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Need help with static meshes

Discussion in 'Level Design, Skinning and Modelling' started by afecelis, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. ridenho

    ridenho New Member

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    Map Scaling

    Spatte,

    I usually build everything in ADT at normal scale and export to ASE's. I had the same scaling problem when we made our first map. We figured that a drawscale of 2 works good if you build things in Max or ADT. That allows you to get through a normal door. As for the scalemap utility in Runtime, you have to have everything selected for it to work. It took me a few tries to do this. Our office map is at a drawscale of 4 because I originally made it a DM and CTF map and made it more fun. We decided to keep it at that scale because it makes everything more grandoise and feels more cinematic. It also makes the user move through the map slower and you get more out of the experience. We should have the map available for download by Tuesday. I am still working on an intro Matinee sequence so we can make a small video. I will post the URL when it is up and running.

    Have fun.

    ridenho

    Here's a couple of screenshots of the office.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    hey Spatte,
    Sorry for not uploading the map I wanted you to check but we had a busy week. I've performed some more tests comparing static meshes vs bsp behaviour but I'd really appreciate it if you could give the bsp version of the house a look. I'll upload it tonight after work and link you to it. many thnx for your interest.

    About spooger, those guys r up to the neck of work, today (march 15) is the official launch of ut2k4 so you may guess how busy the guys at Epic are.

    see ya around!
     
  3. Spooge

    Spooge Digital Content Creator

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    HEY HEY HEY!!

    We are back! Both Will and I survived the nasty (ugly, hateful, dreaded, fricken) deadline and other than a few days of no sleep everything turned out great!

    Sorry we have not been around for all of the updates here, looks like we missed a lot.

    Ridenho... Welcome! Looks like you found a good home and all of the good people who live here. :) It's soo good to see other like minded people working with this runtime, I remember when it was a rare find to know one other person. Now look at us all. Sweet!

    I have a lot of reading to do, so much to catch up on, so give me a little time but I'll jump back in, no problem. I still would like to try and understand the problems you all are having with the pawn scale... I have had no issues, but it sounds like we need to nail this thing out.

    I'll be back in later tonight if I can.

    Peace!!

    Spooger
     
  4. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    hey hey hey spooge, it's so f..n cool to have you back! I'm glad things turned out ok... and that you and will survived! =)

    see ya around
     
  5. Spooge

    Spooge Digital Content Creator

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    afecelic... both you and Spatte need to put up your newest files so I can take a look at where you all are at with the projects.

    You mind?
     
  6. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    not at all. I've been trying to put up a bsp-only version of the house following your advice of using solosnake's ase2t3d but I'm getting some weird issues like normals flipped and weird collision. Other times (when the ase gets complex) the editor crashes and closes so it would definitely be cool if you and spatte could give it a look. I was to upload it last night but it crashed so I'll start up again tonight not importing the heavy t3ds.

    kewl kewl kewl
     
  7. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    ok Spooge and Spatte. After a lot of problems and engine crashes I was able to put up a 90% version in bsp brushes. I say 90% because there were some brushes that made the engine crash so I had to replace them by static meshes (the 3 floor brushes). Anyway, the major drawbacks I see are:
    1. File size: the map file alone is almost 20 mb. That's huge compared to the static mesh version.
    2. Flipped normals in some brushes
    3. Ghost zones: if you can, enter the house, go to the terrace through the living room and turn around. Get close to the window frames (which imported weird) and some weird graphic issues will go on.

    etc etc

    Just remember guys this is not supposed to be an enhancement of the project or a beautiful display level but an experiment to see bsp brushes behaviour. All the experience I gather from this tests will be good for future projects we develop.

    you can find the stuff in the WIP folder of my space in the "march16" folder

    http://www.danielpatton.com/afecelis

    cheers!
     
  8. Vito

    Vito New Member

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    Sounds about right for making things almost entirely out of BSP.

    Really, BSP is supposed to be used to frame out the level, and that's about it. For a tall office building level, you might subtract out a giant tall cube, and then subtract out the insides of the floors, maybe the walls in those floors, subtract out the holes for windows, and that's about it. You texture those walls as your office walls so you get the nice BSP lighting everywhere, and then things like doorframes, molding, plants, window glass, all that stuff is static meshes.
     
  9. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    thnx Vito for the suggestion. But I guess that also implies lots of trial and error. I also know the best way to learn is getting your hands dirty with the engine and screwing up things every now and then. So, this is pretty much it. The good thing is that we got a lot of projects coming up at our office that we will definitely build in the engine. I just wish to find that equilibrium point I mentioned before.

    many thnx

    ps. How was UT2k4 launch?
     
  10. spatte

    spatte New Member

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    Back again after a few hectic days at the office.... We had a presentation of a police headquarters we have designed for a competition. I am having a day off from work today after several 12-14 hour workdays.....don't know why I'm in front of the computer again...

    Ridenho, I tried scaling my map, and it worked out fine. Now the scale of things feel more like I would like it to be. I have a lot of static meshes built to fit the pawnsize in UT2003 and to me the best way will still be to fit the pawn to the meshes.

    See ya all

    Afecelis, I have downloaded your bsp-map and will take a look at it as soon as possible.

    I haven't done any more changes to my marketplace, so the version on www.danielpatton.com/spatte is still the latest one.
     
  11. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    great Spatte! good luck in the competition. Has it got any "unrealistic" possibilities?

    about the map, remember the one in march16 is a test for bsp. The presentation map is in the other folder (previous in date)

    cheers! enjoy your break!
     
  12. Spooge

    Spooge Digital Content Creator

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    Sorry for staying away for so long but my "day to day life" required my attention. I'll try and frequent the forum more often. I sure have missed a lot in a week.

    One thing that puzzles me if how you could need to scale your map up when the scale pawn can be resized down so much easier...? Scaling the pawn also keeps you working in a proper 1=1 scale in Autocad/ADT/etc.. Have you had any success in scaling the pawn at all? I have been building everything at a true scale in Autocad/MAX and after importing into the runtime I simply scale the pawn down to roughly a .28 scale factor. Granted, I have to type the command every time I load the map but I have also used the bind key function in Unreal on one system, so it's only a simple tap of the "R" key (for Rescale) and it's reduced instantly. I do it every time I load spatte's map (change the pawn scale factor) as well as yours, and everything looks correct. I just don't believe that scaling the map each time is the best approach for accuracy’s sake. Let's work this out, maybe some phone time or something will clear it up.

    Regarding the BSP imports, I'm going reiterate a previous post to be sure a key factor has not been overlooked.

    For the BSP brush's:

    - Be sure that everything (all vertices/endpoints) stay on grid, no single point should have a number that is to the right of the decimal place. So build to even units rounding off as needed. No matter what, stay on the Autocad/MAX grid. Likely you will have to adjust your geometry since Autocad and MAX don't require such a thing, but Unreal BSP brushes do (Static Meshes don't).

    Also, watch out for geometry that runs through other geometry if you plan to import them as a BSP type of brush. They can but up to one another (most of the time) but as an example a second "floor" brush that passes through the middle of the walls at it's edges confuses the @#$% out of the engine more times than not. They should be Subtracted or joined in Autocad/MAX to remove the overlap before brought into the runtime. Again, this is ONLY when working with BSP brush types. It can be a pain but once the guidelines are understood the process moves along much faster, and the end results are better lit.

    I hope this helps, sorry for droning on. It's taken me years of using the older engine to fully develop a method for importing CAD geometry as BSP, but it has worked on pieces of pretty much every map Will and I put together.

    PEACE! :)
     
  13. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    Spooge, you say you work 1:1 from ADT-max to the unreal engine and then re-scale the pawn. This is what I've been doing, I got my model in 3dsmax (in meters) but if I export it directly (in several ases or brushes) I get a tiny tiny model so a work around for it to import properly is the following: with the max model 1:1 I change my grids and units to 16 and major lines every 8 (to fit game units), I thes group all my model into 1 and scale it up with my new grid trying to get a correspondence of 1 meter= 1 game unit (128x128). That's the most approximate proportion I've found between meters and game units.

    Have you got the exact way to do this, spooge?
     
  14. spatte

    spatte New Member

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    Hi again, a little bit off topic, but I'm thinking of buying a new laptop and just wonder if you have something to recommend? Will be using MAX, AutoCAD and of course the Runtime. If you guys have any good experience of a ultra-fast, heavy working monster laptop that still won't ruin me totaly I would be happy.

    I mentioned a while ago that I might join a project to model a forrest environment with a some landscape architect. It seems like the project will start within a couple of weeks. Gotta get back to work now....

    Cheers
     
  15. Spooge

    Spooge Digital Content Creator

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    afecelis,

    Now I think I know whats going on, the unit = settings are pretty far off when converting to meters. It's a lot less when going to feet or inches than it is for meters. I'm guessing that's the problem. Maybe you could give me just the building shell in MAX so I can try and conversion here. Then I can work out a good process, (likely not much better than the one you do now). HA!

    Spatte, the only good laptops that I trust are the Dell's, I'm sure someone else might have a different system to point you towards, but (if I remember right) the Dell's are what Epic used in early testing of the engine. I personaly use an HP, that would be my second choice, but you want one of the higher dollar ones that use the newer Gforce cards.

    Any chance they will have the elevation contours for the forrest terrain? I believe I have a process for turning eleveation contours into a TGA that unreal can use as terrain generation. Let me know.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2004
  16. spatte

    spatte New Member

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    A Dell is just what I am thinking of. Have laid my eyes on a Inspiron 9100 with a 128 Mb Radeon 9700 graphics rad. According to a friend that's about the best laptop graphis you can get. It's not cheap though....

    They will probably have a contours for the terrain, I'll get back when (if) things get started.

    When you think you will get some spare time, a new project with a wicked deadline strikes me in the face. Guess I will not be able to join you for another week or so. Upon that I am also in the process of changing jobs.

    See you
     
  17. Spooge

    Spooge Digital Content Creator

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    If we can do anything to help out on that deadline just let us know, we have been there and done that, no one understands better.
     
  18. spatte

    spatte New Member

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    Thanks a lot Spooger! This time just have to face AutoCAD and draw a few plans, nothing fancy and not at all as fun as to fiddle around with the runtime ;)

    I was wondering about how you would make the terrain. If you have time for a brief explanation about the process of turning the contours into a greyscale, it would sure be very nice. Is it easy to use a AutoCAD-drawing as a base? Or is it perhaps better to use somthing else? Does the heightmap always have to be square, or can it be something like 256 by 512?
     
  19. afecelis

    afecelis New Member

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    Hi Spooge, and Spatte and evryone!

    It's been a f... busy week! No time for fun, just work work work. Thanx a lot for keeping this alive and kicking. Spooge, thanks for the tips. I'm posting a max version of the building (which I'm correcting to make it more Static-mesh friendly) in case you want to check it. I also got some deadlines with the Condo projects. But hopefully after this storm there will be some calm, in which we'll waste our asses off from sitting in front of the box, unreal editing!, he he he e

    The building is here:
    http:///www.danielpatton.com/afecelis/wip/march24/building_uert.zip

    hopefully , and with your advice, it may become our next Unreal project.

    cheers! happy workin.

    ps. I just had the chance to download the ut2k4 demo, mamma mia! che cosa bella!

    cheers!
     
  20. Spooge

    Spooge Digital Content Creator

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    Hey guys! It's been a real blast with all this runtime stuff, it sure was lonely doing this stuff years ago when the only other person I could talk about Unreal stuff was Will/Islington. I think I would have gone nuts if not for him. I'm on another small deadline so I'm short for time, sorry.

    Spatte, in brief, yes you can use the Autocad contours, simply import them into MAX as a DWG file (if you are not running a real old version of MAX it's a straight import from DWG) and use the terrain tools in MAX. The terrian tool is made just for working with Autocad contours (VIZ can do it as well, it was developed in VIZ first anyway). Then use the color of the different elevations as simple black to white, instead of all the other color options that most people might choose. The help file explains how to use the terrain tool well enough, not a lot of options anyway. Render out the grayscale image and use that in Unreal. You will likely tweak it in Photoshop or whatever image application you use before importing into the runtime. If your MAX or VIZ version does not have the terrain tool then give me a shout, I can run it for you. Of course if you run into a real pinch I can walk you through it far easier on the phone. It's a real bitch trying to type out all the steps here. That should get you started in the right direction anyway. I told Vito I would add that process to the CAD to Unreal docs when I get the time, wish I had done it sooner now.

    afecelis, I'll grab that file after my deadline and have a look, I want to see how it's going. Sorry you have had a tough time with the BSP brushes, it's a lot of agrivation, I know. And you know... I downloaded the UT2K4 demo and STILL have not installed it... I need to check it out, I'm slackin! :)

    I'm real happy you two have stuck with it, very cool.

    Talk to ya soon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2004

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