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RPGista's mapping and modeling thread


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#26 Bikerdude

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:18 PM

* a plain, non-descript and tiling basic layer (this can then also applied via skin to various other models we have, like statues etc.)
* a set of (fairly hires) lichen-decals.
Then we can make different skins for the bench, or bench-prefabs or whatever.

+1

#27 RPGista

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:10 AM

Im using a hand painted texture based on an unrwapped texture map, which means no tiling textures are used. What I had in mind was to make a couple of different textures for each bench, that should be enough for a little variation. By editting the texture's tga, anyone can come up with their own textures in 5 minutes (just a matter of coming up with some references and using the clone stamp really, and then making a simple normal map of it in gimp (automatic)), without needing to know anything about modeling.

As for the shadow mesh and the whole layer thing, it is a bummer I need to retrace the thing again, since its all deformed, its not as simple as sticking a prism there, but lets see, still need to find the right proportions for them. Im actually using Modo which has a strange way of setting up the layers... Lets see if I can get it right.

#28 Tels

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:21 AM

Im using a hand painted texture based on an unrwapped texture map, which means no tiling textures are used. What I had in mind was to make a couple of different textures for each bench, that should be enough for a little variation. By editting the texture's tga, anyone can come up with their own textures in 5 minutes (just a matter of coming up with some references and using the clone stamp really, and then making a simple normal map of it in gimp (automatic)), without needing to know anything about modeling.


Apart from the fact that most mappers do not have the skill to make textures (I don't!), they also haven't gotten the time, and distributing 2 different bench textures with every other FM isn't fun, either. Trust us, when we say "make it so", its better that way long-tem :)
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

#29 Springheel

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 08:36 AM

As for the shadow mesh and the whole layer thing, it is a bummer I need to retrace the thing again, since its all deformed, its not as simple as sticking a prism there,


It should be that simple. I don't know how blender works, but in LW it would take sixty seconds. Draw a prism, adjust the edges so they're inside the visible mesh, give it the textures/common/shadow texture, and done. I'd do it for you but I can't work with .ase.

What I had in mind was to make a couple of different textures for each bench, that should be enough for a little variation


Sounds good to me.

#30 demagogue

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 09:00 AM

The punchline of this thread is that we need a good A-Z tutorial about getting models into TDM, for Blender definitely and Lightwave if possible. Then we can just throw up a link to it ... Especially on the latter steps like texturing, the material shader, the shadow mesh, etc (since there are plenty of tutorials out there for the actual modeling, although it'd be nice to have some tips for low-poly modeling).
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#31 RPGista

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 09:58 AM

Tels - I agree with you, but Im afraid its too late for this model, its meant to be a unique piece, the texture is hand painted and could not be used to texture other models. One could make a case for actually creating a tiling texture (and material) that looks like that (old stone with moss, etc) for in-editor use, but that is not something I would be good at (or ever did before). This is also the only way I know how to texture models right now, by the way.

As for mappers creating textures, you might have misunderstood me - it is not complicated at all, as far as I know the ASE model is packaged with the texture (and material shader) as a separate file(s). Its a tga image that anyone can put into an editor and paint over (if you want to take away the lichen thingies for example, or maybe give it all a brownish tone by changing the color levels). It will be automatically updated when the model is loaded in game. The normal map requires zero manipulation to be made (just run a gimp filter on the image), so all in all, it would be rather simple for anyone to change the existing model's textures to their liking.

In theory (you probably know all this, but for anyone else reading), if you dont want to overwritte the original model, you could copy the ase, the material shader and the texture files, rename them, update the paths inside each file, and then you could have several variations of the same model to use in the editor, a brown stone one, one with a crack painted on it, one with a blood stain, etc. Just draw over the existing texture tga, and update the normal map when needed (might include a small tutorial in the file when released).

Demagogue - Definetely. Going by the wiki instructions, it was a lot of trial and error till I understood enough of the process to be able to put the models in the game, and just barely. Im not the most patient guy though, but a a-z from the very beginning to be putting the models in the maps in DR would be a major help for small time modelers like me. I could try to help, but I lack all the technical linguo.

Springheel - thanks for all the help, will give it a try soon. ;)

Posted Image

The model's reference.

#32 Springheel

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:23 AM

In theory (you probably know all this, but for anyone else reading), if you dont want to overwritte the original model,


It's actually much easier than that. You can create skin files that allow you to swap material shaders from DR without doing anything specific to the model.

But it's not something you have to worry about. Anyone can create new skins that point to default stone textures after the fact.

#33 RPGista

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 11:30 AM

Yep, or you can simply point to a any existing texture, in the paths inside the model's ASE, thanks for reminding me. Just dropped by to say that I (think) successfuly created the shadow mesh!, you can see its not pixel perfect with the model (because of the chanfers, thats actually how I confirmed it was the shadow mesh working in game), and the profile is a lot flatter, but its barely noticeable at all, and its only about 160 tris, so should work better.

Posted Image

I actually work on Modo so I had to keep the meshes separated in different layers so as to not mess up the uv maps I had already done, tried that and it seems to work fine, so I was relieved by that.

The olive press is killing me though. ;)

Edited by RPGista, 13 July 2012 - 11:33 AM.

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#34 SiyahParsomen

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 11:44 AM

The olive press is killing me though. ;)


I know what you mean.;) When you work on olive pressing more than an hour your arms die, right?

nah kiddin', it was your previous model.

#35 Springheel

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 12:24 PM

its only about 160 tris, so should work better.


Yes, that looks great. :)

If you're ready to upload it somewhere, I can try to squeeze it into 1.08.

#36 Nosslak

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 12:42 PM

Yep, or you can simply point to a any existing texture, in the paths inside the model's ASE, thanks for reminding me. Just dropped by to say that I (think) successfuly created the shadow mesh!, you can see its not pixel perfect with the model (because of the chanfers, thats actually how I confirmed it was the shadow mesh working in game), and the profile is a lot flatter, but its barely noticeable at all, and its only about 160 tris, so should work better.

Posted Image

For the shadowmesh you only need to care about the silhouette and that it's fully contained within the visible lowpoly, it doesn't matter if the shading looks like shit or not. IOW you can remove all the bevels at ~90 degree angles and you'd be able to save a lot of polys. You should also keep in mind that this model will probably mostly be lit from above so you could probably remove a lot of polys to make the feet a bit blockier (you could probably remove every second horizontal loop on them) and it would very rarely be seen.

#37 Tels

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 01:12 AM

Tels - I agree with you, but Im afraid its too late for this model, its meant to be a unique piece, the texture is hand painted and could not be used to texture other models. One could make a case for actually creating a tiling texture (and material) that looks like that (old stone with moss, etc) for in-editor use, but that is not something I would be good at (or ever did before). This is also the only way I know how to texture models right now, by the way.

As for mappers creating textures, you might have misunderstood me - it is not complicated at all, as far as I know the ASE model is packaged with the texture (and material shader) as a separate file(s). Its a tga image that anyone can put into an editor and paint over (if you want to take away the lichen thingies for example, or maybe give it all a brownish tone by changing the color levels). It will be automatically updated when the model is loaded in game. The normal map requires zero manipulation to be made (just run a gimp filter on the image), so all in all, it would be rather simple for anyone to change the existing model's textures to their liking.


The problem here is that many people justlack the artistic skills - I know I can spent 2 hours with Gimp and the replacement texture would still look like crap. :)

Another point we are running into is that TDM maps use way to much memory. Our process is limited to 32bit, which means 4 GByte adressable space, and if you deduct 1 (or 2 for windows) GByte for the kernel, you are left with a finite amount of memory.

Granted, Serpentines work on compressing normal maps will help a lot, but you have also to take into consideration that most graphic cards out there have 1024 Mbyte or even only 512 (or God forbid even lower).

So every texture has to fit into that limit, if not, swapping from/to main memory occurs. And that makes everything stutter really bad. So if someone adds anothe 3 Mbyte (1024x1024 pixel * 3 RGB) texture, they are running against this limit.

Sure, one more won't hurt. But if every object in the game brings it's own texture, and then a mapper makes 2 variants for some, then this adds up really really fast. A lot of the current FMs already only run with 512 Mbyte graphic cards, and some of them regulary require you to have 1024 (or swapping occurs).

So, in the long term it is much needed that we save texture space by re-using common textures. Just saying :)

Posted Image

The model's reference.


Nice scene, like the wall and the arc in the distance!
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

#38 SeriousToni

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 05:21 AM

Why do you draw this by hand?! It's a simple stone texture with some moss spots that you can easily photograph or find in the internet! :blink:

And for the problem with the texture memory usage, I think I didn't understand this right:
There are factors that expanse the RAM usage like the texture resoultion (is my texture 512x512 or 2048x2048 ?). And if the texture would be a texture, that is used in the same vis portal again, it would lower the RAM usage because it had only to load one texture instead of two different (one for the wall and one for the bench).
Is this right?
As I made many models and textures myself I'm now curious if I did things right and where I could have made improvements (for next map?).
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#39 Tels

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:03 AM

Why do you draw this by hand?! It's a simple stone texture with some moss spots that you can easily photograph or find in the internet! :blink:


Not every texture or photograph on the internet can be used freely. And even if it can, it is not so easy to make these into good textures. The diffuse part must be evenly lit, with no shadows on it, and usually it also should tile etc.

The point here wasn't that you COULD use a different texture - the point was that the texture for one object contains easily reconizable features, then having 2 or more objects next to each other makes it obvious that they are clones - humans are good at spotting such patterns :)

This is the same reason why tilable textures should usually not have distinct features - you don't want patterns to appear on a brickwall or ground. The detail features should be added later via dirt and stain decals, so they are unique for each object/wall etc.

And for the problem with the texture memory usage, I think I didn't understand this right:
There are factors that expanse the RAM usage like the texture resoultion (is my texture 512x512 or 2048x2048 ?). And if the texture would be a texture, that is used in the same vis portal again, it would lower the RAM usage because it had only to load one texture instead of two different (one for the wall and one for the bench).
Is this right?


Yes, that is it, basically.

* if a texture is 512x512 instead of 1024x1024 it uses 1/4 of the memory. If you make it 2048x2048 it uses 4 times as much memory as a 1024x1024 texture.
* if you use DDS vs. TGA, the texture uses only about 1/4 of the memory (it gets loaded faster, and the graphic card can use it compressed)
* if you use the same texture on the wall and on the bench, it gets loaded/used only once, versus two times.
* if you use a texture in one area, and in another, sep. area a second texture, both will be loaded, but only one will be used at a time (slighlty better than using both at the same time)

Note that some materials use different textures, but the same normal map - this saves memory, too. Likewise, sometimes materials use the same diffuse but different normals (things engraved in stone). That also saves memory.

Hope that explains it.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

#40 RPGista

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:18 AM

Nosslak and Tels - point(s) taken. ;) The bench model is pretty ordinary but I think its a decent piece to have around a mission somewhere. My main concern right now are a bunch of small texture problems, I sent them to Springheel and hopefully we'll be able to solve any issues and release this soon (and in the future, probably wont need as much hand-holding, thanks guys).

ST - by hand drawn I meant painted to fit a UV map, thats why it cant be used as a tiling texture for other models.

Posted Image

By the way, does anyone have some tips as to how to unrwapp something like this?

Posted Image

Though those separate stones that composoe the base can indeed be treated as different texture islands, how exactly should I unwrapp the wheels and that center cilindrical piece? The way I did it, I have no way of creating a seamingless transition between the edges of the circular faces and the horixontal faces attached to them... Maybe I should learn to paint over the model in Modo, would that make it easier to make the texture between all faces seamingless?

Edited by RPGista, 14 July 2012 - 08:20 AM.


#41 rich_is_bored

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 11:32 PM

When UV mapping you are taking a three dimensional object and laying it's surface out in two dimensional space. It's like trying to peel an orange and lay the peel out flat. Tearing and stretching are unavoidable.

With a cylindrical shape most people do something like this...

Posted Image

Seams will be obvious but it's easy to paint them away if you use a program designed for this purpose. 2D image editing is a bit too tedious. I used to use a free program called tattoo but now this kind of functionality has made it's way into many modeling packages.

#42 Tels

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 03:18 AM

Nosslak and Tels - point(s) taken. ;) The bench model is pretty ordinary but I think its a decent piece to have around a mission somewhere. My main concern right now are a bunch of small texture problems, I sent them to Springheel and hopefully we'll be able to solve any issues and release this soon (and in the future, probably wont need as much hand-holding, thanks guys).

ST - by hand drawn I meant painted to fit a UV map, thats why it cant be used as a tiling texture for other models.

Posted Image


I am not an expert in modeling, but shouldn't it be possible to do the reverse - fit the UV map to an existing texture?

Apart from this, look at the left pice of the image. See the stains (darker) and lichen (brighter)? These could be a sep. layer, which could be added as a sep. stage in the material. This way you could f.i. "swap" the stains (or even remove them) with a skin. It would use even more memory, tho. (Sometimes one has to make trade-offs).

Anyway, real nice work! Don't worry too much about the technical details - the bench is much more than just "decent" :)
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

#43 RPGista

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 11:26 AM

Rich - thanks a lot for the pointers, I'll have to look into 3d painting then.

Tels - its good to know. It does sound like a lot of work for such a simple model, but I still have the photoshop files with all those details separated by layers, maybe we can look into that in the future. ;)

#44 RPGista

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:20 AM

By using (fighting with) 3d paint, I was able to tweak the corners of the benchs where the texture was not as seamingless as I would like it, and I think I made it work quite a bit better, best as I could.

Posted Image

I sent the finished models to Grayman as he was the first to request them, and will upload them for everyone after he releases his mission. ;)

Edited by RPGista, 19 July 2012 - 09:26 AM.

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#45 PPoe

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 12:46 PM

Good job!
He was sneeking silently in the night, moonlight was his enemy.
(Im not a native speaker, sorry for all miscleanous caused by my english..)

#46 grayman

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 02:08 PM

I found the first stone bench (stonebench_01a) already in darkmod. Did someone commit it to the trunk?

#47 Springheel

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 03:38 PM

Did someone commit it to the trunk?


Yes, I committed the previous version (with just one of the two textures) to TDM before the freeze so it would make 1.08.

#48 RPGista

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 04:36 PM

Then could you please replace the previous files with the ones I sent Grayman today? I have solved some texture issues and revised the normal maps.

PS: There are in fact 2 models (an eroded bench ("1") and a flat one ("2")), each with their own texture ("a"). They are named as "A" because I will soon create one or two different skins for them (B, C, etc).

Edited by RPGista, 19 July 2012 - 04:36 PM.


#49 RPGista

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:18 PM

Yeah, I was compelled to try my hand at head modelling because of the recent talks in replacing and/or creating more head variety for the game, but after a couple of frustrating days trying to learn loads of new stuff, I guess Im getting into deep waters here...

I have some issues:

Posted Image Posted Image

So I found some free models on turbosquid or polycount and been working on them to get a feel of what head modeling is all about. My idea was to create some different head gear for female characters (using the existing ones) but then I got greedy and decided to look for different faces I could include in there. The female face was a template and I did a lot of work on the eyes, cheecks, nose and mouth, and I was liking it; the male has basicly being about simplifying a rather detailed mesh to something around 1000 tris (in total, these are just pieces).

Problem now is, I guess I lost two days of work, because I dont understand anything about rigging and animation, but wouldnt new meshes need a lot of such work? So would new faces be useless unless I go about rigging and animating them (the mouth at least)? What about existing heads, can I just model new head gear and they will work automaticly as replacements for the original heads (sharing the same rigging), or would it be necessary to re-rig them as well? Just trying to understand if its worth the effort here, no point creating more stuff that isnt game ready I guess...

Edited by RPGista, 22 July 2012 - 03:19 PM.


#50 Springheel

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:40 PM

So would new faces be useless unless I go about rigging and animating them (the mouth at least)?


They can't be used in game without being rigged to our head skeleton (and creating a new entitydef for them). Our head rig is pretty simple, but if you've never done rigging before it might be a lot to take in all at once. It takes me about an hour to rig one, so if you produced a great new head with high poly normals (the part I find very difficult), I could probably rig it for you.

What about existing heads, can I just model new head gear and they will work automaticly as replacements for the original heads (sharing the same rigging)


It depends on the software you're using. You should be able to import an existing head mesh, make changes to it and then save it with all the rigging intact. If you add new polys (for a hat or hair or something) you would have to rig those verts, but pretty much everything you would add would be rigged to one bone (the head bone) which should make it fairly easy. Again, if you want to model new hats, helmets or hair, I can add that to the game pretty easily...and those are things I've been asking for for years. :)

Actually, one of my tasks for 1.09 is to go through and revisit our head models. Some of my first ones could use a lot of fixing up, and I'd like to spend some time on things like hair, which I didn't do particularly well.



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