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Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,444
# 60
02-02-2013, 05:32 AM
Originally Posted by tacofangs View Post
I think one thing that many people overlook when they say, "Just have fans build it!" is that everything that goes into the game has to be built in specific ways. Ships more than most, as they are basically a character. They need to not only fit into a triangle count, and a material count, but they have to be split up into multiple parts, with pivots in specific locations for customization. They have to have all of their UVs set up in a way to work well with multiple different materials. They have to be set up with nodes for every phaser strip, blinky light, photon torpedo launcher, and tractor beam. They have to be named in specific ways, and a million other things I'm sure I don't know about since I'm not a ship artist.
You forget, that the models for Bridge commander are not simply "pretty models". They have to have all the hard points set up too. Every weapon, every glowy bit, every system is a node that has to be placed correctly and have any needed resources (sounds etc) associated correctly and included with the ship otherwise it will crash the game out all by itself.
For example, is that torpedo launcher hard-point located outside of the ship according to the @N@SHIP.Py? If so, CRASH. Are the torpedo to be used and the associated sounds all correctly referenced? Any one typo, CRASH.
Heck, look at ST: Excalibur (The fan made indie remake of BC). The ship hard-point system for that game is already more complex than the system used in BC.

I haven't even touched on the models and texturing for those games.

The point being, making a ship for OUR game, is a much more involved process than just making a good looking model in Maya for renders.
It is difficult. I don't know from experience of course, but if it was so easy then everyone would be at it.

All of that stuff makes it difficult to outsource. There are many iterations, many things need to be double, triple, octuple checked, and when something breaks, there needs to be someone to debug/fix it who knows what they're doing.
Please tell us, how many of the new ships have customizable physical parts? We get to VA level ships where the customization of physical parts basically stops and the only possible changes are texture based iirc. The VA retrofits of lower ranked ships have the customization, but the new ones (jem dread, wells, oddy, Galor, D'kora) all lack physical customization.

Btw, would you be able to find out for us what kind of polygon budget the artists have to work within, as well as how many texture maps, what size those maps can be and whether or not the mesh needs to be unified?
It's just something that I'm sure a lot of us would like to know. Heck, I might even be able to use that info to twist the arms of one or two BC modders into making some samples of ships within the graphical constraints.
The lack of solid info in that regard is one of the main reasons those guys who mod for BC/Excalibur who also play STO simply will not consider it. They are some of the most obsessive Trek fans I have ever met, they love what they do and they also cringe at how some of the meshes in game look. Not all of them want to do it, but those that do cannot do it without knowing what the constraints are.

If the relevant constraints and parameters were set for the mesh makers among us, would the ship artists and programmers at your end be willing to have a peek at some samples if these samples were made?
There was a sig here, but I gave up. Thanks {REDACTED}