Any interest in automated generation of models+textures?

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bzm3r
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Hello,

I am wondering if anyone would like to join me in using Blender+Python to explore procedural generation of 3D shapes and texturing, with a mind towards automating the process (while still having pretty results!) of creating models for our gem of a game, Transcendence. Here's a video to help you see that this has been done before with Blender+Python, and so its not like we are striking out into the utter darkness, its just that there is no cohesive set of guide posts that are immediately relevant for us.

Here's a PDF overview of that video, for those would prefer it.

So far, I have done some of the groundwork, and basically know where to begin learning, so we would be in a good position to simply *start*. Here's what I am hoping from you:

* Doing some of the Googling along with me, when we need to figure out a problem (*maybe* two Googlers are better than one)? Apart from reading the tutorials we already have, this will be one our main tasks. In particular, we want to find anything we can to reduce the amount of work we have to do in terms of re-inventing the wheel.

* Ringing my doorbell when I am all quiet (i.e. providing me with some social support to keep chugging on!)

* Maybe two coders are better than one too? It would be nice if you knew Python, but I can help teach if you'd like.

* If you are not interested in coding, would you be interested in *digesting* information instead? What your "job" would be then is to sometimes read/watch large-ish chunks of text/long-ish youtube or vimeo videos, and see if they contain any relevant information. You basically take down notes, and then based on your notes we'll know whether we should dig in there more, or not. This can be immensely time-saving!

Here's the basic set of tutorials I plan on following. Scroll down to see tutorial 0, the first tutorial.

There are some more tutorials here, but not as nicely connected.

There is also a book I have (Perlin is one of the authors!) on procedural texture generation in particular, so we can make nice textures for armour item pictures, ships, asteroids, planets, you name it! If I end up getting a volunteer for information digestion, I'll try to pass them on a copy, along with some page suggestions for reading, and then they can determine which "lessons" the coders should focus on.

A blog post, with an assortment of stuff that I have not even begun to digest yet, that may or may not help.

Recent find: Maeda's blog (I posted his video presentation up above) seems to contain code snippets along with a general outline of his developments. Could be a goldmine!
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Atarlost
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I've done procedural texturing in a previous Blender. I need to work out the new interface at some point and look at stuff, but I can provide some texture chains if this gets off the ground. I don't really know Python and certainly don't know the Blender API for it to help with that end.

Besides, that would be automating the most fun part of ship design.
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RPC
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What's the status of this project?
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bzm3r
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RPC wrote:What's the status of this project?
Right now, I'd say the project is still in the "research" stage. Over the last few months, I have mostly been working on implementing some simple C++ side things (floats for instance) in Transcendence, very slowly because I am a total novice.

I have been reading up on procedural generation though, here and there. I think that when I finally get to implementing, I'll no longer be using Blender/Python. George made a tool called Luminous, which I think I'll be using instead.

However, there is one more project ahead of the "to-do" list (related to the Merchants mod I am thinking of working on), so I wouldn't be surprised if it will be a while before real progress starts being made there. In the Merchants mod, I plan on beginning some very simple procedural generation experiments involving the generation of flavour text.
Last edited by bzm3r on Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Atarlost
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Luminous is optimized for creating explosions. You're probably better off with Blender for anything else.
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bzm3r
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Atarlost wrote:Luminous is optimized for creating explosions. You're probably better off with Blender for anything else.
This may be true. All I know is that George is interested in using Luminous for more, and Luminous' intended use is for procedural generation of graphics, so I think that being involved in updating Luminous will be a fun project with the side effect of me understanding exactly how my procedural generation software works.
RPC
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Luminous generates galaxies as well.
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Atarlost
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RPC wrote:Luminous generates galaxies as well.
Okay. Explosions and Implosions. Galaxies are implosions. Very slow and relatively rapidly rotating implosions, but implosions.
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Song
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Atarlost wrote:
RPC wrote:Luminous generates galaxies as well.
Okay. Explosions and Implosions. Galaxies are implosions. Very slow and relatively rapidly rotating implosions, but implosions.
That's a bit....simplistic. The processes for generation are quite different.

But effectively the point is that luminous is optimised for gas clouds and other sorts of effects that lend themselves very well to procedural generation. Currently, the configurations are for galaxies and explosions, but other configurations are possible that can generate other effects. However, generating an entire starship model is very different to the existing configurations, so it would be steaming into uncharted territory. In addition, Luminous does not generate models: it renders a 2D image. Getting everything correct for multiple facings of an object would be exceptionally difficult.

All that being said, if luminous does get updated to be more user-friendly and flexible, that's excellent. I like the program but have never gotten anything out of it due to its.....temperamental....nature at times.
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