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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:45 am 
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T-Rex Killer
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OK time to bring this back again.

I am working on making a dinosaur known as Segnosaurus, based off of Gallimimus. To start, I brought the Galli into TPDC successfully (thanks Reb ;)) and Saved his .wif (weights information file) to be used later. Then I imported a .3ds export of Galli into Max, and proceeded to alter his mesh in slight ways (claws different shape, arms in new position, neck shorther, head rotated and non-uniform scaled). No modifications were made outside of the vertex sub-object level in the editable mesh. After this I created new maps for the Segno and created a new material with the 4 ID's (I've found in the past that the materials of .3ds imports can't be used even if updated with correct texture names, geomadd gives some kind of strange error), which used new maps I just made (I'll reveal the new look at a later time ;)). Now I exported this mesh and brought it into TPDC. First off, it gave me 4 error messages saying the texture path is unreachable or w/e. I've come to expect this from TPDC and I know it's got something buggy with it because those textures work fine with other non-dino meshes going through geomadd. So textures don't show up in TPDC if they're not original/TC dinos... no biggie. Anyways the first problem was this:

Image

Now we've all seen this before numerous times.... >_> I took one of the suggestions I hadn't done for Cerato yet and combined the mesh with that of Gallimimus, also moving the mesh of the Segno so that it's pivot point was now centered. See I'm not sure why TPDC does this... the pivot point of the Galli mesh from TPDC is not centered, yet TPDC needs it to be in order for it to work. Not 100% sure why... I would think that the galli pivot is off towards the back because galli doesn't use the rear tail joint(s). Hmmmm anyway... This corrected the position problem (yay!!) but gave me an error (similar to the next one so I won't show a pic yet) that seemed to idicate the vertex numbers were now changed. I realized this made sence because I had attached it to the galli mesh and then deleted the galli. It wasn't that hard to redo the process w/out attaching the mesh, and mangaged to maintain the correct position in TPDC (whew) but the same problem was evident:

Image

I figured out the purple part means areas of the mesh which have assigned verticies. I almost started this post at that poing but then I realized... I always assumed the dinos' meshes were exploded, not sure why maybe just because that's how they always came out in Max (I am going to try tpm import sometime soon maybe this will help that issue). Now I know better thanks to this, and went back to weld all the Segno's verts (oh forgot to mension, I renamed the Sengo mesh back to Galli cause TPDC was bugging me about the mesh having a diff name from the .wif file). This wasn't easy because of how tiny the mesh was, 'specially at the mouth... Figured a way around that, and finally got him with all the verts welded and smooth into TPDC, aaaaand:

Image

Hmmmm he looks cool there but, I got this error message which I had gotten before still:
"Number of vertices of current mesh does not match weight information file."
Funny thing is, the whole mesh is purple which would seem to indicate there WERE the same number of verticies, and the whole mesh was assigned... Also I used the option Assign by Index (using Assign by Position doesn't seem to assign anything). As you can kind of see here, the verticies are assigned to the wrong joints. Not just that, but SHADOW joints are being given SKIN verticies. What's up with that? (a note, the raptorB shadow mesh seems to be fine)

Soooo my points are: *What am I still doing wrong? *How can making a dino be this hard??? *How can saving .wif files possibly be of any use to anybody if this is what happens?

I could go and, worst case scenario, assign all the verts myself... But if that's what it takes then we should just remove this wif feature from TPDC altogether. :|

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:16 pm 
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Parasaurus
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Well, the Segnosaurus should look more similar to the Therizinosaurus than to the Gallimimus... good luck, anyway.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:32 pm 
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Ok, let me explain a few things first.

1) When exporting meshes (ANY mesh) with TresEd to the 3DS format, and exporting it again from 3dsmax to TPM will give you different meshes than when directly exporting it to TPM from TresEd.
That happens because 3DS does not preserve mesh data well. For that reason I and Andres created the TPM format. 3DS meshes will create extra vertices and bad vertex normal data, and other stuff may be messed up as well. For what we are doing, 3DS is unrelyable. The only thing you should use 3DS files for, is to match up the dinosaur position and orientation (as explained in the mesh attach trick in my tutorial), nothing else.

2) The .wif files are mainly meant to save and restore weights from already rigged dinos. The purpose of that is NOT to copy weights from one mesh to totally different one. If the vertex count differs, it will give a warning, and the results will be unrelyable (that is what causes the problems displayed in your second screenshot, the re-exported 3DS mesh is totally different from the one you stored the weights of).

Assign By Index
When you have modeled a new skin for a dinosaur, and you've gotten it all working in the engine. Now, say there's a bit of warping, and you want to move a vertex a tiny bit. You can't do this in TPDC (it wasn't meant to be a modeling program) so you'll have to re-export the skin from 3dsmax. But hey, if you do that you loose all weights again?! Indeed, and that's when you save the weights of your current version, export the modified mesh again, and load the weights by choosing assign by index.

Assign By Position
When you've added some faces (and thus) vertices to your new mesh then the geometry data is likely to be totally different, and the number of vertices are no longer the same. In that case TPDC can no longer identify which vertex is which, and thus can't just copy the weights by index (in some cases this may still work, so instead of giving an error message and aborting the operation, it gives you the option to try it anyway).
However, you can also load the weights and choose to identify the vertices by position. This way TPDC compares all vertex positions from the .wif file to the new skin. If the position matches, then it must be the same vertex, and copies the weight. If a matching vertex cannot be found, the vertex will not be assigned (green).

-------------------

Quote:
the whole mesh is purple which would seem to indicate there WERE the same number of verticies

That means there are no materials on your skin, has nothing to do with the number of vertices. Green = unassigned, red = assigned. For more info on colors, check the readme.

Quote:
TPDC was bugging me about the mesh having a diff name from the .wif file
[...]
Number of vertices of current mesh does not match weight information file.

Ever thought of it, you may be doing something wrong when you're getting error warnings? ;)

Quote:
the verticies are assigned to the wrong joints

All because of the reasons explained above. The .wif feature is just not meant to copy weights between two totally different meshes.

-------------------

To make things clear, 0.2.2 does not solve these issues! If you give any program bad data it will not work. There is no way to detect the correct mesh offset relative to the bones, and for that reason TPDC assumes the root bone is at (0,0,0) and the mesh pivot is also positioned at (0,0,0). The user will have to take care of that. If your mesh pivot is at (0,0,0) but the vertices are still offset, they need to be moved relative to the pivot. This is exactly what you do when you attach your newly modeled skin to the 3DS mesh (you copy the new mesh to the original and thereby inherit the correct position+orientation from the old skin). So in order for that to work, you'll have to export the 3DS file properly.

As mentioned, I'll be including these 3DS files of all dinosaurs of the original levels so you can be sure that isn't causing any problems. Maybe I'll even include some MAX template scenes as well.

Hope it clears things up a bit. If not, please do ask.

-------------------

So as for a direct answer Draco, you'd either have to re-rig your new skin mesh by hand in TPDC, or try to load the weights 'by position'. But that last method will only work if your skin has the right offset, otherwise no match between vertices will be found and no weights will be copied. And this will only work for the vertices that you haven't touched while editing, so you'll HAVE to assign some (if not most) vertices manually eitherway.
Assign by index will not work in this case, simply because you've used an imported 3DS file which changes the number of vertices. Even if the number would be the same, then 3dsmax may have reordered them internally while you've been editing.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:44 pm 
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T-Rex Killer
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Remdul, thanks a TON for all the tips I think I can get this to work now! 8) I do have one question; if I export a dino (say, gallimimus) as tpm from Isle and IMPORT that tpm to Max via scripts, then mod it and export it again as tpm, won't it have the same vertex indexes?? :?:
Don't have time today but I will impliment this stuff as soon as I get time... thanks again for taking the time to explain it. :yes:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:06 pm 
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Albertosaurus
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indeed...let's see some new workable dinos......


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:17 pm 
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Draconisaurus wrote:
if I export a dino (say, gallimimus) as tpm from Isle and IMPORT that tpm to Max via scripts, then mod it and export it again as tpm, won't it have the same vertex indexes?


Technically, it might, but it cannot be guaranteed. 3dsmax cannot guarantee the vertex order is preserved, or at least not when generating geometry data (i.e. when importing).

Andres had a TPM import script up on his page at some point, but I'm not sure about the status of that (whether it still works with the latest TPM version). I don't think that way the vertex indices are guaranteed to be the same with all that importing and exporting, I wouldn't count on it.

Well, you can import the galli (or any other dino) as 3DS, try to fix it up as much as possible (mainly weld all vertices and fix the smoothing groups), but you won't be able to use the weights from the original galli if you also edit it.

* BTW, it took me less than 30 minutes to rig a single dino for TC Isle, including a few re-exports to fix some vertex warping. Weighting a dino takes only a few minutes really, it's not worth that much trouble.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:26 am 
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T-Rex Killer
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Hmmmm alright then, I think I'm going to make myself a visual index for what each joint in the RaptorB rig is responcible for (I wonder if the same numbers apply for the other raptor-type rigs i.e. alberta/rex?). This is mainly what I've been worried about because there are so many unused or overlapping joints on the rig. Hopefully within a couple days I will have the time (short time I know ;)) to rig up Segnosaurus and post pics. ;) Heck if that doesn't take too long I can try and work out Cerato, he'll take longer I'm sure but maybe not too much longer...

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:30 pm 
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And what happened to all these, in the end? Were they ever finished?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 5:09 pm 
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Albertosaurus
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Yeah still haven't seen any new dinosaurs...


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:21 pm 
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T-Rex Killer
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Well thank you for your vote of confidence. :p JPDS is actually "coming back online" and we should have a nice juicy update for ya all on our site very soon. ;) As for the new dinos, honestly we need to concentrate on one thing at a time, since our dev team is only about three of four strong. The terrain is our first priority, and anything it is dependent on. I'm currently making mock-models for it. Anyway I gotta go register for college, keep an eye out for that update. ;)

--Drac.

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Last edited by Draconisaurus on Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:37 pm 
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Albertosaurus
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No way Dinosaurs are ALWAYS the most important :yes:


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:22 am 
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T-Rex Killer
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Second Illiteration wrote:
No way Dinosaurs are ALWAYS the most important :yes:

LOL hey SI, if you want to make more skins let me know I have some cool ones you could use... a new Alberta skin might be nice too, and I have some alberta skins from different JP games on hand. :D Also did you ever get that music track with the EA music?? :?:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:03 am 
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Shut up SI :P
I wanna start making levels :P 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:31 am 
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Yea, I'd like to play JPDS1 before my 1st social security check ar-
rives. I'm not getting any younger here --

:cartman:


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:59 am 
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T-Rex Killer
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Mickey wrote:
Shut up SI :P
I wanna start making levels :P 8)

Mickey get in touch with me on MSN when you can, there are some
things I'd like to get you started on. :yes:
Rebel wrote:
Yea, I'd like to play JPDS1 before my 1st social security check ar-
rives. I'm not getting any younger here --

:cartman:
Lmao I don't think you need to worry about that ;P

http://trescom.3dactionplanet.gamespy.c ... 6644#46644

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