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August. 16, 2022

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What is the best way without 3DSmax
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yo all.

I made this station for my mod,

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I'm having difficulty figuring out the best way to implement it with its animation, into my mod.

and this is going to be a recuring theme in my mod so id really rather hear a lot of peoples thoughts on it.

ive thought about using animated textures for the proppellers of my crafts, but then that leaves me with the problem of creating the texture for one, and thats something im not very good at, is texturing, i can do the basic job alright, but to make it look believable is just seemingly impossible for me at this time, then i had a aesthetic issue with this, what would it look like from far away, would you just see a square polygon with no texture on it? i don't know.

then theres the even harder task of getting it into the game and making it look good.

then i thought about having the propellers as animated physical models, but the animation procedure just seems so long winded and again in 3DSmax, that its near impossible for me to accomplish. not to mention I can find no evidence that animation works on models without player input, so ive no basis for comparison.

before all that comes the actual getting it into the game, im not familiar with the procedure for station input into freelancer, is it the same as all the other models with a few more hardpoints for docking locations.


and finally, I was wondering about the movement of this station, it would be interesting if the station was able to slowly move around the 'system' in a random manner within a designated area.

im not sure if thats possible so then i thought about what if it was an NPC ship, then it would be able to move, but would you also be able to dock on it? and if yes and you docked would it dissapear once you undocked from it, since technically you were not in space so all npc's vanish.


I would appreciate any insight into these thoughts and questions i have.

Posted on: 2012/2/10 4:39
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Re: What is the best way without 3DSmax
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A few relevant thread links at the bottom of post


Hum, I suppose quite a few people have wondered about the wandering station dilemma. In short, the way bases are done in FL, they must be set in one stationary spot, so the game knows where you will be able to dock and place NPC traffic. With that said, there are still options available to make it appear like it's moving, via mesh animations. You would go about this by making your Root node the fixed point in space, then setting up entirely transparent faces to act as your movement chain.
So lets say it might look like:

  • Root node as a single face

  • aniFace_rot1 - a face which would rotate in whatever direction you prefer, on whatever axis you need. Personally, I would make it the length you want the second part to slide along and use it's dimensions for the distance section of the next pris animation

  • aniFace_pris1 - this face will use a Pris node to translate / slide along one axis. It would be the Child node of aniFace_rot1.

  • base_model here, as a Child to aniFace_pris1, with other rotating parts of the main model as Children of base_model and so on


Here are some problems you will run into:

  • NPCs shoot at the center of the model - for us that is a part / face without a sur and effectively invisible in space

  • Only the slowest movement will allow player docking, and I mean seriously slooooow, because player ships briefly stop, then slow down when locked into the docking sequence

  • Your rotating station looks rather sweet in the video, but it would be a very short amount of time before every ship captain banded together to place bombs on your station's engines. Practicality must reign here, nobody will attempt take their own life in their hands to land on a death trap ^.^

  • If we ignore the point above, you must use a Jump type docking sphere in the ini code

  • You must be certain, as with any multi part model, that your HPs are attached to the proper mesh part.

  • Using multiple animation parts means that with a complex model -if you don't use Max to export the CMP- you may run into the Milkshit CMP exporter's 18 part limit. That means you'll need to get funky with Sushi's multi vmesh splicing method.



If you construct your Rot and Pris pieces / sections with some forethought, you can give the appearance of random movement. Varying the keyframe distance / angle values in the animation script will be your method.

As a side-note, you could in theory make the the whole Root / Rot / Pris contraption, with no SUR file at all, and use it like a pre-fab root for mounting other base parts on. Look through the ini's for most Freeport types to get an idea how pre-fabs are glued together. Take a look in both their CMPs, and how their HPs are used and referred to in the ini's. I'm working from memory here, but I think you could actually mount existing base models on this sort of invisible rotating and sliding doohickey.


PS: Constant animations are accomplished via AttachedFX, useable on both Bases and Ships.

These links are discussions had before this latest and greatest MaxCMP exporter. They deal with Milkshape, UTF editor, and a Hex editor.

I know Sushi's thread deals with >20k polygon models, but the method is relevant when trying to go all old-scool with this model if you need to do anything in Milkshape and must export from there.

Posted on: 2012/2/10 6:43
Be always firm in belief, yet never rigid
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Re: What is the best way without 3DSmax
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there is also another way to get around the 18 groups limit which i think i posted way back. it's all about the vmeshref, simply export with different group spans and pick the parts you need, copy them to the master.

Hidamari:
i would definitely use model animation, it's not so hard as it seems.
by the way i think the model looks very cool, and don't worry about the "realism" concerns raised, after all the whole game is science fiction.

Posted on: 2012/2/11 20:27
The bar is where friendly people like to meet before they launch to space and kill each other. (Test)
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Re: What is the best way without 3DSmax
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You could also make the props a separate model and add them in as an object (solararch.ini) with a spin setting in the system ini. I do this with bases in my mod so I know that works.

Posted on: 2012/2/13 22:19
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Re: What is the best way without 3DSmax
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thanks guys for the comments, mini_me's post was a lot to take in

I supposed a station that remains still is the best course of action to take, i was just interested in hearing if there are any ways to get an alternative scheme going.

and yes Mini_me im aware of the realistic elements involved with a flying object like this, thats why, its not real ^^


the animation thing is still baffling me, i keep hearing that the middle of the scene is where the animation will be rotating from as its pivot, but does that mean id only be able to have 1 propeller that rotates? since only 1 could be in the centre and the rest would be out to the sides.

@RimShot, glad you like the model, it is impractical but meh.. lol im hoping to someday get the hang of animation in the model process.

@Nightstalker, thats quite a good idea, but my ships also have propellers, so id only really be avoiding the issue

Posted on: 2012/2/13 23:14
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Re: What is the best way without 3DSmax
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Oki, this is going to be an ugly picture
but it should hopefully get the essence of the idea across:

  • What this shows is the Root as a single face.

  • ani_Rot1 is its Child, and the first Rot-ating piece.

  • ani_Pris1 that one's child, and our first Pris (sliding) piece.

Just have your Base's old Root mesh as ani_Pris1's child. Then the children of that would be your propellers. Keep also in mind that you can have more Pris and Rot parts in the chain, following the same method.
*Or you could use these 3 pieces as a sort of prefab part to mount whatever solar mesh you wish on it. You would add a Hardpoint on the last triangle, then mount your other mesh via ini loadout. Check the Freeport bases for examples on the hardpoints they use, etc.


Just don't forget to set up all those Parent -> Child relationships in the Rev and Pris data.
Hopefully the pic makes sense, if not.. I can put a little more effort into it ;D
As a last note, you can also have a Fix part as a Child of a moving one, and then mount a moving part off that Fix part. Fix just means it has no movement of its own, but it can inherit movement from its parent. That's part of why I drew the lighter blue lines to show the Child moves wherever and however the Parent does.

Oh yeah, and the Root is always stationary. It is never included in a Fix, Rev, or Pris anywhere because it is assumed stationary and the part / mesh upon which everything else will be hung. NPC's always shoot the center of the Root (if I recall correctly). So that's why I mentioned it, if you want a destructible base / solar / whatever. Otherwise attacking NPC's will be shooting air and looking a bit schizophrenic.

Attach file:



jpg  FL_animation_chained.jpg (128.46 KB)
270_4f3a1397527e4.jpg 500X500 px

Posted on: 2012/2/14 8:54
Be always firm in belief, yet never rigid
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