Xolarix' Ship Graphics

Freeform discussion about anything related to modding Transcendence.
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Xolarix
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Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:40 am

Hi!

Well, this is my first post, so I'll introduce myself a bit:
I'm Xolarix, but you can just call me Xol or Rix if you want.

IRL, I'm 19 years old and studying multimedia design. This means I'm designing posters, flyers, banners and logos of companies.
As a hobby, I do 3D design with DoGA L3, and in about 1-2 years, I'm going to follow a study to do professional 3D design for special effects for gaming and movies.

I came in contact with this game about 2 years ago, but I was too busy IRL to get into it much.
It looked really cool though, even unfinished. I also noticed the HUGE modding community, and I downloaded some ships which was fun.
Even back then, I was already doing 3D design as a hobby and I thought that, when I had the time, I would make some ships for Transcendence.
But I forgot about it :s

Now, I found this game again, and ready to make some stuff XD
However, I have absolutely NO coding knowledge... at most I can do some Flash ActionScript 3.0, XHTML and CSS... but that's totally not like XML, so is there a good Transcendence XML code tutorial/guide for someone who never coded before?
Regarding those ships, why is it so complicated with bitmap masks and stuff? Can't people just use a PNG with transparent background and scrap the masking part? or is that incompatible with the game? If .PNG is impossible, I would also like a simple tutorial to make a good mask for ships. (when I try masking, it ends up sloppy)


I hope I can get some help with this.

But just to show what I'm capable of making:
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etc. Not even a small part of what I made in total. I have made over thousands of ships and buildings.
I made this for an other game called "Pardus". I think there are some pardus ships on Xelerus already (I didn't make them), I intend to continue that trend and make a full pardus-style modpack, completely overhauling Transcendence's ships and buildings :)
Last edited by Xolarix on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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digdug
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Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:36 pm

[Teleported to Shipyards]

Hi Xolarix!
welcome to Transcendence Forums !
woah, you have a talent there ! Those Pardus ships look really cool! :D

We had some people in the community in the past that were only producing graphics and not mods, so that's perfectly fine for us :D
If you want to learn modding, unfortunately we don't have a real complete tutorial and/or complete docs. (but we are working on it!)
The best way to learn is to post your questions here in Shipyards, read the Wiki, download examples at our mod repository Xelerus, and come to our IRC channel for a chat ! :D

About modding, the XML part of the code is pretty straightforward to use, scripting is a bit tougher on the learning curve (it's basically a dialect of LISP) but you don't need that to make simple playerships, and we are here to help :D

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alterecco
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Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:13 pm

Nice stuff!

I look forward to seeing your work in game. If you need help with modding just as away, on the forums or on IRC.

If you prefer to just model I am sure there are some modders that would love to collaborate (*cough* Prophet *cough*) :D

As for making good graphics for the game, Wolfy is probably the most proficient. He has been making some nice work on masks with alpha blending or something like that... you can probably get him to share his knowledge :)

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Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:38 pm

I would also like a simple tutorial to make a good mask for ships. (when I try masking, it ends up sloppy)
what I do is render the ship first, then remove the lights from the scene, place a black texture on the model, and change background color to white, then render again! there you go, you have a perfect mask for your ship (just make it negative, so the ship is white and background black)

The game accepts :
BMP images or JPG images as ships
8-bit greyscale or 1-bit BMP images as masks

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Wolfy
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Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:43 pm

Hi! :D
I'm quite happy to see I am nolonger alone ^^ (I'm about the only person here who has been outputting large amounts of custom ship graphics as of late, though hatsya is starting to do so as well).

While no, we cannot yet use png's with transparency directly, something I have requested and will be implemented soon (in version 1.1, so I'd hang on to png spritesheets that are created in the process of generating bitmasks.), I have come up with a good alternative which does not generate annoying jagged black borders around ships (it will around wrecks still, as wrecks automatically use 1-bit masks).

What you need is:
something to generate a spritesheet with
paint.net w/ alpha-mask tool plugin

What you do is:
1) create a spritesheet with your pngs w/ transparency (I like sprite sheet packer for this)
2) open it in paint.net
3) go to effects -> tools -> alpha-mask tool
4) save alpha mask (it will generate a 32-bit bitmap, which needs to be resaved as an 8-bit one, as transcendence does not handle any other than 8 and 1 bit)
5) create a new layer and move it below the original layer
6) use the paint bucket to create a black background (otherwise transcendence will not load it right, even with the bitmask)
7) save as a 100% quality jpeg (the minor jpeg artifacts at 100% on the black background are negligible enough that the game ignores them and properly applies the bitmask, but a white background for example will show up)
8) open the bitmask you saved earlier and resave it as an 8-bit bitmap

And you're done!

Also: feel free to make an introduction thread here: http://www.neurohack.com/transcendence/ ... m.php?f=29
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Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:19 pm

Welcome to the community Xolarix! Hopefully you find all the places in our little world friendly enough. Your always welcome to discuss ideas and post new ships on the Chat / IRC Group which can be access from the myriad of links posted on the wiki, forum and on xelerus.
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Xolarix
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Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:30 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome XD


And thanks Wolfy, that definately makes it a lot easier :D
Also did some basic copy pasting from other ships, and I think I got a nice baseline code for any new ships now.

Sneak preview of the Boa Ultimate Carrier:
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yea, I got it working with 40 rotation images.
No, it's not fully finished yet. Still some small annoying graphic bugs XD

I'm also wondering how to make my own exhaust images, those standard ones are not pretty enuff! :P
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ThePrivateer
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Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:38 pm

o_O

WHOA those are seriously cool images you have got going there. Wow. I just wanted to say that -- I can't help at all with ship graphics, but seriously wow.

You should enter into the Picture Thread Competition.

That's seriously quite amazing -- I've only ever made really, really, really, like really really really really basic block things that could pass as ships if you have your head turned at a 13 degree angle and facing the crescent moon, but those are just astounding, almost commercial grade --- I see your studies have paid off!

Keep up the good work! :mrgreen:

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Shrike
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:27 am

Solarix?!! :shock:


Nice to see you again....it's been a while. :D

______________________________

Alas, my ship graphic efforts have been thwarted thus far....although I do have some hopes to eventually get some stuff of my own done and dusted and annoying the heck out the player with stealth missiles.

But yeah, when someone who's pretty well known to me already for his insane graphics turns up...I'm pretty damned happy. Great to have you around here. :D
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Wolfy
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:42 am

@Shrike: Where did you meet him before?
@Xolarix: You'd be best off putting more armor segments on that ship, otherwise it will be very vulnerable, even if it has other strengths.

To make exhaust effects, I just render enough image of the ship but with exhaust flare, and then use that as the exhaust image and set the coordinates to (0,0)
This is because especially on larger ships due to the way exhaust graphics are positioned (in a circle) and the angle used in rendering, the larger the ship, the more displaced the graphic will be.

I don't intend to make many custom exhaust effects for TSB as that would effectively double the size of the mod, which is already by far the largest transcendence mod in existence (It has not yet been released though).
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Xolarix
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:11 am

Shrike wrote:Solarix?!! :shock:


Nice to see you again....it's been a while. :D

______________________________

Alas, my ship graphic efforts have been thwarted thus far....although I do have some hopes to eventually get some stuff of my own done and dusted and annoying the heck out the player with stealth missiles.

But yeah, when someone who's pretty well known to me already for his insane graphics turns up...I'm pretty damned happy. Great to have you around here. :D
Hey Shrike!
Yea it's me :D
Nice to see someone familiar around here ^^,

@Wolfy> we met at that game I talked about in my first post: Pardus, for which I also do/did quite a load of graphics.
at least, if that's the Shrike from Pardus as well. Which I assume, as there's just one Shrike who knows my artwork XD


As for the armor segments, working on getting more code, I think I saw a 6 armor segment mod, I'll look into it.
But I'm just one day here, I'm happy enough to get one of my ships in the game already for testing purposes.
I'm learning the XML code now, when I have the time.
It's not as hard as I expected, but still something to learn :)

I'll leave the exhaust alone for now. It would be easier, graphically speaking, if the exhaust was a layer below the ship.


Another few questions:
Is there a database which shows me what kind of tags/details/definitions/etc I need to make a new weapon/armor/item?
Can I put multiple mods in the same XML file? ie: a ship plus weapon? Or do I have to make separate files for each mod?
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Prophet
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:50 am

Hello Xelarix, you definitely have some talent there!

alterecco and I are working on a major project and could definitely use your talents. We also have extensive scripting experience and could help you learn that aspect of the modding as we go.
Coming soon: The Syrtian War adventure mod!
A Turret defense genre mod exploring the worst era in Earth's history.
Can you defend the Earth from the Syrtian invaders?
Stay tuned for updates!

Xolarix
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:40 pm

Prophet wrote:Hello Xelarix, you definitely have some talent there!

alterecco and I are working on a major project and could definitely use your talents. We also have extensive scripting experience and could help you learn that aspect of the modding as we go.
Sounds cool.
Can you give any specifics on what you guys are doing and what you need me for? :)
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alterecco
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:47 pm

That would be the Syrtian War mod. We would love to see some cool station and ship graphics.

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Wolfy
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:17 pm

Xolarix wrote:It would be easier, graphically speaking, if the exhaust was a layer below the ship.


Another few questions:
Is there a database which shows me what kind of tags/details/definitions/etc I need to make a new weapon/armor/item?
Can I put multiple mods in the same XML file? ie: a ship plus weapon? Or do I have to make separate files for each mod?
With the method I use, it actually only works if it is rendered on top.

1) Not exactly; there is some documentation on the wiki, but I'd just look through the xml resource files. They can be found here: http://xelerus.de/index.php?s=mods&c=Sources
2) Yep, you can have different things in the same xml file, but for large mods its recommended you use separate files linked together as modules.
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