How Many Cubemaps Do I Need?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Pianodan, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Pianodan

    Pianodan L3: Member

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    I've been reading through the tutorials and discussions about cubemaps, and I think I've got the general idea. It's important to place them near shiny things and areas with changes of lighting.

    But what about outdoor sections with no water? How close together should I place them? I guess what I'm looking for is a rule of thumb on how many cubemaps to expect to place on a reasonably sized map.

    As an example, how many cubemaps would you expect to see on something the size of, say, the first stage of Goldrush?
     
  2. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    The rule of thumb is: One in every area of contrasting visual difference and more near highly reflective objects like glass

    no one can tell you how many you should have but don't go overboard, each one increases filesize as well as processing cost to render the map.
     
  3. kwagner

    kwagner L2: Junior Member

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    Is there a way of specifying what areas are covered by a particular cubemap? Or is it just a 'closest cubemap' sort of thing?
     
  4. HojoTheGreat

    HojoTheGreat L5: Dapper Member

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    You cannot specify an entire for a cubemap, however you CAN specify what brushfaces using reflective textures will use a cubemap for their reflections.

    For example, if you're using a reflective texture for your floor, but the floor is made up of multiple brushes, thus causing odd separations in the reflections (it looks like there is a seam between the different brushes), you can open the cubemap properties, select Brush Faces and while holding Ctrl, select all of the faces of the floor you want to reflect the same .
     
  5. Pianodan

    Pianodan L3: Member

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    I understand that every map is different, but can you give me an order of magnitude? Would the first stage of Goldrush be more likely to have 5 cubemaps, 100, or 1,000?
     
  6. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

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  7. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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  8. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

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    Oh? I wasn't aware of that... I never actually looked for them.

    edit: err... no. The decompile is correct. I just looked at the cubemap materials packed into the BSP and the number of them matches the env_cubemaps in the decompiled VMF. (fifteen)
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  9. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

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    I would've thought one stage of goldrush would have more than 4. Maybe I'm overdoing it. D:

    It would be cool to hear peoples opinions on it though. We all know the general rules of thumb and the make sense as far as that goes.

    But I'm more curious about peoples thoughts in game.

    1st, there are very few times when you actually notice cubemaps effects in game. In fact, I'd almost dare to say that in-game I NEVER NOTICE cubemaps.
    Mainly the snipers scope shows them up boldly, so I'm sure people who snipe alot appreciate them. The Demo's bottle shows them, but it's more of an abstract angle and texture than the scope lens is, so you don't get an accurate pic like the lens has.
    Shiny floors show them well (large flat surface).
    Chrome, although a general cubemap nearby seems fine.
    Glass, but being transparent, having wires in it, seeing things behind it diminish the returns.

    2nd, it makes file size larger (and can make build time slightly longer-not a concern). And for something that might hardly be noticed if at all.

    So from a players perspective mainly (of course mappers are conflicted between making map look great and DL times which can make new players wary of a map) what do you think is best.

    a- a cubemap at every possible light/dark change (this could be one small room/hallway) and near every shiny object.

    b-minimal Valve approach by placing cubemaps at what I assume are only the most major changes in scenery.
    (I imagine goldrush has them at:1 start area, 2 end area, and the other two somewhere in between).
    --------------
    I've probably got 10-12 in arena_hoover. Great when running around as a sniper looking at my rifle, but I can't say I've really noticed at any other time.
     
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  10. medd

    medd L2: Junior Member

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    Have you ever checked out how many cubemaps Valve used for 2fort? In rooms/hallways surrounding the intel points, there are like 15 cubemaps, heavily tied to various brushes.