! Really appreciated. Guess you figured out why I decided to release
    a beta at this stage. Cleaning it up will take a long time, and since I have been promising a
    beta for so long I decided to do it now.

    I agree with you both. The track does seem sluggish and that is one of the reasons why I
    decided to take a break from it, apart from being kind of tired of working on it. But you also
    gave me an idea. The track is very open, meaning that things far away are visible from a
    long distance. I want to close those open spaces and add LODs that keep the parts hidden
    until you round a corner or drive over a hill. That way I could optimize each part for itself.

    Textures. They are a mess, for several reasons. They could and should and probably will
    be reduced (I did reduce sizes alot though.. some that were 1024x1024 I managed to get
    down to 128x128 without loosing much quality).

    Movables. Yeah. They are a problem, but they also add great fun. Have you been to the top
    of the Rockys, entered the snowcovered hills and hit the snowman head on? That is so much
    fun! He breaks into 3 pieces and each fly in their own direction :) Also the many barrels, the
    tumbleweed (only 1, and it is at Roys) and I think there are more movables as well.. (some of
    the wooden signs "break" when you hit them f.ex.)

    Shaders. Hm. Even here i did optimize a bit, but of course, a lot more could be done. But
    I really need a better GPU to continue working on this track.. it takes ages to reload after
    every change..

    Even so, the BQE is still missing, the connected roads have not been applied, lots and lots of
    NEW textures have not been added (I have prepared a folder with facades and materials for
    the houses), lots of trees and bushes have not been added, the police station is missing, the
    hospital and the banks are missing, the bridges and the undergrounds are missing.. so all in
    all.. it is very incomplete..

    That is also why I released it now.. to see if it was becoming to big to load.. and it seems so..
    Don't know when I will have another release ready, but I will post a note about it here when
    and if it happens. In the meantime, if you have any improvements, please send them to me
    and I will add them along with appropriate credits :)

    Tata for now, and happy Racing!
     
  4. Cosmo°

    Cosmo°

    Messages:
    284
    Ratings:
    +54
    Haven't hit the snowman yet, but I did attempt the rooftop jump in a pony car of course :)

    A project that several people contribute to is always going to need synchronisation. It's not easy to leave people creative freedom and on the other hand restrict them to certain file sizes and formats, colour palettes and naming conventions, more so if their level of expertise differs significantly. So far, I think you did a good job managing it though, the track feels coherent.

    You mentioned how long it takes to tweak things with the loading times (I hope you're already using ingame commands for 'reload shaders' etc, not restarting Racer entirely). This is exactly where the spring clean as Dave puts it will help you. To stay with my example of the billboards, you could probably group some of them together and have eight of them on a 1024² instead of eight times 512x256. Fewer files means less loading and easier managing. Similarly with the materials - if it's using a vf_standard shader anyway, it doesn't matter if it's a billboard, gas pump or a wooden bench. You can boil it down a lot and not compromise a thing if you plan your mapping and textures accordingly.

    Keep it up :)
     
  5. luthobu

    luthobu

    Messages:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +179
    Heh. That rooftop jump has provided hours and hours of great fun :p

    Thanks, but I must add to this that I REALLY ENJOYED working with Splashonda, AMGfan,
    Raphael, Sergio and Paul!

    Splashonda did LOTS and LOTS of research, provided links, textures, feedback, did daily
    testing, suggested improvements and submitted new ideas. Without him I am sure the track
    would have been much smaller and not as much fun.

    AMGfan and I worked day and night with the lambada area (the redbrick housing area).
    Most of the layout and the ideas for that area are entirely his. Man, that guy has a stamina
    beyond comprehension :p He also made the other housing area near the airport, all on his
    lonesome. All I did was place it and adjust the textures so they fit the overall profile.

    Raphael made the entryway and left it to us to place it, adjust it, rearrange it.. and without
    it there would be no cool entry to the closed housing area.

    Sergio came up with the idea for Lakeview and the houses along the road. We made some
    scetches together on MSN before we agreed to the final layout. So kudos to him for that.

    Paul, who has nothing to do with Racer, makes textures for model railroads. He let me use
    his textures for the track.

    So all in all, it was easy to work with these people, and great fun! Those guys are amazing.
    If there was time, and if I still had the energy I would "force" them to continue working on
    the track (LOL) but it takes so long and people move on.. as am I..

    It's not just a matter of reloading shaders, but also moving objects. Then I have to clear the
    cache and regen it. That takes time. I like the idea of combined textures. Might take a closer
    look at that. Thanks for the feedback! Might just get my inspiration back :)

    Edit: Huh. Sorry for the wall of words.. don't know what came over me..
     
  6. Mr Whippy

    Mr Whippy

    Messages:
    3,003
    Ratings:
    +475
    Read up on texture atlases. Nvidia have lots of documents etc.

    Having one big texture, say a 2048x2048, with 16 512x512 textures in it, saves 16 shaders and texture calls... from what I have read, they are the big killers of GPU speed these days... more than poly count and texture size per se. Reduce the tex/shader calls.

    If you have 64 256x256 textures in one 2048x2048 map for example, you cut out 64 x 2 operations (shader swap and texture swap), to 1 x 2 operations... so 128 > 2

    Nvidia clearly think it's handy even for their current gen kit, so well worth doing if you can :D

    Relatively easy to do to... I think there are plugins out there that help you do it, or even automate it somewhat, which might be ideal at the stage you are now!?


    Thanks

    Dave
     
  7. luthobu

    luthobu

    Messages:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +179
    @Mr Whippy: Wow. I had no idea.. seems like I can optimize a lot :) Thanks!

    But it does still mean that I will have to do a lot of remapping.. no biggy, but
    just time consuming. If it help the FPS then it is worth it for sure..
     
  8. conster

    conster

    Messages:
    44
    Ratings:
    +4
    The track looks amazing but sadly i cant play on it :frown: I loaded the track but it was pitch black and i couldn't see anything. Im using racer 0.8.15
    Tried: I tried changing the time in the special.ini but no luck :frown:
    Any help would be appreciated
    New: tried in no cg and it kind of worked but the textures were a bit strange
     
  9. luthobu

    luthobu

    Messages:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +179
    @conster: was just "passing by" and noticed your post. I use 0815 and Gizmos was made for 0815.
    Ergo, it should work just fine with 0815. I even tested it the other day, and indeed it works. Don't
    really know why you get a black screen. Sorry.
     
  10. conster

    conster

    Messages:
    44
    Ratings:
    +4
    :)its ok ill try various things. Mr Whippy said hes unsure aswell. I have windows 7 64bit and an Ati card? does that have anything to do with it? Thanks :tongue:

    Edit: :confused: New Problem now my controls have randomly decided to stop lol. It happened last week and thought it was a one off as they started working again. I Really dont understand these things.... lol
    I realize this has nothing to do with your track i was just wondering if anyone knew
    Thanks in Advance
    Edit Again: Dont worry about the controls i got that sorted :tongue:
     
  11. conster

    conster

    Messages:
    44
    Ratings:
    +4
    Funny Enough I got it working perfectly on Racer 0.8.31 and the track is brilliant!! Only problem is not many cars work for the new version :)
     
  12. AMGfan(BPM)

    AMGfan(BPM)

    Messages:
    804
    Ratings:
    +30
    Ponderer, found a little bug @ condominio

    [​IMG]
     
  13. luthobu

    luthobu

    Messages:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +179
    Thanks. I'll fix.
     
  14. BVSX

    BVSX

    Messages:
    188
    Ratings:
    +4
    to bad but this track doesent work for me... its loading in ages... :(
     
  15. luthobu

    luthobu

    Messages:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +179
    Yeah, a shame really. It is a pretty heavy track. Maybe I will do a "light" version..

    Have taken a break from Racer at the moment though. Just checking in from time
    to time to see "whats goin on" ;)
     
  16. KS95

    KS95
    RACER Moderator

    Messages:
    2,416
    Ratings:
    +197
    @Luthobu: Nice to see you still lurking :)

    @BVSX: Leave it to load for 10 minutes, the first load usually takes ages for me on big tracks like this.
     
  17. BVSX

    BVSX

    Messages:
    188
    Ratings:
    +4
    thx i will give it one more try :D
     
  18. 1977malibu

    1977malibu

    Messages:
    8
    Ratings:
    +1
    when i play on the "Terragen" track and the Beta "Gizmos trail" its just black...nosky or nothing u can see a sun but there are no clouds or nothing...
     
  19. boomer541

    boomer541

    Messages:
    1,362
    Ratings:
    +169
    Need more info, what version of racer, computer os, graphics card etc.
     
  20. KS95

    KS95
    RACER Moderator

    Messages:
    2,416
    Ratings:
    +197
    Qlog errors boomer! How could you forget them?! :D
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.