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Messages - Psawhn

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Feature Requests / Saving during missions.
« on: April 15, 2007, 01:14:33 am »
First of all, I agree with the developer's decision to disallow saving during combat. Save/reload cheating isn't much fun. It does ruin the atmosphere and takes away a lot of the "Oh, crap! I lost my best guy!" It becomes "Darn. Now I have to reload from two minutes ago. Next time I won't move my best guy in front of the window."

However, what about saving for legitimate reasons? What about if you're halfway through a two-hour mission and you need to stop playing?

The Fire Emblem games had a way of saving during combat without allowing save/reload cheating. After you saved, the game quit. When you resumed from the save, the save file is deleted.

For a PC, there's no way of preventing someone from copying the save file outside of the game, so maybe an ID system can be used. For each combat save file, there is an ID on the file and a corresponding ID in a table somewhere. If someone loads the savefile, then that ID is removed from the list and the savefile is deleted. If someone tries to load the savefile again (because they copied it outside the program) the game rejects it because the ID is invalid.

There should be a method to allow multiple campaigns, though. Perhaps the geoscape state is saved at the same time, and a player can choose the campaign save, first, then whether or not to resume the mission. (As far as I can tell, you can still reload from the beginning of a mission, right?)

Of course this method is not foolproof. Someone can hack into files to allow their ID. The source code is available, after all. However, that person needs to be technically minded enough to be able to do that, which puts that method out of the reach of many people.

On top of that, the source code is still public. They can just make their own version which comments out the lines forbidding invalid ID loads.

Or, if someone really wanted to save, they could just take a memory dump of the game in progress. I don't think there's any way of preventing that, even with the code that's there now.

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: April 15, 2007, 12:10:19 am »

Here's a new cockpit, and base texture redone to look more like aliens.

I still have to do alien greeblies - I'll make some straight-angled bumpmaps and stuff for that. I also still have to put on paint decals.

Discussion / Some impressions after first tests...
« on: April 14, 2007, 09:45:05 pm »
Or possibly have the client update back to the server at which square the soldier stopped moving.

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: April 14, 2007, 07:17:25 pm »
This is actually a human craft, based off of alien technology. That means we get to put in a pragmatic aspect onto it. :) (It also means comparisons to existing human ships/helicopters are valid. ;) )

If one or both of the engines go out, then the craft will have to make a conventional landing. It could probably make it home on only one thruster (the things at the back), but it can't land vertically with it. ;)

One of the main goals I had when designing the craft was that it could land vertically. The engines were originally placed right on the center of gravity, but Winter's suggestion of thrusters at the back let me move the engines further behind. This also let me have more room for the main 'fuselage'. (Well, as much of a fuselage as you get with a flying wing.)

The main engines were always able to rotate downward 125 degrees, past vertical, so they can point downwards to hover. Because the engines are behind the center of mass, the two thrusters at the back point upward to balance out the craft.

So, really, we get the best of both worlds.

(Incidentally, because the engines can also point up 90 degrees, the craft can hover upside-down! I don't think that landing upside down will be standard procedure, however. :) )

Quote from: "Winter"

I like what you've done with the engines, there, though I too have doubts about the cockpit colour (definitely needs darkening).

If you're doing any further greebling on the body, could you try and get it reminiscent of our Scout/Fighter/Harvester UFOs? That's the feel we're hoping to capture, that this thing is derived from things that are alien, but made to fit the human imagination.

Right-o. I'll make the cockpit darker.

I noticed a lot of the existing alien texture greebles are rather square. I went more with that the alien materials needed to be curved when they form. (Or was that only the kerrblades?)

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: April 14, 2007, 03:12:41 am »
I tried to base the cockpit colour off of the Saracen's. Either way, after staring at it for hours I've gotten too used to it. :P

I've also got a bit of decal work done on the engines. The engines don't have the alien texture on to separate them from the hull better.

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: April 14, 2007, 12:48:22 am »
How's this for alien-looking?

I still have yet to put on decals/greeblies. I redit the cockpit struts, and put rivets in them. The material's shadeless for this render.

The seams are hard to make, uh, seamless. It's quite a new experience for me.

Edit: Here's a more zoomed in view of the cockpit. You can see the rivets, and the not-so-nice bits.

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: April 13, 2007, 06:16:28 pm »
Aah! Greebles! That's the whole reason I applied the mirror on the hull - so I could apply them asymmetrically! I forgot! I'll definitely throw a bunch of those on there.

Strangely enough, that's not a UV seam across the cockpit. I think it's a badly placed cockpit strut, and bad lighting. I'll move it and readjust the lighting.

As far as the wings go, I wanted to get a streamlined, stealth paint-type look. I'll try making up a new alienish texture and making it more pronounced.

Of course, this is my first texture job in... 5 years? And I only made half a handful back then. I'm learnin'. ;)

I'll get right onto work.

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: April 13, 2007, 04:11:05 am »
Texturing finished! (I hope!)

Is the link. Those versions are way too high-poly, though. I'm going to provide several optimized versions. In the optimized versions, I'll delete landing gear/bays as needed to lower down the polycount.

As far as textures go, I tried to produce a scheme similar to that of the F-22 - daylight sky camoflague. I also put a voronoi texture to try to make it a bit alien - considering there are alien materials at work.

There may be a few artefacts, as the original texture is 2048x2048. The gimp .xcf file is almost 13 megabytes!

Luckily the 512x512 .png is 291KB (It's packed into the .blend above), and the .jpg is 159 KB. :)

I also thought of a better name than Stiletto 2. How about Stingray? The shape (and colours) kind of bring to mind an aquatic creature.

So, any comments, crits, suggestions?

Edit: Okay, making the lopoly flight model was easier than I thought.
The polycount went up a bit higher, though. This one's about 1840 tris. Is that too high?

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: April 03, 2007, 02:08:11 am »
I've got the entire model unwrapped. The next things to do are to texturize, and then optimize the different models.

I have two weeks left of university, though, so time is in short supply. I'll get it in when I can get it in :).

Artwork / Geometry Finalized
« on: March 30, 2007, 06:48:08 am »
Took a bit of time. I finished all the geometry that I'll use for the low-resolution mesh. This included rigging everything up onto an armature. All I added, geometry-wise, were bay doors, landing gear, and deploying weapons hardpoints.

Many objects are separate meshes, to keep track of them easier. For export I will combine them all into one mesh. I'll fix up the hull and make it flush for the flight versions.

I don't know if there are animations at all for the fighters. I assumed there weren't going to be any. I plan to release multiple models, like for the Saracen:
1) Flight Model: All bay doors closed, landing gear up. Engines/thrusters forward thrust.
2) Hangar Model: Landing bay doors open, landing gear down. (Weapon bay doors open? Hardpoints Extended?) Engines/thrusters forward thrust.
3) Combat Model: Only weapons bay doors open, hardpoints extended. Engines/thrusters forward thrust.

In the .blend, you can play around with the stuff.
Scene layer 1: Hull and thrusters
Scene layer 2: Armature
Scene layer 3: Main engines
Scene layer 11: Bay doors
Scene layer 12: Landing Gear
Scene layer 13: Weapons Hardpoints

Scene layer 5 is just an old wireframe model I forgot to delete, and scene layer 10 has all the lighting and cameras.

All the important bones are on scene layer 2, bone layer 1. I've set limit rotation constraints on all of these (except landing gear) so they'll only rotate inside their legal values - so just rotate whatever however to see how the stuff works. The landing gear and main engines have animations on them. Press ALT-A to watch.

Next: Texturizing!

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: March 20, 2007, 11:51:02 pm »

I just made a couple of changes since those pictures. All it really amounted to was the mesh topology on the front was cleaned up a bit. The main engines are also a bit further back, but that's shown on those pictures. Also, the intake/holes/things are gone.

Here's a version of the .blend. No textures are on it yet.
Currently it's split into different materials just to show different regions.
To turn it into low-poly mode just delete subsurf, convert to triangles, and apply mirror. (In that order. ;) )

Do I need to model the weapon bays? (Doesn't take much - just separate a section and extrude inwards. Voila! Weapons bays! :D)
How about landing gear for the hangar screen?

I'll get started on texturing. I've a midterm and assignments coming up, so it'll probably get delayed a short while.

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: March 20, 2007, 07:10:26 pm »
Quote from: "Alex"
Hm, as for the transparent materials, couldn't these alien alloys be so far advanced that embedded cellular computers could detect where the pilot is looking and so change the molecular structure at that point to allow the pilot to look out from anywhere, without letting people look in?

That would also restrict the pilot's peripheral vision, which is very important.

They even it out with ballast tanks full of handwavium, and Wash's expert piloting. ;)

Ahh, of course. Silly me.

I don't think the belly thruster would be necessary. After all, those main engines could probably rotate to provide some thrust forward, and considering they're antimatter-fuelled, they'll have plenty of power.

I see what you mean. The engines can move forward, but because the center is still behind the CoG it wouldn't help. But those extra thrusters on the back can actually point up to keep the craft stable.

Dimensions are still a bit up in the air at the moment. The current Small hangar is not too big, but our mapping genius has managed to cram two Stiletto-class interceptors in there. I personally would like to restrict them to one plane per hangar, so that the small hangar could actually be used for more than one type of craft.

I kinda assumed only one craft per hangar. There has to be room around the craft for people to move around carts of weapons and fuel and that.
(Incidentally, I think large hangars should be able to service small craft, but the advantages of having small hangars would be lower maintenance costs and better use of real estate.)

No need to worry about that, just don't go overboard. Wink

All righty then.

You can always mirror the model after you've UVed it. Perfect symmetry! *grin*

That works, but of course the textures would be perfectly mirrored too.  "Not a step" would come out to "pets a toN" on the other side. :)

Here's the craft with more bulk and a pair of wingtip thrusters:

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: March 20, 2007, 01:54:58 am »
Sounds encouraging! :D

Let the triangulation/exporting be our problem - it'll save you from some hassle. blend files are perfect

Will do! :D The way it's set up, the only difference between high-poly and low-poly is the little 'x' next to the subsurf modifier. :)

Variable weapon weight is a good point. (I wonder how a Firefly does it with just two engines - they even have a big cargo bay! Talk about variable weight... :P)

How about an extra belly thruster, and a pair of wingtip thrusters at the back like you said? ;)
I could make the belly thruster internal, rotating out when needed. (ie: leave the model as it is for laziness - leave the thruster for renders. ;))

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of room for internal bays in that tiny fuselage.

That brings up a good point I forgot: size. About how wide should the craft be, yet still able to fit in a small hangar? I guess I don't need to worry about it, considering Hoehrer offered to worry about exporting. :)
I think I'm more curious, so I could model a pilot inside with the right dimensions.
That's another thing - the canopy window. Is a full-length window like that too big/impractical for a glass window, or are there transparent alien materials? (Do I need to worry about it?)

I think modifying it to have larger weapon bays on either side of the cockpit would make it look more dangerous as well.

That's a good idea. I'll work on that.

Stealth paint is not an optional sort of thing. ;)

Oh, I totally want to sig that now. :D

I'll try to keep everything in mind. :) Although, because I'm using a mirror modifier, it'd make it a lot easier if I can finish the geometry before working on unwrapping the UVs.

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: March 19, 2007, 09:45:42 pm »
Actually, I tried to make sure the engines were over the center of gravity. That was one of the main goals from the start.

Well, I did just eyeball it, so it probably isn't over the exact center of mass. I wish I knew a way to calculate the volume of a manifold mesh in blender.
Oh well, let's pretend there's some really heavy stuff on the end of the wings to keep it in balance. ;) Tha or I can move the engines forward a bit more, or add a thruster in the belly.

It has 14,000 polys because I have subsurf subdivision turned on. I was mainly thinking of applying subsurf and using the decimator modifier in blender to lower the polycount, to try to preserve as much of the curviness as I can. (That mesh you see in the ortho views is the optimized subsurf - original polycount but curvy to fit the subsurf.)
Of course, I'd hold on to the high-poly mesh for renders and pictures and stuff if needed. :)

Oh, are there any requirements for the weapon mounts? Or any other kind of module mount for that matter?
I was thinking internal weapons bays on either side of the fuselage. Those holes on the top would reach into the bay. Cannons, lasers, particle beams, etc. would mount inside the bay but come through the holes.
If something like a missile is mounted, the bays can open up and the missile would drop down, like in an F-117 or F-22.

I'm not too sure about TR-20s. I could enlarge the gun hole to let them shoot out, they could be put on a deployable arm, or maybe they just can't mount.

As for textures, I need a bit of guidance. :)
Is the hull built out of alien alloys, or advanced terran carbon-polymers or whatever? What colour is it? Does the forming process create colour gradients?
Does paint stick well to the surface? Radar-absorbing paint?
Is there a defined PHALANX colour scheme? Would the hull be mostly bare metal with paint accents/labels/decor, or would the entire thing be painted? (Like black radar-absorbing paint.)
Would the ship go into space? Does it need RCS thrusters? (Funny thing about that - if the engines weren't in the center of gravity, it could use gimballing and differential thrust to maneuver in space)
Does it need heat tiles for re-entry? (Probably not, considering alien alloys, but it's still better to make sure.)
Do the PHALANX mechs wash the ship down and repaint it regularly? Or should the textures be a bit battle-worn and ragged?

Edit: Oh, something else. Should the wings change shape? I can probably find a way to bake that into blender's shape keys, in case the wings need to stretch out for slow flight or pull in for quicker flight or re-entry or something.

I should have checked what it looks like without subsurf anyways. :D

774 Polygons. Many of those are quads, though. I don't know if quake2 model format supports quad-polygons or if it needs to be triangles.

If I turn it to triangles only, it's 1486 triangles:

It looks pretty ugly with only triangles, though. :P

Artwork / Possible new craft
« on: March 19, 2007, 03:00:07 am »
While reading through the Wiki, I got inspired. :D

I don't know if there has been much decided for any hybrid craft (terran-built with alien tech) but this ship here was partly a practice in organic modelling techniques.
(Click on the thumbnails for full screen.)

And Orthoganal with wires:

The engines would be antimatter, and they are centered around the center of gravity. They can rotate up 90 degrees, and down 125 degrees allowing it to hover.

The wings were designed to be really curvy. I actually sort of wanted to be reminiscent of a saucer, but it ends up looking like a manta ray or something. :P
The curviness has something to do with alien nanopolymer baking, if I recall correctly from the Wiki.

The two holes on the top are for, uh, whatever. I was thinking some kind of internal "zomg lazers pewpew" or maybe particle cannons or something.

The textures are garbage. I was messing around with vertex paint in Blender. I don't even know if it's an alien or human craft. ;)

So... is there any room for this? :)

Edit: The polycount is quite high: 14k faces. Blender has decimation tools (and I can just turn subdivision down ;) ) if it needs to be way lower for the game.

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