Confused on vehicle making...

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KitsuFox
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Confused on vehicle making...

Post by KitsuFox » 13 Feb 2008 06:24

I have a Qs that need As...

1) Is there a "base model" I can download anywhere? Like a Template model? I know that TMU models have to be within a specific bounding box for them to show up properly.
2) If I'm converting a model, what if the model has more than 1 texture for the entire thing? What would I do then? (Say, like, the grill & wheels of the car have different texture file from the main body)
3) Does the main body, forget about any kind of wheels, have to be a specific mesh name for it to show up in TMU?

Answers to these questions would help me a ton. Thanks in advance!

Gording
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Re: Confused on vehicle making...

Post by Gording » 13 Feb 2008 17:44

KitsuFox wrote:I have a Qs that need As...

1) Is there a "base model" I can download anywhere? Like a Template model? I know that TMU models have to be within a specific bounding box for them to show up properly.
2) If I'm converting a model, what if the model has more than 1 texture for the entire thing? What would I do then? (Say, like, the grill & wheels of the car have different texture file from the main body)
3) Does the main body, forget about any kind of wheels, have to be a specific mesh name for it to show up in TMU?
A1) http://www.trackmania-carpark.com/tutorial.php

However, you need to think laterally, as tutorials go out of date quickly, or use different applications to what EVERYONE else uses!!!! So use them as a general guide to give you an idea of how to work with what applications you use. If there was a guide for Maya, people would want 3D Studio, but if the guide was for 3DS they'd want Cinema 4D, if it was for C4D, they'd want Blender....pretty soon tutorials would outnumber questions, as we'd have to create new ones every time a new version of all these application were created too. All those new features and icons are so confusing when you're reading an old tutorial! :x

This is why you have to think a lot, and use tutorials only as a general guide to assist you, as application feature sets are different, but at their most basic level, most applications can all make and move polygons! It's helpful for anyone learning 3D if they actually knew how to use their own applications, or you'll immediately be stuck asking a long list of "how do I do this using my application" type questions. 3D applications have numerous dedicated websites, guides, tutorials, help files, and forums, and anything you can think of to ask, has been asked by a hundred new people before you over the years....and answered hundreds of times, "the truth is out there", so search!

A2) TM games use their own textures, and names. For instance the outside skin/body is textured from the "Diffuse.dds", the internal parts and sections which are not bodywork are textured by the "Details.dds", and in TMU there are various textures for dirt, illumination, and fireworks.....ok, I'm kidding on the last one.

So imagine you are converting a Lego car ;

It has a square body (with a texture : Legobrick1)
Square seats (texture : Legoseats2)
A square person driving (texture : David Coulthard :mrgreen: )
Simple wheels (texture : Legowheels)

...because the original model you are converting has its own dedicated textures and names. But these mean absolutely nothing to TM, as the textures it uses are linked directly to correctly named parts of the mesh. This becomes more problematic, as each version of TM uses different part names in it's mesh, and different textures. So be careful, and consider which model guide you are following, and which game you are trying to create for. If you get the parts name's wrong, the game won't know what they are, and what textures they're meant to be linked to.

This is what people requesting vehicles and skins don't realise or know, making a new vehicle from scratch or even converting a model from another game is hard enough, but you then have to map that whole model properly to the few textures that the game uses, and lay them out properly (the mind bending trick of "UV mapping" is an art form in itself) before finally you create and paint the 2D skin, or convert the textures from the original to the format TM uses.

It's not a simple, or quick, job.

A3) The main body/name does not include wheels. In your 3D mesh you have to create each part of the vehicle, and name them accordingly, for the game to move them and rotate them. By reading the guides you'll see that the vehicle mesh is made up of 4 individually named wheels, body, details, and usually glass in it's most basic form, and these all have to be created. At it's most complex there are also many other parts such as suspension, driver's head, and lights which the game can also use in the 3D mesh......the secret's in getting all the part names' eXaCtLy right, or they won't work.

KitsuFox
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Re: Confused on vehicle making...

Post by KitsuFox » 13 Feb 2008 21:01

Re: A1) That's helpful to know. If the test model I found weren't in .MAX format, it'd be a lot easier for me to import it, read the names\tags off of the meshes, and fit them to my project. I have no experience whatsoever with any version of 3DS Max.

Re: A2) From what I'm reading, I could use the Block Skin creator, and just rename the files it produces to the matching names of the textures for the individual parts. That's a bit simpler than I previously thought, unless I'm getting the wrong idea here. For a better explanation, let's say I have this:

Image
This is the entire model used on one Texture entirely. Note there's two spots where the UV mapping doesn't look appropriate at all. The Blue Spike and the cockpit have spots where the textures differ.

Image
With appropriately placed textures, this is how it looks. This is the look I want to keep in Trackmania, if at all possible. I can sacrifice the emblem if it won't show up with it's proper transparency effect intact. But the Cockpit is a key part of the model and has to stay.

As for wheels and etc, I won't add them if I can't do that in MilkShape. It'll be a sacrifice I can live with, since usually most night tracks are lit up enough that I can see the road anyway. Also, lastly, the wings and such won't be positioned like that. They'll have far better positioning when I'm done with getting it all set up.

And yes, I am operating out of Milkshape. It's the only modelling tool I know how to use efficiently. Milkshape doesn't have the tools to rig and weigh models, but I'm certain that that's not a required thing. It does, however, have a ton of importing and a ton of exporting formats I can choose from.

The textures are already in .dds format, and I'm glad Trackmania United's editor takes .PNG files, because that's the only way I can think of when it comes to preserving transparencies on the Cockpit and Emblem.

KitsuFox
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Re: Confused on vehicle making...

Post by KitsuFox » 14 Feb 2008 07:07

Edit: Disregard my previous comment.

Image

That was a lot simpler to pull off than I thought. But there's a problem: When I look at it, that doesn't even look like the right texture. It looks like it still has all the maps. Don't mind me, I'm doing some debugging.

Gording
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Re: Confused on vehicle making...

Post by Gording » 14 Feb 2008 14:29

KitsuFox wrote:That was a lot simpler to pull off than I thought.
It's not hard to import a mesh, save in the required 3DS format, and then use TM to convert that to GBX after all.....the hard bit is when the model you're trying to convert has 40k polygons, and you've got to get it below 2500 for the low quality setting. Or even worse the original model (remember to state in the Vehicle's zip file where the original came from, as it's copyrighted) comes from a game with interchangable mech/body parts and deformable panels. Those appear to be so complex they make 40,000 polygon's look simple by comparison!
KitsuFox wrote:But there's a problem: When I look at it, that doesn't even look like the right texture. It looks like it still has all the maps. Don't mind me, I'm doing some debugging.
As before. UV Mapping the skin to the model is the tricky part...

In apps which import a model along with it's relevant textures intact, it's not a given that when it exports that model in a new format that all the individual textures are mapped to the various parts and laid out properly for TM. Be very careful that the guide you are using is explaining the texture names for the specific TM game. TMO/TMS/TMN/TMU all use different part names in their meshes, and different names for their relevant textures, and even different names for their GBX files in the Vehicle zip...thanks Nadeo! Get those wrong, and the game will apply a default, which looks completely wrong as.....you've guessed it....they don't even look like the right textures being used! :lol:

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