Lighten up on the FOG Tables and use of particles



  • While I realise that fog adds some atmosphere to the maps the problem is that it is everywhere and simply far too think. I was, as usual testing things in the UDK engine after creating a gmae and I found this little jem: SHOW FOG.

    What SHOW FOG does is turn off/on all fog tables. There is a dramatic difference in how the game looks and shows just how overboard the use of fog tables are in this game. I only grabbed one screen shot but I wanted to show you how dramatic the natural atmosphere from the skybox and lighting looks without the blueish fog being everywhere.

    While I have been looking for ways to lower the level or remove the fog table for better perfomance and visibility by using INI tweaks, this was the only method thus far. Sadly it does not work for online play. But look at how dramatic the environment can look without the fog and using just the skybox and Dynamic lighting.

    Now imagine if the devs actually did this on every map using the fog tables very sparingly….

    As far as the particles go, again it seems far too many uses and having far too much going on. Granted this is personal preference but the reality is that it can kill FPS on some maps with lots of fire and smoke. Add to this the overbearing fog table on most maps and you have a FPS killer.

    Keep in mind that this pic is still with much of the fancy stuff turned off and textures tweaked to low levels. It still looks great and omonious.



  • Nice! Hopefully that can help my FPS. I already have everything on low, but still get ~40 fps in some situations. Not a bad PC =/



  • Huh. Yeah the fog on battlegrounds is frustrating for sure. I guess other archers already use this trick because they can see me from like 3km away.



  • Doesn’t work online, dudeface.



  • Doesn’t work online, dudeface.



  • Doesn’t wor… ah fec beat me to it :P

    I tried uploading a shot with max graphics to show, but my ISP hates me so no dice ATM. It’s certainly different.



  • My point was to show how natural atmosphere can be achieved just through the skybox and good lighting. Fog tends to be an fps hog and when most all of the maps use large fog tables it just kills the visibility, adds weird color tints to the game when the natural beauty of proper lighting can really make up for some pretty dramatic scenery. The difference with and with out fog is amaizing.



  • I might actualy play battlegrounds if they’d remove that fog or atleast offer the option.

    I’ve said it during alpha and I will say it again. The fog is horrible and doesn’t add to the “atmosphere” or gloomy feeling. Its just annoying and hinders you while playing.



  • Was just checking this out, and it would be sweet if there was an option to turn the fog off.



  • Nice, un-banned and re-manned, back to making good posts. REMOVE FOG!!!

    Now, if we can get Heater shield for Knight. You put it into DW. The Knight in DW has a heater. PUT IT IN MW ALREADY!



  • I like the fog? Hiding as maa or archer…. :D stealthy chivalrous battle!!! :P



  • From making Neuschwanstein I would like to share my Fog experience. For my map at least FPS would be a lot lot worse without the fog. The fog allows me to control and fade the distance. Because I can do this, I need less tree and less detail in those far off place. And trees are very very expensive for FPS, especially the pretty ones!!! So I had to make my fog a little thicker than i originally liked, to provide less but still reasonable distance detail - its a judgement call and compromise at the end of the day, like many things in putting a map together.

    I guess on maps that are closed by walls, like arena then the only reason for fog is atmosphere and aesthetics i guess.

    As for the colour of the fog, well this can be changed by the level designer, as well as many aspects of it, such as how much it fades from the ground upwards and the level it starts at etc… (and no i am not going to change colour to the american spelling)



  • @MassiveChaos:

    From making Neuschwanstein I would like to share my Fog experience. For my map at least FPS would be a lot lot worse without the fog. The fog allows me to control and fade the distance. Because I can do this, I need less tree and less detail in those far off place. And trees are very very expensive for FPS, especially the pretty ones!!! So I had to make my fog a little thicker than i originally liked, to provide less but still reasonable distance detail - its a judgement call and compromise at the end of the day, like many things in putting a map together.

    I guess on maps that are closed by walls, like arena then the only reason for fog is atmosphere and aesthetics i guess.

    As for the colour of the fog, well this can be changed by the level designer, as well as many aspects of it, such as how much it fades from the ground upwards and the level it starts at etc… (and no i am not going to change colour to the american spelling)

    This is a good summary here. It is a balancing act of getting the map to look and run good. Without fog, It would become much more obvious when meshes are switching between the different level of detail models. Fog also exists to add depth and contrast. The distance objects in the shot Retsnom posted have no depth, and appear flat from a distance. Granted much of this is up to personal taste, but we are happy with were the maps are at visually with fog.

    http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/HeightFog.html



  • @MassiveChaos:

    From making Neuschwanstein I would like to share my Fog experience. For my map at least FPS would be a lot lot worse without the fog. The fog allows me to control and fade the distance. Because I can do this, I need less tree and less detail in those far off place. And trees are very very expensive for FPS, especially the pretty ones!!! So I had to make my fog a little thicker than i originally liked, to provide less but still reasonable distance detail - its a judgement call and compromise at the end of the day, like many things in putting a map together.

    I guess on maps that are closed by walls, like arena then the only reason for fog is atmosphere and aesthetics i guess.

    As for the colour of the fog, well this can be changed by the level designer, as well as many aspects of it, such as how much it fades from the ground upwards and the level it starts at etc… (and no i am not going to change colour to the american spelling)

    @Andrew:

    This is a good summary here. It is a balancing act of getting the map to look and run good. Without fog, It would become much more obvious when meshes are switching between the different level of detail models. Fog also exists to add depth and contrast. The distance objects in the shot Retsnom posted have no depth, and appear flat from a distance. Granted much of this is up to personal taste, but we are happy with were the maps are at visually with fog.

    http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/HeightFog.html

    Yes I understand fog tables and how it can effect FPS both positive and negative as I have quite a few years in map design in the HL2 engine and been toying with the SDK. I also agree it can be a balancing act. But my point was to show how visually dynamic and dramatic maps can just on skybox and proper lighting. One of the problems with the fog tables in Chiv, specially on Battlegrounds is the density and color hue. For those of us that have to turn down many of the graphics the color and fog is over bearing as I have shown in this post.

    http://forums.tornbanner.com/showthread.php/16353-Needed-low-game-settings-fog-fix-PIC?highlight=remove

    As you can clearly see that both the color hue and density are just way too high for lower settings dramatically cutting down on visibility and diminishing the environment. In my OP in this thread, the field is dramatically beautiful with omanious clouds rolling in and the sun brightening up the castle. As I said not all graphic options were at full so it might look a little flat but I disagree.

    Now if you look at one of the best maps made for Chiv, the custom map AOC_CaveHideout, the map is designed so well that there are no massive open areas for killing FPS and the fog table is toned down dramatically. In my opinion, it is one of the best designed map with the exception of the TO version which could be improved with time.

    The default maps for Chiv were not really built with streaming in map sections. Most maps are just too big, linear and open like Shitadel. The use of terrain is to cut off other aspects of the map to optimize FPS is virtually non existent. Compare the current maps to AOC’s The Shore and StoneHill where the battle areas were distinctly cut off from each other with the use of cave and mountain ranges. Instead the broad over use of the color and density fog table in the larger maps, specially battlegrounds is more distracting than it is enhancing. Being able to turn down the fog with in an acceptable range would be better than an ON/OFF toggle.

    In the case of MassiveChaos’ Neuschwanstein, the map is huge to begin with and needs some serious trimming in the boundary mountains. The use of fogvolume to have localized fog effects or the feature can also be faked by using sheets of unlit translucency and special materials would do wonders for that map. Even if you did a low level fog just below the castle mountain could have been a good use without killing the FPS.



  • So I was going to write - my fog isnt’s having localized fog effects on my castle!!! but it is - lol - in my last trimming of outlieing trees and increase in fog to cover the distance, it obviously had this effect - so expect a re-calibration of fog in the next release. I am always willing to learn and I think feedback is always a good thing…. I did want a crisp early to mid morning look for the castle so this will help - thanks - I think that was 1 of your two points - the aesthetic one.

    On the FPS side - Retsnom - please appreciate that I have spent days, trimming and making this map more efficient for fps and file size. I have recently moved off a low spec machine so I know the pains of playing chivalry on one. I had to heavily modify the config files just to get an FPS decent enough to play on.

    I don’t really understand the other technique for fog you mentioned, this is just a hobby for me and i’m certainly not an expert in all these techniques. However I do investigate the performance impacts some what. I understood that translucency shaders are quite heavy fps wise and it would be interesting to know what the fps difference would be swapping fog volumes for these would be. Interestingly have you done a measurement of the difference of FPS with and without fog volumes? what were the results?

    The mountains - ok - i don’t believe these add significant fps, based on my understanding (always willing to be enlightened though) this is because I use just 2 different mountain meshes, at different sizes and angles and i think it is highly efficient for the engine to stream in additional copies of a mesh - they are also optimized for collision, lightmap etc. etc. I added more 1/ cos i think it looks good, 2/ I am modelling a real place and this is close to how it looks and 3/ i thought they were almost free in FPS terms ???



  • I didnt mean to rip on your map as I have tried in the past to give you some pointers. As I said before that doing that map would be a real challenge on many levels and quite ambitious for a first UDK map. You have done an amaizing job on it. What I was suggeting is to keep the main mountain with the castel as much like the real life version but use the surrounding ones more of a map boundry as many players will not even know the difference and it could really help with the optimization of the map.

    The last time I was on it, I ventured miles away from it so all that terrain was really unnecessary as there are visual tricks to make distance appear further without the expense through forced perspcetive. That is a grahic design technique that I wish more game designers used. You will have to play with swaping fov volumes for translucent sheets to see if they would be of better use. There are some info on it here: http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/VolumetricLightingGuide.html

    But yes fog volume is map wide and effects are everywhere. IT is the density, color and a few other settting that can really make or break a map.



  • @Retsnom:

    The last time I was on it, I ventured miles away from it .

    Thanks Retsnom - yeah the map has moved on quite a bit - you can’t go wanding about like that now - i’ll have a look at that link….


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