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Some Newbee Questions

Here you can discuss building custom ships, texturing and 3D modeling in Freelancer

Post Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:34 am

Some Newbee Questions

Hi all,
What's an acceptable poly limit for FL models? I'm planning on doing some fighter models and thought that FL would be a perfect medium for them. The models that I've seen seem fairly low poly. Will it run smooth with 5k to 6k models? Is there a practical texture limit. Can you use 1024 or even 2048 textures?
Also, is Milkshape the only program that'll Imp/Exp .CMP? It's all I've been able to find for it. If so, what's the most compatable format to use to import into Milkshape? .3DS, .OBJ, .X ...
The modding community here looks really good. I'm impressed with what I've seen so far.

Thanks

Post Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:03 am

I'm not an expert in this area but as far as far as i'm aware Milkshape is the only 3D program that has dedicated importers and exporters for Freelancer. You basically need to end up with a .CMP file for your models with either a seperate .MAT file for the textures or just include it in the .CMP file. If you're doing ships then an icon is advisable, you can make one and export that as a 3db file for use in game using Milkshape.

Milkshape will import most formats, i import models using 3DS, MAX, LWO etc and just convert them to CMP format so it can be used in game.

As to the poly counts, lower the better, you can create great models with low polys if you get the textures right, here's one i converted earlier

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y155/W ... SGArgo.jpg

That model has a poly count of around 10000 and is toward the upper end of the poly scale, to keep the file size down, i converted the textures to DDS format which saves on space bigtime. TGA textures are used a lot but FL displays them the wrong way round so u have to flip them which i find intensely tedious plus if you use DDS textures, there's no need to flip them and you get a MAT file about 60% smaller.


Edited by - Gibbon on 2/25/2007 5:11:49 AM

Post Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:13 am

Manticore afaik there is no texture size limit but your own sensibility - i have seen ships with 1024X1024 textures. neither FL or DDS is limited to 1X1 ratios, you can also use 1:2 like 512:1024 or 1024X2028 - DDS compression is reaally good; to see the difference select DXT1 in the DDS plugin dialog and save a texture, then select 8:8:8:8 ARGB which is no compression and check out the size difference; 8:1 or more!

Edited by - Cold_Void on 2/25/2007 9:41:16 AM

Post Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:50 pm

Thanks for the info. I'm familiar with that mesh. It's about 7400 polies (10k verts). If that runs smoothly without lagging the game down, then no probs. I tend to use more texture maps than Coxxon does, but I have done models with everything on one map when texture memory is a problem. I don't think it is in FL. You don't usually have big fleets of ships in game, do you? From checking around it seems like .3DS is the best format to import into Milkshape. Apparently it's the most similar format to .MS3D. I've used Milkshape, so I'm familiar with it's functions. Anyhow, that's a minor detail.
I'm working on something now that I should have WIP pics later on to show.
Thanks again.

Post Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:12 pm

A couple of pointers for you before you dive in to the deep end.

Keep the poly count to around 3k for things like fighters (5k's the limit), that 10k model will LAG the **** out of most servers when it's in a busy system.

Ship textures bigger than 512 are a waste of vram with this graphics engine, there's no real difference in detail when you use 1 or 2 512 textures rather than one big 2048, and the servers won't start complaining when some of the players on lower spec computers start to have rendering problems.

You don't usually have big fleets of ships in game, do you?
want a bet, 30 plus ships in a hairy furball isn't unheard of, clan wars can be nasty affairs.

If your using MAX there's a MAX2MS3D plugin in the downloads that works with 5 to 8, MAX like most 3D modellers has the Y-axis as one of the horizontal axis, but milkshape like most games have it as the vertical axis. The plugin can take some time exporting your model as it's re-orientating everything to look right in Milkshape, nothing worse than opening a model and finding everything pointing in the wrong direction.

**shuffles of with a new headache**

Post Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:28 am

More good info. Thanks. Sometimes it's good to lay out your assumptions so if any of them are wrong, someone can set you straight. If you know what I mean?
I've been told that beyond MS 1.7.6 that the plugins don't work. I have 1.7.10. Maybe I'll have to roll back to an older version.

Post Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:14 am

I've pretty much stuck with MS 1.7.5 since I've had good results with it.
It seems to take on all the plugins pretty well without glitching up.

Post Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:07 pm

A kind soul over at the MS forums posted 1.7.6 for me. It's really too bad that we don't have mod tools from the developer. Oh well, we can get by with this.

Post Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:11 am

I use 1.7.4 and all the plugins seem to work pretty well with most models.

Requiem: A Total FL Conversion Mod .
http://mod.pff-clan.us

Post Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:33 pm

The CMPImporter is the only plug-in that has real problems, from 1.7.7 it needs to be added to the Buggyplugins.txt file to stop it crashing Milkshape on start-up, but it still crashes 1.7.10 on exit, the rest work with whatever version of Milkshape you use (I use 1.7.10).

The new version of the SUR Exporter doesn't like any version of milkshape, I haven't confirmed this with Colin yet (haven't had the time) but it could be a corrupt compile rather than poor coding (every other plugin he's done works beautifully).

tools from the developer since when did M$ start handing out their tools.

typo

**shuffles of with a new headache**

Edited by - Bejaymac on 2/27/2007 12:37:29 PM

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