Author Topic: Modular Construction Kit (Release 1.2 Now Available)  (Read 23626 times)

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Black Wolf

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Re: Modular girders
Terran-Vasudan War reinforcement/recon wing (for jumping through nodes).

Sorry for the double post; these things are just sexy.  You're about half-way to giving me K'Nex or Legos in FRED.

That's awesome! I hadn't even considered combining the two models, but that's really clever.

this is pretty clever. if you keep things square, with fixed girder lengths in multiples of unit length, and unit length being the size of your typical hub (the distance between 2 adjacent dock points of your basic 6-way hub). modules could be designed with linkups that match girder length+2 (for hubs and t-pieces).  to expand beyond square is where things get tricky.

say you want a cross-ways girder as part of a square frame and say 1 unit = 10 meters and distance between the center of the hubs is 100m x 100m (or 10 units). provided there is space for an angular dockpoint (say one of the orthagonal docs rotated 45 degrees about the intersecting axis) that doesnt clip with the other docks. the distance between the dock center and the dock is 0.5units, and in this case it would be about 5 meters with a 90 meter (or 9 units) girder (the whole frame would actually be 110x110m, given the extra 0.5units). the distance between kitty corner hub centers would be sqrt(10x10+10x10) or 14.14214 units -0.5-0.5 for the distance between the dock and the hub center. so this would require a girder 13.14214 units long. what you could do is add the extra 0.14214 to the hubs instead so you can have an integer-length girder. you would only need to extrude the dock face of the diagonals by 0.14214*0.5 units.

getting even more 3dimensional, say you have a cube built with 2 of those frames connected by 9-unit girders (gonna use cell units from here out). now the distance between top right hub on the back frame and the bottom left hub on the back frame is sqrt(10*10+10*10+10*10), or 17.32052 units. we can do the same thing as last time and take up the excess 0.32052 space at the hub and use a 17 unit girder. at this point we kinda hit a problem though. say we want to use 5-unit girders, now the distance between the same 2 modules is sqrt(5*5+5*5+5*5) or 8.66025, and if you wanted to use a 7 unit girder you now need to take up 0.66025*0.5 (beyond the 0.5 needed) at the hub.

essentially what your creating is a virtual lego set. if you have used lego for as long as i have you grow to respect the engineering behind the system. my point is that this is something that would require more engineering that graphics design. if you come up with a decent set of design rules then you need not model the whole thing yourself. if you make the standards for the system up front and well documented, providing guidelines to follow for people wanting to create new parts that mesh well with the existing system, then you would have a very powerful way to build whatever kind of installation you want with with only a small library of parts.

I'm afraid the engineering is a bit beyond me (Thinking in 3d is hard enough, but maths in 3d? ), but I think I see the problem you're trying to lllustrate, namely that adding 45 degree bends will mess up the nice regular spacing in the 3 orthographic planes. I hadn't considered this. The problem, as you've illustrated, is that the length of the angled bit will affect the amount needed to compensate. I will have to fiddle about in Max and see if I can come with some way of compensating - as you say, the changes can be made to the corner pieces easily enough, rather than to the diagonal girders, but I need some way of compensating for people using 5 cell vs. 11 cell diagonals.

As for more parts, I do have some ideas, as I've said. I've already got blank cap-plate type things and an associated docking ring in-game, mostly because they were so nice and simple to do. I'm not sure what'll be next - there seems to be a lot of interest in turning these into an installation of sorts, which wasn't exactly what I'd intended, but that's not really important. I guess I could throw together something... we'll see.

[EDIT]BTW, any other contributions to this would be most welcome, if anyone has any ideas and some time. It's very basic modelling, after all.
[EDIT2]Just been playing around with blowing up the Fenris... wow. You have to jettison cargo all the different girders, otherwise it reacts strangely, but it just looks totally ****ed up when all is said and done, as it probably should do.

http://imagebin.org/134107
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 02:12:20 am by Black Wolf »

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Black Wolf

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Re: Modular girders
Double post, sorry... whoever was angsting about it in IRC before.

You can see the plate things I was talking about in that picture, and how some of them also have that dockpoint docked to them, which can then be further docked to cargo or ships. The same dockpoint is employed to cover the top of the umbilical connector cord between the cruiser and the outside world. Had to fiddle with them quite a lot to get mass and MoI right to ensure that docked ships didn't shake the Levi around like a ragdoll (credit to VA for the idea that finally fixed it). And I stole Solatar's idea and added some Acropolis's to the structure up the front there.

I just need one more small doodad to fill up the last quarter of my UV map, and then I'll release these 4, then probably start with some other, slightly more complex bits and pieces - possibly an installation attachment.

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T-Man

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Re: Modular girders
These are looking fantastic Black Wolf. So much potential with them too; Make the right modules to go with them and you can create practically anything! (loved Solatar's idea; never considered that)

My only worry would be that (assuming your using lots of individual components here) unless they're stealthed the poor player's radar is going to be a mess of blips. When you've finished the modules you wish to do, perhaps you could release them all together in a sort of "construction kit" DAE file? That way people that want big stations can mock up an arrangment with the seperate modules in FRED, and use the kit in a modeller to remake it as a single model. It's a pity we can't do some kind of "merge objects" thing, though i imagine the engine couldn't handle it.

But yeah, this is some truly amazing work here mate. They'll be invaluble to a lot of people that's for sure (definately got a ton of ideas in my head already).
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JGZinv

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Re: Modular girders
Yeah forgot to mention that... Tach used a OCF or Object Combination File, for figuring out how to combine
chunks of things like a base or tubes. The advantage though was that you didn't have to waste FPS on parts of
a single big model not completely seen. Everything was treated like an individual ship. Just some food for thought.
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Black Wolf

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Re: Modular girders
In case you handn't figure it out by now - I like big cargo platforms

It's scaled to fit a 5 cell girder with 2 single cells on the end. That central docking ring is a separate pof, the same one from the previous set of pics. The satis is there to demonstrate one way of using it (and yes, I know it's upside down ).

If you've a really sharp eye, you'd have noticed that the new platform actually uses some of the texs from my other cago platform - the rest come from the various other items in the modular kit. So I still need one more object to use up the last quarter of my UV space before I release all this. Fortunately, those Tachyon pics have given me lots of ideas

T-Man: All of my bits are stealthed, made hostile and then given the protect ship and invulnerable flags in the Ships editor. This gets rid of them on the HUD and makes them untargetable, which is useful for lots of things. As for putting it all together in DAE, there's nothing stopping anyone doing that with the pof files, of course, but I don't think I'll be doing it myself. The whole point of a system like this is that it works with FRED. No other tools required, especially the nightmare (for modding newbies) of 3d programs, not to mention the conversion to pof.

[EDIT]Oh, quick hint for anyone using these - I'd reccomend uising the jettison-caro sexp on at least a few of your single cells early in th emission, as these things can react... oddly to collisions and such if they're all docked together. Although I'm told there might be a "Never Move" check-box on its way, which would solve that a bit.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 07:10:26 am by Black Wolf »

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lostllama

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Re: Modular girders
Although I'm not a FREDer I'm pretty certain that this is going to lead to some imaginative uses.

It's really nice to see something that will enhance the character of missions with installations.

Droid803

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Re: Modular girders
Awesome!
Now we can have small bases that look like bases and not a bunch of cargo containers and ships floating around
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Black Wolf

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Re: Modular girders
First attempt at a modular outpost.

And then with a little texture replacement.

The res is pretty low on that (not helped by the way the mapping is on the dockin pad, I'll admit), but it's more of a proof of concept, really.

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z64555

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Re: Modular girders
For some reason, Ping Pong comes to mind...
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lostllama

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Re: Modular girders
For some reason, Ping Pong comes to mind...

Are those meant to be giant solar panels in the second pic?

Black Wolf

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Re: Modular girders
Yeah, quick and dirty version with the AWACS texs.

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mjn.mixael

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Re: Modular girders
Wow! This stuff will be more than useful for me when it's released!
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JGZinv

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Re: Modular girders
I was thinking like a space based stop sign myself, or a gate.
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Black Wolf

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Second round, with all the new bits and bobs:

[ [ [ DOWNLOAD ] ] ] This version is now out of date - use version 1.1

I'd really like feedback on some of this - things that need fixing, mostly, or any really good ideas about stuff to add (And don't say installations - I'm still thinking abou the best way to deal with them, but I'll get something better than reskinned cargo containers out before too long.

[EDIT]Just remembered, I was supposed to do a 23 cell girder to go with the 5 and 11, for really large scale stff. I'll do it up tomorrow and post a patch or an update or something.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 11:30:09 pm by Black Wolf »

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Polpolion

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Re: Modular Construction Kit (Second Release)
Would I be a bastard for suggesting a tube running lengthwise through the girders for people to move through? Mainly on the modular outposts I think this would be good to have.

Black Wolf

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Re: Modular Construction Kit (Second Release)
Would I be a bastard for suggesting a tube running lengthwise through the girders for people to move through? Mainly on the modular outposts I think this would be good to have.

Yes

It's been suggested, and I looked at it, but for a good system, it'll be complex, with lots of parts. Next release, if there is one, I'll look at getting some kind of standardized lenghts of tube in there as a replacement for the current umbilical, and at least a rotateable 90degree piece. But that'll be a little ways off yet, I want to see how this one goes first.

Of course, if someone else wants to get involved...

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Goober5000

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Re: Modular Construction Kit (Second Release)
Ooooooooooooooooh...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

This is very, very cool.   I can already think of a very important Scroll use.

By the way Black Wolf, are you aware of the Friendly Stealth Invisible ship flag?

Black Wolf

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Re: Modular Construction Kit (Second Release)
Yeah, but it hasn't been working on my end for some reason... I need to test it with a few different parameters to see if I can nail down exacty why, then possibly mantis it. But yeah, ultimately I'd prefer to use that.

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Solatar

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Re: Modular Construction Kit (Second Release)
They can also be used as train tracks for the airport tram next to a gas refinery.

My post-processing settings make this image look a little funky, but I'm lazy and I'm not retaking the screens.

Cookie if you can find all the parts!