I don't know if there's anything anyone can say to help me out here, but I'm gonna complain anyways. I'm a lazy bastard. Yup, me. I am. Whenever I build new ships, I use simple shapes and hardly bother with any detail at all. Maybe part of it is that my initial sketches are usually simple too. In any case, I seem to spend as little time as possible to create a ship. I suppose this could seem as a blessing, seeing as all graphics end up 32x32 anyways, but it bothers me nonetheless. Any comments?
Originally posted by BernDog:
I'm a lazy bastard. Yup, me. I am.
Three years and my pizza still isn't here.
Maybe I should call.
Create some textures with bump mapping. Most 3d designers work heavily with textures to create the feel of complexity rather than complex shapes -- they are easier to manage and change, faster to render, and faster to work with interactively.
Look at the way Bryce can produce fantastically complex shapes using volumetric textures on simple spheres. You can download a demo if you don't have Bryce to hand.
M A R T I N T U R N E R
I have played to some degree with bump/texture mapping, but it's the subtle cohesive feel, that which evades my any attempt, that I strive for: namely, realism. I'd like to be able to look at one of my ships and be able to say, "Hey, that could be real!" I just can't seem to come up with any decent bumpmaps/textures---only if I have something very specific in mind, which is rarely the case. Whoo, whatta rant.
Regarding bump mapping, etc: That's where Bryce really comes in handy; it has a lot of nifty pre-built textures to use as a starting point.
As far as overall design is concerned, it just takes practice and dedication. I made several plugs early on (which, thankfully, I never released) that had outstandingly cheesy looking graphics, just because I was still new to the job.
Look at some sci-fi that you enjoy, and note what you like and dislike about its "look." You can often use that as a basis for your own designs.
For example, my C.C. Gunboat (in Secession) was originally conceived as little more than a sleeker, streamlined X-Wing (because I don't like the "chunky" look). With that in mind, I started playing around in StrataVision (and later in Bryce) until I had something I liked. I'm still tinkering around with the design; compare the graphics in Secession 1.0 and 1.5 to see what I mean!
All it really comes down to is practice and plenty of work. Keep on making initial sketches on paper, just because it's a lot quicker than modeling an "idea", only to find you hate what it actually looks like. Good luck!
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Now that i've finally gotten into making spins. I find that the most antagonising part of any ship is the colors/textures. It's asy to make the actual ship look the way you want it too, but to make it colored/textured correctly is a much different thing. I just play around with other colors/textures that are already there and close to what i want and get them the way i want them. then i Save them as a different file. Does anyone else havea better way, because this takes forever.
As for the realism thing, i always try to go for that and wind up withj something just short of it adn telling my self that nothing else in the game is anywhere close to reality why am i making this any different.
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It's maddening. I can texture the heck out of anything I remotely know (walls, buildings, whatever), but I get "texturer's block" when it comes to these ships. Everything seems cheesy and dumb. Here, I'll show you: this ship I designed the other night, I spent about an hour on (including texturing). I was happy with the model, very close to how I originally envisioned, but the textures, grr...., just looked boring. See for yourselves: (url="http://"http://www.chat.carleton.ca/~bgroves/shuttle1.jpg")http://www.chat.carl...es/shuttle1.jpg(/url) (url="http://"http://www.chat.carleton.ca/~bgroves/shuttle2.jpg")http://www.chat.carl...es/shuttle2.jpg(/url)
See? Kinda bland, or kinda cheesy. :
actually theyre not too bad at all. Just render them so they look 3d instead of flat and theyll be really cool.
Yes, it's not that bad. But I can't see any special textures, just plain colors (good enough for in-game picts, btw). I suggest to render a larger image with less ambient light to make shadows darker. Then add a spotlight to simulate sunshine. If different colors mean different materials, then it could be nice to change the reflectiviness(sp?) for one of them.
(just some thoughts)
Yeah, it's kinda hard to see the textures. Here: (url="http://"http://www.chat.carleton.ca/~bgroves/shuttlebig.jpg")http://www.chat.carl.../shuttlebig.jpg(/url) (url="http://"http://www.chat.carleton.ca/~bgroves/shuttlebig2.jpg")http://www.chat.carl...shuttlebig2.jpg(/url)
Here you can see the textures a little better. For all intents and purposes, these textures don't really matter, because they can't be seen even in the shipyard pict. It just irks me that they don't look very cool when you look closely. Perfectionist in me I guess. I'm still debating beginning a new plug, but this will influence my ultimate decision. Personally, I like the first one better though...
My thoughts please take this as constructive criticism
The map on the first is too subtle for game play, as you correctly point out.
With the second, the bump map is too regular -- it looks like some Eastern European shuttle. Try a bump map with tubes, cable ducting and all kinds of other things. You might want to scan in a printed circuit board as a basis.
I think it would also be helpful to work on the specularity. If you gave the viewport a much shinier texture and some glow, it would give it a bit more life.
Someone suggested cutting down the ambient light. This is a good move -- objects in space have almost no ambient because of the lack of atmosphere and fewness of reflecting objects. Sharp shadows are the order of the day.
I do like the first one. My feeling would be to give it some more equipment. If you look at some of the Star Wars graphics from episodes IV to VI they've got loads of equipment hanging off them -- even fighters like X-Wings and TIEs.
Finally, I would add some muck. A bit of rust, broken space plating, a la Millennium Falcon. This is something I learned when making model tanks as a teenager. If it doesn't look real, add muck.
One other thing you might want to add are decals. Putting XRG 815 or some other meaningless numbers on the side is absolutely classic SF illustration, as pioneered by Chris Foss in the 70s when SF illustration became mature. It adds a sense of scale and human involvement.
I hope this helps and encourages you. I think your desire to get it just right bodes well for your plug-in. I for one hope that you do decide to make it, and I look forward to playing it when you release it.
Thanx for the tips Martin--make a lot of sense. Here are links for two new pics (same pic different sizes), where I can say I'm happier with the end result. The texture I use looks good, despite a little warping at the front, and though in smaller sizes isn't recognizable as a pattern, it still looks decent. Moved the light source a little behind to emphasize with a little more shadows, and cut out my other ambient lights. Not bad. I considered adding equipment, but I really wanted this ship to be streamlined; save the equipment and stuff for the bigger ships. Check it out. (url="http://"http://www.chat.carleton.ca/~bgroves/shuttlenew.jpg")http://www.chat.carl.../shuttlenew.jpg(/url) (url="http://"http://www.chat.carleton.ca/~bgroves/shuttlenewbig.jpg")http://www.chat.carl...uttlenewbig.jpg(/url)
and yeah, the yellow stripes are a little cheesy, but I like the contrast
I like the yellow stripes -- though you're right, when it's a spin they'll be hard to see.
I also like what you've done with the panelling -- it gets rid of the Eastern European feel (no offence Eastern Europeans).
I still think you should do something with the black viewport -- it looks underfinished compared to the rest of the ship.
I see what you mean, but i'm not sure what to do with the 'window'. The texture I have mapped is high in specular hilight and shininess, but that doesn't show up unless the angle's right. I don't know what else to do....
Try to make the veiwport transparent blue. That always seems to come out realy nice.
Personally, I'd mount a weapon on the roof, kill the main hull reflectivity, and make that veiwscreen very reflective and shiny.
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Could I have an order of Discboard with that?
I think I'm pretty much done with this ship now. I've killed the specular hilight on the main hull, and added an environment map to give the windshield some life. Played with the idea of weapons and such, but I really prefer the smooth streamlined look for this one. Tried transparency on the windshield too, but then I could see the main hull beneath it. Thanks for all the input, y'all. (url="http://"http://www.chat.carleton.ca/~bgroves/shuttledonebig.jpg")http://www.chat.carl...ttledonebig.jpg(/url)
If the seeing the hull is a problem, put a chair and a guy inside -- that will look way cool, as well as giving some human scale.
You know, I considered that too, but there was an inherent problem I couldn't easily overcome. The model (each piece anyways) is made of splines, and in the case of the main hull, it extends from one end to the other, pretty much dead center. That would be the problem. I can't alter the model to make such an opening; an entirely new model would be needed. Booleans won't cut it either. The only last resort is making it (sneaky) part of the texure map of the windshield. Layering a picture of interior (at the right angle) underneath a semitransparent membrane. But again, more hassle. If you can think of a simpler recourse, by all means, share with the class.
I use Mechanisto and it is a serious pain in the A$$ and I want to get a new one any suggestions? I don't mind paying for it.
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