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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:19 am 
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kaelisebonrai wrote:
No, the 3dsmax plugin should not be the first thing that is recommended. Sorry, but it shouldn't be.

I do not know what you mean with should or shouldn't; to be clear, what I mean is that Cyan's plugin is the official option, and therefore it should be the first thing recommended, if someone asks here. The fact that Writers at the moment are more comfortable with other plugins and that Blender is much easier to find and cheaper than Max are considerations that come later - but in my mind they have to do with what is convenient or not, and they have nothing to do with should or shouldn't. =)

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Again, also note that /none/ of the actual Age Creation process was discussed at all, Simone. The message is still redacted.

Even if it was possible to discuss here the details, it would still make no sense to copy and paste here everything that is in the GoW wiki and forum... In fact, even if discussion was allowed, we would still be redirecting people to the Guild. What would be the point of the GoW website, otherwise?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:41 am 
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regardless of its nature of being official we /should/ be recommending the best way to do it. And that is *not* Cyan's plugin.

So, no, again, I restate it: We should *not* be recommending Cyan's plugin first, regardless of where the question is being asked.

How would you feel, if you were just starting, and were pointed to an inferior* plugin, for merely political reasons? Not very good, I would suspect.

*Inferior for current purposes, and for the usage Cyan themselves has asked us to abide by, namely "please do not pirate 3dsmax" seeing as that is pretty much the ONLY way of obtaining 3dsmax7 currently... I fail to see your reasoning for suggesting we should recommend it simply for political purposes.

We're here to make content, not pratt around with politics.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:27 am 
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Kaelis, I think you're right, though I question the use of the word "political." There's no point in recommending a plugin for a programme that it's impossible to get. It was a gift from Cyan to those who already had legal copies of Max 7 or 8, and that's it. The rest of us (I say us: I'm still hiding under the bed from Blender) have to use other means, and that applies to anyone who comes to this new. Sorry, Simone.

How does a fan make an Age? (to get back to the topic)

Start with a story. The world you're going to create was made (Written) deliberately, which means it was made for a reason and a purpose. What was that reason, and that purpose? Did the Age do what it was supposed to, or did it surprise its Writer? Invent the Writer, either yourself (which doesn't take much inventing) or some long-ago D'ni person. Why did s/he Write this Age in particular? For a place to read in peace? Because s/he thought a pink sun would look nifty? As a source of troops to wage a war, or a place to get that particular kind of spice which adds such zing to a curry?

Get those questions settled, and you'll be starting to have an idea of the general shape and look of your Age. Now sit down with some paper and a pen or pencil and plan. Make your maps, draw out your machines if any, build your puzzles, work out exactly what you want to happen where and when. Try not to make it too linear. Explorers don't like to be herded from A to B to C; they like to be able to look at F or K on the way from C back to B. You have a story you want to tell with this Age, but there's no harm in keeping it a little loose, allowing for the player's whim. (Plus you may have better ideas along the way. That's always a good part.)

When you've got your plan all set in your head, write the journals or whatever that are going to give your players the backstory of your Age. Bear in mind that people don't like to read more than a couple of pages at a time (I know, weird, isn't it?) so keep it succinct. Make any art you want in there; compose (or get a friend to compose) the music and the soundscapes. Your aim is to get this Age so completely worked out that if you were to fall into a coma from sheer exhaustion, someone else could come along and make it from your notes. That's the best way to be sure you've got it right. No sense uploading an Age unless and until you're absolutely sure you've got rid of most of the silly mistakes.

And then, when you've done all that...then you go to your computer and you fire up (yech) Blender, or Max if you happen to be lucky enough to have it, and I refer you to my distinguished colleagues.

That's how a fan makes an Age.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:35 am 
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I see your point kaelis (and Zander); but I was not being political. The thing is, we're talking about Cyan's software on Cyan's forum. Cyan's plugin is, from what I've been told and from what I've seen in Andy's tutorials, much easier to use than the GoW's, for example; editing python files could scare away some beginners. I don't see an absolute "superior" here. Of course, if someone absolutely needs to start creating Ages right now, and does not own a copy of Max 7, then yes the GoW option is more convenient. It's just that I would not present it as *the only option available*.

This said, I share Emor's and Zander's view on creating fan Ages. I started working on an (admittedly quite ambitious) Age more than a month ago now, and I still have not done a single thing in Blender. I drew sketches and thought of possible storylines; this alone may require a lot of time and effort, especially if you've never done it before.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:27 pm 
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Simone wrote:
I see your point kaelis (and Zander); but I was not being political. The thing is, we're talking about Cyan's software on Cyan's forum. Cyan's plugin is, from what I've been told and from what I've seen in Andy's tutorials, much easier to use than the GoW's, for example; editing python files could scare away some beginners. I don't see an absolute "superior" here. Of course, if someone absolutely needs to start creating Ages right now, and does not own a copy of Max 7, then yes the GoW option is more convenient. It's just that I would not present it as *the only option available*.

This said, I share Emor's and Zander's view on creating fan Ages. I started working on an (admittedly quite ambitious) Age more than a month ago now, and I still have not done a single thing in Blender. I drew sketches and thought of possible storylines; this alone may require a lot of time and effort, especially if you've never done it before.


Uh, have you ever used the GoW plugin? since there is no python editing involved. =P At least no more than involved in Cyan's plugin. =) Note that the 3dsmax plugin won't necessarily be available to the masses, in a form that doesn't require 3dsmax7, ever. =P Cyan once said they /couldn't/ make it work on later versions, for various reasons. =)

PyPRP2 will have a much more friendly interface, so your point about the interface being more confusing doesn't really stand if we're going to futz around and wait for later versions. So, yeah. Noting that we're talking about Age Creation on Cyan's forum, we have a duty to fellow fans to recommend the best software for use. and that's still not Cyan's plugin.

Most people start with sketches, etc, I prefer to do my sketching in 3d, doing my concept work as part of the Age Building process.

And, note that journals are not... well, not really necessary, either, to make a good Age. =)

So, to Zander, I would say that is how a fan /could/ make an Age. Not necessarily a bad way of doing things, but.. not the only way. =)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm 
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Oh, no indeed. Nine and sixty ways, and all that. But that's how the Ages that will most satisfy me will be made, and that's how I hope to do it if I ever get to the point. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm 
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@Emor: here is what the "Rendered" scene looks like in 3DS Max:

Image

As you can see......well, you can't see......that's because I'm using nothing but Plasma RunTime lights.

There is no one stopping anyone from deciding to learn how to use some 3D software that is not Blender or Max, if they want to learn how to model and render scenes. My very first program I ever tried this with was Bryce back in 1998. If it helps them learn how to model and how to paint, that is great.

But if a person wants to actually create a "Age" that is to be used by the Plasma Engine, then right now, they will need to learn how to use either Max or Blender. As I said, you can build your entire Age like in Maya...you can then export it to say, .nif format and using Nifskope (I believe it's called) you can import it into Blender. Where you can then use the fan plugin. Or you can export it in another format and import it into Max for Cyan's plugin.

What makes the "Age" be an "Age" is simple really: The Plasma Engine simply has to be able to load it, and you can see something. That's it really.
Now for it to be a "Good" Age.....that's going to be a HIGHLY subjective opinion by every single fan out there. But I will tell you this:
You could make the most beautiful looking things, landscapes that have ever been made. But what good is that if you can't hear things? Imagine playing Riven.....with the sound off.
Sound helps make the Age, be it music, ambience or sound effects. You can't hear anything in a rendered scene in your 3D program. You have to use a plugin to put those sounds in, and then you have to use Plasma to test those sounds: too loud? In the right place? Did you enable the EAX so that there's an echo because you've made a "cavern" type place and have running water?

Animations.....again, you can move your time bar in your 3D program, and see your objects move. But again, you need to be able to BE there and see it from the eyes of the avatar in game.

So yes, you COULD decide to learn on a completely different platform if you desire. You can fiddle with things until you get it to look just right in a rendered scene in the 3D software.
But again, you won't know how it really looks until you can export it into prp format and link in to look.

And right now the only way to do that is to use either Blender or Max. When I first started learning how to do this, years ago, I started out with Blender of course. I spent a month tearing my hair out, trying to get used to using Blender. I had days I wanted to put my fist through my monitor.
But I stuck with it. And as the first month turned into more months, I got better and better at building things in Blender. All because I refused to give up (and because at the time that was the only way to make an Age, heh).

@Everyone else:

Cyan's Plugin verse GoW Plugin

Ease of use of either is very subjective. I can point out the pro's and con's of both:

GoW Plugin:

Pros:
Used with free, open sourced software from Blender.org
Is updated and worked on by fans to keep up with updates from Blender.org
Lots of support over at the GoW forum.
Many fans are using this and can help.
Tutorials available at both the GoW and GoMa web sites
Several exporting options

Cons:
Can not put in Particles or a few other things at this time (note: this can change)
To assign Plasma Components, you must type in scripting (it's not that hard, really! Just slower)
Is not really allowed to be talked about here (but you can talk about it all you want over at GoW and GoMa)
Does not export for MOUL:a (again, this will change.....when we have a test server)

Cyan's Max Plugin:

Pros:
Can put in everything that you see in MOUL:a, all Plasma components work.
All point and click (makes doing things FAST)
Exports directly for MOUL:a version of Plasma

Cons:
Works only with Max 7 or 8 (neither of which can be purchased anymore)
Max 7 or 8 can have issues with Windows 7
Little to no support from Cyan
Little documentation from Cyan
Can ONLY export one way

A note about the little support and documents: again, that's here and Cyan. However, I've written a LOT Of tutorials (with pictures!!) and posted them over at the GoMa. Some people have also started making video tutorials for this plugin.

So which is "better" ? Which is "easier" ?

That's actually up to all of you. For me, Cyan's plugin is a heck of a lot easier to use. But that's me. There are many that will find the GoW plugin easier to use, but that's them.

Oh, and a note about Python: Python is not used to create an Age. In other words, you don't have to make a bunch of Python scripting to make an Age at all.
You WILL need it if your Age is going to have: Linking Books, Journals, Puzzles.....no matter WHICH plugin you use.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:47 pm 
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*agrees with andy*

However, I'd like to make a (really small) note on the typing in of scripting for PyPRP: this will be changing in time, as well. =)

There are *massive* improvements in the pipeline. =)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:37 pm 
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Ooooo......this topic got "Stickyed"!

Way to go mods! Thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:47 pm 
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Just a little site note:
andylegate wrote:
GoW Plugin: [cut]
Cons:
Can not put in Particles or a few other things at this time (note: this can change)
To assign Plasma Components, you must type in scripting (it's not that hard, really! Just slower)

[cut]

Cyan's Max Plugin:

Pros:
Can put in everything that you see in MOUL:a, all Plasma components work.
All point and click (makes doing things FAST)
[cut]

Again, as everything which deals age creation this is subjective. For example I prefer "typing" things instead of "clicking out" them in wizards :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:04 pm 
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Egon wrote:
Just a little site note:
andylegate wrote:
GoW Plugin: [cut]
Cons:
Can not put in Particles or a few other things at this time (note: this can change)
To assign Plasma Components, you must type in scripting (it's not that hard, really! Just slower)

[cut]

Cyan's Max Plugin:

Pros:
Can put in everything that you see in MOUL:a, all Plasma components work.
All point and click (makes doing things FAST)
[cut]

Again, as everything which deals age creation this is subjective. For example I prefer "typing" things instead of "clicking out" them in wizards :)


Right. Which is why I said it's entirely subjective and up to the individual.
I personally would rather simply click on the object, and then click on the plasma component, and then click again on the things it needs. Like Wavesets (the ripply water):

Image

As you can see, I'll I have to do is punch in the values.

Where as using Blender, I have to type all that in (weeeeelllll, you can copy and paste it, but you still have to go through it line for line to put in your values):

Code:
MyWater:
     some silly code here:
         a silly flag here
     some sort of geostate here
          more flags
          more flags
          more flags
          more flags
     some sort of texture state here
          more flags
          more flags
          more flags
          more flags
     Hey, maybe some wind effect here
          more flags
          more flags
          more flags
     oops, need some reflective tint here too
          more flags
             how about pimped out blue glass type here


Well you get the picture (please note: the above code, is not actual code. will not do anything for you except give you a chuckle, or heartburn, and is not in anyway used to do anything for any software)

But again, yes, it's all about preference. Which goes back to that question: When it comes to the actual Age Creation part (not the model building and texturing part), what you feel is easier and are more at ease with will play a larger role.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:39 pm 
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Ok. Assuming I use Blender and build an Age, how do I test it? And what is PyPRP? And is there any Cyan provided content (nara texture, D'ni fonts, etc.)? And is there a way to see/determine character height in Blender in order to size things correctly?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:39 pm 
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PeteC wrote:
Ok. Assuming I use Blender and build an Age, how do I test it? And what is PyPRP? And is there any Cyan provided content (nara texture, D'ni fonts, etc.)? And is there a way to see/determine character height in Blender in order to size things correctly?

Again, the Writer's Guild (GoW) at guildofwriters.com is the place to ask this sort of stuff. But I can probably answer that without breaking the rules
PyPRP is a plugin for blender that allows you to export the models and setting you make into a format Uru understands. That's how you would test your Age. Cyan hasn't provided content, but the GoW has ways to let you extract the textures you want. In Blender, I make a 8 unit high by 4 unit wide, by 2 unit deep rectangle... That is pretty much the size of an avatar.

Enjoy! :D


mod note: edited 6/8/10 - rule III

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Last edited by Whilyam on Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:02 pm 
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PeteC wrote:
Ok. Assuming I use Blender and build an Age, how do I test it? And what is PyPRP?

As Whilyam said, most details can only be talked about on unofficial forums like the Guild of Writers and OpenUru.

PeteC wrote:
And is there any Cyan provided content (nara texture, D'ni fonts, etc.)?

Currently, both plugins let people use the sounds, music, and fonts from other Ages. There is also a way to extract textures, though that's not part of either plugin yet. And it's always good to talk to Cyan (or the original fan Age creator) before using content they have made. For instance, Cyan has been supportive of people using their cavern wall texture when building areas in the cavern.

Whilyam wrote:
In Blender, I make a 8 unit high by 4 unit wide, by 2 unit deep rectangle... That is pretty much the size of an avatar.

I thought avatars were 6 Blender units tall.

Oops.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:22 pm 
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It is. 6 units high that is. The male avatar

1 Blender unit = 1 foot (by default)
1 Max unit = 1 foot (provided you set that up in Max's settings)

Here is something a bit more specific, straight from the Plasma Documents that Chogon released:

Image

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