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New model system

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robn
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Attention modelers. The time has come for you to start thinking about moving away from LMR.

As we've discussed for the last year, LMR is going away. We finally have everything in place to begin that transition.

If you've loaded up the modelviewer in alpha 29, you may have noticed a new button: "Dump model to .obj". This is the first step in the process.

Alpha 30 and the current development builds already have the new model system included, which includes a new modelviewer. The model system itself is not yet fully hooked up to the game, but there's more than enough there to let you get started building your models.

There's a bit of documentation available already:

The intent at the moment is to keep building this out until we have a reasonable range of ships, stations and buildings available, and we have all the needed features in place. Once that's done, LMR will be removed. The hope is that this can be done within next 3-4 months. Note that we're not intending or wanting to port every single model that already exists in the game - just enough to make things look and play nice with the stock download. The rest will be provided by mods, as usual.

Please extend the wiki docs with what you learn, and please ask here about anything that might be relevant, and we'll try to answer. We're still learning about this too, so don't be shy 🙂

(And please don't clutter this thread with whether or not LMR should be replaced at all. Its done. Its happening. If you want to yell about it, please make your own thread!)


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robn
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(reserved)


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Luomu
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I would like to emphasize these two things:

- This new system is not LMR. It's a fresh start. It's a lot more conventional.

- We want feedback! I would especially like to hear from non-Blender users, because the import process has only been tested with Blender 2.6X.


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Potsmoke66
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let's hope it only sounds more complicated as it is...

 

looks fine so far.

 

i like the "collision detection by bounding box", i had always something like that in mind.

 

a little question/hint, do we have a proper solution for the position of a landed/docked ship?

if not, wouldn't be a value in the ship specs make most sense for it?

you won't have to get the height from the static collision mesh and use a predefinied relation, which didn't works well in most cases.

additionally i feel it's very simple to add the mentioned height over ground for the modeller, he will know how high the ship has to be placed.

think also about ships that might possibly rest on "antigrav pads" for certain mods/reasons.

 

and no fear, i won't argue anymore about the removing of the LMR, i will certainly miss it somehow, but i think if it really helps to attract more modellers and if it makes things really easier, well it's ok.

 

perhaps one thing, it will let my scripted models look pretty shitty compared to a CADesigned model, as long as you knew "ok, it's a scripted one", everybody knew that it's limited and a hard work to do so. but as soon as they are on the same level as CAD they will look "cheap", because future players/users won't know how they was made.

so i'm thinking since a while to overhaul them completely, instead only to convert them from the scripted model.

 

erm, "conventional" isn't perhaps the right term, "conventional" was the LMR, "old style conventions" (imho "conventional" stands for a basic, low levelled thing, it depends on what is "convention", but i guess for models it's "draw from vector to vector, fill with", any else is a higher level and not "conventional". e.g. a "conventional" joint is riveted, screwed, or welded, a joint with a special material to emerge temperature coefficient of materials is "advanced".

 

besides, conventional is also that a righthanded model will have mirrored texture coordinates to a lefthanded one, this is A REAL CONVENTION.

 

you see, that IS a problem already, we lose feel for the "conventional" things and look at advanced stuff as conventional, no matter what will be produced, this leads to a sort of "blindness". you know that this was my main reason for liking the LMR, it shows the principles which already get disregarded to much, imho. and you know me, "a worker who knows the principles from ground up will always bring better results", imo we have already far to much "educated fools" and (far, far) to less experienced craftsmen. like some other i'm convinced this is the reason why they won't get a "Saturn V" again to the moon, they simply lack of experience with this sort of "candles" and this can't be replaced with a diploma. to compare again to my (non swiss) comrade textile technician, he knew all the theoretical things well, but had no idea how to use them, what can be done or what is only possible theoretically. while if you learn the basics well and get experienced with using them, you even won't have to think "if or not", you will see it "from far" (we say, "i can see this already from the deck of the ship" - "das gseh'n ich scho vom schiff uus"). i'm convinced many of the leaks and disregardings i have seen in 3D models could be emerged if you know the basic principles, the "conventions" in other words.

 

hmm, even structural engineers do sometimes things a craftsmen can only shook his head and say: "that won't workout well". well of course they won't/didn't listen to us, but later appearing structural leaks in the roof of the "Letzigrund Stadium" gives me/us 100% right. we might be less educated and earn far less money, but we have the experience, you look at something and estimate, "nah, that can't workout well". such you can't learn in no school and there is no diploma for experience, unfortunately. plastering with concrete is a nother fine example, might you did that for 20 years and you see from far, "that won't workout", but again they won't listen, they are so much better educated it seems they don't have to listen, result -> they "design" Rafts from tubes which swim later on the concrete, well better experienced this won't happen... nah, i didn't even needed experience to foresee that, just enough imagination what happens with so much air. i don't have to calculate this on a computer and get later a wrong result because of few missing data, i estimate and say "if there is this diameter of a tube, i need a space between the tubes at least of their diameter, that's all. sometimes i wonder what they learned and if they learned something at all, or if they only have a diploma, sorry. just to show a little why experience in principles is so important to me and worthes ten times as any diploma).

 

"more state of the art", "advanced" or "of higher level", i guess would fit better.

 

oh, yes, i already expect problems with the matrix animations, call me a "lazy modeller", but this has happened exactly once to me and i never published a model with such a leak. CAD makes real lazy (you would have all the tools but often they are unused) and a often disregarded fact is that mirrored objects and animation settings will work in MAX or Blender, but they won't work proper in the final matrix animation.

 

HINT in advance:

 

NEVER mirror a object and it's animation settings in your CAD for a model to export it to a game.

mirror ALWAYS only the mesh of the object to keep the alignment of the object (or export and reimport the mirrored object in a simple format like .obj to reach the same).

because the matrix for the object will always be aligned to "world alignment". if a object is simply mirrored the alignment is mirrored of course to, this leads to the problem then that the game engine will move the part along the mirrored animations matrix but the top level matrix will be aligned like all the rest, result are parts which flip around wild instead to be proper animated (yet another evidence why basics are so important. as a bad example take ffed3d's "Python", but it's not the only model in this game which leaks of that, i guess it never had appeared to them why and further you know what i guess where that comes from, CAD makes really "lazy" or even worse "blind"). further i know there is a tool in MAX to re-align the pivot of a mirrored object, STOP this will also work only internally in MAX!.

 

anyway, if one is using still MAX, i can only recommend Blender, imho it's far better as the even far to expensive MAX.

and i already dislike a bit that they fitted the feel of blender to MAX only because of... ah, you know what.

if there is something i had always big disputes about, then it's the "cheapness" of "market leaders", usually it's the worse choice, well i know not everybody thinks like me...

 

but one simple formula,

"as bigger the head as smaller the body" (of a company)

 

very simple, no?

and it's a very ancient wisdom that shiny things only glare.


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Potsmoke66
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yes, it's a old problem.

two solutions i see,

a given hight in the ship-specs

or

take the real situation of the lowest part of the animated Landing Gear (but this counteracts to the likes of "no dynamic collision mesh").

 

with the actual system you would have to design the ships in exactly the relation the "Eagle" has. from "y 0" to "y min" divided by 2 and the result substracted from "y min", this would be "level 0". this works for many FE2 ships, it seems they are even designed to such a convention (one reason could be, landing gears in FE2 are often no real mesh, sometimes a sort of a cheat, like for the viper. only three vectors and they are not joined with a mesh more with something llike a "edge", only that you can determine the "thickness" of the edge, or how it will appear finally), but any else design turns out wrong, further i suspect even FE2 must take the "y min" from the active dynamic mesh, else ships like the courier would be placed as wrong as they are in pioneer, means if the engines of the courier are "up" for landing, the "lowest y" is taken from that situation and not from the a static one (in FE2 there is anyway no static mesh at all, it is and has to be always dynamic). probably i'm also wrong here and the lifted engines of the courier simply fit also to this relation, while then the "lowest y" must be taken from the body, the engine is a different sub-model and the foldable wings, hmm... are again just some moving vectors and no "real mesh", like the engine tubes cones, they are neither a mesh, it's a drawed cone looking thing (circle at vector1 to circle at vector2, fill with material, if you look close you notice that these cones could be inverted or normal, you won't notice because it's 2D) without any tris, that's why such parts can't be exported in FFED3D.


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fluffyfreak
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@potsmoke66

You can now export the LMR generated stuff to wavefront ".obj" format so if you still want to use the modelling side then it will work for a while.

Just open your model in ModelViewer and when you hit export it will save it to a bunch of folders in the same place as screenshots etc.

 

The landing gear stuff can be solved in a lot of different ways, perhaps the (custom?) bounding box is the correct way. If a new model is sitting too low with the wheels down then you might need to make a collision mesh that is as deep as the wheels?

 

Something to look into.

 

Andy


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robn
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The landing gear stuff can be solved in a lot of different ways, perhaps the (custom?) bounding box is the correct way. If a new model is sitting too low with the wheels down then you might need to make a collision mesh that is as deep as the wheels?

There will be a fix for this landing in the next few days (hopefully). We'll be creating the collision mesh with gear down instead of gear up.

Longer term, we need to be able to refresh a collision mesh for animated parts. Its on the list of stuff that has to be done before LMR goes.


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Zordey
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Hi, Couple of questions.

 

I have got my ship model to show up on the new model viewer, but how do I define things like forward / rear thrust, cargo size etc? Is this going to be similar to the old lua file? (I assume this isn't implemented yet? If it is can I get a sample lua file to get that ready?)

 

At the moment I have created a "fake" UV map just to get the model imported (I think UV unwrapping shows up my poor modeling skills) Is it really necessary to need a UV map for the entire model? There are certain portions of my model that I would be happy if they were just the base object with a colour and specular level.

 

I am testing against the GitHub nightly's, how far out is it that I can try and import my model using the new model system into the game?


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fluffyfreak
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Thrusters are discussed here, you define them as part of the model using empty objects with specific names.

 

Yes you'll need to unwrap the whole model.

If you had parts that weren't UV'd then you'd have to render then as a separate material.

That means setting up drawing with one material, drawing part of the mesh with that material, stopping the rendering, setting up the next material, drawing another part of the mesh.

Which is much less efficient and is one of the major reasons why we don't have detailed models with the older LMR system even though it supports externally made meshes.


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robn
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I am testing against the GitHub nightly's, how far out is it that I can try and import my model using the new model system into the game?

The transitioning doc mentions it. Edit a ship definition and set its model parameter to the name of your model.


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Zordey
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Thanks guys, got my model imported into the game. Now I think I need to do a bit of a remodel to get the UV-unwrap to work correctly 🙂


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fluffyfreak
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As I've just been going through and (re)learning how to do some simple 3D modelling I had to figure out texture mapping and specifically UV mapping.

In my case I've been using an old version of 3Ds MAX and found this tutorial really helpful.

 

I'm sure Blender users can find something similar, I however cannot get my head around Blender at all :/


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Potsmoke66
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hmm... no more scsnners attached when a scanner is fitted, no ore ecm, no more... i don't know i guess i start to dislike it, 🙁 or 🙂 i don't know. even more limited to ideas of others... if one thinks that's needed or this is "lunatic"... hmm... ... --- it's just because i started a new cobra mk1, intentionally i would have liked to use the new model system for it, but after a brief look at what it offers me i can forget half of what i did, what has disappointed me a little. also i thought about in advance what would be needed to assamble the models and give a modeler the same freedom as we had with the lua scripts, however you solve that it will be as complex as them in the end, except you strip many possibilities from it. though that's what i expected and that's how it actually appears to me, limited. perhaps you will say yes you can mount a scanner in future, needs yet another line and do you thought about the possibility that i prob. like to cover the mounting for the scanner if no scanner is fitted? this could be extended and you really can't foresee what one likes to use to make his model more alive (i diceded until now and if i liked to have a flashing light as scanner or a guy with a running nose, whatever it was up to me). i guess if you like to give the modeler a similar freedom as with the lua scripts it will look in the end very similar. [attachment=1618:cobby.jpg] [attachment=1619:cobby2.jpg] actually i guess i still will prefer the LMR... in the worst case you will get rid of me with the LMR, i don't know... --- i don't know, but really i didn't like it, it's like you would put shackles on my feet. one reason of many why i was so fantasized about pioneer was the freedom it gave me with the lua scripts. no other game i made some customized models before had offered such, always you had to follow standards. now it appears to me like this, i have to mess with what's in someone elses mind and if i don't like i'm off... that's not good, from my pov. or simply said for me. only one material? ahh, yes textures... what about the untextured models? what about the reason that a matte material will look quite different to a high specular with the same texture? conditions for anims? 24frames/sec, another limit i have to keep? and... and... and if i look at all what annoyes me, it's a **** compared to the (possibilities) LMR to me, sorry. but unfortunately i'm not in the position to decide, further my reservations i had from beginning on was never taken serious.


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robn
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hmm... no more scsnners attached when a scanner is fitted, no ore ecm, no more...

This is the major part of the "not fully hooked up to the game yet" bit. Attachment points are not done yet.

this could be extended and you really can't foresee what one likes to use to make his model more alive (i diceded until now and if i liked to have a flashing light as scanner or a guy with a running nose, whatever it was up to me).

You don't have the same flexibility as you had with LMR. You never will. That's by design. The tradeoff is that its easier to work with and easier to optimise.


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Potsmoke66
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or to say in other words to keep control...


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fluffyfreak
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No no Gernot don't give up now. Some things are work-in-progress and will get better.

Lets take your "cover" example, you'd put a standard attachment cover then it would be replaced when someone bought a scanner later.

Please be patient with this, new systems often lack some things and polish that out systems have.

 

This will all come good and is already really solid. LMR is going but think of it moving out of the engine and into modelling side.

The dump to obj option in the modelviewer is the current way of doing it.

 

Cant reply more, am typing on my phone 🙂


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fluffyfreak
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Right, back at home after travelling up and down the country seeing very few of the people we wanted who were all stressed and exhausted from doing the same. Stupid idea.

 

@potsmoke66

At the moment every frame you check whether or not there is a scanner attached in a Lua script. This then decides for that frame if it should or should not draw a model.

This makes no sense, will the scanner disappear from one frame to the next? What if it's fitted but broken? Or what if it gets blasted off the ship by pirate scum?

 

At the moment we can't handle any of these cases because it's being run by LMR.

 

What would make more sense is for a message to be sent to a Lua script that says; "They've just bought a scanner", the Lua script picks a model and attaches it to the ship, and does this only ONCE, not per-frame. Then you could do other things like remove it from the ship and let it spin off into space, or play different animations on it for "working", "breaking down", "completely ruined", etc.

 

That's because a scanner would be it's own model, and would attach to specific locations on a ship model, even if it's own logic to control movement. That way we can have turrets and missile launches, and scanners that track targets, maybe even robotic arms that reach out and grab things - the possibilities get bigger than with LMR.

 

That's not possible right now under either system, but it will become possible with this new model system, whereas we cannot do it with LMR.

It's lacking in some areas when you compare it to LMR at the moment because it is new, so it's like comparing a baby to a teenager then saying the baby is rubbish because it cannot do algebra yet!

 

Other things will come with time, as you help us figure out what needs adding and what's not good enough.


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shadmar
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I think I have to try this new model system. It should be alot easier to create new spaceships now. Inspired by Fish here : http://spacesimcentral.com/forum/topic/3241-bbs-news-and-a-new-ship/

I tried finding the thruster objects and imported the the collada file in UU3D (ultimate unwrap), but no luck. It's maybe for Blender and Max only?

Anyway I think I undertand the basics for this so I'll try to import into Blender.


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fluffyfreak
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The one I've been working I've been doing in an old copy of MAX, but the DAE exporter is a bit funky. So I save it out into something else and do the final export to DAE from Blender.

If however I'm only playing with a single layer of textures, i.e. no normal mapping etc, then i just export as an "obj" file so I can see how it looks ingame etc 🙂

 

The loader can handle a few different file formats now.


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Fish
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I think I have to try this new model system. It should be alot easier to create new spaceships now. Inspired by Fish here : http://spacesimcentral.com/forum/topic/3241-bbs-news-and-a-new-ship/

I tried finding the thruster objects and imported the the collada file in UU3D (ultimate unwrap), but no luck. It's maybe for Blender and Max only?

Anyway I think I undertand the basics for this so I'll try to import into Blender.

 

hey shadmar there are a few things i had to learn with making that ship and adding things like the thrusters. 1st thrusters and other empty objects need to be saved in colleda .DAE format  the reason i have the gear animation and thrusters saved in a .DAE is just for convenience on my side of things it seems very possible to build the whole ship in a single DAE file. 2nd in Max there are several types of "helper objects" that can be placed to represent thrusters. I found that the point helper was the best to use as setting the scale for the thrusters can get a bit crazy and the point helper has an option to scale back the helper while keeping the transform(i think its called) scaled to what you wanted for in game but from what i could tell any sort of 'dummy' or 'empty' object/node can be used just remember to name them correctly. in max the name of the object is in a small text editing box just next to the object color. 3rd it seems to me that different modeling software has different axis orientation to help me get my model facing the right way i imported the wave hypersonic bomber then grouped my whole model (this was done to ensure that every part of the ship was rotated as one object and can also be used to create a node hierarchy) then rotated it to mach the wave this just so happens to be the back of the ship facing the front then i ungrouped it and started my export. in max i have many options that can be ticked or unticked ill just tell u what i have as ticked:

in geometry only preserve edge orientation

in animation i ticked animation (not sure if its needed for the thruster but as my landing gear is in the same file i had it ticked anyway)and i had bake animation ticked

all the deformation options are ticked

in the advanced options i had units set to automatic (this was ticked by default)

Up-Axis was set to Y-up

both the boxes in UI were ticked

and both the boxes in the collada options were ticked by default

 

well i hope this helps you and anyone else out a bit with your models

 

one other thing when i export my .DAE i get a big list of warnings about each of my thruster objects (somthing about only the transform being saved without any geometry but this is not of any concern as the thruster objects have no geometry and i only needed the transform position and scale).


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shadmar
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Thanks for the heads up Fish, I'm sure I will put this info to good use. 🙂


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Potsmoke66
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Bildschirmfoto2013-01-02um012258.png

 

Bildschirmfoto2013-01-02um013222.png

 

i guess you can see which is which.

 

---

 

but yeah, the specularity map was a must to achieve something that didn't looks a tiny little bit better as what we had...


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lionheart
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Potsmoke, I'm new around here, and I can see why you're annoyed, but the developers seem to be taking account of the fact that modellers are in the main not programmers. I had a look at Pioneer for the project I'm working on a year or so ago, and decided it was unusable, because it had a model system that was, for want of a better word, bizarre. In fact it wasn't really just a modelling system, it was a scripting system. 99% of people who could contribute models and assets would run a hundred miles on seeing the old system. There's a reason that every single commercially released game in the world uses the same sort of art pipeline as the one Pioneer is moving to; because it works, and it works efficiently.

 

Maybe if you give it some time, and see how it develops, you'll start to like some of the useful features it has.


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Potsmoke66
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you have to know what i dislike that i lose completely control, i can't have a second animation channel because they don't like and so on, everything has to be as some dictate that's what worries me, to learn the little lua is easy, to have to do it in a way one or some mention it, is... 

 

setting up the LUA script for the above model has cost me not even a hour it's such a simple model, since three days i'm messing with the new * and didn't get to a satisfying result.

 

so what should i think? i like it? certainly not...

 

in the end it's from my pov as "complicated" as before and didn't helps much.

the only difference it's limited and i have to dance to someone elses music...

of course you don't have to worry about animations, but i guess this have could be solved otherwise as well,

setting up a simple model doesn't needs much lines of script...

not many more as the model file now, if we have finally some of the "detachable" parts back it will be for sure almost the same, so i don't see a proper reason,

except to cripple my existing models.

 

(i can have as many animations as i like in FFED3D, somehow at least, now i'm limited to a landing gear and that's it if i like more i have to beg or what?

some ideas never will see the daylight no more...)

 

---

 

seriously. why don't support a mesh format like .x fully and i don't have to mess with materials and textures a second time?


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robn
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As I said in the original post, this isn't the thread to discuss the whether you like the change or not. Please take it elsewhere and don't clutter up this thread.


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