This week I speant time working on the background for the Character Generation Screen. The plan was to create the model that characters would be created in before they later appear in Base Camp.
I started by modifying the pod model. My initial pass at it required that I delete the exterior geometry. I worked with the remaining parts to build the interior. I textured the individual parts, one by one, until I ended up with what you see below.
I wanted to get the general textures in place so I could test the “Render to Texture” function in 3dsMax and make sure that everything would render properly in the Multiverse Model Viewer (which it did).
I continued by adding more detail so as to get the model closer to what I imagined.
The challenge I was presented next was when I unwrapped the model. Everything changed. Most of the textures stayed put but as I reorganized the UV (resizing and rearranging the individual parts) some of the textures changed their scale and orientation. That was a little frustrating.
What I proceeded to do was re-texture the individual areas in PhotoShop and added further detail. This included, caution stripes, lighting and other features as you see below.
What I really like about 3dsMax is the ability to generate the individual maps (diffuse, normal, lighting, shadows, etc). That is something I never quite learned to do in Blender. It is not to say you can’t do the same in that open source application. I just never learned how. 🙂
I was able to overlay the shadow and lighting maps over the diffuse texture and add an emit map (for the lights) from what I created in PhotoShop.
This is what I imagine the inside of the pods look like. Compartments in the walls provide space for small components and equipment. The version you are looking at is empty but is usually filled with equipment, crates and other components. There are also areas where chairs can be mounted to seat personnel for the ride down to the planet.
After I converted the end model to Collada format, renamed it to match the existing Gazebo file (the model used in the MV Sample World) and imported into the Postmoderna World file, I had to play with the settings in the Character Generation Python Script file. It took some time to figure out where each setting that I needed to modify was but, I did so eventually.
The first settings I altered were those for the camera position. Once I got the camera where I wanted it, I modified the ambient light and the directional light for the environment. The directional light frustrated me because no matter what I did, it was just too bright and created artifacts I did not like. Eventually, I decided to turn if off entirely.
Next, I modified the settings for the point light (similar to an area lamp). I moved it to a more realistic point within the pod and modified the brightness and the color. I tweaked it a bit more after I figured out how to move the avatar to the location I wanted it.
At first, I could not find the settings for that. What seemed to make sense, really didn’t work and the actual settings were in another part of the file. Of course, had I been a programmer, maybe I would have figured it out sooner but trial-and-error got me where I needed and I made the adjustment.
Finally, I copied all the modified files to to my server and tested the new screen.
I am sure there are a few other tweaks I can make to the textures, lighting and UI but for now, I think the Character Generation Screen came out pretty close to what I imagined.