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Would you like a new modeller?


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Hi! My name is Robin Karlsson, I'm 19 years old swede and I'd like to join The Dark Mod. I found you on moddb and this seemed like an interesting project to participate in. I loved playing Splinter Cell and Thief: Deadly Shadows (haven't played I or II) and I'm a pretty big fan of steam-punk so this seemed like a perfect project to join.

 

As the title says I'm mostly a modeler and have been modeling for about 5 years (I think), I can do some texturing as well, though I'm not very skilled at that at all. My weapons of choice are Blender, Photoshop and Crazybump. I have modeled for a while but I have only really worked with one team-project before, that project was OpenFrag/Broken Alliance, which died last year, a year after I quit. I haven't made a lot of models since then but you can find the ones that turned out the best here:

Portfolio

 

Most of my models are un-textured but as I said that's because I'm not that good at texturing and also I have never managed to generate a working normal map (I've followed every tutorial I've found for Blender and Xnormal), which also happen to be the reason why there isn't any lowpoly versions of some of the models as well.

 

Also I should probably mention that I've never modded Doom 3 so I may need some guidance with polycounts and such.

 

So what do you say?

 

Regards

Robin Karlsson

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The project has already been released, so at this point it's not really a matter of "joining the team". However, we always welcome contributions of models. It will be a bit difficult if you aren't able to uvmap and texture your own models, though...you'll have to find someone willing to finish them off, as models without textures aren't that useful to us.

 

There's some useful info on polycounts and the like on our wiki: http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Modeling

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I like the container thing alot. Has some nice steampunk elements to it though the TDM is pretty light on 'steampunk' stuff.

 

I don't know if we need any more 'team members' or not. Not really my say anyway, but as the mod is publically released everyone has access to all the resources in it and can make models for it (for personal or others maps).

And if they fit the mod really well they could probably be included.

 

But texturing them is pretty important. Nobody really wants to uv map someone elses objects, not the funnest part of modelling for sure.

 

I'd say work on that a bit and when you get it down (possibly work on some stuff you think would fit the mod) post 'em here.

 

Deffinately never hurts to have more assets.

 

I'd like to see some more steampunkish machinery but I have a hard time doing concepts for them sad.gif

If you come up with something cool I might be into helping get it textured/mod ready.

Even that container is cool but 'maybe' a bit too sci-fi???

 

--------------

Polycounts are dependant on objects.

 

small items maybe 250 is a good place to be, something big like that container that won't be everywhere (like crates and barrells) could be maybe 1000-2000. (lower is probably better).

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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At the very least and aptitude in Modeling should translate to an aptitude in Dark Radiant. Are you interested in making "Fan Missions" as well...? :)

 

(A question we would like to hear "Yes" to from any forum poster... anywhere... :laugh:)

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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Some nice looking stuff. You're more than welcome to contribute, but you should learn how to finish texturing your models. This is definitely a good place to find guidance in that area if you're willing to put in the time to learn.

 

Also, you should definitely check out Thief 1 and Thief 2 as it is those two games that stand as the inspiration for The Dark Mod.

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The project has already been released, so at this point it's not really a matter of "joining the team". However, we always welcome contributions of models.

Yeah, I know it's been released already so just contributing models was kind of what I meant.

 

It will be a bit difficult if you aren't able to uvmap and texture your own models, though...you'll have to find someone willing to finish them off, as models without textures aren't that useful to us.

I can unwrap and texture the models myself (except for normal maps, but I'll go ask around on some forums for that, it will work this time). I'm just not very good at it, but practice makes perfection, right?

 

But texturing them is pretty important. Nobody really wants to uv map someone elses objects, not the funnest part of modelling for sure.

 

I'd say work on that a bit and when you get it down (possibly work on some stuff you think would fit the mod) post 'em here.

Yeah, that is pretty much what I was hoping to do.

 

I'd like to see some more steampunkish machinery but I have a hard time doing concepts for them sad.gif

...

Even that container is cool but 'maybe' a bit too sci-fi???

I've had some problems making steampunk machine concepts as well so I have mostly just worked on concepts that others have made, that container is based on a concept I found on Stephen Martinieres site, so I'm not sure we could have used it anyway.

 

If you come up with something cool I might be into helping get it textured/mod ready.

I am making a kind of steampunkish/victorian lamp at the moment that I think could fit the game pretty well, at least in some kind of rich quarter. Here it is:

Steampunklamppost-1.jpg

I will of course make it longer and more detailed later, this is just a work in progress. Also the lamps will go all the way around it's just that wouldn't see much of the lamppost if I'd do that now.

 

Do you guys think this lamp would fit in?

 

small items maybe 250 is a good place to be, something big like that container that won't be everywhere (like crates and barrells) could be maybe 1000-2000. (lower is probably better).

What would you say that my polycount limit on this thing would be? Also what different kind of textures and resolutions should I use for this?

 

At the very least and aptitude in Modeling should translate to an aptitude in Dark Radiant. Are you interested in making "Fan Missions" as well...? :)

 

(A question we would like to hear "Yes" to from any forum poster... anywhere... :laugh:)

I was trying to learn Unreal Engine 3 so I could try to make some kind of map/mini-mod in the future, but I really don't like the interface so I haven't used it much (Blenders great interface have spoiled me). So it would be fun to make some Fan Missions as well but I have zero experience with both Dark Radiant and map making.

 

Also, you should definitely check out Thief 1 and Thief 2 as it is those two games that stand as the inspiration for The Dark Mod.

Yeah, I know, but the dated graphics have scared me away, I will try it out someday though.

Edited by Nosslak
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Just wanted to quote that in case no one in history ever said it again.

 

Kidding! 2.5x is pretty nice.

Yeah, not a lot of people share that opinion. Actually I'm more fond of the 2.4 series but that's just because there's still some annoying bugs in 2.5x.

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The lamp looks pretty cool. (although it doesn't really match the ref)

 

You're deffinataly good at adding details. And that's where baking the normal map would come in.

The easiest way would be to 'cheat' on that. Seperate the pole and 1 lamp (really no need to put more than one lamp in there unless you want to 'showcase' the model)

Then make a low poly pole which could probably be just a 6 to 8 sided cylinder. Uv map it, export both poles from the same position (the low poly should be just inside the high) in different files (Xnormal can use several formats, I usually use the xnormal one). Then bake.

You only have to uvmap the lowpoly one which is simple enough.

 

Then you can make a material shader (see our wiki) using one of our base metals, your normal map and a specular if needed (might be good to base one off your normal map to bring out detail a bit more) (we're not using baked AO).

 

Then export as .ase or .lwo (rich_is_bored made an .ase exporter for us specifically for Blender). You'll need to DL both the Mod and Dark Radiant so you can open it up and look in game at least. (If you can model you can make a test map easy)

 

Do the same with the lamp (just one). uv map it , BAKE IT, THEN COPY/CLONE LAMPS AROUND THE TOP FOR THE LOWPOLY.(whoops caps)

 

-------------

in the pic I kindof traced out how I'd build the low. You can 'float' polys. So just stick one cylinder into the other for the lamp (don't build a solid hull, just a waste of polys).

 

I'd also probably limit the lamps to 4 up top, maybe only 3. I know the ref has 6, but you don't have to count polys real world wink.gif

 

And I'd probably alpha map the trim around the glass, then add another cyclinder inside with a glass material. That way you can have skins for the glass only (on/off/glowing/yellow/blue- which we already have shaders for). To export that have the glass and lamppost 2 seperate models within one .ase file.

 

The problem with that ring and the really fine trim up top is that you have to match it very close (lots of polys)to get it to bake correctly (and the rings take alot of polys).

Might actually be easier to do a black and white bump map by hand for the 'arms' and turn that into a normal.

-------edit

 

oh yeah. We use a low poly collision mesh (in this case a box for the pole and for each lamp would be fine with tdm_collision_metal for the material), it just cuts done on computing if people bash it or throw things at it...

 

And we also use very low poly shadow meshes (keep the basic shape of model) but NOT for lights. They tend to look best with no shadows (we can make a shadow casting map to apply to the lightsource itself). (You need noshadows in the material shader.)

post-1981-128032628961_thumb.jpg

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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The lamp looks pretty cool. (although it doesn't really match the ref)

Yeah, I thought it would look more victorian with lamps like the ones I made.

 

You're deffinataly good at adding details. And that's where baking the normal map would come in.

The easiest way would be to 'cheat' on that. Seperate the pole and 1 lamp (really no need to put more than one lamp in there unless you want to 'showcase' the model)

Then make a low poly pole which could probably be just a 6 to 8 sided cylinder. Uv map it, export both poles from the same position (the low poly should be just inside the high) in different files (Xnormal can use several formats, I usually use the xnormal one). Then bake.

You only have to uvmap the lowpoly one which is simple enough.

The thing is, I know pretty much all of this already. It's just that when I try to generate the normalmap big parts of it turn green (when the most of it should be blue). I am generating tangent space maps but it still doesn't work. Do I have make the lowpoly completely inside the highpoly? That could perhaps be what I'm doing wrong then, as usually my highpoly and lowpoly intersects each other. Also I was planning to use a 9 sided cylinder as a circle looks rounder if it has an uneven number of segments, in other words it will be harder to recognize it as a hexagon or an octagon. It would also make it easier to integrate the arms if I use a multiple of 3.

 

Then you can make a material shader (see our wiki) using one of our base metals, your normal map and a specular if needed (might be good to base one off your normal map to bring out detail a bit more) (we're not using baked AO).

Are we using colored or monochrome specular maps? I have made some monochrome spec maps before (they were never particularly impressive), but never any colored ones. Also you're saying that you don't use baked Ambient Occlusion do this apply to the diffuse map as well or do you just mean that you don't use a specific map just for the AO?

 

in the pic I kindof traced out how I'd build the low. You can 'float' polys. So just stick one cylinder into the other for the lamp (don't build a solid hull, just a waste of polys).

...

And I'd probably alpha map the trim around the glass, then add another cyclinder inside with a glass material. That way you can have skins for the glass only (on/off/glowing/yellow/blue- which we already have shaders for). To export that have the glass and lamppost 2 seperate models within one .ase file.

I was hoping that I'd get to model the trims using cubes, as I did on the high-poly as I think that would look much better, but it might be possible to fake it with the normal map.

 

I'd also probably limit the lamps to 4 up top, maybe only 3. I know the ref has 6, but you don't have to count polys real world wink.gif

Then I think I'll stick to using 3 of them.

 

The problem with that ring and the really fine trim up top is that you have to match it very close (lots of polys)to get it to bake correctly (and the rings take alot of polys).

Might actually be easier to do a black and white bump map by hand for the 'arms' and turn that into a normal.

This is based on what I've heard (not experienced) but on the polycount forums I've read that for complex shaped such as that you usually bake from and to a straight cylinder. I've kept that in mind so I have modelled it as a flat cylinder and just used an array and curve modifier for it. As I said I don't know if this would work but this is how they bake normals for belts and other round objects over at polycount.

 

oh yeah. We use a low poly collision mesh (in this case a box for the pole and for each lamp would be fine with tdm_collision_metal for the material), it just cuts done on computing if people bash it or throw things at it...

 

And we also use very low poly shadow meshes (keep the basic shape of model) but NOT for lights. They tend to look best with no shadows (we can make a shadow casting map to apply to the lightsource itself). (You need noshadows in the material shader.)

Okay so then I won't make any shadow mesh.

 

BTW Can I have a concrete polylimit so that I know what I'll have to work with later on? I've read something like 500 but that feels too low, but I have no experience with Doom 3 so I wouldn't know.

 

Also should I make a new thread for every model or should I just start a new thread and post every model there?

Edited by Nosslak
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You could probably just start your own thread and keep everything nice and tidy in there.

 

 

I hate to give exact polycount. We try to be as effecient as possible, but sometimes a model is nice enough that putting a few extra polys is worth it. (it shouldn't be forced to look like crap ;) )

I just checked (another good reason to dl the mod and editor) in the model viewer and all our lamps are between 125 and 1000 polys. And only 2 of them are close to 1000, most are around 250-600.

 

Your normal issues might be because of overlap, sometimes a little is OK, and using a control cage can help that (polycount has good info on cages) but generally having the low poly inside is best.

 

9 sides is probably fine for the pole, I agree that it is a less recognizeble shape/thus can appear to be more round. One thing to keep in mind is Doom uses vertex lighting, so I'd probably make the pole 2 segments tall. Over large polys splitting up the mesh into more segments can give better shading.

 

--edit (OK, I see what you are saying, you bake it flat and curve it after- I've done that on plenty of stuff myself)

As for the cylinder and trim up top, my point is that say for the cylinder, you make them 8 sided, they still won't match the shape of the high poly very close. So yeah, baking that onto a flat cylinder is the way to go, but you'll end up with a really round trim on an octogon shape. That tends to make the cylinder look very un-round. But it you just do it by hand and actually follow the octogon shape you won't get a mis-match of shapes that stands out alot.

Same with the 'S' shape of the arms. If that fine trim comes off the high poly the roundness of it will be a stark contrast to the rougher shape of the low poly. But if painted to match the low poly it won't be noticeable to players.

--

 

You can use cube around the glass, but it'll eat into your polys alot. And generally with a bright glass and light shining you might not really even notice too much.

 

 

Doom3 is pretty good with polys. You can deffinately have tons on screen. Probably the biggest limit is on shadowcasting/lighting (thus low polys shadow meshes). The more lights you have hitting polys and casting shadows on other polys the bigger the performance hit is going to be.

Typically Thief mappers like to get very detailed and really work the lighting. So keeping things as low as possible while still looking nice is what we aim for.

There are also alot of players who play on Doom3 minimal requirements (and all our stuff is higher than Doom3 specs), so we gotta try and keep it as optimized as possible.

 

 

You can add color to your spec maps, although most of ours don't have color. It's tough and something you have to see in game. A little bit of color can go a LONG way.

---------------------

textures vary too. Like models it's use good judgement.

 

512x512 is pretty common. 1024 on AI. For small stuff I try to stay under 256. I think my carrot is 128x64.

 

We use DDS1 for most stuff, DDS 5 for alpha.(with mipmaps) (diffuse and spec)

 

TGA for normals (doom wont uncompress dds right or something)

 

a small compressed jpg for editor usage.

 

 

 

------

regarding shadow meshes (lol)

 

One of our programmers (Tels) has scripted an event so when a candle or torch goes out the shadow is turned on (so it doesn't cast crappy shadows a player can hide in right under the torch when it's on, but does cast a shadow when it's off so other lights cast it's shadow and it looks right).

So as of now we are trying to pin down the best way to do the electric lights. So it may or may not need to cast shadows.

 

Either way a shadow mesh is easy to make, and/or removing a noshadows parameter from your material later is easy too. (deffinately make the material have noshadows to start)

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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You could probably just start your own thread and keep everything nice and tidy in there.

Ok, then I'll make a new thread and post everything in there.

 

I hate to give exact polycount. We try to be as efficient as possible, but sometimes a model is nice enough that putting a few extra polys is worth it. (it shouldn't be forced to look like crap ;) )

I just checked (another good reason to dl the mod and editor) in the model viewer and all our lamps are between 125 and 1000 polys. And only 2 of them are close to 1000, most are around 250-600.

Ok, I'll do my best to keep it under 1000 polygons then.

 

Your normal issues might be because of overlap, sometimes a little is OK, and using a control cage can help that (polycount has good info on cages) but generally having the low poly inside is best.

I have heard of cages but I've never actually used them so I'll try that the next time.

 

9 sides is probably fine for the pole, I agree that it is a less recognizeble shape/thus can appear to be more round. One thing to keep in mind is Doom uses vertex lighting, so I'd probably make the pole 2 segments tall. Over large polys splitting up the mesh into more segments can give better shading.

I will most probably make it more than 2 segments long as I will have to make wider and thinner at some points.

 

 

--edit (OK, I see what you are saying, you bake it flat and curve it after- I've done that on plenty of stuff myself)

As for the cylinder and trim up top, my point is that say for the cylinder, you make them 8 sided, they still won't match the shape of the high poly very close. So yeah, baking that onto a flat cylinder is the way to go, but you'll end up with a really round trim on an octogon shape. That tends to make the cylinder look very un-round. But it you just do it by hand and actually follow the octogon shape you won't get a mis-match of shapes that stands out alot.

Same with the 'S' shape of the arms. If that fine trim comes off the high poly the roundness of it will be a stark contrast to the rougher shape of the low poly. But if painted to match the low poly it won't be noticeable to players.

Well I think I'll try and then we'll see what happens.

 

You can use cube around the glass, but it'll eat into your polys alot. And generally with a bright glass and light shining you might not really even notice too much.

Yeah, you might be right. making the framing of cubes instead of just having a cylinder wouldn't change silhouette much so I'll try your approach.

 

There are also alot of players who play on Doom3 minimal requirements (and all our stuff is higher than Doom3 specs), so we gotta try and keep it as optimized as possible.

I have a hard time actually believing that. I mean Doom 3 is almost exactly 6 years old, so the amount of people who don't have the needed hardware and is actually interested in playing games can't be that high.

 

textures vary too. Like models it's use good judgement.

 

512x512 is pretty common. 1024 on AI. For small stuff I try to stay under 256. I think my carrot is 128x64.

 

We use DDS1 for most stuff, DDS 5 for alpha.(with mipmaps) (diffuse and spec)

 

TGA for normals (doom wont uncompress dds right or something)

 

a small compressed jpg for editor usage.

That sounds pretty good. Will I need to use any special program to export to DDS?

 

regarding shadow meshes (lol)

 

One of our programmers (Tels) has scripted an event so when a candle or torch goes out the shadow is turned on (so it doesn't cast crappy shadows a player can hide in right under the torch when it's on, but does cast a shadow when it's off so other lights cast it's shadow and it looks right).

So as of now we are trying to pin down the best way to do the electric lights. So it may or may not need to cast shadows.

 

Either way a shadow mesh is easy to make, and/or removing a noshadows parameter from your material later is easy too. (deffinately make the material have noshadows to start)

Yeah, it doesn't sound hard to make a shadow mesh so that won't be a problem. Just for clarification; Shadow meshes doesn't need anything fancy no unwrapping, textures or anything, right, it's just a regular untextured mesh?

 

I'll make a new thread in the TDM editors guild forum then, and post my progress there.

Edited by Nosslak
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I have a hard time actually believing that. I mean Doom 3 is almost exactly 6 years old, so the amount of people who don't have the needed hardware and is actually interested in playing games can't be that high.

 

 

 

 

i'M NOT KIDDING, BUT IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED t1 & t2 BECAUSE OF 'DATED GRAPHICS' ... I hate caps lock.

They are great games despite, but it you wander over to TTLG.com where alot of us Taffers came from you'll see there is quite a large fan base for Thief games. Something like 500+ missions for T2 alone.

Alot of those people run older hardware, and while they are into Thief they may not be into 'gaming' so much. I play L4D and TF2... so I know alot of people on Steam buy all the new games right away and all that, but Thief fans don't really all fit into that catagory.

Alot of them just don't have the expendable income either, especially when the main game they play still has great missions being made for it all the time.

 

 

Anyway...

 

There is a photoshop plugin to export dds and I think also one for Gimp.

 

And yeah, shadow and collision meshes only need a material applied, don't need uv'ed

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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i'M NOT KIDDING, BUT IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED t1 & t2 BECAUSE OF 'DATED GRAPHICS' ... I hate caps lock.

They are great games despite, but it you wander over to TTLG.com where alot of us Taffers came from you'll see there is quite a large fan base for Thief games. Something like 500+ missions for T2 alone.

Alot of those people run older hardware, and while they are into Thief they may not be into 'gaming' so much. I play L4D and TF2... so I know alot of people on Steam buy all the new games right away and all that, but Thief fans don't really all fit into that catagory.

Alot of them just don't have the expendable income either, especially when the main game they play still has great missions being made for it all the time.

Alright, I'm sorry. I'm usually not such a graphics whore, but I've got some limits. I will give those games a chance and try them though.

 

 

Anyway...

 

There is a photoshop plugin to export dds and I think also one for Gimp.

 

And yeah, shadow and collision meshes only need a material applied, don't need uv'ed

Awesome!

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I will give those games a chance and try them though.

 

You must or I will see to it that you are at the very least ostracized and possibly even hounded!

 

;)

 

:ph34r:

"A Rhapsody Of Feigned And Ill-Invented Nonsense" - Thomas Aikenhead, On Theology, ca. 1696

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Nosslak, If you really want to get into the whole dark mod groove, then I highly suggest you play theif 1 and 2, if not theif 1, then theif 2 which is the best in my opinion. I think there are packs that upgrade the quality of models and textures or though personally I haven't bothered.

 

If you want to play a mission that looks great for a theif game, don't go past "Rose Cottage"

 

 

And conspiracies in the dark is also very cool

 

 

These are my favourite missions. Trust me, you will actually learn something about the unique style of gameplay that is offered by thief. TDS may look pretty, but give thief 2 a chance to grow on you.

 

I was sceptical about playing system shock 1 because of the doom-like graphics, but I played it and finished it recently and couldn't be happier for opening my mind, it was unique and addicting, a hidden gem! I'd rather play it than a newer game like dead space anyday. not that I didn't enjoy that game :)

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You must or I will see to it that you are at the very least ostracized and possibly even hounded!

 

;)

 

:ph34r:

Oh noes!

 

Nosslak, If you really want to get into the whole dark mod groove, then I highly suggest you play theif 1 and 2, if not theif 1, then theif 2 which is the best in my opinion. I think there are packs that upgrade the quality of models and textures or though personally I haven't bothered.

 

If you want to play a mission that looks great for a theif game, don't go past "Rose Cottage"

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=DwaxIgz7__k

 

And conspiracies in the dark is also very cool

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Su8qxAEVso8

 

These are my favourite missions. Trust me, you will actually learn something about the unique style of gameplay that is offered by thief. TDS may look pretty, but give thief 2 a chance to grow on you.

 

I was sceptical about playing system shock 1 because of the doom-like graphics, but I played it and finished it recently and couldn't be happier for opening my mind, it was unique and addicting, a hidden gem! I'd rather play it than a newer game like dead space anyday. not that I didn't enjoy that game :)

Wow, that first one really do look great. If it wouldn't have been for the interface then I'd never have guessed that mission was for one of the old Thief games.

 

I will try the first Thief as soon as possible though.

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