"Where to start" and texturing workflow questions

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"Where to start" and texturing workflow questions

Postby railla » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:43 pm

I had been hesitating which subforum to post to, but following post would be mostly about dev tools so that's it.

I've been watching (and playing, of course) VS for quite some time and finally decided that I could be of some help too (I have a bit of experience as a Tools/Server
Programmer in MMORPG project, Python scripting skills, 3d-modeling/texturing/rendering skills and some C/C++ knowledge). I've recently read the post from dev blog about planets texturing difficulties and thought it could be a good point to start. Then I've tried to put together bits and pieces for a whole picture reading project wiki and forum, but I still have a lot of [stupid] questions.
AFAIK, with Blender textures baking one can easily make normal maps fast enough. Does VS has any "world editing" tools for previewing and exporting/packing data to VS engine available on Linux?
Does this manual ( http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/wiki/ ... oToShaders ) presents actual texturing workflow or shaders are still work-in-progress and actual workflow differs from depicted one?
Also, I couldn't find anything about development/cheat console which seems pretty contemplated for scripting/debugging keeping in mind Python bindings.
I already have working copies of trunk/data and trunk/vegastrike (built and running) and now I just need a bit of info such as which wiki pages to read carefully and maybe what simple tickets to attend to (besides planets texturing I could be of help with Python scripting if needed).

Any advice would be very much appreciated
Sorry for posting to wrong forum and/or for asking wrong questions too, if so.
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Re: "Where to start" and texturing workflow questions

Postby pheonixstorm » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:52 pm

There are no real tools for VS other than mesher and its python gui at the moment.

Depending on how much python experience you have I suggest going over the current python files and make improvements until you get all the answers you are looking for. This in itself would help out tremendously.

Klauss and chuck_starchaser are the two best qualified to answer graphics related questions for VS though chuck seems to be hiding over at wcjunction.
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Re: "Where to start" and texturing workflow questions

Postby klauss » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:56 pm

railla wrote:AFAIK, with Blender textures baking one can easily make normal maps fast enough.

xNormal is another great tool, albeit windows-only ATM. It should run in wine with mono, but I haven't tried.

railla wrote:Does VS has any "world editing" tools for previewing and exporting/packing data to VS engine available on Linux?


Not ATM, we have them high on the priority list of the roadmap, but the only tools we have are very basic.

The mesh_tool (or mesher), to convert from .obj files (you can export .obj from blender) into VS's binary format - bfxm.

And a unit preview mission so you can launch VS and quickly preview your unit.

Code: Select all
$ ./vegastrike modelview.mission


There was a unit converter app somewhere that made the process of converting the .obj and associated textures easier, but I don't think it's being maintained. And it was for windows IIRC (again, wine should work).

railla wrote:Does this manual ( http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/wiki/ ... oToShaders ) presents actual texturing workflow or shaders are still work-in-progress and actual workflow differs from depicted one?


Actually that page is very very detail and a bit on the future of things.

Most of it is applicable, by most I mean anything pertaining to currently implemented techniques, which includes normal mapping, glowmaps and the like. Most of the GI stuff (global illumination) is still a WIP, but the page doesn't say that much about GI techniques so everything there should be applicable.

railla wrote:Also, I couldn't find anything about development/cheat console which seems pretty contemplated for scripting/debugging keeping in mind Python bindings.


There was a console once, but it was disabled - not sure why, I guess it was troublesome for some.

In any case, the console wan't that useful - there's no such thing as a "development/cheat console" - rather, you can launch the game with a specific mission type:

$ ./vegastrike test.mission

Or you can hack your savegame (which is a simple text file).

railla wrote:I already have working copies of trunk/data and trunk/vegastrike (built and running) and now I just need a bit of info such as which wiki pages to read carefully and maybe what simple tickets to attend to (besides planets texturing I could be of help with Python scripting if needed).


Sure, we're in dire need of two kinds of scripting jobs:
  • One, python apps for content editing. As you noticed, we have very few content editing tools, and the ones available aren't portable. Python apps for this would be great, because they would be portable.
  • Campaign scripting. Now, this is not your usual campaign scripts based on triggers and such, although you have those. Campaign scripts are programs that run "on the background" and manipulate the universe to make the story unfold. We've made very little progress here, mostly because of lack of manpower and a story script

PS: regarding normalmaps for planets, I'll try to document the final texture packing for planets which are still in development, but beware that planet normal maps are "different" in two ways:
  • For one, planets have topographies, and I know of no tool to produce realistic topographic normalmaps - which it is not to say that there isn't one.
  • For two, planets use parallax mapping, not just normal mapping, which means the normal map must be made in tandem with a height map. Say you have a topographic map of a planet, with white being the highest peak and black being ocean level, that's a height map, and it must be put in the alpha channel of the normal map.

So planets have the added complication that they're different beasts in those two aspects.
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Re: "Where to start" and texturing workflow questions

Postby pyramid » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:56 pm

klauss wrote:There was a unit converter app somewhere that made the process of converting the .obj and associated textures easier, but I don't think it's being maintained. And it was for windows IIRC (again, wine should work).


The Unit Converter can be found in svn under trunk/modtools/UnitConverter. It was not modified since my last commit, so it should work (with Python 2.6, not Python 3.x). There is a corresponding Unit Converter wiki entry describing the usage.

As for the rest, I would agree with klauss: we are badly in need of some stories implemented as campaigns, missions, or quests. You can catch the Quest examples in the data/modules/quests folder or Mission examples in the data/modules/quests folder.

There is also an overview of the Python API under Quests & Campaigns.

My personal opinion is that there are sufficient vessel and station models to make the game enjoyable with a good story.
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Re: "Where to start" and texturing workflow questions

Postby railla » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:24 pm

Thanks to all of you for your answers!
According to Development:Campaigns, Dandandaman led campaigns developement, but his last post dated 2009. Does anyone working on campaigns/missions now?
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Re: "Where to start" and texturing workflow questions

Postby pyramid » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:02 pm

Currently no one is coding missions or campaigns.
Any help is appreciated.
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