Itoo Software Forum

Author Topic: Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces  (Read 836 times)

Giuseppe

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces
« on: June 30, 2015, 04:47:48 PM »
Hello all, nice to meet you!

I bought RailClone this morning and have begun to explore the documentation and tutorial videos, it seems fantastic. I've a few questions so far and thought I'd put them out there.

I am a game developer and am wanting to use RailClone as part of my level and asset creation toolset. As such, I need everything to remain editable for as long as possible so as to allow for changes that inevitably happen a lot (part of why I've picked up RailClone in the first place) -- but I say this because I want you to bear it in mind with regard to these questions:

1. I would like my roads to conform to a mesh (terrain) in my scene, i.e a landscape, whilst still being editable, and updating to changes I make to said terrain mesh. Ideally, it would conform to multiple meshes as my levels will likely be broken up into pieces and the roads will pass over many. I want to use this also for 'trails' i.e roads but off-road along hills and stuff. How best to approach this? If it falls outside of the functionality of Railclone, do you have a recommended method that still allows me to work with RailClone?

2. Whilst we're on the topic of roads, I'm putting together a small town and there will be many junctions, intersections, dead ends, how best to go about street layouts? I'm thinking a different segment mat ID on the end of a road spline to tell it to place an intersection piece there, and then i guess I have to do my best to manually line up the end of the next splines to it. Seems a bit of a pain.

Many thanks,

Giuseppe
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 05:15:30 PM by Giuseppe »

Giuseppe

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 05:04:53 PM »
An additional question has come to mind: I would really like to embed some kind of dummy object in the pieces i use to make my buildings and have them remain intact when they're placed along the splines so for example a window piece might have a dummy object on the inside above the opening so that when this model gets to the game, i can put a dynamic curtain there or something. Possible? Perhaps linking the dummy to the piece i feed railclone will do it? Will test this evening. If i can link things to these pieces then it also helps me with my road end alignment problems, because i can embed a spline within the road segment that isnt used as such, but serves as a snap point for any other spline i make and want to attach to the end of that one. Intersections have these on each exit etc.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 05:15:07 PM by Giuseppe »

Paul Roberts

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
Re: Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 06:01:07 PM »
Hi Giuseppe,

Thanks very much for your questions, we hope you find RailClone useful for your work. We think it has many possible applications for level design. 

Quote
I would like my roads to conform to a mesh (terrain) in my scene, i.e a landscape, whilst still being editable, and updating to changes I make to said terrain mesh. Ideally, it would conform to multiple meshes as my levels will likely be broken up into pieces and the roads will pass over many. I want to use this also for 'trails' i.e roads but off-road along hills and stuff. How best to approach this? If it falls outside of the functionality of Railclone, do you have a recommended method that still allows me to work with RailClone?

The surfaces feature allows you to project any RailClone object onto geometry, you can read a lot more about this in our documentation here.

However currently this only supports using a single object as a surface, so if you need to use multiple surfaces you will need to combine them. Normally we'd recommend attaching them together in a single editable poly object but I assume that in this case that isn't desirable. Instead you could create a compound object that combines instances of the source meshes into a single object that can be used in RC while leaving the originals untouched. This might be possible with Pro-Boolean set to Attach mode but I'd recommend trying Kinematiclab's free Multi-Mesher plugin which has the advantage of leaving all the source objects completely intact as well as maintaining all the animation, modifiers, and uvs.


Quote
Whilst we're on the topic of roads, I'm putting together a small town and there will be many junctions, intersections, dead ends, how best to go about street layouts? I'm thinking a different segment mat ID on the end of a road spline to tell it to place an intersection piece there, and then i guess I have to do my best to manually line up the end of the next splines to it. Seems a bit of a pain.

This is currently probably the best tactic. RC cannot model intersections automatically so you would need to create a tile-set of interlocking pieces. If the connections are always at 90 degrees it might be possible to set an offset automatically at the start of some of the cross road splines that takes the size of the intersection into consideration. Please see the attached for a demo of this idea.

Quote
I would really like to embed some kind of dummy object in the pieces i use to make my buildings and have them remain intact when they're placed along the splines so for example a window piece might have a dummy object on the inside above the opening so that when this model gets to the game, i can put a dynamic curtain there or something. Possible?

I'm afraid that RailClone only accepts geometry objects as segment inputs at the moment, so the dummy would be ignored. If you are able to add an additional face where you'd like the dummy object with a specified material ID you might be able to use a script to place a dummy after the RailClone object is created, but it isn't ideal. There's a thread here that includes some tips for adding non geometric objects to RailClone objects.

I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any more questions and we hope you enjoy using RailClone  :)

Many thanks,

Paul
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 06:16:04 PM by Paul Roberts »
Paul Roberts
iToo Software

Giuseppe

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2015, 05:06:38 PM »
Thanks Paul, great information there -- I've got mostly everything I wanted to make in my first go done! I'm tackling the stairs tutorial next and then it's on to a first go at using it for actual work. I'll let you know how I get on :)

Paul Roberts

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
Re: Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2015, 05:59:59 PM »
Great! Look forward to seeing your progress. Please let us know if you have any comments about your experience of using RC for games work.

Many thanks,

Paul
Paul Roberts
iToo Software

Giuseppe

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2015, 06:27:53 PM »
What is planned for the next major version number if you don't mind me asking, and what does the timeline look like?

Paul Roberts

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
Re: Working with roads, conforming to un-even surfaces
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2015, 06:58:29 PM »
Hi Giuseppe,

We're in the process of finalising upcoming features at the moment, so until that's resolved at our end I can't share much with any authority. I can say though that we're looking at creating at a brand new, more flexible expressions evaluator that will work in RailClone but excitingly also Forest Pack.  This will replace the current expressions feature in RailClone which is based on a class from the Max SDK, and open up many more possibilities.

Cheers,

Paul
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 08:01:19 PM by Paul Roberts »
Paul Roberts
iToo Software