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Thinking about getting into JKA modding - just a couple questions


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Hey guys! I've been looking into getting into JKA modding for a while, but have a handful of questions about what is or is not doable (and why).

For one, browsing this forum I've noticed that most (if not all) mods are developed as though it's still the early 2000s - polycounts seem to be kept well below 5k or so, and texture resolution rarely seems to beat ~512px. What might the reason for this be? Hard-coded polycount limits? If so and if we truly have access to the game's full source, why haven't projects like OpenJK removed them?

Secondly, I noticed that you never actually see your arms in-game. With this in mind, I can safely assume that they don't actually exist in the weapon models - something I may want to fix in a future (reanimation) mod. Once again that leaves me wondering, however: does the game actually have idle/attack animations for first-person weapons? The logical way to handle animations that simple would be with pure code, which would mean I would have to write a new system to play said animations.

 

Thanks,

SolarisBravo

ooeJack and fullkevlar like this
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1 hour ago, SolarisBravo said:

Polycounts seem to be kept well below 5k or so, and texture resolution rarely seems to beat ~512px. What might the reason for this be? Hard-coded polycount limits? If so and if we truly have access to the game's full source, why haven't projects like OpenJK removed them?

I can answer this.

Texture resolution is not really an issue - there is nothing wrong with high resolution textures, as long as each dimension is a power of 2. (1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, etc). Most people just don't make them that large out of habit.

As for polycounts, the game is running an old version of OpenGL (1.1 I believe), which can't handle that much geometry without getting highly bogged down. Without a full rewrite of the renderer in a newer version of OpenGL, this will not change.

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The file formats and the engine impose several constraints on top of GL1.1 performance issues, like limits to the number of vertices per mesh on a player model (1000, but actually 500 if you enable projected shadows).

If I remember correctly, first person weapon models use the MD3 format, which only supports vertex animations. That's not ideal for first person arms.

I'm pretty sure you won't get first person weapon animations without coding. And if you have to change the code anyway, you might as well do it properly. I think you should use the normal 3rd person player model and create special 1st person animations for its arms. Then you can display only the arms (this is already supported for dismemberment), so you have animated arms matching the player's current player model, to which the weapon can be attached in the same way it is when you're in 3rd person. I don't know which parts of the code you have to change to make this happen.

NAB622 likes this
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  • 1 month later...
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I experimented with textures over 4096 px, the game doesn't always welcome such large files. In certain situations they wouldn't work at all, especially if it's a complicated case like a TGA with an alpha channel, and a few shaders applied. Also this might work differently for map textures and character textures (props textures).

Polygon count also makes people follow certain rules, when creating their own characters. But it also applies to models, like a vase for instance. I once made a high-poly model of an object, which works just fine, if you put it into your map as a misc_model. But if it's a misc_model_breakable, which actually loads the model into the game – the game crashes.

There're dozens of other specifics of JA engine, that you have to keep in mind, like NPC count, limits for sounds, map size, number of entities in the map, number of NPCs in your map, etc. The only way is to avoid such things or trick the game via its own rules (replacing HP models with low-poly for background, adding area portals, splitting your map into two, using scripts to change appearances of NPCs...)

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