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TDM - What Are You Working On?


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#51 Maximius

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 07:50 PM

Heres another houseplant, the texturing isn't perfect but its looks neat all the same.

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#52 Springheel

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 10:21 PM

So, you planning on donating these? ;)
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#53 Maximius

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 11:21 PM

So, you planning on donating these? ;)


Of course :) , but the plants aren't complete yet, I'd like to at least make them flexible for a little more realism.

Edited by Maximius, 24 December 2006 - 11:26 PM.


#54 Maximius

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 09:53 PM

One more plant, this ones a little bizarre.

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Just noticed the vase in the last pic wasn't smoothed, oops.

Edited by Maximius, 25 December 2006 - 09:55 PM.


#55 SneaksieDave

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 11:11 AM

Are these high poly versions (kind've self-evident, but I thought I'd ask)?

#56 Maximius

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 11:46 AM

Are these high poly versions (kind've self-evident, but I thought I'd ask)?



I'm actually not certain, hi poly compared to what? In other words, whats the dividing line between hi and low poly? I think these are hi poly, each leaf on the spider plant (the long narrow one with the light green stripe) has approximately 30 to 40 polys per leaf. Is this a problem, Im guessing more polys means more work for the computer which means slide shows? Maybe one guage is the unsmoothed pot in the very last plant picture, you can see how many polys it has at least on one side.

#57 SneaksieDave

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:42 PM

Yes, that sounds a bit high. There's no real dividing line, but it's generally best to shoot for as optimized as possible, especially since these types of environments will typically feature many objects. Once these items are in a map, lit, and shadowcasting, they can really drain performance away. Needless to say our most detailed objects are the AI, and they'll probably stay that way (out of difficulty of construction, and desire for realism), so other objects must try to be as lean as possible. Basically, it's the same as world construction, if you have any mapping experience. You come to learn quickly that we always push harder than the engines can handle, so we optimize, optimize, optimize - fewer polys, tricks to fake surface detail, turning off shadows where possible, etc. I still remember the old days of Doom 1 editing: "Not enough visplanes!" *crash* :rolleyes:

Back to the models, you could probably achieve each stem + leaf combo in 10 or so. How? For the stems, use a conservatively segmented flat rectangle. With the right shading, no one will be able to tell the difference (the same way D3 can make a rectangular pipe appear to be round). For the leaves, use a single triangle or two, and use a texture with transparency to draw the leaf with pixels (in photoshop, etc) instead of polygons. The main thing that made me wonder was the pot, though. It looks like the curvy side is very segmented, and it's also got a lot of sides on the round axis.

Take a look at the attached image. I've shown this before, as it's the only "not super simple" model I've ever made, but it might give you some idea. Note the detail levels of the wheel (more sides didn't add much except for rendering demand, and fewer would start to look bad), and the round axis of the bell (12 sided), and the segmentation of the profile (only 5 edges). This isn't necessarily the "right way" or the "best it could be done", but I felt it was a good balance of detail versus demand, despite it being a very large object. Bigger things run the risk of looking blocky and ugly if they're not detailed enough. The whole object weighs in at about 500 triangles. Heh, I can't wait to build something else so I don't necessarily have to keep showing only this one. :laugh:

I would guess that pot could be done in roughly 150 triangles maybe. How many is it? My advice (from a 99% mapping experience perspective and a 1% modeling experience perspective) would be, in addition to the leaf optimizations mentioned above, to make the pot no more than 6 or 8 sided (it appears to be 14 sided), and shave the profile detail down to 4 or 5 edges (from what I can see there are at least a dozen edges). That will dramatically cut down the polys rendered, lit, and casting shadows, and will make the object much more likely to be used and used abundantly. ^_^


Edit: I should also mention - if you're worried about the edge of the pot looking too segmented, you can model in ASE format. Using that format, D3 gives automatic edge smoothing, as with the bell.

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#58 Maximius

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:52 PM

SD, Im at work right now so I cannot go into detail but let me ask a few more questions. For one, can I lower the polys in the current models by merging polys or anything like that? I dont mind remaking them but if I could use what I have that would be good. Secondly, what is this with using pixels instead of polygons, please explain in a bit more detail. ANd third, whats ASE?

BTW nice bell, its beautiful!

Thanks

Edited by Maximius, 26 December 2006 - 12:55 PM.


#59 SneaksieDave

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 02:06 PM

Thanks! Which tool(s) do you use? I assume that's possible in any of them, as you can merge polys in Blender (what I use). Our more experienced modelers might have more to say about that approach, but I'm not sure if it's the best one. It can be done of course, but I'd imagine it's possibly more time consuming than just starting low poly and going up to the high poly version from there. I personally haven't used a high poly version for normal maps yet though, because when I tried it with the bell, I was getting crappy results around the edges and seams. Luckily, D3 gives that automatic ASE smoothing, so I didn't need it. ^_^ All of the detail in the textures is hand drawn (or assembled from pics) in Photoshop.

Blender also has a poly reduction script which, while not perfect (by a long shot), can give some decent results.

The next question about the transparency and painting the detail - others will definitely know more about this than me, as I haven't done it yet. But the concept is simple; where you can get away with it, use a single or few polys covering an area with partially transparent textures giving the detail, instead of modeled polygons. An extreme example is a harp:

Method 1: model the spine and each individual string - the result ranges from somewhat expensive (using flat rectangle strings) to very expensive (actual round strings). Very wasteful!
Method 2: model the spine. In the area where the strings are, place one or few flat polys, and skin those polys with a texture of painted strings with transparency between them. You can now have all the detail you want in there at no cost beyond that of 2-4 polygons. I assume there's a way to make that area not cast shadows at all, so the difference would be almost imperceptible.

Another example (I didn't make this): http://www.tjoff.com...mages/tree4.jpg
The leaves are actually just textures with transparent areas, painted onto few low poly sheets within the branches.

Finally, ASE is, I believe, 3D Studio's native format. But you can import and export to ASE with Blender, so no need for 3DS.

#60 Maximius

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 05:32 PM

I'm using Lightwave 8 SD. I was under the impression that Blender wasn't suitable for modeling for the Mod. I understand now what you are talking about with replacing the polygons with transparencies and textures.

Im going to try some low poly plants tonight, Ill put them up later. Does this ASE thing work with Lightwave too?

#61 SneaksieDave

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 05:48 PM

Not sure, but we have LW users that should know. I don't think it can, but there might be a converter somewhere (other than Blender ;)). Another cool thing about ASE is that it is a plain text format, so if you had to, you could edit it by hand. LWO is proprietary format that is compiled, compressed, or whatever-the-hell they do to bake it up.

I went from confusion and cursing the interface, to realizing that Blender is an extremely capable tool, in quite a short period of time and a handful of tutorials. It's almost scary what it can do, and of course it's always being added to and improved. I think it can not only give professional tools some serious competition (at a much better price), but in many ways, actually beat them. And as you can see, it's quite usable for the mod. ^_^

#62 Springheel

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 09:34 PM

Lightwave is what many of our modellers use. It doesn't work with .ase files, but it doesn't need to. It's quite easy to smooth your models so that a small number of sides (like 6) look round.

In the case of plants for TDM, it would be helpful if the pots and the plants were separate models. That way, mappers could use the plants in outdoor environments, or attach them to pots, in whatever combination they wanted.
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#63 Maximius

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 10:07 PM

Lightwave is what many of our modellers use. It doesn't work with .ase files, but it doesn't need to. It's quite easy to smooth your models so that a small number of sides (like 6) look round.

In the case of plants for TDM, it would be helpful if the pots and the plants were separate models. That way, mappers could use the plants in outdoor environments, or attach them to pots, in whatever combination they wanted.



I can save them as separate pieces, thats no problem. Let me try to reduce the polys and see the results, I'll post them soon.

#64 Maximius

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 10:24 AM

I didn't get a chance to post my stuff last night, but I managed to make a potted plant that consists of a grand total of around 160 polys. The plant looks much like the spider plant I posted earlier but each leaf only has 13 polys instead of around 40 each. There are ten such leaves for a total of 130 polys and then the pot and soil add another 30 polys give or take two. compare this with around 600 polys for the plants I posted earlier and its a big improvement.

#65 Maximius

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 05:03 PM

I didn't get a chance to post my stuff last night, but I managed to make a potted plant that consists of a grand total of around 160 polys. The plant looks much like the spider plant I posted earlier but each leaf only has 13 polys instead of around 40 each. There are ten such leaves for a total of 130 polys and then the pot and soil add another 30 polys give or take two. compare this with around 600 polys for the plants I posted earlier and its a big improvement.



Heres the beast, at about 160 polys I think it looks pretty decent even when compared to the older spider plant I posted. I realized too that I could probably take out the polys making up the vases base and just leave it open, dropping the number some more.

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The last photo, the midshot, I left unsmoothed so its original shape could be seen. I know the textures are ugly but its the general design I'm looking at right now.

Edited by Maximius, 27 December 2006 - 05:04 PM.


#66 Springheel

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 06:24 PM

Yep, looks good.

I know these are mostly for practice, but if you're interested in doing some plants for us, it would be great to have ones that are a little less tropical. It seems like everyone who makes plants for D3 mods makes tropical ferns and the like, for some reason, and those don't really fit our temperate setting very well.
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#67 Maximius

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 07:36 PM

Yep, looks good.

I know these are mostly for practice, but if you're interested in doing some plants for us, it would be great to have ones that are a little less tropical. It seems like everyone who makes plants for D3 mods makes tropical ferns and the like, for some reason, and those don't really fit our temperate setting very well.


I understand, give me a few days to retool and I'll have some samples. I'll read up on making pixel sheets for trees and plants, but for right now whats a good polygon limit for a completely modeled plant? Is 160 useful or is that not yet low enough for consistent use? I realize optimization points to using pixels but what can sneak in?

#68 Maximius

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 09:09 PM

I understand, give me a few days to retool and I'll have some samples. I'll read up on making pixel sheets for trees and plants, but for right now whats a good polygon limit for a completely modeled plant? Is 160 useful or is that not yet low enough for consistent use? I realize optimization points to using pixels but what can sneak in?



Here is an idea for hedgerows that uses both models and pixels. I figure I can build them in "blocks" of ten main stems with some sub branches, overlaid over a pixel painted background layer, then "leaved" with pixel leaves. I need some input as to whether this is worthwhile project, cause I think I can inject a lot of detail and depths over the razor sharp hedgerows I've seen in other games without blowing the polys through the ceiling. They look like boxes covered in leaf wallpaper. Here are my notes if they help explain what I want to do.

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#69 SneaksieDave

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:15 PM

I suppose there's not a 'limit' on any model, and ultimately, really expensive items might just end up being less used by authors (natural selection?). But it sure looks like you've got it with that new version. :)

I'm definitely interested in seeing what you come up with for the hedges.

#70 Maximius

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 10:19 AM

I suppose there's not a 'limit' on any model, and ultimately, really expensive items might just end up being less used by authors (natural selection?). But it sure looks like you've got it with that new version. :)

I'm definitely interested in seeing what you come up with for the hedges.



Thanks for your positive feedback B) I'm thinking that the hedges should probably be made completely of pixel sheets after all, I constructed a hedge facade and even without the leaves its already up to 200 + polys and thats only for one five stalk section, maybe two feet in the Mod world. A maze of hedgerows would probably blow your motherboard out of the case.

But I have some ideas for the pixel sheets. Briefly, Im thinking of many layers of cleanly cut out pixel sheets (of hedgerow looking leaves and branches) atop one another, with some holes for light to travel through and help bring out the sense of depth, arranged in presized "blocks" for authors to pick from.

Now here is the trick, I think, if I have say a leafy section of the hedge pixel sheet I want to bend the edges around so that the player cannot come at right angles to it and see all of these razor thin edges inside the layered. Here are my notes, they got cut off at the bottom but you can get the idea I think.

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Im going out of town today so I probably wont be able to get anything done until next week, but Ill read up on creating those pixel transparencies.

#71 PinkDot

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 10:45 AM

Doom3's engine doesn't take alpha maps into consideration while computing shadows so you might also think about some simple solid mesh just for shadowcasting.

#72 Maximius

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 01:33 PM

Doom3's engine doesn't take alpha maps into consideration while computing shadows so you might also think about some simple solid mesh just for shadowcasting.



Thanks, thats a good idea.

Here is a sample of a temperate style plant I hammered out using flat, double sided polygons for leaves. Its crude, but it also only has about 45 polys total so it could be improved and still not bog stuff down.

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#73 Crispy

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 06:32 PM

Looks good. :) As long as it doesn't look incredibly weird in-game (and it should be okay) then I say keep it. If there's going to be a high-poly version as well, have both versions so mappers can choose.
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#74 Maximius

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 11:17 PM

Looks good. :) As long as it doesn't look incredibly weird in-game (and it should be okay) then I say keep it. If there's going to be a high-poly version as well, have both versions so mappers can choose.



Thanks man, it needs a bit of work but I think it will be good eventually. When I get back to town Ill remake it and tweak the leaves a bit too.

#75 Maximius

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:39 PM

Heres an improved version of the temperate plant I posted last week. Its only a total of 60 polygons. Without the pot its probably around 45 or 50.

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