"been there, done that". Creating lofts for the first time is a mind-boggling thing -- at least it was to me. However, once I figured out a routine it really turned out to be surprisingly simple, much simpler than the WIki page with all its detail may make it sound.
ca2kjet wrote:First, does anyone know of any more in-depth tutorials regarding lofts? Beyond the link I provided and the developer doc?
A simple working loft section, like a road, track or pipeline cross section shape file (they all work the same), can be modeled with only a small amount of steps. I'm going to list the steps in 3DCanvas, but it should work the same in many other modeling tools.
- The first step is to create your desired object and shape it to your desired proportions. In this example I'll be using a pipe as the model. So you'd start by placing a new cylinder in the scene, rotate it so its ends are facing the x/y pane and then mold it into the desired shape.
- Next, select and delete all points except for one of the end sides. Move the pivot point of the remaining face(s) to its center, so that it moves to its z=0 position. (This is crucial! If the pivot of the loft section is not exactly at z=0 of the object, it will fail to render in-game.)
- Now select all the faces again and extrude them along the z axis. Then delete all the faces on the x/y pane, so that only the "hollow pipe" of the extrusiuon remains. Always remember to keep the pivot point at z=0 of the object.
- Texture the extruded object with a texture that tiles along its top and bottom edges. You must use the full height of the texture for the UV coordinates, but you can crop its width when texturing the object.
(Hint: the length of the extrusion from the last step determines at what length the texture gets tiled in-game. So if you do a 10 meter extrusion, you'd get a 10m texture tiling interval. The length of the extrusion has no effect on the 'bending' capacities of the loft section.)
- Apply the following materials and names:
hierarchy: 1_1000_loft -- or -- 1_1000_road (both without children) -- or see wiki for track creation, which is slightly more complicated.
shaders: LoftTexDiff.fx or LoftTexDiffTrans.fx (allows transparency)
- Export the object to IGS, set up a loft or road section blueprint, enter the data and export to RW.
Secondly, how do you take a scenery object (such as a bridge, or heck, even a box) and convert it into a lofted object?
While you cannot convert a standard scenery object to a loft, you can attach it to an invisible loft.
All you need is to create a simple loft section, textured with an all-alpha texture, and then add the standard objects as "middle geometry" entries in the loft section blueprint, where you can also set the spacing of the objects. Works great for creating perfectly aligned bridges!
Hope this makes some sense.
Here's a picture of a loft object cross section: