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Hi-Detail Mesh Sources (and Nuke's guide to detail reduction)

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Hey all, I just I'd see if anyone around here was interested in trying to convert some hi-detail models from various repositories around the internet.  One of the ones I had in mind is  There's a few more, but I'm pretty sure we'd be allowed to use that site's stuff since this is a free not-for-profit project.  I would be trying to ask individual authors just to be sure, but I'd want to know if anyone would want to take on converting any of those first.  There are some members around the community who would be able to offer a little help to anyone who already has a decent idea of what they're doing.  JGZinv asked Nuke what he thought about these models, and Nuke said the following:

--- Quote ---firstly you want to strip off any inward facing polies that you will never see. just delete them with the face edit toolsalot of composite models like this have alot of blocks with underside polies, cause the modeler wanted to keep everything solid, or because of limits of the 3d program (as far as i know, max has none). you may want to consider using symetry to mirror your work. you can work on merging only one side, get rid of all the parts on the other side, if theyre cross sides leave em alone, symetry will slice em for yea.

patch together the main mesh. clear any polies you cant see, attach them together. use subtractions if you have large amoints of polies sticking into the main mesh, but only if the result reduces the poly count. dont union anything it will add to the poly count. when you have a large sectionthats one piece, either optimise, multires or select all points and weld with a threshold that you can live with, higher numbers will weld more points. also do alot of lodsif youre out far enough to see the whole ship you should see about lod 3, even on a high end system. detail can come up as you get closer.

the greebeled plate look on sections of the hull is essential to the look of the ship. theese id slice ip into about 0.8k ^2 sections. do the same polychop and merge work on theese as you do on the hull, some will need to be cut up first. there should be a slice tool for that. lod them alot. theese will be submodels with lod boxes. ive never actually used them before so you might want to look into what they can do. the idea is if you aproach the section you get a higher lod. when youre right on top of them you should see it in its full detail. you can mirror theese sections across to the other side but dont merge them into a single object. you want a nice grid of detail squares so that they come up to full detail when you close in on them.

texturing, now remember how i said to use a few tiles? id use larger, but less textures. its important to note that the ragnarok class in nukemod (the new version) uses only one texture. it looks awesome and the performance gain is alot. seeing the ship is long and triangular you might want to consider using a single huge 1024  * 4096 texture(wich is a quarter the surface area as i used).  uv mapping before applying symetry to the whole ship will save alot of time. now heres where being triangular helps. if you uv map the whole bottom and the whole top,you can lay them out side by side on that long skinny texture and get the most out of all that uv space. when you mirror the uv space gets mirrored too and it makes your texturing seamless. you can tile anything else like the edges or the engines or you can stick em into any space thats left on the main map.

try to set it up so that subobjects use only one texture. sence your cutting your grebeled surface details into a grid, you can just apply a flat projection to them. you can do turrets. but its kind of a hack. use single polys with the invisible texture. now each turret will cover a number of actual turrets you can space out the firing points. i think turrets are limited to 3 firing points i may be wrong, but if the limit was upped you can stick a whole 10 gun battery on one turret. then you just up the firing rates on them so it woll seem like a bunch of turrets firing at once. you can even make em look like turrets if you draw turrets on the texture beneath them. it can at least provide the illusion of firepower. you may be able to do actual turrets if you detail box them so that theyre only rendered at a certain range it would be a good idea to only show turrets that youre in combat range of.
--- End quote ---

So there we have it.  At least it might be possible.  Whether it's feasible, well, I thought I'd at least let everyone know it's a possibility so someone can try.  Personally that site has some beautiful ISDs, among other things, which would look amazing in game.  The other benefit of using such hi-detail source material would be that they could be used to make some nice normal maps when the support gets added in the future.  For instance, Fractalsponge made an amazing ISD, which has more screenshots at, but it's probably one of the harder conversion projects due to the sheer amount of detail that would have to be reduced.  But if anyone thinks they can get the hang of converting those things into ingame models, that would be awesome.  Oh, one more thing, the poly count should probably be less than 20k, and probably closer to 12k.

Personally as I start modelling for this project I'll probably just stick to going from scratch, I hate screwing with other peoples' work, If I build it from the ground up I'll know whats going on everywhere.

I'd love to see original material, but if nothing else these would serve as excellent reference material for anyone who gets stuck.

the models on that cite are cinema quality, trust me, it would take a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time to prep those models for ANY game, making new models would take a fraction of the time. like i modeled this x-wing in like under an hour the other night...
the wings are normally closed but i set them up with some nulls to open them for all to see. also XSI has a LOD generator considering the structure on the model is good which on those high poly models their mostly just a bunch of primitive shapes thrown together, i made full LOD sets for this model in a few clicks.

I'm hoping for some relatively high-poly counts on our models, and frankly nothing I've seen anyone do for this project up to this point has had the mesh detail I'd like to see.  Not all of the models on that site are insanely detailed, some of them seem, based on filesizes, to be at least manageable.  I would think the worst problem would be the lack of an ability to find problems if for some reason the engine didn't like it.  But, like I said, I was just throwing it out there for anyone who wanted to try.  Maybe someone could get the hang of detail reduction easier than creating something from scratch.


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