A good file size for maps

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Pyroguy, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Pyroguy

    Pyroguy L1: Registered

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    I feel like one aspect of mapping that doesn't get touched much is usability. To be even more specific, file size. So, I would like to discuss what sort of file size mappers should shoot for.

    Players that don't regularly play on custom map servers usually will not have a custom map when joining. As a server admin, having them wait for a really long download is not a fun thing to do. So, for me, it really breaks down to download time. Players shouldn't have to wait more than the time it takes to have a quick bathroom break and grab a drink and a quick snack (which is what most people do while switching maps anyways). So, my rule of thumb is two minutes.

    So, we have the length of time. But now we need to translate that to file size using bit rates. Depending on hosts and internet connections, this can vary greatly. For someone at a University or next to a data center on a backbone rocking T1, this can be even a gigabit per second. With one of these connections, you could share a 40 megabyte map in a few seconds. However, targeting the lowest denominator (basic DSL and/or basic Cable), and keeping in mind the limits of most fast download providers, I will say 100 kilobytes per second (800 kilobits per second, or roughly 1 megabit per second, which is what you will see the telecoms advertise).

    So, 120 seconds (two minutes) times 100 kilobytes per second (our base connection speed) gives us 12000 kilobytes, which is 12 megabytes. This is a lot smaller than I have seen most map releases. What do people think about this?
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  2. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    On my server we consider maps under 40MB (uncompressed) to be small. Running maps over 60MB (uncompressed) usually runs into trouble.
     
  3. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

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    It is my opinion that people are too picky about filesize. Times change, technology advances, file sizes increase, deal with it.
    What I think most people who don't like waiting for a map to download fail to realize is that these 10-20 meg maps are too small and they are entrenched in the games of the past.

    [​IMG]

    Twelve maps 50-75 MB, and that is just the map data, without any content within the BSP. So when someone tries to claim, say... Meridian, is "too big" at 90 MB when it's nearly 100% custom resources... I'd slap them if I could.

    Most maps that approach valve file size are going have had a lot of effort and time put into them and will probably look amazing. That alone should be enough to be worth the time. On top of that, when someone puts so much work into a map, they'll probably have taken the time to make sure it plays good.

    Personally I think that people who don't want to wait for 50MB+ map to download probably aren't the kind of people I'd want to play with (impatient, annoying, in it for the m4d sk1llz, etc).

    In a time when so many people through around hundreds of megabytes downloading/watching video data (or even gigabytes if they pirate games/movies), I think it is laughable for any Source engine map to be claimed as "too big".

    Summary: the people in question need to get with the times.
     
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  4. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    A quality map will be large. A large map isn't necessarily a quality map though. If you have a quality map and the BSP ends up being 50, 60, or even 70 or more MB, there's no reason to think you did something wrong. Don't limit yourself. You want your map to be the best it can possibly be. Yes, you want servers to play it, and servers will play quality maps unless they have a silly filesize limit, which is their own problem, they'll be stuck without quality customs by their own doing.

    With expert full lighting settings, your map is going to be large no matter what you do, but more importantly, it'll be beautiful.
     
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  5. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    As a server runner, unless you have a community of regulars to help keep your population up, running "large" maps is most likely suicide and a waste of money.

    As a mapper, Dunno. Depends why you decided to map in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  6. Pyroguy

    Pyroguy L1: Registered

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    It's just a simple fact that (compressed in the delivery package, so, the final .bz2) if your map is more than 12 megabytes, it will take longer than two minutes for people with normal high speed internet plans to download them (and that is under optimal conditions). As a server admin, I think that is too long, and I will not host those maps.

    As you pointed out, every Valve map is over 12 megabytes. They have very high quality light maps, and so if you want to release a similar quality light map, your map will almost unquestionably break this limit. However, with proper optimization and a light map scale increase of just two fold, you can take 40 megabytes of lighting data down to 10 megabytes. I regularly map on 64 units per pixel, and add finer detail if it is needed.

    So I guess the question is, will people be willing to release lower quality lightmaps and put some extra effort into optimization in order to get their maps around any sort of limit? This way the general population can enjoy custom maps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  7. eerieone

    aa eerieone

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    my sizelimit is around 100-110mb, more than that and people need to wait too long for downloading
    waiting too long is surely an annoyance, and with too big filesizes the server population will drop dramatically on mapchange

    that said, the crowd always wants new and fresh content, great visual and matured maps, catering to that, filesizes will explode due to custom content, but thats a thing they will have to live with...
    and i think, once they waited through a download and see a great map, all is forgiven and they learned a valueable lesson

    so, donĀ“t limit yourself too much, rather learn the techniques to keep filesizes down
    -custom vtf quality
    -lightmaps
    ...
     
  8. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Nothing smaller than 100mb isn't worth considering
    :thumbup1: ;)
     
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  9. Gaw

    Gaw L4: Comfortable Member

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    If a map was above about 80mb, I wouldn't bother downloading it at all, it's about my limit.

    However, I feel imo I have different limits for different map types usually.

    If it was a rich, great map similar to Valve's maps like Cashworks or Premuda (thanks for the sig eerieone :p) then yes, I would think 80mb and maybe a bit larger is acceptable.

    If it was an odd very custom map (The likes of FPSB) like.. balloon race or a mariokart or something, I would limit it considerably lower, closer to around 20mb.
     
  10. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    Waste has pretty poor lightmaps, but nobody notices :O

    45MB Including custom models and textures
     
  11. DJive

    aa DJive Cake or Death?

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    i personally play for fun and to really enjoy what the community can do as far as mapping.

    To me i would much rather play a 80mb map with OK gameplay then a 15mb map was GREAT gameplay.....


    Im not a player im a mapper =p it shows heh
     
  12. An Icy Mouse

    aa An Icy Mouse

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    Or nobody cares to tell you.. ;)
     
  13. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    I thought I made it quite clear that Waste's final release was horrible. :(
     
  14. Open Blade

    Open Blade L7: Fancy Member

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    Size is relative, it always has been. There are some fine maps that have smaller sizes. And you can't be too sure the true size of a map anyway because sometimes designers save over their previously used cubemaps which increases the size. Doesn't make the map any better just because it's larger then it needs to be.