Saturday, 23 July 2016

My Favourite UT4 Maps

Unreal Tournament 4 already has a large number of custom maps, remakes and ports out there. These are my top 3 personal favourite maps to play in UT4.

DM-Broken - by ConradJustin

"This is my shield, I dare you to try taking it from me!"

This one really stands out from the crowd. It looks good, plays great and seems to be made up entirely of custom content made specifically for the map.

Broken is a fairly large map with plenty of vertical action. Lots of ramps, stairs, elevated platforms and walkways, a few lifts and several well placed jumpads. It has good connectivity and sightlines without being over connected or having overpowered sniper camping spots. There are plenty of chokepoints and strong defensive positions for more strategic play. Most of the combat happens at short to medium range, there aren't a whole lot of really long sight lines.

Overall weapon and item placement is very good too though one thing I don't care for is the stream with a keg and a bunch of health vials all lined up. IMO that's just too much over health to have all in the same area.

I really like the shield area. The upper platforms around the shield are a great camping spot but not so great nobody can knock you out of there (especially not if they gang up on you). It works out to a sort of king of the hill style game. Sure it's a strong spot to hold, but if you're up there you aren't getting much overhealth, armor and probably not the jumpboots or anything else either, all of which make a successful counterattack more likely.

I really like playing this map King of the Hill style, controlling the shield, the area around / below it and daring anyone to try taking it away from me.

Not wishing to give anything away, but let's just say it's well worth your time to search every nook and cranny looking for hidden secrets.

DM-Nitro - by me

You might think I'm biased with this choice since I remade Nitro for UT4. It's not that I like Nitro so much because I remade it, just the opposite, I remade Nitro because I like it so much.

The map is appropriately scaled up (2.5 times larger), with proper UT4 lighting, materials and reflection environment. It's mostly meshed now, though a lot of the large floor, wall and ceiling surfaces are still BSP.

Layout is the same as in the original, item placement is mostly the same with a few changes and additions to address the problem with one side of the map being so much stronger than the other.

Whether the game is DM, TDM or Duel, it plays great in UT4.

DM-CurseII - by MetalFist

An old favourite from UT99 this one's more of a port than a remake, appropriately scaled up by the same 2.5x factor but still using the old UT99 textures.

Other than not having a Ripper, layout and item placement are identical to the original. Gameplay is about as good as it gets, it plays great!

Curse was never one of my favourites in UT99 but it certainly is now in UT4. I love playing it now, maybe that's because I'm more of a shock ho now than I used to be and the top of Curse is a great place for shock ho'ing.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Lightmass Swarm Farm Growing

I picked up a used Dell Optiplex 790 SFF for $140 CDN to add to my UT4 Lightmass farm today.

The machine came with an i5 2400, 4G of RAM (2x2G) and a 360G HDD. I added a another set of 2x2G RAM I had lying around to give it 8G total RAM. That's probably overkill, 1G per core or 4G in total should be plenty but since I already had the RAM anyhow, better safe than sorry.

That gives me a 3rd machine with a little over 6100  passmark performance test cpu benchmark score to add to 6300 from my i5 4690 main computer (the main machine actually scores 8400 on all 4 cores but only uses 3 cores to build lighting, so 8400 x 0.75 = 6300) and 4600 from a 3rd machine with a Phenom II B93.

That gives me very nearly 2.7 times as much multi-threaded processing power to build lighting with as with just the main machine alone (again only 6300 since it only uses 3 cores).

6300 + 6100 + +4600 = 17000
17000 / 6300 = 2.698...

IOW, my longest build time (DM-Eliminator with production lighting quality) is about 2.5 hours with just the main computer (6300 cpu benchmark score) working on it and 1.5 hours with both the main computer and the Phenom II working on it (6300 + 4600 = 10900 cpu benchmark score). With the new machine added to the farm bumping the total available processing power to 17000 cpu marks it'll take just under 1 hour (55.6 minutes according to the math) on production lighting quality.

Edit: Rebuilding Eliminator with all 3 machines came out to 57.5 minutes, within 2 minutes of what the math above predicted.

Now just imagine what oh say four OC'd 5960X machines with ~80k cpu benchmarks would do to build times. =)