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Old 20th Jun 2001, 01:04 AM   #1
Spooge
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"I'm wondering if it is possible to draw a map in Pro-E"

I received this email tonight and figured since it's the 3rd one this week (all simular anyway) I would share the answer with everyone here on the boards.

Most of you regulars have been over this stuff a time or two, but as new members join the boards these questions come back up. So if it's redundent for you, move on to the porn sites.


Matt writes:

"Hi, As I was looking around the web for a conversion tool(anything3d to .t3d, if there is such a thing)...I found your site and figured I could shoot you this question...First of all, do you know of a conversion program? Second of all,so you know, why, I'm wondering if it is possible to draw a map in Pro/Engineer(3d(the whole thing OR just chunks(buildings etc)) and then dump it into UED to finish it...."

Thanks
matt



My oh-so-witty reply:

You seek the answers to the universe... well... you would actually have a better chance if you in fact WHERE seeking answers to the universe! HA!

I have been hunting such a utility for roughly 3 years now! Truth is you are likely not to find such a beast.

I think the main reason you will be hard pressed to locate any such util is that the current Unreal Engine is simply not built for highly complex model representation. It's BSP based engine is limited, and optimized for speed.
So whats it all about? Integer math opposed to Floating point math calculations. In more simple terms... the engine can do what it does well, as long as all geometry is even digits (nothing to the right of the decimal) AND to also maintain even digits, everything MUST be on grid. Then you are truly allowing the engine to function in it's optimal form using Integer math. Follow so far?

OK, so you can do clean precise models with a good CAD application (Pro-E, Inventor, Autocad, Etc.), making sure nothing is smaller than 1 inch and even keeping everything on grid... is that enough? Close... but then you have the geometry limitation, or better said Poly count limitation, that says any more than 400 polygons is simply more than the engine was developed to display. But
that's only an issue if you are trying to import mechanical parts that are complex... and you say you want to do a building, right?

Now the truth comes out, you CAN in fact build most everything in Pro-E Or Autocad and import it piece by piece into Unreal. I know this to be true because I have done an entire 3 story building this way from Autocad. The trick was to keep the imports to as few as possible... chunks. And, I also had to first Export them from Autocad, importing them into 3D Studio MAX and THEN going out as a DXF. For some reason even though Autodesk Developed the DXF format I have found that it does not work from any and all applications the same. Gibe it a try... you might have better luck with Pro-E.

Next year all this will be history anyway. The next Unreal engine is "said" to allow 50,000 polys viewable at one time (over a million for the total scene). Just hunt around, you can pick up some interesting facts about it on the net.

Good luck. I hope this mini novel helps. ;-)

Daniel "Spooger" Patton
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Old 20th Jun 2001, 01:38 PM   #2
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Cool Hurrumph!

Maybe you'll get around to answering my email some time soon too, eh spooger? [grins cheekily]

I usually don't like importing from .dxf or .asc.. I find that all effects and geometry can be done fine in unrealed itself. Wheras importing from 3d apps can mean big bsp problems if you don't know exactly what you're doing.. But then I'm just a big eejit. Don't mind me, etc.
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Old 20th Jun 2001, 02:08 PM   #3
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Hey oRGy...

Sorry I have not emailed you... I believe I didn't have any good news for you, so I was putting it off. I sent you an ICQ.


"Wheras importing from 3d apps can mean big bsp problems if you don't know exactly what you're doing"

Yup... my whole point for putting up this post...

And it can be done without errors, do it all the time.
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Old 20th Jun 2001, 02:31 PM   #4
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On the integer math....

How exactly are floats a problem for the unreal engine. I take it floats are truncated and this gives rise to errors, ie holes appearing. I've been thinking: what would happen if you make a map the dirty way, not paying attention to the grid, and than truncating all those floats manually?

Final dumb remark: why the fck did anyone make it possible to generate floats in UED in the first place?
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Old 20th Jun 2001, 10:27 PM   #5
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"How exactly are floats a problem for the unreal engine. I take it floats are truncated and this gives rise to errors"

From what I understand they are not truncated... thats the problem. They add up and build to the point of the ugly BSP demon! ARGH!

"...than truncating all those floats manually?"


I'm guessing what you mean by that Keeek is that you would export it out as a T3D file and then go in and wipe out everything to the right of the decimal... Right?

"IF" thats what you mean then you also would have to deal with your numbers rounding up or down and some poss. shifting of geometry.

3Dx3 and I have had this same conversation. He even found a handy utility that would let you quickly edit the DXF file before importing it into Unreal, doing the same thing I believe you are talking about... truncating.


"why the fck did anyone make it possible to generate floats in UED in the first place?"

So we could learn from our mistakes of course! LOL...
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Old 21st Jun 2001, 01:36 AM   #6
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Cool

Quote:
"why the fck did anyone make it possible to generate floats in UED in the first place?"
UED wasn't designed to be userfriendly, it simply needed to function as a *developer* tool ...
In any really userfriendly GUI more than half the code (or 80 - 95% if the users are really stupid) has to deal with such issues.
If it's only used by developers who (should) know what they are doing then adding such stuff only takes valuable time from more important tasks.

or

- because Unreal Ed 1 was written in Visual Basic ...
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Old 21st Jun 2001, 07:34 AM   #7
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Yo Spooge, yes you got the idea!
Geometry shifting would be a problem. I'll have to think about this a bit more...
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Old 25th Jun 2001, 08:49 AM   #8
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I've made a program that allows you to strip vertices in a .t3d file of as many decimals as you want. I tried the highest setting: set all decimals to 0, and the geometry shifting was enormous, yahoo! I think it has to do with the fact that I also "fix" the origin of a polygon. I'm not really sure what the "origin" is, but I guess that all coordinates of vertices are given with respect to the origin. I was thinking that origins and vertices may have different scales (?).
Anyway, I'll do some more tests...
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Old 25th Jun 2001, 09:08 AM   #9
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Cool

What if you'd scale all the coordinates ?
ie 10,05 : 24,65 : 88,54 => * 100 => 1005 : 2465 : 8854

any movement you'd get could be smaller once you reduce it to the 'original' size after importing ...
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Old 25th Jun 2001, 10:43 AM   #10
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Hmmm... well JaFO...

The problem is not as you mention, it's not numbers over 999 like 1,000 or 124,928... it's numbers that are to the right of the decimal point like 124,928.247

This happens when you are off grid or work with geometry that is not built to an even unit scale.

Now lets say that you meant to use a (.) in place of a (,) in what you just wrote. It's an even bigger problem I think. Because if you take your first two number in the set 10.05 : 24.65 and translate them to 1005 : 2465... where the distance from the original two numbers is like 14.60 units, the new distance between them is like 1460 units!!

And it can get whacked easy, when you reduce an entire scene in the editor... hmm... not even sure how you would do such a thing.
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Old 25th Jun 2001, 05:12 PM   #11
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Sorry about the confusion, but you're right the ',' I used should be a '.' in the american/english language ...
I see the problem now

Changing from floats to integers always results in errors.
So I thought that if you designed at a higher scale and then scaled down it might be possible to reduce the visible errors.
But unlike in regular mathematics you can't just ignore those small errors ...
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Old 28th Jun 2001, 09:56 PM   #12
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Red face Ok

Since no one seems to be really thinking about waht I've said in my post "good news for the macsters" I will tell it within this thread.

I found out that Cinema 4D XL v6.3 is perfect for creating UT levels. You just have to keep track of the alignment of the normals and you can control the result within UED. DXF export seems to work perfect and so it is no problem to build the geometry in C4D and import it as a brush in UED.

For all thoe people sayin': "OK, and what's the pronlem?"

C4D is available for PC and MAC, and so it is able to replace UED in Level building.
You just need to texture it in UED, but thats a task that UED is fast enough for even on an emulation.

out,
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Old 29th Jun 2001, 12:13 AM   #13
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Not sure you are following the thread eXitus...


You can build your level in most ANY 3D application that exports out to DXF as long as it's even units and on grid. That last part is a limitation of the Unreal engine, not the 3D app.

Build with uneven units and off grid in UED and it will still give you errors. Point being, it's not the 3D application that is the real limitation, it's the Unreal engine.

So most any 3D application will work.
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