Areaportals vs. Hint Brushes Usage...

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Crimson, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Crimson

    Crimson L3: Member

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    I think I might be getting confused, but I am having a lot of problems with my map. I have read that optimization guide a few times now, and still have a lot of questions.

    I just made a test map to see what did what exactly, and from what I can tell, using an open portal works better than hint brushes. So far in my map all I have done is put some hint brushes in doorways and they really do not seem to be doing a lot. I am really not sure what face to put the hint on as there are two that are facing the player persay.

    What is the reason for using a hint brush instead of an open areaportal? I know that closed portals are used in doorways that have doors that open and close (tie them to a doorway) but open portals from what I have seen in my test map, and from what I have read seem to do what hint brushes do except better.

    From looking at the decompiled valve maps I really do not understand how hint brushes are supposed to be used, because they put them in about every open spot possible and I really cannot find any reasoning behind there placement.

    So if someone, for the love of god, can tell me how to use these, and when and where I would really appreciate it. My portalflow went from taking 20 seconds to about 15 minutes, and I am not sure why. Everything that could be func_detailed has been done, and it didn't do a damned thing for me.

    *I put this thread on the Steam Level Design Forum as well, but that forum seems to be more clueless people and less that actually know what they are talking about, so I am putting this here too in hopes I can actually optimize my map properly.*
     
  2. jakeparlay

    jakeparlay L2: Junior Member

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    you're absolutely right, the open areaportals do a fine job cutting down on vis in doorways and windows. hint brushes in doorways is probably a waste... not sure why it's done, tbh

    a better option with hints is to use them horizontally. use them to 'cap' areas off to prevent vis from reaching beyond buildings, etc. also, I smart bet on most levels is to run a massive horizontal hint brush about 128 units off the ground across the whole level. it's ok if it itersects brushes and the skybox. it will keep the visibility set nice and low to the ground, helping FPS

    in the example pic, cyan is areaportals and pinks are the horizontal hints
     
  3. ZargonX

    ZargonX L3: Member

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    You know, I was wondering the exact same thing. The horizontal explanation makes a lot of sense, so I'll have to give that a try!
     
  4. Wiebbe

    Wiebbe L1: Registered

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    As far as i know and use them, area portals are basicly used to cut the map into different parts. All parts have to be completely closed up. So when you are in Part A, and Part B is closed, you wont even see Part B.

    Hint portals though are used to "help" the compiler creating leafs. So in a way creating a hint portal in a doorway wont cause everything behind the door to NOT be rendered, it only helps the compiler to make sure the leaf STOPS at the doorway and not go all the way beyond it. (this can happen with very long brushes for example).

    This way you can be sure that if you are in the room with the door, the leaf with all the vis reaching beyond the door isnt the same one.

    So both have a very distict role and usage. You should always try to use both in a map ;)
     
  5. Crimson

    Crimson L3: Member

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    Do areaportals cut visleafs too? As in do I need to place hint brushes right next to an areaportal in some cases as well?
     
  6. jakeparlay

    jakeparlay L2: Junior Member

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    edit: dammit, i'm always wrong, lol
     
  7. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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  8. Wiebbe

    Wiebbe L1: Registered

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    Yep, they have to cut leafs. Each areaportal is basicly a sealed of part of the map. If it wouldnt cut off leaks it wouldnt be able to seal of a areaportal 100%.
     
  9. Vilepickle

    Vilepickle L7: Fancy Member

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    In general, I like to use areaportals in Source as much as I can. I'll do a huge pass with hints first, and then after that's done I can determine which of the "blocks" I want to turn into an areaportal. It's generally not the best idea to turn a large outdoor expanse into an areaportal, as you'll be enclosing it on all 4 sides and it can get messy. Using hints as "layers" like was said earlier is a good idea. Layers it horizonally, then lay them down vertically around nice block corners that you think might not be drawn at other points.

    Here's kind of a medium-ish open kind of area that you might want to employ areaportals and some hints into.