Lightmaps in Armada 1 with MS3D?

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Straxus
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Lightmaps in Armada 1 with MS3D?

Post by Straxus » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:37 am

Hey guys! Its been ages but though I remebered someone saying you could add lightmaps to ships for Armada one but only with MS3D? I did a search but could not come up with anything.
Could you point me in the right direction, IF this information was correct. (Its been a few years since I was told that, might just be my old age making me remember false information...hehe)
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Post by MrVulcan » Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:50 pm

Hey Straxus,

You remember correctly, it is very possible to have light maps in Armada 1 :)

Unlike in A2, the lightmaps in A1 consist of an entire mesh rather than portions of a texture specified by the alpha channel. So, if you wanted to add glow to the engine nacelles, you would have to create a separate mesh for the glowing areas.

Once you have the glowing areas modelled, apply a suitable texture. This can either be a second material using the same texture as the non-glowing areas, or a completely different texture. Either way, the glows have to be modelled as a separate mesh that use a different material.

Next, change the diffuse and ambient lighting settings to full white. The emissive and specular you can leave unchanged, but I'm not too sure. If that doesn't work, chage those two to full white as well. I only use 3ds max now and have forgotten most of the details with milkshape :P.

Proceed as you would normally to add the model hierarchy and export to SOD.


There is a second type of lightmaps in A1 that are somewhat more difficult to make, but produce much better results. They are also a little more difficult to explain so I'll just recommend a tutorial that seems to doa good job at explaining these types of lightmaps.

(can't find it at the moment. Let me know if you're interested and I'll look for it in my backup files)

The general idea is to use a duplicate glowing mesh over the non-glowing mesh. The duplicate mesh is slightly scaled up so as to not coincide with the original mesh, and uses a texture that has everything but the glowing portions replaced with fully transparent pixels.

Hope this helps and good to see you're back to doing some modding :)

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Post by Straxus » Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:39 pm

Oh ok so they are set up the way the ones were that Phantom had me helping add borg nodes to for FT.
Darn was hoping for way to do that without raising poly count.
I would just do my mod in A2 but I hate the jerky physics of the ship and no matter what computer, OS or video card I use, A2 has always run like poop for me.
Thanks for the info guys. I will use that method for adding lights and stuff to the ships.

If you get a chance I would be interested in the other tutorial when you can find it.
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Post by MrVulcan » Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:46 pm

Yeah, FT models have the second type of lightmaps. This does raise the poly count, but it usually isn't a problem if you're careful to duplicate only the polies that will have glows. Anyhow, I will look for that tutorial sometime tomorrow.

Take a look at the A2 physics project at A2files. That might fix the physics issue.

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Post by Straxus » Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:38 am

Cool! Thanks for the info!
Good to know somone has tried fixing those obnoxious physics. A1 physics ran so smooth, wonder why they screwed it up for A2? Oh well.

Ya had not modded armada for some time then when I got new computer, turned the old one into a dedicated system for modding.
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Post by MrVulcan » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:27 pm

So I couldn't find that tutorial. Perhapts it was one of those tutorials I meant to write at some point :P

I supose that isn't a problem if you're planning on creating an A2 mod. Either way, the idea is not terribly complicated so I'll give you a brief explanation here.

Create a second texture from the original hull texture and replace all non-lit areas with fully transparent pixels. Do not re-arrange any of the remaining non-transparent areas. I never made lightmapped textures for A2, but I suspect the method for making those can be applied here as well. Just make sure you don't accidentally replace the original texture :P I've done that and wasn't best pleased.

Create a new material with the new texture and apply full white to diffuse and ambient settings.

Next, apply the new texture to the model. The entire model, except for the areas with glows will turn black (or white, depending on how you created the lightmap texture). This makes it easy to select the polies that need to be duplicated.

Duplicate and detach the polies and offset them slightly above the original hull. I don't recall if there's an easy way of duplicating polies in Milkshape. You might have to duplicate the entire mesh and then delete the unlit areas.

Restore the original texture and you're done. You should now have a complete unlit mesh and bits of a duplicate mesh with the lightmap texture.

Don't forget to set the material type for the lightmap as "alpha" before exporting the model. Otherwise the lightmap will have some serious fading or poly bleeding issues.

This method is actually much better in terms of the poly count. A model might have farely complicated texture detail that needs to have glows, but can be modelled with only a few polies.

Hope this comes in useful.

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Post by Straxus » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:28 am

Thanks for the tutorial!
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