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Spiral Stairs tutorial


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#1 R Soul

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 05:13 PM

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The aim of this tutorial is to describe how you can make a spiral staircase where the rotation of the steps is uniform from top to bottom.
 
1. Create a hollow cylinder to form the inside of the tower. That could be an empty cuboid with patches to make the curved walls, or a prism brush with many sides. If the outside of the tower should also be visible, you can use the technique in this video:
https://youtu.be/mDJqeCod0qQ?t=231
 
2. The next thing you need is a solid cylinder (prism) to form the central pillar.
DMkn6Aw.jpg
 
 
3. Create the first step like this (a height of 8 is used here) :
nzIAHmC.jpg
 
It goes all the way through the tower, and they share a common centre point (X and Y).
 
4. Apply a basic material, and use the surface inspector to align the textures. You should also align the texture on the bottom face, even though it cannot be seen; this step is going to be cloned many times, so it's wise to do it while texture alignment is fresh in your mind.
 
5. Make a clone of this step, move it up so it's stacked on the previous one, and use Modify > Rotate and Scale. Choose a Z rotation amount, say 10 degrees:
eVMMxYg.jpg
 
6. Check the steps' sizes to make sure they fully overlap each other and that there are no gaps between their ends and the tower's walls.
 
7. Repeat the process to build up the staircase. Here's an example with 10 steps, 90 degrees, with the first and last steps highlighted and the central pillar hidden:
Apk8L4N.jpg
 
Notice that there are effectively two spiral staircases in this tower. The second one will eventually be deleted.
 
8. Keep going until the staircase gets to the desired height. If you go past 350 degrees it may be easier to clone the bottom steps, or the whole thing. and move them up.
 
9. Once the stairs are as high as necessary, use the clipper to delete the un-required part of each step. In the example below, only a few steps are being used, which makes it easier to show the procedure.
 
5YW3s8Q.jpg
 
This staircase goes anticlockwise from the floor, and you'll notice that the 0 - 1 of the clipper also goes anticlockwise. Pressing Enter deletes the lower part of the brush:
uu1ugaw.jpg
 
10: Do the same for the other steps. Here's an example of the second step being clipped:
vAlKxDg.jpg
 
Once again the clipper is going anticlockwise, and there's no need to be too fussy about its angle as long as the whole cut is inside the central pillar.
 
After repeating the clipping process for the remaining steps you should end up with something like this:
SEyEDgB.jpg
 
Here's an ingame screenshot after adding a few more stairs and some lighting:
http://i.imgur.com/ZkrnMoz.jpg

 

You may find the stair texture is very repetitive, almost like a hall of mirrors effect, because the same features (a knot in a plank, or a crack in stone) repeats for every step. Some manual texture adjustment may be necessary to make it less obvious.


Edited by R Soul, 31 July 2017 - 05:57 PM.

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#2 Amadeus

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 05:39 PM

This is gorgeous and surprisingly relevant for what I'm working on. Thanks for posting!



#3 AluminumHaste

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 08:07 PM

I still prefer this method as it allows you to have perfectly aligned steps with no z fighting.

 

Step 1: Draw out a 192x192 brush

Step1.jpg

 

Step 2: With the top down view active, go to Patch->Create Bevel

Step2.jpg

 

Step 3: Delete the brush. Open Patch Inspector, set subdivisions to 8.

Step3.jpg


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#4 Sotha

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:25 AM

I'll share too!

 

I do it like this:

1) choose sizes. Pay attention to the fact that the staircase must go down so that right handed swordman has an advantage defending the staircase (easy to make it go the wrong direction).

2) Make a step and cut it half ways.

wzeo0DA.jpg

3) Cut it further by eye so that the steps are roughly the same size. I stay in grid 8 with few steps cut with grid 4. It does not matter if it is not mathematically 100% correct division. It is enough if it looks good by eye!

QVnLoSK.jpg

4) Move the steps so that a staircase quadrant is formed:

XNyeveo.jpg

5) Apply texture on the steps. Align it perfectly.

6) Now clone the ready made quadrant to make as long a staircase as you want! The cloned quadrants are super easy to place because they all meet at the center.

7) Make the entire staircase room modular and place a copy of it in an unused area of your map. This means that you never need to make spiral staircases again. If you need one, just make a copy of the one you already have. You could even make the staircase room with full decorations: windows, lights, decals, and store that. Now you can get a copies of fully fleshed out staircases at will. Just remember that the staircase room must be surrounded by a wordspawn room if it containts entities in order to avoid leaks.


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#5 Bikerdude

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 07:07 AM

The aim of this tutorial is to describe how you can make a spiral staircase where the rotation of the steps is uniform from top to bottom.

This very good, could I ask then how the above method could be modifed so that the step-width nearest the column is deaper - as like in RL where the deapth of the step is still deap enough for someone to step onto without slipping.

I still prefer this method as it allows you to have perfectly aligned steps with no z fighting:

Can you update your post with the steps/images? as I would be curious so see how yours is perfectly aligned and how the width of the steps near the colum are wider than either Rsoul's/Sotha's.

I'll share too!

I have used this method, the issue is the step size is not all uniform and the step-depth is non existent near the column.



#6 AluminumHaste

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 08:34 AM

Step 4: Copy the patch, shrink it down to 64x64 and invert it.

Step4.jpg

 

Step 5: Draw out a brush from top to bottom, set grid size to 1 (1 on my keyboard). Switch to clipper tool and set clip points to align with the patch:

Step5.jpg

 

Step 6: Do the same but clip from bottom to top, again setting the clipper point on the grid where the patch meets:

Step6.jpg

 

 


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#7 AluminumHaste

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 08:40 AM

Step 7: Continue clipping on grid points that match with the patch:

Step7.jpg

 

Step 8: Rinse and repeat for each step until you get to the end of the patch curve:

Step8.jpg

 

Since these are aligned to grid 1, I would convert them to func_static when moving them around, then revert to worldspawn just before dmapping, to avoid vertex drift (if that's still a thing)


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#8 Bikerdude

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 09:02 AM

to avoid vertex drift (if that's still a thing)

It is unfortunately.


Edited by Bikerdude, 01 August 2017 - 09:02 AM.


#9 Springheel

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 10:43 AM

Anyone up for wikifying?



#10 Obsttorte

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 12:43 PM

For thief 3 there was a tool to create stairs like that. Maybe it is possible to do this with a python script in DR, too. Yet another thing on my todo list :(


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#11 AluminumHaste

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 01:12 PM

For thief 3 there was a tool to create stairs like that. Maybe it is possible to do this with a python script in DR, too. Yet another thing on my todo list :(

 

lol

 

http://forums.thedar...es/#entry163998


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#12 Bikerdude

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:29 PM

Anyone up for wikifying?

If no one steps up, I will create an entry with the 3 methods mentioned in this thread.



#13 AluminumHaste

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:39 PM

Might just want to update this one: http://wiki.thedarkm...iral_Staircases


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#14 R Soul

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:15 PM

This very good, could I ask then how the above method could be modifed so that the step-width nearest the column is deaper - as like in RL where the deapth of the step is still deap enough for someone to step onto without slipping.

 

Which staircases are you thinking of? I'm fairly sure one of the purposes of these was to be so narrow that enemies could only go up one at a time, in addition to the direction mentioned by Sotha. Here's one I used many years ago in Caernarfon. Those are my shoes, and I'm only a size 7.

 

spirals.jpg


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#15 AluminumHaste

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:20 PM

Yeah, almost all spiral stairs I've been on (castles +  lighthouse) have all been very dangerous near the center, steep and almost no purchase.

For gameplay purposes, this realism is not fun and causes issue with AI pathfinding


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#16 R Soul

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 04:27 PM

Funny you should mention lighthouses. I would have use those as an example of the 'safe' ones Bikerdude was referring to. E.g. this image. Of course they do become more tricky as you get nearer the top. However, I do acknowledge the gameplay reasons for keeping the whole step navigable. In my example the step brushes can all be made a little less deep. The overlapping is very generous. I think the narrow insides look nice, so I wouldn't want to widen the central pillar. Could an octagonal monsterclip brush be used to keep the AI to the outside?



#17 Bikerdude

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 11:44 PM

Here's one I used many years ago in Caernarfon. Those are my shoes, and I'm only a size 7.

The central column in your shot is very narrow, so in this instance and imho we would only have stairs like this if they were 48-56units wide. But I agree and conceed that small width stair wells will suffer from that issue.

 

Back to the type of stairs I was refering to, there are plenty of examples where the step isn't so narrow near the center of the stair-well - 

 

Staircase-Circular-Stairs-Spiral-Stairwa

 

28352976-Spiral-Stone-Staircase-Stock-Ph

 

Hows this for a funky set of spiral stairs....

 

Graz-double-stone-spiral-stair-case-0105


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#18 Sotha

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 01:57 AM

What AH said. In TDM I would avoid making too narrow spiral staircases. It is no fun to spend time building a staircase which cannot be used because it causes an AI log jam. Always test your narrow staircase with at least 2 AI. They need to be able to get past each other easily. The minimum AI traversable width should be 64 units + some safe marginal. I would maybe go with 80-100 units.
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#19 Bikerdude

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 10:04 AM

Might just want to update this one: http://wiki.thedarkm...iral_Staircases

Most of the image were missings from that old wiki entry and the info in it out of date, so replaced the whole entry with the 3 from this thread instead -

 

http://wiki.thedarkm...piral_staircase

 

@Sotha, can you provide thumbnails or smaller version of those images, or better attach them to your post like Rsould did. I can then paste those into the wiki page, instead of the huge ones in there atm.


Edited by Bikerdude, 02 August 2017 - 02:51 PM.


#20 AluminumHaste

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 03:28 PM


Graz-double-stone-spiral-stair-case-0105

 

Well that was easy:

 

Sprial3.jpg

 

Does anyone want the map file for their map?


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#21 R Soul

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 07:02 PM

Step 7: Continue clipping on grid points that match with the patch:

attachicon.gifStep7.jpg

 

Step 8: Rinse and repeat for each step until you get to the end of the patch curve:

attachicon.gifStep8.jpg

 

Since these are aligned to grid 1, I would convert them to func_static when moving them around, then revert to worldspawn just before dmapping, to avoid vertex drift (if that's still a thing)

 

I had a go at doing this and it's nice and clean. I could only just notice that the cylinders weren't proper circles, and I doubt many players would be focussing on the geometry; they'd be more interested in where the next guard was, or where to go for the next objective, etc.

 

With patches is much easier to get the texture flowing smoothly around the walls, but how are doorways added?



#22 AluminumHaste

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 08:51 PM

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I thought it turned out quite well Biker:

 


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#23 Bikerdude

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 06:10 AM

I thought it turned out quite well Biker:

Now that what I call community interaction at its finest!

 

On the subject of this thread, can someone add a link to it in the Usefull Important Editing links post please -

 

- http://forums.thedar...-editing-links/



#24 NeonsStyle

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 11:02 AM

It is unfortunately.

 

Vertex of brushes or patches drifting? What are the conditions that cause a vert to drift?


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#25 Bikerdude

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 01:31 PM

Vertex brushes  What are the conditions that cause a vert to drift?

Brushes, just moving them or worse rotating them moved the vert point just that little bit.





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