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#4443247 - 10/11/18 05:56 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Brit44 'Aldo' Offline
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True, that the enemy of good is perfect. All you have to do is look at the damage I have caused to a community with my obsession with perfection. Forgive me, this does ramble a bit. as I discuss my history.

I am currently making a Cromwell Mk4 (C hull) 3D model and creating the factory fresh texture for it. Actually, I learned (from Geezer) to make the base texture in grey scale first. That is what I am working on. Fortunately, the current PE object editor is rewritten so that it can add completed, child objects to the parent. This is similar to your empty F format. The base model was fairly easy to make (PE allows 30 child objects), but as I have been texturing each part, I found myself needing to tweak every part of the model to use the minimal number of pixels, yet allow the sharpest textures. The more I work on this model, the more I think back to my early days of modding and all I learned from an professional artist.

I had the privilege to work with Geezer while we were both learning to mod. It was a rocky relationship as I made 3D models and expected perfection from the final textures. I was learning code and had an understanding how precious the texture space was. He knew art and did his best with the 16x16 pixel limitation of PE, we did not have the luxury of UV skinning. I do not know how long I spent reducing his textures to better fit the needs of the game engine. This was the delay of PE's Brit44 mod after version 1.04. It took me even longer to realize the insult I had done to the artist. Too his credit, he was mad and silent for a while, but he continued to teach the community how to create art. This was also a lesson to me in humility, though that took the longest to sink into my skull. Geezer has inspired me to expand my 3D modeling into the texturing world, including UV texturing.

Crap, that is uber rambling.

Ray,
You encourage texture artists to learn 3D modeling. This is great and encouraged, but have you thought at the inverse and learning a bit of skinning? My post is simply to encourage you to think about adding this skill to your tool box.

EAW is hobby time. Every modder is free to do as they wish.


TPA who TWI
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#4443253 - 10/11/18 09:03 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Brit, I do a lot of skinning, usually based off another contributor's work because I'm simply not that good at making something from scratch. Don't have the "eye" for it.

But here's the thing.

When I got into making new models or upgrading old models I learned 3dz Studio and the arcane art of rendering sequences generation.

Then I learned to use Photoshop to make the skins match what I'd done with the 3dz model.

Then I learned how to make a flight model to go with the new model.

Then how to add weapons to the new plane.

Then how to search the internet for a new hangar screen for the new plane.

Then how to add the new model to the 1.6 inventory and how to get it into the game.

And most importantly for this discussion, I have fixed R/S, mapping and texture errors on just about every plane I've upgraded.

Never said anything about it, just fixed them and moved on.

Do you see where I'm going with this?



Raymond S Otton
#4443265 - 10/11/18 11:26 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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You fellows are incomprehensible to me.

Talented, talented, talented.


Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Someday your life will flash in front of your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.
#4443267 - 10/11/18 11:51 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Well, thanks.

We're an incomprehensible group to be sure.

I mean, what person in their right mind fools around with a 20 year old flight sim?

Although, come to think of it, we're way past fooling around with 20 years olds in general so I guess the virtual world is where we belong. :-)


Raymond S Otton
#4443386 - 10/12/18 03:59 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Brit44 'Aldo' Offline
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Quote
Do you see where I'm going with this?


Yes I do. I am sorry I was not here at the beginning to know your progress. It is impressive, and my internet conclusions of you are grossly underestimated.

Let me add one last thought from my life. I have been a motorcycle mechanic for more then 30 years. I have played at every aspect other then owner (unless you count my work from home and a small stint of funding a race team). In recent years I have learned that it is hard for me to remember that what is easy for me is a foreign language to a newbee. I hope you have an easier time remembering this then "That Prick Al" (as I am known in the motorcycle community).

OG,
If you can balance the ego's of modders, then you are a god.


TPA who TWI
#4443401 - 10/12/18 09:25 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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I will point out that there are three guys on this forum who are standouts as far as coaching newbies in the arcane arts of EAW modding.

Mr. Jelly, Moggy and me.

What we've experienced is that most newbies don't really want to climb the steep hill. That's fine, not everyone is as deep into EAW as we are, but we cannot be described as secretive or high handed in any of our dealings.

Personally, I'd love to take a couple of neophytes under my wing to learn all that's involved with model making, scenario building, flight modeling and anything else that's rolling around in this head of mine.

All they have to do is ask.


Raymond S Otton
#4443420 - 10/12/18 11:59 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Second that Ray.

Quite happy to share what's been gained by endless experimentation, as Charles Gunst, Paulo Morais, DOM, Woolfman and others were happy to share with me way back when.

We all stand on the shoulders of those pioneers.


RAF Chattenden
The Gen Home of the EAW Code Group
#4443421 - 10/12/18 12:00 PM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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That is a very generous offer. It could help bring in some new people and add to those who endeavor to keep EAW running and improving.

I know we have a lot of stickies here already, but what would the group opinion be on having Rotton50 make the offer a little more detailed and putting it as another sticky ?

Edit - Moggy posted while I was doing my one finger iPad post. So another generous offer to teach and bring in new people.

Last edited by oldgrognard; 10/12/18 12:01 PM.

Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Someday your life will flash in front of your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.
#4443422 - 10/12/18 12:37 PM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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I'm glad we have some new optimism and enthusiasm from our moderator. I hope it continues as we really can use it around here. I commend you for your spirit.

I'd be happy to work with anyone who shows real interest in learning. However, it can't be a case of cart before the horse.
Meaning, I'm not going to write up a long instruction manual about 3dz editing, flight modeling or campaign creation on the off chance that a newbie might "take the bait" so to speak.

We're talking some serious time input on my part so I'm going to need a serious apprentice or two.

We had a case a while back on the GEN forum where an experienced modder, indeed, a member of the Code Group, said he wanted to learn target editing, something outside his wheelhouse.

Jel and I spent three intense days pretty much ignoring our own projects to coach this guy because we really could have used another target creator to spread the workload.

After three days he threw up his hands and walked away from it all, while declaring we weren't telling him everything he needed to know and the system only worked with 1.4 (now 1.6). None of which was true.

Ask yourself how willing you'd be to spend time with someone only to have them walk away.

FWIW, I've also spent a fair amount of time coaching a few SimHQ members on 3dz editing only to have them decide it wasn't something they were interested in, thus wasting my time.

So please excuse my reticence but I've been down this road before and at age 67 I have less time to waste.

It does remind me of this -

Commitment and involvement are much like ham and eggs.

The chicken is involved but the pig is totally committed.


Raymond S Otton
#4443447 - 10/12/18 04:48 PM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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A slit trench at RAF Gravesend
The best way to learn modding EAW is to do. Start small: change a loadout, edit a skin. See if you get the yen to do more.

I started here in 2000, wanting to give this rather primitive Wellington model a bit more bang in the bomb load ...

[Linked Image]


Last edited by Moggy; 10/12/18 04:48 PM.

RAF Chattenden
The Gen Home of the EAW Code Group
#4443450 - 10/12/18 04:59 PM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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That's correct. Find something that doesn't seem quite right and fix it.

As I said earlier, back in the stone ages of flight sims I corrected a bug in the top speed of the P-38 add-on for SWOTL. It bothered me enough that I learned hex editing and from there............................well, here we are today.


Raymond S Otton
#4443455 - 10/12/18 05:43 PM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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I remember there was a small program for EAW where you could just open it and make changes to aircraft. Change the type and number of guns, engine power, etc.

I remember using it when it was discovered that computer AI flying FW190’s didn’t use their cannons and only fired their machine guns. I used it to change the cannons to machine guns.


Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Someday your life will flash in front of your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.
#4443467 - 10/12/18 06:51 PM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Gentlemen, I don't bother much with flight sims anymore, but I regularly return to the forums. This might seem odd, but isn't everyone involved with this hobby? The reason I keep coming back, I am beginning to realise, is because of the people. This thread is a prime example. I mean this in a very positive way-you are all honest, principled and grounded. No f@#king s#@t from any of you. It's so hard to find this anywhere nowadays.

#4443469 - 10/12/18 07:21 PM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Thank you for the kind words.

Indeed, this past month has been great.

I must say, this is what the old EAW forum was like and it's nice to be here for the revival.


Raymond S Otton
#4443755 - 10/15/18 05:59 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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I want to make a long, thought out post, but I am 8 beers in, so I will try to keep this simple. Rebuttals are welcome. Once I realized I could not make a living by modding , I started to look at it as a hobby. I equate modding to something like building scale models.

The motivation for modding is both bitter and sweet. The bitterness is created by ego, frustration, and desire for monetary gain. The sweetness is the comrodary (spelling) and the sure joy of creating something new.

Modding an older game is like building a scale model. EAW is an old game engine now, so the paranoia of intellectual property theft is minimal, but any new modder should not be expected to be given the keys to the city. This is an older game. It was expected that people creating content were professionals working with limited tools and vast experience. The newbee has to realize there is a learning curve. The newbee also has to start with the knowledge that this is an older game. It can not do 3000 polygon models and/or 300 players in a MP game. It can, if you rewrite everything. But that would be a life's work or a MOD to Far.

Modern game engines that can be modded have tools that require little learning. A novice will find early joy with a game that has tools that are simple point and click. An opinion, could you imagine a newbee willing to hex edit a file? Anything created 20 years ago will require you to learn how it was done back in the day. The modern tools prevent the modder from lerning how to create these things. That is fine if all you want to do is add something in your spare time. But, you do not learn how you created it.

Ego can only be controlled by the individual. If the community offends your ego, then you should leave. Do not make some war, and return only when you think the community has something to offer you. Speak your mind and do not be shy. But , do not assume that comments are a personal insult.

The sweetness, well, that is something that is unique to each individual. They have to decide if the interaction with the game and the community are worth the time they give to the hobby.

Cracking number 10. out wink


TPA who TWI
#4443756 - 10/15/18 06:52 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Wasnt there some work on getting 3dz files being worked on with Blender?

#4443760 - 10/15/18 09:16 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Sounds like 8-10 is your sweet spot for technical philosophy because you made a lot of sense.

FWIW, "Technical Philosophy" sounds like a great name for a heavy metal band.


Raymond S Otton
#4444562 - 10/20/18 10:06 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: 453Raafspitty]  
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Wasnt there some work on getting 3dz files being worked on with Blender?

Since there is access to the code, writing a wrapper for a modeling program that uses a text based format would not be hard. The hardest part would be understanding the action codes and how each part of the model is linked in the rendering sequence. Whom ever writes the wrapper would have to be proficient with the modeling program chosen. The free modeling program I like is Metasequoia 4. Version 4.5.6 runs on Windows XP. The native file format (MQ0) is a text based format.
Example:
Code
Metasequoia Document
Format Text Ver 1.0

Material 1 {
	"a01_M_karada_01" col(0.800 0.800 0.800 1.000) dif(0.500) amb(0.100) emi(0.500) spc(0.100) power(30.00) tex("aa15_00_00.bmp")
}
Object "a01_O_hadaka_01[0]" {
	shading 1
	color 0.5025834 0.7113585 0.7805964
	color_type 1
	vertex 2555 {
		0 128.8701 11.0102
		0.1239 128.9169 11.0293
		0 128.8849 10.8507


Thanks for the compliment Ray. I finished off 11 and 12. I have not had one since. I can not remember the last time I was sober for 5 days. yeah


TPA who TWI
#4444565 - 10/20/18 11:08 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Brit, EAW can only use integers in it's 3DZ format, changing to floats renders every created 3D model useless. The transition to floats isn't really a big deal, however the entire engine needs to be rewritten to make it work. Sydbod believed he could do it but we both know that it was a futile effort to begin with. The Redering Sequence format used in the 3DZ is not comparable with any other program's 3D format and that goes for the vertices and normals sections too. The 3DZ format is too propriatry to EAW.

The previous effort which allowed simple models to be converted into 3DZ information which could be used is one thing, rewriting to code to another format is another and is a waste of time in my eyes. The use of the F.3DZ doesn't change how the game uses the available parts or how to calulate the proper R/S for these parts, irrespective wether the F.3DZ is empty or not, it merely removes the possibillity to use the 256 polygons that part can have.

When the F.3DZ only contains hardpoints, they still need a poper R/S, which may be easier to calculate, provided that all other parts are subject to the exact same rules dictated by the R/S. In this respect there's hardly any difference if there's polygon data in the F.3DZ or not, on either occasion it needs a properly calculated R/S. With Z-buffering the calculation could be done by the hardware but the EXE has no privisions for this and requires yet another major rewrite.

There's an advantage with precalculated normals and R/S, you don't have to do it during the game as it's already done when the 3D model is created. EAW's 3DZ format is fine and work just as good as 3D models in ANY other game, provided the models were correctly created and have a working R/S. In other words Blender insn't needed to create flawless 3DZ models Just saying.

VonBeerhofen

#4444570 - 10/20/18 11:42 AM Re: BritAldo, the "Empty F" debate continues. [Re: Rotton50]  
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Here's the way the empty F works.

I start by making a four node rectangular element and placing it at the junction of where the tail section and the fuselage come together, facing backwards.

Then I make an element facing outwards at about -20 from the center line and another facing outward 20 from the center line.

Then I make an element facing outward at -1 from the center line and another facing outwards 1 from the center line.

Lastly I make an element facing forward at the distance where the prop will be located.

Each of these elements gets assigned the pilot code, set for bailed out.

Next I add a hardpoint with a new node as a piggyback on each element, setting the node at 0,0,0. Each hardpoint gets assigned the correct section code which I've standardized as follows:

A (25) = tail section - (sometimes I have to combine two separate tail sections before proceeding)
B (26) =left side of fuselage
C(27) = right side of fuselage
E(28) = Left wing
G(29) = Right wing.
P(10) = propeller

Next I calculate all the normals and then formulate a proper rendering sequence.

Of course, before all this I've broken up the model into the correct sections.

Next I run the model in the game to see if the R/S is working properly. Since I set the elements to "bailed out" they don't show up when observing the model.

I note any problems and first adjust the elements to get a new normals calculation. That usually takes care of the problem but if not, I move the elements around a bit and generate a new R/S. That almost always works.

Once I'm satisfied I delete the elements which leaves just the hardpoints and of course I DO NOT run another normals calculation.

There are some differences depending on the nature of the model, multi-engine models requiring a little more work but generally, that's it.

I've also saved up a number of "empty F" main sections with the elements still in place as a sort of library.

For instance, I'm now working on the He177. It is broken up a little different than other bombers I've worked on. The fuselage is one complete section, nose to tail and left to right.

Fortunately, the Blenheim is broken up exactly the same way so I can use that empty F rather than make a new one.

Really, it's a pretty simple concept and since it's based on the EAW default PShell.3dz concept that binds twin engine plane together, it doesn't put any more stress on a PC that that does.


Raymond S Otton
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