I have accomplished all of what I was aiming for in this release, including the first version of the path extrusion feature and a complete overhaul of the texture alignment on ramps, which, as I posted recently, now works like the UV Lock feature in JACK.
Next thing I will do is probably creating a few video tutorials and updating the documentation.
As for the rest…
New Feature: Added path extrusion
New Feature: Added World-to-Face alignment conversion on map load
Overhaul: Complete overhaul of the texture alignment for ramps
New settings: p_reverse, p_cornerfix, p_split, ramptex
Added triangulation for 5 sided brushes
Triangulation now default for ramp generation
Fixed minor texture misalignment issues
Future planned features:
Handling of fixed level components like smaller detail objects (lamps, guard rails) or even whole level parts. At the moment you would achieve those by using special paste in an editor like JACK
“Real” path extrusion that works by intersecting lines, like you would usually have it in 3D software.
Texture alignment on ramps now finally working
The texture alignment on ramps kept bothering me for weeks now and I finally decided to use a method that does the same as JACK’s UV lock feature. It basically just pulls the texture into the direction you’re moving the vertices to and preserves the original texture shift, while adjusting its scales to fit the new face length.
While this is the best method for texture shift preservation, it will also lead to a certain distortion, when the slope angle is very steep. The pros of that method outweigh this con though.
Initially I ran into problems when I tried to compile the pipes in the upper example. I realized that this was caused by them having floating point coordinates, so I was able to compile the demo map without any compiling issues in the end, by just rounding all coordinates to integer numbers – AKA snapping them to the grid – using “round 1” during the generation process.
Doing this won’t have any noticable effect on the texture aligns or shifts, which is absolutely brilliant, because having a managable mesh is important when working in any editor. Of course this will also break any mesh with sloped but non-triangle faces. This should be kept in mind when rounding meshes that actually don’t need to be triangulated.
Alternative texture alignment
Anyway, as an alternative I also included the old method I was working on. It can be used in situations, where crossing details on the horizontal texture axis aren’t that bad, but having an upright vertical texture align is relevant for a natural look… or whatever.
Texture alignments on ramps
Another little preview on the current update progress for Map2Curve. I was able to polish the texture alignment on ramps a little further. It’s still not perfect, but this doesn’t matter in all situations.
If you want, take a look for yourself. I zipped all the relevant files for this demo map. You can download it here.
Beware, if you try feeding the included files to the current version of Map2Curve, which is 0.2, you will probably not create something beautiful.
The newly improved texture alignments will also make the new path extrusion feature much more interesting for large-scale generation of natural looking landscape.
Being able to use uneven heights is a very important aspect, when generating rock formations like these.
Currently I am still working on the next update for Map2Curve. In addition to the path extrusion feature, I want to concentrate on correct texture alignment for sloped surfaces this time, like those on a ramp.
When this works smoothly I will be able to combine it with the path extrusion feature which will make very interesting landscape possible.
Thoughts about architecture overkill due to generated brushwork
One idea suggests itself. With a tool like this it becomes easy to create curved brushwork with a lot of details in just a few minutes. A level of detail which quickly becomes too much for the Goldsource engine, so one has to keep in mind: With great power, comes great responsibility.
The polygone usage of these arcs or ramps is – compared to manual low-res construction methods – significantly higher, which will demand for a very thoughtful and occasional usage in suited situations, where a small amount of curvy architecture has a huge impact on the overall quality of the scene.
In my opinion creativity and discretion are very important resources in good leveldesign, if not the most important.
The next big feature of Map2Curve will be brush-extrusion along a path, which was previously created in Hammer.
Having initial issues with the whole path thing, it works nice now.
The current available method creates brushes, that are simple and managable after generation, while still looking smooth in most situations.
This Canyon was generated from a path and a few brushes, all of which was made in Hammer previously. Generation takes a few seconds and produces easy to manage meshes and correct texture alignments, without using triangles. Another planned feature is also height.
1. Added Drag and Drop for map and txt files. When dropping map files,
defaults.txt will always be used for settings if it exists. Otherwise
internal defaults will be used.
2. Added Solid Entity Support. Point Entities are still being ignored
at the moment, but might be considered in a future update.
3. Added Custom Height command “height”, which is being added to each section.
4. Added round coordinates command “round” (0/1).
5. Added “ramp” as an addition to “height”. Usable with linear (1) and
smooth (2) slope.
6. Added Triangulation “tri” (0/1) for 6 sided Brushes only (Cuboids).
Neccessary for ramp generation.
7. Fixed settings file issue.
8. Fixed invalid Brush issue.