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Burning Sands - A journey of learning and optimisation
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Posted 2011-04-06 at 22:36 by Rudd

Hi all, thought I'd let you know about what I've been working on aside from helping community mappers and messing with maps currently in the build.

Burning Sands unfortunately had alot of issues that didn't crop up during testing, however thanks to both friends and fellow gamers I've had a large number of reports identifying the problems.

Burning Sands suffered from:

[B]Memory CTDs[/B]

- Too many lightmap files
- Too many textures/texture pallets being loaded for objects
[URL=""]- Problem statics[/URL]

[B]Performance issues especially in the city[/B]

- Too may enterable buildings or high poly buildings close together
- Memory taken up in loading the map in the first place

Other bugs e.g. Combat areas in layer 64 had become messed up.

I'm confident this is all fixed and will be released with the next release, which will be done when its done. :D



She's still big and pretty despite my optimisations.

Heres a list of some the changes

Removed pavements (that was about 2000 objects, all had been lightmapped, so thats over 2000 textures not loaded, huzzah!)
Removed problem statics e.g. iraqi low apartments.
Optimised Lightmaps in both resolution and in selection of objects (was [B]55 [/B]atlases, now only 15!
Optimised terrain Lightmaps by decreasing resolution of FINAL LMs to 50% (note this achieves better quality and avoids offsetting colormaps than simply LMing on medium)
Replaced alot of enterable buildings with non-enterables/more optimised versions. This might sound bad to some people, but honestly I think spreading out the enterables will be good for both performance and gameplay. (muttrah being a prime example of this)
Removed a good number of destructable objects
created several more open spaces in the city (both for gamplay and FPS)
Removed alot of rocks (LOD issues)
Removed alot of mid east village statics
Lowered VD by 50m

These changes mean that alot more RAM is freed up during loading than before and also the FPS will be higher since theres fewer polys to render in the city, without sacrificing gameplay.

Also, for those of you who played the last public beta test - I've fixed the CTD on low terrain bug :) HUZZAH!

Gamplay changes

Asset and balance tweaks
Now all assets spawn in main base even at the start, exception is two MEC vehicles in the military base. This will prevent confusion.
AASv4 implemented

For you budding young mappers out there, remember all because it runs at 100FPS on your computer on local doesn't mean it'll behave like that on a public server. Optimisation is key!

Never use 3 objects where one will do, never use 3 kinds of objects when one kind will do.
Space out your enterables
Be selective with your lightmaps

I hope you enjoyed this humble blog, and I hope it reaffirms your belief that optimisation and fixing problems is at the fore of our minds.

Live Long and Prosper
Updated 2011-04-06 at 23:35 by Rudd
Views: 72934 | Comments: 25

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Total Comments: 25
  1. Old Comment
    Redamare's Avatar
    good work fixing those issues ... ive only played on this map a hand full of times so i didnt notice any of the issues but thats not to say that i dont Believe it :P . . . theres always going to be bug fixes with maps for PR BF2 its just the nature of the beast
    Posted 2011-04-07 at 13:38 by Redamare Redamare is offline
  2. Old Comment
    did you just imply that crashing on load didnt crop up in testing?
    cuz thats a pretty hard thing to skip.

    anyway i like the map it doesnt get boring
    Posted 2011-04-07 at 16:47 by karambaitos karambaitos is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Nice, maby I can get more that 10 FPS in the city now
    Posted 2011-04-07 at 22:27 by Gozjh Gozjh is offline
  4. Old Comment
    thanks rudd keep it up!
    Posted 2011-04-08 at 01:49 by Absolute Killer Absolute Killer is offline
  5. Old Comment
    First time I saw Burining Sands i thought it will be the next Kashan esert with a Muttrah city inside... Now it's playble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Posted 2011-04-08 at 05:21 by Nakata Nakata is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Dr Rank's Avatar
    Awesome work Rudd, looking forward to playing on the fixed up version
    Posted 2011-04-08 at 07:23 by Dr Rank Dr Rank is offline
  7. Old Comment
    AnimalMother.'s Avatar
    can't wait for this to be played, one of the saddest parts about 957 is that burning sands is never played such an awesome map

    this map + 128 players on AASv4 is going to be immense
    Posted 2011-04-08 at 19:29 by AnimalMother. AnimalMother. is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Very very nice map! This city reminds me of pictures I've seen of Syrian cities or other countries around! Good luck ;-)
    Also, is it really possible irl to have houses and then suddently desert, I mean, no bushes or some trees or gardens between them?
    Posted 2011-04-09 at 17:23 by
  9. Old Comment
    echo's Avatar
    I'm glad this is being worked on.

    I crashed 5 times on Burning Sands today and in the end the game ended. I could play for a good 5-10 minutes, but eventually I'd crash.

    It is a good fun map when I can play it without FPS slow downs and CTD's, so hopefully this will fix the issue!
    Posted 2011-04-10 at 05:41 by echo echo is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Rudd's Avatar
    Originally Posted by 162eRI View Comment
    Very very nice map! This city reminds me of pictures I've seen of Syrian cities or other countries around! Good luck
    Also, is it really possible irl to have houses and then suddently desert, I mean, no bushes or some trees or gardens between them?

    its pretty hard to get the balance right on that point, However look on google earth for a town called arar in an area called al muthana Saudi arabia, that was my first inspiration.

    Originally Posted by Snazz View Comment
    Could the sidewalks/pavement be optimized for future use?
    the sidewalks themselves are pretty good, they waste some UV space but otherwise are not heavy models. The problem is that I used them everwhere, 3000 sidewalks aren the problem, 3000 lightmap files are. The pavements also Zfought quite a bit so its not hugely bad.

    Basically, the sidewalks are fine, just don't use them everywhere, or use them in places where they won't require lightmapping.
    Posted 2011-04-10 at 17:36 by Rudd Rudd is offline

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