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Frankie V

Urban Terror HD - Working with Power Tools ep2 Player Models

posted Monday, 23 June 2014
June 23,2014

Urban Terror HD - Working with Power Tools ep2 Player Models

In this episode of of WPT we introduce you all to our current design pathway for future player models coming for Urban Terror HD and outline our current reasons for doing so.

With out a doubt player model development is a time consuming process when coming at it all from a crafting direction but after extensive examination procedural design has reached the point that crafting can still be involved along with the benefit of supplying a large volume of different and unique player models in short order.

The procedural approach will work well for us to divide the work load where anyone on the team could build from scratch if they wish by using the procedural pipeline in place and could add their work to the line up with out the technical assistance of another developer with the necessary skills to get the result into the game.

By far this is a must do as it's always been the case that to do or get anything into the game usually involved the assistance of another who was not always available or working on something else of more importance that tended to stall feature additions and has at times been forgotten.

Using this approach a player model can be designed in hand, as a primitive so to speak with our ideals that one day a player could log into a server and never see the same player model twice.


UE4 Material Instancing

posted Monday, 23 June 2014
I have been working with my plant textures creating materials in UE4 for them. I have several colours of a Dutch iris as well as several other plants that I want to use. When we were exploring UDK for UE3 HappyDay found a tutorial on using the RGB channels of a diffuse texture as the mask for a transparency instead of using an alpha channel in the texture. This saves memory because the mask texture is saved as a DXT1 instead of the more expensive DXT5. In UE4 you can create a material using parameters for everything from the base texture to the mask texture so you can make one parent and an unlimited number of instances from it for all of your transparent materials. Thanks to HappyDay for teaching me how to add an If statement for the mask.

First import your textures and then create the parent material. I chose my Dutch Iris as the parent. I created a simple material with blend mode "masked" so I could add an opacity mask. This parent has a vector parameter for the subsurface colour (the light yellow square), a couple of scalars for metallic and roughness that aren't being used atm (they are there for future use if needed) and an opacity mask with an if statement for its rgb channels. B is a constant set on 2. By changing the value of the scalar connected to input A I can assign which RGB channel the material should use. By using TextureSampleParameter2D instead of just a simple TextureSample I can change the base texture and the mask texture.

The next image is an instance created from my parent material. As you can see the material editor looks different. In this example I have changed only the base texture.

In the following image I have not only changed the base texture to a different type of plant but also the mask's channel has been changed to 3 which is the blue channel.

In the next example I have changed the texture used for the mask as well as the base texture. This is still an instance of the first parent.

One of the great time saving features of working with instances is if you update the parent it is propagated to all of the children. I decided that it would be handy to be able to change the tint of a base texture so I added a VectorParameter to the base colour path.

Now I can change the tint of any of the base textures. You can see that the editor has added the new parameter to the menu of functions I can modify.

This technique not only saves time but it also saves memory and improves performance.

Frankie V

Urban Terror HD – Working with Power Tools ep1 Hello World

posted Sunday, 22 June 2014
June 22,2014

OK so I finally got my microphone back and my clean from scratch reinstall of Windows 7 to behave the way I want so I'll be adding some commentary to my YouTube videos and get into the 21st century.

If you think about blogs are so 2010 and best serves the “agenda” but for a video game I don't think it unreasonable that people what to see stuff and not just read about it. I could say we are doing this that and the other thing but to quote Barbie, and may others, with out video or screen shots it did not happen.

For me of course it's yet another opportunity to have fun, or be funny, which is what membership on this team is all about. By far the single problem of keeping people working on the project is at some point the shiny wears off and becomes more like work than something that you “enjoy” doing on your free time but as a content creator there is “always” something fun to work on if you can ignore the handful of the hardcore who are just out to bust your nut.


To keep things in one place I'm going to call the series Urban Terror HD – Working with Power Tools which will be informal video blogs, with commentary, and if you all what to jump on the band wagon away with your questions and I'll toss in a Q&A while I ramble on.


Argh, Why'd There Have to be Seams

posted Friday, 20 June 2014
While skinning the hair I ran into a bit of a problem with the seams in the uvw unwrap that made it hard to match the hair as you can see in the image below.

My solution was to change the uvw unwrap and move the bit that was at the top of the neck to the same map as the head so it is now attached to the head's polygons and the only seam I have to deal with is the centre back seam which is much easier to hide. The green lines are the seams.

After moving the pieces highlighted in red it was much easier to skin the hair.
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FrozenSand RunAbove at OVH

posted Thursday, 19 June 2014
Recently I went into the capitol for a day of geekery with our hosting provider here at FS. For those who don't know that is OVH. The are currently going around the world introducing clients to their products. You can see the event i attended here.

After much talking a free bar and then more talking with the nice people at OVH I have the priveldge of being invited to test a new Brand/Product from OVH called RunAbove.

RunAbove is OVH's all new Cloud OpenStack solution. For those who don't know what that is ... google it :). For those who do, these are exciting times as OVH enters the by the hour billing. They do not disapoint either!

In the coming week I will be migrating our inferstructures over to RunAbove. One of the big differences is that the VMs them selfs will have a mix of Compute or Memory Nodes, each of which have a switching connection of 10GBit/s. Yes, we can burst to that if we need to!!

It's super exciting times, and i would like to take the time to thank our new partners over at RunAbove / OVH for making this possible!!
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums

Frankie V

Nevada walk around with bonus.

posted Wednesday, 18 June 2014
June 17,2014

OK was not realllly ready to do an update just yet but I just got my new GeForce 780ti up and running the way I want it and and finally got around to getting ShadowPlay working.

To let the cat out of the bag, as hinted already, Nevada is being rebuilt for UE4 which is a redo of Turnpike. Nevada is a map redo by Skaz originally intended for UrT/fstech1 which sad to say is a dead end project but I still have all of the major mesh components already done during the brush>mesh conversion intended for the fstech1 design.

Even with physics based materials it's a fast map to play but at the moment it is the shortage of ready made materials that is slowing things down as far as a quick conversion goes. We do expect this to be resolved once Epic has the Marketplace set up and over time collect as many different, fair use, materials we can get our hands on or make ourselves.

Back to the blog in hand.

The good news is I/we can finally do real in game captures of work in progress to give a much better scene as to use of space as well as speed that just can not be done with out hardware capturing. Up to now I've been using software capture that although works it's not going to really be all that impressive as to what we are seeing on our end.

Sooo for now on full resolution, 60 fps game play, with sound.

The bad news?

This stuff is to cool for school so expect yet more work in progress not fit to play. ;)

As an added bonus I also added a run around, maybe to fast?, and yet more work being done on the new sentry gun.

One is the model design to be used, yet to be fully textured, and the other is a mockup of the AI done in Blueprint.


Sketches part II

posted Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Here is the second part, with adrenaline shots, akimbo weapon mode, knife & handgun combinaison, and a new way to curb stomp. These are suggestions and i think finally of continuing these boards to add Silverfox suggestion.


Frankie V

The new Mr Sentry

posted Monday, 16 June 2014
Needing a break from working on JUST Casa I've begun work on the Mr. Sentry replacement and I've completed the bulk of the modeling work and the AI base and now in the process of doing the layered UV mapping and texture work.

If you don't know who or what is a Mr. Sentry it's as you can see your basic mini-gun design but is a fundamental map object as part of the CTF game type. It's usually placed inside the team base to protect the area from the the opposition from gaining a foot hold of the spawn area and more or less run the capture count up unfairly.

Need more info feel free to post questions in the Urban Terror HD forums.


Sketches for Animation

posted Sunday, 15 June 2014
In animation you have the called key poses that are the most important poses of a movement. They are here to express the movements. Then you or the assistant usually draw all the poses in between. Even if you can animate in straight, meaning you draw one pose after another until the end, this Method is usually the mostly used. With this idea in mind, i've tried to apply a bit of this method for Urban Terror 's moves when FrankieV started the animations. I've hesitated sine this is from last summer, but here are some of the ideas which are not that different from what we know.

I think it was important to resume the main moves of urt with pictures.

So making dynamic pose in Urt is more restricted than in animation since there's a gameplay to respect. It's not about drawing an in-your-face pose but more something close to 4.x with a character not throwing his arms everywhere during a climbing. Of course regarding the movement, the pose can be more or less "complicated" in my opinion. Climbing poses for me can be a bit more in-your -face since it happens while the player is almost static, while a wall-jumping animation (althought a bit exagerated here) has to be simple & dynamic, with the shortest transitions.

It can be messy as sometimes you got a 1 > 2 > 4 > 3. You can have two options for a movement. (follow the arrows).


posted Saturday, 14 June 2014
So here we go, yet another blog. To be honnest I'm not drawing that much for Urban Terror anymore. I've started to model props for our maps instead. So it can be used by any mappers. I'm trying to contribute to the props bank so we'll be more in a "what can i take from here", rather than a "could you model me one thing". Since a simple props can inspire a bit of a part of a map. For now, it's just about having the most common stuff you'll find in any streets basically. I'm pretty sure that in the environments we want to build, most of these props will find a place. The way it's supposed to be used, as trashes, or gameplay elements.

This new hobby plus Frankie waiting for me to modify 2-3 things on Ghosttown to convert it so i can have fun with UDK as well, I don't think it'll be usefull to draw for URT at all today. I'm not at the texturing part yet. I'm just trying to chain props modeling as much as possible for now. So nothing fancy at all to be honnest, but our environment need all that kind of small stuff to look good. Ghosttown converted soon will be a good place to test these models. Also, I plan to work with Blade on modeling different parts of a characters, simple things like pouches, holsters, glasses, berets, gloves, anything characters related.

So here is what will be my 2014's route.

I'm still wondering what can I show here while staying coherent so for now, I got some old drawings from last summer that are still usefull, despite all the recent changes. It concerns characters animations, revised & refreshed a bit plus new ideas which are not a priority for now but extra propositions. I'll post a first part of these boards later today.
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