The Shipyard at the End of the Ooniverse. Modeller's bit.

Discussion and information relevant to creating special missions, new ships, skins etc.

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The Shipyard at the End of the Ooniverse. Modeller's bit.

Post by Amen Brick » Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:25 pm

It would be nice to have a matching area to the Scripter's cove to discuss the ins and outs of craft/station/building modelling and to help answer any general or specific queries.

Hopefully, this will get stickied *CoughHINTHINT. ;)

To start with:

Modelling with Wings3d

The best way to see the size of your ship after scaling is to go to the absolute commands and click scale. The figures are directly related to metres.

Ships should be greater than 10 metres in at least one axes, if not more unless you are deliberately making a very tiny unmanned craft. If it is deliberately small, remember to adjust the size of the exhaust plume in the shipdata.plist.

Try to keep the faces below 375 and the vertices below 590 as the conversion to .dat format leads to triangles being formed (which may deform a badly moulded design) that can take the Faces/Vertices over the working limit of 500/800.

Ships travel along the z axis.

I try to make the top and bottom distinctive fairly early on to cut down the chance of accidentally importing an upside down model, same with front and back to prevent ships travelling backwards. NOTE: that some ships may look better this way! :)

On that note: Flip your designs around the axes. You'd be amazed how often it can look more original. I did this with my design for the Hoodlum.

Hmm, try NOT to give the model an generic name like Hawk or Eagle, or if you must, make sure the modelfile name is original. This will prevent conflicts with other oxps.

More to follow and please add your own tips, guides and questions. And sorry for being a bit forward with this thread, I'm a doer not an asker. :p

If you make a very large ship, make sure it doesnt dock too often as it will explode trying to dock. the hieght of the dock is 64 meters so make sure your Y axis is smaller than that if you intend the ship to be playable! (from the gallery of my own errors! :) )

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Post by Stromboli » Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:52 pm

Any design elements that we all think are generally good to look at when designing ships?
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Post by Amen Brick » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:17 pm

Beauty is the eye of the beholder, but I like any ship that looks like some care has gone into it. 99% of ships I've seen fall into that category.

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Post by Griff » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:58 pm

simple polygon reduction tip
---------------------------------
If you've got any flat ended cylinders in your model, save some polys by welding the vertex at the pole to one of the edge vertexes!
Image

Note: i think there's a limit on how many edges can radiate out from a vertex - i think it's 16

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Post by Stromboli » Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:10 am

In Wings, any attempt I make to use the Triangulate function ends with a bunch of disjointed edges sticking all over the place. Is there an obvious problem this could be related to?
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Post by Amen Brick » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:01 pm

I've never used the triangulate function...

I just make smaller objects <385/585 faces/verts and let the obj2dat process create triangles for me.

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Post by Amen Brick » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:10 pm

Griff wrote:simple polygon reduction tip
---------------------------------
If you've got any flat ended cylinders in your model, save some polys by welding the vertex at the pole to one of the edge vertexes!
Image

Note: i think there's a limit on how many edges can radiate out from a vertex - i think it's 16
Yes and with care, you should delete unnecessary lines after connecting vertices if you're sure you don't need them.

Also, whenever you change your model, look around it carefully (allitem selected so any white gaps show clearer against the red of the selection.) To make it less hard work, try to delete multiple lines/verts at once to save you having to check after every deletion.

There is nothing quite like spotting a mesh break when it's too late to undo.

Sometimes if you delete a line by accident you can simply choose the two verts that made up the line and press connect again.

When you've finished your model, make a new saveas file and play with the model, pulling at faces, lines and verts, smoothing random parts, etc even to destruction. Even if any changes don't improve the finished model, it can lead on to ideas for your next ship.

Also go and do something else for an hour or so and then look at the model with fresh eyes and see if you are still happy with it.

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Post by Stromboli » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:41 pm

Well, here's a new basic design I've made right now. What I'm curious about is what you do with your textures, it's something that's puzzling me a bit.
Image
All I've got right now is just a splash of gray and a bridge/window/cockpit thing.
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Post by Amen Brick » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:50 pm

I edit them in Paintshop Pro. I'm trying different things each time.

Hot wax is good for a 'raised' texure field. (Make sure you have finished everything you want to do as it's difficult to edit afterwards. Also, if you are hotwaxing, don't be too fiddly with your colour scheme as your primary (leftmouseclick colour) will inform the colour of the hotwaxing. Instead go for light and dark if you want areas to remain vaguely recognzable afterwards.

Neon, iirc, turns grey into a mother of pearl affect (if other colours are near enough to bleed into it)

Brushed fur can give an interesting affect, as can pastel.

I also (and I'm learning too) put down a suitable base colour, choose an interesting texture (lots of free textures on the interweb, search for 'free textures' and a couple of suitable graphic extensions like jpg or png) and fill it on about 20-40 transparancy. A good one for texturing windows in anything that has bright light coming in from the corner. A mixture of these can work too.

Nothing wrong with finding a plainish metal texture and putting that down.

I wouldn't use any one of wings internal textures as the last time I tried that it converted that and the auv into the dat, which stopped it form working.
Last edited by Amen Brick on Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by JensAyton » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:51 pm

Griff wrote:simple polygon reduction tip
---------------------------------
If you've got any flat ended cylinders in your model, save some polys by welding the vertex at the pole to one of the edge vertexes!
Image

Note: i think there's a limit on how many edges can radiate out from a vertex - i think it's 16
Just a note: if you simply delete the central vertex and let the end cap be an octagon, triangulation (either by Wings or obj2dat) will produce the same optimized form for you.

Also, keep in mind that the 16-edge limit is only in Wings; Oolite has no such limit as it doesn’t have a concept of edges. You don’t need to worry about the number of edges that might exist after triangulation by obj2dat.

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Post by Amen Brick » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:55 pm

General Tippage:

Don't be afraid to design an ugly/beautiful-in-function-only model. Not every ship can be a looker, especially if it has a utilitarian purpose.

Try to look at all the oxps and think to yourself 'what is the Ooniverse short of?"

I did that and thought: "Why can't I join a gang?" Where are all the big ships, like cruise liners and Aid convoys? "What happens if a corporation decides to do the right thing (unite humanity to smash the thargoids) but does it in an immoral way?

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Post by Stromboli » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:00 pm

Ack! Due to a mishap in the saving process, my texture is now a BMP file. I found no option to make the External... version anything but an (apparently required) .bmp!

Can I change it back, or anything? Dry Dock opens it fine.
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Post by Amen Brick » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:04 pm

Stromboli wrote:Ack! Due to a mishap in the saving process, my texture is now a BMP file. I found no option to make the External... version anything but an (apparently required) .bmp!

Can I change it back, or anything? Dry Dock opens it fine.
don't panic, make it internal again and then external again and save it as a png. I do it all the time, it's easy done.

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Post by Stromboli » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:09 pm

Not only does it say that I can't do this, the texture file is now "bad" and I'm going to have to do the unwrapping again.

It says that "you save this document with the extension '.png' at the end of the name. The required extension is '.bmp'."
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Post by Amen Brick » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:18 pm

You need the texture to be in the same folder as the model.

Worst comes to worst, delete the material and the texture options in the outliner and start again, it only takes a moment.

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