Creating New 3D Ship Designs

Creating New 3D Ship Designs; support/discussion/questions

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Pigman
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Creating New 3D Ship Designs

Post by Pigman » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:48 am

I would like to try my hand at ship design.

I've looked back through old threads to find info and found tutorials referred to but unavailable. i.e. Tutorial using Milkshape 3D to produce new ship models (I think either by siggi or jigalypuff).

I've seen references to Autodesk 3Ds Max 9, Lightwave 3D, Unwrap 3D as well.

I'd like to know if there's any freeware 3D software that is capable of producing ship models compatible with BOTF?

Also, is there any chance that we can get the tutorials back onto the site?

Or, if they're already there can someone point me to them please?

I've done 2D work with various BOTF interfaces and have used 3D animation software to produce a rotating Dominion Icon, so I'm not afraid to try this out if someone can help me on the path.

Would be greatly appreciated.

Regards

Pigman

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Post by MrD » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:34 am

Welcome to the world of those trying to learn how to make ships (for BOTF?)

I must say Milkshape is the program of my personal choice.
I find it easy to use and since BOTF does not allow high poly models a simple program might be the best way to go.
Two freeware programs I could find with a brief search a wikipedia are
called "Blender" and "Misfit Model 3d"

But I must admit I have tried neither of them.

The most important thing I had to learn when I began modeling:
Take a look at what you want to build and see whether you can mentally disassemble it into a few basic shapes.
At least Milkshape provides you with a few "stock shapes" that you can then adapt to your needs.

For example the good old Constituion (big rant ahead!)

The saucer has a few "dents and "curves" in it, so take a sphere and flatten it and then adjust it till you have the curves in it you need.
The warp-engines are cylinders with spheres at their fronts, so take either cylinders and stuff sphere-halves at their fronts or take spheres and distort their rear halves until you have cylinders :)
For the deflector: very flat sphere, one half turned inward.
The secondary hull is a little tricky but basically a cylinder with a distorted quarter sphere for the shuttle hangar.
The rest are distorted boxes and a couple of egg-shapde half-spheres for the bridge and conference deck.

The Gorn are even easier: flattened spheres with (no dents or curves) connected to each other, warp nacelles and a couple of airplane-like wings.
All you need to do is see the shapes.

Some programs let you put images into the background of the windows that show the x y and z axis, such as schematics for ships.
This makes it a lot easier to keep the proportions right.

As for compatible: most programs allow you to export you baby into another format without any issues so conversion involves only the usual pains described in tutorials like the one from dafedz.
http://www.trekmania.net/conference/botf_tutorial.htm

Good luck and I hope my little rant was more helpful than confusing

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Post by Pigman » Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:03 am

Mr D

Now your the diamond. That's exactly the sort of help I was after and as your too busy currently with Gorn ships, I'll have a go at doing a D10, based on my 3D model (I know you're envious) and the diagrams in the FASA manuals.

It'll probably be rubbish, but who knows.

BTW, how long does it take on average to do a complete ship in man (person) hours?

Regards

Pigman

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Post by MrD » Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:28 am

Well that is a very good question.
My first real project was a Romulan BOP which I actually managed to incorporate into that game, I built it for: Starshatter.

High-poly, completely over the top textures and therefore cetainly not representative: 3 months.

The next one took me only a few weeks, along with most textures and then it became easier and easier to build meshes.
http://img195.localhost-textreplaced/im ... 878644.jpg
http://img197.localhost-textreplaced/im ... 857539.jpg
http://img195.localhost-textreplaced/im ... 422002.jpg

Unfortunately in those days I was foolish enough to believe I could build an entire mod with ships models and balancing for several sides all by myself...

Now, the meshes for BOTF usually take me only a few hours per ship.
However I must say the difficult part for me is not the 3d mesh, it remains the textures.
They take up most of the time.
And in case of the Gorn ships they are even more important since those ships all look alike.
So it's the paintjob that needs to be good, to make them interesting.
Otherwise it's all just a buch of flat spheres and cylinders.
Last edited by MrD on Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Pigman » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:13 am

Impressive work MrD.

Have downloaded both the programs you suggested and Misfit Model 3d looks the easiest to use, but I can't see any way it displays poly or vertices count. Still I may yet find that info.

It only exports in it's own native format or Quake MD2, Milkshape 3D or Wavefront OBJ formats.

Are any of these acceptable to take me to Dafedz next step in tutorial after I have built up my ship from polys?

Regards

Pigman

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Post by jonboylondon » Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:35 am

Also which version (milkshapE) do you download and can u still use the comp time trick to bypass he 30 day trial?


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Post by thunderchero » Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:47 am

MrD,

please limit size of images to 800x600

thunderchero

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Post by MrD » Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:19 pm

thunderchero wrote:MrD,

please limit size of images to 800x600

thunderchero
My apologies, will do.

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Post by stardust » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:44 pm

Great pics MrD, well worth the time you put into making them.

If I ever get enough time in the day I might have a look at getting some ship models done. :roll:
Computers! [Expletive deleted]

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Post by MrD » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:55 am

Pigman wrote:Impressive work MrD.

Have downloaded both the programs you suggested and Misfit Model 3d looks the easiest to use, but I can't see any way it displays poly or vertices count. Still I may yet find that info.

It only exports in it's own native format or Quake MD2, Milkshape 3D or Wavefront OBJ formats.

Are any of these acceptable to take me to Dafedz next step in tutorial after I have built up my ship from polys?

Regards

Pigman
If I read that tutorial and the attached images correctly (I haven't used it yet, still working on the proper colour theme using Milkshape's own texturing tools) OBJ shoud work just fine.
jonboylondon wrote:
Also which version (milkshapE) do you download and can u still use the comp time trick to bypass he 30 day trial?

JBL
Going back in time? That's cheating :wink:
I don't know if that works on any version.
I'm currently using the most recent, but the interface has not changed during the last couple of years.
The newer versions are a little faster and more stable however so I'd recommend the current one downloadable fron their site.

Please remember, I am still just a little amateur and I am not really good.
It takes me a lot of time to get things done when it comes to paintjobs and I am certain there are better ways to do this than my way when it comes to meshes...and better tutorials than my little rant.
Given time I am pretty sure any of you can do better than I can, I really am.
I am especially curious how Pigman will do with textures.
Considering his wonderful work on the interface I see one well painted D10 coming up.

And always remember even if your first ships look like mine did (I promise you'll never see those :) ) never give up, never surrender :wink:

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Post by Pigman » Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:43 am

MrD

Thanks for the encouragement. Have already started playing around with simple shapes like cylinder and getting it to taper like the neck of D7 or D10 and Misfit Model 3D looks adequate in many ways.

If I get a completed model I'll try to export as OBJ file and see where it takes me.

One problem I still have in Misfit Model 3D is the lack of info on Vertices, Faces and Polys. The help menu says following:-
The status bar contains text (on the left side) that describes the results of recent operations on the model. On the right side it shows you how many vertices, faces, groups, and textures exist in the current model. If you have any vertices, faces, or bone joints selected the count will be shown with the selected separated from the total with a slash ('/').
Unfortunately, said status bar doesn't seem to exist and I can't see how to switch it on. Have tried googleing for answer, but I guess as it's freeware there will be little or no support. Probably something stupid I'm doing.

BTW, when it comes to doing D10, having the actual model is helpful, as there are details and contours unseen in the 3 projections usually shown in various manuals.

As regards texturing, I would hope to be OK, with the 2D graphics skills that I have, but I suspect that the texturing may ultimately be the most difficult part to get right. Maybe one day we will see.

Regards

Pigman

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Post by jonboylondon » Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:57 am

Ok im really stumper here - how do i join the spheres with a cyclinder on a vertical or angle even (like nacelles)........

Pigman your right the tutorial is a bit thin to say the least!!! :roll:

JBL

:P

PS extra prize if anyone can guess what ship im trying to build.........!!!

YOU NOW HAVE TWO MINUTES...
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[bonk!]

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Post by Pigman » Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:12 am

Hi JBL

From your screen shot you have same problem as me, not being able to see status bar with display of number of vertices and faces. This means you could draw a ship in this software and have no idea if it will fit in BOTF.

Not worth taking all that time if it's a wild goose chase.

Anyone know how to get status bar working?

BTW, if that's the Fesarius, or the start of it, you'll run out of polys in no time with all the spheres you'll need.

Regards

Pigman

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Post by Pigman » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:36 pm

OK have found status bar at bottom of screen displaying vertices and faces in Misfit Model 3D.

Must say my greatest respects to ship builders. It certainly ain't easy and it may be 3 months before my first one arrives also. In fact that might be good going.

I was going to show what I'd done so far and thought....nah!!!

Regards

Pigman

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Post by MrD » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:40 pm

Did it look like a smashed potatoe?
Mine did :lol:

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