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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 22
03-26-2011, 11:08 AM
Alex, we all know how much you love the Promie, and how much many of the others here love the connie, but it's getting to the point of ridiculousness. By now the devs must be painfully aware of what people have said ad nauseum about a tier 5 constitution, and we don't need to hijack any more threads about it.

Incidentally, there was just a post that covers this issue (limited size of the decks)

Originally Posted by jheinig View Post
This is harder than you think, for a few reasons.

First, the fixed doors (ones that don't open) are a specific piece of map geometry that doesn't open, period. We would have to make it possible for you to replace those with opening doors and then add new geometry and map areas behind them. Not necessarily impossible, but this opens the door (pun intended) to lots of problem maps -- if builders can place their own geometry freely, it raises the spectre of mission maps that have big gaps, geometry holes, failed connections, and places to get stuck -- and that would be a bad thing.

Second, every map takes a certain amount of memory to load. Add too many rooms and too many items and the map just becomes too large to load efficiently. Thus, maps are not infinitely expandable. Remember the desert map from "Coliseum"? The size of that map actually caused us some nervous moments over memory management. Detailing an entire starship with every room per the blueprints would potentially be a memory-hogging nightmare. You might be able to get away with it by making every deck a separate map, but it would still be cutting it close.

Third, draw distance! Ever wonder why those hallways in SB39 and K-7 are curvy when you're just going straight from one room to another? It's because long draw distances cause performance problems. In general with interiors you want to force shorter draw distances and use a limited number of rooms so that you don't have to worry about portals and redraw. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't sweat it, just realize that when you have many rooms, the computer has to do a lot of computations to figure out what parts to draw and what parts to skip.) Fortunately for us, many of the hallways in Star Trek are curved already, or short, because they were built for sets and in their limited space the set designers couldn't have really long hallways. If a blueprint calls for a long, straight access hall, though, or a location with a long view and a lot of windows or side rooms, this can cause issues with the drawing speed, which translates to bad framerates, which makes gameplay suffer. (This is an issue for pretty much any game that draws in 3D; you have to use various tricks if you want to get around this, usually by setting up your maps in very specific, custom ways.)

So . . . very hard. I won't say impossible, but hard. You may be better served by trying to use transition points (doors) that lead to other map sections for various parts of the ship, and leaving out areas that you don't plan to use for a story purpose. (Consider it the dramatic variation of Occam's Razor, "Do not multiply entities beyond necessity.")

I will be interested to see where this goes, though, because dedicated fans are a creative lot who like to find clever ways around the usual engine limitations, and perhaps someone will pleasantly surprise us with an interestingly-detailed interior ship kit once the Foundry is fully operational.
To sum up - yeah, they know it isn't as big, but computation issues are always present in a 3D game environment and performance has to be higher priority than large spaces.