Prospective Remake Modelers Look Here

BradMick

Vice Admiral
Alrighty, figured this should probably be a good thing to put up quick, hopefully it'll be informative.



now, what we have here is a wireframe shot of my tarsus. i've posted this because i wanted to do a little 'how to' deal for modeling. some might argue my conventions are outmoded, but for the most part their pretty standard, please keep all 'they're outmoded' comments to yourself please.

alrighty, as you can see for starters, the model is triangulated. this is a key thing for most game engines, and when you're modeling your ship you want to make sure that your Triangle (tri) count is what is under 8000, not just your Polygon (poly) count. remember, one qaud polygon is eqaul to two tris. your polygon count will always be doubled when you go to tri.

typically when i'm modeling i'm looking for the least amount of faces to use to acheive the best result. you can use a 6 sided cylinder for your engines if you want, i don't advise it, but you can do it because you have this nifty thing called smoothing groups. what these do, for all practical purposes, is smooth the normals of your faces and faces having tons of polys to make your object appear round. usually, 12 sided cylinders is what i use for engines, gun barrels or small pipes tucked away somewhere, no more that 6-8 sided cylinders. also, instead of having this ugly flat face on the end of your engines, if you look at the example i have merged all points to center and moved them back in space. it looks a helluva lot nicer and adds a lot of visual appeal as well. flat faces are bad in general, avoid them at all costs!

also, AVOID BOOLEAN OPERATIONS AT ALL COST! DO NOT, i repeat, DO NOT boolean your whole model so that it is one solid, contiguous mesh. this will cause your poly/tri count to skyrocket. its a REALLY bad thing to do. as you can see from the pic, my ship is composed of a bunch of small objects which appear to be connected, but are really just resting on top of one another. works a helluva lot better, and saves a boat load of polys/tris.

so, i guess what i'm trying to get at...think logically and think efficiently when modeling. also, think of where best to spend your polygons. if you sink all your polys into super rounded engines, you'll have none left over for pipes, or other small greeble type things. remember, smoothing groups are your friend! they do a lot of work so for your polys so they don't have to. :)

Brad McKinstry
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
just a little addendum.

here's another example. the engine of a kamekh. used a 12 sided cylinder, localized the geometry to the key areas, used a smoothing angle (in LW its different from most packages) of 35 degrees, and thats the end result. all of that for 292 polys, or ~560 tris.

 

Cyberion

Master of Orion
wow Brad nice. I use the same technique for the game modeling. I eman boolean operations. I try not to use them at all. cAuse as you said that saves polies ;) I figured that out by accident a year ago or so, when i started modeling for Freelancer ;)
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
thanks cyb. yeah, booleans are very evil beasties.

heres a new little mini tut thing on creating the intakes on a ship like the tarsus, or a lot of the early kilrathi ships. in step one you start with your cylinder, say its the front of your ships engine, step two you bevel back, three you bevel again, step four you bevel one more time and then merge all the points to center. i use the same technique to make engines. skip steps 2 and 3, and go straight to four. it just looks a lot nicer than having a flat face on the rear of the engine, gives it a little more depth. but, this will hopefully help.

 

Cyberion

Master of Orion
sorry to post here again, but i guess you should email CIC's news so they make a news and a link in "HOT ITEMS" to this thread and call it "3D Modelling for Games" or something similar, cause that thread is a nice tutorial for those who start to model for WC mods and for games in general ;)

Once again great job, bud. You know if its really great than I say it, so i SAY IT!!! ;)
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
heheh, no worries cyb. i'm hoping anyone with questions or comments, or anything will post here. if theres questions folks have or anything, then i can use it as a basis for doing up a new tut or something.

thanks too man :)
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
It's not really about this, but i have always wanted to do 3d modelling. So my question is: Which program should i start out with. I have been thinking about buying 3dmax, but i'm not sure.
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
hmm....nah, its a pretty good question which relates to this :)

personally, i'm pretty biased. I LOVE LW. i've used Maya, Max, XSI (very little though admittedly, so i'm not 100% on that one yet) and of them all, i love LW the best. it's tools are really top notch for things, in some cases it can get annoying trying to get specific results though. max has a lot of really REALLY handy-dandy tools for modeling, but its interface is evil. LW's interface is as well, and suffers from the problem of redundant tools.

man, its actually a really tough question. all the packages are damn good. Maya isn't so great for mecahnical modeling though. so, i don't really advise that one. Max is the standard for games, i can help you with LW, as can Cyb. i'd really just recommend trying some demos. get a feel for which one you feel most comfortable with, and if you have any questions shoot some PM's to me, or cyb, or any other modelers you know.
 

Cyberion

Master of Orion
yape, PM us if you have questions concerning LW and some other general things.

Also I wanted to add to Brad's post, LW = Lightwave 3D ;)

I worked in 3DMax as well and I prefer using LW, cause it's more comfortable for me and more handy. But that just me (and Brad).
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
not a problem dyret.

anything anyone would like to see demonstrated? or have any ideas? i was actually considering a small tut on how to build a ship, if so....which ship would you guys like to see built?
 

Cyberion

Master of Orion
BradMick said:
not a problem dyret.

anything anyone would like to see demonstrated? or have any ideas? i was actually considering a small tut on how to build a ship, if so....which ship would you guys like to see built?

Defenetly Dragon. Not too hard to build and good example to be demonstrated. Shape of Dragon has almost all elements of WC style ships. So i think that would be good example ;) ;)
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral


alrighty, here's another little short tut. This time I modeled the wing of the Kamekh (hmm...think i know which ship ima do now). I started with a 12 sided cylinder cap (1) and then moved the points to the left and right of the middle to the ends (2) so that it has that nice bit of roundness to it. I then extrduded to form the shape (3) and then scaled the end to taper it (4). Also, since the Kamekhs wing tips are never seen, i deleted both end caps.

enjoy :)
 

Chernikov

Spaceman
-What is the difference between beveling and extrude/scale?
-Does leaving an open mesh (by deleting the end caps) affect how a model will be accepted into a game?
-When modeling, if you take the time to *efficiently* connect all your parts together into one mesh, are there any problems or annoyances this will cause? Deleting all the internal faces and integrating what's left usually drops my polycount up to 15%.
-There's a Dragon model that looks absolutely stunning in the models section.
-There's a type of greebling that involves extruding a discreet section of a face a few small units to create a "plate" look... is there a proper term for that? It's one of the things that Blender doesn't have stock, and I'm looking for a plugin. Rock on open source!
-Alternatively to bringing the exhaust of an engine to a recessed point: if you have the polies to spare, make a flat face, then extrude it back into the cone... this gives a really slick "hollow" feel and only costs you a few dozen extra polies at most. Not really needed if you're going to put a glow at the end of the engine, but if you want to put the glow up inside the cone instead the possibility for coolness is very very high. (If memory serves, Howie Day had an insanely detailed Hornet model that made use of that, thread still exists but picture hosting is dead so I can't check.)
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
for blender, i'm not really sure.....but:


1. in LW the bevel and extrude pretty well do the same exact thing, the two main differences though, bevel doesn't leave a face behind at the start position, extrude does. Also, bevel allows you to scale the face you're pulling out, extrude doesn't.

2. Nope, open mesh has no problems.

3. Honestly, i would stay away completely from making a mesh 'solid', in any case as far as modeling the old WC ships goes, the polys that it eats up are just insane. i'd really honestly be sure to keep everything together.

4. As far as i know about that dragon, its high res, no low for games.

5. i know that in LW if i want to take a couple of specific faces and raise only them, i use the smoothshift tool that extrudes/bevels all the faces en-masse.

6. yeah, if you have the polys to spare, and if you want to do the detailing like that, you could bevel once to create an inset, and then bevel back so you have that hollow, recessed look. i tend to not do that though as i (personally) find it to be a frivolous thing to spend polys on, especially when there are so many other more valuable things to spend em on.

hope that answers some questions :)
 

Chernikov

Spaceman
1. Cool, Blender seems to treat Extrude like your Bevel then.

3. I think we're on two different tracks as far as "solid" goes... im going to fire up a trial copy of 3DS over the weekend and take a look at models. If you'd like to provide a couple different example meshes to try and clarify it'd be appreciated.
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
connecting, unioning, bolleaning, making contiguous. i avoid it at all cost. if you look up at my tarsus, nothing is joined, or unioned, or connected. everything just rests on top of each other. it really does save a lot of polys. games no long need models to be one mesh for games anymore, and it really should be avoided. sure, if you hook me up with your e-mail i can send some stuff.
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
ah, well, yeah. heheh, but for the most part though, like...joining an engine mount to the hull and to the engine, stuff like that isn't really a good thing to do.

but if its like a blended wing or somesuch like that, then yes. you do want to make it all joined.
 
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