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XSI Modeler Here


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#1 Epifire

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:18 PM

Hey guys just wanted to know the ins and outs of what is done differently for making models in the Dark Mod. It looks very straight forward but there are some things I had been wanting to get out of the way before starting.

1: Are there support plugins for Softimage XSI to be able to export to ASE? If there are what versions of XSI are supported?

2: If XSI is not supported is there a third party exporter that can do the job instead of a plugin?

3: Where can I find a guide listing a full setup of exporting info (like making collision models, shadow etc)?

I come from a background of making models and levels in Source so I imagine it can't be all that different. Maybe even a little easier depending if you guys have as many problems in the development pipeline as us Source modders do. But just a general walk through on what to expect and run into, whether LODs are that necessary for static models and what kind of poly limit ceilings there are.

Thanks in advance.

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#2 Springheel

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:27 PM

Can't say anything about Softimage XSI, sorry.

Here is some information about modelling for TDM in general: http://wiki.thedarkm...o_Model_for_TDM

#3 Baddcog

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:28 PM

1: you tell us :)
2: see 1 :D
3: probably some stuff on the wiki, see link up top... busy playing tf2 atm ;)

we can do LODs now thatnks to Tels, so yes good to have. same as source for models basically but only export, no conversion programs, so thats nice.

I'll be back, happy to help with any questions...
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#4 Epifire

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:42 PM

Well the good news is I believe the ASE file type is widely used cause I already have an installed plugin that can support that in XSI. I will find out if I am wrong but I think it should work. Thanks for the links btw.

Also nice to hear some one else plays TF 2 here besides me. :P

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#5 Baddcog

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

lol yeah too much :D

collision mesh is required for moveables (anything player can throw). Has to be very simple, basically 7 sided cylinder or less. Put collision material on it, there is a list somewhere for our specific col mats. ie:collision_metal, collision_wood...
For large unmoveable objects collision can be multi material (wood and metal) and the main purpose is to simplify collision of arrows ,etc... Not as important but it doesn't hurt.

shadow mesh is just a very simple shape that gives the basic shape for shadows. this is VERY important. Biggest impact to performance is shadowcasting/dynamic lights so everything needs as low a shadow as possible.

export both those meshes in the same file as the model.

model can be multi material to use existing resources, of course fewer is better pref (fewer draw calls)
-------
Polycount is tough. Good judgement helps. I like things like goblets to be at least 8 sided, player sees them a lot and up close. But 200 polys is probably more than enough with a shadow of 40 maybe. Ai are around 5,000 I think with shadows of 1500, maybe 2000 max?

Of course LOD's are now in place, so a fancy goblet could probably be 500 tris, with maybe 2 lod's at 200 and 100. (shadows of 150, 75, 40) A goblet needs higher shadow tris just because of the shape. We only have about 10 models currently with LOD as it was a late development (1.07 I think), so 1.08 got some new models and I loded them. They need their own files.
Maybe call them
goblet_01_hi
goblet_01_med
goblet_01_low
-----------
Difference than with source is materials and def files. Source had things like LOD's in the model file. We have a definition file (def), text edit with notepad++ (for linux compat), it tells things like lod's , attachments (light sources) weights, etc..
(these are used in game as entities, not as models, models just sit there with no additional properties)

Materials are somewhat like source. (.mat) they have the material name, properties (metal, wood), and all the textures used (diffuse, spec, normal) plus they have shader instructions so it's best to copy/paste existing ones. The shader instructions work with out world ambient light , without it they will be wonky.

textures are 512+, ai are probably 1024, 2048 depending
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#6 RPGista

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:30 PM

For me the workflow (working with ase files) is the following:

The model can either have its own textures, or use textures already in the game. For that you need to uvmap them correctly (helps to get a preview of the mod texture you would be using, if any), but the actual textures will not be carried "on" the model, they will be called from inside the ase file. See below.

You then model a much simpler version on another layer and texture it with the shadow texture in TDM (it had to be inside the original model, Ive experienced some problems with shadowmeshes that were sticking out).

The same for an even simpler (basicly a prism) collision mesh, with its TDM texture.

The textures being used will have to be placed inside apropriate folders and given material shaders. Thats where you'll tell the game what material they are made of (wood, stone, etc), where their normals and specular are, etc.

Once you place the ase file in an apropriate folder, you have to manually edit the file as text and replace the lines pointing to whatever texture images you were using inside the modeler for the new material (that you just created) path. The model might have its own material, but the shadow and collision meshes will have to refer to their existing materials inside the mod files.

There are wiki for all these steps (how to make materials, etc), and you can check my thread on the editors forum and download one of the models as an example.

#7 Baddcog

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 12:17 AM

You then model a much simpler version on another layer and texture it with the shadow texture in TDM (it had to be inside the original model, Ive experienced some problems with shadowmeshes that were sticking out)


That's using shadow material, which casts shadows on itself (the model). So if the shadow mesh sticks out then it can leave a weird shadow.

If you use shadow2 however it fixes that issues (shadow 2 has NoSelfShadow property). Issues with that material: the arm of a statue won't cast it's shadow on the body. While not 'realistic' in game it's not all that noticeable really. The shading from lights still shades the model properly so that usually covers it up anyway.
Noselfshadow materials don't cast shadows on themselves or OTHER noselfshadow materials. So if there is a crate in the statues shadow, and the crate texture was NoSelfShadow it also wouldn't get a shadow from the statue. But this is even less of a big deal, mostly Shadow2 is used on shadow meshes, so you'd never see if one shadow mesh has the shadow from another shadow mesh anyway. Also, all objects have a shadow mesh, so the textures won't have a NoSelfShadow property (or at least shouldn't, some may.. I dunno, I learned about this pretty late in the game). Their textures will have noshadows though, as you don't want the crate AND it's shadow mesh casting shadows.
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#8 Epifire

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:51 PM

Some useful information. Def files sound a lot like ODF files from my modding back in the Zero Engine (aka Star Wars Battlefront) or just like post-compile QC files (Source related). So I take it ASE files can be used directly with the engine and no further compiling is needed? Seems a good deal simpler then Source's backward export to this version just to compile that to this version that the engine can use. So yeah, it looks like I will be visiting the modeling specifics page a lot when trying to make some meshes.

Since I mainly work with levels only, I would likely just be making static architecture props or some physics props. The one thing that really concerns me now is the measurements from Radiant units to XSI units. In Source each unit is the equivalent to one XSI grid square so that is made easy for that line of work. Last time I was exporting ASE files (working in Unreal) I managed to make jar sized props out of my stuff I tried to make so that doesn't bode well for me when I look at how this could end up. Doesn't help that I seem to be the only XSI user here.

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#9 RPGista

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

In this case the best bet would be to either import a similar object to the one you are creating, or, like me, have a character model lying around you can import and use as reference, to see exactly how it will measure up to the people inside the game.

I dont know your modeler, I use Modo myself, but as long as you can output ase files you should be fine. The process is simple once you do it one or two times and there is a bunch of people that can help at any stage on the editors forum. ;)

PS: If I ever make a mission again, I would like to use architecture models for most of the map.

Edited by RPGista, 15 February 2013 - 06:35 PM.


#10 Baddcog

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:44 PM

Honestly the worst part of modelling for me in TDM is the back and forth between text files.

Mostly it's just material files, which can be copy/pasted for the most part and just put in your texture names. So it's not that bad.
def files if your objects move and/or have attachments.

Mostly just having to jump back and forth through folders, even worse is having a clean game to test, then moving them to svn to upload... After a long day of work it gets confusing.

But you have to do that in Source, plus compile.
-------

Can't say anything about the grid scale really, not sure what XSI uses or if it can be adjusted :ie: Max lets you use feet, meters, generic units. generic units work pretty well.

IF you can import .ase you could make some grid snapped cubes in DR, export as .ase and then import them into XSI.

Ah here...

here's an .obj and an .ase , they have a 1x1x1 DR cube and a cube the approx size of an ai (84 units tall) (doors are 48x96 tall)Attached File  tdm_gridsize_obj.txt   1.88KB   1 downloads
.Attached File  tdm_grid_size_ase.txt   17.11KB   1 downloads
just change the extentions to .obj and .ase respectively.
------

architecture models would be great to have too, something we're a bit shy on atm.
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#11 Nosslak

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:56 PM

Some useful information. Def files sound a lot like ODF files from my modding back in the Zero Engine (aka Star Wars Battlefront) or just like post-compile QC files (Source related). So I take it ASE files can be used directly with the engine and no further compiling is needed? Seems a good deal simpler then Source's backward export to this version just to compile that to this version that the engine can use. So yeah, it looks like I will be visiting the modeling specifics page a lot when trying to make some meshes. Since I mainly work with levels only, I would likely just be making static architecture props or some physics props. The one thing that really concerns me now is the measurements from Radiant units to XSI units. In Source each unit is the equivalent to one XSI grid square so that is made easy for that line of work. Last time I was exporting ASE files (working in Unreal) I managed to make jar sized props out of my stuff I tried to make so that doesn't bode well for me when I look at how this could end up. Doesn't help that I seem to be the only XSI user here.

Try importing one of the character models for scale and use that as reference.

#12 Epifire

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:22 PM

Well currently I got some ideas for some grates and vents to go along floors and such. Good news is after importing those meshes for measurement I found to my delight that they were sized within my grid. So that is a definite plus.

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#13 Baddcog

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:13 PM

Good thing, looking forward to seeing what you make.
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#14 Epifire

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:54 PM

Well after getting what should be the correct measurements in Dark Radiant I set out to construct my first model for the Dark Engine. So here is a preview of the 1st of two meshes (one with bars one solid) that can be added as a structural prop for general uses along low areas where building foundations meet the pavement...

Posted Image


Should be working on the texture and the second version with the variation of the solid middle tomorrow. Maybe with some quick and easy normals I will see how they look if I get them to work.
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You need a model? Epi does you a model.

 

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#15 Baddcog

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:39 AM

Nice!, I have been meaning to add some of that type of window to my current project but I keep making buildings and I keep NOT making those windows.
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#16 Epifire

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

Well unless I start having weird issues I think I will start putting screenshots of project items in the, "what are you working on thread" as I think that is the appropriate place for them. Thanks for all the great tips though guys.

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#17 Bikerdude

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 07:59 AM

Are there support plugins for Softimage XSI to be able to export to ASE? If there are what versions of XSI are supported?

What was the answer to this..?



#18 Epifire

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:22 PM

Ohhh man I always wondered where this thread went when I came back years later. Uhhh, I don't think I ever found much luck in Softimage exporters as it was discontinued by Autodesk about a year ago or so. Now it's fallen so far out of the user base it's hard to even get proper google info search going for it.

 

I basically just went to Blender for final exportation as it had mostly working LWO support. Which at this rate is just the superior file type for id4 anyway since it's very compact and is the native file type.


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#19 HMart

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:23 PM

Afaik XSI has no ASE exporter but why is that format so well regarded here?

 

IMO .lwo is much better and XSI can export .lwo files, this file is binary, so no need for the text to binary conversion at init time, makes for smaller files, smaller files means less memory used and being binary also means faster level start time, that was why id made all the files binary on BFG engine.

 

Btw i'm not one for trying to "sell" a 3D tool here, but imo anyone using idtech 4 should look into Luxology Modo (ok and blender), specially the older 605 or 701 plus versions (the ones i know work flawlessly with idtech 4), I've said this before but Seneca one of the level designers for Doom 3 (and new games) uses Modo and used it for Doom3 levels, he is also a coder so he was able to make fantastic plugging's for this 3D app, some specially for idtech engine level editing, there's no MD5 exporter for Modo (605 and 701 have no bone animation) but I bet there's none for XSI either.

 

http://www.indigosm.com/modoscripts.htm    

 

 

p.s  - Modo also has a ASE exporter plugging for the ones that really want it, was made for Unreal Engine 3 but it works on idtech 4 has well, I've tested it (on Modo 605).   


Edited by HMart, 25 June 2017 - 02:33 PM.

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#20 Epifire

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 09:50 PM

Yeah believe me XSI has the support but the smoothing is completely broken in my own tests. You still have to run another app (Lightwave or Blender) to finalize the export and correct the smoothing data. 

 

I currently use XSI + Lightwave to handle my modeling at current but I didn't know Modo had such a wide file type support. Softimage stopped getting decent file support around the 2011 era when the company decided to stop focusing on it. There are plenty of Python script addons out there, but the databases storing them are starting to get archived since it's just so old now.  :unsure:

 

I still use it but the sad sad truth is after nearly a decade of using it I probs gotta pickup Maya or 3DSMax.


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