Mask-Making

Okay, so I've found that in order to make graphics for Nova, I need lots of cool stuff. I found Delphi's ship components easily, which are cool. I also found Spinapp2, I'm using Sketchup, and I have Missioncomputer. I have pretty much everything set to make simple 2-d looking ships, which I have almost done. I can make the sprite using an image exported from Sketchup and rotated using Spinapp2. However, using the little wand tool in preview is not helping me make the mask the way I thought it would. So far the only thing that sorta works is painting the whole ship white in Sketchup and using the same process as making a sprite. This doesn't always work though. So how do you professional plug-in developers do it?

Any help is help, and therefore is appreciated, thanks!

Well first you should stop using Preview. As the name suggests, it's meant more for viewing image files than editing them. I'd recommend either Gimp or Graphic Converter. Gimp is freeware (IIRC) but some consider it a tad difficult to learn. Graphic Converter is simpler, but is also nagware. This means it'll bug you until you pay for it, but otherwise you get full functionality. Personally, I use Graphic Converter.

Now, once you have one of these programs, the Wand tool should actually do the trick nicely, just not on its own. First you need to set its sensitivity as low as it will allow, then click anywhere on the black background. This should select only the background and not the ship. Next you need to invert the selection. This option can be found in the menus, usually in the Edit menu, and will change the selection to whatever object you have in each frame. Finally, hit Delete/Backspace and you should be left with white spaces where the object was previously. Voilá, you have your mask.

Graphic Converter did the trick, thanks!

It's best to make your mask using the same process as you used for the sprite--simply using a magic wand in a graphic editor can often create poor results, particularly if your graphics have harsh lighting or dark colors--such as black intruding into the surface of the model, you'll notice pretty quick a gap in the shape of your model any time your sprite is seen over a non-black background such as a planet or a nebula. And if your sprite is supposed to have gaps in it surrounded by unmasked material (a hole in your model, basically), magic wand won't get those effectively either.

I'm not sure what texture options Sketchup offers, it might not be the ideal tool for pre-rendered 2d sprites. What I've done before in Bryce is apply a material that's all white with 100% luminance (meaning lighting effects don't apply to it). If you can pull off something similar in Sketchup, that's what you should do. If not you should consider using a different program to render and texture your models (you can still design them in sketchup, which has the ability to export models for use in other programs).

This post has been edited by xtal : 23 October 2014 - 08:39 AM

I typically use an entirely black background in my renders and magic wand it with a tolerance of 0 in whatever image manipulation program I'm using (GIMP, Photoshop, etc.,) and that seems to work for me. If it doesn't, I've done xtal's method in the past as well with good results.

Thanks guys! These tricks are all working rather well, and I'm slowly beginning to learn Blender. Slowly. But I do have one more question you may be able to help with. I want to make a TC, but starting small. What are the types of resources I need at minimum to get the game up and running as a standalone? I've looked into all of the graphics concerning the title screen, the loading screen, and the main menu and stuff, and obviously one planet will be needed in one system with one playable ship. I need to create the graphics for the buttons and for the spaceport. I need to make the DLOGs for spaceport, bar, trade center, shipyard, and outfitter, I need to have one character resource. What all am I missing?

You also need the cicn resources for the targeting brackets, the Red Alert icon, the x2 multiplier while Caps Lock is on, and the mission flags for the map. Then there's the bööm resource for explosions, the cölr resource which controls the colors and position of various items, the DITL resources are also as important as the DLOG resources, and you'll also need an ïntf resource for the sidebar/HUD. If you plan on having asteroids or similar space debris, you'll also need röid, spïn, and obviously rlëD resources, and snd resources unless you're making a silent movie type TC. There's also a number of STR# resources. Some are actually required (IIRC) and others simply prevent blank spaces in certain places while going through the game. They are as follows:

  • ID 128: Default Names (first three entries are player first names, next three are player last names, last three are player ship names)

  • ID 134: Legal Status

  • ID 138: Combat Ratings

  • ID 150: Button Labels

  • ID 1000: Message Buoy Strings

  • ID 1100: Stellar Types (appears in planet hailing window only)

  • ID 2002: Misc Strings

  • ID 3000: Ship Comm Strings

  • ID 3001: More Ship Comm

  • ID 3002: Stellar Comm Strings

  • ID 4000: All Cargo

  • ID 4001: LC Cargo (lower case versions of the previous resource)

  • ID 4002: Cargo Abbreviations

  • ID 4003: Status Cargo

  • ID 4004: Base Prices (for trade goods)

  • ID 4005: Status Junk Names (required only if you plan to have junk trade goods)

  • ID 5003: Ship Help Messages

  • ID 7100: Comm Quotes (for përs ships)

  • ID 7101: Hail Quotes (for përs ships)

  • ID 8100: Commercials (for spaceport bar news)

  • ID 8101: Generic News (for spaceport bar news)

It would be safest to copy these from the Nova's own files and then alter them accordingly. All of them can be found in Nova Files 5, along with all the less necessary STR# resources used by the game. I think that's it… Wait, no, there's a few more. I don't know where to find this file in WinNova, but the Mac version has an extra file with essential resources you will need, some of which are not readable by Mission Computer and will not show up. It's best to simply copy this file over to your TC and leave it as-is. The file in question is named Nova-DF.rsrc. It can be found by right-clicking the EVN app and clicking on Show Package Contents. From there go to Contents/Resources and the Nova-DF.rsrc file should be there. Make a duplicate of it for your TC and change the .rsrc to .ndat. You may also change the Nova-DF name to something else if you desire. The file also contains all the DITL and DLOG resources, so you don't need to get them from other sources. Simply edit those as needed. That should be everything you need.

Sweet, that's a lot to take in, but that's exactly what I needed to know! I appreciate it!

Somewhere in the depths of the Add-ons page, there is a download for something called "Absolute Minimum" that will have the necessary files to just get the very, very basics up and running.

@krugeruwsp, on 01 November 2014 - 12:22 AM, said in Mask-Making:

Somewhere in the depths of the Add-ons page, there is a download for something called "Absolute Minimum" that will have the necessary files to just get the very, very basics up and running.

so... I went to the plug-in search hosted on the arpia.be site and was able to find the "Absolute Minimum" plug with their search feature. Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me get it to download...? Are all the plugs on the plugins page still in existence? I click on the plugin and my browser just loads a white page with nothing there..

Attached File(s)

I don't know. Ambrosia is pretty well all but dead these days, and I know the add-ons page is no longer accepting submissions. If there is a server issue, it may not get fixed.

I think most plugins are still good.... I think? The Absolute Minimum plug-in just shows as having 0 Bytes as its file size (I think).

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