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Author Topic:   Software Tools for Modders
peeeto
Member
posted September 21, 2001 10:46 AM         
again, welcome Kevlar, others...

(sorry if this is too quick - i'll try to get into deeper discussions later)

to make 3D objects in TM you will need (at a minimum):

1) a 3D modeler that supports the ability to reverse the normal of any face
(TM does not display backfaces). ACAD is sadly lacking here
the freeware 3D package Blender is an excellent tool that just about does it all. however, Blender has a very steep learning curve. if you're already used to ACAD, then i would suggest a combination of ACAD and the shareware program MilkShape3D . otherwise, MilkShape3D would be all you need for a modeler.

2) the freeware UV texture utility LithUnwrap . the UV texturing file format TM uses to texture the models is a custom format developed by the programmer of TM. LithUnwrap is the only program available (besides LDA's internal utilities).
note: if you texture an object as a "liquid" object, you don't need to generate a UV texture, and don't need LithUnwrap.

3) a text editor to create/edit the "Entity" files (ENT files) for the object.


to make maps, you need:

1) Dreamer's TMapper

2) a paint program to edit your bitmap heightfield.
(excerpt from the soon to be released TMapper Manual): "A heightfield is common method of representing terrain data in 3D computer graphics. It is a two-dimensional array containing values that specify the relative height of the terrain at each data point. Heightfields are usually stored as a grayscale image (such as GIF, BMP, etc.), which makes it relatively easy for conceptualizing and editing a 3D surface using common "paint" programs. Darker shades on the image represent lower elevations and lighter shades higher areas."


p.s. to make ANY custom mods for TreadMarks, you need the Full Version

p.p.s. don't forget Swisher's ENTegrety for checking and archiving your ENT files!

[This message has been edited by peeeto (edited September 21, 2001).]

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Kevlar
Member
posted September 21, 2001 12:37 PM            
Peeeto, that would be cool if you could use TIN models or DEM's to make maps for TM, I just assumed that the file size would be huge with all the polylines of the contours. But I guess you would export it to 3ds anyhow, I just don't know enough about how TM's mapping part works yet. I am used to vector grapics. So mapping with paint programs is very new to me.

I downloaded tmapper and made some pretty scarey looking height maps... Real bumpy and jagged(I used the sprayer, bad idea). I searched some old posts to figure out what a height map is. Cause I have never used greyscaling to create elevation differences, so its a new concept to me. But I figured it out when someone wrote about using just mspaint set it to greyscale and blur it. I pulled it into tmapper then it hit me about how white is high and black is low. I would'nt mind taking a gander at that TMapper manual when it comes out.

I have been practicing and I used Microsoft Office2000 PhotoDraw to make some pretty wild gradient patterns, that actually came out ok but I can't get them to load in the demo I can only view them in tmapper so I have no idea if they even work. I made them 1024x1024 like that old post said and saved as greyscale so I will have to see when the full comes in if they even work. BTW, I made several checkpoints on it but how would you make a tower in the middle like the one on the Ramp map?

I just downloaded mikeshp and I will download blender next. And I got the Lith UV one yesterday but have not installed it yet. So I will take a look at those today. If my boss will quit roaming around. hehehe.

One thing I thought about, I guess you cannot make a map with an overhanging cliff or a tunnel being that it is a 2d array?

Man I can see how modding can leave little time to actually play.

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Rex R
Member
posted September 21, 2001 01:40 PM            
yes quite right. at present tunnels and overhangs are not doable also you don't really want a lot of steep hills/cliffs (or trees for that matter), remember ppl are gonna have to drive up/down them. a few IMO are all right just don't over do them

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peeeto
Member
posted September 21, 2001 02:12 PM         
to use DEMs* as maps - that's EASY. go and get MicroDEM (freeware) - an absolutely fantastic program!

you can open and view DEMs (even more than one at a time), and then export as a grayscale bitmap. then, you just have to tweak it for vertical scale and smoothness - and of course you have to make it tileable (which can take some effort).

TINs**, on the other hand, are a different situation. here's how i've thought about doing it:

use ACAD to make the final TIN tileable (will save time, you have complete control, & you may get better, more natural results). create the TIN, then export the mesh to DXF or 3DS. convert the mesh to POV-Ray *** file format using converter (i have a free one around here somewhere...). assign a texture based on elevation (lowest elev = black, highest = white), then render as if looking from above looking straight down, with an orthoginal view, at a resolution of 1024x1024.

viola'! - your heightmap! you could even use the same method to create a map in vector form by hand (Blender has some great tools for mesh subdivision and smoothing, etc...), or to add features to a map in a (relatively) precise way.

BTW, 1 pixel on the heightmap = 1 meter^2 horizontally. vertically, each grayscale gradation is 0.25 meters (thus, using an 8-bit BMP, you have 256 levels of gray, or 64 meters of elevation to work with)

...and you are correct: cliffs and tunnels currently can't be done.

* for those who don't know, DEM stands for "digital elevation model". the USGS and State governments make them available for free. they are basically 2D arrays containing elevation data of real places over (typically) a 10-meter or 30-meter grid.

** TIN = "Triangular Irregular Network" definition from ACAD Help file: "Created when you build a surface. A TIN is the most common method of interpolating elevational data. The points are connected into triangles which are used to interpolate for contours, profiles, cross-sections, and random elevation data."

*** freeware ray-tracing program. easy to use.

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Kevlar
Member
posted September 21, 2001 04:02 PM            
This is all great. I am going to finish downloading all the neat apps and get started.

I used to have no shortage of TIN's and DEM's. I used to survey then I was an AutoCAD technician and now I am GIS Analyst (Geographic Information System Analyst). The bad part is that we dont use AutoCAD as much as we used to, we use ESRI's ''ArcInfo'' to do mapping now and ''ArcIMS'' (Internet Map Service) for our online mapping (when it gets finished). And they use shape file format, but... they can be exported to dxf so I am still in good shape. We use AutoCAD and Microstation for any thing that AcrInfo/IMS can't handle. But I am going to try what you were saying with the POV-Ray (I have actually heard of that).

I never thought I would find a game that allows me to use the stuff I do at work, this is too cool.

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peeeto
Member
posted September 21, 2001 05:04 PM         
isn't it, though?!

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Rex R
Member
posted September 22, 2001 02:39 AM            
now all you have to do is explain to the boss that tread marks is simply another tool to view the maps from ground level...

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=DNX= Matrix
Member
posted September 22, 2001 09:19 AM            
actually tunnels are possible so are deformable buildings - sadly tho were still trying to perfect a way to create a bridge........ stay tuned.

its all in the works - more news as its perfected - right now its under wraps

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Kevlar
Member
posted September 22, 2001 10:01 AM            
I understand completely Matrix, I love the idea of covert modding.

That's no lie Rex, now if I could just get the boss hooked on the game.


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NeoKi
Member
posted September 22, 2001 10:45 AM            
Yeah it will be great when ppl can make bridges, then we can play CTF on the non-Golden-Gate Bridge, lol.

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Sushi

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Kevlar
Member
posted September 24, 2001 03:36 PM            
How does one go about changing the ground color and sky in tmapper?

I been working on a couple of maps but I really don't want all of them to be a bright sunny day with green grass , etc.

I think I understand it right, that it works off of the template bmp textures and the altitude. So I guess I need to load different textures and assign then the previous elevation/altitude (grass, water etc). Can I make my own textures? And are there anymore templates to use.

Also how do go about creating a tower in the middle of the map? Is this done in tmapper?

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NeoKi
Member
posted September 24, 2001 04:28 PM            
yes to the tower, and yes you can make your own texture.

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=DNX= Matrix
Member
posted September 24, 2001 08:57 PM            
Kevlar:

How does one go about changing the ground color and sky in tmapper?

>>> the ground you can assign a texture in the textures tab,,, just remember to press UPDATE once you have clicked on and replaced the files.

the sky you can alter the fog and colour of it - get the EEK by =DNX=JVortex for more info on the settings.
____

I been working on a couple of maps but I really don't want all of them to be a bright sunny day with green grass , etc.

>>>> make up,left,right,front,back images as u want them - then make a skybox ent that calls the images.

_______
I think I understand it right, that it works off of the template bmp textures and the altitude. So I guess I need to load different textures and assign then the previous elevation/altitude (grass, water etc). Can I make my own textures? And are there anymore templates to use.

>>>> the whole game is full of templates and unused stuff. yes u can use your on textures. 256x256 16m. Im not aware that its possible to change the water lever - but thats not stopping me making an underwater map - i love covert modding lol
_________
Also how do go about creating a tower in the middle of the map? Is this done in tmapper?

>>>> in Tm\apper you need to click the CASTLE (mesh) then click where u want it on the map. you just need to know which mesh u want to add. but yes youcan add the tower in tmapper.

a tutorial on tmapper is growing on the BWL forum - link on the www.deathmatch-federation.com

hope that helps

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KONG
Member
posted September 24, 2001 09:51 PM            
Kevlar, I just mace a map from a DEM. Part of Colorado. kinda unplayable (too many hills). Guess if I crop a section and enlarge it, it will leave more room between the hills. Gonna put it on the site as-is. also I will post a few heightmaps there if you want to check them out.
http://tmkong.tripod.com/tmk/

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Kevlar
Member
posted September 24, 2001 11:50 PM            
Thanks Matrix I can't wait to see the underwater map. You answered all my questions. I found the folder with all the textures, I did a file search for 'JimWaterA.Bmp', which is a default tmapper bmp and I found it with all the others in the art folder. I will check out the tutorial at the Deathmatch Federation, Thanks again.

Kong, that's great, I started out playing around with making height maps in Adobe Photoshop because it seems to be one of the few programs that displays the whole greyscale palette to draw with. Now I am starting one using a DEM like Peeeto was telling me about, so this is just what I need, I just downloaded them, thanks.

Neoki... No offense but that was as much help as giving a blind man a pair of binoculars, lol.

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KONG
Member
posted September 24, 2001 11:59 PM            
Definitely get the Gimp. Once you get used to using it it's great. and it's free.
www.gimp.org/

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Kevlar
Member
posted October 03, 2001 07:46 PM            
Well here are my first couple of maps, they are still beta. The first one is called Cliff Hanger. And the second is called Black Dune. Send email for maps.

[Edit: removed direct download links and image links]

[This message has been edited by Kevlar (edited October 29, 2001).]

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KONG
Member
posted October 03, 2001 08:37 PM            
Very nicely done. Keep going.

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Kevlar
Member
posted October 04, 2001 11:29 AM            
Thanks Kong, I should have another one finished pretty soon.

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A2597
Member
posted October 15, 2001 12:18 PM            
heh, once TM arrives (This week I belive) I'll have my first map ready for release.
I've tested it. quite stable and fun!
(Though if I can figure out HOW it will be a night map)

and contrary to poplar belife, you CAN edit the demo. I will NOT say how though, as I want all the demo users to get the full version.

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--===BOOM===--

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Dreamer
Member
posted October 15, 2001 01:01 PM         
Remember to submit any new maps to the BWL for hosting (and -ultimately- review)...

Right now that means: Submit them to ... me.( dreamer@tmvr.de )

[This message has been edited by Dreamer (edited October 15, 2001).]

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