How do I get started with location modeling?
May 6, 2018 at 10:59 pm #6257
Modernknight mentioned that we don’t have a location modeler on the team, and I figured I’d like to give it a try and see if I could fill in that role for you guys. Only problem is that I’m a complete noob and know nothing about how to get setup or how to do this. So, I figured I’d ask for some input on getting started, and see where things go from there.
First off, what is the process involved in this part of the game’s development – is it done with lines of code, or in some kind of editor where you move the models around and shape the terrain and stuff?
Second, what kind of software would I need to do this, and what kind of learning curve is involved?
Third, I welcome any other hints, tips or advice. Thanks!
May 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm #6258
Locations are 3D models in the usual GM format that are added to the game via lines of code. Every location must have its own little piece of code in the appropriate file where the necessary models are specified, along with other properties, for example what other model to load when you open a certain door.
Adding a new location via code is not particularly difficult; the hardest part is to create a new one or to edit an existing one.
Unfortunately, as far as I know, there isn’t an editor that lets you easily modify the terrain and place objects around. Everything must be done inside a 3D modeling program, so a basic knowledge of 3D modeling is required. Basically you create a scene in your favourite program, then use Maya5 (the export plugin only works in that version) to export that scene to a GM file.
About the software, any 3D modeling program will do the job, you can also do everything in Maya5 so you don’t need to export/import your models from one program to the other. Learning 3D modeling requires time and patience; to edit locations you don’t need to be a master though, so the process may be faster.
Another approach, although I’ve neved used it + I don’t really like it, is to use the famous TOOL. It’s probably easier than the first method, but it offers less freedom especially if you want to make a completely new and unique location.
There is a basic editor where you can add objects, I don’t know if you can use the mouse to place them, or if you need to input the right coordinates. Some time ago I found a guide on how to use this method, here: http://www.moddb.com/mods/new-horizons/tutorials/location-remodeling-with-inez-tool
I recommend the first method, taking the time to learn a bit of 3D modeling can be very beneficial, because you can customize the game much more, without the need to always reuse assets that may not be what you really want.
May 7, 2018 at 6:49 pm #6259
Thanks for the information, Orazio. I’ve actually considered trying to learn some 3D modeling before, so this just gives more incentive. Got any good places for tutorials?
Also, know if there’s anywhere I can get Maya 5? I tried to use Jeffrey’s link in the modding how-to thread, but it doesn’t want to work for me for some strange reason.
May 7, 2018 at 7:56 pm #6260
The link doesn’t work, or the app doesn’t work post install? I still see it in my Mega account as a valid link with files, so wondering what the specific problem is from your end.
May 7, 2018 at 8:01 pm #6261
i tried to acce4ss the mega link, but for some reason the file didn’t show up when i went there. It’s really odd, and I’m not sure what the issue is.
May 7, 2018 at 8:03 pm #6262
i checked again, as well as checking the GOF link, and apparently the link is not directing me to the folder containing the program for some reason.
May 7, 2018 at 9:41 pm #6263
Is it this one?
May 7, 2018 at 9:57 pm #6264
I believe that is it. Thanks Jeffrey!
Now just to look up some tutorials – once I know how the program works I can try editing some locations and see what’s possible.
May 8, 2018 at 9:06 am #6265
Maya 5 is a very old program, I don’t think you will find many tutorials using that version, and its functionalities aren’t as advanced as the more recent softwares.
You’re better off picking a program like Blender (free), or 3DS Max/Maya 2016 onward (you can use these two freely for 3 years if you say you’re a student). Then you practice in one of them, and when you’re done with your model, you export it as an OBJ, import it in Maya 5 and set up everything for the GM conversion (I can explain this process in detail later, right now is not needed).
I don’t know many tutorials, I’ve started reading the documentation of the program I chose (a boring approach), so I could learn the majority of its functions. Then I’ve searched for specific tutorials when I needed something in particular.
The concepts you need to grasp to cover the basics* are the following:
- Polygon meshes (vertices, edges, polygons/triangles and how to manipulate them);
- Face normals;
- Optimization of your models for a game (i.e. don’t use 10.000 vertices or triangles if you can make the same model with 1.000);
- How to correctly smooth your model (in this picture, on the left the unsmoothed model, look how “polygonal” it looks; on the right the correctly smoothed one; in the center, only a small portion of the model is smoothed);
- UVs, UV mapping and texturing.
* At least with regard to modeling for the Storm Engine; since it’s an old engine, techniques like normal mapping and the High Poly to Low Poly workflow, which would be one the bases if you were to model something for modern engines, can be avoided.
May 13, 2018 at 8:14 pm #6266
So I’m glad that a member is interested in jumping in and trying to learn how they could meaningfully contribute.
So just a couple of things. I haven’t updated the site yet because we are so close to being finished with the new website. However, I think I will do one last refresh using the old format here. I am meeting with Ian (our new webmaster and sitebuilder) in person in another week or two. The site format is basically done and Ian has given me a link to look at which I will share. Keep in mind this is still a work in progress and not finished. http://br-aws-env-dev.us-west-2.elasticbeanstalk.com/forum/
OK so I talked to Jeffrey on the phone the other day and we have decided that we will make the next colony a community project. Just to remind all what we are working on I will show the colony map I sent to Orazio with the place holders for the new colonies.
Here is the READ ME that went with it:
The following is a discussion of islands and cities that I would like to see added to our existing map. It contains a numbered list that corresponds with an accompanying map that illustrates the new islands, their placement and a number that will be described in this text document.
I will also discuss which island models are used in the illustration. These models are bundled up with textures in this same download. Some of these islands appear different, but many are the same but only look different due to their orientation being rotated differently from the original.
This is by no means a perfect map of the Caribbean of our time. If we were to build such a map we would want to start from scratch. To make things easier I have not moved any of the original existing islands that were on the map. The reason is that even though they may be in the wrong places, I did not want to make a lot of extra work for us in generating new coordinates for these places. Instead I concentrated on adding new islands and other places.
Because of this you will notice that Dominica and Saint Lucia are in the wrong places and would be more accurately flipped or exchanged with one another, but I don’t think it is that important considering the broad inaccuracy anyway. Regardless of inaccuracy, my proposed changes will bring us a vastly expanded and more authentic 17th century Caribbean game world.
1. Proposed future location of the city of Vera Cruz. I would like to use the POTC New Horizon’s city of Cartegena for this location. I would also like to use the included harbor fort in this location.
2. Alacranes Reefs: This will be an unfortified pirate haven identical to that on Bermuda with maybe some texture changes. This was a main hang out of Laurens De Graff and I plan to use it in future quest lines. We may be able to change the model based on other buildings I have. The island model is the split island found in the New Horizon’s island folder.
3. Island of Juventud: We will label it “Isla de Juventud”. This is probably the real location of Treasure Island from Robert Louis Stevenson. I would like to put extensive caves on this island. I would also like to put cannabalistic head hunting Carib Indians on the island as well who will ALWAYS be hostile. Another future important quest location.
4. This is Florida. Though somewhat inaccurate I think this is an important addition. In the bay on the east side of the island I would like to put the colony and fort of Saint Augustine. I am undecided about which existing location models we will use for the town. I was thinking about putting the existing town of San Juan here, if we could import the huge POTC New Horizons town of San Juan onto our Puerto Rico. That is one of my favorite town models in that game. It is extensive and has a transition screen from one side to the other side of the city. I wonder if we could combine the city models into one model for our game. The island model itself for our simulated tip of Florida is simply the Trinidad and Tabago model rotated. I may also want to put a little unfortified pirate colony on the small island. I was thinking about calling it “Fisher’s Keys” in tribute to Mel Fisher. We could re use La Vega for the pirate town but I am open to any improved options.
5. This is an abandoned island from the SOFS islands I’ve provided named Dominica though different from our Dominica. I would like a cave there as well for hiding and finding treasure. This island begins our simulated Bahamas for the game.
6. This is the Island of Nassau and I want the city to be New Providence. I would like this to be a pirate colony like that on Boden’s landing with a ship yard. We know from history that it had a ship grave yard there that was used for parts so I wonder if it might be possible to take some of the models from the COAS shipwrecks location model and put them into this scene. I want the shipyard to be capable of upgrades like those in Bermuda and Bodden’s Landing. The islands model is the SOFS or Caribbean tales model of Saint Martin which is different from our Saint Martin.
7. This is Eluthera – another abandoned Bahamas island – although I might entertain a small English colony here like the one on Fort Orange. It is simply the Island model of Saint Kitts from SOFS/Caribbean Tales rotated into this config. I would also like a beach and treasure cave here. Not sure what I want to name this island yet.
8. This is Long Island in the Bahamas. The island is simply our model of Curacao rotated upside down. This is another abandoned island with a beach landing and treasure caves. This is the last of our simulated Bahamas islands.
9. This is Caicos. If we have Turks we gotta have Caicos too which in reality is much longer and larger than Turks. Another abadoned island with caves for treasure quests. This is just the little island of Tobago split off of the Trinidad model and rotated. I use this island a lot on this new map.
10. This is Cozumel. This is simply the Island model from SOFS/Caribbean Tales of Montserrat rotated. I would like this to have 2 inland villages. 1 pirate town like La Vega and 1 indian village which will Always be friendly. I will pick Aztec style villagers. I would also like to use the Inca temple on this island as well and if we can swing it put some ruins around the place as well. This will be an important future quest location.
11. Isn’t on the map. Not sure if it will mess up the Isabella or national questline. I was thinking it won’t be if we simply use the common INI file to rename Belize. I would like to name it Merida instead.
12. This is Isla Mona. I would like to put a Spanish pearl diver’s village here and treasure caves. The model is the Tobago model.
13. This is the Island of Saba. It is the SOFS island model of Marie Galante included in the DL. This is a Dutch colony like Fort Orange. It will be called “Hell’s Bottom”.
14. This is the island of Caja de Muertos. It is one of the island models taken from POTC New Horizons. It is an abandoned island with extensive caves. Very important in future quests.
15. This is Saint Kitts. I want this to be French even though it was shared by both English and French historically. I feel the French need more colonies for game balance. The island model is also Saint Kitts from the SOFS download. It will have a nice French town from AOP1/SOFS. This one is almost done from my previous work already.
16. This is the Dutch Island of Saint Eustasius. The model is Saint Eustasius from SOFS/Caribbean Tales. This will have the Dutch town of Oranjestad. I would like to use the one from POTC New Horizons of the same name.
17. This is the Island of Monserrat. It will be French and I don’t know what town is going there yet. The model is also Monserrat from SOFS/Caribbean Tales.
18. I would like to put an English Town here called “Belize Town”. I would also like to use the floating fort in this location. I don’t know which town to use yet. Perhaps a new horizons town or maybe reuse Saint Johns on Antigua. I would like a friendly indian village outside of the town.
19. This is the Pirate town of Monteca Bay on Jamaica. Don’t know what town to use there yet but it needs a port.
20. This is the English Town of Saint Ann’s Bay on Jamaica. Don’t know what town to put there yet.
21. This is Isla de Providencia, a small Spanish Port town. I would like to use the floaring fort here. Not sure which town to put here yet. This is yet again the reused and rotated island of Tobago.
22. This is the Island of Saint Lucia. It is a Carib Indian island with an indian villiage. They might be friend or foe. They could sell food. I want caves here also. This is the island model of Saint Eustatius.
23. This is the Pirate colony of “Bluefields”. Another La Vega type colony will be fine here. It was named after the Dutch pirate Abraham Blauvelt already in our game. It would be cool if we could make him only be found there for recruiting or missions. It was his hang out.
24. This is the Pirate Colony of New Edinburg. I would like Colonel Thomas Drummond from the game here. I need it to be a small port town and it also needs a floating fort. One of the only pirate colonies with an actual fort.
25. This is the Dutch colony of Aruba. Haven’t decided which town will go there yet. The island model is the reused Tobago island once again. I think the town will just be another Fort Orange type colony called San Nicholas. POTC have this totally wrong in their game. Fort Zoutman and Oranjestad were not built until the 1780s/90s.
26. This is Saint Vincent. This is another Carib Indian island although a fun future questline for the English from the Governor of Barbados will be taking the indian villiage there for England. It will be much like Saint Lucia. The island model is one of those found in the POTC New Horizons folder in the DL
27. This is the Dutch colony of Bonaire. The port city will be named Kralendijk and the fort named Fort Oranje. I would like a floating fort here also. I think maybe we just pull in the New Horizons model city of the same name here. The island is also one of the New Horizons islands found in the DL folder.
28. This is the Spanish Island of Margarita. The city will be Porlamar and it will have a fort. I haven’t decided which city to put here yet. We could take the one right out of Pirates Oddysey named the same thing which is one of the hidden island cities for quests. The model island is Caymen rotated. I would also like another little Spanish town that can be raided like Fort Orange on Jamaica. Called Patapar I think – I’ll have to look it up. Pirates and competing nations sacked this poor island numerous times.
29. This is Dutch Surinam and the City is called New Middleburg. It will have a heavy wall. I know which POTC city I want here, but I can’t remember the name of it.
I also want to put a pirate village in Dominica like La Vega. I already have most of the work done on this one. Also after all of this gets done I would like a custom village of San German in the interior of South western Puerto Rico. I don’t want the wood stockade models. Something with a stone wall and an old stone church.
Big project I know – but I think it will be so totally worth it. Also not all the files needed are in the download. I still have the floating fort models and textures, the Duluge, VCO, and Glory of the Sun King locataions. I will make available later after we have taken this first step.
Just let me know if this is too much to handle. We can take it in small steps if we need to.
*******************************************END OF ATTACHMENT**********************************************
So the first thing I will share with you in the next day or two is all of the files for New Middleburg/ Dutch Surinam which is number 29 on the map and the attachment description. I will make all of the files available in a link RIGHT HERE on this thread. Whoever wants to take a crack at it or all of us together – we can work on it as a team.
Sorry I have been so busy. This will not change for another month or so. Update coming soon though. I am demoralized that it takes my active regular participation to encourage others to jump in. I am encouraged by Vincent’s enthusiasm, Orazio’s and Jeffrey’s answers and also that I was contacted by a new member named Tony who has been a professional diver his whole life and is interested in our ERA particularly. He is getting his own topic thread dedicated right here on the REEF to share the stories of his discoveries/adventures of many famous wrecks from the 17th century in the Caribbean.
Much more soon. Gotta take some ladies out for Mothers Day now.
May 13, 2018 at 8:33 pm #6268
Personally, I can’t wait for the next update to come out – just sayin’.
I’ll see what I can do with the resources provided, MK – I don’t have any skill or prior experience in 3d modeling, so that’ll be a challenge to overcome when trying to model a location for the first time, but I personally think that sticking with a few basic principles will be enough to get a decent result without requiring too much hassle – though I could find myself entirely wrong on that point.
Also, I am waiting until the new site is up to try and post my own custom content. I have a totally new soundtrack ready to share, and I also edited the videos that play whenever switching flags so that they all last 8 seconds and have the same sound effect as we get in the france1 and spain1 videos. Personally wish that I could get all the videos to have the same animation style, but at least I don’t have to deal with really long videos when switching to english, pirate or dutch flags – that always really annoyed me.
EDIT – love the new forum design so far, BTW. Great job!
- This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by Vincent.
May 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm #6271
Okay, so I got Maya installed (I selected the unlimited version), but now its asking for an activation key – what am I supposed to do about this?
May 16, 2018 at 12:29 am #6272
I think running crack.exe generates a license file that will suffice.
May 17, 2018 at 3:30 am #6273
I think running crack.exe generates a license file that will suffice.
I understand that, I just don’t know how to get crack.exe to work – it doesn’t explain very well, so I’m unsure what to do with it to get the code I need.
May 17, 2018 at 8:38 am #6274
So I went through the process of installing Maya 5.0 again, and here are the steps:
- Install the program.
- Run crack.exe, click on “Create License”; you should get “License.dat was successfully created”.
- I’m not 100% sure, but the crack should create a folder in your C: drive, called ‘flexlm’ with a file called ‘aw’ inside, and that should be the license.
- After this, launch Maya and hopefully you won’t get asked for a key.
If that doesn’t work, crack.exe may not have the permissions to write to the folder it needs to write to.
Now you need to install the export plugins, that are in “Maya Plugins.zip” (at least, I have them there). Simply copy and paste the folders “bin” and “scripts” in your Maya installation folder, merge and overwrite if necessary.
Run Maya 5.0, go to Window > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager; you will find a list of plugins with checkboxes. Scroll down until you find SD2AniExport.mll and SD2GeoExport.mll, and check both “loaded” and “auto load”; then close the plugin manager.
To ensure they have been installed, go to File > Export Selection (click on the little black box on the right), you will get the “Export Selection Options” window. There is a drop down menu next to “File Type”, see if there are SD2AniExport and SD2GeoExport. If yes, then everything has been done correctly and you’re ready to go.
May 17, 2018 at 2:51 pm #6275
If that doesn’t work, crack.exe may not have the permissions to write to the folder it needs to write to.
Perhaps try right-click, Run as Administrator, might resolve?
May 18, 2018 at 5:17 am #6276
Running crack.exe as administrator worked perfectly. Now I have Maya set up and ready to go – thanks for the information about the pug-ins, Orazio, I wouldn’t have known about them otherwise.
I intend to follow Orazio’s advice and use a more up-to-date program to do the actual work (My current intention is to use Blender), and only use Maya to convert the models into the format used by GOF.
@ Modernknight1: You mentioned having a POTC city model already chosen for New Middleburg, so I’m curious about what you want me to try and do with this project – do you want me to rebuild it from scratch or expand/revamp the current model? Any specifics you can give me will be extremely helpful in determining how I go about working on this project. Also do you have any reference material (maps, paintings, photos, books) that I can use in the design process? I find that having even a little bit of reference material can be a major boon in this kind of thing, since it helps provide me with a kind of ‘tone’ or ‘mood’ that I can work towards achieving in the final product.
May 18, 2018 at 6:41 am #6278
Also, in other exciting news, I managed to find a set of plans for the Russian brig/snow Bering of 1725, which I believe to be the historical basis for the Curieuse snow from POTBS – the similarities are too great for me to think otherwise. I would personally like to see Orazio take a crack at modelling it, and then have it replace the French Snow and Mediterranean Brigantine in the game, since I’m not fond of those models at all.
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by Vincent.
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