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Old 11-01-1999, 11:08 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: carbondale, IL. USA
Posts: 41
Default A question about design preferences...

OK the best was I can ask this question is to put it in terms my computer graphics teacher used when she was teaching use how to design for the web.

She told us to pick a standard (average lowest set up used today) Hardware/Software configuration, and design our graphics and page size for it.

For example, she told use to design all of our in 640x480, 256 colors because that was the average web viewers technology at the time (about 2 years ago).

So I was wondering if anyone does this for SIN mapping. Like say do you design the level with software rendered, 640x480 users in mind, and sacrifice quality on the high side of the curve (like say for 800x600, w/graphics excelerators, the lighting might be too bright, or some other thing that isn't right.) And if so, what is the lowest platform one should design for.

Or do most people just design for higher end machiens? So if people only have software render the frame rates are way slower(ofcourse they are, but I hope you see what I'm getting at), or the the map is too dark.

This question came to me while I was waking up this morning, and I realized while thinking about map improvments, that this map would be almost unplayable without a graphics card (mainly because when I test it I only use MY game settings, and don't really switch settings around to see how things look. Major designers error probably but...)

So if anyone needs me to explain this one better just say so. wasn't really sure how to word the question.

"Life's a bitch when mappings your itch."
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sarumn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-1999, 12:40 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 1999
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Default Re: A question about design preferences...

I'd say most mappers map for their own system, because the look is not very hardware oriented, but more settings based. Settings like brigthness, gl_modulate and so on makes a big difference.
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Old 11-01-1999, 02:04 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: carbondale, IL. USA
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Default Re: A question about design preferences...


[This message has been edited by sarumn (edited 11-01-99).]
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Old 11-01-1999, 02:05 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: carbondale, IL. USA
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Default Re: A question about design preferences...

Thanks guys for you input.

eutectic I totaly agree. The question was more of a curious one than anything. I wasn't planing on scraping any map because it didn't run right in SW mode (especially after spending over a week on it already )

I guess I was just wondering if lower end systems were ever really considered in game design, but I guess if I was a designer I'd rather push the envelope and make something that would make people want to upgrade instead of sacraficing.

ohh....a little off the subject:
I just finished my first console (just text based, not functional), and I have to say that...well first off The Node tut was great, and second, I'm glad my roomate had graphpaper or else I might have gone mad trying to alight the text the way I wanted it. VIVA LE GRAPH PAPER

"Addiction's a bitch when mappings your itch."
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Old 11-01-1999, 06:16 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Bend, OR
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Default Re: A question about design preferences...

I'm not a big fan of trying to design a level that runs ok in SW mode, in fact, I don't do it. I know it's kind of selfish becuase everyone doesn't have decent hardware somtimes. The problem is, it starts to limit your creativity. I mean think about it. We already have to curtail our design becuase of limitations in the game engine.

I'm just waiting for the day when we port the crazed ideas from our heads directly over to a game that can handle it, I'm sure there would be some great levels.

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Old 11-01-1999, 07:01 PM   #6
Join Date: May 1999
Location: penacook, nh usa
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Default Re: A question about design preferences...

I have pretty much the opinion as Eutectic, if ppl dont have a 3d card, screw 'em the only thing i try to do in my maps is keep the w-poly below 700 in the corners and around 500 or less everywehre else. that should keep the map playable for the majority of ppl.

3d cars are so cheap nowadays that its silly not to have one, escpecially since the avg person spends around 1300 already for the system, and we all know computers are for playing games first, homework and writing are just excuses when your trying to get someone else to buy one for you.
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Old 11-02-1999, 01:09 AM   #7
Join Date: Jan 1999
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Default Re: A question about design preferences...

Well there's probably 100 different answers to that question because it involves many things. While Sock was designing his map Freeport Docks, we had some discussions about this topic.

I think that designing web graphics and maps is a different approach although some concepts do apply. It's also a very subjective thing and what I'm about to say reflects more my personal opinion and they are definitely not "objective guidelines" because I think there just aren't any for this aspect of map design.

While the the minimalist aproach might have been viable in the Quake map design "era", when Quake2 came out and then more recent games like SiN and HL, this is less and less practical and conflicts more and more with the game's new technological improvements.

The example that comes to my mind is Quake2: it was the first FPS game with colored light but you needed a 3D card to see it. Some people then recommended to design a map with monochrome light in mind. But then this causes some serious technical issues. It's virtually impossible to design a map that will both be lighted right with and without color because different colors at the same light intensity value don't produce the same resulting amount of visual brightness.

So what happened?... All the good mappers made maps with colored lighting in mind. What if the lighting (or the absence thereof) doesn't look good in SW mode?... tough luck.

Why? Because colored lighting, on top of being one of Q2's most important features was an integral part of it's maps "distinct personality".

And at the time, 3D cards were more expensive than nowadays (I remember paying around $250 for a Voodoo1 card back then) but that didn't stop designers. So just imagine today when most serious gamers have a 3D card (Voodoo2's can be had for dirt cheap). Many mobo manufacturers have started integrating AGP 3D video on the MB itself (altho I don't recommend buying such MB designs myself).

So now, here we are with newer and better games with a LOT more incredible features with even higher hardware 3D only games like Q3 Arena and FAKK2 not too far away. And we designers should sacrifice all the cool new features and design for the guy who hasn't upgraded his PC in 4 years in mind?...

Sorry but no way! Besides, have you ever looked at SiN in SW mode?... Man, it's so ugly it looks like it's not even the same game. Personally, I think that making good maps (especially SP) is complicated enough as it is (and it will get more complicated in the future) without us having to worry about 4 year old technology.

BUT... I have to ponder this by saying that one should always test his maps on slower machines as well but you have to draw a line somewhere. Here again, this is entirely subjective but I think that with the low price of those Intel Celery's, the absolute lower limit should be a P200 MMX with 64Mb ram and the "average" lower limit should be a Celeron 300 with 64Mb both with a 3D card.

The bottom line is: by nature, we always have to make (sometimes big) compromises when designing maps but to design with SW mode in mind at this point in time in pushing the idea a little too far and a thing of the past: the argument that 3D cards are too expensive no longer stands. If you want to play todays's 3D games, you need a fast machine and a 3D card period.

My 2 cents


The official Sin entities and scripting reference site
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Old 11-04-1999, 05:44 AM   #8
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago
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Default Re: A question about design preferences...

Yes you have to consider that most gamers are going to have 3D and those that don't are relagated to playing at a seveare disadvantage or finding something other than FPS to play. However you do have to consider a minimal system. You wouldn't want to design a level that wouldn't run right if the player has anything less than a 500MhZ PIII with 512MB.

If you are making a DM its probably not going to be an issue because if it will play well over the net, it should not give any average gamer's machine any problems i.e the net is the big bottleneck with MP.

However you could easily go overboard on an SP level. So you might want to test it on a lower system.

As for what Eutectic said:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
the absolute lower limit should be a P200 MMX with 64Mb ram and the "average" lower limit should be a Celeron 300 with 64Mb both with a 3D card.

I am not sure about the 64Mb part. That's pretty low God I feel sorry for anyone still running with 64Mb. I have 128Mb and still feel inadequate

Also the babes won't go out with a guy unless he has a big ram stick

Also I agree with Eutectic don't get 3D on the mobo. Also don't get the generic 2d/3d combo cards found in some pre-built systems. The ones I have seen (not many) don't seem to have any data on what type of 3D (glide, openGl etc) and both Quake II and Sin ran in SW and none of the 3D setting worked it was always swithced back to SW.

In the long run you are better off with a name brand card. At least if you have a problem with it you will be able to find online resources to help out.
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