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Which Node Builder Should I Use?


Hi, I have been mapping for a while, however, I know next to nothing about nodebuilders. The past couple of weeks it has been taking quite a while to save my map and I think it's because I changed nodebuilders. Before, I had ZDBSP, but I recently switched to zennode - normal. Currently, zennode takes me two minutes to save my map each time. the reason I switched is because ZDBSP kept requiring confirmation from windows because it was an unrecognized program or something, which was annoying. Now I feel like I should switch back to ZDBSP again but I'm not sure which one to use because there's ZDBSP - compress nodes, ZDBSP - normal (no reject), and ZDBSP - normal (zero reject). What is the difference between each node builder, and which one would be the best for me to use?


My map is in boom format, with around 12000 linedefs

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the difference between "normal" nodes and GL nodes is not about texture problems, it is about what they actually represents. for hardware rendering, you need convex polygons. while walls are always convex (being a simple quads), floors and ceilings can have arbitrary shape. vanilla software renderer didn't really cared, because it was using a special "floodfill" algorithm to render floors and ceilings. but hw-accelerated ports have to render everything with polygons.


and here comes the difference: in vanilla, subsectors aren't always represent a closed convex polygon! actually, you can have a subsector with two adjacent segs, and third seg which is far away from the first two, and they aren't connected at all! that works with software renderer, but cannot made to work with hardware one. and this is not a flaw in id's BSP building algos, they just didn't need what hw renderer needs.


and here comes GL nodes. one of the invariant of GL nodes is that each subsector is a correct convex polygon. to build such nodes (as opposed to old-style nodes), you have to take some extra steps in node builder. also, you have to have some extra information too, so new nodes aren't usable with vanilla engines. that's why we have two kinds of nodes these days.


yet, as our CPUs becomes (much!) faster, most modern sourceports added built-in GL node builders, so if a map doesn't have GL nodes prebuilt, the engine will do it on the fly. even for most complex maps it is only a several seconds on ten-year-old CPUs (and it could be like half of an hour for vanilla nodes on CPUs of the time when Doom was released!).


also, GL-enabled node builders can produce "normal" nodes too. so if anything, it is always better to use a GL-enabled builder. and ZDBSP is much faster than others here (it does that not only by smart code optimisations, but by cutting some corners too; yet it doesn't matter in 99% of the cases anyway). also, newer node builders are better aware of various engine quirks, and sometimes can workaround them.


so, in the end, ZDBSP is prolly the best choice as a standalone node builder for limit-removing ports.

Edited by ketmar

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ZDBSP is definitely the fastest one out there, with good quality. so i second that: use ZDBSP. or ZokumBSP if you only need standard nodes (i.e. no GL Nodes; afaik, ZokumBSP cannot create GL nodes yet). the second is almost safe, because most OpenGL-capable ports can create GL nodes by themselves (except prboom+, i guess).

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From what I remember about Zennode is it was based on GL nodes building, for what it's worth, GL nodes had to do with older OpenGL based drivers and Zen kept textures from HOM'ing, at that time..


All node builders will try their best to fix what they can. Sometimes it maybe easier to remove or even just slightly move some vertices in your map, where the problem is at, and run your node builder (which ever it may be) again to see if it fixes the problem.



Edited by Mr.Rocket : ~ too much gibberish..

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I second ZDBSP. If you're having issues with Windows complaining about it, are you running it as a standalone program or through Doom Builder? You probably want to look into getting it recognized by Windows.


ZokumBSP is a very solid choice, but AFAIK its primary focus in vanilla maps: it's specially designed to minimize things like slime trails and HOMs when using vanilla source ports. If you're targeting Boom, its benefits probably aren't that applicable. 

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