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Old 04-24-2012, 01:45 PM   #1
gulliwog
 
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Stacking areaportals... and detail sprites

Hi All,

I have been asked to revamp an older source map. Whilst examining the map I discovered something I havent seen before; the mapper who made it originally put multiple (normally two) areaportals between different area of the map.

Normally to separate two areas (with one connection between them) you would use one areaportal brush, but this person put in two separate areaportal brushs 32 units (or similar) appart. I ran a couple of simple test maps and I couldnt see any visibility advantage at all to stacking areaportals in this manner.

However I mentioned it to a friend the other day and he said he remembers reading something on a forum a long time ago that there could be advantages to doubling areaportals like this. Needless to say, I couldnt find the thing he read!

Can anyone shed any light on this? I am wondering if it used to be helpful with older versions of source but that updates and engine changes have rendered it obselete...




The other thing I have had a problem with is detail sprites getting randomly shadowed. If you look at this photo you'll see some of the sprites are lit correctly and some are "dark". They are in some way getting shadowed by the displacement.



Does anyone know a fix for this?

I have one way to fix it, but its not ideal, so I am hoping that someone else has a suggestion.

Any help would be appriciated.

Thanks

k@rt
(gmaps)
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:01 AM   #2
zombie@computer
 
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Never heard of stacking areaportals. Can't imagine its any good.
dunno about the grasses. The screen looks fullbright anyway, i would suggest tweaking the lighting and see if the problem goes away.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #3
gulliwog
 
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How does that look like fullbright to you?!! And anyway, by definition if it really WAS rendering in fullbright there wouldnt be any shadowing... because everything would be FULL BRIGHT (hence why its called "fullbright")

And just for info I would never have posted in a forum if I wasnt sure about the problem and sure that it wasnt just some one-off fluke that has something to do with the map.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:38 PM   #4
ICantShoot
 
 
 
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Only situation where you have to "stack" two areaportals on top of eachothers is if the areaportal crosses water surface. Then you need to do areaportal for the underwater and areaportal for the overwater part so that it will work properly. Any other way is useless waste of resources.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:52 PM   #5
gulliwog
 
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Maybe I explained badly. I didnt mean stacking areaportals on top of each other like you would if you had water, but rather placing one whole areaportal brush after another, so that between 2 areas you dont just put one portal brush, but two. Maybe this image will help to explain:



The thing is the person who made this map originally was an experienced mapper, much better than most, and he has done this between every area on the map, so obviously intentionally. Combined with the fact that another very good mapper I know also remembers reading something about this being a legitimate technique in a forum, I didnt want to dismiss it without investigating.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:59 PM   #6
ICantShoot
 
 
 
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A professional mapper would use only 1 areaportal and use hint/skip brushes to cut visibility or even make some other solution. There is little benefit from putting 2 areaportals like that, it maybe even more costly to render those 2 with all the scenery, models and such at once than just the one areaportal.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:02 PM   #7
agent0kevin
 
 
 
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I cant quite wrap my head around why you would want two areaportals. I will speculate that maybe it prevented lag spikes or sudden FPS drops as you pass through one and both sides render...or prevented a vertex limit from being exceeded and subsequently crashing the game. AFAIK, when you pass through one, everything on both sides renders for a moment if its not a window. I could be wrong though; I havent tested it in wireframe or anything.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:21 AM   #8
gulliwog
 
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Thanks guys... I felt the same way you do, I can't see any benefit either. I made a couple of test maps and it doesnt look like there is anything to be gained, the same things reneder with one or two... and as each portal has a cost i thought it would probably lower FPS to have two.

But like I said the mapper who made the map definitely did this deliberatly.

I think I am going to wait until the rest of the map is finished and then compile twice with 1 and 2 areaportal setups and the compare FPS and lag-spikes... however I am not expecting there to be any benefit, I think I'll probably wind up removing them.

Thanks again for the help
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
shawnolson
 
 
 
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I had mentioned to Gulli reading about this somewhere... but I never tested it out. I cannot remember where that double area portal discussion was; and when I tried to Google it after we talked, couldn't find it.

It might be worth some more prodding (and threats of torture being spanked with pickled herring by Roseanne Barr) ... and get the original author himself to explain the setup. It would be interesting to find out the rationale for this.
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