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Messages - Taschenmogul

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1
Scripting & Programming / Re: Add properties to game objects
« on: Dec 14, 11, 12:53:03 PM »
What do you mean with "adding"?
Do you mean to, as a player, dynamically adding properties?
Like making a shield into a >tarnished< shield?
Or do you mean to, in the first place, connecting properties to a 3D object?
Like in "I have this shield as a 3D asset and now want HE to know that this is a piece of armor that is worn on one arm and has a defensive value of xy.".

2
Art & Art Pipeline / Re: Rigging question / help
« on: Dec 01, 11, 02:05:14 PM »
No thatīs some needed infos, thank you Bennett!
Now, if I understand you correctly (I have to admit, I donīt have experience with character-rigging or -animation in general), as long as we keep spaceships as static characters, an easy solution is attainable.
To my knowledge static characters donīt allow for tintable or swappable textures though, as I understand it, those are the sole reason for dynamic characters.
If Iīm right this then leaves two options:

a) make the ship a dynamic character and have each available modular part as a duplicate for each available ship
b) make the ship a static character, have one set of modular parts but on the other hand several different versions of the same ship for to compensate the loss of tintability and swappable textures

Now both options donīt look good.
Especially Iīm wondering which option would be best performancewise.
Say we would like the player to have a little choice concerning the looks of his or her ship, we, with option b, would then have to make several versions, textures, of each ship class. Those textures would all have to be handled then.
On the other hand, with option a, each ship class would only have one texture that would have swappable parts and tintability though, while all those duplicates of the available modular parts could still use the same respective (static) texture.
So, which of the two solutions would then offer the best performance/FPS?

3
Art & Art Pipeline / Re: Rigging question / help
« on: Nov 30, 11, 02:03:44 AM »
Hm, thatīs a pretty short answer. ;-)
Would love to know though how that works in general.

When you got a real walking character then itīs clear - you need those bones, you need that rigging.
When you got a character that only consists of one undeformed object without any limbs, what is rigging for then, what do we need bones for then?
Why, for example, should one even build bones to the thrusters if those thrusters will never be moved?
I would have thought that it would suffice to simply have one short spine, in the objects center of geometry perhaps, just so that the exporter doesnīt nag that there were no bones.
Or does one have to connect bones to every part of the ship that could later possibly be animated?
Say you have a spaceship with slots for weapons and those weapons will not be part of the ship but may perhaps be animated (say, rotating gatlings), is it necessary then to draw bones to this slots in which the weapons will later be put by some gamemechanic?

I would think that said rotating gatlings would have nothing to do with characteranimation per se and that you thus wouldnīt need to connect those parts of the ship to itīs bone-structure, but the "solid approach" sentence made me unsure if I see that correctly.
So anyone got any advice or general experience to share regarding this topic?

4
Off Topic / Re: What is your thoughts on the ACTA?
« on: Nov 24, 11, 04:15:21 PM »
Honestly I frown upon seemingly more and more topics that donīt have much or anything to do with HeroEngine.
That aside, voicing my opinion regarding ACTA could bring me to use language that would violate forum rules... ;-)
Only so much - being a EU citizen, ACTA does seem to violate quite a few EU-wide and national laws too.
The fact that ACTA was largely worked out explicitly in secrecy does say a lot. Obviously citizens are not meant to know what ACTA would mean for them...

5
Off Topic / Re: Steve Jobs: RIP
« on: Oct 12, 11, 10:00:34 PM »
Yes, plus at least some of those patents are so trivial that you would normally think that things like that couldnīt be patented.
Regarding iTunes, to my knowledge similar stores had already existed for some time, they just werenīt nearly as successful.
Jobs had the genius to know how to make a successful shop.

And donīt get me wrong - I do see some of his work as inventions of some kind, be it the invention of an IT-ecosystem or whatelse.
"One of the greatest inventors of all time" on the other hand seems a bit far fetched to me.
Let me state again that I truly am sad that heīs gone. If you liked him or not, you canīt reasonably deny that he was a fascinating and important person.

6
Off Topic / Re: Steve Jobs: RIP
« on: Oct 07, 11, 02:47:29 PM »
Letīs not overexaggerate - Steve Jobs was not "one of the greatest inventors in the history of mankind".
At least I donīt recall him having single-handedly invented the OS or iTunes or anything else.
He was however one of those few people with an exceptional sense for just the right product and the right way to sell it.
He surely was a kind of IT visionary; and I sure am not happy that he has passed away.

7
Quote
all end game characters end up the same.
And what makes that different from the situation that weīve had in so many other games?
As far as Iīve seen thatīs pretty much what many games "offer" you in their end game stage - skip those skills, they donīt provide enough DPS to kill the Highdemon Ungorthotototh in under 5 minutes, get your hands on enough Runes of Utter Magicality to pimp your Dire Sword of Serious Decapitation - without that your character is worthless.
That seems to be pretty much the scheme in many games.

I go with the "balancing becomes more complex without classes" cause that IMO likely would be the main reason not to pick a classless system.
Aside from that "classless" can mean many things.
You can very well have paths of skills that build on one another, and you can have enough skills that one character canīt take all the cool ones.
And that doesnīt necessarily have to mean "those that deal the most damage".
If I had to choose between another high damage ability and teleportation ability that would cut longdistance travel down to seconds, I would most likely pick teleportation.


@DegAnderson:
"Keeping the masses playing for as long as you possibly can" shanīt be my end goal.
"Keeping the players playing for as long as they reasonably should" would probably come closer to what I would see as a valid end goal.

8
Game Dev and Gaming / Re: Art tools
« on: Sep 19, 11, 08:00:37 PM »
Btw. - there now seems to be some competition in the market with half a handful of other companies selling tablets with battery-less pens (e.g. Hanvon and Perixx). Meaning that you can get such a tablet for about half the price of an original Wacom now.

And yes, using a tablet for CGI can be a revelation.
Texture-painting and sculpting for 3D, drawing and painting for concept art or final art; whichever you do is tremendously more easy with a tablet.
Ok, simple sketching still is more easy when simply using pen and paper, but a tablet enables you (and me) to use techniques that are practically impossible to do without.
Say youīre not good at perspective drawing (Iīm not), then you can simply sketch out initial forms, then decide on one and use whichever 3D package youīre proficient in, quickly model your scene, pick a perspective, render, then take your tablet and draw over that rendering. Works like a charm.

Other thing is mistakes.
Those who know Bob Ross know that "there are no mistakes", just tiny little accidents, or so.
In reality there are quite a lot mistakes that you will make, and saving to different files for backup, using several layers in your application, or even simply being able to zoom in and use a perfect eraser to remove or tone down whatever you donīt like in your drawing takes away the stress that Bob Ross tried to take away from you by motivating you to use your mistakes as chances and to not be overcritical.

One of the downsides is that you wonīt be able to use a huge amount of other techniques and therefore looks.
When talking about correcting mistakes, watercolor paintings really are a pain.
Some techniques to remove paint from your watercolor painting use scratching it off with a razor blade or using sandpaper to remove unwanted paint; after the painting has dried.
In comparison removing "paint" in a digital drawing is laughably more easy - no software known to man (well, at least known to me) however will achieve the organic look of a watercolor painting, even though some offer watercolor tools.

When it comes to average games however this doesnīt pose a problem at all, and I would even go as far as to say that you canīt practically go without a tablet when designing (for) an average computer game today.

9
Game Dev and Gaming / Re: What do you want in an MMO?
« on: Aug 31, 11, 08:10:27 AM »
I can at least say what I donīt want in an MMO, and it seems that many others think alike.
When I look around I see more and more games getting dumbed down, some of them getting designed to squeeze as much money out of its players as possible.
As we all know, games are getting dumbed down to reach more possible players, to also reach those players that either are overwhelmed by more complex gameplay or that just want a game thatīs easy to understand and quick to play, a "casual" game.
This all is understandable, especially for those that work or plan to work as game developers - you somehow have to pay your rent.

On the other hand it is all that I hate in a game.
When I played Diablo 2 I quickly begin to dislike this endless and stupid spiral of having to find better items to kill harder monsters just to get your hands on even better items that enabled you to kill even harder monsters.
Sadly that sort of gameplay is what is propagated more and more.

So for our game we donīt want that.
We donīt want characters to become exponentially more powerful when they level up, we donīt want items giving ludicrous bonuses just to keep up with the always-getting-harder enemies.
And we certainly donīt want real-money traps like that in some bleed-to-play (I think they are called "free-to-play" officially) games.
For me this also has a moral side and I really could go on and on about this and get really angry.

As an example - I recently searched the web for BigPoint's new bleed-to-play MMO "Drakensang Online".
I stumbled across a forum post where someone talked about having spent 100 Euros for some fill in generic name here-achievement/item/quest/whatchacallit in just ONE DAY for the game "Dark Orbit".
100 Euros! In just a day!
And we all know that those people exist. We all know that there are people who have a lot more time than money and still spend this money on basically meaningless game-"advancements".
And among those people are people who, on top of that, easily fall for gambling and will spend all they have (and more) on things like "lucky crates" that you can buy in some games and that with a chance of one in a million will give you that special cool item.

That sort of gameplay is not gameplay that takes the player by the hand and leads him through a world of wonder that the developers made for the player, with passion.
Itīs not a game for the player at all, itīs a game against the player.
And I despise that very strongly, on grounds of principle.

10
Art & Art Pipeline / Re: [Solved] HeroMaterial and diffuse maps
« on: Aug 31, 11, 06:57:48 AM »
@Scott: Iīm confused - I think to remember that using DXT 3 for assets would give you an error and DXT 5 was the way to go.
http://hewiki.heroengine.com/wiki/Creating_a_HeroMaterial (under "Material Parameters") also gives that information.
I havenīt tried any GUI work though, so is having to use DXT 3 a GUI-related thing?

@Rissa: Think I have to correct your correction - the alpha of the diffuse map can be used for various things, transparency is among them but displacement and glow are also.

Regarding visibility in Maya: To my knowledge it is normal that you donīt see the textures in Max or Maya.
You can download GrannyViewer for free though where you can check your asset after you have exported it.
As far as I have seen, GrannyViewer doesnīt show you normalmapping and specular mapping (etc.) correctly, but it will at least show you if your textures work in general.
You can get it via the link given here: http://hewiki.heroengine.com/wiki/Granny_Viewer


11
Art & Art Pipeline / Re: HeroMaterial and diffuse maps
« on: Aug 29, 11, 04:48:30 PM »
Honestly I canīt believe nobody answered you on this.
Ok, perhaps thatīs because it may refer to a very (!) common problem, the named pathing issue.
Iīm quite sure that the HE staff has learned that this is an issue so common that it may merit special attention.
I also guess that this issue might be resolved when FBX file support will be added; cause it wouldnīt make much sense to enable users to import models without the ability to assign materials/textures to them in the engine.

Iīm confused though that you say the issue was partly resolved.
The pathing issue should normally be easy to resolve, once you know what to do.
Have you tried using DXT 5 for all your textures?
Apart from that; you can use a bump map in the alpha channel of your diffuse map, using it as "displacement map", but with all map types you (sadly) are restricted to the scheme that is given by the Hero material (spec in alpha of normal map, etc.).

12
Art & Art Pipeline / Re: normal and spec maps
« on: Aug 09, 11, 02:41:35 PM »
One thing that should probably be added is that - as far as I know (!) - there are practically only two shaders for use with normal objects in HeroCloud.
One would be the standard shader, one would be the hair shader, that should (I havenīt tried yet) also be applicable to any object, not only hairs, probably giving (anisotropic) tangent shading.
And as far as I know (please correct me if I should be wrong, cause I would LOVE to be wrong here!) you donīt have any possibility to change the size or the hardness of the specular lobe like you could in a raytracing application.
It AFAIK also is not possible to define specularity (or diffuse color/intensity) based on viewangle or stuff like that.

Just sayinī cause that means that you wonīt be able to reproduce every material/look that you can produce with 3ds Max's normal shaders/materials.

13
Art & Art Pipeline / Re: normal and spec maps
« on: Aug 08, 11, 05:45:22 PM »
I honestly canīt really see what you did there and why that (whatever it should be) looks like it does.
Is that an object in the viewscreen and, if yes, how does the texture that you used look, etc.?

14
Art & Art Pipeline / Re: normal and spec maps
« on: Aug 08, 11, 11:48:53 AM »
Hm, thatīs a tricky thing, unless Iīve overlooked something myself that is.

Last question first - no.
The spec in the normalmaps alpha channel is a greyscale image, sure, but it is not supposed to be a greyscale version of the normal map.
Please pardon me if I should tell you things you already know, but Iīll sketch out the principle quickly:
A normal 24Bit RGB image consist of three channels R, G and B with a range of 8 Bit each, that is 256 possible values for each channel, then combined to form the (8Bit times three) 24 Bit color image.
The alpha channel is just this - one channel, again with a range of 256 values, that is, 8 Bit.
Thus the image that you put in the alpha channel only has these 8Bit to use and thus can only be a greyscale image.
These 24 Bit of color information plus the 8 Bit of transparency information then combine to a total of 32 Bit.
So when, say, your graphicscard drivers tells you it uses 32Bit colors this means that it uses 24Bit color information plus the 8Bit alpha channel.

Now back to the spec channel.
Here you have a 32 Bit image file which uses three 8 Bit channels R, G and B to store the normal map and the one 8 Bit channel that is normally reserved for the transparency information to store the specularity information.
What you now store in this alpha channel is the amount of reflectivity at the respective pixel on your texture.
Black equals zero equals no reflectivity, white equals one equals 100% reflectivity.
So if you want an object to have mirror-like reflectivity you would just fill the entire image with white, if you only want parts of it to be reflective, you only paint those parts in a none-black brightness value.
This can but doesnīt have to be completely independent of the normal map.
Say you have a texture with little bumps on the surface and you want it to look like those bumps have been polished over time because they are protruding and come into contact with other objects much more often.
In this case you would paint a light grey or even white in the spec channel that is the alpha channel of your normal map image, at the position where there are those bumps on the normal map.

One thing that you can do in a raytracing application but cannot do in HE is setting the color of this reflectivity. The color of the reflection, that is what is reflected by the object, rather is determined by the area's skybox (if Iīm not completely mistaken here; so anybody correct me if Iīm wrong).
So if you got reflectivity up to 50% the respective part of the object is colored 50% by itīs diffuse color/texture and 50% by the reflected color/texture that is determined by the areaīs skybox.

Now how do you set reflectivity to 50%?
As said, if the specularity channel is filled with black that means 0% reflectivity, white means 100% - so for 50% reflectivity you would have to use a 50% grey, or in numbers a value of 127 for the brightness.
You can of course make a simple table for your personal lookup, just take the maximum value of 255 (8 Bit means 256 seperate values, but counting starts at 0 so min and max value are not 1 and 256 but 0 and 255) and calculate the respective values (255 * 0.1 for the value you need to put in for 10% reflectivity, and so on).

Sadly there is no more intuitive way to set this, though I guess something might be coming up with the FBX import functionality that may be incorporated later this year (or perhaps next year, nothing definite has been said about it).

Hope I could help you a bit and didnīt explain things you already knew because I misunderstood you.

15
Design & World Building / Re: make a real world map
« on: Aug 08, 11, 11:27:34 AM »
I wouldnīt try to create and fill 1000 areas at the very beginning of a project... ;-)
Rather I would design the map on paper (or in GIMP or similar applications), then use that as a guideline for creating the map/game world area by area.
You can also import heightmaps, so you can e.g. use Worldmachine to set up the terrain of, say, an entire continent and then import it cell by cell.
When one area was ready I would go on and link it to neighbouring areas, adjust the respective seams between the terrain, then import the next heightmap(s) for the next area.

There are some threads here that cover that topic more in-depth, and there is some heightmap import tool for the engine ( http://wiki.heroengine.com/wiki/HeroEngine_Extension_Interface) that may have additional functionality; I canīt really say what it does though cause Iīve not yet used it.

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