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Feature request: Asset Import GUI

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#1 RPGista


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Posted 31 August 2018 - 11:18 AM

Ok, I know this might be a lot more complicated than Im aware, but Ive been thinking about a way of making it easier for most mappers to include new assets in their missions, from inside DR and with its guidance.


Im thinking of a system just like the conversation gui, where you set the parameters and it writes the scripts for you, but in this case, something that will help you get assets in the game without having to deal with the laborious and error prone task of doing it manually:


1- I have an .ase file, and a bunch of maps for it;


2- I click on Import Asset, search for the model, and DR will then create the folders inside your project and place the model there;


3- The GUI would then search inside the file and prompt you to build the materials (or choose existing ones) for each mesh found in the model;


4- So for mesh A you would get a Material Creation gui, where you first search for the map (diffuse, normal or specular), then you choose the material type in a drop list (wood, metal, etc), and check yes or no for things like Self shadow, solid or non solid, etc. You can set it to be translucent, give it effects, maybe even adjust its levels and brightness and saturation, or strength for normals (is that possible with shader code?), make it emissive (choosing color and brightness), set its transparency (alpha) threshold or setup alpha blends, picking or creating each of the materials for it. Ideally, you would have a model preview window with the material you are creating being applied in real time, after each change. The existing model preview window in render mode should do.


5- Then its the same for mesh B and so forth;


6- You would be able to also check yes or no if the model is to be a moveable - you would then be able to choose physics characteristics (weight, bouncing sounds, etc), check ok for an automatic collision box, etc.


7- You would also be able to setup any skins for the model, picking existing ones or creating a new material for each;


And more stuff that I forget.


After that, DR would writte every file for you and place it inside the proper folder tree. It would writte the material shader, the skin def, the .cm file, everything. You wouldnt need to do research and go through existing assets, searching what would work for you, create you folder structure, edit text files by hand. The GUI would do that for you, just like the conversation or readable guis already do.


The same GUI could be used for importing materials alone, without a model being involved - just skip to step 4, and you would be able to easily add new textures to your map on the fly, from inside DR. Is any of this realistic?

Edited by RPGista, 31 August 2018 - 11:21 AM.

#2 Dragofer



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Posted 31 August 2018 - 11:44 AM

A possibly laborious to code set of tools for a laborious sequence of tasks. It sounds great. I think this would make life just as much easier as the readables editor has done for readables. (One can find old wiki pages on what it was like to make readables before the editor, it was just as clumsy as getting a model placed, materialled and skinned.)

#3 Obsttorte


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Posted 31 August 2018 - 12:07 PM

Due to how rarely mappers really intent to include custom assets, and considering that

  1. if they have learned modeling to create those they are probably able to understand how materials work (by checking existing materials and reading the wiki)
  2. they can always ask someone to help them with that (if you know how to do that it only takes you a few minutes)
  3. we only have one person, no wait ... GOD, who is actively working on the DarkRadiant code (!!!ALL HAIL, OH MIGHTY GREEBO!!!)

I am not sure whether the effort would really be worth it. Obviously it is up to Greebo or anyone else to add this feature, but it seems like a lot of work with a very low benefit. Two things loosely related to that might be more worthwhile:

  1. Extending the possibilities of DR scripts. This would allow adding more features via such scripts, which is normally way easier as to extent the code. For the purpose of adding stuff to the latter it is normally required (or at least adviseable), to get an idea of how the existing code is build up and how stuff works if you don't want to cause a mess. Scripting is much less likely to cause issues, and it requires a way lower expertise by the person who writes the script (which is good for persons like me, who can write code but are no programmers).
  2. Cleaning up the wiki. Over the time a lot of articles have been added, only loosely structurized and with a lot of redundancy. In addition, a lot of information provided is out of date or comes with unneccessarely complicated solutions. In addition it might be a good idea to come up with some sort of directive or standard, creators of wiki articles might follow.

Especially the latter may be reasonable as this is something that is something a lot of people can participate, whereas code changes are always something only restricted to a small amount of people.


Just my two cents, though.

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#4 peter_spy


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Posted 31 August 2018 - 01:40 PM

That would be very useful to have, you'd save tons of time on importing assets. It would basically be like Unreal content browser import dialog.

#5 RPGista


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Posted 31 August 2018 - 10:27 PM

I am not sure whether the effort would really be worth it. Obviously it is up to Greebo or anyone else to add this feature, but it seems like a lot of work with a very low benefit. 


I do agree with most of your points, but I disagree about the low benefit. In fact, I believe its the opposite. Its pretty hard work to put new assets into TDM. Sure, you can learn it the hard way, we all did it. But you can say that about every other feature in the game, including the ones that did get support inside the editor, like objectives, stim and response, readables, etc. When we get a bit of experience using this game, its easy to forget just how hard it is to first get your bearings and the amount of energy that goes into researching all the little details and steps needed to achieve something as simple as putting a new model in your map. 


If DR were to provide this guidance to map makers, and people were freed from some of the workload that goes into bringing in new stuff to maps, I think that would offer a lot of potential, and maybe maps with a strong visual identity would become more common.


A few of the things I imagined might be a bit outlandish, but some of that stuff is already possible inside the editor, using args and what not (like making something a moveable, adding a collision box, making it non solid, no shadows, things like that). A gui would hopefully gather that functionality (and more) and apply it to your new material or your new model as you bring it into your project.

Edited by RPGista, 31 August 2018 - 10:31 PM.

#6 demagogue


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Posted 31 August 2018 - 11:21 PM

I think I might make more custom assets if it were super easy to get them in the game.

It's not an expertise issue so much as a motivation issue, especially if we're talking about small things like a nice crooked or broken panel or tile for a wall or floor, the kinds of little touches that make a place really look authentic.


Or, e.g., you could import a architectural piece into a modelling program, tweak it and add some things to it relatively quickly, and then throw it back in game.

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#7 peter_spy


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Posted 01 September 2018 - 02:57 AM

The problem with .ase in particular is that you have to export them from a clean scene and edit material paths with notepad manually, every time you want to make some tweaks or changes. That takes additional time.

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