Wings3D vs Blender

General talk about the map making process.
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captainmack
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Wings3D vs Blender

Post by captainmack » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:40 pm

--> I'm using a PPC Mac

I have been using iBZEdit and a text editor for my map making, but I now want to step it up to a fully 2.0 compliant creator. I've done research and found out that the two options are Wings3D and Blender. People have said that Blender has a steeper learning curve. If so what is the benefit to useing it if Wings3D can do everything it can? If it can't do everything, what is it lacking?

I have done extensive 3D modeling work for a couple of years in Cinema4D and a very little bit in Maya, so I know the terms. I have just never used either of these programs.

Before I choose which one to spend weeks(?) figuring out, I would like some help steering me down the right path. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. I intend to use all of the 2.0 features, so the BZW client shouldn't be lacking any.

On a side note, is there any information on BZWorkBench that isn't months old? Possible release date? Beta testers? Etc?
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Post by Peter » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:59 pm

I think that you should use blender, it isn't actually that hard to learn if you read through this..
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro
It is more flexible than wings and (in my opinion) easier and faster than wings when you know it. For making most BZFlag objects that don't cause major lag you only need to know the very basics. Good luck!
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Post by blast » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:08 pm

Wings3D and Blender themselves are not "2.0 compliant creators". They are 3D modeling tools. You can install the BZWTools plugin for Blender to turn it into a full fledge mapping tool. There is also a BZW exporter plugin for Wings3D, but that doesn't make it a map editor...
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Post by Winny » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:16 pm

I like blender, simply because it has more tools available then Wings.. I also like the interface much more.

I doubt you could do this in wings very easily, not that it would matter much for basic BZFlag mesh maps.

Also, Blender makes texture baking extremely easy. It is as simple as going to the render panel and hitting "bake"...

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Also, I noticed that you say you were using cinema4D... if it can export to OBJ, you should just continue using that, export your models to the OBJ format, and then convert them with Modeltool to the BZW format. Modeltool even supports drawinfo.

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Post by captainmack » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:18 pm

blast wrote:Wings3D and Blender themselves are not "2.0 compliant creators". They are 3D modeling tools. You can install the BZWTools plugin for Blender to turn it into a full fledge mapping tool.
This is what I meant when I said it was 2.0 compliant
blast wrote:There is also a BZW exporter plugin for Wings3D, but that doesn't make it a map editor...
What is it lacking then?
Winny wrote:Also, I noticed that you say you were using cinema4D... if it can export to OBJ, you should just continue using that, export your models to the OBJ format, and then convert them with Modeltool to the BZW format. Modeltool even supports drawinfo.
With all of these applications, od you make the objects separately and then import them and manipulate them with a text editor, or do you build your whole world in the modeler and then export it. Because with Cinema4D I could easily build each object, I just assumed people were using Blender and Wings as full map editors, start to finish.
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Post by Winny » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:28 pm

captainmack wrote: With all of these applications, od you make the objects separately and then import them and manipulate them with a text editor, or do you build your whole world in the modeler and then export it. Because with Cinema4D I could easily build each object, I just assumed people were using Blender and Wings as full map editors, start to finish.
You could do this, but it is much better to export the meshes separately, and then group them, so you can do fine-tuning as well.

Also, if you have the same mesh multiplied many times, grouping saves space.

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Post by JeffM » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:40 pm

captainmack wrote:
blast wrote:There is also a BZW exporter plugin for Wings3D, but that doesn't make it a map editor...
What is it lacking then?
3d modelers can only do meshes and materials. Meshes and materials are only 2 of the map objects that bzflag supports. The you will also need objects such as, teleporters,lings, physics drivers, etc.. A simple modeler won't give you those ( the blender plug-in does an ok job at adding them, but it' still a shoehorn type job ).

Perhaps you should read over what the map format can do, before you get too deep into what application(s) to use.

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Post by captainmack » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:58 pm

JeffM wrote:
captainmack wrote:
blast wrote:There is also a BZW exporter plugin for Wings3D, but that doesn't make it a map editor...
What is it lacking then?
3d modelers can only do meshes and materials. Meshes and materials are only 2 of the map objects that bzflag supports. The you will also need objects such as, teleporters,lings, physics drivers, etc.. A simple modeler won't give you those ( the blender plug-in does an ok job at adding them, but it' still a shoehorn type job ).

Perhaps you should read over what the map format can do, before you get too deep into what application(s) to use.
I see. I was under the impression that the blender plugin made it very easy to add teleporters, bases, and other necessary objects. I guess I will just use C4D, iBZEdit TextEdit. I looked for a PPC compiled version of your conversion tool but I couldn't find one. I will try and compile one myself...

thanks for all the input.
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Post by JeffM » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:58 am

the blender plug-in does do a lot of it, ( I as I said ) try it and see.

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Post by captainmack » Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:49 am

Ok, the general impression that I am getting from this is that you should create the basic structure of your map (bases, teleporters, basic boxes, etc.) in either a text editor or simple map creator (iBZEdit, BZEdit, ...). Then use a 3D program to create more complex 3D objects and import and manually edit them with a text editor. You should also add physdrvs by hand.
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Post by Longhair » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:40 pm

BlenderNation recently had a post about an online "course". Basically, it's a big series of video tutorials that go over the interface and features of Blender. The movies are divided up into "units" that have accompanying PDF tutorials and assignments.

http://www.gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html

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Post by Teppic » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:28 pm

captainmack wrote:I see. I was under the impression that the blender plugin made it very easy to add teleporters, bases, and other necessary objects. ~
It tries to, but if you look at the bzw man page you'll see that document is huge. The plugins allow you to add all the documented features of the 2.0.4 bzw file format apart from DrawInfo (still in development....). Some of the methods used to get native BZFlag version 1 objects into Blender are quite convoluted and require a good working knowledge of Blender to be able to use it as a full map editor.

My advise would be to learn how to use Blender as a 3D app, whist at the same time learning to use iBZEdit to create you basic map (you mentioned PPC...). Once you have your basic map import it into Blender and add the version 2 objects to it. It is possible to make the entire map including physics drivers, world weapons etc, it would just be quite a big leap to do all in one go.

As for tweaking the map after export, great care has been taken with the import/export scripts to make this unnecessary; grouping of objects**, server settings and the texture host can be set in Blender before export, even DrawInfo is preserved between import and export, and editable by hand from within Blender.

**When I remember how to do this, I'll write the tutorial, I remember writing the code, and testing it, I just don't remember the implementation...

I think I may go add some tooltips to the add object dialogs, just to remind me how they work...

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Post by captainmack » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:47 pm

I had the editing process a little different, but your idea makes much more sense. I was going to build the basic map in iBZEdit and then build individual objects in blender and then export and import by hand with a text editor. It does make much more sense to import the basic BZW file into blender and add the objects from there.

So you make your maps with no text level manipulation? Because that is what I had in mind with that method.
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Post by Teppic » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:30 pm

captainmack wrote:So you make your maps with no text level manipulation? Because that is what I had in mind with that method.
Yeah, that was what I had in mind when writing it, I've only ever done text edit after export on one map, and that was before I wrote the exporter. That isn't all that impressive though when my maps only total 4 :oops:
FYI the lastest SVN revision (as of about 10 minutes ago) is slightly better with the self documentation (tool tips I talked about). There is also a very basic grouping guide on the Wiki now too.

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Post by dopefish7590 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:07 am

get blender... its much better imo

im also on a ppc mac
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Post by optic delusion » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:38 pm

If I were you, I'd stay with cinema4d or maya, then when I had done all the modeling there, export to a format wings3d can use, then use wings' bzw exporter for the final processing step.
That's what louman does, using maya.

You could also use modeltool, with or without drawinfo, to do the conversion from obj format.
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