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Modular Building Techniques


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I went back to experimenting with this, and using strictly model facades instead of trying to make an entire map 'block'. The results have been a lot more impressive. I've created a series of facade

Obsttorte was interested in what I learned while making the LQD with the modular building technique, so I'll write some words about it here. What is modular building? It is about reusing every piece

Had a few hours to spare today.   Why not build modules from a reference? It is difficult to invent cool-looking architecture if you are not a trained architect. That's why mappers need to shamelessly

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I went back to experimenting with this, and using strictly model facades instead of trying to make an entire map 'block'. The results have been a lot more impressive. I've created a series of facades--regular walls, corners, dead ends, doors, etc--that all connect together. A mapper builds out his rooms on a 128x128 grid, using simple 4-unit brush walls to seal things. Then these modules can be inserted in front of the walls as needed.

 

module1.jpg

 

Unlike Sotha, I built my facades in Lightwave. It took me about a week of working on them to get this far...much of that time was in figuring out how to line them up seamlessly, and working (and reworking and reworking) the uvmaps so they lined up perfectly. I've learned that the best route is to copy a 128x128 square from DR into Lightwave, center it, and then build the facades so that their origin is exactly at the center of that square. This will ensure that even corner pieces will line up perfectly.

 

I've already got seven skins working, and could conceivably add many more; a few examples of how different these modules can look are below.

post-9-0-03538000-1419125508.jpg

 

post-9-0-67359800-1419125513.jpg

 

post-9-0-99272000-1419125519.jpg

 

post-9-0-38872700-1419125908.jpg

 

Those are superb!

 

Is there a advantage to building them in lightwave instead of DR? I've done some pixel-perfect texture alignment in DR's texture editor too, but I've no experience of other tools to compare it with.

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Is there a advantage to building them in lightwave instead of DR?

 

 

For me there is, because I know LW much better than I know DR's 3D modelling tools. I've never had great luck with DR's texture alignment tool either. And since DR only exports to .ase (reliably) I want the model to be something I can open and modify if needed.

 

It's quite possible someone who knows DR better than I do could produce similar results though.

 

Check this out http://www.slideshar...t-buildingfinal, might be useful ;)

 

Very interesting...wish there was audio to go with it. That bit about the "footprint" is definitely important...the first time I built modules, I built them so they went right to the edge of the tile, which left no room for the sealing brushwork. It's important that everything fits inside the borders of the tile.

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In DR, it is very easy to make modules that snap align the textures.

1) decide the module size. I usually do 128x128.

2) make a 128x128x8 brush.

3) decide the texture. Apply the texture on the box.

4) now comes the simple thing. Open surface inspector, choose the module face and press FIT. Now when you finish the module, the wall element textures will always tile perfectly with neighbouring modules. If the texture is such that it looks stretched when fitted, you can experiment fitting 1x2, 2x1 or 2x2 instead of 1x1 fitting. You will always find a solution that looks good. If it doesn't just mash some brushwork over the seam and call it a day. ;)

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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press FIT. Now when you finish the module, the wall element textures will always tile perfectly with neighbouring modules

 

That doesn't work on angled faces though does it? I've had nothing but frustration trying to line up beveled edges in DR.

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  • That doesn't work on angled faces though does it?

I've had nothing but frustration trying to line up beveled edges in DR.

  • Yes, if when building the vert points are snapped to grid as you go. And my rule opf them is large stuff grid 4, medium grid 2/3 and small grid 1.

Got an example as I have this pretty much licked.

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Those are superb!

 

Is there a advantage to building them in lightwave instead of DR? I've done some pixel-perfect texture alignment in DR's texture editor too, but I've no experience of other tools to compare it with.

 

One thing that Arcturus brought up is that the default vertex normal orientation of Doom 3 brushes vs Blender's ASE setup. I suspect that's

also the case here. And Lightwave also has built-in tools for vertex blending and baking AO...

 

Still, I wonder if every brush based map would benefit if the default vertex normal were set to act like Blender ASE?

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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  • Yes, if when building the vert points are snapped to grid as you go. And my rule opf them is large stuff grid 4, medium grid 2/3 and small grid 1.
  • Got an example as I have this pretty much licked.

 

I don't have any examples at the moment; I'm just relating my experience with mapping up to this point...beveling corners and angled faces always caused me no end of trouble.

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The problem with the models-only approach and tiling textures that it's hard to combine brushes and such models (textures misalignment). The best approach is either "all models" or have some architectural elements as models (modular or not) and continuous surfaces as brushes.

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The problem with the models-only approach and tiling textures that it's hard to combine brushes and such models (textures misalignment).

 

It's not an issue as long as you combine them at an angle (a natural corner works well).

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I went back to experimenting with this, and using strictly model facades instead of trying to make an entire map 'block'. The results have been a lot more impressive. I've created a series of facades--regular walls, corners, dead ends, doors, etc--that all connect together. A mapper builds out his rooms on a 128x128 grid, using simple 4-unit brush walls to seal things. Then these modules can be inserted in front of the walls as needed.

 

module1.jpg

 

Unlike Sotha, I built my facades in Lightwave. It took me about a week of working on them to get this far...much of that time was in figuring out how to line them up seamlessly, and working (and reworking and reworking) the uvmaps so they lined up perfectly. I've learned that the best route is to copy a 128x128 square from DR into Lightwave, center it, and then build the facades so that their origin is exactly at the center of that square. This will ensure that even corner pieces will line up perfectly.

 

I've already got seven skins working, and could conceivably add many more; a few examples of how different these modules can look are below.

Brilliant work. Definitely share the models somehow, this would be very useful to lots of people!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been experimenting with this technique and am beginning to see its potential but now I'm running into this weird error.

 

I keep trying to build this section of wall and convert it to .ase as Sotha said. The visible face of the wall is composed of two brushes (the lower half is textured a stone relief and the upper part is a smooth marble texture). The side of each brush is textured a neutral grayish marble; I just gave it that texture randomly since the player will never see it in-game; it would be connected to another wall section.

 

However, when I perform the .ase conversion and reload the new model, the inserted model moves the textures. The visible front part of the section now has the gray marble from the adjacent unseen face, instead of the pretty lionsandnymphs relief I spent so long trying to align just right. I'm sure this is a newbie mistake but I just can't figure out why DR spits out something different than what I put in to convert. Any help? I know a screenshot would help but couldn't figure out how to attach it to this reply (stupid, I know).

post-34852-0-52513700-1421873612_thumb.jpg

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I don't have experience of using the ase exporter, so I can't answer your main question, but to attach a screenshot, use the "More Reply Options" button underneath the reply text box and then you'll have an attach files button. You'll have to shrink it down or crop it to less than 500k first.

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I have to say at first I wasn't all that drawn to this idea but when I started working on a manor i'm building for my current FM I was getting nowhere with it and nothing was really coming other than room ideas so I decided to start building individual rooms as their own self contained modules that can be picked up, dropped and moved around quite easily. Now the speed of building and quality has gone up quite quickly.

 

My current plan is to finish all of the rooms (which are currently self-contained and floating in the void) and then once they are done, drag them in, connect them with hallways and voila the manor is done.

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I've seen this bug before, I think its an issue with the exporter script.

 

Obstortte created the script so maybe he can help.

Damn, that's even worse. I was hoping it was a stupid mistake I was making instead of a bug. Well, I guess for now I'll just keep trying to rebuild the pieces until the exporter gets it right. Creates a lot of needless extra work, though. Hope this bug can be fixed soon.

 

@SteveL - Thank you

 

Update: I've been playing around with this some more. It looks like if I use the 'export blended ase' option instead of the 'export ase' option, no problems come up.

Edited by Morat
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Yeah, the fix is only in the blended ase version, not in the original one, so use that instead.

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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For me there is, because I know LW much better than I know DR's 3D modelling tools. I've never had great luck with DR's texture alignment tool either. And since DR only exports to .ase (reliably) I want the model to be something I can open and modify if needed.

 

It's quite possible someone who knows DR better than I do could produce similar results though.

 

Very interesting...wish there was audio to go with it. That bit about the "footprint" is definitely important...the first time I built modules, I built them so they went right to the edge of the tile, which left no room for the sealing brushwork. It's important that everything fits inside the borders of the tile.

 

What's the size of a "tile" you are using? I used 192x192x192, but it sometimes seemed to big or to small, depending on what was wanted (dungeon vs. manor).

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Hello everybody, and congratulations for the amazing work on TDM.
I'm digging this topic since several weeks and I couldn't agree more with the turn the game is taking : modular asset building can give it a great AAA look.
I need to understand the workflow first (I usually import my models in unity, idtech seems a bit more complex), but when that is done I'd be happy to make some TDM assets.
Good day, taffers.

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You can start with the wiki tutorials. I think Spring said he'd try to make a special tutorial for building and importing modular set pieces, although he's got a lot on his plate as it is.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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need to understand the workflow first (I usually import my models in unity, idtech seems a bit more complex), but when that is done I'd be happy to make some TDM assets.

 

 

I've been too busy working on assets to make any tutorials as of yet, but if you have specific questions that are holding you up I'll be happy to answer them.

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