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MatteM's unit modeling and retexturing workshop 2018-11-05

British cold war armoured personnel carrier

  1. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Made a Boxer GTK, actually turned out fine, removed the wheels from the Sketchup model, as wheels are ridiculously high poly most often and instead used KrugerPritz Rooikat wheels, now the nif is 430kb, still too much for Walters preference but I might just post it if anyone is interested cause its still a cool looking APC.

    gtk.jpg
     
  2. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    If you managed to import it into max you can just start cutting away at the model, removing all unnecessary bits and pieces and throwing those onto the textures. That's how I got my tanks to be under 80kb. And it's really good modeling practice so you should do it anyway. I'd help but it's the time of year when making games for a living saps all my time to make games as a hobby.
     
  3. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Thanks, yes, I will modify the Boxer to see if it can be cut down to size, the BvS 10 viking
    below I converted from a very simple model, yet 399kb in the nif, one modification could be to use other tracks but
    I really like the AMX-13 from Realism Invictus, I'll se if I can find different tracks for it cause I was down
    to 280kb before adding them:

    Bvs Viking.jpg

    To summarize this is a learning process :)
     
  4. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    Some general ways to cut polygons:

    1. Cull your curves.
    Look at every curve on your model and ask your self if it is really needed. A lot of curves are just too small and tiny to be noticeable on the game scale. Like the edge curves on your door window there or the gun barrel. You can make those square without anyone noticing the difference.

    2. Simplify your curves.
    Some curves, like the edges of your doors there you'll want to keep. But you can simplify them a lot. A curved door edge looks just as well in 8-15 sidesas it does in 24 when you are at civ scale. For example on my PT-76 model the turret (the most visible round thing) only has 18 sides. The barrel 12 and so on. And those are huge visible parts. The front and rear track (the place they bend) only have 5.

    Track Bend.png
    Exbit 1: Ugly zoomed in, looks great in the game.

    3. Erase invisible faces.

    There are plenty of faces on your model that are newer going to be visible in the game. Examples of these include but are not limited to the bottom of the hull and tracks, the undersides of turrets and other components which are stuck on top of your model and literally every face that is stuck inside or up against another. Like the rear of the gun barrel for example. And even though you can't see them these faces still exist on your model, still take up memory and if the game is badly optimize might even still be rendered! (and even if not, culling them in the game takes time) only to be overwritten later screwing performance in the process. So you should seek to find and nuke them.

    Basically every time you know a face is either on the bottom of the vehicle or pressing against/inside of another you should delete said face. Also, pay extra attention when merging multiple objects together as the edge faces won't vanish without you deleting it. Finally, learn to use and love the Weld vertices function. It merges vertices (the tiny points that form your corners) together reducing the vertex count significantly when used right.

    This is usually the last step I do before exporting

    4. Use textures liberally.
    Not every surface feature on your model needs to be a real physical thing. At the scale models are displayed in civ you only really need the big chunky bits to look right. And even with those you can often get away with moving them into a texture.
    Like the tracks you are using. Imagine if those were actual wheels modeled in 3D, let alone if the track links were individual objects. And the logic goes on. A door or window, the opening in a muzzle break, the details on your guns, flush hatches and surface panels and all sorts of other things can be made better by simply not existing physically.
    What more, because you can use 128x128 or even 256x256 textures you can get more quality out of them than you could a more space consuming physical model.

    Bottom line is, seek to move as much of your geometry into the textures as you can and only model the big chunky bits. It saves size, complexity and labor.

    5. Optimize using Nifscope.

    Nifscope has two great optimization options hidden away under the spells menu. These are Combine Properties and Remove Bogus Nodes. They help get rid of unnecessary nodes in your NIF file thus reducing size.

    The last thing you should do with your model before publishing it should be to hit these two options in that order.

    PS:
    Feel free to look at my PT-76 model for inspiration. Also, I suggest looking at the vanilla Galleon and Frigate models for some inspired optimizing on the devs part. Also the Trireme.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  5. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Thanks for all the great tips!

    I followed what you said, except the UV-mapping and advanced textures and unwrapping and all that, because of lack of time to get into it right now. But I found a better FV 432 model and modified it a lot cut down on triangles, edges
    vertices, and also used the "decimate" tool in Blender, I don't have a newer 3ds Max at the moment. The FV 432 was cut down in size to 219 kb for the nif all in all, and I plan to release it maybe later on today:

    FV432 Preview.jpg
     
  6. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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  7. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    That's a very good start. Although I'd advise you to manually delete all the needless faces like everything you can see from the bottom. Also, connect the meshes up instead of exporting them as 100 separate ones as that cuts down on the size massively. And when you get the time definitively try and learn texture mapping.

    Textures and UVW mapping might look intimidating at first. But that's only because it looks really opaque and hard to know where to start from. Once you start experimenting you'll actually find it to be pretty intuitive. And it'll only get faster and easier as you go.
    Especially since Max has a fantastic feature called Render UVW Template that lets you export your map layout as a blueprint like line texture that you can than use as a template to fill in.

    Than again, there are times when you just have to accept that even with all your optimization your model is just going to be in the 160kb range. I'll be uploading one such beast by the end of the week assuming I get the 3 256x256 textures and custom animation done by than.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  8. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Yeah I did a lot of work on the OT-64A SKOT and managed to shrink the size to about the same as th FV-432, however it is hard to get under 200k, although I have very litte surfaces and stuff from what I can tell, but as you
    say there is always more to find, also used the decimate tool. I borrowed a few shapes from you PT-76. Anyway I've spent too many hours on it now so will probably release just to have it off my list, there are loads of other units I want to get started on:

    Preview.jpg
     
  9. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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  10. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Coming up this week will be the MT-LBU APC, used by Sweden among other nations, under the name Pansarbandvagn 401, bought cheaply after East Germany ceased to exist. Also used by Iraq in the first Gulf War I think.

    I managed to get the nif-file size down to around 180 kb :)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  11. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    The Finns seems to have made the most of it, it is probably very cost effective except for fuel consumption, I read on a Swedish forum that the version we bought for the Swedish army
    was loaded with asbestos and the radio antenna would give you electric shocks when touched :)
     
  12. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    https://forums.civfanatics.com/resources/mt-lbu-armoured-personnel-carrier.27144/

    The MT-LBu is released, I managed to get nif-size down to around 150kb :). 5 versions, admittedly 3 of them Swedish, but hey I'm biased!

    Also the number of wheels is the correct 7 now, the 6 wheels was from the older MT-LB version.

    Once again I used tank tracks, wheels and the M113.nif from Walter Hawkwood, also the machine gun from his M113, since the one that came with the model was hardly visible in game.

    Preview.jpg
     
  13. Sword_Of_Geddon

    Sword_Of_Geddon Mysterious Jungle Warrior

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    That is some awesome skin/model work MatteM, You should be proud of yourself man.
     
  14. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Thanks!

    I appreciate any feedback, next week some more cold war APCs, like the MT-LB (not the MT-LBu posted already, which is a later version), Finnish, Swedish, Iraqi, desert camo and plain green versions :

    New models preview.jpg

    Also, the BTR-50, Algerian, South American-ish (I use it for the Mayans since Nicaragua has them), Indian, and Iranian:

    View attachment 509441
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  15. Sword_Of_Geddon

    Sword_Of_Geddon Mysterious Jungle Warrior

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    Should be interesting...
     
  16. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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  17. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    Good job. Nice to see you've kept the thing small too. One thing I noticed though on your texture modifiers you've kept the absolute path. So if anyone opens the model in game or nifscope it looks for textures on your desktop. Easy to fix though, just edit the lines in: NiTexturingProperty/NiSourceTexture to cut out everything but the filename.
     
  18. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Ah, yes I was going to ask someone about that, thanks I'll make sure to change that in upcoming releases, I hope everyone who has downloaded my units so far knows how to change the the file-reference in nifscope
     
  19. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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  20. MatteM

    MatteM Warlord

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    Also coming up, the BTR 40, I had to do a lot of Texture-work on this one, I think it turned out fine :):

    BTR-40 Preview.jpg
     

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