time to start making things

YSFlight addon development, questions, tutorials, & more!
Captain_Ahab
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time to start making things

Post by Captain_Ahab » Sun Jun 27, 2021 12:53 pm

I just registered and joined here because I love airplanes
I like the challenge of adding things to a game that aren't just something I bought, but something I made
that and everything looks like it runs so smooth

I have some experience with blender. I've spent a bit of time making military miniature designs to be 3d printed. I figure I can modify the models I've done to work in the game.
https://www.thingiverse.com/captain_ahab_62/designs

sure, the wings and details are chunky, but these should be a nice base to work off of, rather than starting from scratch
if nothing else, some of the tanks and afv's should work as target models

anyways, I'm still getting set up and ready to learn making scenery first, while I get blender set up
its a pity that file import/export scripts aren't up to date. There are a lot of planes to work on
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Copperhead » Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:27 pm

Howdy there.

I'm just gonna start off by saying I'm both really impressed and really excited with your models. When I went to your page on thingiverse, I was not expecting 14 pages of content. That's a seriously impressive array of models you have, and it includes a lot of my favorites which haven't been implemented as YS' mods yet.

Your models may be a little rough, but they are easily workable, especially if you do them up them in a GAC/HQPGAC style, though if you're ambitious enough to try HD models, that would be welcome too. I'm sure if you ever need any help, or just have questions, more than a few people will be here to assist you including me, even though I've been burned out on blender and YS for quite some time.

Anyways, welcome to HQ, we're definitely happy to have you.
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Captain_Ahab » Mon Jun 28, 2021 2:05 am

I'm not worried about how rough the models are. They were made to suit a different list of limitations than ysflight has. I don't know what GAC/HDPGAC are ( documentation is pretty sparse ), but it looks like levels of detail for models; painted canopies vs transparent ones, for example, perhaps moving parts and animations too?

I'm of a mind that the planes shouldn't be so detailed/photo-realistic as to show how simple the scenery is. That would just scream "That plane doesn't belong in this world!". Another tack might be to lean into the simple models by making them cartoony, for a fun dogfight.
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looks like I'll be forced into dependency hell to get blender 2.49b to run again
scripts for import/export really ought to be upgraded to work with 'modern' tools
ah well... machts nichts

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Re: time to start making things

Post by waspe414 » Mon Jun 28, 2021 3:27 am

You've got it. HQPGAC has transparent canopies, panel lines, animated gears and gear doors, but no moving control surfaces. It's a good blend of detail and simplicity. I should track down the topic and make a more comprehensive documentation for it
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Ruskiwaffle1991 » Mon Jun 28, 2021 3:35 am

Those are some nice models you got there. Keep it up!
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Kubson88554 » Mon Jun 28, 2021 1:19 pm

Damn, that's some very good stuff you made man, would love to see your models in YS. Also, welcome to YSFHQ!
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Captain_Ahab » Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:54 am

Thanks for the welcome and kind words.
I fully hope to get my toys into YS to be able to play with them. What kid hasn't 'flown' a model airplane he's made, while making engine and diving noises?
The learning curve is fairly steep compared to other projects though.

I ask that the mods let me use this thread to post my thoughts and observations as I try to make something worthwhile. I've been immersing myself into as many tutorials as I can find, and although they are immensely helpful, they are also usually out-dated by years. Perhaps by coming at this as someone with more experience with blender than I have with YS, it might be helpful for making documentation better by pointing out things that might seem obvious to YS users, but less obvious to non-YS users. And if nothing else, someone is bound to point out things that I'm mistaken about, saving me grief and time.

observations:
1. everything is geometry. everything is a mesh where a plane's colors and markings are simply geometry that has its individual tri's colored. The only information I've seen indicates that makers can control a tri's color and transparency, but nothing else. Decals are just colored tri's floating so close the another mesh that it's hard to tell if it is separate or not.
2. individual meshes seem to be treated as if they are always being smooth shaded where surface normals are averaged between faces as with Phong shading . The maker has no control over surface normals at all and a hard edge either relies on beveling (more geometry) or else breaking things up into different parts that won't average their normals with adjoining parts and all these parts are told where to be by parent/child relationships or being told where to exist by a configuration file somewhere.

oh well... at least no one has to worry about getting a clean UV unwrap, eh?

but it does make me wonder what sort of poly budget there should be
for example, that cartoon F2g I showed is just under 5000 tris, but adding colors, panel lines, decals, cockpit, landing gear, and separating out flaps, control surfaces, etc will make that number skyrocket
How many tris should each level of model have? Can YS use lower detailed models for LOD?

Concerning HQPGAC, if someone is able to animate landing gear/doors sequences okay, animating control surfaces would seem to be a no-brainer. ... a little extra work, but not more difficult. Am I missing something there?

arrrgh... today is a day of staring at YS model files and trying to figure out exactly what is going on
I hate looking at long lists of numbers, so I hope there are comments hidden in there somewhere

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Re: time to start making things

Post by decaff_42 » Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:39 am

Gonna ramble a bit so sorry if this is a little disjointed.
Captain_Ahab wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:54 am
everything is geometry
Yes. Absolutely for aircraft, although textures have been available for maps as of the 2015 stable version of YSFlight. K2W is arguably the best texture-based-map maker

The models make a lot more sense if you import them into Blender (2.49) or DNM Viewer or PolygonCrest. :lol:
But you are trying to break down the different parts of the DNM file in a text editor, the YSFlight wiki has some details about the different aircraft model files.
Captain_Ahab wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:54 am
but it does make me wonder what sort of poly budget there should be
for example, that cartoon F2g I showed is just under 5000 tris, but adding colors, panel lines, decals, cockpit, landing gear, and separating out flaps, control surfaces, etc will make that number skyrocket
How many tris should each level of model have? Can YS use lower detailed models for LOD?
The main focus for YSFlight models is vertices and faces. Faces add more lines to the DNM, so quads are more favorable over tris. I think the largest "production model" that has been released was 120k vertices. (Lord Flasheart's Concorde or Typhoons). Generally the breakpoint between fine detail and stupid detail is around 40k vertices. so 5000 tris is solidly mid-detail

As to detail levels, we generally have 3 really big standards that have been established for a long time, all near the bottom in terms of overall detail. Their focus is more to have ok graphics with multiplayer servers. After that models have progressively gotten more detailed over time. I generally shoot for 20-40k vertices in my high definition models, but sometimes I can get away with less. With a half-decent base mesh, you can make a lot of decals to add a lot of detail and make the model appear much better. I did this a bit with my F-35 Pack. Lord Flasheart did this with the EE Lightening pack. CHF did this for the 777 pack.
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Captain_Ahab » Tue Jun 29, 2021 3:10 am

textures for maps?!?
where can I find info on that? The only thing I've seen so far is about gradient quads which seem okay, but not as easy as actual textures.

for looking at ys planes so far, I'm using .blend blanks of a mirage2000, mig-21, and an F20 to see how parts are assembled together. I'm really hoping I can get by with python 2.7 for the old scripts; I would hate to have to install yet one more thing just to run a script on an old version of blender. Besides, compared to 2.9x, 2.49b is ponderous
Between seeing how those models are set up, and looking at how things are arranged in the various files, based on the info in YSFlight Wiki ( downloaded last night), I should be able to work stuff out.

~50,000 polys for full detail/paint then.
and GAC level stuff for coarse.dnm

so I can assume I was correct concerning the way surface normals are handled?

btw, thanks for the stuff you've done
what little I know was mostly from your tuts

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Re: time to start making things

Post by decaff_42 » Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:23 am

yeah surface normals control the smoothing. You can control smooth vs hard edges in blender.

I poked around with 2.78 to make scripts but trying to figure out how to make all of the different features that are in 2.49's scripts was way over my head.
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Captain_Ahab » Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:26 pm

yes, I know normals control smoothing and I can easily control surface normals in blender, but do they carry over in YSFlight? Do blender's 'edge creases' or ' make sharp' or the EdgeSplit modifier matter to YSFlight? I hope it does.

I poked around the 'net to get python 2.6 on my machine, so I can import files. I'll likely import tons of them and save as a blend file so they won't be lost to time. YSFlight's file formats are almost forgotten. It seemed easier than learning the differences between scripting for 2.4x and 2.9x too many changes to API and the like and I'm not that smart.

I have the tools working now, so I don't have any excuses anymore
time to start making things

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Re: time to start making things

Post by Bear » Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:41 pm

WOW. I took a look at your Thingiverse page and I'm impressed. I do have a few questions, though. Is it possible to print these larger, even with their overhangs? (wings, stabs, etc)
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Re: time to start making things

Post by waspe414 » Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:59 pm

Captain_Ahab wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:26 pm
yes, I know normals control smoothing and I can easily control surface normals in blender, but do they carry over in YSFlight? Do blender's 'edge creases' or ' make sharp' or the EdgeSplit modifier matter to YSFlight? I hope it does.
It does. YS renders smooth edges on anything set smooth in Blender, while solid edges are rendered as hard edges
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Re: time to start making things

Post by decaff_42 » Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:27 am

Captain_Ahab wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:26 pm
the EdgeSplit modifier matter to YSFlight
Yes it does. It is one of my tools to make things look good! :D
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Re: time to start making things

Post by u2fly » Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:26 am

decaff_42 wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:27 am
Captain_Ahab wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:26 pm
the EdgeSplit modifier matter to YSFlight
Yes it does. It is one of my tools to make things look good! :D
But in same time after applying "EdgeSplit" modifier in Blender it doubles number of vertexes on all solid edges.

As I sew in latest Polygon Crest there are some special "Crease Edges" feature that in SRF/DNM files defined via argument "ZCRE {verticies_ID/edges_ID}", which should work in YSFlight ver. 20181124:

Code: Select all

	{
		int ctr=0;
		for(YsShellExt::ConstEdgeHandle ceHd=NULL; YSOK==shl.MoveToNextConstEdge(ceHd); )
		{
			if(YSTRUE==shl.IsCreaseConstEdge(ceHd))
			{
				YSSIZE_T ident;
				ceKeyToCeIdentMap.FindElement(ident,shl.GetSearchKey(ceHd));

				if(0==ctr)
				{
					outStream.Printf("ZCRE");
				}
				outStream.Printf(" %d",(int)ident);
				++ctr;
				if(16==ctr)
				{
					outStream.Printf("\n");
					ctr=0;
				}
			}
		}
		if(0<ctr)
		{
			outStream.Printf("\n");
		}
	}
If it designed as I expect it should work, tagging solid/crease edges via "ZCRE" would allow avoid doubling number of vertices triggered by applying "EdgeSplit" modifier in Blender.
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Captain_Ahab » Wed Jun 30, 2021 4:16 am

that's expected behavior for 'edge split' in blender, but are vertex counts important in ysflight? or face counts
hmmmm.... that'd make it void the smooth shading in YSFlight by making the separated faces act as a separate object, so no normal averaging
it separates edges that are above the angle threshold for unfolding or breaking the model into parts. edges with angles less than the threshold stay joined together
vertices get doubled on edges that are split as if using the rip tool
It might be a good way to 'explode' a mesh though

I'll have to see if the 'autosmooth' or 'make sharp' functions carry over

in the meantime, I'm going to continue to convert old assets into blender files, so I can see how other people have done things. Kuro's B-1B is awesome and shows how smooth shading can really be used to cut down on face count.
I'll probably end up doing GAC planes with the expectation of eventually using them as coarse.dnm's as I get better

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Re: time to start making things

Post by decaff_42 » Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:38 am

Captain_Ahab wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 4:16 am
I'll probably end up doing GAC planes with the expectation of eventually using them as coarse.dnm's as I get better
That is a cool idea. I'm not sure if anyone has done that as part of practice/training before.
u2fly wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:26 am
But in same time after applying "EdgeSplit" modifier in Blender it doubles number of vertexes on all solid edges.
Right but you should have minimal hard edges in a model so you are trading a few extra vertices for the visual improvements.
Captain_Ahab wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 4:16 am
that's expected behavior for 'edge split' in blender, but are vertex counts important in ysflight? or face counts
In terms of performance, I think faces and vertices have pretty similar increase in DNM Filesize, but I think face count impacts overall performance in ysflight. However it is generally easier to just look at the vertex count and use that as a measuring stick. Waspe414 has done some stress tests in YSFlight and found and upper limit on face count and vertices before YSFlight crashes, but that was like hundreds of thousands of faces/vertices.

But like I said earlier, 40k vertices is a pretty decent detail level and YSFlight will still run smoothly with multiple people playing online together.
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Captain_Ahab » Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:53 pm

started cleaning up a 3dprint model for use here
Blackburn Firebrand Mk.4
got it down to under 900 verts/1000 faces, so far
still have to cut out control surfaces and gear doors, etc
still have to build a cockpit, and because I'm weird, I'll have a lil model of my lil dog flying it
I'm going to see how making the panel lines as part of the model works, as opposed to being markings on top; I hope it'd look nicer with lighting effects that way
a lot of experimentation gonna happen
a lot different that making it printable, that's for sure
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Re: time to start making things

Post by Copperhead » Wed Jun 30, 2021 2:46 pm

I've messed with the idea of putting the panel lines on the model itself. The major drawbacks were unusual shading issues around them, and it makes applying paintjobs a good bit more difficult, especially if it's a complex camouflage. That's why most folks stick with separated and transparent lines.
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Re: time to start making things

Post by u2fly » Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:22 pm

Captain_Ahab wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:53 pm
I'm going to see how making the panel lines as part of the model works, as opposed to being markings on top; I hope it'd look nicer with lighting effects that way
Copperhead wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 2:46 pm
I've messed with the idea of putting the panel lines on the model itsel.
If I remember correct, there is some modificator tag in SRF/DNM to mark edges which should be drawn as panel lines There is some info about known modificators and I has collected some details in "YSFlight Handbook" (read "3D Visual Models" chapter)
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