TIPS FROM A FORMER USAF 3D MODELER
Okay, just to clarify things, I just popped in for a few days because a friend asked me some questions about how the models were built and I thought maybe you still had some questions.
Q -McFly - Thanks for stopping by. First. Is it possible to use more than 2 .bmp files for the texture mapping of the models in USAF?
A - Deus_ex - You can have as many
texture files as you like; We used two because we wanted the game to run
properly on older systems and that was in 99 - today, with a new machine,
you can do whatever you want. You can also use TGA files with an alpha
channel for transparency instead of using Cyan for key-color transparency
(which never worked that well).
It was a lot of hard work but later I came up with a method that saved me a lot of work, and which I still use now. It's quite easy and has better results than chillyskinner.
What I do is this: I still break a model apart manually, but before I
arrange the parts in a rectangle to create the texture, I first make an
instanced clone of everything and arrange the instances. If some part,
say the engines of a 747, receive the same texture, I first make instances
of them on the model so later they all get the same coordinates.
Q -McFly - Do you know how to open
the .pal files that are associated with the explosions and afterburner
The 2 large files are vertical strips with a series of images that create
an animation. both have 2 8-bit channels: one grayscale (or maybe plaletted?)
color channel and one alpha channel. The header is 8 bits long. The one
with smoke has a width of 64 and the one with an explosion is 128 pixels
The other files, some have 2 channels and some have 4 - RGB + alpha. You'll have to guess the sizes, but mostly they're powers of two - 32x32, 64x64, and such.
I don't know what you're going to do with the info though, all the effects in USAF were hard coded and I didn't know more can be added.
Q -McFly - Do you have any tips on the terrain mapping?
A - Deus_ex - As for terrain - that's
a complicated issue. The ppl who worked on terrains used some custom software
to compress the terrain image. I'm not sure how it worked But I remember
there were a number of layers one on top of another, so maybe they somehow
used PSD files? just a guess. Probably a wrong one.
McFly - Thank you kindly for sharing this oh so hard to find information.
CONVERSTATION WITH YET ANOTHER
(Ariel Cancio)_ Dear Xmen,
(Xmen)_ <Hi Ariel>
(Ariel Cancio)_ I am writting to you because
you are the only
(Ariel Cancio)_ The main problem appeared when I tried
(Xmen)_ <Pixel proprietary tool, we take a 16Bit color mapping of the elevation. in USAF it was in 10M per pixel res ( height) today similar technology is used on real FS and real debriefing stations that are built by SIMIGON INC. and goes to much higher resolutions.>
(Ariel Cancio)_ How do you make the surface reliev?
(Xmen)_ < The render system decompress
the layers of image , DEM , and MAP using a jpeg based compression and
a special streamer that loads the right layers from the disk.
(Ariel Cancio)_ What information has the format files.Map and files.Ptt?
(Xmen)_ <Pixel format : Pixel terrain type its a multy resolution jpeg based compression>
(Ariel Cancio)_ Will be posible to add a new stage or will I have to replace one of them?
(Xmen)_ <I you can change the files somewhere
in the admin.ini file>
(Xmen)_ <. I think Airport where a special terrain type defined in the terrain db using a visual tool. just like water land rocks etc. I do not know where can you get this tool>
(Ariel Cancio)_ Is it possible to include more 2D and 3D cockpits? So far we succeded in including some new cockpits, but the number is limited to 12 if I´m right. How can we include more cockpits?.
(Xmen)_ < I think the planes types are unfortunately hard coded, sorry Ariel.