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There are currently 35 users playing Freelancer on 29 servers.
January. 19, 2019

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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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If you're into editing xml I'm using UltaEdit but it's pricey.
I'm primarily modeling in Cinema 4D, but export .obj into
3d Max 2010 and then do my hardpoints there and export to .cmp and .mat files. Textures I do in Photoshop. On the threads someone was experimenting with getting normals mapping into the game. That would be a MAJOR leap if you could get DXT5 .dds maps into the game!
I experimented modeling in Z-Brush but the results were lost bringing the polygon counts to something within reason. As for textures I learned the ships look better using the original Freelancer Textures as templates and giving them a total redo.

I just got back into Freelancer after a 7 or 8 year hiatus making "mods" they called "Downloaded Content" and whatever I did belonged to them. At least here Steam and the @$!* IPCC hasn't killed real freelancers like us.



Posted on: 2018/1/13 20:47
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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For a good example of a modeling pipeline
Look for the Fast Ships Anyone thread and skip the links until post 10 and download "FIR's Guide 2 fast + dirty model conversion."

Forget most of his posted links to software. Most is on the download pages here with newer versions, but it's the process, not the tools to look out for. Since the bottom line is putting a model into the game (though I prefer to use MY models). Admittedly I'm weak on things like 3db icons, SUR files and cockpits, but I'm learning and now have the time and with this site, access to tutorials. And FIR's tutorial pointed out a few things to me.

Posted on: 2018/1/17 0:00
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Hey here's the link to grab UVMapper. It's a tiny single .exe. (Unpacked it's only 576kb for the Win version) available in Window, Mac and Linux flavors. Creates maps in any flavor .bmp format so loading then into any graphics program is easy. Creating a tutorial .pdf for it.

UVMapper at http:\\www.uvmapper.com

IT'S FREE!

Posted on: 2018/1/19 17:28
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Under the heading of FREELANCER; OUTSIDE THE ENGINE! (Or what you can do with a render farm in your closet)


Attach file:



jpg  Uberfoker.jpg (175.59 KB)
45232_5a627981dc825.jpg 640X411 px

jpg  UbrFkrWorkC4DStudio.jpg (164.65 KB)
45232_5a62799bbcff8.jpg 650X439 px

Posted on: 2018/1/19 23:05
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Okay for fellow 3D geeks like me:
Single pass render to .tif @ rtime of 24min 58 secs
Global illumination with 4 levels of diffuse depth.
AA fixed as 16x16 min & max (sync)
Single area light with all excluded except ship model and figure. Raytraced shadows attenuated to 60% with cast of S 12% V 8% at cast of R 21 G 19 B 19.
Starsphere pulled from starsphere_bw04_stars.cmp along with associated stars_large01.tga and stars.tga
Nebula and sun volumetric effects (0 geometry).
Stars set to IBL through associated materials in luminance channel with 200% value.
No camera effects.



Posted on: 2018/1/19 23:37
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Decided my old avatar was too cluttered and didn't read very well. I'm working in a tutorial on UV mapping in pdf format with over 80 pics. Doing it like the tutorials in the 3D trades and putting the mapper software, model for mapping and textures all into the zip. (Except the image software, if they need that they can grab Gimp or something). The final image turned out so well I cropped it into the new avatar.

Here' the original;


Attach file:



jpg  MiniMe2.jpg (72.72 KB)
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Posted on: 2018/1/20 0:20
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Okay among my irons in the fire I'm giving an entire base a redo. Planet Toledo, the Order base no less. I've got the new smoother geometry finished and have added landing pads and am going to render out near seamless textures for her. However I'm stuck at that pesky fx of the landing forcefield under the ship. The fx showroom thread's last post was from Helloween a year ago, but I posted my appeal anyway and am crossing my fingers.

Now I've got some pretty potent terrain generators. (Vue, Bryce, even a few proprietary ones from past gigs). So the terrain mesh looks much better though the polygon counts aren't that much higher. It's going to need a total re-texturing to get rid of the tile effects, but that's not that much trouble. I have the software that does that.

Heres the shots of the half completed Toledo Order base, a test ship of mine (the Asteroid) with a lame placeholder I made instead of the forcefield and a workfile shot of the terrain to show the new polygon mesh and that it's not just a increasing them with a nurbs smoothing.

EDIT: given the ale, it's 2 break out files and told until their finished with software their zip I can do with any of it. Still thanks.

Attach file:



jpg  !New_Toledo_Base.jpg (122.86 KB)
45232_5a62a2876733d.jpg 640X411 px

jpg  !New_Toledo_Base2.jpg (83.88 KB)
45232_5a62a29d1d0e3.jpg 640X411 px

jpg  ToledoWork.jpg (186.09 KB)
45232_5a62a2bad7314.jpg 650X407 px

Posted on: 2018/1/20 2:01
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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I just broke the news about what .dds DXT5 implementation I was referring to in prior posts on the OpenGL thread. When I got trolled about it I shut down and figured these people must think DXT5 begins and ends with interpolated alpha. At one time or other I've worked professionally with every flavor of .dds and that was years before Freelancer shipped. Well now there's one thing I and everyone else can use the NORMALS MAP implementation to do and that render NEW and REDONE textures in and resolution you want from vanilla 512 x 512 up to whatever though I'd suggest not going over 2048 x 2048. That's textures rendered directly to .dds files or .tga files right from the 3D software.

A word of warning here. You REALLY have to know what you are doing or you're going to crash Photoshop's NVidia Normals map filter. There's tricks to doing right. Trick I learned from the NIF Group, tricks I learned that you've seen me use in video games somewhere I flat guarantee you. That's not a boast that's just the facts.

So if you can take a single square plane and do the below with it using just the renderer welcome to the big leagues:

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jpg  SinglePlane.jpg (14.08 KB)
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jpg  SinglePlane_NMwHeightdata.jpg (25.45 KB)
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jpg  R_dtl3_New.jog.jpg (99.04 KB)
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Posted on: 2018/1/21 13:55
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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I've been trying to get hold of Crabtree to tell him I'm back and ask some technical questions and since he was good with his critiques on earliest models offer WTS World first crack at some ship models I've done. Website is dead. All the WTS sites posted in their latest mods are dead. Crabtree if you're out there here's a blast from the past that's for the reason I sent it out when were out of contact because your server went FUBAR:

Attach file:



jpg  WTSwhereareyou.jpg (36.00 KB)
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Posted on: 2018/1/21 14:40
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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I'm going to repeat this one last time, very slowly, so you hopefully get it.

You're wrong. You're acting like file formats are fucking magic when they're just that: file formats. DXT5_NM is a format used for storing normal maps. It's a hacked together format (you want to use 3Dc/BC5 for best results) since it just reuses the green and alpha channels of an RGBA texture, but it works.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE THE GAME MAGICALLY USE IT.

Schmack's renderer can make use of the normal map. Freeworlds' renderer can too. But that's because we both explicitly implemented normal mapping support, by ourselves, without Freelancer magically doing it for us.

Freelancer, on its own, cannot use normal maps. It never will be able to. It doesn't even support specular highlights for fuck's sake. I don't care what file format you shit out, none of them is going to do it. A file format just carries data, you can't make it do something.

Please stop embarrassing yourself by repeating this ad nauseam.

Posted on: 2018/1/21 21:10
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Mia Culpa. Mia Maxima Culpa. Sixth time I've replied to find out the submit button's vanished. The upshot is you're right. There's more opinions than a dog has fleas and from experience it's always who gets there first that wins. So I promise from hereon out to never mention any .dds schema inside Freelancer's engine. Let the best coder win. Now Schmack was taking resizing and othet questions that there is only one sure answer to. There's a saying around these parts that you can't polish a turd. And Freelancer's old textures are firmly in that category. The answer to resize is NOT in the 2D graphics it's in the 3D software renderer. Otherwise on an upscale your dragging the trash and aliasing with you. Now that means redoing the textures. I've explained that to him and will show him with the right techniques that's not that hard or time consuming and I really want to see what he can do with the tools besides GIMP and Blender because he's got talent. I'd like to see what he can do not trying to paint the Mona Lisa with a paint roller.


Posted on: 2018/1/21 22:45
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Oh an while I'm being contrite FF you are so right about the green and alpha channel. No make that Especially that alpha channel. That is if to let most filters in the creation of them handle it. Don't they screw it up in a flat heartbeat. That's why I create the correct data and add it to the alpha channel myself. Darn thing ONLY responds correctly to a the right set of values. As for the green channel that's again a matter of garbage in - garbage out and again works only with the right set of values. Though when you know... Well the results speak for themselves. Plus packages like C4D do a superb job with them it (at least on my builds) doesn't use .dds files. That doesn't mean it doesn't accept photoshop format with the same NM data. Worked real well.

Posted on: 2018/1/21 23:29
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Out of Engine:

New Toledo Order Base in volumetric rederer:


Attach file:



jpg  PlanetToledoOrderBase.jpg (160.84 KB)
45232_5a655131cfd89.jpg 640X426 px

Posted on: 2018/1/22 2:49
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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... and that one looks better than the original?

Dont get me wrong here.
You might have experience with modeling and textures dating back even before FL was a thing (at least thats what Ive read multiple times today), but you also should keep in mind that we are no dumbasses either.
Some of us have been active FL modders from day one. Thats ~15 years of experience in which we have tried to improve the game as much as possible (and I guess that we did a very good job so far).
Your enthusiasm definitely is refreshing but at times you sound like the guy that wants to teach us how to finally do it right.
You are very focused on the DTX5 NM stuff, probably because you see a benefit in it. Great.
We (or better I -> because I can not speak for the others) see the situation a bit different.
1. the normal map stuff is currently not supported by FL
2. even with the wrappers I do not know how they will deal with the data... maybe the input of the NM data is done in a completely different way -> since the wrapper has not been release yet I dont have such specific information
3. DTX5 (with NM or without) is not always the best way to use textures in FL. By my 15 years of experience with FL I am very sure that DTX1 or DTX3 have some advantages over DTX5. Sometimes I would even go with uncompressed TGA. In my eyes there is no ultimate DTX5 solution.
4. File sizes matter (especially on mod which already have multiple GB of data).
5. compression artifacts or not... in most cases the average user wouldnt even notice that. This whole upscaling stuff in my eyes wont significantly improve the quality (at least not in a way the players would notice).
6. there are other ways to improve the look of textures in FL way beyond what upscaling could do. (if these ways even work on the upcoming wrapper is unknown to me).

What I am trying to tell you is that we also have alot of experience, expecially with FL and that there is no "best" solution.
Modding FL requires to make decisions which solution works best in specific situations.

I say that because I am not just a modeler or a guy that knows how to work with textures... I am an allrounder who has done pretty much everything from creating tools over modeling, texturing and scripting.
FL modding is alot more complex than you might think. The impact of texture on the game also is more diverse than you currently seem to have in mind.

At this point I would simply claim that your DTX5NM has no positive impact on vanilla FL and 99% of its mods simply for the fact that the NM data isnt even used by FL.
Yes, you can add that data if you want. You can also put in a jpg or a gif into the utf containers. That however does not mean FL can read that data.
This might change with the new wrapper... or it might not change.
So far I havent read anything about how NM data will be read by the wrapper. Maybe you have information we others dont have... dunno.
I also have no information if that wrapper has any side effects.
When Freeworlds was released it certainly looked good for that Star Wars environment but it also changed how FL specific graphics worked... up to the point where some FL related settings were no longer possible.
The new wrapper might be different... but i dont really know about that yet.
There are way too many questionmarks for me to predict how stuff will work.

Posted on: 2018/1/22 11:27
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Re: Jefferson's 3D Modeling Tips for Freelancer
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Again. 5th attempt to reply. This site does NOT like Android. Submit vanishes.

Points made in 4 attepts:
( Edits made post submit as I had to hurry. Screen on smart phone tiny. I'm so blind can't drive anymore, etc)

Love DDS format.
DDS supplies direct access to DX.
Don't like games reinventing wheel to get same functionality as DDS system.

Maybe enlightening to show how other games using DDS handle the format. One developed own filter for normal + height generation. (Never work on FL, but interesting).
Could show with examples evolution of DDS from beginning to now if I hunted up examples from backups.

Polygon budget are paramount in any 3D game NOW.
expect that to change in a few years. Not in FL but in future you give the engine an example of what you want and it will generate the 3D itself at no fixed poly count. (Eg: huge for close passes tiny for far or perfect LOD). Texture examples fed to it will be 4096 min dimension I didn't hear their maximum ( probably 65,535 or FFFF).

Some modern game already using shemas like this, this is only the one I know those involved.

Others are working on a program to take any old game, run it in and output it totally upgraded to modern WIN 10 use and that's sound and graphics aside, that has to redone to modern standards, its the "wrapper" engine, renderer, etc that gets upgraded. This is to pull old DOS games from the dustbin, polish them, pat them on the head and tell them "now go back into the arena and make us more money".

There are more teams working more ideas out there than are dreamt of in your philosophy Haratio.
They are planning on not only digging up Yoric's skull, they are planning on raising the jester in the entire.

So there is infinite jest here. Change is on the horizon. The question is; What change and whose change and who has the say about it.

Not me I'm afraid. Mans days upon this earth are numbered to three score and ten as the Christian bible says. I'm slated to fall a tad short of the mark.

Though as far as the future is concerned, lists are being made. I'm sure (Dead sure) Freelancer is on those lists. It will all come down to one question from that point, "Whose the best and brightest at X part of what comes next?". Resumes not accepted, they'll make the calls.

No I don't know any of this as solid as to the competitors simply because there is a horserace with a bunch of developers to get this out. No make that a good old knock down drag out fistfight! First to develop and pitch is the winner. That's just the way it works. Good old Darwinistic Capitalism.

I knew only some of the people on one team. I was begged to join. If I had I wouldn't me back in the Freelancer community. 'Fraid their insurance woudn't let me near them.

Nope, ol Jeff is going back to what he had the most fun at doin a while back. Other than making a rightous sword or piece of great looking armor or a really fantastic looking gun or a great looking effect when that gun reduced the shootee into ash, that was the thrill I got flying my own designs around Sirius. Few games give you that opportunity folks. Charish the game for this.

As for polygon budgets. Don't teach gradpa how to suck eggs. The tecnique is called "Dog Robbing".
Freelancer's terrain is "Fixed Grid". X by Y you have the grid plane. Terribe for terrain budgets. Why? The answer is a simple logic it's easy to get across. Say you have a flat piece of the terrain like under the landing pads in the Toledo base I'm doing to leave as an example. That's a bunch of polys that with no problems at all can be merged into one polygon freeing you to use those polys you just saved to be used where needed. And the need here is terrain folds. Eg: Where cliffs drop off as one example.
Now it's outside of the engine and taking Toledo and exporting to .obj and importing into two tools I've been using for years. Vue and Bryce. Oh shut up, yes there might be better in you opinion. But opions are like anal cavities, everybody has one and I know how to to do thing with my tools no casulal user has any business trying. Now from there grabbing a height map (kind of like those used in other applications but with the full range of tones uesed) and then regenerating the terrain (bunch of times as this entails exporting them back to objactions and then CMP and into Freelancer for a look see)

Now those new pads ARE NOT the stock models by any means any more. They had just too many polys doing absolotely nothing so I merged and played and cut their budgets so I could clone more and not raise the overall budget that much. Want to know what the HUGE polygon waste was and I MEAN HUGE? The walkways and if you don't believe me break then out of the CMP youself and see. Now if you do, what is going to pop into your head after you stop laughing or crying will be, "What we're they thinkinlg". And from experiance I think I know. Toledo gets used in these live action cut scenes and they kept the buget high so that department would be happy with the results.

Now take those walkways and instead of baking the texture as solid we can not be lazy and keep all the cutouts with alphas and get exactly the same effect of the walkway guard rails as the did with landing pad grating.

Now start adding that savings to the list and and start spending the savings where needed. Thats on the "Hero" parts that get more that a too quick view on the flyover. (I won't go into how to preserve the things like imbedded path splines and prop hardpoints. Take it as read nothing I'm doing will change those) Or they'd better not or it's back to troubleshooting until they do work. The best thing to "do with the new" here is import into the existing CMP with UTF editor.

(Great tool for models too. Oft overlooked that I love to do things like change the canopy glass color with. Red glass looks cool on some moldels.)

Android acting flaky again. Shocked lasted this long
Sign off before lose submit.

Edited by Jfferson001 with a rig I set up to magnify this LG smartphone's screen. Tried blue tooth keyboards unstead of virtual. On keystroke per second sucked. Sorry but must reedit. Today eyes really bad. Most times submit gone.

Posted on: 2018/1/23 0:50
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