Battletech Live

Online, Turn-Based Battletech – Development Logs

Lightwave design adapted to Battletech Live

Using Lightwave, I’m building a bevel into the hex face.  In the end, hopefully, each hex will be made up of seven polygons, the ones on the outer edge may be pitched up or down, depending on surrounding terrain.  Alternativa is acting kind of funky.  When one hex is drawn, everything is fine, but if there are other hexes near it, the polygons split unexpectedly.  I’m working on that now, trying to figure it out.

Picture 2

As of yet, there is no lighting in Alternativa3D, but I was able to sample the screenshot generated from Lightwave using Photoshop to simulate a slight shadow.

zeussupply

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October 6, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development, World Builder | Leave a comment

A question of scale

This evening, I started layering some of the BattleMechs out in Lightwave against the intended hex size.  These models are built using the exact geometry from MechCommander 2, so they are all proportional to each other.  The hexes in Battletech Live are 30 meters across the points.  Across the flats, they’re about 26 meters.  I started looking online for the general size of BattleMechs and opinions vary.  Wikipedia says that they should be 7 – 17 meters tall, while other sources say 5 – 15.  In the computer games, the height of Mad Cat has fluctuated.  In one game, it was 15 meters and in another, it was scaled down to 10 meters.  I started with an elemental, making it just over 2 meters tall.  The rest of them fall into place from there, but there is a huge difference in height from light to assault ‘Mechs.

As you can see in the images below, I have one elevation height at 6 meters.  Some of the smallest BattleMechs will be fully obscured by a single elevation of intervening terrain.  These include Flea, Cougar, Hollander, Raven, Urbanmech and most anything 25 tons and smaller.  On the other end of the scale, Atlas, Berzerker, Hatamoto-Chi, Battlemaster, Akuma and a few others are taller than 12 meters, so their heads will still peek over two levels of terrain but for game purposes, they will be considered to be fully obscured.

hollander

Hollander, although still 35 tons, stands at 7 meters.

Elementals and Battle Armor are barely larger than a human, so in this case, it's just a bit over 2 meters tall.

Elementals and Battle Armor are barely larger than a human, so in this case, it's just a bit over 2 meters tall.

Bushwacker, a pretty squat BattleMech anyway, is about 9 meters tall.

Bushwacker, a pretty squat BattleMech anyway, is about 9 meters tall.

Catapult, weighing in at 60 tons, is pretty good size and stands about 10 meters tall.

Catapult, weighing in at 60 tons, is pretty good size and stands about 10 meters tall.

Highlander, at 90 tons (?) is one of the tallest, standing about 12 meters.

Highlander, at 90 tons (?) is one of the tallest, standing about 12 meters.

Atlas, at 14 meters, dwarfs just about everything out there, but he's not the tallest.  Berzerker still stands head and shoulders taller, as do others such as Akuma and Battlemaster.

Atlas, at 14 meters, dwarfs just about everything out there, but he's not the tallest. Berzerker still stands head and shoulders taller, as do others such as Akuma and Battlemaster.

MadCat is a bit shorter, at 11 meters.

MadCat is a bit shorter, at 11 meters.

With his shoulder pod, Thor stands about 12 meters tall.

With his shoulder pod, Thor stands about 12 meters tall.

Lastly, Zeus stands in at about 12 meters.

Lastly, Zeus stands in at about 12 meters.

October 1, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development | Leave a comment

Texturing trees, rocks and BattleMechs.

More texturing work is done today, getting trees and rocks in place, as well as placing the first BattleMech.  From my previous tests, I remember that something was causing textures to shred in all but one axis.  It’s doing that again, so I’ll have to figure out alignment, but for now, things are going well.  I need to build controls for camera pitch and rotation, then get surface contours done.  The second picture shows how close you can get to units, but I want to get closer still.

Picture 2

Picture 4

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development | Leave a comment

Singleplayer Gameplay Demo

Production of the gameplay demo is underway.  The concept is that the user is given an introduction page where they select a unit type, where it will display a basic record sheet, detailing the armor rating, available weapons and an illustration of the unit.  When the player begins, they’ll be directed to either select a hex along the starting edge of the map, or perform a combat drop which will use the entire map to select a random hex and hex facing for the starting point.  From there, the player will go through the movement phase.  The reaction phase will take place, where both the player and a fixed opponent have the opportunity to turn to torso-twist a single hex side to face the opponent.  (The single enemy on the field will be a randomly-selected unit, but will remain stationary except for torso-twisting.)  As the game proceeds, both units can fire and be fired upon, taking damage as normal.  Since the target is computer controlled and doesn’t move, Initiative doesn’t really matter, but the rolls will take place as a proof of concept.  Rounds will continue until the player destroys the target or the player is destroyed by the target.  I’ll be working on landscape features tomorrow, textures for trees and rocks so that the map can be made to look as much like the paper sheet as possible.

Picture 5

September 6, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development | Leave a comment

BattleMech design options.

Other than breaking things in Battletech Live and fixing other things, I’ve been looking at design options for various units. I’ve started with Atlas.

Illustration of the original FASA Atlas model.

Illustration of the original FASA Atlas model.

An Atlas in use in Classic BattleTech.

An Atlas in use in Classic BattleTech.

Atlas from MechCommander 2

Atlas from MechCommander 2

The original Atlas is a little chunky, but still a good design.  The pewter model is nice but in some ways, still seems like a collection of boxes piled together.  The model used in MechCommander 2 is extremely plain, as most of the models are, and uses the paint scheme to make it appear to have more detail than it really does.  The first picture below is a drawing I found of an Atlas that has been heavily redesigned.  While this is an excellent picture, I think it’s a little too far separated from the original Atlas.  I might make something like this available to the later time periods, but not to the early years.  The next picture is the lower half of a Kodiak.  I think that they’re similar enough that this could serve as a workable style element for Atlas.  I like the angular look to it.  The third is a Mad Cat made with Google Sketchup.  This is probably fairly typical for polycounts.

A very advanced redesign of an Atlas.

A very advanced redesign of an Atlas.

Lower half of a Kodiak as drawn for MechWarrior 4.

Lower half of a Kodiak as drawn for MechWarrior 4.

Mad Cat

Mad Cat

When all said and done, I’m hoping that the look and level of detail will be similar to the following:

Forest_Service___Version_2_by_AceDarkfire

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests | Leave a comment

Demolition Test 1

These should partly illustrate what I mean by battle damage.  The models will be broken into several pieces, including foundations, wall sections and roof.  Larger models may be broken into more pieces.  When a building takes damage, the game engine will detect from which direction damage was inflicted and when the damage threshhold is reached, remove the appropriate section.  This will continue until the building is rubble, as shown below.  I’ll be enhancing the models by putting chunks of the structure in and around the foundations and in the case of other buildings such as barracks, hangers or garages, you may find pieces of airplane or automobiles burried in the rubble.  Days and weeks after battles, the peoples will begin repair of these structures.  Speed at which repairs take place will depend on the amount of damage to a given area and the population of that area.  More people, faster repairs.

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December 29, 2008 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests | Leave a comment

Chemical Plant

The Chemical Plant model is a little different than the original.  Each model that I make will actually be built to as many as five sections so that they can be destroyed.  Each model variation will then be saved out and each will be loaded into memory for the particular map.  When damage takes place, the current model will be hidden and the next appropriate model shown.

origchemplant

chemplant

plant

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests | Leave a comment

Graphics Test – Ammo Depot

My DSL was out last night, apparently crossed with another user’s lines who was now using my connection.  Should be straightened out today.  I performed the first of several graphics tests, working with the Ammo Depot model from MechCommander 2.  I began by reskinning the original model with original textures.  I used Lightwave to convert the object to a 3ds file and found it shreaded.  Third, I rebuilt the object with Lightwave using original textures and finally, made all new textures for the model.  The results of each step are below, starting with a picture of the original object.

mc2_conversion002

ammodepot1

ammodepot2

I learned later that before exporting a 3ds file from Lightwave, press Ctrl+u to break all polygons so that vertices are not shared between them.  This helps it to preserve the UV coordinates of each triangle.  When loading the object into Alternativa3D, a weldVertices function is used to rejoin the points.

picture-11

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests | Leave a comment