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By Doug Armknecht January 2000 firstname.lastname@example.org Modes There are several viewing modes within the editor. You can usually access any mode from any other mode by clicking on the correct button. PT/LN mode is for creation of points, lines, and polygons. This is where you'll spend most of your time. CONTRL mode is what you see when the program begins. You can load and save objects there, and exit the program. Finally, FILLED mode is where you can view your object as it takes shape, and color lines and polygons. Point Creation If you really are having trouble getting started, try this: Go to PT/LN mode, click on CUBE, enter 10000, 10000, and 10000. This creates four points around the center point. To rotate the object, hold down the right mouse button and move the mouse around. To zoom in or out, hold down both buttons and move the mouse forward or backwards. The simplest method of new point creation is MIDPT. To use it, click on the MIDPT button, click on one point, and then on another point. A new point is created between the two. The MIDPT button stays depressed, so you can keep creating more and mo re points. If you're just getting started, play around with MIDPT awhile. You can create all the points you need just using CUBE and MIDPT. Unfortunately, your object may get very cluttered with points that were only used to generate other points (these cannot be deleted). A better way is to use Vectors. A vector is a quantity with an associated direction. In the object editor, a vector is represented by a green line extending from the center point out to a point you specify. To set a vector to a specific point, click on SET-V, then on a point. Notice the green line out to that point. Now click the button DBLE-V. This doubles the vector's length, but keeps its direction. A new point is created at the place, and the vector is now set to this new point. HALF-V does the same thing, only the vector is halved instead of doubled. NEG-V creates a new point at the same distance as the present vector, but in the opposite direction from the center point. ADD-V is different from the previous commands in that it involves two points. Imagine moving the origin of the green line from the center point to a point you specify, then creating a new point at the end of this new vector. It's hard to explain, but shouldn't be too hard to figure out. First SET-V to the point you want. Then click on ADD-V, then on the point you want the vector added to. A new point will be created, but the vector will stay where it had previously been. This allows you to add the vector to many points quickly. SUB-V works the same, except the vector is subtracted from (instead of added to) the point you specify. Once you have vectors figured out, precise placement of points becomes much easier. I find it helpful to create lines of closely spaced points along all three of the axes. Then, by adding a vector from the X-axis to a point on the Z-Axis and then adding a vector from the Y-axis to the previously created point, I can place a point just about anywhere in the cube's 3-D space. Polygons To give your object shape, you'll need to create polygons. Although the object is in 3-D, most of it will be made up of flat polygons. To create a polygon, click on POLY, then connect the dots in order, going clockwise around the shape you are defining. Also, make sure the polygon you're creating is flat. That is, all the points making up the polygon must be in the same plane. All points in a triangle are in the same plane, but be careful when using more points. If you can't visualize a flat piece of paper touching all the points you're going to create the polygon from, you may have a problem. Just because the components of the object have to be flat doesn't mean that objects have to look unrealistic or boring. You can create surprisingly realistic surfaces just from a number of triangles. And with gourad shading (explained below), the appearance of curves can be easily created. Polygons appear in the PT/LN mode with blue lines around the edges. This gives a good preview of how the polygon will look. Once you have several polygons created, go into FILLED mode to get a better visualization. All newly created polygons are white. To change the color of a polygon, first scan through the palette at the bottom of the screen. Use the << and >> buttons to cycle through all the colors. Once you've found the one you want, select it by clicking on it, and then click on all the polygons that you want to set to that color. Continue selecting and clicking for the rest of the polys. So far, the polygons you've been coloring have been flat shaded. This means that the polygons will appear the color you set them at no matter what the lighting conditions. Most of Stunt Island's non-aircraft objects are done this way. However, there are different shading styles that can help your object look more realistic. Gourad shading is what most of Stunt Island's aircraft bodies use. In order for it to be effective, make sure your object has two or more adjacent polygons that you want to appear approximately the same color. Next, you need to select a color for the objects. Unlike flat shading, gourad shading uses more than one color from the palette. When you select a color for gourad shading, your are actually selecting that color plus the next 31 from the palette (a total of four columns). Therefore, only color sets which contain 32 consecutively lighter colors may be used for regular gourad shading. To use gourad shading, first color the polygons. Make sure to use the darkest (leftmost) color in a set of 32 colors (there are only four of these sets). Once you have all the adjacent polygons colored, click on STYLE, then select GOURAD. Click on all the desired polygons again. You should notice some multicolored shading appearing on the polygons. As you probably noticed, there are only four choices for "colors" when using regular gourad shading. Fortunately, the editor has another option to extend this to 15 different color combinations. GOURAD16 style shading, also under STYLE, uses only the 15 shades after the selected color (instead of 31). This allows you to make lighter shades of gray, or use the red or blue color schemes for gourad shaded objects. Yet another style of shading is marked only as SHADED. For an example of this, take the Pitts Special out for a spin in Stunt Island and look at the wings. Although a wing changes color as you turn the plane, the entire wing is a uniform color of red at any point in time. SHADED polygons also use 32 colors, and work the same in that respect as GOURAD shaded polys. SHADED16 is similar, but only 16 colors are used for the effect. Other Commands You can make good objects just using the above techniques, but there are a number of other commands that you may want to experiment with. First up is LINE. Simply enough, go to PT/LN mode, click on LINE, and select the two points you want to connec t with a line. To color lines, go to FILLED mode, click on THICKL, select a color, and click on the line to be colored. Note: Lines are often bad about making your object UNSORTable. See below for more information on this. If you're drawing lines that touch, I've found that it's better to draw and color them together instead of drawing some, coloring some, drawing some more, etc. SETGND is used for setting the ground level to be used in Stunt Island. Click on the button, then select a ground level point. STRETCH and SCALE can help you change the size of your object in the program. STRETCHing a cube changes the size of that cube and all its associated points. For major changes, experiment with SCALE. Larger numbers produce smaller objects. DISC is used for making two-sided discs, and SPHERE is used for making.. well, spheres! I have not experimented much with either of these, but both are prone to UNSORT problems. If you're interested in creating a door on a house or writing on a sign, you may want to use DETAIL mode. This should be used for any lines or polygons you create directly on top of another polygon. To use it, go into FILLED mode. Click on DETAIL, then on the polygon you want to do some detailing work on. This takes you back to PT/LN mode where you can create new points and then add polys or lines on top of the polygon you are detailing. When finished, or when you want to detail another polygon, go back to FILLED mode and unselect DETAIL. Subobjects Note: Our knowledge of subobjects is very limited at this time. I only put this section in in hopes that more people will experiment with this and maybe find some more out about it. Subobjects are used to attach props and landing gear to existing objects. The first step is to create a moveable object (such as a propellor). If you want, you can start by using the prop that comes with the Spitfire. Next, attach the subobject somewhere on your object. Go to PT/LN mode and click on SUBOBJ. Then select a point to attach the subobject to. The program prompts you for a prop to use. Select your object, or the prop named "sfrprp". Next is a set of parameters for the subobject. For simple rotation use "Rotate Y-Axis 10" (or use X- or Z-axis). Once the subobject has been set up, you can view it by going to filled mode. Unfortunately, there's a good chance that your object will now be unsortable (see the section below). I have not found any way around this yet, short of placing the subobject well away from any polygons. If everything is sorted correctly, the subobject will appear as a white sphere. Click on SHOWSUB to animate it. To change its parameters, turn SHOWSUB off, click EDIT, and click on the sphere. If, by some miracle, you do get subobjects to coexist with your object, you may want to experiment with advanced issues such as making a prop turn into a different object when it reaches a certain speed. To do this, load up the Spitfire prop and go into FILLED mode. Click on EDIT, then on one of the spheres. This shows its parameters, and you should be able to emulate those in your own object. Once again, no one seems to know much yet about subobjects. If you make a discovery, please let us know. Unsortable Object Problems From time to time, you may notice that the addition of a polygon, line, sphere, disc, or subobject makes most of your objects disappear when you go into FILLED mode. Congratulations, you've just made your object unsortable. Here's what Adrian says about unsortables: "It is possible for a shape to be unsortable. This means that the editor cannot work out a strategy for drawing the polygons and spheres in the correct order from any angle. Clicking on Unsort will display all the parts of the object it did not include in order to be able to sort it. Clicking on Unsort again will re-display the sorted portion of the shape." To make your object sortable again, click on UNSORT and delete the polys (or whatever) you just created. Now, you ask, how do you add polys or spheres without making your object unsortable? I really don't know, and I hope you can figure it out. There's only one thing I know of to try: Go back to the CONTRL screen and click on TRYHARD. Then go back to PT/LN and try to add the elements to your object. Beyond that, I can offer no further help. I have no idea how to create subobjects anywhere near my objects; They always become unsortable. If you figure out any way around this or any other problem, please let us all know. Thanks! Using your object in Stunt Island Thanks to Runar for writing this section a couple years back. One more note: Once you get the object(s) into Stunt Island, it (they) will be in the props under the category name you specify. DO NOT place your object in Slot 1 and try to fly it. This will cause your computer to lock up. If you want to fly your object, place a plane with similar flight characteristics in Slot 1. Make it invisible. Then set your prop in Slot 8, attach it to prop 1, and make it visible with a shadow. It's not perfect, but it should work. Tutorial written by Doug Armknecht.
If you want to be able to edit an object later, you must save it to disk using the SaveAs button. 37. Press Contrl. 38. Press SaveAs. 39. Enter a name to save this object under. 40. Press Ok. If you change the object later you can use the Save button to save it under the name you used in SaveAs. When you want to load an object into the editor, use the Load button and choose the object you want to load. To save the object for use in Stunt Island you use the BSave button: 41. Press Bsave. Now you must make a .RES and .EQU file for the object with the MAKERES.EXE program: 42. Press the Exit button to leave the editor. 43. Use a text editor to edit the file MYOBJS.RDF which should be in the same directory as the editor. The MYOBJS.RDF file looks like this in your editor: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- settemp d:\temp new res\myplanes,126 #names text My Objects text Object 1 text Object 2 setdir objects\ object1 object object1.bin object2 object object2.bin -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now you must edit this file. As an example, we will assume you have saved the object in this tutorial in SaveAs as TEST and used BSave, which writes out a TEST.BIN file. If your .BIN file would be named TEST.BIN you would edit this file to look like this: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- settemp c:\temp <----- Changed d: to c:, change \temp to a directory you want temporary files used only by the program, to be saved in. new TEST,126 <- res\ is the dir. you want the .RES and .EQU files saved in. I use the current dir. so I've removed it. Test is where you name the .RES and .EQU files. I have named it TEST here. I'm not clear yet about what the number is for, so leave it alone. #names text My Objects <-- Leave #names and text alone, My Objects is the name of the group holding the object you made, and will appear in Set Design in Stunt Island when you Press Add to add a new object. text House 1 <-- Leave text alone. House 1 is the name you choose to call this object in Stunt Island. In our example I've named it House 1. If you would make a few houses you could add them to this file as House 2, House 3 and so on, remember that the text word must always be in front of the names. setdir objects\ <-- In this line you say where the .BIN file(s) are. If they are in the current directory you don't need it and can delete the line. In this example I have a directory named objects that has my .BIN files in it. object1 object test.bin <-- object1 is for the first object. If you have more than one object, you can name the next object2 and so on, or whatever you like, It's just for the MAKERES program. Leave the object word alone. Test.bin is what I named the .BIN file in our example, but here's where you write the name of the .BIN file. If you have more than one, add more lines with the names of your other .BIN files, but begin every line with object2, object3 or something and the object word. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When you have finished editing the file, save it. We will assume you saved it as MYOBJS.RDF, but you can change MYOBJS to whatever you like and you don't have to use .RDF as the file extension, use whatever you like or just skip it and save it as MYOBJS. We assume you saved the file as MYOBJS.RDF 44. Write: makeres myobjs.rdf <--- If the file has an extension you MUST include it here. If all goes well you should see the message "No Errors" on the screen when the program is finished. If an error comes up you must find what caused it. Often the line number the MAKERES program found an error is displayd, so you can know where the error is in the file. If you got the message "No Errors", you can continue. Now you should have a TEST.RES and TEST.EQU file. Now, all you have to do to use it in Stunt Island is to copy both files to the \RES directory of the directory you have the Stunt Island game. Normally it's C:\STUNTISL, so you would save the two files to C:\STUNTISL\RES directory. Now you can start Stunt Island and use the objects you made. Good Luck!
Here are the steps needed for converting SITOOLS props into SI. 1. Make a directory called TEMP in DOS. Any name will work, but I'll use TEMP here. 2. In the editor, load the object(s) you wish to convert and BSAVE them. This will create a file in the SITOOLS directory called (objectname).BIN for each object. 3. To make the process easier, transfer all of your .BIN files and the MAKERES.EXE program to your TEMP directory. 4. Now use the sample file below as an example and make your own text file. Be sure to make it look exactly the same, especially spacing. You can name your text file anything you want. 5. At the command line in DOS type MAKERES (yourfilename.you) 6. If you see NO ERRORS on the next line after your command line then it worked correctly. 7. You will now have 2 new files in your TEMP directory. (filename).RES and (filename).EQU. Move these to the STUNTISL\RES directory. I have only been able to have one custom file in that directory at a time. 8. Now enter SI and go to SET DESIGN. You should see your objects in the PROPS list. Choose your new props like you would any of the SI props. The only thing you CANNOT do is put them into the PROP ONE slot. This will crash SI everytime. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Here is the sample text file. settemp c:\temp\temp.tmp new (your filename),126 #names text Sifa Objects (Substitute your title here) text Sifa Stone Logo (These are the names of your objects) text U.S.S. Voyager text Enterprise Shuttle text Star Destroyer TestOb1 object sifa.bin (These are the .BIN files you made) TestOb2 object startrk2.bin TestOb3 object shuttle.bin TestOb4 object st-cruse.bin Textfile by Dean Newbury. Special thanks to Matt Shoemaker for giving me this same help!
From the SIFA IRC chat in 1997 (Adrian) I'm looking at the subobject parameters in the editor right now, I'll give an explanation... (Adrian) OK - Object of course is the filename of the subobject you previously created. (Adrian) Rotate is the axis about which the object rotates, and the number after it is the 'animation parameter'. (Adrian) For instance, the number 12 means the current angle of the landing gear. (Adrian) There is also a parameter that specifies the angle of the propellor, and one for the speed of rotation of the propellor. With these we could say 'Rotate the propellor according to this parameter, until it's going too fast, and then switch to this flickery thing that looks like a propellor going fast instead' (Adrian) In the editor you use 'Cond' in the subobject dialog box to say that if a certain condition is met, switch to the 'Else' subobject. (Adrian) Having checked, I can now tell you that parameter '10' is the propellor angle and parameter '9' is the propellor speed. (Adrian) You specify these 'parameters' in the subobject dialog box. (Adrian) First you create a seperate object for the gear or prop. Then you load the main object (the plane in this case) and somehow attach the subobjects. It'll take me a while to remember how to do it (Adrian) Actually I re-learned how to put subobjects on - you just go to Point/Line mode click on SubObj and select the point you want to attach the subobject to. You then get the fileselector to specify the file containing the object you want to attach. I suppose everyone already knew that...