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Saturday, May 24th 2008, 3:24am

Glowing Windows

Author: Angel of Mercy


To give the models a bit more realistic view it will be nice especially for windows, nozzles and other parts of the skin to have glowing characteristics.
Therefore i made this small tutorial. The Base was the tutorial made by Argh on lancersreactor.org.
So try and enjoy the results or flame me, if this tutorial isn't to understand.

1. You will need the UTF editor available on lancersreactor.
2. In the UTF editor load the Mat file. You will see two nodes : "material library" and "texture library". You will need the "material library" only.
3. Open the "material library" and you will see all textures as subnodes.
4. Open the texture you want to glow. For example: "CorsairWindow01", which is one of my window textures. You will see another three subnodes: "Dt_flags", "Dt_name" and "type".
5. Add three more nodes to the existing three and name them "Et_flags", "Et_name" and "Ec". Therefore in UTF editor you have the button "Add nodes".

It should look like:

material library
|------------CorsairWindow01
.................|----------Dt_flags
.................|----------Dt_name
.................|----------type
.................|----------Et_flags
.................|----------Et_name
.................|----------Ec

6. Click "Dt_flags" and hit the edit button. Copy all values into "Et_flags" and hit the "Update" button. Do the same with the values of Dt_name. Copy them into Et_name.
7. For Ec (emissive channels) you will need to edit three values manually for the RGB channels.

1.000000 (red)
1.000000 (green)
1.000000 (blue)

This setting means the brightest white, but please avoid values of 1.00000, because it may produce game crashes.
Better is:

0.800000
0.800000
0.800000

Thats it. Everything else is up to you and the emitted colors you want. I show you one more example.
For Zoner Destroyer windows i used Rheinland capship windows and these are my settings for the RGB values:

0.700000
0.800000
0.600000

This is a light yellow with a small green touch.
To get the best color value it is helpful to open Photoshop, GIMP or whatever you have to edit images. Go in the color settings. The bright white will be shown there as:

255 (1.000000 in UTF editor)
255 (1.000000 in UTF editor)
255 (1.000000 in UTF editor)

Now set the color in your image editing program as you want, then use a bit of mathematics to enter the value in UTF editor.
For example my Zoner Destroyer windows again:

0.700000 in UTF editor = 179 in Photoshop, GIMP and so on for red channel value.
0.800000 in UTF editor = 204 in Photoshop, GIMP and so on for green channel value.
0.600000 in UTF editor = 153 in Photoshop, GIMP and so on for blue channel value.

Just one word of advise: Textures you want emissive characteristics for, avoid dark colors. They cannot emit light.
Finally save the overworked mat file and test it in HardCMP or in-game.

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Saturday, May 24th 2008, 11:48pm

Re: Glowing Windows

Is it possible to have a separate glow texture that lies on top of the base (diffuse) texture? That would allow for some really cool effects without having to create new groups just for the glowing objects.

Also, does anyone know how to make animated or scripted textures, like the ones on the yellow pipes in the Manhattan ship dealer, or the signs in the various cityscapes?

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Sunday, May 25th 2008, 1:19am

Re: Glowing Windows

Yes for having separate Et textures. Black areas of such a texture will show no glow; while colored areas will use that color as a glow. Best way to do it is open up your Dt texture and then add a new empty transparent layer, from there check the areas that will make sense glowing and brush in those areas accordingly. Next create a black layer under this one (0, 0, 0 whole image area). Merge visible / flatten and you'll be left with your glow map. It might look dark, but test it in game because often you'll need to tone it down in areas even more. For that I'll usually add a new transparent mask and color over the too-bright areas with black, then adjust the overlying area's transparency to darken it to just the right degree.
Here's an example, the first is the Dt texture specified in Dt_name ..beware ye poor modem users ;p pretty large image
This next one is the Et texture specified in Et_name. ..also large but not quite as hefty as Dt
If you have a tabbed browser, that is easiest as you can flip between them to see how the areas correspond.
The Et can be applied over a transparent area, but that may look odd without some explanation as to why it would be glowing, unless perhaps you happen to be nomad, or mebbe a sign, etc.

As for many of the cityscape animations, if I recall they're ale effects. Those can play sections of the texture at each frame of animation. There has been little experimentation in this area though, being able to create a truly animated billboard or such. If you have the time and inclination, check the missile fx for one animation, there are more around but my memory fails me at the moment. Anyhoo, it will require some dedication and trial / error to get this working finally.

The only non-ale animation I remember is in one of the nomad bases (the mothership looking one, take a look at the walls). With that, the texture moves in one direction. Dig into its .mat file to see the material_anim section. As of yet, I've not heard of a successful attempt to change the speed at which a texture moves with this technique. When it is changed, normally that produces a "jump" in the animation and makes it look like arse.

EDIT: note- if you create a transparent texture, then have a mesh surface under that with another animated Dt texture, you can create the illusion of a more complex animation

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Sunday, May 25th 2008, 6:29pm

Re: Glowing Windows

Thanks, Mini_Me. That's exactly what I wanted to know. I'll start looking into it right away.

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Wednesday, May 28th 2008, 3:17pm

Re: Glowing Windows

Could someone post a screenie? I'm really interested but I'm too busy to test if it looks nice :) Thanks

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