Author Topic: Modding Philosophy - Models  (Read 6522 times)

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Offline Shrike

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Modding Philosophy - Models
There are quite a few people who have made models for FS.  This got me thinking.  At what point do you draw the line for complexity of the model?

From my experiences, making models can be at times easy and at other times hard.  In general, the more complex the model, the harder.  Reasonable enough.  However, when I start work on a simple model, often I will want to add details to it, as the model's polygon count will be significantly lowed than that of a   model.

However, I have also found that the more complex a hull model, especially smaller ones such as cruisers, the much greater the amount of time and effort taken to make it look good.  I could go on about exponential factors, but I won't.  However, these more complex models also, so far, pretty much always end up looking poorer than the simpler models.  You'd think it'd be the other way around, even if the more complex version was essentially identical in overal shape.  So what point does increasing complexity have?

Many people would say that it makes the model look better, by giving it a more rounded look, etc.  I disagree.  Clean, flat planes can have their own attraction.  To me, large flat surfaces give an impression of no-nonsense design, as opposed to more 'elegant' rounded designs.  That's not to say the two cannot co-exist on the same model.  The Deimos and Aeolus are good examples of this.  The Hecate is an example of a model that is essentially defeated by it's own complexity.

However, flat planes have a problem, in that while looking clean, they also look almost unfinished.  The answer to that, I suppose, would be to add details in the form of outriggers, boxes, lumps, etc.  On the other hand, this must be done carefully, in a way that gives the impression that these added sections are somehow integral to the model, instead of simply being added on to artifically raise the polygon count.  For a perfect example, look at the Orion.  This model is of the 'slab-sided' type, has large protusions that seemingly serve no purpose and are present with no rhyme nor reason, giving an asymmetrical, very random-looking model.

That brings us to another topic, asymmetry in the model.  While assymetry is a good way to bring character to your model, it can be easily overdone or done wrong.  I believe that when doning an asymmetrical model, it should pretty much be extremely asymmetrical, as in the Ravana, or not at all.

This concludes the philosophy discourse for now.  Comments?
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Modding Philosophy - Models
On the part about adding extra detail to a model; It's also easy to add detail with good texturing, the Fenris/Leviathan and the Arcadia are good examples, they look a lot more detailed than they are.

The other thing to remember when adding detail, is will anyone look at it or see it?  Especially true for fighters and bombers, most of the time they'll be zooming past you at a rate of knots or exploding.  I was quite suprised when I had a good look at the Nahema and Taurvi (sp?) usually they were a distant fireball after my trebuchet had hit  

As to the overall design of the ship, it's probably best to try and keep it similar to other ships of that species,
Heres a few things that i've noticed

Terrans, the width of the ship is less than the height.

Vasudans, flatter, wider than they are tall.

Shivans, spikey, slightly organic, insecty feel though not Gieger'esque (ie Aliens) sense.

And remember that low poly counts are good!

 

Offline IceFire

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Good points from both of you.

There is a line to be drawn between detail, poly counts, and asthetics.

I personally love the sleek lines of the Hecules Mark 2 and its extra engines give it a very unique look to it.  There are others who argue that the Hercules original looks better and is more functional.

In any case, the key to a good looking model is a compromise between all of these factors.
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Offline Kazan

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Sometimes not holding it previous style is good too.  Like with the GTF Ferret, it has a completely different design and texture job than anything else in the Terran fleet, for a reason - with technological changes come phiosophical changes in design

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Offline Setekh

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Modding Philosophy - Models
 
Quote
Originally posted by Robin Varley:
Heres a few things that i've noticed

Terrans, the width of the ship is less than the height.

Vasudans, flatter, wider than they are tall.

Shivans, spikey, slightly organic, insecty feel though not Gieger'esque (ie Aliens) sense.

Artimus has a lot of these, and had a very impressive look at the design concepts etc. I'll get him onto this board.

Anyway, as a texture artist, I have read some tutorials on effective texturing. Texturing is a good way to add detail to a model which doesn't have detail on the model level, but it says that there is no substitute for modelling in detail. The panels on the Arcadia are just about completely flat, but the texture pulls off an impressive trick, making detail where there is none. A good model can be made into a great model with an effective texture job.
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Admiral

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Modding Philosophy - Models
I've fiddled with paper and a pencil with designs of spaceships and stuff, and I seem to find that those I like the best are those that are simple but have a couple of distinguishing features.  You can see this in the Orion, with the hanger on the side, whereas, like Shrike says, the Hecate is too complex (ie. too many distinguishing features).

I've only seen symmetry really along the y-axis (or is it z?), like the Fenris, but I've made acouple of designs using the x-axis, with the top and bottom the same but different features on either side.

My favourite ship is the Deimos, and from a modelling point of view it is because it has logical postioning of turrets while looking like something that came move under its own power instead of being 'pushed' or 'pulled'.

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Offline Martinus

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Modding Philosophy - Models
When I started model building a guy gave me a piece of advice that really helped me out, he said that a low poly model with good texs. can equal or better a high poly model with OK texs. It makes a lot of sense and it's a good rule to design and build by!

Instead of actually building a ship from a detailed drawing I try to draw what it would look like if all of the fine detail is taken away. Once the model is built it's a lot simpler (not to mention faster) to add the nice details with texs. Note that most of the realistic ships are fairly simple in overall design.

Also, in my opinion it's a bad idea to try to build a model of an existing ship until you have done a few original models of your own.



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Offline AZONIC

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Like Shrike I think the simple models are sometimes better.   The four latest models I have moade do no reach 300 polys (exept the Zagreus) When I redid the Obassi formally Salk because it was 1400 polys I learned how to make it in 200, and it looks better than the original.  Although I like rounded designs I also like squarer ones, you will see with 3 new models I have made.
i don't play freespace

 

Offline Styxx

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Modelling is not a science, it's an art.

You must keep your model inside a boundary, expressed by the polycount and texture size, but you can do anything inside the established ranges. The main idea when modelling is to create something you think looks cool. That's the principle on any kind of art.

You may, of course, follow the previously set of design rules created for a specified group of models, like on Freespace, Terran, Vasudan and Shivan vessels. Or you may drif away from these rules, combining concepts from more than one group or creating new concepts from scratch. If the model reflects what you wanted it to be, then it's good. If it reflects the functionality of what it would be on real life, then it's very good. If it reflects what most of the people who sees it wanted it to be, then it's an incredible piece of work. It's that simple.
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Offline Fineus

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Modding Philosophy - Models
It's true that modelling is an art, but before you set out on creating any model you want to think "do I want this functional, or good looking, or a combination of both if possible?". Having made that desicion you can often greatly change the course of how your model will look.

I've never modelled before, but I imagine thats how I'd work if I did, theres no point in making a great looking model that is totally useless on any conflict (look at the Hecate, a really good ship - but terrible at fighting anything).

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Offline Bobboau

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Modding Philosophy - Models
actualy most turret positioning can be done after you do the hull, it is (for the most part) the last thing you do (in terms of geometry). with fighters you often have to think about it a bit becase the weapons are usualy a major part of the geometry. if you get something that looks cool you don't need to wory about if it will have good firing arcs becase that can be woryed about later, but I useualy do have the beams in my concepts.
as far as being functional, you have to try to find ways of lowering poly count. my first two models show that I wasn't very good at makeing functional geometry for a good two or three months (as well as a crapy texturer), but I didn't realize this untill after comparing them with some more resent models.
you can tell how experenced someone is by looking at there geometry if it looks like a bunch of crossections, with a lot of lines runing with the axes in more than one direction, or if it is jumbled up with a lot of redundent edges, or if you see asimetric geometry on a simetric model (indicating they used the tringulate button, or some other atomated proces), these are all thigs to avoid as they are ineficent and just plain look bad, or atleast unprofesanal.

some of my other pet peevs are badly done boolians, unflat pollys, multable textures on a fighter, and,... oh ya, multable subobjects.

MAKE IT OUT OF ONE SUBOBJECT or else

you get biched at by me

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Offline Shrike

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Hey bobboau, think you could take a look at a model of mine?  Styxx is pretty busy, so I can't really ask him for help.
WE ARE HARD LIGHT PRODUCTIONS. YOU WILL LOWER YOUR FIREWALLS AND SURRENDER YOUR KEYBOARDS. WE WILL ADD YOUR INTELLECTUAL AND VERNACULAR DISTINCTIVENESS TO OUR OWN. YOUR FORUMS WILL ADAPT TO SERVICE US. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

 

Offline Bobboau

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Sure,
what's the problem?

NOTE; I have been knowen to say I'll help when in reality I haven't posability of getting the time to do anything actualy helpful

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Bobboau, bringing you products that work.............. in theory
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DEUTERONOMY 22:11
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Offline Shrike

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Just to look in over, give me an opinion.
WE ARE HARD LIGHT PRODUCTIONS. YOU WILL LOWER YOUR FIREWALLS AND SURRENDER YOUR KEYBOARDS. WE WILL ADD YOUR INTELLECTUAL AND VERNACULAR DISTINCTIVENESS TO OUR OWN. YOUR FORUMS WILL ADAPT TO SERVICE US. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

 
Modding Philosophy - Models
Questions so I dont get, quote;

        "*****ed at"

I use the triangulate button, how on earth do I do it manually.  Do you select the face and bevel it, but so it doesn't have any extrusion, or do you select the vertices and stick a line between them?

badly done boolians, do you mean bad geometry, ie normals facing the worng way, or something else?

unflat pollys, I've got no idea about what you mean by this, or do you mean unflat faces, in which case thats people not triangulating things by what ever method they use.

muliple textures on fighters, well not all of us know how to generate the "wrap around" textures Volition and your good self use, I'd like to, so if you don't mind telling us it'd be great.

Presumably you don't like this because it slows things down?, not that I noticed even on my rather pathetic computer any slow down, my view is that the more textures the game has to load up for a particular mission, the more it'll slow down.  Custom textures, although very good, just take up more memory.  Not that Volition took much notice of this as there are a few same textures of the exactly the same size and orientation in the game.

Mutiple sub objects?, I take it this is building, say, the primary hull out of different objects, and just gluing them together as siblings, or even worse as children.  Yep, it's very bad, and I dont like it either.

I don't wanna sound whingy, and hopefully with your feedback I can become a better modeler.

 

Artimus

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Modding Philosophy - Models
 
Quote
Originally posted by Setekh:
Artimus has a lot of these, and had a very impressive look at the design concepts etc.

I'll see what I can do... All design trates are based on the FS2 era ships. Freighters, and teh Myrmadon and Ulyssies we not concidered when comming up with these.

Terran:

Capitals-

Angular
Have two distinct sections, connected by a smaller "neck."
Blunt nose
Rear section is larger than the front section. Aeolus is an exception from this.
Ships have someting hanging from them on the bottom
All three major sections have negines on them.
Symetrical

Fighters-

Have obvious sections to them-ex. a nose, wings, engines.
The cockpit is in the nose, and located at the front of the front of the fighter.
Engines are in pairs, and in the rear.
No parts extend beyond the nose.
The fighter gets bigger moving from front to back.
Weapons in pairs
Symetrical

More as I remember them.

 

Offline Bobboau

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Modding Philosophy - Models
ok to clear things up

you should (IMHO) use a combonation of fuseing edges and the polygon draw tool to make your model out of triangles as the triangulate buton often makes assemetric alterations to the geometry and often screws up the UV space.

badly done boulians are when you take two very complicated peaces of geometry and boulian them together without caring about the little problems they cause, like verts in the middle of faces and edges that have no indication other than screwing up the faces and just not looking "clean". and not even atempting to fix these problems

Polly==faces

UV maping is one of those things you can't realy explain to someone in a one way conversation. basicly you have to select a bunch of faces and use the UV per face tool to move there position on the texture map. you need the UVunwraper from Primative Itch if you don't want to work blind.

your idea of multable subobjects==corect
though there are some interesting thing you can do with multable subobjects, I've seen peopl take two spheres and some cubes and glue them together and call it a ship.

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Bobboau, bringing you products that work.............. in theory
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DEUTERONOMY 22:11
Thou shalt not wear a garment of diverse sorts, [as] of woollen and linen together

 
Modding Philosophy - Models
Thank you for your help, I have to say i'm guilty of using the triangulate button and I have seen it do some screwy thing to models.

That UV unmapper is what I need, thanks again, it's going to be very useful.

I've noticed that on several Volition ships they have non triangulated faces, however these faces are always square or rectangular and only ever on a major axis, ie up, down, left or right.  Any views on that? They work fine in game obviously.

 

Starwing

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Modding Philosophy - Models
I'm sure they would work, but the main problem with rectangular faces is that they can be deformed if you do not put all four vertices in the same plane. That cannot happen with triangles.

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Modding Philosophy - Models
Your right, that'll be why they are only for flat bits.