- What You Need For This Tutorial
- What This Tutorial Assumes You Have Already Learned
- What This Tutorial Will Teach You
- How Nodes Are Faded
- Fade Fields In Siege Editor
- A Simple Example Of A Fade
- Defining Wildcards
- Using Wildcards, or Why Nodes Have 3 Fade Values
- An Easy-To-Use SE Fading Tool
- A More Advanced SE Fading Tool
- Why Are Fade Triggers On Elevators Different?
- How Do You Set Fades (Or Moods) On Elevators?
is the act of making nodes visible or invisible. It is an
important part of a world that never has a loading screen - anytime you
go into a house, cave, dungeon, etc., certain pieces of the terrain
will need to disappear to allow the player to continue playing.
Likewise, when players leave a dungeon or house, the terrain will need
to re-appear. All objects and actors that are on terrain that is faded
out will also be faded out. An important rule to remember is to never
allow player characters to stand on faded out terrain, as they will no
longer see their own characters, or be able to interact with their
What You Need For This Tutorial
- Dungeon Siege, updated to version 1.09B or later
- Siege Editor, updated to version 1.09B.313 or later
- A text editor
What This Tutorial Assumes You Have Already Learned
What This Tutorial Will Teach You
- How nodes are faded
- How wildcards are used
- How the Siege Engine tracks fades
- How fades are manipulated in Siege Editor
- Examples of common and advanced fades
How Nodes Are Faded
Fades can be done three different ways: node flags, triggers, and elevators.
The first method is very simple: a flag
on the node can be set so that it will fade away if the node comes
between the camera and the player's character. This is done by opening
up the node properties when a node is selected, and making sure the
checkbox "camera fade" is checked (under the "General" tab). The most
common uses for this are doorway arches, or rock arches at cave
entrances. If you use this, you should uncheck both "bounds camera" and
"occludes camera" so that the node simply fades away and does not force
the camera to move.
The most commonly used method of fading is a fade trigger
By using triggers, we can fade as many or as few nodes as we want to,
and they can be anywhere in the world; the player does not necessarily
have to be close to the nodes being faded.
A fade trigger needs to have a condition that is satisfied
by a party member. There are three main conditions used for this:
"party member within node", "party member within bounding box", and
"party member within sphere". There are also conditions that deal with
"trigger groups" that can be used, but "trigger groups" do not need to
be used for fade triggers (refer to Siege U: 203B - Triggers II
You may see many examples of fade trigger groups in the Dungeon Siege
maps, but changes near the end of the project rendered this an obsolete
method of fading, and we just didn't have the time to convert them all
to a more efficient method.
The fade trigger's action can be fade_nodes
will apply the fade to everyone who was not
detected by the trigger, but is otherwise identical to fade_nodes
This was added as a feature during the design process, but ended up
unused. Since it has not been used and tested thoroughly, it may not
work as intended. Fade_node
(not to be confused with fade_nodes
) is legacy and will probably be removed from Siege Editor in the future.
is the most common method of fading because it is so powerful and
applies only to the party members who were detected by the trigger
(Result of Condition - see Siege U: 203A - Triggers I
This is what the designer wants most of the time. Consider the entrance
to a dungeon: anyone who walks down the stairs to the dungeon should
see the terrain above the dungeon fade out. We do not want the party
members who are still standing on that terrain outside the dungeon to
have the fade applied to them - they would then be standing on
faded-out terrain (a Bad Thing).
is like fade_nodes
except that it works for everyone, even people who join the game later.
This exists for one specific situation: inside a dungeon, when a player
walks near an unexplored room that has node caps on it. Node caps are
black nodes which, when placed over a room, prevent the player from
seeing into the room before they enter it. We usually place fade
triggers near the entrances to these rooms to fade off the node caps
when the player's in-game character approaches them. Unlike other
fades, we want these nodes to fade away for everyone, forever--even if
they join in the middle of the game, or if they are standing on the
other side of the world. When these other characters go into that
dungeon, they should see the revealed room, and not see node caps over
it as if it had not yet been discovered.
The parameters for fade_nodes_global
are the same as fade_nodes
. Be careful when you use fade_nodes_global
we use this for fading off node caps over dungeon rooms, and not much
else. (Just FYI: The only way to undo a global node fade-out is with a
global node fade-in.)
are covered later, after more terms are defined and examples are given.
Fade Fields In Siege Editor
When you add a fading Action to a trigger in Siege Editor, there are
five parameters to that Action: region GUID, Section, Level, Object,
and Fade Type.
Region GUIDs are 8-digit
hexadecimal numbers that are unique to each region within the map. You
can see the current region's GUID by looking at "region" under the
"settings" menu. You can also find a region GUID in the main.gas file
under world\maps\<map name>\regions\<region name>.
All nodes have three
fading terms associated with them: Section, Level, and Object. To fade
a node in or out, we have to refer to the region that the node is in
(via the region GUID) and these three numbers. The labels
(Section/Level/Object) are meaningless - the only thing important about
them is that they give us a place to assign values to nodes, and refer
back to them later. Since the names don't mean anything, when referring
to these values, we simply refer to them by the three numerical values
that they hold. Throughout this document, there will be sets of numbers
listed like this: (5, 15, -1). This is simply an abbreviation for
Section 5, Level 15, Object -1. The default setting for nodes is (1,
-1, -1). While region GUIDs use hexadecimal; Section, Level, and Object
values are decimal only.
Fade Type has several options. Fade
"out:black" will fade nodes completely out. Fade "out:alpha" will fade
nodes out most of the way, leaving the nodes almost transparent. Fade
"in" will cause nodes that have been faded out to fade back in. The
"out:instant" setting is just like "out:black" except that the nodes do
not fade smoothly away, they disappear instantly. "In:instant" works
the same way, fading in nodes instantly.
A Simple Example Of A Fade
A region with GUID 0x88993344 has many nodes, most of which are flagged
as (1, -1, -1). There is one house in the region, and it has a roof
flagged (1, 2, -1). A fade trigger could be set down in the doorway of
the house with a condition of "party member within bounding box" and
the action "fade_nodes." The bounding box would need to be rotated and
sized appropriately (refer to Siege U: 203A - Triggers I
), and fade nodes would need the following values:
Region GUID: 0x88993344
Fade Type: out:black
Then when the player walks into the trigger, the roof should fade away
completely, letting the player see the interior of the house.
So far in our discussion of fades, the "-1"
value hasn't been explained. It's a little bit complicated because it
has a double meaning. When nodes are flagged with -1, that value stands
for "no value". So the default node flags of (1,-1,-1) really could be
seen as (1,nothing,nothing). But -1 means something completely
different when used in a fade trigger. When fading nodes, -1 is a
wildcard. It can be read as "anything". This can be pretty powerful.
Using Wildcards, or Why Nodes Have 3 Fade Values
wildcards can save a lot of time, and allow you to fade a large number
of differently flagged nodes with a drastically reduced number of fade
Here is an illustrative example:
A region has five houses near
each other, and one of those houses has a dungeon in the basement. Most
of the surface nodes in the region are flagged (1, -1, -1), and the
dungeon nodes are flagged (2,-1,-1). The house roofs are flagged (1, 1,
-1), (1, 2, -1), (1, 3, -1), (1, 4, -1), and (1, 5, -1). Each time a
player walks into a house, they walk through a trigger that fades off
the roof, and that looks how you would expect: (1, 1, -1) for the first
one, (1, 2, -1) for the second, etc. When the player walks down into
the dungeon, they walk through a trigger that looks a little different:
(1, -1, -1). This means that the game will fade all nodes in that
region that have (1, anything, anything). So with just one fade action,
all of the house roofs fade away along with the rest of the nodes in
the region. The dungeon doesn't fade away because it has a Section
value of 2, not 1 (2, -1, -1).
However, with the power of wildcards, there are some things to
watch out for. Avoid overlapping fades. This can occur when you have
one group of nodes faded out (example: (1, 4, 1)), then you fade out a
second group with a wildcard that contains the first group (1, -1, -1).
When you fade the second group back in (1, -1, -1), the first group
will also do the smooth fade-in transition, then instantly go back to
being faded out. This looks bad, and can be avoided by flagging the
first group differently or using a different fade that doesn't include
the first group.
Wildcards can be used to group nodes together for fade
purposes. Most of the time we leave all nodes within a region with a
value of 1 for the <section>. That way if we add a dungeon
entrance, and the player is going to go under the region, we can fade
all nodes in the region with a fade trigger that fades out nodes that
match (1, -1, -1).
This begs the question, "Why don't we ever use (-1, -1, -1) to fade in
or out all nodes in a region?" Using all wildcards in the fade values
for a region is an easy way to fade out everything in a region, even if
some nodes have very weird values that you stuck in there and forgot
So it appears to be a handy tool for fading...so why didn't we use it that way? Well, sometimes we do want to fade in
all nodes in a region, but we can't fade them in with (-1, -1, -1)
unless we also faded them out that way. We used to do this, but often
an elevator or staircase would take us to the next region, and we would
want to fade everything except
the transition nodes, so we couldn't use (-1, -1, -1).
Other times we were dealing with regions that could be entered from
multiple directions. Leaving and entering the region from one direction
might work just fine with (-1, -1, -1), but entering from the other
side we might only want to fade in nodes that match (2, -1, -1). In
this case we would first have to fade in (-1, -1, -1), then fade out
everything except (2, -1, -1) if they had gone out the first direction,
and that's just not what we wanted to do. With all of the region
changes that we kept doing, we eventually switched to use (1, -1, -1)
to refer to the bulk of the nodes in the region, because it was more
More examples and possible uses for wildcards are given under Advanced Fading Scenarios
that the engine handles fades isn't completely intuitive. By default,
all nodes are visible. The engine maintains a list of nodes that are faded out
for each player. Every time that a player walks into a trigger that
fades OUT some nodes, the engine ADDS that group of nodes to the list.
Every time a player walks through a trigger that fades IN some nodes,
the engine REMOVES that group of nodes from the list. This can cause
some unexpected behavior when using wildcards. The nodes that are faded
out and the nodes that are faded in must
match Section, Level, and Object values exactly, including wildcards. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate:
- Half of the nodes are flagged as (1, -1, -1)
- The other half are flagged as (2, -1, -1)
- The player walks through a trigger that fades OUT (1, -1, -1)
- The player walks through a trigger that fades IN (1, -1, -1)
In this case, everything is fine. The nodes marked (1, -1, -1) are visible. Here is where expectations can cause confusion:
- The player walks through a trigger that fades OUT (1, -1, -1)
- The player walks through a trigger that fades IN (-1, -1, -1)
Some of the nodes in the region are faded out, and then the player
walks through a trigger that looks like it will fade in all nodes in
the entire region. But since the fade out was done with (1, -1, -1),
the engine doesn't find a match for (-1, -1, -1) and ignores that fade.
So the end result of this situation is that the nodes are still faded
out, which is probably not what the designer intended.
An Easy-To-Use SE Fading Tool
Select a node in Siege Editor and look at its Node Properties. Under
the Fade Settings tab are the fields for Section, Level, and Object.
There are also three buttons: Show, Hide, and Select. These buttons
will perform their functions on all nodes in the region that match the
fade values of the current node. This can be a great way to see what
your fades will look like in-game without leaving the editor.
Example: you have built a two-story inn, and you have flagged all nodes
on the second floor as (1, 4, -1). Select a node that is part of the
second floor of your inn, and press the "Hide" button, and you will get
to see all nodes flagged the same as that node (presumably the whole
second floor of the inn) fade away, showing what the player would see
after entering the front door. You can make those nodes visible again
by pressing the "Show" button. We commonly use this tool to fade away a
large number of nodes quickly, so that we can check the fade values on
the nodes that are still visible. The "Show All Nodes" command
(accessed under the Node Menu) can also be very helpful when working
There is a button on the toolbar that will hide/show all node
caps in the region. This saves the designer from having to fade each
group of caps separately when they want to edit the dungeon without the
caps getting in the way. For those that are interested, the "Hide Caps"
button simply references a node mesh list and hides all node meshes
that match the "caps" list. This list is visible under the Node Menu,
in Mesh List. "Caps" is one of the available groups, and node meshes
can be added or subtracted on the Mesh List window.
A More Advanced SE Fading Tool
"Node Fade Groups" (under the
Node Menu) can be a powerful tool for an advanced user. Using this
screen is a little complicated, but can make managing your fades a lot
easier in the long run. The first thing to do on the Node Fade Groups
screen is to create a new group with the "New Group" button on the
right. The name doesn't matter; this is something that will stay local
on your machine only. Once you have made a group, select it down at the
bottom from the pull-down menu "groups". Type in any value you want for
section, level, or object, and check the box next to any of the fields
that you entered values for. Anything unchecked will function as a
wildcard, matching on any value. You can then use the "add" button to
add these values to the "fade settings" window. Any time that you
select "hide," "show," or "select," all nodes that match the fade
settings in the window will be hidden/shown/selected. So you could have
a fade group for "castle interior" and another for "castle first
floor," etc. This comes in handy when you have a lot of different fade
values on nodes in a region, but want to toggle the visibility of those
Why Are Fade Triggers On Elevators Different?
This is fairly
complicated. Fade triggers work by noticing when a party member crosses
the boundary of the trigger. This is true whether the trigger is "party
member within node/sphere/bounding box", or even "party member entered
trigger group". When players click to go somewhere, the engine figures
out all of the steps that they will take to get there. The engine knows
when they will cross into the trigger, even before they get there. It
even sends this information to other player's computers in a
multiplayer environment, as this keeps everything looking smooth for
When your character is going to walk through a trigger boundary, there
is a point when your computer sends out information that your character
will cross the trigger boundary. At that point, you will cross that
trigger boundary no matter what. If you tell your character to stop or
do something else, it will first cross the trigger boundary and then
follow the new commands that they have been given. This means that if
we set up fade/mood triggers on elevators as per normal (like with a
"party member within node" condition), the trigger boundary would be on
the edge of the elevator node. So when somebody gets close to getting
on the elevator, they eventually cross the point of no return, and they
WILL get on the elevator...even if it leaves just before they get on
Why is it so bad to have someone jump on or off of an elevator just as
it leaves? One case could be this: a fade trigger fades away all nodes
around the elevator for all players who are currently on the elevator.
If someone was just leaving the elevator, they could possibly get this
fade, then make it off of the elevator on to the faded out nodes. They
would then be stuck on faded-out terrain, which is very, very bad.
There are similar cases where someone could jump ONTO an elevator, only
to have missed some important fades, so that when he arrives at the
destination, all nodes at the destination are still faded out for him.
These types of situations could actually be game-breaking experiences
(forcing them to reload)--something that should be avoided at all
How Do You Set Fades (Or Moods) On Elevators?
two special lines in their "Template Properties" to allow the designer
to trigger fades or moods when the elevator moves. Moving1ActionInfo
is used for triggering fades and moods when the elevator from its original position to its destination. Moving2ActionInfo
is used when the elevator moves back to its original position. The syntax for these lines is this:
[region GUID],[section],[level],[object],[fade type];
[region GUID],[section],[level],[object],[fade type],[delay];
Any number of these fades and moods can be used, all on the same line.
Just don't forget the semicolon at the end of each mood or fade. "Fade
type" is just looking for values of "in", "out:black", etc., just like
in the triggers. Both the fade and mood can have an optional delay (in
seconds) afterwards. Here is an example:
Moving1ActionInfo = 0xA1000033,1,-1,-1,in;0xB1000012,3,4,-1,out:black,2.5;gpg_fh_r1_1;
Here's what happens: as soon as the elevator leaves, the
fade and mood that don't have delays specified get applied to all
players on the elevator. So the nodes in region 0xA1000033 that are
flagged (1, -1, -1) get faded in. Everyone on the platform gets mood gpg_fh_r1_1
Since the second fade has a delay of 2.5 seconds, after this time
passes, everyone who was on the elevator when it started moving will
get the nodes in region 0xB1000012 flagged (3, 4, -1) faded out.
fading situation is a set of stairs leading in and out of a dungeon. We
usually place a fade trigger at the top of the stairs that will fade
the dungeon out (no need to render a dungeon that you can't see,
especially when you're leaving it), a fade trigger in the middle of the
stairs to fade the dungeon in as well as the original region (to catch
players going either direction), and a trigger at the bottom of the
stairs to fade the original region out (for players entering the
dungeon). This way the player can walk down the stairs and see the
dungeon, or walk up the stairs and see the original region.
Another common fading situation is a house. We went through
several different methods of fading before we settled on a "best way,"
so if you look through the maps that shipped with the game, you might
see several different methods in place. We didn't necessarily convert
all the old fading methods to the newer methods if they still worked.
The new way we ended up with is putting a small fade trigger around the
doorway to the house. If a player walks through this trigger, the roof
fades away. If there is a closed door in the way, we usually mark the
trigger as initially inactive and make the door send a
"we_trigger_activate" message to the fade trigger when it is opened.
Farther away from the house, fade triggers are placed so that when the
player walks through these triggers, the roof fades back in.
That said, let's walk through setting up a two-story house to fade!
Open up a
test region. Try placing some t_xxx_flr_08x08-v0 nodes down to get a
nice area to walk around. Then place the house that we will use for our
fading example: t_grs01_houses_generic-c-log-lv1
goes on top of this node, and t_grs01_houses_generic-b-roof-shingle
makes a good roof. t_grs01_houses_generic-c-log-lv1-door-top
can go in the doorway, and t_grs01_houses_generic-c-log-stairs
will work for the stairs.
Select the roof and look at its node properties. Under fade settings, set Section to 1
and Level to 2
. Leave Object at -1
for all of the nodes in this example. Select the second floor and set
it to (1, 1, -1). This example assumes that you don't have other nodes
flagged as (1, 1, -1) or (1, 2, -1). If you have nodes flagged this
way, simply substitute a different set of values for these nodes for
this tutorial. Select the t_grs01_houses_generic-c-log-lv1-door-top
node, open up the node properties, and go to the General tab. Turn off
"occludes camera" and "bounds camera" and turn on "camera fade". Select
each other house node in turn and turn off "bounds camera".
Place a trigger_generic on the ground near the house. Go into
the trigger properties, and click the "new" button in the lower left to
add a new trigger to the gizmo. Select the new trigger by clicking on
the text that says "trigger_0" under "trigger_generic" in the left
panel. Click the "add condition" button on the right side and choose
"party member within bounding box" from the drop-down list. Click the
"add action" button on the lower-right and choose "fade_nodes" from the
In the main Siege Editor window, select Region from the
Settings menu, and copy the region GUID. Open the fade trigger back up
and paste this value into the "region ID" field in the fade nodes
action. Set Section and Level to 1, and the fade type to "out:black".
Add another "fade nodes" action to the trigger, and copy the values
from the other "fade nodes" action into it. Set the "level" field to 2,
however, so that it will fade the roof.
Now move the trigger into the doorway of the house. Make sure
that your debug HUD settings allow you to see the bounding box around
the trigger, and adjust the size of the bounding box to encompass the
entrance to the house. Values of 1.5, 1, 1 for the "half diag x","half
diag y", and "half diag z" fields should work. Leave the boundary check
on "on_every_enter". Make sure that the trigger is rotated so that the
box sticks out on to the stairs in front of the house. Now when the
player comes up to the doorway of the house, the second floor and the
roof will fade away, letting them navigate inside the house.
Copy the entire trigger gizmo by clicking on it and choosing
Edit->Copy (or pressing Ctrl-C), then paste (Ctrl-V) 3 new copies of
it in front of the house. Set the "fade type" field in each of these
triggers to "in", however, so that if the player walks through the
bounding box, the second floor and roof will fade in. Now move the
three triggers to form a "U"-shape around the entrance to the house,
adjusting the size of the bounding boxes as necessary. If you don't
want to bother with sizing them exactly, just set them to have
dimensions of 5, 1, 0.25 each. You will have to move and rotate them so
that as someone leaves the house, they have to pass through one of
these bounding boxes before they have moved too far. Don't allow a
"fade out" trigger to overlap a "fade in" trigger.
Copy one of these trigger gizmos inside the house, and move it
up on the landing halfway up the stairs. You will probably want to hide
the roof and second floor nodes within the editor to make it easier to
work inside the house. Open up the trigger properties and remove one of
the fade nodes actions. Make sure that the remaining fade nodes action
fades off (1, 1, -1) (the second floor). Now copy this trigger gizmo
and place the copy next to it on the stairs. The idea is to have one
trigger fade the second floor in (when you go up the stairs), and the
other trigger fade it out (when you go down the stairs).
This is accomplished by having both triggers be long enough to
cover the stairs completely, but very thin (like .25 or .1 for their
width). I used values of x = 1, y = .5, z = .1 for my triggers. Try
placing the trigger that fades the second floor in right on the
landing, and the trigger that fades the second floor out just slightly
below the landing. Make sure that they cover all walkable area where
they stretch across the stairs so that the player must walk through
Try it out! You should have a fully fade-functional two-story house.
is one of the most complex buildings to fade, as several things need to
be taken into consideration. Whenever a player is on the outside of the
castle, all they need to see is the outside of the castle. If the
interior of the castle is faded in, the engine is doing a lot of
unnecessary rendering. When a player goes into the castle, all floors
above the player need to be faded away. However, the interior of each
floor below them can be faded away as well, again to eliminate
unnecessary rendering. With these issues in mind, this is how we
divided up castles:
- Each floor of the building should probably have all nodes
flagged with the same [section], to make it easy to fade floors above
the player's character.
- On each floor, there will be "interior" areas that are far
away from any outside windows or doorways. These should be flagged with
their own [level] so that they are easy to fade away when the player is
on a floor above them and can't possibly see these areas. The [object]
flag can be set on a per-node basis when there is something like an
archway on the interior of a floor of the castle that you might want to
fade with a trigger.
A large tower is another interesting case. Conceptually a
tower is pretty easy to deal with. If the tower has five floors, then
each floor can have all of its nodes flagged with a different Level,
while keeping the same Section. So the floors could be something like
this: (3, 1, -1), (3, 2, -1), (3, 3, -1), (3, 4, -1), (3, 5, -1). That
way if you ever needed to fade the whole tower away, you could use (3,
It should be noted that upon entering the tower, the trigger to fade
off each floor above the player will actually need to have a separate
fade_nodes action for each floor, rather than using a wildcard (when
using this method). That way the fade triggers on each stairway can
refer to the floor above them (fading in or out, depending on which way
the player is moving), without having to deal with issues from
overlapping fade values.
There are some examples of tower fading in Dungeon Siege. Regions fh_r3
in map_world (World.dsmap) have small towers, while mega_forest_r2
in multiplayer_world (MPWorld.dsmap) has a large tower with an elevator at the bottom. Region island
in multiplayer_world has a medium-sized tower with an elevator at the top!
Some of the concepts in this document are difficult to digest. I
recommend experimenting with fades in a small, simple test map before
trying anything too complicated. Setting up fade triggers in a 20-floor
tower can take quite a while, even if you already have a lot of
experience. Try starting with a simple field, where fade triggers will
fade different pieces of the ground in and out when you walk through
them. After that, try a few houses...maybe even a house with a second
floor. Dungeons may or may not be difficult, depending on how many
levels they have, and how many rooms have node caps.
There are plenty of fading examples to look at in map_world (World.dsmap):
- Examples of towns: bt_r1, path2dm, nt_r1, df_r0, and dc_r1 are all regions that have houses or dwellings in them.
- Examples of dungeons:
cr_r1 is a dungeon with a large number of capped rooms, sd_r1 and sd_r2
are both dungeon regions with two floors and elevators.
There are plenty of examples in the other regions as well, but if you
can understand and emulate the fading being done in these regions, you
will be well on your way to becoming a Fading Master.