Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Free Tiles for Sci-Fi games !

Hi, these are some pieces to build platforms in an industrial setting or something, they are all square with transparency and should tile pretty seamlessly.

Here's a zip file of all six:


I 'borrowed' the idea from a screen-shot of a cyberpunk game on the web, :twisted: , but this is my take on doing it a little higher res.
Here's the inspiration:
cyperpunk phone game

Hope you like!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What other formats are out there?

After reading the very cool yet sadistically teasing Metaplace blog post, wanted to see what other people thought of the formats that get used in different 3D worlds, and add my opinions too, hehe.

Some of this info is rehashed from other articles, but this is more of a general opinion thing that I posted on the Metaplace forums.

Collada - This feels like a natural fit, with 3D warehouse allowing you to download models in the collada format. I'm not sure about support for skeletal animation though, or if it embeds textures, need to do more research. Raph hinted at this format in an interview.

OBJ+BVH - Used by Ogoglio, openCroquet, and SecondLife. Obj is pretty straightforward, and the skeleton is contained in the bvh file(with the keyframes) The skinning is done in the client. Feels like an ass-backward way to do it.

Unreal formats - Quick and easy to use out of Maya, don't know about other packages. Costs $$$ to use commercially.

DirectX .X - Will be used by Vastpark(I think). Not a lot of documentation about it on the web. The sdk is a big(ish) download too, might not be the most accessible to everyone.

I do worry a bit about the size of some of the 3D models people are going to include in their worlds once a 3D viewer comes available.

What else do people use?

Forgot about Motionbuilder's FBX format, maybe out of some mental block from using Motionbuilder heavily lately. It's just been letting me down when it comes to some of the most basic tasks.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Vastpark Creator FIXED !

I fixed my .Net installation issues. It turned out to be an access problem. I read the following two pages:



Also installed the windows installer 3.1 and the WIC installer.

For me it turned out to be an access issue, but the solution in those pages put a smile on my face. It's a good trick to keep in mind, I've seen a lot of unresolved cases like this on the net, and had to dig to find this solution.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Feature - Mad Scientist Profile

Ok there's something you should know about me. I have a thing for mad scientist characters. No, not a sexual thing, (get your mind out of the gutter you pervert), but I've always wanted to be one of those wacky guys with white crazy hair that walks around spouting crazytalk and building strange contraptions that make a simple task waaaay too complicated. You know, like the Visual Effects industry! (oooooh burn...)

So yeah, I'm going to profile some of my favorite mad scientist characters from different movies, games, and comics, and I'm starting with this guy:

This is the crazy bugger that started it all for me when I was a kid. He had the best toy ever, and it was called the "Mad Scientist Monster Lab." And it was called that for good reason. You build a skeleton out of different parts that snapped together, then you covered it with some nasty green shit that felt like sand that was blended in with play-dough. You had horns, eyeballs, all kinds of stuff.

But that's not the good part. The best part was when you get to dip your monster in a vat of acid and watch the flesh sizzle off the bone. That was it, I was hooked right there.

You could make all kinds of creatures, then skin them, then dissolve them into a vat of goo. What else does a young impressionable mind need?

There are two good write-ups about this toy:
And Here

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Free Fun Excel Spreadsheet

Did I just say that an Excel spreadsheet is fun? Damn this blog is lame...

I'm working with metaPunk and metaplaceTactics on a couple of long term game projects for Metaplace.

I made this spreadsheet in excel, it will also open in openOffice I think:

To use it, just change the number in the green box. It's teaching me a lot about how the attack and defense numbers relate to each other when a die roll is thrown into the mix.

Let me know if it makes sense.

more about Obj and Bvh

Here's the thing about these two wierd formats that throws me. If you look at other method of exporting a game character, let's use Unreal Tournament for and example, You're exporting the mesh itself and a skeleton. The skeleton drives the motion of the mesh. Simple.

The thing with obj and bvh is that the skeleton is contained in the motion file, not the mesh file. Wierd. So how do they connect in a platform? Of course this probably depends on the software you're importing into, but what are the rules? Are there any? Let's say the mesh is an inch tall and the skeleton is a foot tall, what then?

Monday, October 22, 2007


Well the Vastpark beta is starting up, and I'm downloading the client now. Can't wait!
As of now only the Creator software is available, but that's the part I want to use anyway. Stay tuned for information about ways to get custom content into the platform.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Well I've been doing some research into yet another content creation method, trying to better understand the interaction between the bvh and obj formats.

For those of you who aren't huge nerds with no life like me, 3D game characters usually are created with a several different components to them. The model, the texture, a skeleton, and some animations. And these usually take the form of seperate files with different file extensions. (Which is why Collada is interesting to me, because like FBX, they seem to represent lots of different types of data with ONE file type... Is that right? Time will tell, stay tuned!)
Yes, I go on tangents and ramble. Anyway...

OBJ is a format that describes a 3D model. It's really just a text file that's formatted in a certain way, with a header and a list of coodinates that make up the vertices of the model. There is some more info HERE. Any self respecting 3D DCC package can spit out an .obj. It's as standard as 3D gets. The spec is HERE

BVH is a format that describes animation. Not only that, but it describes the character's skeleton to use for the animation. It's also just a text file that's formatted in a certain way. The beginning of the file describes a skeleton and its degrees of freedom, and the rest of the file is a list of keyframes, one per line, for the skeleton to interpolate between. You can read the spec HERE . So far so good.

So what?

Second life uses those bvh files to animate their avatars. Ogoglio and openCroquet use the same formats, although these two newer platforms allow you to use your own custom obj files for avatar shape, where SL doesn't. Second life avatars are based on a basic Poser model, and a female one at that. To make the male model they just smooth down the boobs a bit... I kid you not...

More to come in part two, where i try to figure out the dark voodoo that these programs hide from you. How does the skeleton from one file know where to fit into the mesh from another file? What about skin weighting, and why should we care?!?!?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Collada shows up somewhere else

I didn't create this model. This is one of the models freely available from Goggle's 3D warehouse. You can also download it as a Collada formatted file. Once you have that you can do a whole lot with it. That's crazy.

I'm slowly following the trail of this interchange format, and finding it in interesting places.

Multiverse and COLLADA

So what's COLLADA all about? Multiverse uses it, and there was a small hint about future support in a Metaplace intereview. If this is easy to use and several platforms support it, could really be something.

More as I learn about it.

COLLADA on wikipedia

COLLADA main site

Sunday, October 14, 2007

testing web posting from email

technology is cool. the image is supposed to be animated, wtf?
you can click on it to start it off, but that's not what i want...
The other gifs animate because I'm hosting them elsewhere and link them with html, this was sent as an attachment...

testing animated gifs

In anticipation of the coming of Metaplace, I'm playing around with animated gifs from rendered 3D objects from Maya. It's getting there, I rendered with a black background in the future, or a dark version of the predominate color of the thing. The pants are too dark on the guy. The walk cycle looks like he has a stick up his butt. What's a good size for these? I mean filesize and resolution. If a page will have a background image and loads of animated gifs decorating it, what should the total download size be?

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Images on Flickr !

Hi all, you can also check out my Flickr gallery to see strange creatures and random doodles.

Click HERE

Check it out, I have a blog!

Yeah I know, everyone and their granny has a blog these days, but I finally have one too. I'm going to talk about digital 3D art, gaming, virtual worlds, and whatever else I can think of. Party time!

So yeah, that's me and my beautiful wife. She's the coolest person in the world. I probably won't talk much about personal stuff here, but you never know.