Dinora

Feedback, discussion & bug reporting on current maps
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lichReen
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Re: Dinora

Post by lichReen » Tue 16. Apr 2019, 17:22

bump

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EmanReleipS
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Dinora

Post by EmanReleipS » Sat 28. Sep 2019, 10:57

This isn't ready yet, but I'm posting it to get some feedback from playtesting while we are on vacation.

ONS-Dinora-32p-C-beta1

Done so far:

- implemented Specials (nodes and cores)
- upgraded lockers to custom (with LG at center node and cores, Sniper Rifle at all others)
- added an additional weapon locker per base
- fixed the lamps
- made the crosses smaller and turned the raptors away from them (I want to try this before removing the collisions)
- lowered the stone platforms at the nodes (removed some of the planks because they didn't make much sense anymore)
- moved the wooden barricades/covers at the cliff nodes away from the nodes a little (should I do this at the beach nodes, too?)
- replaced scorps at center node with a raptor and an SPMA
- replaced the regular scorps with EONSS scorps (there were only two)
- replaced benders at cliff primaries with badgers
- deleted PhysicsVolume0 and 1
- added new node and rocks in water (had to move the blocking volume further away from the beach)
- added 2 weapon lockers and 1 manta at new ship nodes
- removed burning books
- copied Gloupy’s rock cliff meshes (if I misplaced it slightly, please let me know)
- placed super shield pickup on rock in the water near center node
- +1 cicada at the cores on top of wooden deck suspended over cliff side
- added a super shield on the rocks in the water near the center node
- added health pickups (but could probably use more)
- added (more) rocks between the two new ship nodes and a network of rocks so that players can rock-hop between the two nodes without going back to the beach
- made center node look more interesting/iconic (while providing cover to the node)
- rocky ledges with jumppads on both sides of center node
- turned middle nodes (beach) into secondaries
- jumppads from decks to ships

Not done:
- remove blocking volume pillars between cliff primaries and center node (seems necessary to keep them after witnessing several tanks trying to get up there)
- couldn’t find a lighthouse
- bot paths (not sure if I will bother)
- make TeamBanners immobile (dunno how)
- add location volumes (dunno how)
- remove the blocking volumes in front of chapel windows at cores (don’t remember if I did that)

To do:
- playtesting for floating objects, effectiveness of wooden barricades, new nodes (tilted ship may affect player starts; mantas may slide into water), ability to traverse new paths (to ship nodes and up the center cliff), and lamps that I missed
- new radar image
- add jumppads at cores onto lower part of chapel roof
- jumppads from shoreline to mid-point of path from core to primaries
- enlarge fires and their emitters for greater cover
- replace BlockingVolumes at edge of map with ForcesDirVolumes (in OnslaughtSpecials package)

Please let me know if the link setup seems sensible this way.

Also, for some reason I can't build the cliff-side primariy of the red team... I've already tried replacing that node, rebuilding the node setup, etc. If anyone could figure out what the problem is, please let me know.

Thanks everyone!
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loucast
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Dinora

Post by loucast » Sat 28. Sep 2019, 18:00

I think I speak for all when I say this map would greatly benefit by having a levi or a mino at both cores. It would add so much variety and a touch of vivacity to the map.

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EmanReleipS
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Dinora

Post by EmanReleipS » Mon 14. Oct 2019, 21:03

Does anyone else have feedback about this map? At this stage, it can't go on the server yet.
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Pegasus
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Dinora

Post by Pegasus » Mon 14. Oct 2019, 21:36

I am in the process of putting together a feedback n' suggestions bundle, and I'm sorry for the extended radio silence. Unfortunately, I've had a pretty busy few weeks lately that included two out-of-town trips and lots of other kinds of tidying up afterwards. I was kinda hoping that the server's 10 year anniversary party would buy me the extra time I needed to finish up, but, clearly, I need a bit more. So far, I've had the chance to do two sessions with it, one playtesting ingame and the other mostly within UEd, taking down notes in both cases, but when it comes to the two big gameplay additions in this edit, I'm only halfway done testing some implementation counter-proposals (never mind creating the accompanying visual aids and typing out the whole thing), so please bear with me for a few more days; this has now been bumped to the top of my pile :).
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Dinora

Post by EmanReleipS » Tue 15. Oct 2019, 19:05

No worries and thanks in advance for digging into it!

I think I will upload the map to the match server and use it as a starting/waiting map, so peeps can check it out without the pressure of playing on it. I should be able to gain some feedback that way.
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lichReen
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Dinora

Post by lichReen » Thu 17. Oct 2019, 15:28

I would like to see the map. Got any screenshots?

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Dinora

Post by Pegasus » Sun 20. Oct 2019, 09:16

Despite aiming to cover everything remarkable or amiss about this improvement edit that I've noticed, after about 20+ hours of time put into it in total, sadly, I'm still only ~70% there, and at this point it seems nobody's benefiting from going on like this - not me cramming most of this week's free time into it, nor anybody else who might be interested in further looking into any of the amassed points n' suggestions, Ema included.
My original plan was to briefly go through the whole list of lesser, easily addressed issues before proceeding to a more thorough examination of the edit's two main new gameplay additions, the ship primary nodes and the new central cliff jumppad path, with all the necessary reference material and figures on hand to share. After making Ema wait this long, though, and since I've only managed to cover one of those two big features beyond the list, namely the ship primaries, I think it makes more sense to just bundle up and deliver what I got so far so it can start to be evaluated and/or processed itself, also buying me more time to come back later to the leftover issue, than to just ask for another weeklong extension to this, umm, Brexit-esque review. So that's the plan here: mention below every bug, issue or suggestion I've made a note of these past few weeks except for anything to do with the central cliff's new vertical path, which will have to wait for later. Let's start with the snacks first before moving on to the main course.

- First off the gate, the voluminous section of volumes needlessly obstructing gameplay that have nothing to do with preventing tanks from getting to the top of the central cliff. Most obvious issue here is that both beach nodes and both cliffside nodes cannot be touched because of the following remnant BlockingVolumes: BV14, BV18, BV17, BV15. Then there's a pair of HitScanBlockingVolumes preventing player movement through 'em near the cliff primaries that I'd also recommend axing: HSBV6 and HSBV8. Other volumes inside geometry needlessly blocking players' shots: in the northern base HSBVs 3, 4 & 5 and BVs 25, 26 & 27; in the south base HSBVs 0, 1 & 2 and BVs 4, 23 & 24. Reminder here that deleting volumes requires rebuilding geometry to take effect - learned that migraine-inducing lesson the hard way a few years back myself.
- Stone platforms for the beach and cliffside nodes still feel obstructively high in some places in terms of people moving (and dueling!) on, off and around 'em. A bit more playtesting should reveal if and by how much they could still be sunk in.
- On to vehicle issues, If all stock scorpions were intended to be swapped for their EONS counterparts, there's still a pair left, spawning at each beach node.
- Cicadas are notoriously finicky in letting players enter 'em from the front (distance to its center being very close to its EntryRadius value), so the usability suggestion here would be to rotate the base cics 90 degs to facilitate entry. As to which way they should point, the biggest crisis a team can face is primaries under threat, and the nearest primaries are out at sea, so maybe having the cicadas face the sea is the marginally better option, even if most of the playable space is in the other direction. Btw, I haven't noticed any sliding myself in this edit, but if the suggested rotation does induce some, flattening the platforms a tiny bit should alleviate it.
- Seems like placing an SPMA at Dinora's center node revealed two previously ignored problems: BlockingVolumes 5 and 28 form a pretty low ceiling that, if the vec is operated near its spawn point, can prevent some of its shots making it through to the targeted area if the primary munition explodes within the BV to release the secondaries (the BV will just absorb 'em). Raising the BVs a bit will probably fix this, but playtesting is needed to assure flyers going higher won't break the map's aesthetics. The second problem isn't as simple to fix: the SPMA's targeting st.mesh reticle doesn't float. Instead, the damn thing follows the underwater terrain's contours, making it hard to find it n' move it around to aim where you want it to, given how deep the waters can be near the western border. This one might take some UScript tinkering to tackle, so that's for later (if ever). As an alternative, I tried Wormbo's Reverse SPMA and its customized targeting method does mostly mitigate the issue because of its extra, parabolic trajectory guide. Trouble is, its range is longer than the SPMA's, so that would allow shelling the ship primaries from the SPMA's spawn point easily, and that's a far bigger problem in my book. Either way, some tweaking will need to happen here sooner or later.
- I noticed a few bunches of ammo still strewn around, if you're interested in sweeping 'em up: near SuperShieldCharger1 & 2, StaticMeshActor593 and PathNode2.
- Portable xTeamBanners: select 'em all, hit F4 to bring up the properties dialog, expand the Advanced group and set their bMovable flag to false. If you tried to disable their bStatic property instead (harder to do, requires exposing the placed actors' None category), they also wouldn't move, but they'd stop animating/fluttering as well.
- Moving past vehicles and into the final, gameplay-affecting topic, the introduction of two extra nodes necessitates a new Node Link Setup (NLS). While it's kinda premature to sweat the NLS details before the new primaries' specifics have even been locked in, broaching the subject in broad strokes seems reasonable. Thing here is, by base proximity standards, this has now become a 3-1-3 kinda map, and such arrangements don't crop up very frequently among the ONS community's output, especially popular, well-performing specimens thereof to examine and borrow ideas from. The closest-matching successful concepts here are MasterBath and GunShop's, but neither is an exact fit for the (kinda obvious) reason that they're 3-primaries maps and their NLSes are so vanilla straightforward that they provide no cutoffs, relying on the maps' geometry and mix of other elements to deliver strategic depth. Distances from one core to another is also another reason why the comparison isn't ideal.
If matching it to extant, successful 3-1-3's isn't helping, generalizing a bit and seeing it as a 7-node map might help, but then this edit is rare even by that broader standard, since most of those have more than one midsection node. While considering the example of StarReach's 2-3-2 setup awhile back though, this compromise crossed my mind: what if this edit can also be viewed as a 2-3-2 map, but with its lateral midsection nodes rotated 90 degrees around its central node? Take StarReach, keep all its connections as they are, move around the two tower midsection nodes in the graph as described, then just apply that NLS to Dinora. One obvious point here might be that there's four permutations of that to try, based on which primary you map to which, since both the Dinora (new) primaries' number of connections as well as their location and proximal cover would create meaningful strategic differences that would necessitate further weighing before a final NLS could be decided, but that's as far as I went with it for now. The benefit of borrowing the 2-3-2 pattern is that it offers cutoff possibilities, though at the expense of having a degree-4 node, which I generally try to avoid because they tend to attract most of a match's action due to their (far) higher strategic value. Be that as it may, deep links can still serve as a significantly alternative route.
- On to aesthetics stuff now, I noticed on a number of occasions that the cliff st.mesh "slices" seemed to pop into and out of view in the far, but still visible distance, and no amount of DistanceFogEnd or per-st.mesh CullDistance fiddling seemed capable of fixing it. If previous research in this thread is to be believed, it may just be that this (minor) cost is now incurred to no apparent GFX performance benefit.
- Minor visual cacophonies with st.meshes partially (dis)appearing through terrain near bases: StaticMeshActor497 can flicker through terrain near the core window and is otherwise useless (delete?), and SMA178 & SMA804 seem sunk in a pretty unconvincing manner (dig up a bit?).
- Right off the bat I should note here that this next issue will be mind-numbingly boring to fix and probably nobody will notice that you did so anyway, so just in case the obsessive-compulsive completist inside of you insists on delivering a "finished job", here's the full list of all 32 lampposts n' lights (or lanterns) that are misaligned from their correctly-positioned flares and could use a group moving: Light38, L71, L63, L53, L55, L14, L12, L59, L57, L5, L106, L61, L112, L114, L104, L94, L92, L90, L124, L122, L87, L139, L156, L98, L26, L22, L42, L40, L47, L49, L134, L67. In most cases, lampposts & misc assets need repositioning over flare lights, but for the few, placed lanterns, it's the converse. I only suggest tacking this if you got some leftover podcast episode to burn through though :).
- While I'm on the optional fiddly fare, don't worry too much about finding a lighthouse st.mesh; it'd just be a window dressing item outside the playable space, likely visible only from positions halfway into the sea.
- The radar image update should only become a concern after the ship primaries' design gets locked in, otherwise it's just gonna be a back-n-forth waste of effort to revise it later on. Tiny note here (probably to self, just in case I forget): new radar pic might likely require temporarily removing the sea xProcMeshes' specular layer, since current one already suffers from a white spot because of it. Come to think of it, why xProcMeshes in the first place and not normal FluidSurfaceInfos? I've yet to find out the reason...
- Same "hold off until ship primaries are finalized" advice applies to getting some new pics for the map's preview.
- This project aims to be is a pretty substantive improvement edit rather than just another maintenance quickie. I'd say, you'd be well within your rights to stick a Changelog class in it, list all the changes there to help keep track of things for future reference, as well as to name yourself the edit's author for posterity's sake. Modesty is a virtue, but so is a healthy sense of self-worth, so brand this piggy ;).


Finally, we can move on to the discussion of this edit's biggest "selling point", as in the addition of two new, shipwrecked primaries. Now, I gotta admit up front that my feedback's first draft ended up coming out a bit too critical, dry, and maybe even catechistic for my taste, leaning more on all the arbitrary standards that should have been observed but weren't, rather than being inspiring and elucidating. So I scrapped the whole thing and went for a more constructive approach.
That's the long way of saying that I basically decided to try my own hand at the concept I was pitching from a clean slate, focusing on making just the north ship primary as good as I could, documenting my design process along the way, explaining what each step tried to achieve or avoid and why specific choices were made. I wouldn't call it a finished product, even in the scope of just that one node, but for instructive purposes, it has the twin advantages of providing an additional edit to examine and playtest in action, instead of relying on mere words and hoping their guidance would lead to a superior result, but also allowing us further down the road to compare notes on what we were aiming for in each step and what we might've forgotten or needlessly worried about. So, let's roll the tape first before getting to the download link and final words...


* First the ship st.mesh itself, which I copied n' placed in mid-air, slightly above the sea. Zeroed all rotation values and started with its individual DrawScale components. Any Z value over 2.0 prevented smooth walking over the deck to the elevated front/bow section; any Z value over 1.4-1.5 created trouble walking up n' down parts of the stairs to the aft section; use of stairs is also affected by incline, which itself is a Z/X ratio even when rotation values are zero, since, as X goes down while Z stays constant, stairs can get impossibly steep to climb. All told, I settled on a Y value of 2.2, which allowed a full dodge jump left or right from the middle of the ship, where the node would be, and an X, Z combo of 2.0 and 1.1 respectively that allows a pedestrian to still fit under the stairs (I dunno why, but maybe someone will want to), as well as climb 'em up easily throughout their width.
* Placed node base in the middle of the cargo doors, added two trios of spawn points, one at the front, facing center, the other outside the captain cabin's door, also facing the node, with the latter set enjoying a bit more cover (maybe a fourth playerstart can be added there?). Each one needs a locker nearby, since covering the deck distance under attack could put spawning defenders at a disadvantage. The two lockers on deck are positioned diametrically opposed, the front one dictating the arrangement based on which side the broken mast will be placed. Lastly, an xTeamBanner and manta spawn abaft for good measure :).
* With the node area mostly complete, I can now sink everything as much as I like into the water and start focusing on the rotation of the whole set. The elevated aft offers some natural coverage for the node, so it makes sense to dip slightly towards the front (negative pitch), and then to do similarly for roll. With everything selected, I opted for -532 for Pitch and -1140 for Roll, so as to "sell" the ran-aground ship theme but without seriously affecting playability over the area. Depending on where in the map your pivot point is, some further adjustments might be required for the playerstarts, the xTeamBanner and maybe one of the lockers' rotation components afterwards (just re-issue the ship's figures for the latter).
* Next up is the broken front mast, which should be leaning into the sea from the opposite side of the front locker, forming a ramp players can climb aboard from. I ended up scaling mine to X=2.5,Y=2.0,Z=3.5 and rotated it to something like Pitch=21672,Roll=-10080. Btw, after this step and with all the assets selected together (14 actors for me I think), it might help to go to the Group browser and make a new group for them for easier (re)selection later.
* Arguably the most important aspect of the new primaries' design is their location. Since they'll be in some proximity to the beach nodes and possibly within reach of central hill snipers n' vehicle campers, I did some number crunching, based on all the present weapons' effective ranges and the 3,500UU elevation offset from sea level to the central node's west-most wooden platforms, summed up in these two figures, one for hitscans and one for shell projectiles (relevant horizontal ranges depicted by the cyan polygons, ZoneInfo's DistanceFogEnd by the yellow circles, and in all cases from the vantage points of players standing on the westmost wooden platforms), to find out what sort of positioning leeway away from the center node that affords. The conclusion is that there's enough distance from the center node before fog completely occludes the ship primaries to only need to worry about providing geometric cover to them from the beach nodes' incoming fire. That dictates how the entire set should be rotated yaw-wise to have each ship's aft directly facing the beach nodes. With a proper combo of a sufficiently sunken bow, a tall enough aft section, possibly a custom-defined, lowered node disc height and/or the presence of a (big enough) aft xTeamBanner, those should be sufficient visual obstructions to prevent shots from the beach nodes' immediate vicinity.
Additional considerations related to those nodes' defensive bias might also dictate how nearby reefs are placed to reach the ships via hops or jumppads, or that the WaterVolume's acceleration (and gravity?) values should be lowered enough to allow swimming back against the current and towards the ships if someone falls into the sea. A last aesthetic thought would be about trying to get the ship primaries' position to be as symmetrical as possible to the cliff primaries, given all the numerous above constraints.
* Once decided on the final position and rotation for the group, some of the nearby reefs (and splash emitters) might also need adjusting/scaling/moving/deleting to accommodate transit and the map's theme. Same for any broken jumpads' destinations and FlyingPathNodes or HoverPathNodes needed to reach the node. Lastly, one of the nearby reef rocks can be moved near the more sunk side of the ship's hull for thematic purposes (perhaps some of those wooden plank st.meshes, too), and, finally, one of those splash emitters, with its rotation adjusted if need be, can be brought close to the ship primary's current-facing side to wrap it all up.
* Decided to add a healthcharger under the aft section stairs, and a shieldcharger at the far front end of the ship, turning the latter's base hidden because the thematic clash would be pretty striking otherwise.
* Moved around a few of the nearby reefs to ensure people can jump off the proximal base's cliff and into the water, if need be, and from there to have a viable rock-hopping path to the ship primary's broken mast.

Anyone who wants to give my WIP a try can get it here: ONS-Dinora-32p-C-beta1-PegWIP-NorthShipPrimary.rar, compressed rar archive, 2.79MB, contains only the map file, assumes you already got the other dependencies from Ema's edit, previously posted in this thread.

If I had to offer some conclusions from my own try n' after several rounds of playtesting, I'd say it's mostly okay, but still not 100% complete. On the bright side, for example, neither the center spawning SPMA nor a badger parked at the end of those nearby wooden platforms can reach the node with their weapons. Shielding from incoming fire from the nearby beach node was a bit trickier to handle because the ship was already titled far enough for my liking so I absolutely refused to dip its bow any further into the water. Moving the ship primary's entire set away a bit more and - as a measure of last resort that I'd generally avoid because it departs from an established ONS convention players generally expect to be upheld - lowering the primary's node disc by 100UU seemed to do the trick: infantry on the beach can't even see the node disc now and neither can the node's energy turret.
The goliath that spawns there can see a tiny bit of the disc's upper part and posed a problem for awhile, but after the disc got lowered from its default 380UU height, due to the ship st.mesh's aft railings' slant, nothing seemed to be able to get through in the end - at least as far as the tank's spawning position is concerned. There is a small area nearby that the tank can make use of, if it starts moving towards the map's midsection along the beach, where the node is completely exposed, but the tank will be a sitting duck there from multiple directions, and if it keeps moving a big rock immediately starts to obstruct the view again, so it seems fairly balanced.
The last thing that merits mentioning here, as far as this design's loose ends go, and because I did leave the not so bright side part of that figure of speech dangling, is that the ship primary now has a major defensive bias. If the dominating team does manage to flip it, the defending team can just keep sniping it from their base's own cliff, preventing attackers from ever spawning there again. I didn't want to push the entire set even further out towards the map's western border, but I can't think of any more elegant a solution right now, so if nothing better gets proposed, that's the only fallback suggestion I can offer about the issue.
Edit: In my rush to get this out early, I forgot to include a few extra things that could (or should) be added to the node: node name in the node's properties (something like "North ship primary"), along with an enveloping volume associated with it for location purposes, for one thing. For another, some kinda ambient sound befitting the shipwreck's creaking wood as the waves hit it could be added. I can't think of anything besides Rankin's myLevel.wcreak2outoflines2 audio fx that fits the bill off the top of my head, but it's serviceable. Also, maybe an attempt to make players' footsteps on the ship also sound like walking on wood, although that might require adding a new ZoneInfo & ZoneEffect combo in the node area's volume, and that way can lie fog settings clashes, so care would be required. That last addition might be pretty hard to pick up over the sound of crashing waves all around, too, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Finally and most ambitiously, the ship's st.mesh could be edited to make the door to the captain's quarters/cabin open and add a space inside, perhaps with windows to the back, so that something useful could be placed there or so that players could have a more concealed place to snipe at their beach enemies from. Of course we'd need to consult with a modeling specialist, like GLoups, to tell how feasible that would be in terms of the playable space it could end up affording editors. If it would require significantly upscaling the st.mesh for a player to fit in, for example, it wouldn't make sense to attempt it, given the bigger gameplay considerations discussed previously here that dictate the ship not become much larger. Just dropping it here as food for inspiration though ;).


Once again, sorry for taking this long to respond. I could offer the cheap excuse that, when it comes to big improvement edits like this, a typical duration from start to confidently calling it complete can stretch to a couple of months (rather than a few weeks for smaller scope edits). Instead, I'm just gonna aim for delivering sooner from now on, in smaller doses if I can't include all my remaining feedback in one go. Anyway, hope some of the above helps.


PS: The only thing I'll say about the central cliff's new jumppad path is that, on the north side, I only managed to make it to the top once after a dozen tries, while on the south side, my success rate was zero because the rock jumppad always bumps you on the cliff, sending you plummeting to the ground below.
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Dinora

Post by GLoups! » Mon 21. Oct 2019, 09:59

In addition to Peg's impressive work:

- First WaterVolume0 has been moved (badly) from it's original location.

- The X axes of gravity's properties of the three WaterVolume should now be changed, or best to zero, this counter must no longer exist since it prevents players from venturing away from the beach (and therefore from the battlefield), but now there is new nodes in the sea, thus water isn't destuctive for vehicles and the cicadas can fly inside.

Pegasus wrote:
Sun 20. Oct 2019, 09:16
- On to aesthetics stuff now, I noticed on a number of occasions that the cliff st.mesh "slices" seemed to pop into and out of view in the far, but still visible distance, and no amount of DistanceFogEnd or per-st.mesh CullDistance fiddling seemed capable of fixing it. If previous research in this thread is to be believed, it may just be that this (minor) cost is now incurred to no apparent GFX performance benefit.
I think we had seen that cutting the SMs was useless (or almost), it is now a problem that must be solved by returning to the original Cliffs, already try/it works (the cuts ones must be completly delete before pasting the olds for avoid bad painting).

Because of the theme of the map that has nothing to offer to science-fiction, i think the rocks should not float on the water, and the addition of ForcedDirVolumes seems necessary here to avoid the players an excruciating death by clashing with invisible walls, the SPMA can be fixed this way.

- New nodes on the boats should not be able to be hit from the bases.

- I do not see the interest of making TeamBanners immobile but if you really want it, it might be wiser to replace them by the correspondents StaticMeshs.

- PhysicsVolume2 and 3 are useless,annoying and should be delete.