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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:30 am 
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I understand that Max is a high end tool that costs money, but the fact that you can create an age entirely in Max as an artist who doesn't want to spend all that time typing, is so refreshing. So many homebrew mod tools require way too much coding and obtuse tie-in tools with too much emphasis on a technical approach rather than an artistic one. I'm absolutely astounded that they work in Max and export out directly. Every time I work with another game engine, the integration is so poor you just have to walk away before you go mad. I'm looking forward to use Cyan's in any case because I like 3ds Max more than Blender. I want to spend my time making ages, not making tools to make ages.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:07 pm 
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Oh wow, thanks for the link Paradox!

Heh.. forces on an object rotating, who knew? :wink: I can understand why it'd be annoying though. And Gahreesen always made me wonder simultaneously what possessed htem to make it that way, and just what other way they were supposed to try anyways.


As it goes though, I think that's something that might have to be worked for eventually, importing. Not just hex-editing fudges, but real importing of the full world with everything. However if the Cyan tools work entirely differently, that could be something.


Hey, out of curiosity, will any anxiliary bits like avatar exporters and clothing etc end up in the blender PyPRP set at some point?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:10 pm 
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I think they said we'd get some control over clothing. ;)

Second, the only 3D program I ever became proficient at was Bryce. But that will only get me so far, I'd need to use Blender for actual scripting.

Plus once the plugin comes out, 3ds Max will probably be heavily preferred (Blender is EVIL!).


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:37 pm 
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Gehn123 wrote:
Plus once the plugin comes out, 3ds Max will probably be heavily preferred (Blender is EVIL!).


Unless everyone who wants to build Ages has 3500 USD for 3DS Max, they're gonna be using Blender and PyPRP ;)

As for clothing, we're looking into how to handle it in Blender.. Clothing meshes have some more complicated stuff than regular meshes, especially morph targets and weight groups.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:08 pm 
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3D Max is a excellent program, I use Maya as much or more at times....and Blender does the job as ppl say and the learning curve serves to help use other programs as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:21 am 
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Bryce is win. I just wish I could find a program that could export models to Bryce (for objects like chairs, Bryce isn't that great).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:52 pm 
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3D Modeling Resources

Blender Tutorials
http://www.blender.org/education-help/tutorials/

Blender Nation Tutorials
http://www.blendernation.com/tutorials/

3D Max Tutorials
http://www.tutorialized.com/tutorials/3DS-MAX/1

3D Tutorials of all Programs
http://www.3dlessons.com/

Highly recomended 3D Modeling program:

ZBrush
http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/

Converting between 3D Max and ZBrush
http://www.pixolator.com/zbc/showthread.php?t=26326

http://sketchup.google.com/

http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/

http://directory.designertoday.com/3D/Xfrog.aspx

3D tutorials and Resources

AG Design Tutorials 3D
http://www.allgraphicdesign.com/3dtextures.html

3D Millenium Texture Tutorials
http://www.m3corp.com/index.htm

3D Valley Tutorials
http://www.3dvalley.com/

Texture Hound Tutorials
http://www.texturehound.com/modules/web ... php?cid=11

Bryce Tutorials
http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Techni ... tList.html

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:34 am 
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As of my last posting here, I'd downloaded and installed the free version of 3DS Max that Mystdee had pointed out to us: Gmax.
I've now spent a day or so playing with it, and it's quite amazing what they're providing free-of-charge.

Gmax was designed for the gaming community, so Autodesk (the owners of 3DStudio) did certain things to tailor Max to gamers' needs, and also to make Gmax somewhat unusable as a general-purpose 3D graphics program. They've kept almost all of 3DS' modeling features, so it's really strong in that area.

The supplied tutorials are really good, step-by-step, and they work properly. Here's a tutorial I knocked out in a day (without using any of the tutorial's pre-modeled material) including an additional crude environment and skydome and camera animation. This was screen-captured using CamStudio. No, I wasn't finessing anything - it was just to see what Gmax could do, and it was my first time playing with the 3DS approach in nearly 10 years, so the learning curve was almost like starting from scratch!


I believe they've stripped out some of the texturing features, believing that sophisticated textures would not be needed in most games. Although Gmax has a rudimentary UV editing window, this site's tutorial shows that it is possible to do moderately advanced work with it. However, I haven't seen the ability to stencil textures, for example.

The worst part of Gmax, for us at this point, is that the whole premise of Gmax is that the export to games would be done using a plug-in exporter written custom for that game, a.k.a. a Gamepak (sound familiar?)
See the header page for the Gmax forums to get an idea of the games using Gmax gamepaks so far (beside the FPS games, there are flight and train simulator gamepaks, and Gmax is used to create assets for There as well). Based on that premise, Autodesk has stripped out any and all other means of saving data, but for a proprietary .gmax format. There are apparently ways of saving data out to various game formats and then converting that data back to a .3ds or other format, but these sound awkward and problematic to say the least. And from what I gather, the gamepaks are written by the game developers themselves, who must purchase a Gmax SDK (Software Developers' Kit) for some considerable price.

In short, it seems like Gmax is a great learning tool. For anyone considering purchasing 3DSMax, it would be an excellent way to determine whether the Max interface suited your taste. But it's possible that it has too many features stripped out to produce Cyan-quality ages, and even if that were possible it's unlikely that the export plug-in would get written so that we could use Gmax to create MORE ages (Gmax SDK = $$$). Unless, of course, through some improbable miracle the existing Cyan 3DS plug-in worked with Gmax....

_________________________________________________________________________
David Smith has collected a huge number of Gmax-related resources here, as well as having written many very handy MaxScript functions elsewhere on his site.

Here's a long list of Gmax tutorials, some general, some written by gamers aiming for their own select interests.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:46 am 
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Unless everyone who wants to build Ages has 3500 USD for 3DS Max, they're gonna be using Blender and PyPRP


Paradox has a good point here. As long as the workflow is smooth artistically speaking, compatible, and stable, I'm going to be working with Blender. I like 3DS Max and all, but even the student price is too much for me right now. We don't want dozens of players to be pirating Max. Rest assured that Blender is a capable product, technically speaking.

The only concern is whether players will have to spend more time hacking than creating. That is the bottom line.

If PyPRP and the Plasma toolkit don't become equals, we'll never get any appreciable work done (at least not until we all save up our $$$ if we are even that dedicated). Perhaps this is why Cyan might be taking a conservative approach to release of their in-house tools. They will likely release the source so that we can use something free of charge like Blender. Even so, after retiring from over a decade of hacking without professional gain, even I will help to make PyPRP what it needs to be to make my dream come true: contributing to the Myst series even if in a small way.

As my friend Duke Nukem would say, "Let's rock."

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:51 am 
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Well I began toying around with Blender a few days ago and already got the gist of it. I made an incredibly dinky suitcase and am now working on making...cake! :D

Experimenting with subsurfs to make some trays and stuff easily.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:58 pm 
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CAKE! I think most of the softwares are accessible they just take time to learn, and patience. the rewards are to be able to create and add to our shared universe and are great.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:02 pm 
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Blender has a steep learning curve. After I got into it, though, the process was simple.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:15 am 
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yup there are scripts for gmax that import 3ds and an array of conversion tools for getting to 3ds, even from the sketchup files, but you have to go hunting for them. If you use Tempest (download from TurboSquid site), I understand you can export .MD3 files which are convertable to 3DS files through several conversion tools, some of them free.

In There.com, there is simply an add on script that exports the model into the .MODEL file that the game uses.


Am currently building simple stuff for There.com environs, but can hardly wait to start sweating over a hot laptop with visions of Big Blue in my pointy head.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:58 am 
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I have a laymans question after reading an earlier part of this thread. If hunting down polygons (is that the right term) is crucial to make an age render with reasonable effortlessly. How is it possible to expand the city. I know it contains flatter, texturized, surfaces compared maybe to "prettier" ages, but it seems huge already.
Is its huge appearence an illusion?

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:04 pm 
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Rudolfson wrote:
I have a laymans question after reading an earlier part of this thread. If hunting down polygons (is that the right term) is crucial to make an age render with reasonable effortlessly. How is it possible to expand the city. I know it contains flatter, texturized, surfaces compared maybe to "prettier" ages, but it seems huge already.
Is its huge appearence an illusion?

Well, it's some sort of illusion yes. If you're standing on the canyon bridge, you think you can see the Museum, but you're actually looking at a flat image, the real Museum is only rendered when you come closer. The same for the Library. Originally the Library's roof looked a bit different, you can still see that when you're looking at the Library from a distance. Also there was a bug a when the gallery had just been opened. If the doors were open, and you were standing in the gallery and looked outside, you couldn't see the city, only when you moved closer to the door.
So lots of tricks are applied so that not everything is rendered at the same time.

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