Saturday, June 6, 2015

Thanks everyone

Sorry if you were looking forward to getting the new models. And thanks for all your support here and on the forums. My aim was to complete new models every week or so. But after months of work I was still bogged down with infrastructure. It is possible to make models that work with gurus light mapper. Like the examples that come with it. But using my methods and software, well obviously I was doing something wrong. Would you support me to spend a week working on texture errors? How about a year with no guarantee of finding a solution? After taking a break I found I couldn't justify allocating more resources to the project. I wish there were a way of working in bigger teams on this sort of thing. Still your support has made a difference. Going forward I'm trying to put the resources I have into stuff with more tangable results for users rather than r and d.

Friday, May 1, 2015


I decided to try out texturing the skyway and I'm glad I did as I wouldn't have encountered the problems I did for a few more weeks.

Although I managed to fix the visual seams by adding in extra Poly's,  I have encountered some serious problems with the light mapper. I've been working on a fix all week but things are looking  very bad.

I've got to the point were I have a texture on the model and it looks OK with entity shader on medium . also realtime shadows are variable but the real killer is entity shader on high. This looks terrible . its as though some faces are pointing toward the light and some away. Individual polygons are highlighted. As far as I can tell its pulling out some data within the model to calculate the shadows, but its not data I have access to or can edit or fix. Its not something that can be fixed by recalculating normals or flipping them. From looking at the weird shadowing I've deduced that some of this data is being mixed up by the rotation or mirroring of parts of the model during construction. I've done tests with models that have no rotation or mirroring during their construction and I'm still not happy with the results. So even that's not the full picture.

Its a real shame as I have a quite efficient method for creating models. And I have a clear plan for what I'm trying to achieve within guru. I've been working on this for months and I don't want to have to stop now. But I'm at the point where to move toward I feel I would need to start from scratch. And find new modeling software.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

skyway 19 apr 15 to 22 apr 15

I put together this skyway. It took a while to make the new component blocks like the new roof and the half arches underneath. I already had the columns and other bits and pieces. still it came together quite quickly and bodes well.

It looks like the lightmapper uses the smoothing data to create the shadow textures. But this is then drawn on the object without smoothing so the polies are more visible but with a shadow texture drawn on them. The problem with smoothing has cropped up again. I found the smoothing was off on flat areas . It was treating individual blocks as though their fronts were curved. So seams between different areas were very visible. I've recreated the horribleness here for you.

Guru didn't like the smoothing data that my modeling package was exporting. So I've made a little converter using dark basic pro. I figured as guru shares dna with dark basic it might like its smoothing output better, and i was right. I'm using the commands "set limb normals" which seems a bit radical given that the model already has normal data. And the command "set limb smoothing" to set the angle of a face to its neighbour after which smoothing happens. the results I'm seeing in dbpro match those when the object is loaded in guru. So I think this is the right approach. And ill be doing this from now on.
I should continue with my minimum set of parts. But I'm itching to see what happens if I texture up this skyway. I'm still worried about visible seams. and I also want to know if I can use normal maps to bevel the edges of the blocks a bit to hide the sharpness of their edges. also i was planing to have a low poly version to be used by the collision system. I'm wondering if this can be repurposed for lod. I was hoping to get away without having level of detail models. I know there was a planned system in guru for using billboards after objects are a certain distance from the camera. so I was hoping that would make the extra work unnecessary. I can see how lod  would really help though. this model is not really high poly , when your up close the arches and columns are a bit blocky. but from the  middle distance, to get a view of the whole thing there will potentially a load of other objects that need drawing. and a lot of the detail is unnecessary. The problem I can see is getting the shadows to match. I would like to replace the whole side of the skyway with a single plain. I could use alpha channels to do the windows and arches. But it wouldn't know where to put shadows. So there could be a pop as it changes from one version to the next. I'll have to look into it at some point.

Check it out! Spotlight on "Playscii"

Saw this neat tool on boing boing the other day. Its called playscii. Its for making ascii art. and the examples on the playscii tumblr are fun and neat. Its got enough detail and colour range that It can convey different styles of art or even photos. But you  still see all the symbols the image is made of.

I made a thing a while ago to make teletext pages and art so this is right up my street. I'm glad people aren't leaving alone these older styles of displaying images. They have a lot of potential. Back in the day you had the limitations of input and storage and so on. Fighting a keyboard or clunky interface to input your art work could make things really difficult.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

the stairwell. 10 apr 15 to 18 apr 15

here is a flight of stairs.

I've been working on joining stairs like this with the room objects I made before. to get a single object with a single texture I've had to make a tool that can find free space in one texture copy and paste areas from another texture. then update the uv data to match where images were moved.

I also needed a bunch of controls to line up the imported stairs with the room. rotating, scaling and merging. Then it exports to a single object that can be loaded up in guru.

Here it is stacked up on itself to make a stairwell. I didn't really want to spend that much time on textures yet. i can see problems coming up with seams on the joins when i get into normal mapping. so i may have to take a different approach altogether. at least i have a way of merging textures and objects for now.

Friday, April 10, 2015

stairs 6 apr 2015 to 9 apr 2015

I've started working on stairs. its an important component to being able to navigate around the rooms. after some tinkering I've decided to make them in sections of 4 steps. this means that each section of steps fits within a cube of 100x100x100. I need 3 sections to reach the next floor on a 120 height room and 4 to reach the next floor on a 160 height room. you can see how my decision to go with 120 and 160 room heights is affecting everything else. making it hard to change things later. that's why it was important to set up the standards first.


I needed to introduce a new control into the system that makes the stairs. previously everything generated within a grid square stayed in that grid square even if its scaled. now i have an offset in y. each stair is ten high. so the next 4 steps in the next grid square needs to be raised up 40. the top section of stairs has some parts that are below the floor level and some parts that are above. so it doesn't fit nicely into the area that the next floor will occupy. having a y offset means that i don't have to split things in half awkwardly to make them fit in a grid.


I loaded the test stair in game guru and noticed a problem where 2 sections of staircase join. there was some issue with the normals and smoothing. it shows how effective the shading on an object is at describing its shape. although the geometry of the railings is continuous the weird join in the shading makes it look crooked and misshapen.


first l managed to export a version with no smoothing. I quite like this version. it might be suitable for buildings as they are quite solid and geometric. all the polys in the model will be plainly visible. but the polys in buildings are more likely to match the object they represent.

I've managed to get a better result by exporting to a different format. so it wasn't any thing i did that was mucking it up. reassuringly it means that i can output objects from my system with multiple parts then weld them together without it destroying the uv data. for example this stair case is made of two repeated sections but visually the hand rail is one piece.

Monday, April 6, 2015

more poly parts 3 Apr 2015 - 5 April 2015

I've made a few new primitive blocks like columns and arch stones and a simple roof. I've been making essential fixes to the system along the way.

The blocks along the back wall of this object are duplicates of the front wall. When this happens the system now reuses texture slots. If I wanted to combine the archway and this roofed walkway into the same room object with a single texture there would be a clash. Later I will need to make it so that I can allocate texture slots to free areas so there wont be an overlap when objects are combined.

My plan is to keep adding primitive blocks to the system. I have a minimum set of rooms in mind that I want to get up and running in Game Guru. The rooms will need to include stairs, balconies, skyways and arches. The minimum set will allow the design of interior and exterior space as well as allowing interior navigation by the player.

I will then build on this minimum set to create themed groups of rooms. At this point I will put more work into the textures.