Author Topic: RELEASE: a landscape model, a mini tutorial for making one, and a mission  (Read 1838 times)

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Offline Shivan Hunter

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RELEASE: a landscape model, a mini tutorial for making one, and a mission
Yaaay for releasing crap at 4AM~

So I'm releasing the landscape I used for these pics.

Credits (everything in this mod that I didn't make):
Powerup and waypoint sounds from Descent
Deus Ex main theme from Deus Ex (derp)
Pretty sure the sun bitmaps (not glows) are based on MediaVP ones but I cba to check right now


Also included are the sun graphics with lens flares, buildings, and everything else needed to create the pics I posted, as well as a race mission (called "One Perfect Moment" for the lulz) using modified Pegasuseses. The powerups replenish afterburner fuel and the AI sucks. Also the buildings are crap. Seriously, I couldn't be arsed to make textures.

Alpha 3: ShivanHunter, wait! Is this compatible with FSO 3.7.0?

Well, um, yes. The mod.ini uses the 3.6.12 MVPs-

Alpha 3: You can't have it be compatible with 3.7.0! That's not what the cool people are doing!

Well I'm not cool! Deal with it.

Also, An4ximandros asked for a tutorial on making it- I'm terrible at tutorials and I'm sure my process could be much better, but here's the basic idea (in Wings3D):

Take a cube and subdivide the top of it into a grid (I used a 16x16 grid here, probably a much larger one for the landscape in my mission though), and tilemap it (tile maps are best maps):

The way I created those heavily-eroded-looking overhangs was by randomly picking chunks of the grid and moving them up and diagonally (here I moved them up 0.2, and over 0.4 in both x and z, where the size of one grid square is 0.5):

Smooth it (I used the 'S' command in Wings, but there are other options), and repeat the process (here I grabbed some other chunks and moved them up 0.1 and over 0.2 in both x and z):

To create a crater, you can grab a small piece of the landscape, move it down, and create a mostly-circular border with hard edges. I didn't get them exactly spherical or hyperbolic or w/e, I mostly just eyeballed it. Here is a small, rudimentary example:

The hard edges remain creased, but the contour is smoothed along with the other tiles, so it naturally circularizes a bit after you smooth it:

One more iteration of grabbing and moving. 0.05 up and 0.1 over this time.

The result after smoothing again (at this point the model has 13k vertices. Mine probably had much more at this stage):

I've disabled the texture so the shape is a bit clearer from the lighting. This is fairly similar to the model I have:

After this, there was a lot of optimization to do in Blender. If you look at the landscape.pof in PCS2, you'll notice there are two submodels: one in the center with high detail, and one farther out with slightly less detail. This is partly for LODding purposes and partly because of the "64k vertex per subobject" limit in POF/FSO. The LandscapeFAR and UBERFAR have even less detail, but they're still huge models since they contain eight landscape models, designed to go around the one in the center.

I'm sure it would be "easy-but-kinda-hard-once-you-actually-try-to-do-it" to automate a lot of this process.

The high-detail landscape model covers 32x32km; this likely isn't enough to not notice the edges moving, so there are two LOD models which go around the high-detail one: the FAR version, which covers 96x96km (not including the 32x32 in the center), and the UBERFAR version, which covers 288x288km and is actually just the FAR version flipped and scaled up. If you absolutely need a large horizon, there's also a plane.pof which is just a gigantic flat plane with the moonrocks texture.

In the Celebration of FS thread you can see I went through a couple variations of the ground texture. The one in the file here I cobbled together from GIMP noise and a crater brush I found on the interwebs. It still looks a bit tiley but it's better than the others since it doesn't really look out of scale or derpy. A much better solution would be to use detail maps/detail normal maps (Googling those gets a bunch of Unreal stuff since it's common in Unreal; also think of the way KSP loads in textures once you get closer to/farther from the surface).

You can create the illusion of an atmosphere (if the mission is set on something with an atmosphere) with a nebula and a skybox that roughly matches the nebula color. I took an old skybox (a recolored version of BP:AoA's fishnan nebula skybox) and added a bit of a purple atmospheric effect, to go with a purple nebula. The default fade distance for FS2 nebulae is ridiculously tiny (much smaller than any realistic atmospheric fog effect... lol), but there's a "fog far multiplier" or something like that in the background editor. You'll notice I bumped it up a lot in the race mission.

There are a couple issues with my approach:

* The inherent problems with doing planetary missions in an engine not designed to support it (I chose to ignore the issue and let ships hang in the air without falling because ~antigravity~ or some ****)

* The nebula fog will affect objects high above the mission as well as on the horizon. Objecttypes.tbl can fix that for certain object types, which can be a hackish "solution". My solution was to not put stuff high above the mission space

* Arriving ships, such as support ships, can appear below the landscape and clip through it (but can't go back down, of course). Another issue that seems inherent in planetary mission design. Idk how to solve it

* The texture is distorted in some places because of how I pulled the landscape over to create the overhangs, and in some areas it's really noticeable. There could be a really easy and automated way to deal with this but idk what it is

* possibly other stuff

uurgh I have a project due in 12 hours, ****


Offline An4ximandros

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Re: RELEASE: a landscape model, a mini tutorial for making one, and a mission
You can pull through mate!

Thanks for taking your time to write this, it will come in very handy for a little project of mine. :)


Offline Darius

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: a landscape model, a mini tutorial for making one, and a mission
Thanks for the tutorial! I will definitely apply some of the lessons here to future creating
and  :yes: for furthering the cause of atmospheric combat simulation in Freespace


Offline coffeesoft

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Re: RELEASE: a landscape model, a mini tutorial for making one, and a mission
Downloading, very useful and thanks for the effort and sharing it with us   :yes: