CarthOnasty

[WIP] Star Maps Revamp

49 posts in this topic

///// 01. Background /////

 

Hey folks, I wanted to learn about reskinning, modding, etc. I noticed this last time that the star maps could use some tender love and care, so I thought I'd give them a shot. Here's an example of one as well as its skin as a reminder:

VHCEzLe.jpg TMjSDal.jpg

 

///// 02. Prep /////

 

After locating all of the model files, I wanted to first know where everything fell on the model, so I made a grid and applied it as the star map skin:

8O0fkjf.jpg

 

Resulting in the following:

dmUQ3BU.jpg

 

I then took screen caps of various angles, locations, etc.

 

///// 03. Planning /////

 

I knew I wanted the textures to be a much higher quality as well as much more realistic. I perused through various metal textures, corroded, rusted, etc to find one I liked at still fit into the time period. I found old, abandoned trains to be a great source of inspiration/textures.

 

Regarding the runes on the model, I wanted them to stand out much more and thought were a very cool feature that could be integrated. I made them a bit more front-and-center and added a glow via CM_Bright.

 

///// 4. Work Thus Far /////

 

Okay, enough stalling, here's what I have so far:

3s1DdKS.jpg

9y7Ho4g.jpg ZVGp9m0.jpg

 

///// 05. Challenges /////

  • Lining up the indentations was very difficult and they honestly don't line up on every side. I just got them as even as I could considering the sides and hoped for the best.
  • As you can see in the above screen caps, there's discolored between the body and the feet, though this isn't the same for every location. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that.
  • Lining up the circle piece is pretty tough, as the surrounding areas' texture is also about 40% larger so it's just a matter of finding that balance.

 

///// 06. Next Steps /////

  • Figure out what the hell to do with that base. I'm not even sure I like what's there originally. Maybe leave it blank? Or does it need something, I dunno.
  • General seam clean-up.
  • Retexture the sphere in the middle as well as a couple other pieces once the map opens.

 

///// 07. Future Plans /////

  • In thinking about a version 2, I'd like to actually edit the model files. I think some edges could be softened, but mostly I'd like to adjust the mapping to avoid so many repeated areas of the texture.
  • I'd also like to adjust the lighting in a couple of places.
  • Would I go as far as to customize it for every zone you find a map? I dunno, that's a big endeavor.

 

///// 08. Final Remarks /////

 

Well there you go. Thanks for reading through this wall of text. Feel free to leave any constructive criticisms or advice. I'm open to any and all!

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I like your skin so far, especially the blue lights!

 

But in K1 there's an awkward placeable limit, as stated here which you should be wary about. 

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I like your skin so far, especially the blue lights!

 

But in K1 there's an awkward placeable limit, as stated here which you should be wary about.

 

Thanks! In regards to the placeable limit (bummer btw), would this be in reference if I were to make a model for each zone?

 

 

Agreed with djh269, the lights look great. Good luck with the project!

 

Thanks!

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Thanks! In regards to the placeable limit (bummer btw), would this be in reference if I were to make a model for each zone?

Yes, if you want them to be unique. The only other option would be to incorporate them into the room model. It may still be possible to call the animations via script in the same fashion as the vanilla game. You can do so in TSL at least, not sure about K1.

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Yes, if you want them to be unique. The only other option would be to incorporate them into the room model. It may still be possible to call the animations via script in the same fashion as the vanilla game. You can do so in TSL at least, not sure about K1.

 

Gotcha, maybe in the final version then I'd offer just a basic revamp and then a version for extra placeables and whatnot. Seems a bit short-sided on BioWare's part, but ah well. Thanks for the info!

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Best-organized WIP post...ever???? Love the skin.

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Best-organized WIP post...ever???? Love the skin.

 

Haha, glad someone appreciates my idiosyncrasies... Thanks bud. :D

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Here's an update for you folks. I've been messing around with the map hud(?), getting cleaner lines and sharper graphics. Take a look:

 

MJKzNfM.jpg ePD8Kf3.jpg

 

The one downside I'm seeing (personally) is that now the graphics are more crisp, they also tend to clutter up the map as a whole. I've been playing around with alternate graphics but have to find something I like. I think once released, I'll over the original version and then my version.

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Looks great!

 

Maybe you could make the HUD more transparent and the map itself more opaque?

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Yeah, looks to me like you killed of the transparency of the original. Did you delete the alpha channel?

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Thanks! In regards to the placeable limit (bummer btw), would this be in reference if I were to make a model for each zone?

Yes, if you want them to be unique. The only other option would be to incorporate them into the room model. It may still be possible to call the animations via script in the same fashion as the vanilla game. You can do so in TSL at least, not sure about K1.

 

Depending on circumstances (if the other rooms already have animations on them) the maps might have to be their own separate room models, but it should be doable. Room animations can definitely be scripted in K1, I can say first-hand, though I've never tried to make a new one since it wasn't possible before.

 

The code for the room animations is

PlayRoomAnimation(string sRoom, int nAnimation);

with sRoom being the actual room model name, and nAnimation being the animation number. Looks like there are 20 available room animation constants, which would be more than enough for the 7 - at least I think it's 7 - Star Map animations.

 

You would have to change the animation names on the models. I'm not sure what the naming scheme for that is, but you should be able to figure it out by checking the Ebon Hawk skyboxes.

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Looks great!

 

Maybe you could make the HUD more transparent and the map itself more opaque?

 

Yeah, looks to me like you killed of the transparency of the original. Did you delete the alpha channel?

 

The alpha channel is still there for sure. I'm not sure how I'd go about making the HUD more transparent though. My theory is that the the original was so blurry that it gave that illusion of a more transparent HUD.

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The alpha channel is still there for sure. I'm not sure how I'd go about making the HUD more transparent though. My theory is that the the original was so blurry that it gave that illusion of a more transparent HUD.

 

Can't you use the alpha channel for that? Or is it used for something else?

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Can't you use the alpha channel for that? Or is it used for something else?

 

It usually is from what I understand, however on all of these HUD pieces, the original alpha channel is completely white. Therefor meaning the whole .tga has the transparency applied to it. (From what I can gather.)

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If it's using blending, additive, then it doesn't need an alpha channel - all the black parts of the texture are rendered transparent. So to make it less opaque, you could darken the texture.

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That's probably what it is then. I couldn't find the txi info to confirm it, but it seems to be the most likely thing.

 

Also, as an unrelated suggestion for your new textures: In yours, the spiral shape of the galaxy is very hard to see, so maybe improve on that? I think it'd look more like a galaxy and less like a star cluster then.

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If it's using blending, additive, then it doesn't need an alpha channel - all the black parts of the texture are rendered transparent. So to make it less opaque, you could darken the texture.

 

You were correct! This did the trick, thanks!

 

That's probably what it is then. I couldn't find the txi info to confirm it, but it seems to be the most likely thing.

 

Also, as an unrelated suggestion for your new textures: In yours, the spiral shape of the galaxy is very hard to see, so maybe improve on that? I think it'd look more like a galaxy and less like a star cluster then.

 

I agree, that's another idea I've been playing around with. I liked the idea of using a nebula in there, but it starts to get really cloudy.

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Here's the HUD with a 50% transparency. Looks better imo and just needs a few tweaks here and there. Thanks for input!

 

mtE4AkF.jpg

  • Like 8

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I'm kind of stuck at this point with the mod. I've gotten everything to the point in which I really like it, except for this little darn thing:
Y6inljo.png
 
Not to mention I find the skin heinous to boot:
tUiin1U.jpg
 
It's kind of a bizarre shape, a decahedron I want to say, and there's a lot of repeats. And then every other side of the shape uses a different part of the skin; any kind of seamless look has been damn-near impossible. I've gotten a basic texture on there I like, but I'm having trouble "finding some character" with it. e.g. The original skin has that weird circle/sun rusty-gold thing on it.
 
Anyway, I'm at a loss right now. It seems like a waste to just slap a texture on there considering all of the other details I've added to the rest. I'm certainly open for any suggestions!

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What if you just made a white-ish line down the middle? Would it repeat in an interesting way?

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Try using this on it and seeing if it might work before giving up.  My apologies if I've misunderstood the problem.

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Try using this on it and seeing if it might work before giving up.  My apologies if I've misunderstood the problem.

That just adds a clamp semantic to a TXI. It's not the issue here.

 

Anyway, I'm at a loss right now. It seems like a waste to just slap a texture on there considering all of the other details I've added to the rest. I'm certainly open for any suggestions!

Your best course of action would to either give the existing sphere a new UV layout more suited to what you have in mind, or outright replace the mesh with something else.

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