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Modular freighter / tugboat design ... early days yet


mikehgentry
(@mikehgentry)
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Topic starter  

Hello,

 

I've been trying to design a kind of modular freighter / tugboat system, since I read somewhere that the ultimate plan is to allow docking between ships. Until that works, I guess if I can polish them up and texture them (gulp... that bit sounds hard), it would be possible to just have them whizzing around space in various different predetermined states of assembly.

 

I'm pretty much new to modelling (made a few Unreal Tournament levels back in the day...), so just getting my head around the Blender UI and the structure for Pioneer to import things. Good fun, if confusing at this stage...

 

I'm going to use this thread for when I get stuck, but at the outset any comments, hints or suggestions very welcome.

 

Happy Christmas!


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mikehgentry
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OK, first issue. I can't get different textures to apply correctly to their respective meshes.

 

It looks OK in Blender, but not once I've imported it into Pioneer.

 

I guess I'm either messing up the export to .dae, or I'm getting the .model files wrong (edit - I've now tried in .obj, and that doesn't work either, leading me to believe it's the .model)

 

Anyone mind taking a look at a simple test case?

 

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1257491/pioneer.2cubes.zip

 

Quote:

material cube1-material

diffuse 1.0 1.0 1.0

specular 0.3 0.3 0.3

tex_diff cube1.png

mesh cube1.dae

material cube2-material

diffuse 1.0 1.0 1.0

specular 0.3 0.3 0.3

tex_diff cube2.png

mesh cube2.dae

 

It's just not loading one of the textures at all. Any clue what I'm doing wrong?

 

Thanks


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SolCommand
(@solcommand)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 821
 

Hey

 

I've got nothing to do with this game but since I'm into 3D models myself, I'm interested in seeing your design for the modular freighter so if you've got any pics on hand would be cool if you posted them here.

Cheers.


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Marcel
(@marcel)
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When I saw your avatar I thought you were a bot! Anyway, can we import some of your models into Pioneer?


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SolCommand
(@solcommand)
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Uhmm, if you're talking to me, yes 🙂


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mikehgentry
(@mikehgentry)
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@SolCommand

 

Yes, he is 🙂 Your stuff is awesome!

 

I'm just beginning, and so this is early concept stuff really.

 

The idea for these models is that there's a relatively great emphasis in Pioneer on plausible physics / economics. I wanted to make a set of non-player ships that you could script, that would plod around the galaxy freighting fluids (I guess hydrogen and oxygen mostly). You might have a 'gantry' component mounted somewhere on top of a station where fluids are 'mined', and then a freighter would turn up, detach the filled gantry and leave an empty one in its place. The tugs can move the 'balloon' type cargo modules around on their own, so the idea is they can take them into stations, or maybe hyperspace - though I don't personally envisage a whole freighter being able to jump.

 

They're supposed to be space only, massive, and slow moving. More of a utilitarian aesthetic, and none of that sleek aerodynamic curviness...

 

Anyway, here are some very rudimentary pics - the textures are placeholders while I figure out what the heck UV unwrapping is supposed to be when it's at home... 🙂


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SolCommand
(@solcommand)
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Interesting designs. Keep it up mate.

If you want some quick help with the model and UV unwrapping let me know cause I can spare a few minutes to help you out if you need.


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robn
 robn
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It's just not loading one of the textures at all. Any clue what I'm doing wrong?

The material names in the model file didn't match those in the mesh files.

Try this:
 

material Material_001-material
diffuse 1.0 1.0 1.0
specular 0.3 0.3 0.3
tex_diff cube1.png
mesh cube1.dae

material Material-material
diffuse 1.0 1.0 1.0
specular 0.3 0.3 0.3
tex_diff cube2.png
mesh cube2.dae

Output:

amnJa.png

All I did was open the .dae files in a text editor and change the material names to match what I found. I don't know if that was the "right" thing to do though. At the very least we should probably be spitting some errors when materials defined in the model don't match those in the mesh files or vice-versa.

The person who knows the answer to all this definitively (Luomu) is on vacation at the moment. I'll get him to take a look when he gets back. For now I hope this helps.


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Luomu
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Yes, the names come from the Blender material names:

 

DzDpj.png

In addition, the Blender Collada exporter appends "-material" to each exported name, which is confusing but you seem to have figured this out. I don't know if other applications/exporters mangle names like this so it's not something the importer tries to correct automatically.

If the material is not found by name, the importer tries to match it by number. It might not work right now, but that is the intention. If the model has only one material you can name them anything you like in the .model.


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mikehgentry
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Topic starter  

...

If the material is not found by name, the importer tries to match it by number. It might not work right now, but that is the intention. If the model has only one material you can name them anything you like in the .model.

 

 

...All I did was open the .dae files in a text editor and change the material names to match what I found. I don't know if that was the "right" thing to do though. At the very least we should probably be spitting some errors when materials defined in the model don't match those in the mesh files or vice-versa.

 

Cool, thanks for the help. As you can probably remember Blender is pretty overwhelming for a new user, and it's easy to overlook the obvious 🙂  I've put a note about reading the files as text in the wiki. What threw me was that it worked for a single mesh as it doesn't care about the name then; if it's going to ignore what you've written (which makes sense if there's only one option) then I think it would definitely help to tell you it's doing so. I've opened an issue: https://github.com/pioneerspacesim/pioneer/issues/1876

 

 

Interesting designs. Keep it up mate.

If you want some quick help with the model and UV unwrapping let me know cause I can spare a few minutes to help you out if you need.

 

Thanks, I appreciate the offer. At the moment I'm just flailing around really, so I think the best approach is just for me to keep plugging away at it until it makes sense. If I get stuck on anything specific I'll definitely post in this thread though.

 

As you can see in the images (particularly the empty freighter) I've got some superimposed faces to get rid of at the moment... It's odd that two meshes that penetrate one another work OK when merged, but two that have faces directly superimposed don't. I guess the problem from Blender's point of view is that both faces are on the outside, so neither can take priority. I guess I'll just use boolean modifiers to build those parts up gradually...


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mikehgentry
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I've finished the mesh (for now). I've now got two cargo designs on separate layers.

 

It's high LOD, so I've gone a bit nuts and hit 12000 polygons with the 'tanker' type cargo 🙂

 

I need to clean it up, remove backfaces and duplicate vertices, hopefully that'll shrink it a little.

 

[attachment=1656:freighter.mesh.zip]


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Metamartian
(@metamartian)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 217
 

OK, first issue. I can't get different textures to apply correctly to their respective meshes.

 

It looks OK in Blender, but not once I've imported it into Pioneer.

 

I guess I'm either messing up the export to .dae, or I'm getting the .model files wrong (edit - I've now tried in .obj, and that doesn't work either, leading me to believe it's the .model)

 

Anyone mind taking a look at a simple test case?

 

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1257491/pioneer.2cubes.zip

 

 

 

It's just not loading one of the textures at all. Any clue what I'm doing wrong?

 

Thanks

Damn, I actually knew the answer to this problem...go me.

 

either way, that freighter is looking v.good Mike. I've had to stop working on the lanner uv map at the moment as the boy is not very well. fingers crossed i don't forget everything I learned this week when I pick it up again!


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mikehgentry
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Thanks, and sorry to hear that - hope he feels better soon. You're not actually late until approximately 1200 years' time, so Lanners will wait. 🙂

 

Yes, this thread was my banging my head bit. You've got company...

 

Here's one:

 

I've 'smart UV projected' a load of faces which should all share texture. They're the right size and orientation, but they're scattered all over the map. I can move them over each other one by one, but that's stooopid. I'm looking for something like weld but for islands instead of vertices. Any ideas?

 

edit -

 

Maybe this 'superweld' script is what I'm looking for. I'll give it a whirl...

 

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?81876-3-new-scripts-GeomTool-MeshCopy-Paste-UVTool/page3

 

edit again -

 

That doesn't seem to work on 2.65. But I've figured out you can just reset all the faces so they cover the whole map. Not ideal, but less hassle than lining them all up manually, even with snap.


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Metamartian
(@metamartian)
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I did see something about islands the other day on my home laptop, I'll see if I can find it again from the history. I am also have issues with islands (that is what you call a face upwrapped collection of vertices yes?) and overlaying them exactly on top of each other. rotating them exactly into line is also another bum ache.

 

As you can see I have all these little orangey bits I need to overlap and line up correctly.

 

[attachment=1660:lanner UV.jpg]

 


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Fish
 Fish
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i dont know about blender but in max one way to do this is by mapping one object and then cloning that object and placing it on the rest of the model as many times as needed. because they are all cloned objects they share the same uv co-ords.

hope this helps a bit.


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mikehgentry
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...(that is what you call a face upwrapped collection of vertices yes?)...

 

An island is a group of faces (essentially, anyway. There might be more to it than that, but I struggle to see it 🙂 )

 

i dont know about blender but in max one way to do this is by mapping one object and then cloning that object and placing it on the rest of the model as many times as needed. because they are all cloned objects they share the same uv co-ords.

hope this helps a bit.

 

That works if you build the ship from small parts complete with textures. There's 'Join as UVs' in Blender as well, if you've got two meshes that are identical you can just copy the complete UVs from one to another.

 

I was hoping for something in between, where you've got duplicate geometry on differing meshes or parts of a mesh, and can just pick a few islands and say 'these look the same'. It's more or less possible by resetting the unwrapping, but still a bit awkward. Getting there though...


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mikehgentry
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Having a break from this. It feels like it's moving along, but I don't want to get exhausted by it, so uploading my progress so far and having a holiday 🙂  My hat goes off to all the modellers out there; I knew it would be hard work, but crikey...

 

I've added a few LODs to the tugboat (which I'm provisionally naming the 'Harlequin', as it's designed to do cartwheels, has a diamond shaped hull, and looks like an 'H' from a distance) and the cargo. I still need to reduce the max-LOD poly count on the tug, there's room to simplify some of the pipes among other things. Would be really good to simplify the tanker balloons as well, but I'm stuffed if I can figure out how right now.

 

The gantry shouldn't take too long, to prettify slightly and do LODs for, then it's the blooming textures. Scary stuff...

 

[attachment=1670:tugboat.zip]

 

-edit- Hah! Now that is weird. Just as I've uploaded that, my mouse seems to have broken. It's a sign you need a break when you've worn your mouse through! 🙂

 

Right, found a trackball my old flatmate left me. Only took plugging it into a Windows machine and installing 50 megabytes of drivers and support software to get the thing to work. Nice one Logitech 🙂 Shame I can't use a trackball to save my life. It actually does feel kind of nice for big sweeping gestures, just a bit alien trying to do precise movements, but I'm sure I'll figure it out...


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