About 3D formats support & Cockpit Rendering

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simcosmos
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About 3D formats support & Cockpit Rendering

Post by simcosmos »

Hello

First of all let me apologize if some of the answers are already available in the forum.


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3D formats supported by Armagetron
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I saw the threads related with 3D modelling for Armagetron… Please correct me if I’m wrong but, as far as I understood, there are two or three ways of bringing (+/-) directly a 3D model into Armagetron game arena…

1. To understand the .mod format (coded at hand?)

2&3. To make an .ase file using export scripts available for a previous version of Blender or using 3ds Max.


My question is:
Is it very difficult to change the Armagetron code so that it supports other more popular 3D format?


Sorry the ignorance from my side, but I think that if we could use a more popular and easier to deal with 3D format (like… 3ds !!!) then making 3D mods would be a lot much easier!

As an example please look at Orbiter Space Simulator ( www.orbitersim.com ): it uses the native .msh format but addon developers have at their disposal nice converters developed by the community: 3ds2msh converts any 3ds to msh, there is also a plugin for gmax where we can directly import/export the msh format… and people developing in .lwo, .obj (other formats) can easily convert their models to 3ds using available converters in the net...

To have a better idea, please go to my site http://simcosmos.planetaclix.pt and navigate like this:

> Orbiter (left menu)
>> Utilities / Docs
>>> DEV Programs / Tools
(see the parts about 3D editors / converters)


Yes, I know that writing a converter or making Armagetron support 3ds as native format is not a 5 seconds task :)

I’m just sharing that the present situation is a little limiting for everyone who wants to make 3D mods:

Virtually… Or we already have 3dsMax or we ask someone to kindly convert our model… I searched and searched and searched the net and it is very hard to find a free standalone converter to .ase format…

Wouldn’t be nice to use a 3D editor like www.anim8or.com , export the model to 3ds and then directly place it in the moviepack folder (if 3ds support is implemented in Armagetron code)? (Or else use a nice, not available yet, 3ds to .ase converter?)

Just giving some ideas :)
(no clue if they are very hard to implement or not)

Another alternative would be to use models in .X format…



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About Internal View and Cockpit Rendering
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I tried to place the camera very near the light cycle… managed to place it right in the top of the cockpit area but then the cycle model disappears… and only appears again for a few seconds when I make turns.

I would like to test if moving the camera position, playing with FOV and using another model for the cycle (with open windows when in cockpit view = with interior modelled = interior having face normals pointing to the inside)… we would be able to have a nice cockpit view like the one available in this other Light Cycle game:

http://website.lineone.net/~planetride/lightcycles.htm

Image

I do not know if this is possible but just think about it: it would be a blast to have such a view, use the view keys to look left, right, front, up and use all this in an internal view only server ;-)

The major problem I find so far is the process of bringing a 3D model into Armagetron… If there was an easy way I would be more than glad to make some experiments in this area…

… Or do you think that playing with camera options + new cycle model is not enough for having internal rendering of the cockpit and we need something more (+code) to make it happen?

Just some thoughts from a newbie in this forum, sorry if what I wrote does not make sense :lol:

António
I love to fly, low and slow but when I look at the night sky
my heart goes wild fast... and wild!

simcosmos @ flickr

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Lucifer
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Re: About 3D formats support & Cockpit Rendering

Post by Lucifer »

simcosmos wrote:Hello

First of all let me apologize if some of the answers are already available in the forum.


---------------------------------------------
3D formats supported by Armagetron
----------------------------------------------
My only issue here (and I'm not an AA developer) is that AA needs to support some open modeling formats that don't require purchasing a proprietary 3d modeling package. It would be nice if AA supported Blender directly, but I understand Blender's file format is a moving target right now (or was recently, or will be soon, something like that).

There are scripts to convert Blender to .mod right now that work with the latest blender version, so it's reasonable that if AA already supports .mod, then they've met this particular issue of mine. ;)

However, using AA 2.7 from rpm, AA still looks for cycle.ase for the cycle models, and nothing else as far as I can tell. What would really rock is if there was, say, an xml definition attached to moviepacks to we could isntall several movie packs and pick one, and this xml file would list the models, textures, and so forth that AA should use.

simcosmos wrote: ------------------------------------------------------
About Internal View and Cockpit Rendering
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I would hazard to guess that few would be interested in cockpit rendering without some way in the cockpit to get an eagle's eye view of the grid. The main reason, near as I can tell, so many of us play with cameras above the cycle rather than 1st person is so we can just see what's around us. Some guys even play with lower walls, I hear, so they can see better what's on the other side of the walls. So a cockpit view with a HUD and maybe a radar or something would be nice. ;) I'd give it a try, anyway. ;)

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Re: About 3D formats support & Cockpit Rendering

Post by k »

Lucifer wrote:However, using AA 2.7 from rpm, AA still looks for cycle.ase for the cycle models, and nothing else as far as I can tell. What would really rock is if there was, say, an xml definition attached to moviepacks to we could isntall several movie packs and pick one, and this xml file would list the models, textures, and so forth that AA should use.
Bringing in an xml file seems a little overkill for simple settings like this. The movie pack already has a settings.cfg file and the code already makes it easy to set and read values from the cfg files. Since each movie pack needs to be in its own directory anyways all we really need to do to support picking one is to add a new menu option to pick the directory to use. The part that will take a while is rewriting all the static movie pack textures to use the variable moviepack path and reloading them when changed. It might be worth it to move all the moviepack objects into a new module and provide an interface that can be used to get and change the objects. Actually we should probably make the module handle the regular objects as well (arena walls, floor, sky, sounds, etc).

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Post by Tank Program »

In all truth this level of complicity is starting to get beyond me. I deal with text & little things like that. Maybe it's cause I fail horribly with anything graphical... So... Best to let someone who really knows what's going on in the graphical side to answer this...
Image

simcosmos
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Post by simcosmos »

Hello, two more cents about 3D models and cockpit rendering


-------------------------------
I. About models formats
-------------------------------


Ia) 3D Editors, their export functions and Armagetron support

My opinion is that would be much easier and regarding to directly support a popular format like for example 3ds and, this way, give more freedom to the addon developers. I mean: it would be better for anyone who wants to do 3D models for Armagetron if they could choose their favourite 3D editor, either it is freeware or payware.

The point here is that people would have not the need to “learn the corners” of a new 3D editor and they would be able to use the one they are comfortable / have most experience with.

To meet this goal, a popular format would have to be chosen and that format would have to be either directly supported by Armagetron or else there should be a converter that would be able to transform that popular format to one that Armagetron understands.

Again, from my point of view, the popular format should be 3ds. In my particular case, I use the freeware Anim8or as my main 3D editor ( http://www.anim8or.com )and also use gmax ( http://www.discreet.com/products/gmax ) for some other things although I do prefer Anim8or because I find it a lot easier to deal with.

Both Anim8or and gmax can import/export .3ds and are freely available. There are also several free converters available that can convert any other format (lwo, dxf, obj, ase, X, pov, etc) to .3ds.

I listed some of them at my site: http://simcosmos.planetaclix.pt
>> Orbiter (left menu)
>> then click in Utilities/Docs
>>> Dev Programs / Tools > 3D models (viewers and converters)




Ib)ASE tools

I finally think that found something that can be useful for Armagetron Community…


The key ideas are these:

1. The 3D model maker should have the liberty to choose the 3D editor he/she is most comfortable with

2. Once the modelling work is done in the favourite 3D editor, the model is then exported to format A

3. Format A could be several formats (3ds, lwo, dxf, pov, etc)

4. If format A is directly supported by Armagetron then… end of the line

5. Else: format A is converted to Armagetron format using an independent converter: this means that the converter should be a standalone application not dependent of any 3D editor.


For now my main goal was to find something that could convert to ASE format... Converting from ASE to any other format is very easy (see converter's links at my site - 3D Explorer v1.5) but doing the other way around is much tricky… unless you have a specific converter for your 3D editor… like the one available for max…


So, after much research I found something that can perhaps be worthy to explore… but let me go back a little:

I abandoned one research direction because it led me to Doom 3 tools: it was a more complicated process than I wanted and the model should be first in md3 format.

Other research directions lead me to Nemax:
http://www.unitedbytes.de/go.php?site=projects
(but it does not converts to ASE… yet… and v1.4 is from April 2000…)


Finally I found one little program that is exactly what I was searching:

It can read / output several popular formats, it writes your model to ASE, is easy to operate and it is an independent application (both 3D editor and OS independent): IVCON

http://sourceforge.net/projects/ivcon/
http://orion.math.iastate.edu/burkardt/ ... ivcon.html



Ok, ok it is not all perfect, some info of the 3D model is not yet converted by IVCON but at least I was able to bring into Armagetron Arena a dummy mesh… I just had to use my favourite 3D editor, export to 3ds and convert to ase using IVCON…

I still need to test it further... IVCON is perhaps not ready yet for us to use it together with Armagetron but...

Perhaps this could be the start of something? Source codes are available… perhaps if someone with c++ knowledge / graphical inclinations could play with IVCON...


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II. Cockpit Rendering
----------------------------


I feel the lack of an internal cam server (with no other camera modes allowed): Joda had one… (Joda’s Wild Teams…btw: it was I who suggested that name ;) )

Playing with incam and knowing that all others players are also in internal camera mode adds an all new and funny way of playing Armagetron.

In the other servers I use the default view but, sometimes, when there are few players or if I’m fighting against just one person I … I change to incam for a few rounds 8) .

I agree with Lucifer: with incam we loose some tactical planning but... that loss is what greatly contributes for the fun: we have to build a good mental map of the arena … more than when using other “normal view” servers. To compensate that lack of tactical view some people use transparent tails or lower ones but that is cheating. :D :twisted:

About a possible radar display: I think it would also be fun but perhaps should be a parameter in the server options not allowing players to use it: most of the fun I have with incam comes from not knowing exactly where the other players are and because of that I have to always look left, right, back, front... With a radar display the adrenaline rush would be a little less :)

Now imagine those left, right, back, front view changes inside a Light Cycle with the cockpit frame rendered!!! That would be a blast!

To conclude, a small picture:

Image

It’s Fabrice’s Moviepack 3D model with some minor mods I did… basically you are looking at the Light Cycle with new materials: one for the transparent windows, other for the wheels and other for the rest…


Back to the beginning: the main problem is that there is no easy way (at least one that I’m aware) that allows a 3D maker to use his/her favourite 3D editor and export to Armagetron format…

Question: does Blender read 3ds?

I would really like to make some 3D experiments in Armagetron… If I could do them without having to install / learn the corners of other 3D editor it would facilitate a lot the whole process… then, if the experiments were successful I would try to contact Fabrice and ask for permission to include the new Light Cycle in Light City, my moviepack...

António

PS: agree with K: a way of handling several moviepacks and their components (models, textures, sounds) would be very handy (as well making the moviepacks sky texture something independent from arma's default sky)
I love to fly, low and slow but when I look at the night sky
my heart goes wild fast... and wild!

simcosmos @ flickr

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Post by k »

simcosmos wrote:(as well making the moviepacks sky texture something independent from arma's default sky)
Already checked into cvs.

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Post by Newk »

hello, i too wanted to make models for armagetron to learn more about 3dsmax5 and 3d-models in games in general...
so i put together a real simplistic lightcycle because i want to run the game as
fast as posible... and liked the concept of having abstract grafics to boost playability.
then i had to figure out a way to import them and found this forum.
(hazardous googling)
then i finally found a plugin for 3dsmax to import .ase (i needed reference for size)
I dont know how to use IVCON (some console stuf... how do i run that?)
and i still haven't found a way to convert .mod files. i want it really bad now.

so i put my model into the moviepack and it works..... but no shading?
its like model is all illuminated.
Is that the converting? (i have compared the .ase files though... no diffrence found)
i dont have drawn a mapping... i use an empty .png
maybe thats the prob.

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SuPeRTaRD
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Post by SuPeRTaRD »

.ase is pretty universal 3d format..

i have a stand alone converter that converts to/from .ase to .3ds etc.
its called viewpoint interchange

also, i'm looking into wether zmodelors .mod are the same .mod the original game uses (zmodelor is a free modeling program made specificly for driving games)

cuz then we could have spinning wheels on our customs ^

also.. isnt gmax free? wonder if it lets u export to .ase

somebody check out my mesh!!!!! heh
http://guru3.sytes.net/download.php?id=664

it says "TIMMAY!" when it turns
a riot to drive, funny when he grinds & tilts over a little bit

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Post by philippeqc »

SuPeRTaRD wrote: somebody check out my mesh!!!!! heh
http://guru3.sytes.net/download.php?id=664

it says "TIMMAY!" when it turns
a riot to drive, funny when he grinds & tilts over a little bit
Make a moviepack with all sounds, mesh and images. Post it all in a discussion. Make screen-shots at 500x375 and I'll add it to the list of movie packs.

Oups, bad sentence. Make any of the following and I'll add them to the list. Its just nicer when all is there.

-ph
Canis meus id comedit.

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SuPeRTaRD
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Post by SuPeRTaRD »

sure, np

just getting started in this & quite excited

i guess i aught to make a southpark mod

i could model a cartman C.H.i.P. on his bigwheel for it too
AUTHORITAI!

blah blah

--------
oh, a correction from an earlier post ^^^ i guess viewpoint interchange doesnt do .ase OOPS! DUH! (sorry)
i do have a 4yr old version tho, mebbe a newer version does

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