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Messages - Wirelizard

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Mapping / Re: Giving the 1980s their vehicles back
« on: July 23, 2012, 01:35:05 pm »
Quick and dirty screenshot straight from Blender's 4-up view, before I fall over for some badly needed sleep.

Early WiP, obviously! This is intended as a replacement for the Hummer model; I'll likely do a police skin for it too, as well as camo. The basic concept is lifted from the various real Hummer-replacement concepts out there, more or less - open wheel wells to deflect blast, curved underside, etc

Just for size reference, the grey vertical rod next to the vehicle is six feet tall in UFO:AI's "8 units = 1 foot" scale. I haven't yet put my mesh next to the existing Hummer mesh, but the proportions are deliberately similar. If I'm reading Blender's interface correctly, it's currently 262 triangles, although I'm using the "Mirror" function so I'm not actually sure if that's for just the side I'm actually building or for the whole vehicle.

I'm still tweaking proportions, but I'm generally satisfied with the beast. The wheels will get hubcaps in the mesh, but I'll probably leave tread and such for the skin. I might put a hatch on the roof, and still need to do axle/drive train/suspension bits so the wheels aren't just floating there...

Mapping / Re: Giving the 1980s their vehicles back
« on: July 23, 2012, 11:37:07 am »
Yes, I recommend spending time in tutorials rather than trying to figure it out as you go.

I've been flipping back and forth between Blender itself, the Blender docs, and YouTube tutorials, and am significantly less lost than a few hours ago!

The one thing that is giving me grief is Blender's use of Boolean operations - blending/merging/cutting shapes with other shapes. The Blender 2.6 docs frankly don't seem to make sense, and sometimes Blender will reject an attempt at a Boolean op that looks, to me, like it should work.

I've been spoiled the last few years by Inkscape, I guess, which has an awesomely easy to use UI, error messages that are actually *helpful* and other refinements...

Every 3D asset in our game (and most games) is constructed out of triangles. Even if the surface in your editor is 4,5,6,7 sides, it will be decomposed into triangles in the game. So having a limit like this does not drive up the "actual" number of surfaces on a model.

Good to know. I found the suggested UFO:AI poly counts over on your wiki for reference. Assuming I'm reading the poly counts in Blender right, keeping vehicles under the suggested limit but getting them more interesting than the current UFO:AI models shouldn't be difficult.

Cool! Look forward to seeing what you've got. Please keep in mind limits on licensing issues when modelling/skinning. This extends to concept work -- if a model looks exactly like a concept produced by someone else, it can trample on their licensing rights. Of course, we all take inspiration from each other and small changes to the concept are usually enough to make it distinct.

I'm keeping that in mind, no worries. I'm involved in other open source projects (Ubuntu, Open Clipart, a few others in the past) and I'm aware of some of the perils.

I've been working on a Hummer-replacement first, for somewhere to start, and I'm quite happy with how the mesh is taking shape. Screenshots sometime in the next few days.

Mapping / Re: Giving the 1980s their vehicles back
« on: July 23, 2012, 06:09:56 am »
OK, Blender is breaking my head. I'm sure it's powerful, but the UI is as opaque as hell. "Complexity purely for the sake of complexity" is the phrase that comes to mind.

Does it really have a limit of four sides/edges per face? That seems like a crazy random limit to impose and a wonderful way to uselessly drive up the number of surfaces on a model...

That said, I do have my first concept scribbles, I've been rummaging through DeviantArt and other websites for inspiration, and there are vaguely vehicle-shaped objects appearing in Blender...

Discussion / Re: Funny Things
« on: July 22, 2012, 03:53:25 am »
I got the "England" map (which is a pretty neat, tight little map, to be fair!) smack in the middle of North America too. I wrote it off as an oddball experiment in urban planning and got on with killing aliens...

I had a Taaman blow itself up last night, which made me grin. Alien comes around the corner into the alley between two buildings, sees one of my soldiers and prepares to throw a plasma grenade at me... grenade hits the eve of one building, bounces back between the thing's feet and blows it up. Not so much "Alien Spotted" as "Alien Splattered"! Besides, the critter obviously didn't get the memo that plasma grenades are for me to salvage to use, not for silly aliens to throw!

Discussion / Re: New wound and healing system on 2.5-dev
« on: July 22, 2012, 03:46:24 am »
One thing I've talked about with friends who also play UFOAI and who played XCOM was to make the medkit healing "temporary" or "field" healing. You're patching people up and pumping them full of drugs so they can complete the mission, then afterward most of that "healing" wears off and they're into the hospital for real, proper recovery.

So someone gets wounded down to, say, 30 out of 90 or so HP, you medkit them back up to 75 or 80 HP in the field, but when they get back to the base hospital their real healing starts back at 30 or whatever HP. Maybe give a bit of a bonus for field treatment, as that would help somewhat, but currently it's almost better to take moderately wounded and valuable people on simpler missions (clearing a scout crash, say) and medkit them back up rather than wait for the hospital, which is... not quite right!

Mapping / Re: Giving the 1980s their vehicles back
« on: July 21, 2012, 05:02:05 am »
Sounds like new cars are a hit idea, then.

My last round of 3d work was for Orbiter space sim about five or six years ago, using a Windows-based freeware 3d program I no longer remember the name of. Blender is a fair bit more powerful and featureful, but also a bit less beginner-friendly! I've also done my own skinning for various Orbiter and MSFS projects, so had already planned to deliver fully skinned objects to UFO:AI, no worries. I'm more than conversant enough with GIMP and Inkscape to handle skinning, if I can get back up to speed on the 3d side of things!

I think my anti-social TGIF evening is going to consist of a moderate amount of gin, Blender tutorials, and blowing away Ortnoks when I get tired of Blender blowing me away!

First off, just got back into UFO:AI after a few years and a couple of releases away, it's gotten so much more polished and awesome! Just played my first campaign through to the assault on an alien base (granted, on Very Easy...) and had a blast. The 3d work in the alien base alone is spectacular. I spent at least twenty minutes at the start of that mission just flying the camera around the base, oogling all the blinkenlights and being creeped out by the awesome alien-ness of it! Good thing this isn't an RTS, the aliens would have munched my guys while I drooled over their base...

(I'm also not sure if this should be Mapping or Artwork, so mods, please punt it around as appropriate...)

Anyway... one of the minor things that's bugged me, though, is how very non-futuristic all of the ground vehicles look in the game. Granted, there might be a great revival of 1980s/early 90s vehicle design in the 2080s (stranger things have happened in popular taste) but it would be kind of fun to have some more futuristic vehicles to hid behind while you're stalking Shevaar through the streets.

I haven't done any 3d work in five years or so, but I've also wandered back into Blender recently and rediscovered what a lot of fun that is.

A quick mental rundown of the vehicles seen on UFO:AI maps gives us a pretty short list:
- minivan
- cop car
- Hummer-like military vehicle
- freight trucks, with and without trailers
- LeCar-like subcompact (which also appears crashed into a lampost on at least one map, with crumpled hood)
(I'm sure I've forgotten a few, but these are the most common ones, anyway, especially on the RMA maps)

Before I go tearing off to Blender to start thrashing around, downloading the UFOAI source and such, a couple of questions.

1. Is there an interest in getting new meshes for these vehicles?

2. If 1=Yes, is swapping them into the maps relatively straightforward?

Anyway, I'd like to contribute, and some fairly simple low-poly semi-futuristic vehicular scenery seemed like a good starting point. Advice, feedback and possible starting points or artwork for further inspiration all welcomed!

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