viernes, 8 de julio de 2011

Blue Resort in GoldenEye

Afeter Bomberman, Blue Resort will razed be by the GoldenEye crew.

Download the patch here
Blue Resort is one of the unkown level on teh Nintendo 64. Bomberman 64 is known by his excellent multiplayer but not for his main levels.
This map was my favourite because you could see both the first and third level at the same time, even if you couldn't reach those places. Contrary to other Bomberman64 worlds Blue Resort felt compact and familiar.

When I released Kakariko Village I started a list of more maps I wanted to convert. And Blue Resort was the first one I started working on.
At first it was only a matter of wonder: checking if the different parts of the level fit. I had some elements in mind that would improve navigation such as a bridge behind the tower or some stairs that connected the third level with the central area. I also wanted the tower to be a good sniping spot, although the original tower didn't have windows in it.

Compared to Kakariko this map was imposible to convert. It was bigger, had more polygons, all of it was and open area... I needed to get more experienced with the GoldenEye engine and the Editor before trying anything. Remember that Kakariko was my first port.

After one year and a half I went back to it. I started from scrath in January 2014. Little by little as a side project from Goldfiunger 64. I thought it would be ready for this blog's third anniversary (July 7th), but it was so complex that it got delayed several times.

I noticed that one of the stairs from the original game needed to be redone because it was incomplete, hidden by a wall (the one that connects the top floor with the central area). This addition seems unnatural because the stairs are splitted in three sections that do a full circle and breaks the flow of the map in that spot. But the was so little options there that I couldn't think of a better solution.

At the end of June I focused on the map in order to accomplish the desired relase date. And that's when all the issues came.

The map ran smoothly on emulators, but it was impossible to make it work for more than 3P and at a horrible framerate. I knew I need to split the level just like I did in the second version of Kakariko Village. SubDrag did the split just like that other time. But this time the level had so many polygons that there were a lot of blackouts. Splitting created a lot of redundant and small tris that could be removed, so I spend some days optimizing the poly count (I think it was almost 7,000 tris after cutting and I managed to reduce to something less than 6,000). But the blackouts, altough they improved, were still there.

So I started reducing polygons from the original model. Some surfaces could be optimized but I didn't want to get rid of some of the vertices because they would help later with the cool lighting. I also removed polygons that the players couldn't see and reduced the polycount of full level below 5,000 tris. Yet, some blackouts were still there. Although 4 players worked now.

The only solution was reducing the polycount in the rooms that didn't load. Some of them I splitted again thanks to new features SubDrag added in Editor during those days; and in other rooms I removed the cannons and replaced them with props (props only load when you see tham and not when the room is loaded).
Thanks to these changes and adjusting allocations and drawing distance point by point I was able to make the level work without blackouts at a decent framerate on console (well, similar to Kakariko).

Framerate for two players could be improved by reducing drawing distance even more, but then the tower would lose its purpose since you wouldn't be able to see anything from there.
For three players framerate is better than with two, but that's because you can't see very far. Four players get the worst from both.

Emulatores don't have these issues so I did another patch specifically for them. There you have solid and high framerate and the max drawing distance available. Polycounts doesn't seem to be an issue for emulators, although props seems to work worse than on console.

The map was finished the first week of August. Since more than a year had passed from the last release and Blue Resort wasn't as exciting as my other maps, I thought it should be accompanied with another level I had in the works: Holiday Island from Pilotwings 64.

The utilities I used were:
-'1964 v1.1' emulator and 'Nemu 64 graphics (combine debug)' graphic plugin in order to rip the geometry as VRML and textures as BMPs
-'3D Studio MAX R6' to merge the VRMLs and convert them to FBX.
-Autodesk FBX converter 2012 to convert the FBX to DXF (Autocad) and OBJ (for Deled)
-'AutoCAD 2004' to model clipping and add some parts to the map.
-'DeleD CE' to chop the level and export as OBJ.
-'Irfan View' to edit some textures.
-'GE Setup Editor' to edit the GoldenEye rom: adding textures to the rom, injecting the level, fix and colour textures, adding shadows and lights, edit the colision (clipping) and portals, put guns and spawn points, modify the skies settings, change the image and name of the map... and creating the patch.

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