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Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:56 pm
by Sirius
It's already there actually... just replace a robot with a new high-res model and set it to "static". Actually I think Anthology had objects like that holding up the forcefields at the end.

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:35 pm
by darkflamewolf
but then again, aren't you limited to the amount of robot slots you can replace? Vertigo expansion gives you around 13 more robot slots to play with, but on the whole, isn't there only a set amount?

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:17 pm
by Ben K
As far as I know. I'm not planning on a vast menagerie of robots however, so there is some scope for that.

Level 1 has been progressing (slowly). It's mostly caves but there are a few intricate bits in it.

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:48 pm
by karx11erx
As I said, I can make DLE-XP offer additional object slots.

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:02 pm
by Ben K
OK, there's a few airlocks in the first level. Doors (which I'm hoping can be 3D but I can make them 2D as needed) will be opened by switches next to them, activated by bumping them with your ship. I'm hoping to have a toggle for the ability to shoot them as well, as in D3, because there are some where I'd like that to be possible and some where I'd rather you have to move them with a heavy object (that is, your ship).

Essentially, I'm looking to build 3D switch models that can open and close doors repeatedly. Let me know if this is feasible.

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:23 pm
by karx11erx
DLE-XP and D2X-XL already support multi operation switch panels (which don't get destroyed when you shoot them). Shouldn't be too hard to allow your switches to have an object trigger that opens doors and to trigger such objects' behaviour by bumping into them or shooting them. Dunno yet how to handle animations though for other formats than POF.

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:26 pm
by Ben K
If POF is the one that works, that's what I'll use.

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:28 am
by Sirius
Ouch. OK. As long as it doesn't need more than five individual animation states (it can interpolate between them but that's as many "endpoints" as the format allows) it can be done.

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:43 am
by karx11erx
If you tell me how to animate an ASE model, I will implement that. Shouldn't be that hard.

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:45 pm
by Sirius
From what I can tell (there's an article on the Unreal Wiki that I found through Google that seems to indicate this) ASE does have the ability to hold animation data, but I can't find any documentation on how it actually works. There doesn't even appear to be a spec out there on the format, and even TrueSpace has that... :/

Anyway, failing that, what do you think of handling the animations in a separate file using a custom format? Since we're talking solid body animation, the main things that need to be tracked by each animation are:
  • Centre of rotation (if the model doesn't contain data about that already; POF does through the concept of the submodel "offset", but ASE might not)
  • Some way to specify the state of rotation. I think Descent POF uses Euler angles but quaternions are presumably also possible.

From that a single "state" would contain this data for each component of the model (possibly except the main body or if you want to think of it that way "root node"). It should then be possible to have an arbitrary number of states in an animation file. Preferably hand-editable unless there is some tool that can create this kind of thing, but usually it's contained in the model format I think... and usually better-documented too.

Anyway, that still leaves the problem of how to use them. Since D2 allows interpolation between successive animation states, it would make sense to re-use this ability. I'm thinking it might make sense to use triggers or scripts (though there aren't any actually, so triggers it is) to direct an object to "transition" to a new animation state over a specified period of time.

This still wouldn't let you use ASE for making robots since their animation states are hard-coded, but maybe the first five states could correspond to the five states shown in tools such as Robot Edit (respectively, that would be idle, normal, attacking, alt firing position, getting hit). I don't know if you'd feel like putting any further work into adding more states there since it would presumably mean a lot of AI programming. If you like the idea though feel free.

Anyway, does the above sound halfway reasonable? If I could find any definition of how to use ASE animation support (then again, tools like Blender may not even export the animation data, in which case it wouldn't do a lot of good) I'd suggest you use that, but it doesn't seem to be a frequently-used part of the format.

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:42 am
by Ben K
There is a possibility we'll need to work outside established 3D software for this. I'm not sure. Blender, Maya and 3DS (the last of which I don't know very well at all) all have ways of saving keyframes, and at least Maya can interpolate between "blend shape" nodes which are saved as custom attributes of the mesh. I have my doubts any of this is designed to be effectively exported though. Hence my saying that we may need something custom.

I need to get back onto the level design for this. Assessments etc. have killed any chance of progress last week, but hopefully I should at least finish the layout of the first level this week.

'Architectural' layouts take a little more time than the stuff I used to do. Forgot that little detail. Hehe.

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:41 am
by karx11erx
There are already passive objects in DLE-XP and D2X-XL. Sirius has used them in Anthology.

Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:30 am
by Ben K
Level 1 is structurally just about complete bar some cave mazes down the bottom. I'm thinking I'll be forced to ask for volunteers once I've got that textured to show people what the artwork of this set is going to be like. It's going to take me forever to get through the whole thing solo.

I'll have to set up a project outline as well.

Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:57 am
by Sirius
I wasn't going to make any more Descent levels... but if you're going through with this, I guess I could reconsider. As long as I get to use static meshes. :)

Would probably mean spending more time figuring out Blender, but hell, need to start somewhere. If I ever get serious about UE3 it'd be nearly required anyway.

Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:24 am
by Ben K
Yeah, I think static meshes will make my job here much more pleasant.