Background and details: HL2 vs other game engines.

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Belli, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Belli

    Belli L69: Deviant Member

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    Compared to other games, some things just don't seem to work quite as well with the hammer editor, and I wonder if there's some way to emulate the way other game engines do it.

    E.g., RAGE (GTA) seems to do the whole fading into background a lot smoother. The Unreal engine allows you to do way more with fog, for instance.(dustclouds just eat up performance and don't exactly look stellar either).

    Now, we've seen some clever workarounds, like adding custom textures or models to the skybox that look like "high quality" fog (or aurora borealis).

    do you have other examples or ideas which would accomplish a more "realistic" environment?
     
  2. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    Other engines are also pretty far ahead when it comes to lighting effects. Like, I don't know how it works, but Unreal games like BioShock were doing fancy stuff like phong shading on walls and floors way back in 2007. Source can't even handle it on props without disabling vertex lighting, for some reason.

    I'd love to learn more about how the underlying technology in different engines compares, and why they have the weird limitations they have. Like why Deus Ex, which came out in 2000, has real-time reflective floors but The Last of Us, which came out this year, still relies on cubemaps for about half of its water.
     
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  3. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Probably because cubemaps are less resource intensive and if they're a minor factor in terms of reflective materials it makes sense not to dedicate a massive portion of custom code to it.

    I'm pretty sure the main reason why HL3 isn't out yet is because of major engine revamps such as the lighting/shadow code. Leaked screenshots already demonstrate shadows rendered by detail props rendered through textures/materials. This is why L4D2 was released as a sequal and not an expansion. Too much of a significant difference in code as far as i'm aware.

    All of that said, Source/HL2 was released in 2004 which was nearly a decade ago. Do you know how much of a technology difference that is? I've gone through two commercial home systems since then; and Valve have gone through L4D, L4D2, Portal, Portal 2, TF2 and CS:GO.
     
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  4. Dr. Spud

    aa Dr. Spud Grossly Incandescent

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    As far as fog goes, adjust your env_fog_controller carefully and use particle effects for volumes of fog. Particle effects in Source are very powerful and you can build whatever kind of effect you want with them. Hammer entities like func_dustcloud are deprecated since Source's particle editor was added.

    Other than that, the bulk of how "realistic" your Source map is rests on the quality of your art assets. Look at some of the recent CS:GO maps being released, and you'll see some pretty nice graphics.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  5. re1wind

    aa re1wind

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    steve, that's partially to do with the limitations of the current console generation. real time reflections are resource-hogs for the ps3 and xbox. cubemaps are better in this case as they allow a significantly better performance-cost ratio, despite using 'outdated' technology.
     
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  6. Belli

    Belli L69: Deviant Member

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    Thanks.

    concerning "volumes of fog", I don't recall seeing something like this on the more common TF2 maps, besides the waterfall particles on sawmill, maybe. Would you happen to know some good examples for fog that's done this way?
     
  7. fubarFX

    aa fubarFX The "raw" in "nodraw"

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    check out koth_vanguard_event for a knee-high rolling fog particle. feel free to extract the particle file and have a look at it. the particle is not great, I kind of rushed it but I feel it's a decent example.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  8. Belli

    Belli L69: Deviant Member

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    Much appreciated, I'll check it out.