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TDM Building with Blender


Sotha
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Let's talk about TDM building with blender in here.

 

Blender:

http://www.blender.org/

 

Some links how to get into Blender:

http://en.wikibooks....ble_of_Contents

http://www.katsbits....hp#blender_grid

You really should take your time and read these. You can't learn Blender without them.

 

Ase exporter:

http://code.google.c...ase-export-vmc/

 

 

Md5 exporter, for making anims.

http://www.katsbits....4ea&topic=520.0

 

Very briefly how to get your stuff correctly into DR:

 

When you start, switch grid to similar as in DR.

Press N when in 3d view. Display tab. Set Lines: 128, Scale 8, Subdivisions 8.

Now you are building in DR grid 8. If you need to snap to smaller grid, simply change scale parameter to the grid you want to use. ie. grid 4.

 

Build and texturize your model. Note: each areas with different textures MUST be different objects. If walls are stone, walls have stone textures, the walls should be an own object. If windows use own window texture, the windows should be different object than the walls.

 

Texturizing guide here:

http://en.wikibooks..../Image_Textures

 

Just remember that each object with different textures should be different objects. Also each object must have a material with a texture ASSIGNED. For modeling, I extracted editor images of textures from the TDM texture .pk4's and used them in the modeling.

 

When you are exporting:

http://www.katsbits....-ase-models.php

 

In the ase exporter options, check every box, except:

"Use submaterials"

"Allow multiple materials"

 

Set Scale to 1. We previously set blender to use scale of 8 (DarkRadiant default grid size) and the exporter applies a scale of 1, so everything you get out from blender is in DR size scale.

Export file into ASE.

 

Open the .ase file in a text editor.

Find BITMAP lines declaring each texture used in the model

Rename BITMAP contents to the darkmod texture shaders.

 

For example, I used a editor image for a window and in my ase file it reads:

*BITMAP "//Textures/textures/darkmod/window/diamond_pattern02_ed.jpg"

I need to rename the line so that the ase file uses the corresponding darkmod material

*BITMAP "\\purgatory\purgatory\doom\base\textures\darkmod\window\diamond_pattern02\diamond_pattern02"

 

Copy the ase file into your darkmod/models/darkmod/yourmodels folder. Now fire up DR and you should find the model in the model list. If the model is visible in DR but not in game, something went wrong. With this work flow I got my models to be visible.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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I didn't know you made custom models, Sotha!

"No proposition Euclid wrote,

No formulae the text-books know,

Will turn the bullet from your coat,

Or ward the tulwar's downward blow

Strike hard who cares—shoot straight who can—

The odds are on the cheaper man."

 

From 'Arithmetic on the Frontier' by Rudyard Kipling

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I didn't know you made custom models, Sotha!

 

I did some way back. Knighton manor had some simple models by me. The Knighton's rod/scepter and some medals of honor in the first floor.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Natural evolution.

 

Here is what mark 1 blender to TDM module looked like:

http://i.imgur.com/QW69dQ5.jpg

(It is so sickening, I won't even embed it here.. Just click the link if you want to be nauseauted. ;)

 

Mark 2 looks like this:

Z2eEIRl.jpg

It still took an eternity to make, but after seeing Arcturus' quickbuild video, I learned new techniques. Now I can make standard DR quality pieces in blender.

 

It tiles like this:

1lAeJWH.jpg

Pretty seamless. Modules always need some geometry so that they can be fit next to each other without making texture seams.

 

Side view:

b4QnVM1.jpg

 

This could be already used.. Well, *could* if the arch didn't look like shit. Maybe with a better texture selection or more tris in the 3d-blocks.

 

Next time I have time, I'll experiment how this would evolve into mark 3 blender module. It is probably not a good idea to go crazy with details per module: the missions still need to run with tens modules in view.

 

The workflow is very error prone still. I find myself constantly making stupid mistakes which need re-exporting.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Since all edges will have smooth shading in ASE unless you split them, you will have to add more edge loops. Try for example bevel modifier or just bevel tool (ctrl_b in edit mode). Or simply add more loops (ctrl_r). Also this technique of arch making may not work well next to such clean brick textures. You could try to create an arch out of separate stones. Or try splitting edges between stones (v). This will result in a sharp edge so that stones will be more separated..

It's only a model...

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Thanks for the advice: copied the idea you used in your video, and made beveled individual granite blocks. Looks pretty nice and would be very difficult to do in DR.

 

fjZsv95.jpg

 

It's a Blender render. Running out of time tonite, but clearly I've learned a lot.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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If you're curious as to what is going on with those brick arches you should watch this...

 

 

Creases can be assigned in Blender but that information will not carry over in the objects you export for use in game. The game friendly solution is to split a mesh anywhere you do not want vertex smoothing to occur.

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Restarted from scratch and prepared the mark 3 of this module.

 

This time the modeling took only a fraction of the time I spent on mark 2, mainly because I've learned what is a good idea and what it not: workflow has been optimized greatly.

 

Blender has so much cool features, I'm falling in love with it. Darkradiant is like you've drawn your whole life using a grid paper and ruler, and suddenly someone gives you plain paper, a pen and says "Just draw freely, man." You can easily model in 3d view, which simply is not possible in DR. And I love the knife, the clipper tool in Blender!

 

On the mark 3, most of the time went into UV mapping, but I'm getting better. I usually like to do insta-unwrapping per same direction facing faces through "project from view". That feels more intuitive for a mapper than marking seams and hoping for the best.

 

Mark 2 and Mark 3, side by side:

zN5FeAc.jpg

 

I'm pretty proud of the arch as it looks nice and did not take that long to make. This time I really struggled with the materials and the ase exporter did not like that at all. I lost a lot of time wondering why the *uck the exporter fails to export. Eventually I got something out that works ingame. That's why the texture is borked on the wall. Also I lost a cool iron windowsill I made under the window, you can maybe see it in brick textures in the side view image.

 

It is likely I will remodel the entire thing faster than finding out what is wrong with mk3 and fixing it.

 

Mark 3 from the side. Arch is softened with bevels. The cornerstones are softened too, but just so slightly you prolly cannot see it.

4poxiWZ.jpg

 

Anyways... Progress! Blender is running under my fingertips with hotkey operation.

 

I firmly believe mark 4 will be even better! You know... The next time I have a few hours Quality Time with Blender. :D

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Blender has so much cool features, I'm falling in love with it. Darkradiant is like you've drawn your whole life using a grid paper and ruler, and suddenly someone gives you plain paper, a pen and says "Just draw freely, man." You can easily model in 3d view, which simply is not possible in DR. And I love the knife, the clipper tool in Blender!

I know that feel, bro. :) This thread has gotten me the motivation to start picking up blender just a wee little bit at a time. Knowing the proper way of making particular shapes is a bit hard to pick up so far, but I think that's because I started off many years ago using AutoCAD and Half-Life 1 HAMMER. The trigonometry-lover part of my brain wants perfection, but with 3d modeling it's actually refreshing to step away from pure isometric views and [mathematic] perfectionism.

yay seuss crease touss dome in ouss nose tair

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Progress! I'm proud to present mark 4!

 

No struggling. I just modeled it, textured it and -bang- ingame TDM works. Got it almost like I wanted.

 

ML7Tm0O.jpg

2AbxAfA.jpg

lnCajD5.jpg

n9LYXvg.jpg

 

Note the small extra detail: ledge on top is not completely straight, but slightly irregular. Also I tried to give the windowsill a banged bent metal look. There is a not-so-good-looking seam between the ledges of the modules. Need to think about some structure there to hide seams between modules. The topmost stone of the arch looks a bit bad because of the normalmap 'holes.' The wall part could use some irregularities.

 

I think I can stop experimenting and set up my little module factory after mark 5 is done. This one is: 1267 vertices, 954 tris. The low poly mk 2 you saw previously is ~550 tris. I think below 1000 tris is acceptable without the need to start playing with LOD models.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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I don't know if this has been discussed before, but will using models instead of brush geometry will have a harder impact on perofmrance since light hits more tris?

"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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It can. As long as the modular components split at Visportals it shouldn't be too bad. Plus the engine and gpu are more efficient at processing model rendering and model re-use requires less RAM. Using a shadow mesh would help too. Ideally if you could build the modules to split at VP's and light overlaps it would work as well as a map optimized with func-static. Yes, if the model is too large it is at risk for extreme light counts just like an oversized func-static would be. Thus far Sotha's modules look reasonably sized to stay within range of one or two lights. Pretty optimal as far as I can tell.

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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Yep, modules should be handy because of the memory saving, each eats memory only once. Should speed up mission loading, too.

 

The biggest downside is shadows, I suppose. If these modules have shadows on, they will generate a lot of tris. I'm thinking I will simply build these with the expectation that the shadows will be disabled for them with "noshadows 1". Reason for this is, that they do not probably need shadows, because they are snapped onto walls. There might be some situations where shadow is needed, and in those cases mapper could probably simply make shadow texture geometry in DR in areas that have lights.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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I have had blender installed literally for quite a few years now. Every time I install my OS, I make sure Blender is installed soon after, along with all other software which I think is cool or that I plan to someday use.

I have never actually used it. I think I have rendered the default cube a few times and loaded a model or two d/l'd from the web.

System: Mageia Linux Cauldron, aka Mageia 8

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Something tells me that the finlandiers upcoming missions will start (even more) to kick ass, 'cause if he starts to get the hang of producing unique and intriquate models like these, he will start creating places that distinguish from the ordinary "I've seen this table/chair/lamp before" and ...damn, I need to keep up! :)

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The biggest downside is shadows, I suppose. If these modules have shadows on, they will generate a lot of tris. I'm thinking I will simply build these with the expectation that the shadows will be disabled for them with "noshadows 1". Reason for this is, that they do not probably need shadows, because they are snapped onto walls. There might be some situations where shadow is needed, and in those cases mapper could probably simply make shadow texture geometry in DR in areas that have lights.

That's a huge trade-off for a game where real-time shadows are a major feature.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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Pranqster,

pick up the noob to pro tutorial and follow it. In one or two weeks of daily exercise you'll get into blender.

 

FM, nowadays I only have a few hours per week to contribute, so I'm pretty sure you will catch up quickly. ;)

 

Melan, a tradeoff, sure, but not necessarily a huge one. It all depends where the module is. When I built LQD I noticed that having the shadows on or off made a negligible effect on visuals with the ceiling vault and window modules. Since they always cast their shadows onto unseen sealing world geometry, switching shadows off was a good choice.

 

Also, experiences with KM and PB indicated that turning shadows off for a outside areas is good for performance with very little visual degradation. In a well compartmentalized interior areas one could go crazy with high poly object shadows. Analyzing the scene with r_showprimitives and looking at the shadow tris amount is good way to check if you are killing your scene only with shadows. One object of 1000 tris hit by three lights generates 3000 shadowtris. I'd rather use 3000 tris on something else than nearly undetectable shadows.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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That's a huge trade-off for a game where real-time shadows are a major feature.

 

This is a common practice in the Deadly Shadows editor as well. You build the majority of your level in the traditional way and then detail it with modeled details. Anywhere a shadow wouldn't be noticed, you turn them off...or I would say have them off by default and only turn them on as needed....or create a lower quality model to use as your shadow.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After redoing the module you have seen several times already, I decided to do something more difficult or -well- different. I bought Bioshock 1 on discount from steam. I got an inspiration for submarine-ey blender build seen below:

 

f2OMXrr.jpg

 

21KJakZ.jpg

 

The scene consists of 2 modules: a half-of-a-corridor module and a half-of-a-corridor-plus-doorway. I'm beginning to be really confident with Blender. Each time building faster and faster. I suppose this scene would be completely impossible to do in DR: the holes in the girders. They and the doorway were made using a blender object to carve a hole into the geometry. Quick and easy.

 

The scene somehow reeks of System Shock 2, instead of Bioshock... I blame the textures: stock TDM don't have very convincing copper-color textures. I had to use steel and rivets.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Looks pretty good, but you could easily fix the smoothing/shading problems by just dropping in an edgesplit modifier and setting the angle to something like 70/80 degrees (and/or marking all the hard edges manually [CTRL+E>Mark Sharp]). You're making some nice progress so keep going. With a custom shader that used vertex blending to add in dirt/paint this could really be taken to the next level, but that's probably not easy to implement.

 

Good luck!

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