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Modeller features?! Material viewer!?

Discussion in 'Racer' started by Mr Whippy, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. Would it be possible to make modeller also do shader tweaking?

    Ie, have a TOD slider to go through the time of day, and be able to edit the values that are drawn from the shader file to render that object.

    So you can tweak fresnel coefficients, ambient/diffuse and so on in real time, and just press a button to sync/reload the textures and shader entries?

    Just finding skipping into and out of Racer and the associated speed of that a bit slow vs a little standalone app that has just one object selected!?


    Not sure if others would value those kinds of things. We had a kind of version of this years ago in shady.exe (iirc), which was the start of this kind of thing, but it obviously wasn't continued.

    Could also set textures up on generic objects like boxes/spheres etc, rather than the actual in-game geometry.


    Just thoughts :D

    Dave
     
  2. I'm with you Dave...

    Hope Ruud will some day create a real 'material editor' which dynamically shows the tweaks we're setting for the particular shader params, as in most 'modding games' like Crytek 2 (SandBox 2) which I've been massively using for my custom assets & animations releases.

    Sounds really great but could provide some headache for Ruud in keeping it updated thru time, still for us 3D artists & content devs, that would drastically increase our dev time.

    Max
     
  3. Sorta like shady was but on steroids?
     
  4. Yep, shady on steroids.

    Just somewhere you can be a bit more intuitive with settings and trying things out on the fly... maybe even having a per-second reload of gfx resources so if you are tweaking textures on a second screen they update quickly in your viewport without any interaction...

    You can kinda do this in Racer right now, by using "reload shaders" console command, but it's rather slow and still a bit cumbersome to do it this way... also not sure how nice it is with regards to reloading textures (I think it does it but can't remember, hmmmm)

    Ie, trying to find the right values of spec/shininess and the right spec map for tyres... it can take hours of twiddling with values, then changing the TOD to see if they look right at sunset, and so on... having a few sliders and interactive editing would be really useful.

    Just a nice authoring tool to have at some stage. I'm happy to wait but when v0.9 appears it'll certainly help speed up the process for artists if this kinda tool is available soon after :D

    Dave
     
  5. yep reload shaders reloads all textures. A shady that worked properly would be good.

    Maybe we need tracked with these additions (& tod editing) as well, as seeing the material or object in its 'natural' environment, without having to load Racer & drive to it would be handy. Also as shaders are track global, editing a shader may have unwanted effects on other materials using the shader, which would be more apparent in tracked than modeler?
     
  6. I agree with DavidI, tracked would be a better place for this kind of operation.
     
  7. Yeah, maybe in tracked would work...

    I just struggle so much with trackEd. It's not easy to navigate around, not easy to select anything (pgup/down through thousands of objects?! hahaahah!), and it doesn't always do nice things to nesting and referencing that I can see (ie, an ini nested reference tree is usually stripped out, a geometry.ini can often end up going from 30kb to 500kb as your single cone definition is copied to 100's of cone entries!)

    TrackEd would need plenty of work too, to make me use this feature inside it.


    Basically, looking to streamline processes, but I fear trackEd now isn't the right place for this tool for the above reasons.

    Dave
     
  8. Tip of the day: In TrackEd hold shift & LClick to select an object, shift/LClick & drag to make a selection line (for splining etc)
     
  9. Also, the tracked and modeler use somekind of a homemade GUI system, that isn't very flexible and is full of bugs.
    Ruud, haven't you ever considered using Qt for the tools' GUIs? Qt is in my opinion the best cross-platform API for making GUIs...
     
  10. & while we're all demanding things, I'd like a new Raven~esq simple gui, or a start mode in Racer that adds a simple (Qt) interface with Raven's features. Standalone would probably be better imho. For track & car development esp Raven's simple & effective.

    I have ideas on a very flexible ini editor, that with some development could turn into a Raven replacement, but better, esp for Devs & car tuners. I just don't have the time currently to develop it myself.
     
  11. Ah handy.

    I just don't get trackEd generally. I'm sure years ago you could create a line without pressing buttons, but now it feels like you have to press combos of alt/shift/space/tab or god knows what else just to move around or draw lines. It's very very annoying.

    It really isn't 'easy' to use vs say 3ds Max... you can navigate around in that, point and click and select, all without pressing any keyboard buttons.


    Again, looking at things from a streamlining point of view, keeping it simple is key. TrackEd just feels complicated for 'what it is'... I can add new dofs and shaders faster in notepad++ than I can via trackEd, and not lose my nesting etc... that shows how pants trackEd is imo (though it's still essential for cameras and splines unfortunately :( )


    Hence why maybe not having this shader/viewer editor in trackEd might be a good idea at first. If it were stuffed in trackEd I'd probably honestly not use it... trackEd just feels really pants. If it worked like 3DS Max then it'd be fine, but it's so very clunky to do such simple tasks that I'm better off just doing things quicker in textpad and then reloading the track in Racer right now!


    Not wanting this to turn into a trackEd hating thread. It's done a good job for years, but it's really behind the times now. Tying 'new' features into an old tool seems a bad move. Make really good new tools and keep them really good! That will be key when new artists/content creators come along and want a streamlined process!



    Thinking about it more, modeller would be the best place to have this feature. You can go through material names, rename them, spin around objects etc... overhauling modeller would be a better bet. Fast, effective and clear :D

    Of course there is a need for it in trackEd too, being able to see global shader changes on the track all at once, but that might have to come later?! Perhaps an in-sim shader editor (sliders and stuff on-screen?) Would also tie into being able to edit car.ini in real time and stuff too... hmmmm...

    Dave
     
  12. or like before, where shady was a seperate app? tell it the dof, the track or car .shd, then load it in under a simple skydome, maybe be able t specify another dof or two & their positions so we can see reflections, and have a whole heap of controls to alter .shd, maybe templated statements where the values can be altered?

    Also why doesn't TrackEd have any controls for gfx values in special.ini? this would be the logical app/place to have them?
    I don't hate TrackEd, it's a bit of an ugly child, just needs some lovin'

    Ps I've been using a notepad replacement recently Notepad++, google it, highly recommended, esp if u do any php, sh/bash, asp scripting, & unix/windows EOL conversions & also just plain old text files from windows..
     
  13. Yeah I use Notepad++

    Very nice.

    Some really useful tools in there if you start to dig around a bit.

    Dave
     
  14. Notepad ++ is my favorite editor as well. :)
    I think a simple stand alone Shady would still work fine, maybe with a code window like in Nvidias CG editor (the only part of it I like).

    Alex Forbin
     
  15. Being that I use Blender to make cars/tracks I bypass tracked and load dof's directly into the car/track folder and only have to use geometry.ini to have a track object show up in racer. Very efficient!

    I use tracked only on new tracks for the items needed.

    There is a problem with tracked.ini, the size of width/height for the window and the overall screen is not good if you use 1148x768 resolution. I have to change them for each new release.

    Just my 2 cents!
     
  16. Yes, that's a very strange resolution. I always need to reset it.

    Alex Forbin
     
  17. @Dave

    Hm, you should really use Tracked, for sure without it, your track gonna look like nothing functionally talking, check my track, I implemented what Racer can do, like all cams types, sounds & more stuff will come like dynamic objects (skeletons, custom scripts with triggerlines...) Advanced testing was done lately.

    YOU can't do a quality work without it, so that's why most tracks slightly s*ks...

    @All

    Here's the proper dimension for your Tracked.ini file for desktops res of 1280x1024 px :

    Code:
    ;
    ; Racer's Tracked ini
    ;
    resolution
    {
      ;width=1974
      width=1300
      ;height=1345
      height=849
      fullscreen=0
      bits=32
    }
    view
    {
      ;width=1600
      ;height=1200
      width=931
      height=700
    }
    gfx
    {
      ; Fog makes the rendering go faster, quite useful when modifying quickly
      fog=0
      ; Meters to view ahead (1000=1km)
      visibility=3000
    }
    
    
    
    Did anyone notice, Ruud's works in Road splines F5 section ?

    That's proves Tracked will become bigger & who knows maybe 'integrating' the material editor into Tracked could be a cool thing for us :)
     
  18. Hmmm, I can use it, for a few bits. But only a few bits.

    The main issue, which you may or may not see, is that it's massively lossy. You can do LOTS of work in it and it destroys it. Either splitter renaming things to non-meaningful names, or geometry.ini nesting to make editing easy, being un-ravelled etc.


    It does seem essential for cameras, but with a good script I can set these in 3DS Max and copy those out to a special.ini file with appropriate pickups from a Max camera.

    Splines, in theory, should be able to be done the same.


    There really isn't any reason to use TrackEd if you can generate AND retain these data sets in one place, with nice naming conventions, layers to aid selection processes, and so on.


    I've been messing with TrackEd for about 9 years. Tracks and their complexity have WAY out-run the development of TrackEd, so in many ways it's worse today for tracks than it was when I got in to Racer.
    Ultimately it'll have to improve LOTS to be a really nice streamlined tool to use for track building and more importantly, development.

    As for road splines, they are still flawed and useless. Single profile cross-section, and use_mesh_hits STILL doesn't work. Yet unfortunately we have features like AI, track resetting and some cameras tied to them... it really isn't good to see trackEd doing spline management better when splines as a feature and with broken capabilities are about 5 years out of date!


    Not ranting. Just waiting for someone to better Swiss Stroll, using TrackEd. I look forward to seeing your efforts though :D

    Dave