How far can I push Hub maps?

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Marscaleb
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How far can I push Hub maps?

Postby Marscaleb » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:07 pm

When I was testing example maps that showcased how 3DGE could perform various feats, the one that stood out the most to me was the hub maps wad, which showed a simple demo of traveling freely between six or so small one-room maps.

This concept intrigues me and I would like to utilize it in a full-blown mod. But I don't want to make a bunch of plans until to find that they exceed the limits of the feature. And so I wonder... just what are the limits of using hub maps?

My biggest concern is how I notice that the game saves a LOT of details from those other maps. It knows exactly what monsters are alive, active, what pick-ups have been picked up, etc. And I can't be certain, but I swear the game seems to account for what monsters would have been doing during all that time since you last left the level because their positions have all changed.

So if the game is actively tracking all of this information, quite simply, there has to be a breaking point somewhere. There has to ultimately be some limit where I am going to reach a negative effect because I have traveled to too many levels, or my levels were too big, or I had too many monsters, or something.

Now even having said that, I imagine that the true limits might be pretty high for modern machines. I got some pretty good stats in my computer, and I bet I could run a lot with it before noticing any problems. But I should not expect that everyone playing this is using a top-of-the-line machine. (Especially since the fact that it is based off of an old game, which is something that would appeal to and draw in folks who are still using older under-powered machines.)
And as i think about this further, I think I might want to keep my project as something that can run on the Dreamcast. I might change my mind later, but at the moment I think that would be a good criterion to use. It would set some very concrete limits, and I really have no fears that anyone's computer would be unable to match its specs.

So I would ask then, what limits would I want to keep in mind if I were building this for the Dreamcast? And if I were to abandon that idea, about how far can I push those limits without worrying about performance on a lesser computer?

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RUNSABER
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Re: How far can I push Hub maps?

Postby RUNSABER » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:38 am

Sup, Mars!! Good to hear from you, bud.

Ah, Hubs - have yet to play with this feature but during my tests with it there doesnt seem to be many limitations as far as everything on the port-specific side. The only thing you might find taxing are idle monsters. They remain active once you pass through hub worlds, so if there is a switch activating a door or object in another world and there happens to be a Baron or boss monster when you get there, you may have to deal with a frustrating enemy but its nothing too dire or extreme. There are some Boom maps that use Teleport lines to simulate a hub-styled environment. Take a look @ MAP04 on Hell Grounds by ETERNAL if you have the time.

As far as Dream3DGE functionality, just keep your detail, special effects and map sizes in mind when developing for it and you will be fine. The only side issue is wanting to go bigger in scale with progression. That's where PC 3DGE shines as there are no limitations to what you design, only what your machine is capable of handling. The Dreamcast is a very powerful machine, still a golden medal in a generation of games long past. What other consoles do you see from that generation that have open homebrew (EASY, SO EASY) development and still gets games released under third-party/indie developers? Hopefully the next Dream3DGE renders dynamic lights, transparency and dynamic environments very well and can handle lots of sprite information on screen.
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Marscaleb
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Re: How far can I push Hub maps?

Postby Marscaleb » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:41 pm

So wait, are you saying I can hit switches that have effects in other maps? (When using hubs)

...
How do those hub maps work, anyway? My best guess is that it saves the map like a game save file, and when the player re-etners the map, it just quickly tries to advance all of the processes.

As i think about it, if I were to extensively use the hub system, I would likely want to revise the way many of the monsters work. Like, I may want some monsters to respawn and others to not.

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Coraline
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Re: How far can I push Hub maps?

Postby Coraline » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:37 am

HUBS are based on 3DGE's .ESG system. The reason the savegame system is quite complicated and stores more information than most ports is to quickly retrieve the gamestate from the previous map, as it saves everything that was happening before entering the new map, including mobjs (but obviously not the player state).

Which means that you are pretty much only limited by how much hard drive space you have to store savegame information. ^_^
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