Thought I would post some info about how to use the sprites generated with blueprint to create an object using Tmog. I know this is a bit of a pain but until blueprint is completed injecting the sprites into the IFF file itself, this will have to do. Of course, if you’re already generating your sprites with 3D Studio or some other 3D program, please continue to do so. This is for people that don’t have access to these programs.
- Launch blueprint and create your object (either with the primitives or import a 3D mesh)
- Launch the Sprite Editor (either by clicking on Sprite Editor on the object tab or from the Object | Sprite Editor menu)
- Select a sprite and click on “Replace this Sprite”. Failing to do this will result in nothing being exported!
- Close the Sprite Editor and click on File | Export
- The sprites you selected in the editor to replace are created in the Sprites folder
Now onto Tmog…
- Launch Tmog and select the same base object you used in blueprint (you can even use the object that blueprint created if you want)
- Click on the “Object Export” button and export the object (this can be done prior to creating the sprites in blueprint if you prefer)
- Replace the bitmap files Tmog generated with the ones from the blueprint Sprites folder
- Re-import the XML file into Tmog. It will replace the sprites with the bitmaps generated from blueprint
That’s it! You should now have a new object made with both programs. When exporting with Tmog, the easiest setting is to export one zoom only and have Tmog generate the alpha and z-buffers for you. Like I said, this is just an interim step until blueprint is putting the sprites back into the IFF files.
Just a few words about the upcoming versions of blueprint and the timelines. The bugs are being taken care of and a new version will be out to you shortly. This will complete the object creation process and allow you to build new objects for use in the game (if you’re really anxious to get there now you can do so by using the sprites generated by blueprint now in Tmog). More refinements on object creation will be coming and of course the various needed features like multi-tile is coming. Multi-tile objects are a pain because you have to slice the image in 3D and render it that way. It’s not a simple matter of just dicing and slicing up the bitmap as you might think and each piece has to fit together with each other to make the object look seamless. In any case, that’s getting there but no idea yet on how soon. The rendering engine is constantly being updated and perhaps an interface with an external engine (like POV or something) will produce much better quality images. I think the current images are pretty good, but your expectations may be higher and of course the highest possible quality is the end goal here. As I said, new versions will be available on a regular basis so watch for weekly or bi-weekly updates soon. I’ll also enable the web checking feature of blueprint that’s there but turned off right now. This will simply check the website for a new version and download it immediately. Just working out the naming standards and how the update process will happen before I complete this portion.
Okay, nothing on the blueprint front today but I do see a need to start pumping out some new tutorials and documentation. It seems some people are having problems with some of the features of the program so I’ll start that process this week. Watch for both animated walk-thru tutorials and some static ones for those that don’t want to sit through my little blue movies.
Okay, I’m back from the semi-dead. A word to the wise. If you upgrade your Win98 box to WinME and install the internet sharing component, be warned there’s a bug outlined here (damn MS for making me do support for them, I should get residules) that will help you through it. I had to play phone tag with my ISP to get things working again. Apparently the upgrade from 98 to ME knocks out DNS resolution so you can go places (via IP address) but forget about resolving any names on the internet. Anyways, things are back to normal and my fears of having to re-install from scratch just sent shivers down my blue spine.
So here’s the scoop. I have a new version that is going to testing shortly and perhaps another public release to handle some various bug fixes and image compatibility. There’s also a few issues like the fact that exporting the sprites doesn’t set the filename correctly and doesn’t export the small zooms (duh). So watch for that shortly. Testing with injecting the sprites back into the IFF continues and it’s still coming but there are a couple of problems. Every image program known to man says the medium and small zooms are indeed 24bit images (which they have to be to get into the IFF file) but the Windows API says they’re 16. Go figure. Stupid stuff like that I have to deal with. For the curious, it took me a few days just to produce the stupid T-Rex object, having to stop the debugger in the middle of the program, opening up Paint Shop Pro, loading the image files, re-saving them as 24bit colour images then continuing on with the debugger to finish the import. Unfortunately you guys don’t have the environment for that and I’m not going to make having Visual Studio installed a requirement for running blueprint so we’ll fix that as soon as I can 🙂