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Player Housing

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I have two topics to discuss when it comes to player housing. The first is, Instanced housing or no? Why or why not? The second is, Template, freeform building, or pre-made building? Why? So far I am thinking you buy a plot of land, wherever land might be sold, and then you have the option to build whatever on it. I figure this type of housing can work for both instanced or no instanced. What I mean by the second question is: Template: You have a grid that your house can be built on, you have a list of rooms that you can put on these grids, some rooms have opening on only north and west, north south, etc. Kind of like building with blocks. Freeform: More like sims, click/drag where you want walls to go, and place furniture that you have wherever it will fit. Also according to a grid. Pre-made: You pick from a list of house/floor plans that are already made into the game. Any other options that you know of for housing? Do you think they are better or worse than the ideas I've already got up?

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Portable housing and only-visible-when-player-is-online/nearby are two other housing options.

Freeform housing is the only one that's fun to make, in my opinion. The other kinds are only interesting for the functions they provide, improving their aesthetics can't be used as a goldsink and customizing them doesn't function as gameplay.

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Freeform buildings with blocks is nice, and gives lot`s of fun.
But there is big problem with rendering complexity.
Just think of BIG player made city, looked from high mountain,
how to LOD effectivily that view?

One option witch might work would be to use some sort of fullscreen
imposter rendering. (layered cube maps rendered around player.)

One game witch has free form buldings is:
http://www.wurmonline.com/

/Tyrian

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A lot of games save effort displaying complicated customizations by requiring the player to save changes when they are done customizing, at which time an algorithm automatically squashes the graphics to something which looks approximately the same but is much less complicated. I'm more familiar with how this works in 2D but it's done with 3D as well.

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Original post by TyrianFin
Freeform buildings with blocks is nice, and gives lot`s of fun.
But there is big problem with rendering complexity.
Just think of BIG player made city, looked from high mountain,
how to LOD effectivily that view?

One option witch might work would be to use some sort of fullscreen
imposter rendering. (layered cube maps rendered around player.)

One game witch has free form buldings is:
http://www.wurmonline.com/

/Tyrian



Polygon soup culling and lod has been efficient and effective for the last 7 or 8 years really. Most brute force methods once impractical are pretty reasonable now. For a current gen engine I don't know that this is a true technological hurdle anymore.

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Original post by sunandshadow
Portable housing and only-visible-when-player-is-online/nearby are two other housing options.

Freeform housing is the only one that's fun to make, in my opinion. The other kinds are only interesting for the functions they provide, improving their aesthetics can't be used as a goldsink and customizing them doesn't function as gameplay.


I'm not sure if you ever played Everquest 2 but some of the houses(interiors) built from mundane items were just awesome. One of my old guildmates used to charge people to "decorate" their homes because he had a great sense of style and imagination.

If you recall the old Ultima template homes, great liberties were taken with the "accoutrement" there as well. The same was true of Star Wars Galaxies.

All were templates but allowed a great diversity of appointment, while maintaining some level of quality control and cohension. To me that's the peril of a freeform.

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Quote:
Original post by Dreddnafious Maelstrom
Quote:
Original post by TyrianFin
...


Polygon soup culling and lod has been efficient and effective for the last 7 or 8 years really. Most brute force methods once impractical are pretty reasonable now. For a current gen engine I don't know that this is a true technological hurdle anymore.


Fast rendering of some old building blocks. (not finished)

Blocks

30+ different blocks are used in this image, but to make it work
in real time (30fps+) dynamic polygon soup creation would be neaded.
And to make things more complex, finnished models would nead unique texturing
30+ textures neaded (Atlas map can help). But wait there is more, becouse
there would be 3 LOD levels for each model, the total count of models & images
would be 30 x 3 = 90 models + 30 x 3 = 90 textures, now there is huge texture
Atlas and some LODed polygon soup isles generated on fly.

One thing witch can help is to make interiors of buildings own sectors, witch can`t be seen from outside.

But all in all it`s not so simple as it might look on first glace.

/Tyrian

[Edited by - TyrianFin on February 20, 2010 7:23:05 PM]

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Original post by TyrianFin
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Original post by Dreddnafious Maelstrom
Quote:
Original post by TyrianFin
...


Polygon soup culling and lod has been efficient and effective for the last 7 or 8 years really. Most brute force methods once impractical are pretty reasonable now. For a current gen engine I don't know that this is a true technological hurdle anymore.


Fast rendering of some old building blocks. (not finished)

30+ different blocks are used in this image, but to make it work
in real time (30fps+) dynamic polygon soup creation would be neaded.
And to make things more complex, finnished models would nead unique texturing
30+ textures neaded (Atlas map can help). But wait there is more, becouse
there would be 3 LOD levels for each model, the total count of models & images
would be 30 x 3 = 90 models + 30 x 3 = 90 textures, now there is huge texture
Atlas and some LODed polygon soup isles generated on fly.

One thing witch can help is to make interiors of buildings own sectors, witch can`t be seen from outside.

But all in all it`s not so simple as it might look on first glace.

/Tyrian


I'm not making light of the algorithms required to implement poly soup lod or culling I'm simply saying that with today's firepower it's no longer a technical advance to implement one. You can implement known solutions that are quite functional.

If by current gen you allow me DX11 and geometry shaders(which is likely still properly considered next gen) that should put the matter to bed fully.

If the challenge is to create a poly soup "in the wild" without any post processing then I can see the difficulty, but if you can take the new creation and push it into an adaptive binary or kd tree and procedural generate lod as a post-effect you'll net a render that is more efficient than what we used to get with old bsp formats and cards that couldn't grind out anywhere near the triangles.

I mean, it's easy for me to have an opinion on the subject because people smarter than I have already provided a variety of solutions. [smile]

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Its often not the rendering (though that might tax below median level game systems -- and MMORPGS do target lower that Single player games) so much as
having to send all the required update info thru the Internet pipe.

Depending on how far you go with details/complexity that can add up to alot of traffic (which usually stalls the game everytime you run withing high LOD range of these structures). Im not impressed with any game Ive seen with 'loading before the player gets close' mechanism (since it calls for pre-loading alot of data from the Server that may never be used -- even more load for the server network pipe...)

With the block system they had in the old UO (2D) people could do very imaginative things with their houses and it was actually interesting to go look at them. Unfortunately newer games like LOTRO have reverted to fixed house templates with way too few object lockdowns (and very limited ones at that). They are little more than trophy displays and a little extra shared inventory storage.

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