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Top down open world online RPG

Okay so I’ve been designing landscapes for what seems like years (1-2 months) and each time I get to the same point: To many components.

So I thought I had it figured out, but then it happened again: I get through the first ‘small village’ and after realizing foliage doesn’t have any collision (char was walking through the trees - hey I thought I was smart) I’m in the same position as last time: to many components. I’m wondering how people even design large maps for AAA games if I can’t even fill one 2k size map out…
Do I make the default landscape (maybe add some rockwalls/waterfalls,etc) and then somehow make each spot individual levels or something? I’ve tried to learn through tutorials and MMO huge landscape things but I can’t really find the precise info I’m looking for. I’ve just recently found the levels window, and was thinking I would make the landscape as the persistent level (so it always shows?) and then add in the towns, forests, fortresses etc that are needed but couldn’t seem to work it out (when making a new level it just seems to transfer to a new level?)

Anyway my heads hurting and this will be the 5th iteration of the world map so any help would be great. Thanks. PS: If you wanna small job level editing let me know!

Here is a good rundown on performance, including discussion on level streaming. Personally I do not make a level for each house, because then you end up with literally thousands of levels. But if there is enough content for a region, a special location, then why not Performance Optimization for Environments | Inside Unreal - YouTube

Okay, so there is level composition, which I tried around 4.16 and just didn’t like it. With level streaming I have one persistent level which is loaded after the lobby level, and inside this I place level streaming volumes, with the respective sub levels of the persistent level. Landscapes are also part of sub levels in my game, instead of one big one, I add a new landscape with a dedicated level, then use a landscape material which shares some materials to blend them better. Imho, this works very good. So watch the video, an start small, you can always add more smaller tiles with their respective levels. There is really no need to have one huge landscape.

Impostors, and allowing visualization from above. Also, a fallback for “merging” several maps together visually without using impostors.

It depends on what you do. If you try 12k tiles. (1km per tile, 110km^2 area) you just end up overloading the system with drawcalls.
you can cover the same area with larger maps. 8km^2 each (169 tiles approx) and gain tremendously on performance for impostors.

Overall, the default world composition system doesn’t really pair well with 1:1 areas and realistic eye view distance.

A viable working alternative is to have a very large mesh that covers the 11km at a total of vertex that is below the sum of the vertices of all the impostors.

1 draw call. Almost always rendered in the scene.

A performance hit to he sure, since its probably Double the cost of the tiles in terms of vertex count - possibly more. Depends on field of view setup/fustrum culling.
You can theoretically section the gigantic mesh off like you would any other sections to help with occlusion.

(My biggest problem is that even with 110km you are still missing areas that would be visible IRL to the eye)

Either way, there are situations where a large whole can be beneficial.

@OP
Sounds more likely that your pc/rig is limiting your creation process.

On a top down game you have a tremendous amount of room for optimization given you know how much/little of the world composition slices will be shown depending on camera setup.
however to actually make the game you likely still need 64gb of ram and 12+ of vram on the same gfx - sli doesn’t work for development.
Ofc, if you hit a limitation on that kind of specs, you need to definitely start to unload some levels…

Well I can’t really say my PC is limiting the creation process, the actual landscape tells me im at max components. I can still add more but I’m not sure what effect it’ll have in the actual game.
I guess I don’t understand how people have 2k/4k/14k landscapes yet have trees and rocks and towns added (there is probably 300 components in trees alone, not to mention inside houses and such).

My game is not that demanding. I’m replicating a game that was made back in 2000… models and such are not a big factor. Imagine a top down 2.5d game from the 90s… Thats essentially what I’m trying to make so saying that I’d need 64gig ram is just absurd IMO (I have 32 already). Surely there is something I’m missing. Thanks for the comments but I don’t really understand either of ya and that nearly 3hr video doesn’t seem to have much of what I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to make a 3rd person game that you can see for miles and mountains etc, so the demanding GFX doesn’t really play a role. I suppose creating individual levels is really where I’ll have to go.

World composition and several tiles.

Components per single map are limited depending on the landscape base size.