Optimizing for very large maps/megadungeon

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ZardozSpeakz
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Optimizing for very large maps/megadungeon

Post by ZardozSpeakz »

Hey everyone, long time user of Maptool, but I'm looking for some advice on very large maps. I'm creating a megadungeon campaign, a single dungeon that will take my players from 1st to 10th level. I've got lots of experience drawing in maptools, but on a couple occasions I've had maps that got too large and didn't load properly. Here are some questions I have:

1. What takes up more memory: solid colors or texture based drawings? Any tips for making textures that won't be memory intensive (ie file size guidelines or pixel dimensions?

2. Will changing my grid from 50 pixels to something like 25, 30 or 40 pixels, help with memory problems?

3. How big can my map be, in terms of grid? I've planning a 1000 cell by 1000 cell grid for the largest map (that's 50,000 pixels, at 50 pixels a cell). Will this cause problems?

4. Tokens and objects: Once in the past, I made a large mine map, with extensive railroad objects. There were too many and they didn't load for my players (just red x's where objects should be). Is there an upper limit of object/token count?

5. Memory settings: I'm not a huge computer guy, but I'm aware there are some memory settings that I can increase in the launcher. What should I set these too? Any other settings I can change to help my situation?

6. Splitting maps: Will I have fewer problems if I spit my dungeon into multiple maps?

7. Vector Drawings or png screenshots? If I screenshot my maps, then paste them back in as background objects, will this increase or decrease memory load? Does it depend on how detailed my drawings get?

8. Light sources: do these cause memory problems? If I leave them out, can I save myself memory for other things? I definitely need vision blocking and fog of war, but might not need light sources.

Any other advice would be helpful and appreciated. Anyone have experience running Very Large Maps? Any other threads or resources I should read? Sorry if some of these questions don't make sense, I only have a hazy comprehension of computer memory stuff.

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aliasmask
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Re: Optimizing for very large maps/megadungeon

Post by aliasmask »

Many things affect performance. Lighting is a major one and I would say VBL is the next one. I recommend only using the pc light sources for lighting. Change from night and day where appropriate. Keep your VBL simple and instances to a minimum. For example, the cutout method works pretty well for most people. You cover area in a solid VBL and cut out the rooms. Putting X's on rocks or pillars doesn't really add to the experience and causes lag. I just use the token visibility options if they can't see a token.

Depending on detail and source of image for map will determine the best way to present the map, but splitting it on to different maps is always a memory saver. Also, reduce the default vision distance from 1000 to 240 or 120. That will reduce lag as well. Try to reuse the same asset and either flip or rotate it to make it look different.

Use jpg images for large maps. If you have a lot of the same objects spread around like a forest, create a large pattern and use a pallet. Here are a couple I just made for my game. I took some existing images and made my own patterns. Swamp could be better at the edges, but it gets the job done for now.
Attachments
cobblestone floor.png
cobblestone floor.png (215.46 KiB) Viewed 635 times
wall floor ruin tiled pattern.png
wall floor ruin tiled pattern.png (1.1 MiB) Viewed 635 times
Swamp Pattern2.jpg
Swamp Pattern2.jpg (4.92 MiB) Viewed 635 times

Phergus
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Re: Optimizing for very large maps/megadungeon

Post by Phergus »

ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
1. What takes up more memory: solid colors or texture based drawings? Any tips for making textures that won't be memory intensive (ie file size guidelines or pixel dimensions?
For memory usage, it's all about image dimensions. A 200x200 image takes up 4 times as much memory as a 100x100. For transferring assets to your players, file size matters. Try to stick with smaller dimension textures for your background and drawings.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
2. Will changing my grid from 50 pixels to something like 25, 30 or 40 pixels, help with memory problems?
Only indirectly. If you resize all your assets to match that grid resolution then they will of course use less memory.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
3. How big can my map be, in terms of grid? I've planning a 1000 cell by 1000 cell grid for the largest map (that's 50,000 pixels, at 50 pixels a cell). Will this cause problems?
It's only limited by memory. I've done outdoor maps that big many times. It's only a mile(ish) across at 5'/grid.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
4. Tokens and objects: Once in the past, I made a large mine map, with extensive railroad objects. There were too many and they didn't load for my players (just red x's where objects should be). Is there an upper limit of object/token count?
There are no hard-coded limits on number of tokens/objects. Transferring large amounts of assets to all your players can be slow and it's possible that some might get lost in the shuffle. Might look into Introduction to Campaign Repositories.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
5. Memory settings: I'm not a huge computer guy, but I'm aware there are some memory settings that I can increase in the launcher. What should I set these too? Any other settings I can change to help my situation?
Maximum Heap Size will be important (the -Xmx setting) but remember that your players must be able to set their clients to the same values. Watch your usage in the status bar at the bottom of MapTool and see how much you are using. I doubt you'll need more than 4GB.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
6. Splitting maps: Will I have fewer problems if I spit my dungeon into multiple maps?
As a general rule, yes. If the dungeon has "natural" divisions such as long passages leading to other sections then split it there and use teleport pads to move tokens to the next section.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
7. Vector Drawings or png screenshots? If I screenshot my maps, then paste them back in as background objects, will this increase or decrease memory load? Does it depend on how detailed my drawings get?
Using the built-in drawing tools will use less memory. Don't use screenshots. A screenshot of a draw map will use more memory. Memory usage for drawings is very small and detailed ones don't increase that appreciably.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
8. Light sources: do these cause memory problems? If I leave them out, can I save myself memory for other things? I definitely need vision blocking and fog of war, but might not need light sources.
Light sources don't cause memory issues so much as performance issues. Only have light sources on where you need them. Setup macros to turn them off in areas the players aren't in. Keep the map vision distance down to the minimum required. If you don't have any passages or rooms larger than say 100', keep your map vision distance at 100'.
ZardozSpeakz wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 12:47 pm
Any other advice would be helpful and appreciated. Anyone have experience running Very Large Maps? Any other threads or resources I should read? Sorry if some of these questions don't make sense, I only have a hazy comprehension of computer memory stuff.
All good questions.

ZardozSpeakz
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Posts: 8
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 8:15 pm

Re: Optimizing for very large maps/megadungeon

Post by ZardozSpeakz »

Thanks for the quick replies! I'm going to dig into your responses and read up on repositories. A lot of this has confirmed what I suspected about memory optimization, so it's good to get some confirmation. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions later.

Also, not sure I posted this to the right forum. If it needs to be moved to the general or maptools forum, that's cool.

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