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Trying to get started with track making

Mandolin
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7 Jan 2013, 12:03 AM #1

Ok. I would really like to start making tracks and cars, but I am having some trouble finding out exactly how. I'd really appreciate any tips from the more experienced ones in this area. :)

I have already collected several programs to get started:

- 3ds Max 2013
- Zmodeler2
- Corel Paint Shop Pro X4

If there are any other programs that are free that I should download, then please tell me. I am experienced with Paint Shop Pro but 100% new to the other two. I suppose I'll be doing most of my track and car making in 3ds Max.

What is the first step in making a track?
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Abc
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7 Jan 2013, 03:03 AM #2

Most of us know that, come tell what we don't know
Yes, I'm the ABC block and you can find me in Toy World 1 track! ;)
Reborn as Juest Zungo :P PS: I prefer chatting and i have Steam, Skype, Google and Microsoft account, just ask for it via PM or rarely find me in RVHouse. Also check out my interests.
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Mandolin
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7 Jan 2013, 06:58 AM #3

?? :huh:
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urnemanden
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7 Jan 2013, 08:12 AM #4

First step would be getting the idea. Depending on your idea, you may then start drawing a racing line, perhaps a map of the whole track or work with the track from another point of view. Next up you would need to learn the limitations of the Re-Volt engine and change aspects of your idea so it can fit within the frame. And then you could begin modelling and testing how the racing flow is.

Also, you might want to look into Blender instead of 3ds Max. Jigebren's Blender plug-in is much better supported than the ASETools you need to use to get your models from 3ds Max and into Re-Volt. In contrast to 3ds Max, Blender is free and open source software too.

http://www.blender.org/
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nero
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7 Jan 2013, 04:33 PM #5

Mandolin @ Jan 7 2013, 07:58 AM wrote: ?? :huh:
Ignore every single post from Abc.


I agree with Urne's suggestion, as Blender gives you everything you have with 3dsmax as well at the fraction of the size and about 3000$ less (unless YARRR have a pirated version)
I use Zmodeler 1.07b to make tracks although I have to admit it is quite difficult doing so, and I'm too lazy to learn Blender. :P
Saffron.
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Kenny
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7 Jan 2013, 05:00 PM #6

I would actually recommend to start slowly, don't jump immediatly in the track/car making where you create something out of nothing, you'll most likely get confused/frustrated with the amount of information that you need to understand.

I assume you already know the different track/car definitons like extreme/lego tracks or original/converted/repainted cars.

I would suggest that you start making modifications to already existing tracks/cars, be it adding additional pickups/objects or experimenting with car parameters/texture mappings.
For the track related stuff I also recommend that you make yourself comfortable with Re-Volt's MAKEITGOOD mode, not only the key combinations for basic movement and placing thins in the world but also what they do (at least the most important ones).

When you got all that you can still figure out afterwards how to get from a pure 3D model into the game and will have less problems doing everything else after that ;)

But you are of course free to decide whether you want to start slowly or to "jump right into the action".

Or if you already did/know all this stuff then simply ignore what I wrote :P
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Skarma
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7 Jan 2013, 05:56 PM #7

Zmodeler 2 can not export as .prm which is the format for Re-Volt. So it's useless.
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jigebren
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7 Jan 2013, 07:26 PM #8

I don't want to sound like I'm trying to sell my stuff, :rolleyes: but as far I'm concerned my advice would be:

The main tools: (it's all you need to fully create/edit a Re-Volt track / car, and they're free)
  • Re-Volt with MAKEITGOOD mode. Of course v1.2 Patch is recommended.
  • Blender + my WIP plugin You just won't need anything more (except MAKEITGOOD mode of course) to edit a Re-Volt track or a car mesh.
  • Gimp To edit the texture (and with the small plugin I once wrote you can easily export Re-Volt mipmaps).
  • Any Notepad-like, to edit the .inf or parameters.txt files.
Some extra tools: (just to let you know)
  • Inkscape is also a very good option IMO to create a car skin (if you like vector drawing). That's what I'm using here for example.
  • prm2hul can help in creating HUL collision data for a car (notice that it can also be done manually in Blender).
  • WorldCut may improve the rendering speed of a complex track, anyway it should only be used at the end of the process, when the track it ready to be released.
About the process:
  1. Draw some sketches of the track / racing line on paper can help to get an idea of what you want, it's better than starting from nothing...
  2. Create a folder for you track, and edit the .inf file.
  3. Create a rough world mesh in Blender, apply a rough texture to it (even a dummy noisy texture applied everywhere will greatly help to see the volume in Re-Volt).
  4. Export it to a .W file.
    You'll get what it seen in Re-Volt.
  5. Export it to a .NCP file as well.
    Now the cars will have something to collide with (and a solid ground to fall on at startup). You may have to edit the starting grid position in the .inf file.
  6. Test it in Re-Volt
    (using the DEV mode here could be a good idea)
  7. Improve it and jump back to step 4. :)
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Mandolin
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7 Jan 2013, 10:47 PM #9

@ Abc: Please realize you're talking to human beings on here and get a life. (after you get unbanned of course ^_^)

@ urnemanden and nero: Thanks, going to try Blender soon.

@ Kenny: I've actually been playing for quite a while and doing small edits (makeitgood, retexturing) but just starting to feel comfortable with trying more advanced stuff. Thanks though! All that stuff has been very helpful to me for learning on. :D

@ Skarma: Yeah I was wondering why everyone else was able to export .prms with Zmodeler and I wasn't. Going to try to find a 1.3 link, I suppose.

@ jigebren: Thank you a lot! That is very helpful. I'm going to get all those programs and try to work something up.
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Killer Wheels
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7 Jan 2013, 11:59 PM #10

Hi Mandolin,

I'm starting a tutorial to do what you ask, and I'd be glad if you could help making it. What do you want to learn first ? What do you want to achieve first ? ...
All these questions should be useful to write a good tutorial...

If you'd like to help, just have a look here : (go straight to the bottom !)

Anyway, good luck ! :P
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Mandolin
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8 Jan 2013, 12:52 AM #11

KW, I'd love to help out with it. I've always thought there should be something like that floating around the Re-Volt sites. If it is "from scratch to end" in one big PDF or text document, I would say start with makeitgood instructions and texturing, which shouldn't be that difficult since there are some loose tutorials around the web (I know the old RVA site has quite a few, but I've always felt that they could be improved upon). I think they should include keyboard layouts for each mode (not sure if the RVA tutorials have them or not). Re-texturing could be approached from several different popular image editing programs (if you want, I can possibly make something that relates to Corel Paint Shop Pro, which is my personal choice for raster graphics (I have the newer X4 version and older XI version), or maybe for CorelDraw for vector graphics (I have the X4 version of that, but I haven't been using it for quite as long)). I'm no expert, but I'll help if I can. I think that's a great thing that you're doing. I would also put in something about editing the level settings (or setup, can't remember which one it is) file and the different effects that can have. Then just any other basic stuff that you think would pertain to making tracks.

For advanced things, I guess the best thing to do is add in detailed sections about each of the programs that Jigebren listed above and any other useful programs like RV Glue (I am guessing that it's not outdated) or others.

After the advanced track making parts, I would give some tips on how to make your track flow the best, look consistent, have a good theme and feel for the theme and have originality that will make people want to keep your track. I put it last because I need to figure out how to make tracks before I can figure out how to make good tracks. :P
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Killer Wheels
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8 Jan 2013, 02:04 PM #12

Well, thanks ^^

Actually RVA include keyboard layouts, but it's quite difficult to read.
Also, I think that's a really great idea to make the same tutorial using different softwares. So yes, you're welcome with Corel Paint Shop Pro. I started trackmaking using Paint Shop Pro 7 (the last version from Jasc Software, before Corel buy the license).

Also, you have a point :
I need to figure out how to make tracks before I can figure out how to make good tracks.
That's true. But I will not make 2 tutorials, so it should belong to anyone to start with basic stuff before thinking about the flow. Anyway, that's one of the *better* way to make a *good* track. And I believe anyone can make a good first track. The point is, make it small so you will finish it, while learning all basic stuff you need to make bigger ones.


I think I have to make a todo list to include everything in the tutorial ^^
I will start something like that, and the hierarchy, so anyone can say "Hey, this is a very bad idea !! Do it the other way !". I don't know the perfect way to write such a tutorial :P
Thank you :)
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Mandolin
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9 Jan 2013, 06:04 PM #13

Welcome KW and just let me know if I can help in any other ways. B)

But pertaining to the original topic, I downloaded Blender and I'm making a few basic stuff, but I'd appreciate any information on how other people got started with this program as it appears to be very challenging to learn.

I also got Zmodeler 1.3, but is it not supported in Windows Vista? Because it crashes all the time and doesn't import/export correctly. :angry:

I do feel one step closer to making tracks. Maybe this topic would be helpful for others wanting to get involved in track-making to watch? :)

At least I'm not at a loss with getting 3ds Max, just wasted some time. I got it free since I am in college :D
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jigebren
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9 Jan 2013, 09:17 PM #14

Mandolin @ Jan 9 2013, 07:04 PM wrote:I'd appreciate any information on how other people got started with [Blender] as it appears to be very challenging to learn.
Hmm, actually I remember I had to try several times before I decided to really start to use it. But you don't have to be afraid about that if you do take some time to learn the basis, then you'll realize it's not that challenging.

The first thing you have to be aware of is to forget the usual reflexes you get in most Windows softwares, ie. left click to select and right click for contextual menu, or the behavior of the clipboard with Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V to Copy / Paste content...

Then you'll have to follow some tutorial, not just by reading them but by practising at the same time, it's really the best way to see how things have to be done, and mostly, to learn the shortcuts.

Some basics:

- In Blender, the right click is used to select. At first it may look weird but you'll soon get used to it.
- The left click is used for... hmm for what? I think I don't use it that much in fact... Well, you can eg. move the selection along a given axis by clicking one of the red / green / blue arrows in the 3D view.
- The middle click is used to pan / zoom / rotate the view (with the Shift or Crtl keys).

An important key, the [Tab] key is used to switch between Object mode and Edit - mode.

- [Z] and [Alt+Z] is used to switch between the rendering modes (Textured / Solid / Wireframe).
- In edit mode, [Ctrl+Tab] then [1], [2] or [3] to select the Vertice, Edge or Face select mode.
- The numpad can be used to quickly get a front, top or side view, stuff like that. [5] switch between orthographic / perspective mode...

Then you'll soon learn to use for scale, [g] to move the selection, [e] to extrude, etc.
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Mandolin
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10 Jan 2013, 03:39 AM #15

jigebren wrote:Hmm, actually I remember I had to try several times before I decided to really start to use it. But you don't have to be afraid about that if you do take some time to learn the basis, then you'll realize it's not that challenging.

The first thing you have to be aware of is to forget the usual reflexes you get in most Windows softwares, ie. left click to select and right click for contextual menu, or the behavior of the clipboard with Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V to Copy / Paste content...

Then you'll have to follow some tutorial, not just by reading them but by practising at the same time, it's really the best way to see how things have to be done, and mostly, to learn the shortcuts.

Some basics:

- In Blender, the right click is used to select. At first it may look weird but you'll soon get used to it.
- The left click is used for... hmm for what? I think I don't use it that much in fact... Well, you can eg. move the selection along a given axis by clicking one of the red / green / blue arrows in the 3D view.
- The middle click is used to pan / zoom / rotate the view (with the Shift or Crtl keys).

An important key, the [Tab] key is used to switch between Object mode and Edit - mode.

- [Z] and [Alt+Z] is used to switch between the rendering modes (Textured / Solid / Wireframe).
- In edit mode, [Ctrl+Tab] then [1], [2] or [3] to select the Vertice, Edge or Face select mode.
- The numpad can be used to quickly get a front, top or side view, stuff like that. [5] switch between orthographic / perspective mode...

Then you'll soon learn to use for scale, [g] to move the selection, [e] to extrude, etc.


Hmm... what if I happen to have a laptop? (no middle click, unless I've been looking at my keyboard the wrong way) lol is there any other way to look around or does Blender just screw laptop users? lol

I did find the standard tutorial that look thorough enough... so I'll be looking more in depth at those soon hopefully. ^_^
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urnemanden
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10 Jan 2013, 08:29 AM #16

If you look in the Blender settings (Ctrl+Alt+U), you should be able to toggle "use Ctrl+Right-click instead of middleclick" or similar. But I would recommend to get a mouse with middle-click functionality - something most mouses have today. :)
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Kenny
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10 Jan 2013, 01:59 PM #17

Mandolin @ Jan 8 2013, 01:52 AM wrote: I would say start with makeitgood instructions and texturing, which shouldn't be that difficult since there are some loose tutorials around the web (I know the old RVA site has quite a few, but I've always felt that they could be improved upon).
I would actually love to see a complete MAKEITGOOD tutorial/reference guide.

I'm saying complete because most tutorials or descriptions I saw were either just incomplete or not described at all.
Also I distrust most keyboard layouts I have seen so far because there may always be a key combination that isn't included in the layout and thus you don't even know it's there.
If you are including keyboard layouts in the tutorial I would suggest that you do one global layout which marks the keys that are used in all editing modes (basically Camera/Object movement, axis configuration and file save) and then do seperate layouts (or just the combinations themselves if it takes too much space) where you list all the edit mode specific key combinations.

It would also be great if all the objects of each mode could be described in detail, what they do, when its good to use them (and more importantly how to correctly use them) and possibly even what recommended values are (if needed).

These are the things I'm missing so far, at least in the RVA tutorials. There are also two or three tutorials on RVL and those are actually pretty good but still don't cover everything.

If you want I can provide you with all possible key combinations taken from the Xbox source for each mode, that should ensure that we are not missing any key combinations (unless something was added in 1.2?).
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Killer Wheels
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10 Jan 2013, 08:30 PM #18

@Jigebren : very great intro to Blender. Maybe I'll try one day :P

@Kenny : I will open my website very soon so that everyone will be able to post suggestions like you did. Anyway, I would be very interested to see a complete key list for makeitgood editing. I already have a very large key list which includes some I found on the internet and some I found while editing.

@Mandolin : if you want to help AND to learn, you're welcome to participate. I think concrete examples for basic 3D modeling & texturing with multiples softwares would be a good thing, but I'm actually using 3Ds max...
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Mandolin
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11 Jan 2013, 03:59 AM #19

@ urnemanden: That worked. Thanks! :D

@ Anyone: I have a question. I'm trying to work up something simple in Blender that will still be cool to post and I'm curious if the Re-Volt engine allows car chase cameras to be upside down. I was thinking of making a track with upside down and vertical sections using multiple farce fields... Not sure if it has ever been done or if it is possible... Is that a good idea?
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Kenny
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11 Jan 2013, 10:58 AM #20

I tried once to use multiple farce fields to force players to drive on the ceiling to see how well this works with Re-Volt, look here -> http://z3.invisionfree.com/Revolt_Live/ ... topic=2598

I just used a Track Editor track since they offer useful track parts like the bridge or the pipe. I had to upscale it a little, otherwise the farce fields would not be really practical.

My conclusion is that the whole concept somewhat works :P
1) The AI is completely unable to cope with that, making such tracks useless for offline play unless there will be an update for the AI that makes them support things like this (which I doubt)

2) The default camera also useless for "ceiling-driving" since it doesn't turn with the car but rather zooms in extremely close because the game thinks you are driving underneath something which isn't the case. Maybe this can be improved with setting up some camera nodes (I don't even know what they do, a perfect example for the need of making a tutorial for this :P ) but for now the best way to deal with this is by switching into first person camera.
If you do that however you'll notice another bug (though I'm not sure if thats the camera or the collision file of the track modules), namely that you can see through the floor (or in this case the ceiling).

I didn't try it with car chase cameras though since they weren't available at the time I made this track so maybe we have a temporary solution for the camera there (though the user still needs to switch manually).
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Mandolin
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11 Jan 2013, 08:48 PM #21

I have an idea to fix the AI problem. Didn't Jigibren make some kind of fix in 1.2 where that the AI could use Rotor-like cars (and drive upside-down)? If so, is there something you can put in the "custom" folder for the given track to make all the AI cars driving the level handle in that way? If so, that might fix the problem.

As far as the camera problem goes, the only solution may be to maually switch camera modes.
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Kenny
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12 Jan 2013, 12:10 AM #22

Mandolin @ Jan 11 2013, 09:48 PM wrote: If so, is there something you can put in the "custom" folder for the given track to make all the AI cars driving the level handle in that way? If so, that might fix the problem.
I doubt that one can change the stock car parameters by using the custom folder, that was only meant for additional track content and stuff like that, nothing car related (though I didn't try it, maybe someone can confirm this?).

Even if this would be possible (or added in later versions which I doubt), setting all cars to rotor-like behaviour means they will show unwanted behaviour if they happen to simply flip during the race (for example when they are hit by fireworks/waterbombs) which again would make the AI have a big disadvantage on the track.

Either way I don't think there is a good way to make the AI support this feature. Perhaps one could apply rotor-like behaviour to all the cars as long as they are in a force field but I don't know if that will solve the problem or if its easy to implement.

Not to mention that changes like this are probably not going to happen.
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Skitch2
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12 Jan 2013, 12:33 AM #23

I am still a max 5 fan boy and i work a whole lot differently when it comes to tracks!
I model "on the fly"
Once i have the idea and make the textures I model small track sections and texture as i go and from this i try to form the story for the track. I add corners, bumps and lumps with no real plan or order i just play about and usually (touch wood) they come out ok! If any of you were to look into my scene folder in max you would probably die laffing at the amount of crapola i have in there :)
As far as help goes all i can say is start by making a track using pre made instances. this will both teach you how to make very simple models and planes, texture them, export them using the ase tools or Jiggy's exporter for Blender and has the added benefit of teaching the Makeitgood editing modes as you build the track! Yes the first tracks may be a bit iffy but you'll have a blast making them as we would racing them Download my first Hull Breach track and you'll see what i mean as that one was made using instances only.
All the best!!
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Mandolin
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15 Jan 2013, 06:25 AM #24

Thanks Skitch2. I love racing the Hull Breach tracks. :D

One question (for anybody): Where can I get the blender plugin? I've searched and have been unable to find a download link. :(
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Skarma
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15 Jan 2013, 07:32 AM #25

PM Jigebren.
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Mandolin
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16 Jan 2013, 03:10 AM #26

It is now done. :D

What exactly does it do? Does it export all needed 3D files? Or would I still have to use Zmodeler 1.3? Because it does not seem to like my operating system very much... :P
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jigebren
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16 Jan 2013, 05:46 PM #27

Mandolin @ Jan 16 2013, 04:10 AM wrote:What exactly does it do?
It can import / export the following Re-Volt file formats:
.fin, .hul, .ncp, .prm, .m, .rim, .taz, .vis, .w

It also adds a Re-Volt Panel inside Blender to edit / set Re-Volt properties as well as few tools (eg. to automatically create a car shadow, or to compute the car inertia matrix).
Mandolin wrote:Does it export all needed 3D files? Or would I still have to use Zmodeler 1.3?
See...
jigebren @ Jan 7 2013, 08:26 PM wrote:Blender + my WIP plugin You just won't need anything more (except MAKEITGOOD mode of course) to edit a Re-Volt track or a car mesh.
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Skitch2
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18 Jan 2013, 11:58 AM #28

Quick quezzy! Do the ase tools have any issues with windows 8?
Or will i be able to carry on as normal? i have tried blender many times and hate it lol so its back to Max!
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Killer Wheels
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19 Jan 2013, 12:56 AM #29

Skitch2 @ Jan 18 2013, 12:58 PM wrote: Quick quezzy! Do the ase tools have any issues with windows 8?
Or will i be able to carry on as normal? i have tried blender many times and hate it lol so its back to Max!
Hmmm ! New track scheduled ?? :P
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Skitch2
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19 Jan 2013, 10:22 PM #30

nibbling at the bit again dude!!
I have just had to give up full time work ( poor me...NOT ) because my music is starting to make more money than working for a living lol and i now have noticed that i have all day every day to play Re-Volt lol
So yes i think i have time to dedicate myself to the ole Max game again!! This time i am going to try to do it properly and take my time in order to complete the track ideas i had long ago that the PC specs would not allow lol.
Bare with me and ill see what happens..
Mike...
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Mandolin
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20 Jan 2013, 01:51 AM #31

^ Can't wait!!!!!!
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arto
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20 Jan 2013, 10:06 AM #32

Great to hear! And congratulations on being able to make living in music business! It's a great feat.
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mmudshark
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20 Jan 2013, 11:44 PM #33

Congrats Mike!
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. :)
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Skitch2
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22 Jan 2013, 05:34 PM #34

Thanks all and i can say that the ase tools work fine on windows 8 lol
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Mandolin
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27 Jan 2013, 05:07 AM #35

Question about the Blender plug-in right quick...

Where do you put the files? I tried putting them in the Blender folder where all the .PY files are, but I couldn't tell any difference when I went into Blender so I assume I didn't do something right...
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urnemanden
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27 Jan 2013, 10:05 AM #36

The e-mail you get with the Blender plug-in should tell you everything you need to know about installing it. :)
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Mandolin
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Joined: 30 Dec 2012, 06:07 AM

28 Jan 2013, 04:13 AM #37

Thanks... I guess that should've been the FIRST place to look, lol I'm not always the brightest cookie. :P

Found it and going to get it installed soon hopefully.
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Instant
Sober
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 05:30 PM

24 Apr 2016, 06:58 PM #38

jigebren @ 7 Jan 2013, 08:26 PM wrote:
  • </li>
  • Gimp To edit the texture (and with the small plugin I once wrote you can easily export Re-Volt mipmaps).
Yey no more "png to bmp" :lol:

[Vaid]: Avoid bumping old topics, unless you have something interesting or important to say. Otherwise, just don't. Other such posts will be removed without any warning.

[Something "Interesting"]: Hmm, this plugin does not work for me. Revolt can not load these bmps. ( can't load levels/1/2a.bmp )
"The reason I didn't kill you is because I didn't want to kill you. "
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