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Topics - PN-Dwight

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GUI Creation / GUI Tips and Tricks
« on: Jan 23, 19, 03:21:06 AM »
My Tips and Tricks with GUI:

When first having a look at the GUI elements, I decided to go with Thazager's tutorial on how to create a basic button and how to create a basic window.
This was a great start to have a bit of practise how the editor works (it's really just drag and drop, and changing a few parameters mostly). From here onwards, I went solo (on purpose) and made sure to run into as many problems as I possibly could.

Here's my Tips and Tricks with GUI:
Tip #1:
Spend an incredible amount of time on PLANNING AHEAD and don't start rushing in without having an entire Photoshop file with all the elements. Inspect the .dds files that come with the clean engine and work from there. Make a list of all the possible elements that you need and continue from there.
Tip #2:
In Photoshop, there's a handy tool that shows the exact pixels when an element begins and ends, which makes it easier in the GUI Editor (so no dragging squares around elements, but carefully choosing which pixel).
Tip #3:
When exporting, please do not do so in DDS Format. Use PNG's (PNG24). Even better: your entire user interface can be put into a single 1024x1024 PNG file if you planned ahead well enough (excluding icons).
Every single element counts as a drawcall, and when the texture is already loaded into memory, you're going to have a better time.
Tip #4:
Start by following Thazager's GUI tutorials to get the hang of including new GUI elements on the screen and be CONSISTENT throughout how you add them. A 10 minute video should take about 40 minutes if done correctly.
Tip #5:
Don't freak out if your HeroBlade crashes. It happened to me, and I sat in a corner for about 7 hours figuring out why my GUI Editor was crashing and deffinitely not talking to a rubber duck explaining my way with the Editor. Henceforth, my tricks:

Trick #1:
When a Node (CreateNodeFromPrototype) is not found, check the following (example: win as NodeRef from Class My_Window = CreateNodeFromPrototype("PN_Window"):
- Does it appear in my GUI Editor?
- Open the GUI XML through the HeroScript Editor (CTRL + H), and check that the GUI has class='My_Window' added to it

Trick #2:
Always back up your GUI and GUIXML folders
- This has literally saved my life on 2 occasions. After a version mismatch, which caused the GUI Editor to crash HeroBlade, I simply reverted back to an original file.

Trick #3:
Please download P4Merge and install it. Find a quick tutorial on how to use it.

Trick #4:
Even if you didn't include a parent class, you can always add them later. Start reading about the Command Line Interface (CLI) and its commands.

Trick #5:
Always check the XML files. Always! If your GUI Editor crashes, revert as much as you can, start over, and keep checking for crashes and errors.

More tips and tricks will follow as soon as my rubber duck should come to the rescue again.

Developer Hero Projects / Project: Pirates' Nest
« on: Jan 16, 19, 03:03:00 PM »
"Pirates' Nest"

About Pirates' Nest
Pirates' Nest (PN) is an online multiplayer game where Pirates and Marine face eachother in the eternal battle between Good and Evil.

The game builds around Good and Evil: Marines versus Pirates. The words good and evil are relative: The Government is seen as good, whereas the Pirates see them as evil, simply because the Government limits the freedom of the normal citizens too much so say the Pirates. The game revolves around you, the player, who is born in this world as a Pirate or a Marine. Your goal is to fight for freedom how you see fit. In order to achieve this freedom, one can/must continue through the storyline of the pirate / marine who obtained the first Gift. In this story, you will travel around the world and see things that are not known to men as of yet and is for you to discover: underwater tribes, secret passageways, underground mazes and many other dark secrets this world carries, as well as mythological beings.

The game is very community driven. This community’s building blocks are in fact “Pirate Crews” or “Marine Crews”. On top of a Pirate Crew or Marine Crew is a Captain, who can appoint Commanders to lead other ships in the Captain’s fleet.

Game Mechanics:
  • Realistic Weather-conditions based on the real life northern hemisphere of this earth
  • Weather influences over abilities
  • No name-tags above the player
  • Player Achievements and Bonusses
  • Infinite Gameplay possibility
  • Honour Points
  • Quests
  • Duels and Tournaments
  • Illnesses
  • Classless system

Social Media
Website: http://www.pirates-nest.com
Facebook: /
Twitter: /

Art & Art Pipeline / 3D Studio Max Toolset
« on: Dec 30, 18, 01:31:53 PM »

I have created something to help in 3D Studio Max when checking assets before importing them into the engine.

Happy developing!

1. Unrar
2. Drag 'n' Drop the .ms file into 3ds max
3. If you want to invetigate the code, feel free, I choose not to encrypt things this time.
4. There's a checkbox if you want to surpress the messageboxes I surely use a lot as confirmation.

Toolset can be found here: http://pirates-nest.com/developer-tools/

Design & World Building / [Area Design] Best practise
« on: Jun 27, 17, 09:54:01 AM »
Hello community!

We are currently in the process to port over all of our assets and systems to HeroEngine, but I am wondering what your experience would say what the best solution is to my current issue.

In the attachment, you will find 3 potential scenario's for our seamless world grid. The game itself is based on an island structure: the player will travel from island to island to discover new abilities, new quests, and so forth. Hence, I believe that most area-load would be on those islands. What would the best option be?

Scenario #1:
Each Area consists of only 1 heightmap. Both in the X and Y direction, we will start expanding. Each heightmap will have 1 area server (a la 15MB of RAM on average on the server).

Scenario #2:
The island will be built on a single heightmap in the area, with 8 surrounding heightmaps creating a nice and even area which can be seamlessly linked in a better way. The other area's, which won't have a lot of players, consists of one large heightmap and an ocean the same size of a standard island-area.
Advantages: we are increasing the size of an area which isn't highly populated and we do have a whole area server for a single island. The RAM on the area server, if an area if 4 times as large but less populated would be less than 4x15=60MB. When there's less populated placed, increasing it size would be rational if game-design requires it so.
Disadvantage: ?

Scenario #3:
We will create a single area with a single heightmap which only has the island. We would then be creating L-shaped area's with 2 heightmaps that go around an island-area. The blue waves indicate the ocean.
Advantage: the island-area is smaller, and thus the world server can concentrate more on that island.
Disadvantages: ?

I would love to have your input on our area design concepts! We believe that most of the time, the player will start exploring the area's at the bottom of the sea and will visit islands solely to trade goods and do quests. Quests of course will be handled by a different system area, and thus won't have a large impact on the island-area server.

My plan is option 3 due to server load and player-management.

Kind regards,


Game Dev and Gaming / 3D Studio Max Toolset
« on: Jun 25, 17, 07:48:09 AM »
Hello guys,

It's been a while since our team was active in the HeroEngine community, but we decided to return after having created an alpha slice in a different game-engine.

Right now, we are porting all the assets over and as you guys might have guessed, it can be a hassle to get the assets just right! Think about coloring, or pivots, or even those User Defines!

I have created a tool that helps solve these issues : http://www.pirates-nest.com/3dsmax/3DSToolset.mse

Place this script in your Autodesk 3D Studio Max scripts folder (usually located in C:/Program Files/Autodesk/3DS Max 20xx/scripts/).

It includes an auto-update function as well: as soon as you open the script, and an update is available, your tool will update as well!

Happy modelling!

- Object Destruction
- Adding bones to the destroyed elements, and thus creating an explosion animation that is animated by bones
- Project Manager tool
- Name-Manager
- Stone Creator (bulk included)

Feature requests:
- None

* Elements on the roadmap are not in order of importance and may be implemented at random :P

Art & Art Pipeline / Shaders: Failed to insert named effect
« on: Nov 20, 13, 05:29:51 AM »
Alrighty, writing a simple testing shader resulted into this:

Code: [Select]
!ERROR!System:Failed to insert named effect [perm_light_dir_ambient_bump_32] into Names2Effects collection: name already exists.  (Does this effect have a unique name?)

Apparently, HE does not like custom shaders at all, but they appear to be working. Is this just an error message that I can safely ignore without breaking other things (especially when I want to change ambients)?

Thanks! :)


Attached is the shader:

Code: [Select]
shared float4x4 WorldViewProjectionMatrix;

struct VS_OUTPUT {
  float4 Pos   : POSITION;
  float4 Color : COLOR0;

struct VS_INPUT {
  float4 Pos : POSITION;

  Out.Pos = mul(In.Pos, WorldViewProjectionMatrix);
  Out.Color = float4(1, 1, 1, 0.1);
  return Out;

float4 psmain(VS_OUTPUT In) : COLOR {
  return In.Color;

technique TestingPurposes < string SHADER_LEVEL = "2.0"; >
  pass pass0 {
    VertexShader = compile vs_2_0 vsmain();
    PixelShader = compile ps_2_0 psmain();

Off Topic / Who makes HeroEngine happen?
« on: Aug 18, 13, 04:20:42 AM »
We know all about the people from IF lurking on these forums... Cooper, Herb, Bennett.. But there are also other people posting in the threads above...

Can we make a round of introductions for the team offering us their engine? :D

Art & Art Pipeline / Bug in ASQ File.
« on: Jun 11, 13, 10:11:23 AM »

The ASQ file currently has a bug that if you use

Code: [Select]

it will throw an error that walk.gr2 cannot be found. But since the ASQ file can have paths in its properties, this does work however:

Code: [Select]

Because the current basic dynamic character uses gr2 animation files still, there is a high chance that the developers will not update it.

Please update the wiki page about the ASQ file :)

Instead of helping each individual for some hours to get their single-material asset into their world, I decided to write a tool to help you all at once with the exporting process. This tool will check for all material and some object related errors, but giving you the ability to solve them all at once.

The tool will list all geometry in your scene, and gives the following information about it:
  • Object Name
  • Faces
  • Polygons
  • HE Occluder (Checks if the object has the occluder property specific to HE)
  • Lastpose (The error that pops up the most here)
  • H-Material (Does the object has a valid Hero Material?)
  • H-Material Spaces (Does the Hero Material contain spaces?)
  • HE-Directory (HeroMaterial is in the HE directory?)
  • HE-Directory Spaces (HE directory contains spaces?)

  • Single Click on element: select and zoom in on the clicked object
  • Double Click on element: Select, zoom in, and open object properties of the selected object

Tool so far only works for objects to which a SINGLE material is applied. Lateron, this tool will also support multi-material objects, but I need to change the interface for it.

Bugs or Feature requests
Bugs are not welcome, though I am always hungry for feature requests to test my own limit with developing custom tools. Try me! :D

The file
Attachment is not showing, so here is the download from our website:

Game Dev and Gaming / Recruiting new people:
« on: May 08, 13, 10:32:57 AM »
I have been talking to my team about this, and we are going to try something in the independant developers that might be quite risky, but we are willing to take this risk:

What are we going to do:
As of now, we will teach beginning artists if they decide to join the team. Our modellers have agreed to it, and people with over 10 years in the industry will take the hands of the young grasshoppers (18+, mind you).

What does this imply for you, the grasshopper:
We will, by means of small projects (as part of main projects), teach you the ins and outs of becoming a 3D Artist, together with teaching you technical aspects together with it (optimizing your own workflow, making your own tools, making repetitive tasks easier).

What do we require from you:
Become a part of our team as a Junior. Spending at least 20 hours per week actively modelling. Asking questions to our artists on an almost daily basis.

Why do we do this:
We all had to start somewhere in this industry, and especially the beginning was quite hard for all of us. Now that we are quite good at what we do, it's time to teach the new generation of game developers how to handle themselves in the industry :)

To apply:
No need to reply to this topic; just send me a PM with what you want to learn, and using our project as a basis, we will teach you with all of our staff and knowledge available :)

Off Topic / Viewing Profiles on the board
« on: May 04, 13, 01:07:30 PM »
Sometimes I feel the need of going through the topics and post of a specific user (HE-Cooper usually for his answers that I couldn't remember, but were posted a wee bit earlier).

Could you re-enable this feature for all members to view all profiles again? Also quite handy if you have people applying for opportunities within your team to check out what they posted and how they formulated their statements :)

Art & Art Pipeline / [Release] SnowCloud Entertainment ToolSet
« on: Mar 25, 13, 03:31:29 PM »

SnowCloud Entertainment is happy to announce their first commercial and free release: the Autodesk 3DS MAX ToolSet!

With this toolset, you are able to perform most of the tedious and time-consuming tasks with a single click. Our free version includes tools specifc to HeroEngine as well: remove LastPose = Undefined errors with a single click for your each object in the entire scene, or reset your scales (XForm) for each object in the scene with a click, making all your objects HeroEngine safe with just 2 clicks.

Additionally, the premium version has other tools that help streamline your artists work: the Notes tool for keeping handy notes in each .max file, or the WhiteBox Importer tool for quickly importing the whiteboxes from HeroEngine into your 3ds max scene. Go crazy with our PhysiXCalculus by blowing things up, and create realistic destroyed meshes. You want to animate this destruction? Sure thing, just use our bone tools and run the physics again, creating keyframed animations of your explosion or demolition.

There is also the generators tab with a few generators that could come in handy for each game: create rough or smooth stones with the stone generator, or create a whole wooden floor with the plank genetator!

For HeroEngine specifically, we implemented the Occluder property changer. This button toggles the occluder property, and will inform you if the selected object will act as an occluder in HeroEngine for you.

Lastly for our premiums, there is the auto-backup tool, which will create a backup for you (in a folder called _Old_*scenename* of your scene-location) every x minutes in the background up to a max of 10 backups per time, before it will overwrite your backups from the start. We don't want to lose our work if we accidentally forgot to save, right?

For more information about the specific features for both free and premium, visit the projects page here:

What is to be expected for the updates in the near future:
  • Wall Generator (Premium)
  • Crumbling effects (Premium)
  • Project Manager (Premium)
  • Automatic Material Conventions (All)

Currently in Development
  • Project Manager (40% Complete, April 28, 2013)
The Project manager is a tool that creates a file that you can share with all artists in the team, listing all your maxfiles of your project in custom headers (with their location in your central repository). Each artist now has an overview of all your files, and can easily open them by double clicking on the file inside max.

Our project "Pirates' Nest" has different islands, each with their own max-files attached to it.
If you select the project "Pirates' Nest", each island will be listed ("Island1", "Island2", "Island3"). If we select from the list "Island1", all Max-files which are linked to "Island1" will be listed alongside it. Double clicking any of these Max-Files will open the file instantly.

Off Topic / HeroMaterial access
« on: Mar 25, 13, 08:35:18 AM »
I am wrapping up a max-script for the community that simplifies a number of tasks for 3DS MAX. I have been succesful in implementing all requests, except 1: Naming conventions.

My idea was as follows:
Upon checkbox checked for prefix, add the specified prefix from the textbox to the heromaterial name
Upon checkbox checked for setname (e.g if you are having a castle-set, you could name it "CastleSet"), again loaded from the textbox next to it
Same story for a suffix.

Now I am stuck with including the heromaterial.ms script to my own, in order to access the heromaterial name property and to change it from the selected object in the scene.. Could anyone assist?

Eventually, I wish to do the following: When a new HeroMaterial is created in the scene, and all checkboxes are checked and names are valid, the basic HeroMaterial name will be for example "PN_GMCastle_", so that only a unique name for the object has to be added. I could also possibly retrieve the bitmap name, but with different material-usages, that could get ugly...

Select the random rotation and random scale button, and spawn a speedtree.

I'm going from 90 fps to 7 fps in the area after I placed the speedtree. Tested in a clean area, and the issue persists.

Further investigation: the random rotation solely works great.

General Discussion / [Responded] Water ripples move with Camera
« on: Jan 17, 13, 12:10:33 PM »
I recently discovered that with the latest Sapphire update, the water ripples move with the camera [before: they were static].

Is there something I missed?

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