2D Artwork and 3D Modeling for Game Artists- P13

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2D Artwork and 3D Modeling for Game Artists- P13

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  1. 574 14. Making the Slogre Game-Ready 8. Another way to adjust the weighting of the vertices is by using the Paint Weights option in the Skin modifier’s envelope rollout. For instance, press F3 to enter wireframe mode, and look at the tail area; I’d like to have the pelvis bone take control of this area, since the tail doesn’t do much else aside from following the pelvis in motion. With the Paint Weights button active, click the ellipse button to bring up the Painter Options screen. Here you can adjust the brush size and strength, along with about a billion other parame- ters. Change both the Max Strength and Max Size to 0.2; doing so will make the painting brush a small crosshair with not so much strength. Then, with Y the pelvis bone selected, just click and drag over the tail area to paint the weighting onto the vertices (Figure 14.40). FL The Paint Weights option is handy if you’re positioning bones and notice weird or improper bulges between bones. By painting on these affected areas, you’ll dynami- AM cally see the bulges shift around accordingly. Continue adjusting weights all over your model until you’re satisfied, then save your scene as a .MAX file. TE Figure 14.40 Use the Paint Weights option in the Envelope rollout to manually paint the vertices of the tail to be included with the Pelvis bone. ® Team-Fly lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  2. Adding and Manipulating Dummy Nodes 575 Adding and Manipulating Dummy Nodes You’ll need to create several dummy objects to represent those critical game hooks I mentioned in the previous chapter. Dummies are simply inert boxes you create, label, and link to specific parts of the character’s body so that the game engine knows where to place items like weapons, backpacks, and so on. Some common ones for Torque are ■ A mounting location called Mount0. This is the primary weapon-mounting location on all characters; for the slogre, it will be on the hand of your choice. Required on all character models. ■ Secondary mounting locations, called Mount#, where # is a successive number 1, 2, and so on. These locations represent other mounting areas, so that the slogre can attach items like backpacks, other weapons, and vehicles. Mount1 and Mount2 are required dummies to be located just outside of the slogre’s back. ■ A dummy called Eye. This is located and oriented directly in front of the character’s face. Eye represents the camera through which the player sees the game world when playing the game, using the character model as his or her own player mesh. For bots (non-player characters), this might not be required. Consult your game engine’s requirements. ■ A dummy called Cam. This is the camera mounting location, which can repre- sent several things. For instance, when a player switches to a flying mode, in which he is no longer manipulating a character mesh (such as in post mortem, which is when you fly around the game world undetected until you re-spawn), the camera uses Cam to see the world. Some programmers use Cam to circle around a player who has been killed, as is the case in Unreal. For the Torque Engine, this dummy is attached to another dummy called Unlink. ■ Detail objects, called Detail#, where # defines the level of detail. Required for all models, you must have at least one detail dummy to represent the base polygon count of the character’s mesh. Level of detail (LOD) is critical for character meshes, because having a game full of 3,000+ characters walking around at all distances would be a complete waste of polygons. (See the LOD section ahead for details on creating, er, details.) ■ Vehicle dummies, such as Ski0 and Ski1 — which are located near the charac- ter’s calves—enabling the character to mount or sit in a vehicle. se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  3. 576 14. Making the Slogre Game-Ready ■ The character can also have Light# dummies to allow for a lighting source for special situations like self-illumination and so on. Some games and their engines might require additional mount and sprite loca- tions, such as an ExplodePoint location for the programmers to hook a death explo- sion sequence onto. It’s up to you to let the programmers know what will be attaching where, and what it will be called. For now, your slogre really only needs the Detail2, Mount0, Mount1, Mount2, Eye, Cam, Ski0, and Ski1 dummy objects, plus another one called Unlink (for death camera purposes). Here’s what to do: 1. In the Create tab of the Command Panel, click on the Helpers button (it looks like a tape measure). 2. In the Object Type section, click the Dummy button. 3. In an orthogonal view, click and drag to create a small dummy box (see Figure 14.41), and posi- NOTE tion it in one of the slogre’s hands, just in front of the palm The size of the dummy is irrelevant; the Torque engine simply looks for a and between the thumb and first dummy object with the name Mount0 finger. This is where the slogre for a weapon mounting location, and will hold the weapon. references the dummy’s axes for 4. Type Mount0 in the field in the weapons location and alignment. Name and Color section. Figure 14.41 Create a dummy object named Mount0 and position it in the slogre’s hand.This will represent the mounting location for weapons. The Helpers button The Dummy button lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  4. Adding and Manipulating Dummy Nodes 577 5. You need to align the axes of the Mount0 dummy just like you did earlier with the slogre’s axes. In this case, however, the y axis must point in the direction you want the weapon to point. To begin, click on the Hierarchy tab in the Command Panel, then click the Affect Pivot Only button. 6. Use the Select and Rotate tool to rotate the axis so that the y axis points toward the slogre’s fingers (see Figure 14.42). Use the Angle Snap tool, located at the bottom of the screen, to constrain this rotation in degree increments. With the y axis pointing forward, the weapon’s grip will mount to it and face in the same direction. Figure 14.42 Align the pivot point (axes) of the dummy object so the y axis points in the direction that the weapon should point. 7. Create and position two more dummies, Eye and Cam; these should be placed right between the slogre’s eyes and a few inches ahead of them, respectively. 8. Align the pivot point so the y axes for both are pointing forward, with the z axes pointing up. 9. Create and position two dummies, Mount1 and Mount2. Both of these should be located at the slogre’s back, between the shoulders. 10. Create and position another two dummies, Ski0 and Ski1. The first should be located behind the left calf bone, and the second in the same location behind the right calf. Position the y axes so that they face forward. 11. Create a final dummy called Unlink. Just position it on the floor between the slogre’s feet. se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  5. 578 14. Making the Slogre Game-Ready Linking the Nodes Now that you’ve created all of the basic nodes required to make the slogre work in Torque, you need to link them to the proper locations in the Schematic View. Open the Schematic View and link each node as follows: ■ The detail2 dummy must be linked to the Bip01 node (at the very top of the hierarchy). ■ The Mount0 dummy must be linked to the Bip01 Right Hand. ■ The Mount1 and Mount2 dummies must be linked to Bip01 Spine2. ■ The Eye dummy must be linked to the Bip01 Head. ■ The Unlink dummy must be linked to the Bip01 node. Then, the Cam dummy must be linked to the Unlink dummy. ■ The Ski0 and Ski1 dummies must be linked to the Bip01 Left Calf and Right Calf, respectively. Finally, the Bounds (bounding box) must be linked to the Bip01 node (at the top of the hierarchy). Figure 14.43 shows the exploded schematic view you should have. Figure 14.43 The properly attached nodes to the biped. lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  6. Exporting and Viewing the Slogre in Torque 579 Create a Root Pose When you export the slogre to the Torque engine, he’ll need a default pose (unless you want him standing with his arms spread wide!). Create a root pose simply by manipulating and moving his arms and legs so he’s in a position of your liking. In Figure 14.44, I modified the biped in the slogre’s mesh so he looks ready to hold and fire the RF-9 plasma gun. Figure 14.44 Create a root pose by moving the bones of the slogre. Exporting and Viewing the Slogre in Torque Exporting with the DTS Exporter utility in the Utilities panel is a bit different this time than it was earlier in this chapter. Go to the exporter and select Whole Shape. Make the name player.dts, and save the file to the \RealmWars\rw\data\shapes\player\ area instead. Be sure to have your player.cfg file in the same directory, along with the 3D Studio Max .MAX file and the SlogreSkin.png skin file. The difference in exporting this time is that you need to create the .DTS object in the existing \player\ folder. Navigate over to that folder se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  7. 580 14. Making the Slogre Game-Ready and you’ll see over 30 different .DSQ files, which are Torque’s animation sequence files. These were also generated using the DTS Exporter utility. These files will ani- mate the slogre’s bones structure during game play. The exporter might take a bit longer than it did the last time, as there is a lot to process. Remember to look at the dump.dmp file if anything goes wrong, or if an animation sequence does not work properly. Sometimes when a certain animation sequence won’t work, you need to adjust the .CFG file and include or exclude node or bone labels. Once the model is loaded using the realmwars.exe -show utility, click on the Thread Control button. This will load a Thread Control panel that you can use to view the different animation sequences being applied to the bones in the slogre (see Figure 14.45). Make sure that the animations work or you’ll have problems using the slogre during the game! Figure 14.45 Use the Thread Control button in the Torque -Show utility to view the animation sequences driving the slogre. lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  8. Levels of Detail (LODs) 581 Levels of Detail (LODs) Here’s the last thing you can do to optimize the mesh in the game, just as I said in the previous chapter. The levels of detail for the slogre represent the varying mesh densities the character will have in relation to the distances of the other players. It’s important to have these levels of detail, as it would bog down the game engine to unnecessarily process a 3,000-polygon model that a player can’t see from afar. In Chapter 13 I showed you how to make two LODs; here I’ll show you how to make two as well. 1. In the Schematic View you should have the detail2 and Slogre2 objects; they currently should not be linked to anything. Just link the detail2 dummy object to the Bip01 object (the root of the biped itself). This will represent the lowest level of detail—the higher the number, the higher the detail. Of course, these are just reference markers for the game engine to use. 2. With the detail2 object still selected, you need to create another dummy object representing the highest level of detail. The easiest way to do this is by clicking Edit, Clone on the top menu bar. In the Clone Options dialog box, make sure Copy is checked. For the name, type in detail64 and click OK. The number is arbitrary, but it’s good to keep the trailing number large, so you know that the larger the number, the higher will be the mesh density. Now look back to the Schematic View, and notice that the new detail marker has been added and attached to the Bip01 object, as it is a clone. 3. With the detail markers in place, you need to create a single level of detail mesh using the MultiRes modifier, just as you did for the RF-9 in Chapter 13. First select the Slogre2 object in the Schematic View, then create a clone of the mesh. Just click Edit, Clone, and name the new copy Slogre64. This will represent the highest level of detail. 4. Finally, reselect the Slogre2 object. Then, in the Modifier panel, apply a MutliRes modifier to this mesh. In the MultiRes rollout, click Generate. Change the Vert Percent parameter to 50.0; this will reduce the polygon count to 50% of the original mesh, or in this case about 1500 faces—not bad, considering there’s not much loss in detail. This represents the lowest level of detail that will be seen by other players from afar. You should now have two slogre meshes in your scene (Slogre2 and Slogre64) that are refer- enced, by the Torque engine, by the detail dummy markers detail2 and detail64, respectively. Be sure that you can view these two detail meshes in the RealmWars.exe -show feature, using the Details button. se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  9. 582 14. Making the Slogre Game-Ready Last Note on Other Game Engines You’re probably wondering about using the RF-9 and Slogre models in other games. Most of the information about creating meshes, skinning them, and setting them up for use in the Torque engine apply to other games like Half-Life, Quake, and Unreal. All that’s really necessary is to obtain the 3D Studio Max plug-ins for those games in order to export your models and change the naming of an object or two, add a dummy, and so on. I decided to avoid getting into any detail on those engines, as getting permissions to use plug-ins, screen shots, and so on from com- panies like that is very difficult, not to mention time-consuming. GarageGames were kind enough to allow me to use Torque, an excellent 3D game engine, and coupled with the fact that it’s so affordable ($100), what could be better! Remember, for that small price you’re not just getting a game, but an entire game engine whose code you can modify to create your own game, including your own personalized graphics. Anyway, for other game engines, just get on the Web and download their SDK (software development kit) for which you want to develop; I’m sure the kits (not the engines) will be free of charge. See Appendix E, “Related Websites and Links,” for information on popular game engine sites. The SDKs are usually free for download, and contain the plug-ins and instructions necessary to get you rockin’ and rollin’. Summary The last stage in preparing a character mesh for a video game is usually the most time consuming—installing a skeletal system to animate the mesh itself. Applying a texture to your mesh, installing biped systems, adjusting skin envelopes, setting up dummy objects for game hooks, and adding levels of detail are just the basics of readying your character for a game engine. Most games work in such a similar manner, and it’s only a matter a making a few adjustments to get your model to work in them. This chapter covered these foundations in detail. lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  10. PART FIVE Bringing it All Together se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  11. 15 Bringing Your Work into the Torque Game Engine Y FL AM TE ® Team-Fly lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  12. CHAPTER 15 Bringing Your Work into the Torque Game Engine se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  13. 586 15. Bringing Work into the Torque Game Engine I decided to focus on developing models for the Torque engine because it is one of the most affordable 3D game engines around. Indeed, GarageGames.com offers this engine for a mere $100; using it, you can reprogram and develop your own publishable game. So unless you can shell out the $50,000–$300,000 required for high-end game engines like Quake and Unreal, I think Torque will do. In this chapter you will ■ Use the Torque game engine demo to see your character, weapon, and tex- tures in live gaming action. ■ Learn how to create and manipulate the terrain. ■ Texture the landscape with your own images. ■ Add and manipulate your own game objects. ■ Have fun playing with your own game art creations! Playing Realm Wars Using the Slogre and RF-9 The Torque demo, as I mentioned in Chapters 13, “Making the RF-9 Plasma Gun Game-Ready with 3D Studio Max,” and 14, “Making the Slogre Game-Ready with 3D Studio Max and Character Studio,” is aliased Realm Wars, the demo of which is also on the CD-ROM that came with this book. In the previous chapters, I outlined how to install this demo and use the Show feature to view your completed weapon and character models. Now it’s time to see it all live! Testing the Slogre If you properly produced your slogre bipedal arrangement and were able to view it using the Show command, you should have the model (aptly named player.dts) located in the \RealmWars\rw\data\shapes\player\ directory, along with all the ani- mation sequences. The default sequences, as I said in Chapter 14, will be at the very least sufficient to animate the bones structure embedded within the slogre model. Go ahead and fire up the demo, playing a single-player game; as soon as lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  14. Playing Realm Wars Using the Slogre and RF-9 587 Figure 15.1 The fruits of your labor, awaiting your com- mand in Realm Wars. you’re in the game, start running around. If everything appears to be working, you’re in business! Just press Tab to switch to third-person mode and see the big guy in action (see Figure 15.1). Locating the RF-9 Plasma Gun The plasma-gun model (aptly named weapon.dts) you created should also be in place in the \RealmWars\rw\data\shapes\crossbow\ directory; you’re simply substitut- ing the existing weapons and character models with your own. (You’ll need to pur- chase the game engine and modify the code to make these models more unique to the game, such as telling the engine to call up and use a primary player character called slogre.dts, adding different sprite effects, and so on.) The ammo, clip, and sounds for the RF-9 can be substituted for the existing crossbow items; grab them from the Chapter 15 Data section on the CD-ROM and place them in the \crossbow\ and \sounds\ folders. Then, in the game, start hunting around and you’ll soon find the RF-9, along with some ammo; walk over it, and you’ll be ready to blast things away to your heart’s content (see Figure 15.2). The default sprite action that is gen- erated when you fire the weapon is almost perfect for the RF-9! se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  15. 588 15. Bringing Work into the Torque Game Engine Figure 15.2 Search the area for the RF-9 plasma gun and pick it up! Editing the World When you’re in Realm Wars, the game engine allows you to edit the terrain, sky, and water, and to place or remove objects. Just press F11 to enter the World Editor to see what I mean; by default, you’ll be in World Editor Inspector mode (see Figure 15.3). Just open the Window menu up top, and choose from several modes. Terrain Editor If you choose Window, Terrain Editor, your tools will change and allow you to edit your game’s ground; open the Action menu and select from a list of actions that you can perform. When you move your cursor over any area of the ground, you’ll see a multitude of lit rectangles, the size of which is dictated in the Brush menu. For instance, to change the height of the ground, select Action, Adjust Height, and click and drag the ground up and down (see Figure 15.4). With what seems like the hand of God, you can literally move mountains! This engine is well known for its outdoor environment and infinite landscape; try wandering around for a while to see what I mean. While in the Terrain Editor, you can also add your own diligently created textures by choosing Window, Terrain Texture Painter. A list appears on the right, displaying all lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  16. Editing the World 589 Figure 15.3 Press F11 to enter the World Editor. Figure 15.4 In seconds you can carve your landscape and create moun- tains at will in the Terrain Editor. se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  17. 590 15. Bringing Work into the Torque Game Engine the textures you’ve saved as .png files and stored in the \RealmWars\rw\data\ terrains\ folder. Add a useable texture to the cell by clicking the Add button in an empty cell, and then browse for the texture you want. To paint the texture, choose Action, Paint Material, and then click and drag over the terrain. In Figure 15.5, I used the lava texture developed in Chapter 8 (and saved as lava.png, a 256×256 pixel texture), to cover the sandy beach near the water. If your texture is properly tileable, you should have some awesome results. Adding Other Objects You can continue to add textured models to the world using the World Editor Creator, also located in the Window menu. While in that mode, you can expand the Shapes directory tree at the lower left and browse for any .dts shape files you’ve placed in the \RealmWars\rw\data\shapes\ folder. These shapes can be created in exactly the same way as the RF-9; you just don’t have to include a mounting loca- tion on them (obviously). Try adding one of the trees in the Trees subfolder by sin- gle-clicking the tree2 item to place it in your scene (see Figure 15.6). The tree object may initially be right on top of you; just back away a bit, and you’ll see the object’s axes, which you can move, rotate, or scale. Some of the actions require keyboard commands. For instance, holding down the Alt key while clicking on an x, y, or z axis of the tree will rotate the tree along that axis. To look around while editing in this manner, just right-click and drag. The forward, backward, and strafe keys allow you to move around as well (W, S, A, and D, by default, respectively). Texturing Buildings By default, buildings and other static 3D shapes in the Realm Wars game are not texture-modifiable within the Torque game engine. These objects were cre- NOTE ated and textured in a level-editing pro- Level editing is a subject for another book entirely! In any case, there are a gram like Valve’s Hammer editor (go to number of free level editors on the http://www.valve-erc.com to download Web that are compatible with creat- the Hammer editor), or they were cre- ing buildings and levels for Torque ated in the Milkshape 3D modeler and (and other game engines), as well as a textured in the same way as the RF-9. plethora of tutorials for them on the GarageGames has a Torque plug-in for GarageGames.com Website. these editors that allows you to export lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  18. Editing the World 591 Figure 15.5 Applying new tex- tures to the ground in the Terrain Texture Painter. Figure 15.6 Adding and manipu- lating a tree object in the World Editor Creator. se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  19. 592 15. Bringing Work into the Torque Game Engine building models as DIF files (located in the \RealmWars\rw\data\interiors\ folder), which are map files converted into solid objects. Saving Your Modifications When you’re finished re-creating your world, save your changes by choosing File, Save Mission As, and entering a new name for the mission. (Mission is another word for level.) Then, press F11 to exit the World Editor mode and see your results. The next time you start the game, select your mission from the mission list, and rock and roll! The Last Word Here it is, the last paragraph of my book. I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this stuff, and are ready to tear up the gaming universe! I poured in as much as I could think of (and as much as my publisher would allow me), and hope you got something out of it. I’ve only scratched the surface with the basics here, but I think that after read- ing this book you’ll see the unlimited possibilities and excellent occupational fun of game-art creation. Please feel free to e-mail me with your work; I’m developing a Web site to catalogue my artwork, and will include yours as well. You can reach me at g_lok434@hotmail.com. I truly would like to see your modifications of the mod- els and textures in this book, as well as any original models of your own! Take care, and happy gaming! Figure 15.7 Our hero (image courtesy Lars Ricaldi). lease purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
  20. POSTSCRIPT Finding Work as a Game Artist se purchase PDF Split-Merge on www.verypdf.com to remove this watermark.
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