Level creation and light map optimization.

After being sick for a week, lots of SCAD events, and dealing with many optimization pitfalls, I’ve been falling a little bit behind with my target blog activity. Let’s fix that! This post is from a few weeks ago:

First things first, we’ve been making more levels to experiment with. Our level designer, Adam Powell, has come up with a lot of more complex, interesting designs and we’ve been giving him a lot of feedback on them. While he’s been cranking them out, I went ahead and rebuilt one of the more simple examples that he gave me in Maya, because it struck us as interesting.

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Diagonal symmetry is something that is pretty common in the level designs of other RTS games, such as Starcraft. This is something we haven’t experimented with in any of our other levels, so I decided to throw it together in Unity and give it a whirl.

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We need to begin playtesting this level ASAP because I do believe it will lead to very interesting combat, between the bottlenecks and the non-linear pathways to get to the opponent. However, our priority has recently been focused on optimization… more on that in a future (much longer) blog post.

In addition to level creation, I revisited something I kind of set the values on and forgot about optimizing: light maps.

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Settings: Before

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Settings: After

After reading about how to properly utilize light maps, as well as researching how Shadowgun went about light mapping their mobile scenes, I significantly tweaked the light map settings.

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Performance: Before

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Performance: After

As you can see, the performance change wasn’t especially huge. However, it’s still an improvement, and any bit helps! The physical memory the light maps occupy went down quite nicely, as well. Because of that, our load time when switching platforms went down by a huge amount: a few seconds compared to upwards of 20-30 minutes. That definitely made the tweaks well worth my time and effort.

And yeah, about that Tri count in those Performance screenshots… consider that foreshadowing to one of my next posts.

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