Member-Run FAQ

The FAQ Made By You!

This is a member-run FAQ, which means that if you have questions (and answers to them) you should add them here for other people to look. This is not a place to ask questions if you don't have an answer already. Please remove signatures to cut down on unneeded text, and please try to keep the information you give up-to-date. PM or email anybody if you think something needs updating or additions. And of course, if you get such a request, do your best to make the changes.

Anyway, the point of this is to get a lot of frequently asked questions answered quickly without using extra space on the forum. This is to help everyone, so try to contribute as much as you can, and hopefully everyone else will follow your lead.

See my next post for an example of how this FAQ should look...

Q : Where can I find useful links to tutorials, utilities, and important information to help get me started on plug-in development?

A : All the Important Links You'll Ever Need is the topic you want. Like this topic, it is a member-run resource for information, and people update it all the time.

Q. I'm new to plug-in development, and I want to make a Total Conversion! Where do I start/where can I recruit members for my team?

A. Plug-in development can be a very challenging matter, and Total Conversion plug-ins represent anywhere from months to years of continued work and dedication. Many Total Conversions have come up and died, and many more are under development.

A good first step suggestion is to try something simpler. Instead of replacing everything, write a new mission string for Nova, or make some replacement graphics. Then program it into a plug and test it. That way, you'll build a rapport with developers, and also learn a bit more about the plug-making experience. You might be able to expand that basic bit into a Total Conversion.

If you really want to engage in one, keep in mind the fact that many developers have been turned bitter and cynical by the literally hundreds of TC proposals and ideas that have popped up, only to disappear promptly (or months later), so if you don't get the most favorable response, it's not anything personal. If you just create a topic without anything, you will almost never get any sort of favorable response, but if you do have graphics or (preferably) written materials that have shown that you've already put a respectable amount of effort into the enterprise, people will be much more inclined to help.

As for teams, note that many graphics artists are tied up with their own projects, and the same goes towards other types of personnel. A better bet might be to join an existing team or offer your talents towards an existing project that seems closer to completion.

Elucidation is important, peer review is as well, and regular updates are a must. If more people know about your project, you're more likely to get supporters who will be a motivation towards completing the project. This is a two-edged sword, though, as if you spend too much time promoting and not enough developing you'll probably end up with nothing. And if you're the type of person who gives up on something easily/never finishes anything, this is a gentle exhortation for you to reconsider whether you should really be investing time in such an activity.

Keep a focus, set goals, and make sure you know what you're going to write about and accomplish. It's okay if this evolves over time, but it's much preferred to just making graphics and systems, and hoping that eventually a story will crystallize out of thin air. Also, be realistic. Don't aim for something that is fifty times the Nova universe. Don't be afraid to rescale your goals as you develop and gain a more realistic understanding of your capabilities and limits.

As for topics, make it unique and memorable. Stay away from cliche storylines/concepts and lame humor (taking races or stories from existing sci-fi media and just giving them new names is a no-no), and if you have to at least do them competently. Write a story and code missions that will make people walk away knowing that they did more than just waste a few hours of their life. Make it compelling and realistic, and develop your own unique concepts for missions, ships, outfits, et cetera. If you can, aim to develop characters that the player can grow to love (or hate), possess character development, and express emotion.

A special note for 'fan' TCs (for example, those based upon Star Trek or some other existing property): These are unique in that they already possess a well-developed (hopefully, of course) universe, but in order to make a good TC you must be well-versed in the intricacies of the property (or at least willing to do good research!). There are already Star Trek, Star Wars, and at least one Firefly TC under development; there might be other properties represented here, but I'm not sure.

Hope this helps. For specific information, check the pinned topics for tutorials and in-depth guidelines :).

This post has been edited by UE_Research & Development: 07 September 2004 - 06:39 PM

Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. What's available for me to use?

Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. I have no money, so what's free?

Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. Money is no issue.

Q: I want to make my own ship and/or weapon graphics for my plug. I'm a poor student, so I have like $80.

A: These are some of the most frequently asked graphics questions on the boards. I'll answer them all at once.

Current, on Aug 29 2004, 07:24 AM, said:

**POV-Ray (free), Wings 3D (free), Blender (free), Modo ($895), Alias Maya 5.0 Personal Learning Edition (free - not full featured w/ watermarks), Softimage XSI Experience ($19.95 - not full featured w/ less obtrusive watermarks than PLE), Animation Master ($299), Zbrush ($399), Eovia Carrara Studio 3 ($399), Maxon Cinema 4D 9 ($595), Strata 3DPro 3.9 ($695), Eovia Amapi 7 Pro ($799), Rhinoceros 3.0 ($895), Houdini 6.x ($1299-$17000), Softimage 3D 4.0 ($1495), Newtek Lightwave 3D 8.1 ($1595), Softimage XSI (no price quoted, but probably more expensive than Lightwave), Alias Maya Complete 6.0 ($1999), Discreet 3D Studio Max 7 ($3055), Alias Maya Unlimited 6.0 ($6999)

My advice is to start with Wings, Blender, Mechanisto, or basically anything free, and work with it until you figure out that you aren't getting the results that you want with it. For instance, if you want to make a complex shape that you simply can't make with the free programs. It's at this point that you want to move on to a more expensive program. The "Big Four" programs are Maya, 3DSMax, Softimage, and Lightwave. If you plan on going into a graphics career in the gaming industry, then 3DSMax is your best bet, because it's probably the most prevalent program (Halflife 2, UT2K4, etc.). Maya, Soft, and Lightwave are more widespread in the movie industry. Strata and Carrara are still good, but basically choose a program that fits your modeling style, etc. It'll be a bit easier to choose which expensive program you want to invest in when you have the experience to know what you want from the program. Pretty much all of these programs are available for all platforms except for (to the best of my knowledge) Houdini, Softimage, Rhinoceros, and 3DSMax, which are not available for the Macintosh.

Maya, Max, Soft, and Lightwave (maybe Strata, but I'm not sure) can be bought at significantly reduced student prices from sites like www.journeyed.com**View Post

Q: I want to get started in graphics, so what's the absolute BEST program that I can buy?

A: Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's no such thing as a "best" program. It really depends on what you want to do with it. If you've never done anything in 3D and don't know whether you'd like it or not, then buying a $6000 program is probably not the smartest thing you could do. I'd rather buy a Dual 2.5 GHz G5 and a 30" monitor with that money and download Blender 3D for free than spend 6 Grand on a program that I don't even know if I'd use it ever again. For a beginner, any program on the list will be as good as another. The quality of your product has nothing to do with the program that you used while you're still a beginner. Just because you buy PhotoRealistic Renderman (Pixar's renderer) doesn't mean that you're going to be churning out the next "Finding Nemo" by the end of the summer. However, if you are looking for programs that are popular on the EV Image Gallery, most people lately start with Wings 3D or Blender. I started using POV-Ray, although it's less popular due to its difficult interface. Mechanisto has dropped somewhat out of favor due to the lack of support, but several members are churning out extremely nice pieces of work. Strata 3D and Cinema 4D are more intermediate programs, are are usually sufficient for what most people do here. Lightwave is the most expensive program used on the board, and it's what (and not limited to) Admiral Zombat, Weepul884, Sparky, Onyx, and I use. It's what ATMOS used to create and render all of the ships for EV Nova. Again, I recommend you start with something free, but if you feel like spending $1300 on Lightwave, I won't stop you

Q: I made my first ship in Wings 3D and it sucks. Matrix, your advice sucks. Someone else, what's a better program?

A: You need more patience. If you're giving up this quickly, then maybe making graphics just isn't for you. Making ships and things using 3D programs is difficult, and there are very few people who can do a good job on their first try. 99 out of 100 times, it's not the program that's holding you back, it's your lack of experience. The only way to get around this is to practice and keep improving your skills. When you're good enough, you'll know that the program is holding you back, and if you're still modeling by that point, you'll probably have saved up money for a more capable program.

Q: I made a ship in Wings 3D and can't texture or render it. This program is trash! What should I do?

A: Don't fret, the programmers' priorities are apparently into making a good modeler and not worrying about rendering. Try some of the other free programs on the list like Blender or POV-Ray. I think you need to download plugins for them to be compatible, but you'll have to look at the Wings site (I assume) for that information.

Q: I'm recruiting a graphics team for a plug that I just thought up. Who's interested?

A: No one really. I'm not trying to be mean, but the harsh reality is that graphics take quite a lot of time and effort to do well, so most (if not all) graphics people are unwilling to make commitments until a significant amount of work has been completed on the plug. How much is "a significant amount?" That really depends on the person. If you come to the board and say "I'm working on a plug, and I have all the systems, planets, governments, ships, weapons, and outfits done, and I just need to start making missions. Without giving away too much, my plug is something like *******. I'm looking for a graphics person. Anyone interested?" you're more likely to get an affirmative answer. We mainly like to see that the person who started the plug will probably finish it so that all our hard work doesn't go to waste. Most of us have been involved in "vaporware" plugs (plugs that were never completed), and we don't want to go through that again.

This post has been edited by what_is_the_matrix : 17 October 2004 - 12:57 PM

what_is_the_matrix, on Sep 10 2004, 07:40 AM, said:

Q: I made a ship in Wings 3D and can't texture or render it. This program is trash! What should I do?

A: Don't fret, the programmers' priorities are apparently into making a good modeler and not worrying about rendering. Try some of the other free programs on the list like Blender or POV-Ray. I think you need to download plugins for them to be compatible, but you'll have to look at the Wings site (I assume) for that information.
View Post

Just to clarify. You can texture in Wings 3D by using the "UV Mapping" feature:

Vaumnou, on Jun 02 2003, 01:47 AM, said:

Using the latest version of Wings, open your model and go into "object" selection mode. Select one or more objects. If you selected more than one, "Combine" them into one object. Then choose "UV Mapping (experimental)". Select all the faces you want to be in one group, and assign them to one "face group" by right-clicking and picking the "AuvChart1" item. Keep selecting groups of faces (make sure they are easily unfoldable, simple groups, this is important) and assigning them to sequential "AuvChart"s. When everything you want to texture is assigned, right-click and pick "Continue", then pick "Unfolding". Play around with the settings on the dialog that comes up, and then right-click and choose "Apply Texture". Then right-click and choose "Quit", "Save UV Coordinates and Texture", and OK. Bring up the Outliner from the Window menu, and select the item in that list called "diffuse". Right-click and choose "Make External", then choose a filename in the box that comes up. Open the file in Photoshop and add your texture. Then save it and go back to Wings. Right-click on the still-selected "diffuse" item and choose "Refresh". Viola! (found here)

It's just that for the moment, when you texture in Wings then export it to some other program (or import your .wings document in Blender, which is now .wings compatible), you lose the texturing info.
So a good combination for beginners is indeed Wings + Blender. Tutorials for Blender texturing are here.

Pace (haldora- said:

,Sep 10 2004, 07:24 AM)
Just to clarify. You can texture in Wings 3D by using the "UV Mapping" feature:
It's just that for the moment, when you texture in Wings then export it to some other program (or import your .wings document in Blender, which is now .wings compatible), you lose the texturing info.
So a good combination for beginners is indeed Wings + Blender. Tutorials for Blender texturing are here.
View Post

If your texturing information is lost when you export to a renderer, then that makes the texturing utility of Wings 3D pretty useless then doesn't it? If Wings 3D gets a renderer in the future, then being able to texture is useful, but currently, you'd might as well texture in your rendering program.

Matrix

Q: I've played the default scenerio, like, a million times over already. Are there any Total Conversions available?

A: There is currently only one finished TC out - Polycon EV - and there are several in development (i.e. Starfleet Adventures, STN: Final Frontier, and Sephil Saga are a few). Visit the Upcoming Plug-in Directory for a list of more.

NOTE: Many of the plugs listed in the Directory have become Vaporware. Visit the Upcoming Plug-ins Progress Logs forum and the Add-on Development and Upcoming Plug-ins forum on EV-Nova.net to check which plugs are most active.

This post has been edited by Pougan : 11 September 2004 - 10:05 AM

Q: Whats the matter with my weapon sounds? They just won't play in the game.

A: There are a few things you must pay attention to. The sound must be of the System 7 sound (.sfil) type, 8-bit, mono, uncompressed, and 11.025 kHz.

This post has been edited by bmac : 11 September 2004 - 10:51 AM

To add to what_is_the_matrix's graphical program list. GIMP is a freely distributed image manipulation program originally for Linux but with both Windows and Mac OSX versions.

GIMP for Windows
GIMP for Mac OSX

This program has all the capabilities of photoshop for about $650.00 less.

bmac, on Sep 11 2004, 08:50 AM, said:

Q: Whats the matter with my weapon sounds? They just won't play in the game.

A: There are a few things you must pay attention to. The sound must be of the System 7 sound (.sfil) type, 8-bit, mono, uncompressed, and 11.025 kHz.
View Post

I'm not sure that's true for EV:Nova. I seem to remember getting sounds with other sample rates to work (eg. 22 kHz). Your specifications are correct for EVC and EVO, however.

Actually, no one is quite sure of anything about sounds in Nova, other than some sounds in the default scenario are IMA4:1 compressed sounds!

Not quite sure if this is appropriate, but I might as well.

Q. I'm using a Windows plug-in (or testing a Mac-made plug-in for a friend), and it doesn't work. What should I do?

A. Run through this checklist:

Obvious :

- Are you registered? (you must be registered to use plug-ins)

- Have you run the plug-in through the converter? It should have a .rez extension after you convert it.

- Have you tried re-downloading it to make sure it's not corrupted?

Not-So-Obvious :

- Did you delete 'resource.map' that is created when the plug-in is unstuffed? (resource.map can screw up the game if you leave it in the plug-ins folder)

- Are you using Stuffit 7.5? (Stuffit 8.0 destroys the resource fork when unstuffing Macintosh plug-ins)

- Did you put the file in the Nova Plug-Ins or Nova Files folder? (depending on what type of plug, it should go in either of the two)

- Can you make a debuglog and post it, and maybe describe how the game behaves erratically?

- Are you using a plug that utilizes the char resource? (the char resource doesn't work properly in the current (1.0.6) Windows version)

- Are you sure the plugs you're using are supposed to have a dramatic, obviously visible effect on the game? Some make changes that are only apparent after a while.

This post has been edited by UE_Research & Development: 09 October 2004 - 09:30 PM

Q: How do I set the Flags in a Cloaking Device Outfit?

A: Add the numbers in parentheses and put them in the field
0x0001 - (1) - Faster fading
0x0002 - (2) - Visible on radar
0x0004 - (4) - Immediately drops shields on activation
0x0008 - (8) - Cloak deactivates when ship takes damage
0x0010 - (16) - Use 1 unit of fuel per second
0x0020 - (32) - Use 2 units of fuel per sec
0x0040 - (64) - Use 4 units of fuel per sec
0x0080 - (128) - Use 8 units of fuel per sec
0x0100 - (256) - Use 1 unit of shield per sec
0x0200 - (512) - Use 2 units of shield per sec
0x0400 - (1024) - Use 4 units of shield per sec
0x0800 - (2048) - Use 8 units of shield per sec
0x1000 - (4096) - Area cloak - ships in formation with a shďp carrying this cloaking device will also be cloaked

Q.Where can i find the rcourse codes of everything in evnova so i can giv outfits to my ships etc.

Q. Where can I find the resource ID of everything used in EV: Nova so I can give my ships outfits?

A. Using Mission Computer for Mac or EVNEW for windows. Open Nova Data 4 and look under the oüft (I hope I put the ümlat in the right spot) resource. There you will find a listing of all the outfits with their names and resource ID numbers. Which can then be put in the corresponding fields of the shďp resource.

Q: I'm making a weapon that used ammo, but when I buy it and the ammo, it says I don't have any. What is wrong?

Q: I'm making a fighter bay but when I buy the bay and ships, it says there's no ammo. What is wrong?

Q: I'm making a ship but none of the stock outfits will go on it. What is wrong?

These are some problems I ran into on my first plug.

A: Weapon resources are based on 128, while ammo is based on 0. Ex: If you're weapon is ID 128, the ammo ID would be 0.

A: The ammo ID for the fighter bay should be the ship you are launching. The ship's outfit should have ModType1 set to ammunition and the ID to the same as the weapon ID of the bay.

A: Check bit 1 in the Contribute field.

Q: How do I get the fail text for my mission to appear?
Q: Why does my mission hang around after it fails?

A: This behaviour is unfortunately controlled by the Can Abort flag. If a mission can be aborted then it will also disappear as soon as it fails and the fail text will never appear. If it can't be aborted then it will hang around after it fails with a bullet next to its name until you go to ReturnStel where it will show the fail text, if there is one.

Q: I've set my new govt to plunder enemies but it's not working. What is wrong?

A: The bible isn't quite correct in it's description of this flag. What it should say is "Warships will plunder non-mission, trader-type enemies including the player before destroying them".

Q: Does the 'Transition' sound from EV/O still work in Nova?
Q: Does the Bounty Hunter from EV/O still work in Nova?

A: Yes! snd ID 30003 will be played along with any and all pics defined by the char. If you dominate any spobs pers ID 1150 will show up about 20% of the time and attack you.

This post has been edited by Guy : 15 October 2005 - 11:35 PM

Q: Are there any outfits you can put on a ship that the AI will recognise?

A: Yes, although the bible says that the AI will ignore default items there are actually some they will use:
Cloaking device
Cloak scanner (Requires "reveal cloaked ships on the screen" - other flags have no effect. Can only spot cloaked ships if they are nearby.)*
Mining scoop
Jamming
Fast jumping
Repair system

  • Thanks to Archon for clarification of details

This post has been edited by Guy : 29 January 2008 - 03:59 AM

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