What are you missing in your gamedev toolchain ?

Discussions and feedback around the Open Projects such as Orange (Elephants Dream), Peach (Big Buck Bunny), Apricot (Yo Frankie!)...

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Post by dbird » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:44 pm

The ability to veiw texture while in edit mode would be awsome

LetterRip's right about the tools used in sculpting/ 3d painting needing improvement. Zbrush 3 is the best app for doing sculpting and 3d painting in a single package. The tools I use the most when sculpting and painting in Zbrush that are currently not in Blender are:

zbrush has both masking and hide geometry. Masking is extensively used to remove the likely hood of painting or sculpting in an area you wish to leave alone. It can be inverted for working the opposite area you originally masked to make a faster workflow when working on contrast.

Drag Rectangle-
Drag Rectangle is a sculpt and polypainting tool used with alpha masks and textures It enables you to drag a rectangle scale and rotate it to add either a texture, colour in a particular shape and sculpting specific shapes into your model.

Drag Dot-
Drag Dot is a sculpt and polypainting tool used with alpha masks and textures. I mostly use this for adding in skin blemishes for textures and buttons on clothing. It is also used by many other artists to add rivets bolts and other fine detail to non organic models. It does not scale unlike the drag rectangle but does rotate.

Lazy Mouse-
Used in sculpting and polypainting to keep lines smooth.

It gives a sharp edge as detail it is mostly used for adding detail in hard geometry (such as bricks, cracks, wood grain etc), hair and creases in cloth.


As you can see in these vids project is important in the way that it can add specific geometry to your current mesh without having to destroy part of it to add it in. The painting part of this tool is and added bonus when working on original characters when it comes to producing a direct likeness of an actor or model it will be invaluable.

Cavity mask-
Important for adding colour as highlights and lowlights to a texture. It works by depth of surface similar to using the dry brush and inking painting techniques to add detail colour to a miniature. It is controlled using a slider for depth info and a curve to define the hardness of the edges.


Post by NielsBlender » Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:57 pm

jessegp wrote:Paint needs to be improved [...]. Using a tablet and paint is a serious pain in the .... compared to any other program. Its like having a pen that still works like a mouse but with incorrect pressure stacking.
Actually, the mouse is doing better... and this is probably what you meant, when using the pen-tablet, it seems the pressure-level affects the algoritm to which faces should be painted, but even pressing the pentip hard doesn't let you paint 'deep(-er)'-faces, while the mouse paints easily using the same method... and where the pentip does paint, the pressure-level, doesn't matter much, if any... :( (Yes, the little [p] are toggled...)


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Post by Fog » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:20 pm

I think that all the multires stuff isn't that important right now. (It works perfectly to do some real assets)

We should be focussing on working tools for a real production.
My 2 cents :)
Matte Painting/Environment Artist @ Free Radical Design (HAZE)

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Post by oin » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:10 am

There's a lot of power in Blender already. I'd wish more ways to export all this to game formats, and import. At the end of teh day, way many game engines do actually have loaders to load standard formats: you dont allways count on the great help of a dedicated programmer for making custom plugins with the engine and your art tool.

That is, like *.md5 is already, a working format for import and export character animations for Blender, maybe give more possibilities (and all support if needed to that format: already is working very well in several engines) like helping the author of the b3d plugin with lightmaps export, or provide lightmaps export in other formats, but hopefully the most used. Luckily, there are always formats that tend to be most used,(md5, b3d, x, md3, md2, OBJ, ASE , FBX, collada ) like I have seen many engines and tools already importing lightmapped levels in *.b3d format.(it also allows mutiple texture channels, but only four)

Collada comes to mind, too.
Isn't that what EdgeSplit is for? Mark the Edges you want to have non-smoothed as sharp (Ctrl-e) and enable the EdgeSplit modifier for the object.
er...Not exaclty. As the original poster said, the advantage in other tools, is that the mesh is not broken, in practical ways, is not egnerated there a new vertex. This is handy for weights exports issues to many engine formats.Or for some other issues. I think Maya or Wings solutions are better for artist workflow, too, using edges for the actual setting up.

Any improve to the animation system is always welcome (and happily, this helps equaly also the non game projects too). Like easier way of copying, pasting, moving, replacing keyframes or groups of them, etc. Any improve in rigging/weighting, in general helpers for actually animating more comfortably, etc. It's all already very good: I only mean any improve there benefits directly to games.

If not yet there, if needed, whatever the code thing exporters programmers may need to allow them to export multiple UV textures and lightmaps in standard formats.

I agree that, while is not my workflow, whatever is done in the field of texture painting, and of course, and most even, Uv mapping, is key.

In the very old times of quake 2 modding, or quake 3, ppl (i did so) used to use very old versions of 3d Exploration beta, or some othe reven older home made tools, which allowed the following: while you painted in Photoshop (ie: Gimp) and did hit ctrl+s to save the file in PS, the 3d viewer inmediately took the change and refreshed the texture over the model (is same file). This also does my own Uv mapping tool, Ultimate Unwrap. A way i have worked in some companies was to have a 3d painter (ie, deep paint 3d) with a psd with its layers, the 3d painter could have the psd exported in a hotlink way from photoshop and all the way round. This way you do 3d paint for what is faster, and usually do the fine work in the 2d application. At least been always my procedure (some models I do only use 2d) . The reason behind this, and not do all in 3d painting that Blender already has, is a tool like PS or Gimp, have a lot more power in that area for it's dedicated to that. You can end up working very interactively between the 2 applications. I think there's a Gimp plugin already for previewing in 3d the texture...but....

Improves in the way the IK responds, the handling of it and rotations when you have a complex rig with many constraints, would end up in speed up of all sort of projects. Anything that would help in picking your ik targets in a fast way, and to handle it naturally.

edit: forgot, my vote to seing a textured and shaded model, like the opengl that have most modelers out there, this makes easier to handle all, of course, the ideal is have a real opengl (or directx in windows tools) previewer close to what the engine shows, and sometimes a plugin is done in art tools, so that one of the viewports is the actual engine viewer, but would be a huge effort. basically, better texture mode view.

As I say, I deal well with blender as it is. Just trying to add something useful..

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Post by mara » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:28 am


I use Blender for my every day work (game industry). It's my favorite tool but lacks some useful features.

In my opinion, the most important missing feature is preview of spec, bump and normal maps in real time. I hope GLSL can handle that problem.

And some more:

- backgound images assined independently to 6 ortho views
- texture preview in edit mode
- faces selected in uv editor outlined in 3d view
- uv relax (that helps to keep the same texel in all mapped faces)
- AO baking affected by smooth otpions (there are hard edges in shadow map right now, eve when they are smoothed)

Sorry for repeating some of already mentioned wishes.

Good luck Apricot Team ;)

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Post by oin » Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:23 pm

I agree in all with Mara.BTW, worked in that industry too, but was not allowed ever to use blender (but yep wings, as was an specialty only)
- backgound images assined independently to 6 ortho views
I guess this is to allow tracing different profiles of an object at a time (ie, front, left...)
- texture preview in edit mode
When I said better textured veiw, I also thought on that but never said :)
- faces selected in uv editor outlined in 3d view
- uv relax (that helps to keep the same texel in all mapped faces)
These 2 are already in Max and Ultimate Unwrap, speed up my work a lot, specially the first. Indeed, both allow a green colouring also of the uv islands contours, great for uv sewing or guessing where everything goes...
- AO baking affected by smooth otpions (there are hard edges in shadow map right now, eve when they are smoothed)
As I have Gile[s] for lightmapping,(but would prefer to lightmap in blender) and lately havent done levels, hadnt seen this one; it's really important one! Is the same problem that suffers FSRAD, an open source lightmapper of Liquid Studios. A pitty, as its partitioning system to pack the automatic generated UVs seems to be realy efficient. May be of a lot of interest for Blender development in general, I don't know: http://www.fluidstudios.com/fsrad.html (click on code, then on the cornell box image) A later modification of it: http://www.geocities.com/dxlab/tmp/fsrad.html (I tested to work, but same prob of smoothing lost in calculation)

When doing graphics for games, the hard edges manual set up, (or automatic) combined with smoothed areas (only speaking bout normals) is key, you need to preserve, and have the baking consider that... [ anyway...are you sure of this..? I think I've seen ao bakings preserving smoothing... maybe not the manually added hard edges ? ]

The real time checking of specs, bump, etc, better texture view, and texture view in edit mode, would be quite functional.
Sorry for repeating some of already mentioned wishes.
I think they were very interesting.

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Post by oin » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:36 pm

I had previously only skimmed through all the 4 pages thread, now to realize several were mentioned. Still, is good as is like "votes" for A or B feature...

I specially agree with these ones : (with most others too, just try to remark over a selection (plus some new ones I also said at above posts))
* blend in a "ghosted" model as reference for getting the scale and orientation right might be helpful in some cases.
We used this for level building of realistic building interiors in games in Max, very useful to have the other rooms ghost referenced in same viewport, was lower memory than having all thing loaded. Is not one of my big interests, but nice.
- collada and fbx exporters with good animation support (better import would be good also);
I meantioned this with also md5, b3d. Is my nº one in all for making game art with Blender. (I added also fbx/md5 importer/exporters with bones and animation, and b3d and collada lightmapped levels export.Should cover a lot of engines out there.)
2) Improve opengl preview
Looks like a lot of people agreing on this. Would benefit also non game projects.
- dds support (it's good image format for games, fits to modern GPU)
It proved great in shareware game making, low hardware targeted games: performance increase, saves memory, gives speed, allows certain features in certain engines. Photoshop and other tools plugins, and stand-alone tools from nvidia and the like, already freely available and functional. Not a high priority for me, having the format. (very personal opinion)
i am not sure but because i often have problems with z-fighting
Yep noticed, and when lights are too near a wall may render as where behind. There can be some trick I don't know, though.
This of the IK targets would be nice, and as I said, anything to improve ik handling, constraints, rotations/behaviour while handling, etc.And picking stuff like IK targets in a better way ,easier/faster copy/paste/replace/moving keayframes, etc.
antialiased baking
As hadnt test ao baking to lighmaps deeply, hadnt noticed.
1) 3D Painting...Integration with gimp (without using verse Razz) would be sweet!.
on the painting matters, one thing brought my attention: size of textures. It's important that are allowed large ones. You can allways paint in low, then resize and finish in 2d application, though.Not my priority, personally, rather would prefer some solid link to Gimp (or...even better...just an automatic refresh of the texture file, so that when it detects a save of the applied file, it refreshes the texture.This could work with any 2d tool)

Something along the lines of the current "Outliner" with the capability of having custom scene-nodes with custom properties
We used this in max for setting ie physic properties(weight, etc) on every object, or if was spawn thing, or item...Was easier for all, in general. But I tend to fake this with other trick...
The needs to be the ability for a units set up. This is important for ensuring that the scale is in-line with
This is is very required in game levels, but also in the size of the character to export to game engine, which is not as easy to scale by code, often... (weights , etc)

zbrush has both masking and hide geometry.
This proved to be really great in all modelers I used: Zbrush 1.5, Max, Wings, Metasequoia..
I know sculpt would benefit largely (but already there's some solution for it or I am wrong ?)

My number one priority (and loads of people that ask me in engines/rad tools/developers comunitites):

Solid support of game formats which I mentioned. Is a big stopper, hard or impossible to overcome, surpass...(whichever the word, english is not my language..)

Sorry for being verbose again. I rarely post here: this area is the one always kept me near Blender since 2002 (character animation, render, and hopefully soon: lightmapping, is my area of work chosen with blender)

The whole thread I find it really interesting, and not only for game projects: areas are very mixed these days everywhere.

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Post by anthoni_c » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:58 pm

Kimset is a visual scripting tool kit newly in Unreal Engine 3.
Something like this is good for level designers and artist who
cannot program that good or at all. (e.g. me... heh)

For more info on Kimset visit this site.

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Post by dbird » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:06 pm

Moving the averaging menu to the sculpt properties widget would be small a workflow improvement.

the 3d transform manipulator should be disabled when in sculpt and paint modes so you dont accidently move your model around.

an icon for the brush alpha in the brush tab of multires as a reminder for when you come back to a project and cant remember what alpha's you have loaded.

When in texture paint you can press f to get a veiw of the edges the feature in sculpt mode would be fantastic. Doing this you can also select faces maybe this could be used to create masks by having the selected areas become non active.

The ability to create save and load colour swatches would be welcome.
oin wrote:This proved to be really great in all modelers I used: Zbrush 1.5, Max, Wings, Metasequoia..
I know sculpt would benefit largely (but already there's some solution for it or I am wrong ?)
The hide is there but you have to go back into edit mode to do that and its almost imposible to determin which areas you do not need. Masking for texture painting and scuplting is not.

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Post by Mariolink » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:03 pm

Q: How to removed hard edges in AO baking?
A: Play with the Bias option under AO options, the higher it is lesser hard edges your gonna get. But try to play with it to get the best result.

Q:Antialiasing baking.
A: Don't know how hard is it to implement OSA but dont think it would take to long. aint a coder but what you can do is if your baking an image alets say 1024x1024 instead of baking that bake a 2048x2048 then size it down in etc Photoshop or GIMP. just dubble the size when baking and downsize it in an image manipulator. Dubble the size = OSA setting = 4.
Does basicly the same takes 4 pixels and makes the average of them.
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manua ... ialiasing)

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Location: Norfolk, Virginia

Post by BrianT » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:54 am

I work on large (geospatially large) transportation projects, i.e., roads, bridges, train systems that may span many miles. Our topography is generally mapped by a surveying crew and drawn into CADD on a coordinate system.

Several people have already mentioned the need for true working units, and I would like to echo that request. In addition, I would like to request that Blender's coordinate system be expanded to perhaps an infinite design plane, or at least a floating design plane if an infinite one can not be accomplished.

Where I live in Virginia, our survey is typically based on NAD83, which typically yields XY coordinates in 3 million, 12 million range. When I import a CADD file into Blender with those kind of coordinates, Blender moves the imported to fit within the finite design plane. The problem I have with this is that I have plenty of files to import that rely on the coordinate system with respect to each other, so to overcome this I have to save copies of each of my files to import, and then manually move the content by the same amount to an area that can be imported without arbitrarily moving.

We also use large aerial photos, specifically georeferenced tiffs, which have coordinates embedded within them, and we drape them overtop of the surface mesh. To do this type of procedure in Blender, I first have to create a grid that I can use to divide the images up into 512x512 blocks, and then drape the grid onto the survey (similar to retopology), and then I can use the UV-Mapper to assign the images to the appropriate grids. This isn't too bad, but on a recent project I had to take 8 high resolution aerial photos and divide them up into a grid comprised of close to 200 images at 512x512, and I still had to come down on the resolution. This added a couple days to production.

Finally, the DXF format which Autodesk produced is garbage. AutoCAD is not a good program for large (geospatial) CADD projects, which is why every DOT (Department of Transportation) in the United States uses MicroStation (by Bentley). I would love it if someone would write an import and export script for MicroStation (.DGN). My newbie programming skills are nowhere near the ability to do this.

Oh, one more thing, the ability to show single edges in the GE. When I want to model power lines next to a road, I have to extrude a circle along a curve and convert it to a mesh. It would be great to simply let the curve render with a customizable pixel thickness.
Have a nice day,

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My suggestions....

Post by alainlioret » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:18 am

- Better import of Collada and FBX formats in Blender (with armature animation)

- More sensors and actuators (with some IA blocs for example)

- Possibility to use more complex tree of logic blocs (sensors => controlers > sensors > controlers > actuators > controlers > sensors > ....)

- GLSL and HLSL shaders

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In world Creation

Post by bheae » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:57 pm

I would like to see a collaborative Blender server that would create a Blender in-world modeling and animation system. Like Croquet project and Second Life wrapped into Blender and the Game engine with a little bit of Alice for good measure. This would allow real time modeling of assets and collaboration over the internet and a network to create both games and animations. To model, texture, animate and code.

Each collaborator is updated as they model and animate. Of course full voice and text chat communication would also be essential. With such a system creating the assets of a Game, if done right, could increase in accordance to the amount of people in the system. For speed the system would allow the texture sizes to be reduced while in online mode - until they have been downloaded to the local machines database, unlike a real game that does not have such extra high resolution maps. This would allow for render of high quality animations as well, becoming, when not in use as a developer client, a render-node instead.

Of course full security, user level and encryption would be used so nobody could highjack your project. A version of the same server may be used as a game server as well.

Think of the possibilities this would create. Instead of only a few working on a game you could literally have a legion working on a project at the same time. And with user privileges you could assign some things to individuals not worrying they would destroy something else already locked.

i know -- dream on...

I am a dreamer - an artist -

Well this need has come as I and many of my artist friends have spread out across the globe for work. We want to collaborate on fun projects but we cannot due to distance and travel.

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Post by anthoni_c » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:06 pm

@bheae - No offense but your idea seems a bit far fetched seeing as ton and them are already working on other projects and it would take alot of time to code a system like that.

Though Id Tech 5 does use a system where artists can edit the same level at the same time updating in real time. Even with a system like that a team would need to use there own servers.

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Post by Mariolink » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:33 pm

mkay. You do have to compile your own blender version because verse isn't compiled by default.

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