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some questions about the SUR exporter

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Post Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:05 am

some questions about the SUR exporter

So, now that the SUR Exporter is out, I have a few more questions regarding multiple-component ships and their SUR files.

The SUR Exporters offers you the possibility to export a SUR file consisting of multiple components. So, having already defined destructible groups for my ship's CMP, I did the same for the SUR, so that the SUR and CMP groups match exactly. This, I think, must be done, otherwise there would still be a collision detection when the according group of your CMP is long gone, i.e. shot or blasted off.

Now the question is: How does Freelancer match the SUR and CMP groups, so that collision detection stops at the component blasted off and not another one. I have though of two possibilites. The first would be that the name has to match the name of the component defined in the CMP. But since the SUR exporter doesn't create those names like the CMP exporter does, I think the second possibilty, namely only the order of the groups is relevant, seems more likely. However, the shield sphere group is being inserted after the first group. If you import existing original SURs with the SUR exporter, you'll get this sphere at second position of the groups, too. Now this group must be ignored by Freelancer when matching the groups with the CMP for the second possibility to work correctly.

Of course it could also be an error of the SUR importer. It has another one as well: It lists all groups of the SUR twice and shows the "copies" at wrong positions, while HardCMP shows the SUR file correctly.

Could one of the makers of the exporter / importer say something about that? Was it overlooked or is this supposed to be like that?

Another question: What does this sphere that is created do? As far as I could see, it has something to do with the shield? What's it all about? I thought the shield shape was created by the CMP.

Oh, and here are a few tips for users of the exporter:
1) Always disable the "DirectX Mesh Reduction" as it will come up with "Weld errors" and screw up the details of your model. At least it did with the one I tested it on.
2) Don't use FLModelTool to scale multiple-component SUR files, as it will screw up the overall positions of the components. Again, this is only what I noticed and does not necessarily have to apply to you as well.

Post Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:24 am

my first concern is getting a sur file that actually works - any luck there?

Post Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:09 am

Well, I exported a model with about 1400 polygons without problems. I havn't checked them in-game so far, but the process of exporting seems to work.

Why? What's your problem?

Post Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:26 pm

I can get the shields to work okay but once their down shots still go right through the hull, but that was just my first rough attempt. I'm now working on altering a vanilla sur to fit a custom ship, but it won't be ready for testing for a day or two as I've got other things to do first.

**shuffles of with a new headache**

Post Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:52 am

Mhmm I can´t even export it correctly, because I ALWAYS get the message: "WeldVertices Function failed". Any hints how to solve the problem?

Post Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:38 am

Well, I get that error, too, but only if I don't disable "DirectX Mesh Reduction". But even if I get that message, the SUR file is still properly created. Strange.

Post Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:14 pm

Remember, this exporter is still in Beta. I spoke to Colin, the programmer for this exporter, several months back. He has a good idea what the major prob is, but hasn't had time to release a new version as he's been busy on other projects for FL. I was able to get the SUR to work locally, but they won't work in an MP enviroment except 1 out of like 20 tries, even then it's iffy.

Take this for what it is, a learning experience until the newer fixed version is released.

Post Tue Feb 28, 2006 2:43 am

Way I see it, we don't have a chance anyway.

Nevertheless this is a step in the right direction and provides us with some basic knowledge of how to operate the exporter and create new SURs.

Post Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:54 pm

Okay, single-component SURs don't do the job, either.

I'll try it with simplified versions of the ships. That would be enough already.

Post Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:00 pm

I've tried exporting a plain, less than a hundred polies SUR file only formed of 4-sided polies, and it didn't ever work in MP. I didn't try in SP, but SP isn't my target at all. I really have no clue on what to do, considering all my tries have failed (4 on 4) and no documentation is existing... I don't really want to learn how to work with SURs, as I don't have the time for it, so I guess I'll wait for the next version

Post Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:50 am

I've had partial success

My ship has 7 components (hull,nose,2 wings and 3 fins) and was exported as 7 groups in the cmp exporter. The ship was then exported as a sur using the cmp's ces file.
As far as I can tell in game the hull and one wing are the only ones that don't register damage, the hull is classed as the "root" in the sur.

I have noticed in vanilla surs that the "root" is the only component that doesn't have a double, and that the duplicate ship parts are stored inside the "root". In the exporter the duplicates are still beside the original components, could this be part of the problem ?

**shuffles of with a new headache**

Post Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:49 pm

The SUR Importer puts all the parts in the center, so it's the Importer that's faulty, not your model or the Exporter.

Post Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:49 pm

Going on that logic you would expect the Importer to do that to my custom SUR as well, but it doesn't.

Something I have noticed is that every group name in my SUR apart from the root and hardpoints is in hex (crc or #), but the vanilla's only have the shield bubble like that (I checked with a hex editor just to be sure).

As it stands the root takes no damage at all, both wings work only on the half furthest from the root, both tail fins work as does the front fins and the front of the ship also works. It's flyable and capable of taking damage but it's far from perfect, ATM about 50%.

Okay I think I'm getting somewhere, I regrouped my ship again and now have 13 groups instead of 7, I hoped that it would give me smaller hitboxes in the SUR. No such luck as the shots were still going through half of the ship without registering. On impulse I used FlModelTool on both the CMP & SUR and now the only part that doesn't get hit is the root, every thing else gets thumped . When resizing the SUR I checked the little box that says add parts to hull, I then checked the altered CMP & SUR in HardCmp and sure enough they were in the center of the ship.

**EDIT 2** (don't want yelled at for double posting )

MY Ship

Yes it's the Coyote out of Starlancer (Samuria Studio's version), this way I've got a MS3D file to work with rather than ripping one out of a CMP.

I left the wireframe on to show the mesh, the white areas I have no problems with as they register hits, thats 10 groups. The red groups (3) are the problem, shots from above or below will pass straight through, but shots from the side hit and I think shots from behind also hit but it's hard to see at times when your spinning like a top from all of the hits. I can only get it like this if I use FLModeltool to resize both CMP and SUR after I've exported them from Milkshape. If I don't resize them then shots pass straight through the red groups from every angle and some of the white areas don't always register where the white and red meet.

FLModeltool does two things to the SUR that aren't quite right. The first is that it renames everything bar the shield and hardpoints to "root".
The second is moveing the duplicates to the center of the model, normally thats not a problem but with a ship shaped like the coyote it puts them all just below the ships belly, rather than inside it, I think that if FLModeltool or the SUR exporter were able to put them inside the ship, then we might just get a fully registering SUR.

**shuffles of with a new headache**

Edited by - Bejaymac on 3/13/2006 5:22:54 PM
Bloody Thumbnails
Edited by - Bejaymac on 3/14/2006 4:07:27 PM
OKAY who's been messing with the forum codes

Edited by - Bejaymac on 3/14/2006 4:09:21 PM

Post Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:35 pm

a couple of thoughts,

my experiments in this have been as frustrating as anything else.. however i did discover one thing...

In milkshape when you regroup objects it gives them their own vertex's .. i.e. group 'a' which shares a 'side' with group 'b', will have distinctive seperate vertexs on the common side.. bit hard to explain but its a fact.. I have most success and it has been suggested by both Anton and Argh, (correct me if I'm wrong here), that optimising the mesh after regrouping removes these duplicate vertexs..

there is also a thread elsewhere I cant tell ya where *goes looking* .. ahah! Here ... where successful surs have been created by SIMPLIFYING them..


Post Mon Dec 25, 2006 12:25 am

I noticed the last post on this topic was back in March. Has anyone heard anything new about a workable sur exporter. What I have seen so far, I can't get to work. And BTW does anyone have a clue as to what tools Microsoft used to create the sur's in the first place? I wonder if it something off the shelf or did they make their own?

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