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Warp Field Prototype =^.^=

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I wanted to spiff up an old design of a space ship, so I selected one of mine from when I was in high school ('90 - '94).

Unfortunately I lost the original concept sketches, so this is from memory.

Fortunately, it started as a very basic design.

 

Here's the start of the design:

post-999-1171996137_thumb.jpg

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So that was basically how it looked, when featured in the comic book I made back in high school.

Now, time to go to work:

post-999-1171996248_thumb.jpg

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Mind you, in the first image, that ship is all in one MDL file (actually right now, embedded in the project, but can later be external file).

 

However, as you see by the second image, I just converted each of those 25 patch spikes in 900 patch warp field emitters. That adds up to about 8,000 patches for the entire model.

 

It goes without saying that if I keep going at this rate, my computer will run slower than a russian funeral dirge on valium.

So I have to compensate for that.

 

Thus, each part in the model in the second image is actually an instance.

The emitters are instances of one model.

The two oval spheres are from one model.

The center tube connecting them is one model.

 

About 2 hours were used to set up the choreography like this.

It's time consuming, but this technique has some advantages:

  1. If there are copies of the same doodad or detail on the ship, I can alter the original .mdl of that ship part, thus altering all the copies on the ship in the chor.
  2. This reduces time needed for later changes, as they can be previewed in realtime on the assembled ship in the chor.
  3. I can now work with patch counts in the tens of thousands on my five year old computer, without batting an eye.
  4. People with the latest copy of Hash A:M can group these instances together, so then the ship becomes one selectable, animatable object.

The disadvantage I anticipate is once I've decided that the ship design is good and I want all the parts in one .mdl....

I will have to manually place every ship part within a single mdl window.

 

So while I continue on this project, can someone point me in the direction of a plugin that will rectify that situation?

If no such plugin exists, then can someone make one?

 

If there's a blessed soul out there that wants to do that, then here's basically what I would need the plugin to do:

 

I select several instances within one chor.

I activate plugin.

The plugin detects the group of instances selected.

The plugin makes a new mdl and places a copy of the mesh of each instance within this new mdl.

The positions of all the meshes of the instances in the new mdl are relative to how they were found in the chor...

... so if they were near 0,0,0 (x,y,z) or the center of the chor, then they'll show up that way in the new mdl...

.... and they'll be facing relative to how they were detected in the chor.

....patch group details will be preserved (different patches having different materials, decals, etc.)

....if a decal is used on multiple copies of the same ship part, then the mesh of each part in the new mdl only reference that decal, rather than making a seperate decal for each copy.

 

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.....

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Why not assemble the ship in an action of the base model?

Then in the chor you can just apply the action to the base model.

 

Unless I'm missing something.. which could be.. it is a weekday after all..

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I haven't tried that yet, but I'm guessing that I assemble the ship in the chor instead of the ACT is because if I make an action, then won't the action be looking for all those instances to already be in the choreography that were keyframed in the action? That is, if I wanted to use the action later.

Also, I don't know if I can set lights and camera and render in an action window, the same as I'd do in a chor.

 

Hmmm.....

 

Thanks though, I appreciate it.

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(current total time: 1 day = 4 hours)

 

This is the last update for today.

 

I'm going to save out the file in my archive and work on a copy of that file, later this week.

This way, if I mess up really bad on a later copy of the model, I can go back to a saved copy of the file and start over without losing hours of work.

 

Since this is the last render of the day, the image file is a bit larger, so you get treated to more detail.

 

Enjoy!

post-999-1172037400_thumb.jpg

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I've added panels on the outside of the ship.

Obviously most of them are rather lumpy for a mechanical model.

And the placement of the circle widgets for each pod doesn't look quite right.

 

I know how to resolve these issues, but more on that later.

Right now, I just wanted to place the instances of the hull panels.

 

Here's my work for today:

post-999-1172084330_thumb.jpg

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dude nice, you model like you were a polygon modeler or something(subdivision?)...not that i have a problem with it, in fact i like it!

 

btw: did you make that animation in your avatar?

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Thanks!

I hadn't thought of it as a poly-based work flow, but come to think of it, you're right.

 

The avatar is about 30 frames of 2d animation that I drew by hand.

Since that was the first time I've tried to seriously do this, it took about 10 hours on a pad of scrap paper.

Then I scanned in all the drawings and aligned them as best I could in Photoshop, then exported to gif format, using ImageReady.

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very nice, but i'm a still person and not an animator...yet anyway. i'd like to try it but i keep putting it off :P. i think tis cause i wanna perfect my regular drawing before i get to that that why i plan on doing art in high school and animation in collage(www.animationmentor.com). the closest thing i do to animation are these stick man on a skate board(and other things) doing all sorts of stunts and things like that(which i plan on posting in ot soon). but i've never done page per page....

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(2 days = 12 hours)

 

 

Yes, a solid foundation in drawing will serve you well when you finally venture into animation, 2D or otherwise.

The key is to practice regularly, preferably each day.

Having fun with what you do often provides endless motivation to keep working.

 

I resolved the issue with the row of widgets on both front and back pods.

 

I solved the hull lumps by using a 32 lathe sphere, instead of an 8 lathe sphere for starters.

The denser mesh kept it's shape when I deleted all of it except for 1/4 of the sphere.

Later, I will experiment with a less dense mesh, but right now I want to peg the exact design details.

 

So it seems my workflow is:

  1. Dense mesh modeling, all details.
  2. Then go back and reduce the density.

Here's the final render of the day:

post-999-1172109341_thumb.jpg

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thats some what similar to polygon modeling. the diffrence? its the exact opposite, thay start off with a low density model and greatly in crease it in the end. at least thats how it works in subdivision modeling. if you want to see what i'm talking about try softimage or blender, sub division modeling is 2nd next to spline based in my list, its actually not hard to do!(you might learn it pretty quickly like i did, though i'm just doing simple models now.

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(3 days = 15 hours)

 

Principle modeling completed.

Now it just needs the patch count reduced, textured and rigged.

post-999-1172183048_thumb.jpg

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No, it's not rigged.

I want to reduce the geometry, before I add textures, bones and poses.

 

If I opened this project in the latest version of A:M, I could group all the instances together and then just zoom the ship all over the place.

 

I put some quick materials on the model, just to see what it could look like in color:

post-999-1172190960_thumb.jpg

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Yes, that bump mapped texture is actually a material using the Crumple plugin, originally authored by Alibi.

Because the model is not to scale, in fact it's very small, I scaled down the dents quite a bit.

Then I added another material for the color.

 

However, when I seriously texture this thing, I want to do very intricate patterns on the hull.

Also, I'll want to do the glow different.

Currently, it's just an effect, whereas I want the glow to be a source of light. I think I know how to do that, though.

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lens flares? volume light? anyway what i meant was, what do you mean by rigged. I'm just not sure how t can be rigged...

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Yes, to rig the model.

 

So if I wanted to control the ship glow or some other animated feature for this model with poses or bone position.

Or maybe one day I want to blow a couple of the panels off of the ship.

Having a bone for each panel would help.

 

Also, If I painted complex patterns on the hull and wanted to control when those patterns would glow, I would need a pose for that.

 

Of course, right now how it's assembled, I can just animate the model bone of each instance of a ship part.

But later, I hope to have all the parts in one mdl file.

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well if you used a volumetrick light it would only be a mater of turning the lights on and off, or just changing the intensity....

 

also i know a plug in that might help with the blowing off thing, its doesn't blow it off for you but it can break part in to pieces.

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(4 days = 18 hours)

 

Now testing the hull pattern.

It is currently a bump map set at 1000%

I'd rather it were a displacement map, but I want to upgrade to the current version fo A:M so I can get the higher resolution displacement.

post-999-1173137130_thumb.jpg

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Finally it's done.

I upgraded to the A:M 2007 subscription and was able to use the bump map as a displacement map, with fine detail.

So here is the FTL Prototype in all it's glory:

post-999-1176530172_thumb.jpg

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I originally just wanted to see what could be done with one of my old designs.

And in building this model, I've done enough work to make it look good from this angle.

 

If I were to do more images or even animations, I'd have to refine it just a little bit more.

However the idea is ... intriguing.

I'll keep you posted.

 

:)

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