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Can I create models without owning unity?


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Well simply as title says;

I'm very experienced with other CAD tools - and those are perfect to create a realistic model for KSP, since I work on a daily basis with CATIA. However CATIA exports as the default CAD formats (or its own format). It does not support exporting as "mu" file. I have learned that this is a native file to unity.

Now since one of the perks of being a student is having little money I wonder: can I use my skills and equipment I have (CATIA, solidworks) to create models for KSP? I prefer anything but using blender (other than to do really basic file format changes) - blender is terrible without any notion of "construction". You can't set constraints to subassemblies or tell blender "this is a cylinder (d=1m), and these are cylindrical holes (d=1cm) at angle alpha with a bevel of 2 mm".

 

Terrible to make any structural part.

Edited by paul23
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Yes you can create models without owning unity you just won't get them in ksp or in game sorry i couldn't help my self  and you can use the free unity to get stuff in game you just need to found out what all formats you can use most i would say use dae or fbx format to get them into unity

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A 3D Model is always a combination from a 3d Mesh, it's UV coordinates, a texture and a material linking it all. Catia can (iirc) only produce one of these all, the 3d mesh. So no, its is NOT "perfect to create a realistic model for KSP.

And as you CAN tell blender "this is a cylinder (d=1m), and these are cylindrical holes (d=1cm) at angle alpha with a bevel of 2 mm", it only shows that you don't know much about blender at all.

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you will still need a middle program to uv unwrap and do final tweaking of exported STLs to bring it in game.

Modeling in solidworks, catea, proe, etc would be best to do in a manner that the exported parts will be faceted to be easy to unwrap and not be excessive in polygons.

rQtNr6C.png

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And the idea of a "UV map" I just don't get.

 

I'm an engineer: and catia can work out perfectly lighting, hell renders using catia look way better than anything I see made for games (ok apart from using shaders, but if one removed the shader the models pale in comparison to some of the models I worked with of the spaceshuttle etc). Also catia can work fine for skinning (either by using materials or by using textures), way way easier than using textures manually, especially since most of the things are just "stickers + solid color paint". (I never understood why so many 3d models keep adding rivets as image instead of actually using 3d parts for those, it's way way easier to do that than to make images).

 

I'm looking to insert a 100% accurate delfi C3 model body, and near perfect envisat models into the game. To make it actually realistic instead of simple shapes with a texture on it. Can unity use curbs, and can I use the techniques I learn for 3d cad in unity without having to think about "triangles/quads"? Take for example the wings: they are terrible (no choice of airfoil or size), I wish to update this. Now in catia I can create a simple wing with just 4 or 5 actions:
-Load in airfoil from NACA profile (2d coordinates)
-Load a second airfoil sketch at a given Z distance from the first 
-Reduce the sketch a bit in size (taper ratio)
-Rotate the sketch a bit (twist angle)
-Connect the two sketches automatically creating the 3d profile
5 minutes work (ok 10 if I have to search for the airfoil using javafoil) - and it gives me directly a 3d model I can press "print" on, I don't have to think about what's "outside" or "inside", catia calculates that for me using a lightsource.

 

I'm sorry but my experience with blender and other (non cad) 3d software has been nothing but miserable, I can't ever seem to work smoothly like above and all tutorials explain only to "draw it like it's paint", none explain to make things when you know the mathematical parameters of a shape.

Edited by paul23
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4 hours ago, paul23 said:

And the idea of a "UV map" I just don't get.

do you understand how to create sheet metal parts and then have those features flattened for cutting?

 

4 hours ago, paul23 said:

especially since most of the things are just "stickers + solid color paint".

Any decent ksp mod is not just solid color paint and stickers. Those which are usually are not very good looking because of that.

 

 

4 hours ago, paul23 said:

I never understood why so many 3d models keep adding rivets as image instead of actually using 3d parts for those, it's way way easier to do that than to make images

as an experiment, you should try it out in the game and see how it looks. There is a reason no one does this.

 

4 hours ago, paul23 said:

Take for example the wings: they are terrible (no choice of airfoil or size), I wish to update this.

At this point it would just be a visual thing. KSP doesnt care if you use a clark Y or NACA 0012, all that matters is how thwe CFG is setup for generating lift.

 

4 hours ago, paul23 said:

none explain to make things when you know the mathematical parameters of a shape.

did you even read my response? Use the parametric software you are comfortable with, model in a faceted manner so your exports wouldn't be in the millions of triangles, export as STL, and then you just need to learn the basics of Blender, as well as how to texture a part.

 

4 hours ago, paul23 said:

I'm an engineer

What do engineers do? they solve problems which have specific design requirements.

Approach ksp modding in a similar fashion.

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Any decent ksp mod is not just solid color paint and stickers. Those which are usually are not very good looking because of that.

I'm honestly wondering why: look at commercial aircraft or rockets: they are nearly always (except for those strange Japanese hello kitty aircraft) a single or two colours. Yet they look amazing when in flight. Take the concorde, queen of the sky. Nearly completely virgin white - yet such a powerful and beautiful image:

 BA British Airways Concorde in 2000

Now I understand that the point is: people often paint the windows on them. But I really dislike that, I wish to create actual realistic craft: and thus the windows would just be a different material (which again is egal of colour - but black). When I "just" import a file into blender it tends to forget the fact that the image is made out of multiple parts, which isn't a problem if it could automatically "create a texture page". Are there no tools for that? Similarly: I believe blender can easily "reduce polygon-count"? 

 

At this point it would just be a visual thing. KSP doesnt care if you use a clark Y or NACA 0012, all that matters is how thwe CFG is setup for generating lift.

Both for visual appeal - as well as a mod I plan to create in long term it is important. Right now many parts look "flat" to me. With details painted on. 

 

as well as how to texture a part.

This is what I wish to prevent having to do.

 

What do engineers do? they solve problems which have specific design requirements.

Approach ksp modding in a similar fashion.

Hehe, my prof has often adviced me this indeed. Sadly I disagree: if my tool isn't working perfectly for what I want I modify the tool - I've written python scripts to import things in catia from data in my personal prefered format. And I don't limit myself to using catia when creating CAD, if autodesk is better I get and use autodesk. Heck I'm now thinking of writing first a mod so I can load .catproduct files into unity based games.

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2 hours ago, paul23 said:

 

 

I'm honestly wondering why: look at commercial aircraft or rockets: they are nearly always (except for those strange Japanese hello kitty aircraft) a single or two colours. Yet they look amazing when in flight. Take the concorde, queen of the sky. Nearly completely virgin white - yet such a powerful and beautiful image:

 BA British Airways Concorde in 2000

Now I understand that the point is: people often paint the windows on them. But I really dislike that, I wish to create actual realistic craft: and thus the windows would just be a different material (which again is egal of colour - but black). When I "just" import a file into blender it tends to forget the fact that the image is made out of multiple parts, which isn't a problem if it could automatically "create a texture page". Are there no tools for that? Similarly: I believe blender can easily "reduce polygon-count"? 

1ueITZ4.png

Color is only a small part of texture. Texture is everything about how it looks.

 

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3 hours ago, paul23 said:

I'm honestly wondering why: look at commercial aircraft or rockets: they are nearly always (except for those strange Japanese hello kitty aircraft) a single or two colours. Yet they look amazing when in flight.

Top is solid color

Bottom has textured wear/grime buildup, manufacturing smudging/marks, and manually added 

 

which do you think looks better?

Sm9sg5Y.png

KpyZDDS.png

 

3 hours ago, paul23 said:

Nearly completely virgin white - yet such a powerful and beautiful image

have you ever taken a close look at aircraft? 

tpn4.jpg

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On 10/30/2016 at 11:59 AM, paul23 said:

Terrible to make any structural part.

Not intended to either. As much as Blender is a horrible choice to do 3D engineering in, AutoCAD is a similarly bad choice as a rendering engine for 3D gaming. The systems are optimized towards different uses. Blender runs in Python though, so it's relatively easy to create scripts that can do precise/repetitive placement for you (I will admit I do not know how; I do know it is possible).

While certain things might not seem "the right way" (like painting on windows instead of modelling them) they have the incredible benefit of saving a lot of time (both in model creation and computation time). It is up to the modeller to decide where the trade-off is; sometimes it's easier to suggest a ledge by texturing it, sometimes it will be necessary to actually model it. Keep in mind that there's a price to be paid for all that detail though. Modelling windows on spaceship is not uncommon (they don't have that many); on an airliner you'd likely model the cockpit windows but not the passenger ones.

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Wait.

I see a bunch of misconceptions here.

Quote

Now since one of the perks of being a student is having little money

Unity is free for personal use. Mod making counts as such.

Quote

And the idea of a "UV map" I just don't get.

UV is a way to reduce the number of textures loaded into the memory - a single file can be used to texture a whole part or even a bunch of different parts. You can reuse parts of it between UVs. If you have 12 identical faces, you just need one segment of the texture and place all 12 UVs over it. If you want solid color, you rescale your UVs to 1 pixel and place them over a pixel of the right color. You want a stripe running a length of the hull - you need just a 1px wide 'slice' and scale the UV to cover it. A single texture file that way can serve a bunch of parts, each of dozens of faces , and as result take little memory - which is important for a game with crafts of thousands parts.

And since about all KSP textures require a texture, you must define one, even if it's to be a 1x1px transparent pixel. You may as well make use of it though.

Quote

I never understood why so many 3d models keep adding rivets as image instead of actually using 3d parts for those, it's way way easier to do that than to make images

Poly count. Extra 18 faces per rivet, times 200 rivets, and your part goes from 400 faces to 4000. And people with weaker gfx cards start to hate you. That's what bump/normal mapping is for - at a fixed cost of the extra shader you can add an arbitrary number of bumps and such without ever increasing the poly count.

 

In the end, Unity is NOT a 3D editor. It's a framework for making games. You create a 3D model in your 3D program of choice, then turn it into a game part in Unity. Adding PartTools, defining the collider, applying KSP shaders - shaders that the game actually supports as opposed of whatever your 3D software authors thought of. Defining transforms and raycasts for physics. Giving them identifiers to be referenced in .cfg. Creating KSP-specific details, like looks of engine flame (particle emitter). Making shared resources actually shared - like using the same texture file with multiple models.

Don't bother too much with materials in shaders in whatever 3D software you have. KSP doesn't support these exact shaders anyway. You need to redo the whole work from scratch in Unity, reassigning KSP shaders that do what you want - KSP Specular is quite dissimilar from Blender Specular, so unless you want to prepare your part for glamour shots through Blender (or Catia) renders, there is really no point bothering with these. Just separate your part into logical objects (per material; in Unity one object = one material = one shader), and export it to something Unity can import.

 

 

Edited by Sharpy
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On 1.11.2016 at 0:22 AM, Sharpy said:

UV is a way to reduce the number of textures loaded into the memory - a single file can be used to texture a whole part or even a bunch of different parts. You can reuse parts of it between UVs. If you have 12 identical faces, you just need one segment of the texture and place all 12 UVs over it. If you want solid color, you rescale your UVs to 1 pixel and place them over a pixel of the right color. You want a stripe running a length of the hull - you need just a 1px wide 'slice' and scale the UV to cover it. A single texture file that way can serve a bunch of parts, each of dozens of faces , and as result take little memory - which is important for a game with crafts of thousands parts.

UV are just coordinates in a 2D space. Every vertex has its spatial, 3 dimensional coordinates x, y, z and at least one set of a u and a v coordinate, describing the location of that vertex in the 2 dimensional texture space. Thus uv is the way a texture is applied to a face, as now for every face there are 3 known points on the texture.

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8 minutes ago, InsaneDruid said:

UV are just coordinates in a 2D space. Every vertex has its spatial, 3 dimensional coordinates x, y, z and at least one set of a u and a v coordinate, describing the location of that vertex in the 2 dimensional texture space. Thus uv is the way a texture is applied to a face, as now for every face there are 3 known points on the texture.

Yes, though there are other (either more wasteful or less flexible) ways of applying textures. UV mapping both allows precise skinning using a texture that may have little in common with shape and dimensions of the textured faces, and allows many different faces across different object to utilize a single texture file. This makes it particularly desirable for games.

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On 2.11.2016 at 4:52 PM, InsaneDruid said:

To my knowledge there is no way of texturing without any sort of uv coordinate, even if they are auto-created.

Depends what you call 'auto-creation'.

Simple method - one texture per face type, repeating indefinitely at a fixed scale - a'la Wolfenstein3D. The 'UV' is a fixed 0,0 for the upper left corner of the face, and the rest following that at fixed scale.

A much more complex approach, used in automatic texturing of models from 3D scan and photos - projection. A photo is 'projected' onto the model, like a projector image. UV coords are generated by simply removing the depth component from vertex coords; normal angle decides which of images - photo taken from which side - is used for texturing given face. 3D buildings in Google Earth are textured that way.

Voxel graphics, where individual voxels are assigned colors; no faces as such. Volumetric color data, used in color 3D printing.

Procedurally generated textures following the algorithm of creation of the object - SpeedTree, Facegen. Dynamically generated textures - RasterProp.

 

Even if in some case UVs are somewhere there in the background, that is not the same as manually unwrapped static UV map, as known for great most of KSP parts. It's a method that is fairly efficient for the machine and not overly arduous for the artist, so it's dominant in gaming - but absolutely not the only one.

 

 

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Wolf3D is a ray caster. There are no vertices in there.

Same for voxels. Of course in the absence of vertices no uv coordinates for these not existing vertices are needed. The Rest of what you are listing is still using uv coordinates.

What you are probably referencing with "UV mapping both allows precise skinning using a texture that may have little in common with shape and dimensions of the textured faces, and allows many different faces across different object to utilize a single texture file. This makes it particularly desirable for games." is more the ability to somewhat controlling the uv coordinates in a editor, not the actual process of UV mapping. The very process of texturing a face made of vertices allows all of the things you said in this quote.

Your google earth example does not violate anything in this quote. Or the procedurally generated textures examples.

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Once again: I have to stress I mainly wish to avoid "texturing": I hate it and I don't even WISH to learn it. In normal CAD software I just "paste" my image over a part of the "part" (part being a small piece of a product, akin to a metal bar). I select a colour, maybe a rough "darknessing" which should be auto generated based on my inputs - and then I have a 2d image and it's stretch along it - like stickers (or well bit more advanced, like those blow-dry stickers that bend & stretch into shapes really well). My software does the rest (hey catia does SHOW it quite well, even with smudges etc if I state "this part drove through mud" - so it calculates the textures for me, internally it also uses UV maps indeed but I *don't care about it* - why can't blender/unity/whatever you game artist use do this).

 

 

Look I am not here to argue about vertices and textures needed for 3d rendering, I know how a graphic card works. - I am here wondering why for game design I can't work in the product domain, instead I have to work in some in between domain where I optimize texture pages and work on a per-vertex base. For all those people saying "but blender allows python so you can do those things automatically in blender"; you're missing the point. If I design something I don't even want to see the textures, I want to have a workbench that allows me to mold and meld the item into a shape.

Take the "bevel" settings: I don't care about how many steps there are in the bevel, as long as it loads fast (heck ideally a 3d program should decide this on the fly based on the settings, but I can live with it choosing "at the very end"). This is also the second even bigger problem: if I add bevel to a shape in blender, and later I edit it again I can't just "change or undo the bevel" while keeping the rest of the shape. blender "forgets" that a certain edge is beveled.

 

It's like working in photoshop instead of Illustrator - most designers will tell you illustrator vector graphics is way superior when you have to "design something" from bottom up. (And yes internally the vector art is converted to rasters since that's what computers display - however that's the final step and you don't convert it and then start colouring the image cause).

 

 

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2 hours ago, paul23 said:

I am here wondering why for game design I can't work in the product domain, instead I have to work in some in between domain where I optimize texture pages and work on a per-vertex base.

You can, it's a different job. A Concept designer or artist to be exact. If that's what you want to do, team up with a 3d artist who can take your concepts to a game ready asset. If you want to make game ready assets, you have to know that stuff that you don't want to learn. Tough cookies bud.

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8 hours ago, paul23 said:

Look I am not here to argue about vertices and textures needed for 3d rendering, I know how a graphic card works. - I am here wondering why for game design I can't work in the product domain, instead I have to work in some in between domain where I optimize texture pages and work on a per-vertex base. 

For those pesky texture and vertices ARE the product.

 

8 hours ago, paul23 said:

It's like working in photoshop instead of Illustrator - most designers will tell you illustrator vector graphics is way superior when you have to "design something" from bottom up. (And yes internally the vector art is converted to rasters since that's what computers display - however that's the final step and you don't convert it and then start colouring the image cause).

And all photographers will tell you that PS is way superior when you have to image manipulating. The right tool for the right job.

If you don't want to code, don't try to be a programmer.

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On ‎31‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 6:34 PM, cxg2827 said:

 

Bottom has textured wear/grime buildup, manufacturing smudging/marks, and manually added 

KpyZDDS.png

 

This is great! how did you get your texture to look like this, it the dirt/grime a separate layer (as you would expect with a bump map) or is it part of the base texture image? if so what techniques to you use to get it to gather in the nock and crannies so well?

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  • 2 weeks later...

@steedcrugeon check out the UV/Texturing link in my sig. @CobaltWolf posted a writeup on how he does the smudging/wear/tear on his parts and I used that as a guide. It is very similar method that @benjee10 and porkjet use as well and gives fairly good results even on a first attempt.

I can send you one of my texture files so you can peek around.

 

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9 minutes ago, cxg2827 said:

@steedcrugeon check out the UV/Texturing link in my sig. @CobaltWolf posted a writeup on how he does the smudging/wear/tear on his parts and I used that as a guide. It is very similar method that @benjee10 and porkjet use as well and gives fairly good results even on a first attempt.

I can send you one of my texture files so you can peek around.

 

Here's a folder with my source files in PSD. @cxg2827 uses TIFFs which probably have higher compatibility.

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@CobaltWolf so on your unity models you apply the layers to individual shaders there. Just seeing how you have 5 different .psd for the apollo module makes me feel bad for having only put single shaders on pretty much all of my stuff so far.

@cxg2827 that's really helpful, i'm going to sift through that thread slow time and tease out the tidbits, there is so much useful stuff i their it's just deciphering it all.

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