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jemuniz

a different way to model maps?

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I've been thinking about making a good map editor lately when I thought "why not use 3ds max? And while that may not be the best idea, it lead me to think about the current way that people model their maps. I have some experience using Valve's Hammer Editor, and the Unreal editor, and they both have the same method of use: you first map out the surfaces, then cover them individualy with a texture. What I am thinking is that you map it then make a texture that would cover the whole level with but one picture. This picture would be like the skins for models in most games. I don't see any problem with this way of mapping, however there might be some; I'm no expert. I would appreciate if people would confirm or reject whether my theory would work.

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well using 3ds max is actually a good way to model maps in my opinion. however your idea would have to have a 4096x4096 image, which i'm not even sure if that will fit into vid memeory when its uncompressed. on top of that it would be an absolute nightmare trying to get everything mapped perfectly without any stretching, to tell you the truth it would even be a pain to make the texture itself. although i understand your logic, but it just wouldn't work out.

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I don't understand how it could work in 3ds max, but not work when you have the textures all as one image. Basicly the reason that I was wondering this was because I thought that if you did one image it would add realism because you wouldn't have those dreadful patterns everywhere. I'm also not sure I know how it works when you lay a skin over a model, does the computer divide the picture into parts and put it on before hand, if so then the program could fabricate tons of little pictures from your big map texture.

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well for individual models it can be one image, but imagine that on model 100x bigger, the texture would start to get pixelated right? so you have to increase resolution of the image for it to look less pixelated but that resolution would have to be somewhere around 4096x4096 which is just too large for a single texture. on top of that how do you plan to apply the texture to multi-level buildings or objects?
on a single mesh you could have 1 texture applied to it or have tiled textures applied to it.a tiled texture is a single texture that can be tiled over and over again on the same model and still seem like a single image.
however your idea will not work, if you want to try though go ahead but the results won't be too great.

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You could make and apply all the textures seperately and then bake them into an insane 3d image format of your own invention. Of course, then you'd just have a huge texture file which also held all your maps geometry information too, genius! Aaaanyway, thats completely insane, and I cant think of any valuable uses for it. But it made me smile.

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Generated lightmaps are usually put together into one big bunch of data, but that's because lightmaps are unique for their surface. For textures it's not very efficient - reusing textures saves on memory, saves time and possibly improves a levels consistency in style and theme. Repetition can be dealt with in much more efficient ways, see below. :)

Using a huge texture could work for terrain maps, but isn't as flexible as using multiple textures. Using decals is a simple way to add the uniqueness re-used textures lack, so I don't see any real advantages in using a single texture anyway.

Due to how a level is built up, texture applying would get tedious, especially since maps change during their construction. You'll probably also waste (quite?) some space on the texture because not everything will always fit into a square image. Most mappers find it easier to work with multiple textures, too, since this doesn't require them (or an artist) to change the single texture each time they change something in the geometry of the map. When you're mapping you'll often add, change or delete things.

A good level-designer is able to spot obvious or distracting texture repetition, and he'll do something about it, whether that is adding some geometry to break up the large surface, or split it up into multiple surfaces with different textures, or adding decals, or anything else you can come up with. Detail-textures or macro-textures (I don't know how these are called officially but they're a second texture, often a gray-scale one, applied to the basic texture layer but with a different scale) are nice things for this purpose too.

/rant ;)

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I've used/tested the approach of uvmapping major parts of a level with a single texture, took some time to layout everything and requires a good amount of uv control in the program you work with :) I pretty much got tired of trying to get everything perfect, the result can be seen here.

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