Prop Fade Advice

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by MegapiemanPHD, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. MegapiemanPHD

    aa MegapiemanPHD Doctorate in Deliciousness

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    I'm working on optimizing a map I'm working on a bit by incorporating prop fading. This should make props fade and disappear depending upon how close a player gets to the prop but so far I can't get the props to actually fade out. Does anyone have any advice on what I should set the fade distance to?
     
  2. UKCS-Alias

    aa UKCS-Alias Mann vs Machine... or... Mapper vs Meta?

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    It depends on the area of the map and the ammount of props. Note that you both need a min and max for proper fading and that they should have a diffirent value. For example a min of 1000 and a max of 1200. If they are the same number they just dissapear.

    With low prop density you can often make it high enough that it will allways be visible. So in that case just take the max diagonal and set that to the min, add 100 and set that to the max.

    With high density it becomes important to decide which props matter. For example a contrete brick on which players can stand is a prop that should be visible at all times. However, any detail props that dont interact with players (or the view of players). Can have a fade distance that is the lenght of the combat distance + about 50%.

    Lets for example use a narrow corner area for that:
    [​IMG]

    The red prop since its behind a corner is only visible when very close. In this case you could just take the room width since its the longest distance you can be away from it and see it. and it doesnt require any fade effect. so a min of 512 and a max of 512 will do. The green prop might need a fade distance in this case that goes like 512-800.

    The blue prop however can be seen from quite a large distance. In this case its decided by the prop itself and its use. If its for example a primary spot for a sentry it should not fade at all.
    However, if its a prop that is only there on the floor and doesnt interact with players (haystack) then a distance of 800-1000 probably already will do. Its hidden far enough so most players might not notice it fading. However, if it also blocks the view then it again should be visible from the max distance a player can see it (so a sniper cant see through it when unscoped).

    Any other props that might be hidden outside this block again can do with a fade distance of 800-1000, unless the prop is large. 1200-1800 might be safer then so people notice it less (giving it a long fade duration when people walk in)

    Its in the end going to be trial and error. Personaly i prefer to set most props to 1800-2000 and only change them when i think that they are fine to be hidden earlier. or are key props and should allways be visible.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  3. Lampenpam

    aa Lampenpam

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    When I want a prop to fade out after the longest possible line-of-sight I like to set the Start Fade distance to -1 and the End fade disttance to the value I want. So the prop dosn't fade out, but instantly disappears.
    I do this because I hope it dosn't put alpha on the prop which might save minimal performance.
     
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  4. UKCS-Alias

    aa UKCS-Alias Mann vs Machine... or... Mapper vs Meta?

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    -1 just mimics the min distance to be the same value as the max distance. So on that it doesnt realy matter but its probably easier. Just like a end fade distance of 0 never makes it fade as if it mimics a max distance of the longest diagonal of your map.

    Only make it pop in when you are entirely sure that people are never going to be spotting it. Sometimes you forget that people can reach a longer diagonal by rocket jumping (as its not juts the X and Y axis you need to use for the diagonal, you also need Z).

    I however am still carefull at making them pop in. Even if props are outside of the view, its shadow might not be. And im not sure, but i think the shadow in that case also fades. Even though shadows on props should be off its a common thing to forget.

    It might be less good for your FPS... But ever since they didnt care about decent lod levels for weapons (5000 polys on a weapon that only shows as 1000 pixels at 100x10 which isnt a strange scale at a long distance) a fade distance is something that is the least of your problems. Safety for good looks is often more important to me.

    Dont go over the top on optimizing. The payoff is often too small to be worth it. Especialy when many hats, miscs and weapons arent even optimized decently. Having a max render distance is fine, but to even check if props need a fade out or not is going to be too much effort.
     
  5. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    Only dynamic props have shadows that fade.
     
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  6. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    Also you'd be amazed at how many props visibly fade in Valve maps. It all depends on how prominent they are.
     
  7. sevin

    aa sevin

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    This nodraw article on Goldrush's detailing has some good prop fade stuff. Crash is right, there's a section YM highlights in there where there is some clearly visible fading going on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  8. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    Helltower actually fades the props in the spawn room while you're within viewing distance of them (assuming the door is open). Probably regular Hightower does too. And if there was ever a time when framerate probably doesn't matter, it's when you're close to spawn. Valve is insanely meticulous with their map optimization, even if they refuse to turn down cosmetics just because the modeler couldn't be assed to do their job.
     
  9. UKCS-Alias

    aa UKCS-Alias Mann vs Machine... or... Mapper vs Meta?

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    Its again based on the positioning. Inside spawnrooms people often wont notice it since either they are walking away so cant see it to begin with, or are focussed on the resupply locker. And everything else is usualy ignored.

    Still, in the normal map they set the fade distances alot further away. Its still clearly visible, but usualy its outside your focus point (a window in the back might have a fade distance of 1000 while the area is 2000 in width). If the window doesnt get any focus at all people wont notice the empty wall it unless they are near it.

    Respawnrooms are often overdetailed with props aswel. This is usualy a place that tells a story and should be detailed to match the story. Again a reason for short fade distances as once you are on the battlefield it shouldnt be harming your fps.
     
  10. henke37

    aa henke37

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    Do note that the PVS system forcibly hides props that are outside of PVS, so get your visleafs right. A prop that isn't even considered is cheaper than a fading prop.