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Lytha
5th Jul 2002, 17:50
Could you please tell me if these stairs look like they are worth all the brushes and polys? (this one is no full action gameplay area, and I would like 1 or 2 nice sets of stairs... this be one of them)


http://www.lytha.com/games/thief/dromed/screenshots/Stairs3.JPG


http://www.lytha.com/games/thief/dromed/screenshots/Stairs1.JPG


If you say they look stupid, I won't have to align all these textures on the remaining steps... hehe...

stikboy
5th Jul 2002, 18:35
I'll tell you whatever you want to hear ;) but, I think they look great. :) Stairs are always the biggest PIA, but when you get a set that looks good, keep it, save, and thank the Builder:D even if you do have to align textures still.

And never say "not a high action area". Some idiot (me more than likely:) ) will have 5 or 6 guards chase them into that area, just to see how bad it lags.

Lytha
5th Jul 2002, 18:39
I think that the AI placement and my planned "special effects" (lol) will be even worse than this set of stairs (time intensive.)

So they don't look totally stupid and ugly?

I'll multibrush it then and save it. :)


True, you could probably get a lot of AIs to follow you to these stairs... well, lets see how the optimization likes the area.

RicknMel
6th Jul 2002, 13:30
Ouch..I would hate to have to align all those textures! ;)

Looks great Lytha! Stairs are thee most PIA thing to do in DromEd IMO.....but they are also the focal point of many areas and it's worth the time to do them right.
Well done!
:)

Lytha
6th Jul 2002, 18:14
Aligning the textures wasn't all that bad in the end... I aligned one of the steps and copied it then. After that, I only had to align the textures at the top (and in some cases, at the front side.)

Working on my second set of (hopefully) more or less nice looking stairs, and it is trying its best again to frustrate me. :D

Zaccheus
6th Jul 2002, 19:21
They look great Lytha !!!

Keep em, keep em !

:)

theBlackman
6th Jul 2002, 19:29
Being as the subject came up indirectly, can you construct things (staircases, buildings etc) and save them as individual "brushes" or whatever and "plug" them into a mission under development.

Or must everything be made as part of a work in progress?

In the case of Lytha's stairs, can they be saved and then added to a scene constructed at a different time, or must it be a simultaneous endeavor?

ChristineS
6th Jul 2002, 19:48
the stairs looks very good, great work. :)

Lytha
6th Jul 2002, 19:58
Thank you, Zaccheus and Christine! :)


tBm,

I'm not at all an expert at this multibrushing business, but I think it is possible to save a multibrush (and hopefully, it is also possible to load that multibrush, no matter in which mission you are.)

I think I'm going to test this rightnow.

If you store the multibrushed group and give it a name, you can activate it later during your mission construction. I just learned that; I had parts of the stairs stored as a multibrush, and it would not let me add these parts to my complete set of stairs (multibrush: "Stairs") until I dissolved my multibrush called "UpperStairs_1."

These stairs like optimization, by the way... polycount is now low enough for a full gameplay area. ;)

Hm hmm... maybe I will make more fancy stairs, I seem to get the hang of this (the second set of stairs took me only half as long as the first did...) Urgs... no... only ugly normal stairs for the rest of the mission.


Edit:

Yes, I could load that Doorframe into my other mission without a problem. It popped up on 0 0 0 and it was even multibrushed, ready to be dragged around.

I made a folder in "Thief2_dromed/mymissions/" called "multibrushes", and drop nice looking multibrushes there occasionally. Maybe I should make a habit out of this.

<i>*stares blankly at half a dozen almost exactly identical sets of doorniches on my streets*</i>



--
Recent hobby: "scale_player_speed 5" ;)

stikboy
6th Jul 2002, 21:40
You can save the multibrush and reimport it, but I think there are other problems that crop up if you aren't careful. But like anything else in dromed, just a few seconds of patience will conquer:)


Edit > The below was reported just a bit prematurely :o Apparently, MetaBrush is still in beta testing. I had tested a version about nine months ago or so, and assUmed that it was finally released. Sorry about that :( But, I'll leave the below advertising, so that all the dromedeers know what to wait patiently for :D >End Edit

Also, if you have a bunch of stairways you are working on, see if you can find a copy of Datoy's Metabrush. Search TTLG and youu should come up with something on it. A perl based dromed plugin, but has menus to build stairs. Enter eight and width, and it will automatically generate stairs for you. Even circular stairs:) They might need a little tweaking when done, but it has saved me a couple of hours, because I hate stairs :)

It will also build roofs, bridges, pillars, and a couple of other things. Great tool that every dromedeer should have and learn.

Gumdrop
6th Jul 2002, 22:10
Nice staircase Lytha, but how did you go about bulding it? I have tried different methods when it comes to building stairs, and found that the best way is to use air brushes for everything - bar hand rails and slats. Building in this manner requires alot of planning ahead, but a complex room can really benefit from well thaught out carving.

I also find it is a good idea to start at the top and work down, as the bottom step can then be smaller in height if need be. This comes in useful if the overall height of the staircase doesn't quite match the height of the room or area you are trying to fit it in. Some people also use a wedge to work to.

tBM - One thing to remember when using multi-brushes, is that you should always have gridsnap on (like you should anyway), and the grid size set to 12. Then once you have imported your multi-brush in and placed it where you want, be sure to do a "snap" to lock it down properly. If you are not using a custom menu, then click on each brush that comprises the "multi" and move it slightly to lock it in place.

Lytha
6th Jul 2002, 22:53
Maybe I will use that program, stikboy. At the moment, I am working only with tutorials and no other util programs, but maybe that will change later. :)

Gumdrop,

these stairs are a mixture of solid and airbrushes.

Well. Everything takes place in a solid block that is a house in an air brush which is the world (sky). So far, so normal (I hope).

I carved out half of the room then with the lower air brush of the room (the one with the wood texture at the bottom of the room), made a solid wedge, and carved out the steps with air brushes again. The railing consists of a solid wedge that is shaped by an air wedge... the railing pillars (right word?) are just solid brushes.

The other parts of the stair are made similarly, only that I carved out their area with other air brushes first.


Maybe I use that "air -> solid -> air -> solid -> air" routine too much, but I don't think it would have made a lot of a difference whether the wedge was made of air or solid.


For the second (quite similar looking) staircase, I started both from the bottom and the top... the distance between the floors matched exactly there. :)

Gumdrop
7th Jul 2002, 02:41
I don't think it makes that much difference using lots of solid details in a small area like your staircase. I have however experienced random crashes when trying to view (alt-G) large outside areas where I have (like you have done) constructed a building by first carving out a large air brush then adding a structure using solid brushes - followed by more air brushes. This however, is probably due to my tendancy to make a scene overly complex. The player will never be able to get close to the exterior of the 8th floor, but all I can see while floating through DromEd, is flat 2D windows.

I'm just passing on my personal experiences, but the player should have no problem what so ever with slowdown on that staircase (unless they are using a 386 ;) ).

Do you know about the "show_stats" command? You can check your polygon level with this. The tut' that shipped with T2 said to aim for 250 or below, but that's rather minimal by todays standerds. 750-800 seemed a nice limit on my old PII 400. Much more than that and you'e getting into the "crash zone", but that staircase can't be moe than 200. It's the grounds outside you need to think about. ;)

Edit: Just to clear up a few facts. Are you the legendary Lytha from way back before I jumped ship to the Eidos Thieves? If so, are you only just begining your DromEd nightmare?

Lytha
7th Jul 2002, 10:59
Gumdrop,

I had the "dromed crashes because of scene complexity" error all the time when I was flying around outside, looking to the East. It is better now that I have made the Mountains/Cliffs/Rocks with air wedges, shaping the solid cubes - previously, I was using dodecadrons. Overlapping dodecadrons, partially stuck into my floor...

I also added a blockable brush behind the Mountains... but into that, I need to have another look.

I use the show_stats all the time, but since the polys of my staircase were quite high (400-500) before the optimization and because they distracted from the plain impression of the room, I disabled that option for the screenshots. :)

After the optimization, it's around 200 - more when I mantle onto the upper railing for a look down (stupid people like me might do this ingame, to fall down to the lower floor, after they made 6 guards chase them here ;) ), but it is never in the critical zone. :)


To answer your last question, to my knowledge, there is no other person named Lytha around in the taffer universe... I've been infected by the dromed virus already a while ago but did not finish the project (due to starting it the wrong way around: first some highly detailed rooms, then the outer area = never enough space outside.)

xarax
10th Jul 2002, 15:08
Be sure to unselect your multibrush before using the gridsnapping commands, so that each individual brush is snapped, rather than the bounding box of the multibrush. You'll be much happier with the results.

xarax
10th Jul 2002, 15:28
Please remember and take note that when you load a multibrush, the entire group is inserted ahead of the currently selected item (the timing value). In general, you want to press the "To End" button to move the entire group to the end of brush time. Otherwise, you may see strange things as subsequent brush operations clobber parts of your multibrush. Advanced DromEd'ers can use this timing feature for good effect, but it's very tricky and requires great care to insert a group in between the timing of other brushes.

Caradavin
12th Jul 2002, 19:46
The stairs look great, I've never created stairs yet. What do you mean by aligning textures??? Don't they apply themselves to the brush????

Lytha
12th Jul 2002, 20:06
Let me try to give you an example for misaligned textures... If you create a wooden beam (lets say, you make a solid brush and put the wood texture on it), then chances are already excellent that on some of the brushes sides, the wood texture goes wrong (turned 90°). As if it wasn't a wooden beam, but a series of beams next to each other (like ceilings are supposed to look like.)

If you make other wooden beams with a different orientation (like, one from north to south, one from east to west), you will notice this problem immediately.

Getting the textures into the correct angle is one part of the texture aligning procedure.

When you make now some stairs, the texture on the steps will be aligned in the standard way... err... try to make a window (carve an air brush into a wall, and put a window texture on it.) Make it in a relatively small grid size... chances are good now that you can see how the window is totally misaligned. You will see i.e. two half windows instead of one whole window.

That's the point where the textures need to be aligned with the "U" and "V" fields, if you want the mission to look nice.


For the fine details such as steps, you can either go anal retentive like me and align everything, or shrug it off and ignore it. :)

Spitter
15th Jul 2002, 09:04
Very nice stairs you got there, Lytha. You might check if the carpet looks better if the scale is set to 15 (it might not, really), but other than that, they're very impressive.

ChangelingJane
16th Jul 2002, 06:03
I want to make love to those stairs!

(calm down now, that's a reference to the short-lived comedy sketch show "The State", which nobody watched ^_~)

Komag
16th Jul 2002, 07:27
BTW, if you start construction at higher grid size then your basic location for brushes will be more likely to be correctly aligned to begin with, or close to it. If it's off, then you should try setting the U and V settings to multiples of 64 or 32 or 16 or maybe 8, such as 96 or 128 or 192, maybe 24 or 48 or something for more "off" alignments.

Lytha
16th Jul 2002, 20:13
Argl...

Well, once I've placed a few objects, I will post some more screenshots of this thing - the mission is, after all, not only centered about this set of stairs, even though ChangelingJane wants to make love with them. ;)

The automap seems to work now... yikes.


Or I post one of them already.

http://www.lytha.com/games/thief/dromed/screenshots/Village_FineDet2.JPG

*note: lightning is not seriously done yet, no objects placed.

scumble
19th Jul 2002, 09:31
Very nice piece of stair work Lytha, although it might be tricky to get a guard to walk up and down without getting stuck (if you wanted to).

I like that turret - looks fiddly though. DromEd isn't so easy when you try to put things at unusual angles, although you probably ony used brushes at 45 degrees.

Lytha
25th Jul 2002, 00:21
Teeheehee... I just had some fun with the AI. :)

Well, the swordguard was seriously smart. I angered him in the 1st floor, jumped then into a safe spot where he could not reach me. And then he ran all the way up to the top floor (there I had dumped an Archer so that I could stare at his skin & model in the environment of the mansion in the editor mode, and then I just let him stand there.)

Well, he had no problems with the stairs during this smart maneuvre (I followed him with ai_aware_of_player disabled to check what he was up to)... and during none of the game mode tests, they had problems to chase me up and down the stairs. :)

But it might be different when they are supposed to walk there unalerted, that's true.