My goal for this thread is to provide for you a comprehensive, centralized source for information on Spacebuild mapping. This thread will attempt to cover as many aspects of mapping for Spacebuild as possible such as planet design and structure, environments, gatespawners, skyboxes and even planet models in XSI. In this tutorial I will assume you have a decent understanding of hammer and HL2 mapping principles.
Hammer (Source SDK)
XSI Mod Tool http://www.softimage.com/products/modtool/
VTF Edit http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?c=149
SB Tutorial Mapper’s Kit http://www.l33tnessprevails.com/sbtutorialstuff.zip
Anyways, down to business…
PART I: BUILDING YOUR FIRST PLANET
“According to myth, the Earth was created in six days. Now, watch out, here comes Genesis! We’ll do it for you in six minutes!” -Dr McCoy
First, lets start off with basic planet creation. Before we get started on the process, open up the mapper’s kit extract the folder containing the planet prefabs to wherever is convenient to you. Ready to go? Good.
Create a new map in Hammer
To start working on a planet, we’re going to use one of shanjaq’s prefab planets. For this example planet, we’re going to open up planet4096x3.vmf
- You should see a very basic half-sphere shape. This is what you will be making your planet
out of. Go to EDIT>SELECT ALL and then EDIT>COPY. After you’ve copied the shape, go ahead and
close the planet4096x3 window.
Go ahead and paste the planet base into your new map. You may position the planet wherever
you’d like, however I like to wait until I have a few more planets on the map before I make
the final decision on how the planets will be placed. *note: Hammer seems to have issues with
moving complex brushwork. Try to have your planets arranged before you get into any heavy
brushwork, as moving this may cause your map to degrade on future loads. More on this later.
Now that your planet is down, you can go ahead and slap some different textures on it.
Now, your planet needs some edges. If you were to load it up in gmod as it is, you’d be
able to walk right off the edge! By putting down some invisible walls around the planet,
you can keep players from accidentally dropping off the face of the earth!
Let’s make those edges. Select the brush tool, and set it to Arch. Make sure the sides are
set to 12. On the editor screen, make a box around the edges of the planet and extending 128
units from the top of the planet. MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE ALIGNED WITH THE SURFACE OF THE
PLANET! Once you’re ready, hit enter. The Arch Properties dialog will pop up. Set your Wall
width to 32, Sides to 12, and arc to 360 and press OK. your border will be generated. While
the border is still highlighted, set its texture to NODRAW.
You may want to add a sky to your planet. Skies are optional, but can add nice atmosphere
(no pun intended. seriously.) and can even be made to fade from day to night, and vice versa!
Ok, First thing you need to do to build to cone is to make the top. Make a 512x512 cylinder
with a height of 32 centered to your planet. Now, the height you want to place this cylinder
at will be half the diameter of your planet. Since we’ll be using the 4096 unit planet here,
our cylinder will be placed at a height of 2048 units from the planet’s surface.
Next, highlight the border ring you made in step 7. copy and paste special them, and move the
duplicate ring off to the side. you’ll need it later.
We need to now make the sides of the cone. This step is time consuming, but it pays off.
Create a regular ol’ block shaped brush next to your cylinder. Since you’ll be manipulating
the vertices directly, the size of the block doesn’t really matter.
Switch to the Vertex Tool. What you need to do is match up one side of the block to the a
side of the cylinder, and then the other side of the block to the top of the border. It’s
a bit tricky, and you have to make sure you only have one vertex selected at once. Here’s
what the finished result should look like:
Whoo. I’ll admit, that was a pain in the ass. Eleven more to go, right? Wrong. Neat trick
inbound: Each side has an opposite. So once you build one of these things, all you have
to do is flip it around 180 degrees and match it to the opposite side! And to make things
better, to start on a new side, you only have to copy/paste a side, and then match up the
vertices to the empty space next to it! That should save you loads of time. Just keep on it,
you’ll be done before you know.
The end result:
Next, highlight the entire cone- the top cylinder, the sides and the border. click the
toEntity button, and change its class to func_brush. There’s a bunch of options we’ll be
customizing in this window, but for now just assign it a name. For this example, we’ll go
with planetSky. Click Apply and close the window. Finally, change the texture of the inside
of the cone to sky_fake_white
Remember that border we copied and pasted off to the side? Since the border that stayed with
the planet is now being used as part of the sky, we’ll need that copied border back in place
to stop things from falling off the edges. Drag that sucker back into place on your planet.
Ok, now lets set up the sky to fade in & out. With the sky cone highlighted, bring up
it’s properties dialog. Change Render Mode to Additive, Disable Receiving Shadows to Yes,
Disable Shadows to Yes, and Solidity to Never Solid. FX Color can be changed to whatever you
want, such as a plain ol’ blue sky to neon pink. FX Amount is basically how transparent your
sky will be. 255 is solid, 0 is completely invisible. I’ll be going with 245 in this tutorial
To cycle from day to night, first create two logic_timers, named planetDay and planetNight.
set the Refire Interval to 300, or to make longer or shorter days, increase or decrease
this number. Next, go to the outputs tab And add a new output named OnTimer, targeting
planetSky via the input Alpha. Now, the Parameter Override box controls the FX Amount you
specified in the last step. Reduce this number by 20. Next is the Delay, which we will start at
.25 seconds. Keep making outputs, reducing the parameter override by 20 and increasing the
delay by .25 seconds until your parameter override reaches about 10 or so. Finally, make
an output disabling the planetNight timer and enabling the planetDay timer
Next, switch over to the planetDay timer, and repeat the process, except in reverse. Here
you’ll be increasing the Parameter Override back up from 10 to 245, incrementing by 20, and
then disabling the planetDay timer, and enabling planetNight again.
OK! Now, we have our planet’s structure finished. Now it needs a model. Let’s move on to
the next part of the tutorial: XSI Mod Tool
PART II: PLANET MODELING WITH XSI MOD TOOL
Ok, first off, let’s make sure we have everything we’ll need to proceed through this next
part of the tutorial. You will need XSI Mod tool installed and updated. You’ll also need
VTFEdit and GUIstudioMDL, all of which you can get from the links at the top of the thread.
You’ll also need a texture for the planet and the sample QC file to compile the model with,
which I have included in the SB Tutorial Kit also at the top of the page.
Let’s open up XSI, shall we? Now, we’ll need a sphere for our planet. On the left hand side
of the screen, click on the objects button, and then in the new window that pops up, click the
- Now we need to make this sphere into our planet. On the window that has popped up, lets set the
radius. The radius of our planet is 2048, however I like to add some space between the edges
of the planet and the shell, just to make sure the edge doesn’t poke through. Let’s make this
value 2100. Also, in the same window we’ll need to set the subdivisions to 36. This will make
the planet much more smooth.
Now, the planet is as big as a, well, a planet. Let’s zoom out and see the whole thing. Press
‘S’ to access the track-dolly-orbit tool, and by holding down your mousewheel, move the mouse
and zoom out. Press ‘S’ again to get your regular cursor back. If you haven’t done so, you can
close out any extra dialog boxes you have open.
Allright, lets texture this bad boy. On the top right of the sphere’s window, click on the
little drop down labeled Shaded, and choose Textured Decal
- Next, let’s get rid of that spotlight thing. Press ‘8’ to bring up the Explorer. Right click
on Light and choose Delete.
- Make sure you have the mars texture from the tutorial kit extracted. Select the planet, and
then click on the textures button on the left hand side of the screen. Click Image to bring
up the next dialog box. Click the button that says New just above the rainbow colored square,
and then choose New From File
Once you’ve picked out the mars texture from the kit, move down to the texture projection and
click on New, and select Spherical. You can now close out the remaining dialog boxes.
Almost there! If your model isn’t selected, select it, and then click Modeling under the
Freeze History heading on the right hand side of the screen.
Click the ValveSource dropdown at the top of the screen and choose Export SMD. Using the dialog
box, find a place to save the file and name it ‘planet’ Click OK to export the model.
Stay Tuned for the rest of the Planet Modeling tutorial which will come within the next day or so. I’ll be covering compiling your model with GUIStudioMDL, and
importing your model into hammer.