Jump to content

Fully Interactive Mechlab


65 replies to this topic

#1 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:49 AM

The concept: Make a fully interactive mech bay so that anyone can physically walk around their mechs and inspect them. This will be multi-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac).

I'm planning on updating this post every Friday from here on out, just so I have more time to polish stuff a little before revealing it.

Here are some of the ideas I've been playing around with. Some of the more advanced ideas would a lot of time and resources to make available, but I would like to make them happen at some point.

Definite Additions
  • Fully functional mech lab
  • All the mechs in physical form
  • Proper geometry for weapons
  • Standard/Founder textures
  • Various Decorations
Very Likely Additions
  • Proper Geometry for each weapon
  • Import/Export for other mech labs
  • Music/HPR/NGNG Podcasts
Maybe Additions (I want to add them, but no promises/Need lots of work/server overhead to function properly)
  • Multiplayer (acts as a merc/faction HQ)
  • NPC's wandering around
  • Customizable decorations (put hula girls wherever you want them)
  • Tactical planning room for missions (shows all game maps, maybe interactive surfaces)
  • Live weapon test area (no mechs, just weapons and their GFX/SFX. Think R&D)
  • Dedicated server
  • Canteen
  • Multiple mech bays for customization (up to 8 people can all edit mechs at the same time)
  • Some form of custom clan/merc/house integration (custom merc emblems, for example)
PGI Dependent Additions
  • Live map of the innersphere for community warfare in OP/News Room
  • Import/Export mech designs from game
  • Lounge with Solaris 7 streaming on TV and sofas
I'm still trying to decide whether I want to use a more "up to date" technology base, such as flat screen monitors and interactive surfaces, or old analog systems.




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Most Recent Video:



Concept:

Posted Image

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
10/11/2013

Still plugging away. Nothing fancy to show but the UI, but a few of the things I'm designing are:

1) The UI for setting the mech in each gantry (the idea is that there are several gantries and you can set each one to have whatever mech you want.
2) Working on the lighting system, computer monitors, and tweaking the elevator system to use gui textures instead of meshes (switches, buttons, etc).
3) Technicians working on mechs. This won't be random, but probably unique for each mech (think the mechanic sitting on the atlas shoulder). Some ideas are coolant refillers, electronic repairs, running diagnostics.

The latest video shows me testing the gui, including a quick and dirty elevator button (yes they're going to look better).

The first mechs you'll be able to play with are the phoenix package. "What? Gasp! Boo!" Okay, so maybe it seems a bit random to do that, but consider the fact that not everyone could afford to purchase the overlord tier and/or the saber upgrade. This gives those people a way to look at the mechs without being shot by them.

I'll see about adding another video or two over the weekend.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
10/04/2013

Well, we had a tornado, massive winds, sideways rain and I came down with a strange bug. My goal for next Friday is to have the interior walls for the mech lab completed, along with the devices used for manipulating the mechs in real time.

Also, if anyone has models that can be used for mechwarriors and wants to donate them, let me know and I'll happily include them. I prefer .obj files with seperate diffiuse, specular, and normal map files. Pre-rigged is much preferred. Animations are also welcome as long as they are compatible with human armatures. I can work with .fbx .3ds .dae, and .blend files as well though.

These need to be game ready though. Nothing with 100,000 polys please... Around 8,000 - 15,000 is fine.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
9/28/2013

I haven't had as much time to work on the mech lab as I would like. I'm actually working towards a new job in the next few months (fingers crossed) but it means spending time out on the campus that I may be getting the job at.

Anywho, I don't have anything super pretty to show off this week, as I've been working on pulling mech, weapon, equipment, and module icons from the game files for use with Mercpedia. I've also been working on extracting the mechs for the mech bay. The original 6 or so mechs are fairly easy, but PGI changed their asset pipeline for all of the newer mechs. Instead of being a single model, they're in pieces like a lego set.

This means I have to extract the part, convert it to quads, remove doubles, orient it correctly, then re-export it for the game engine. Once in the game engine, I have to snap all the pieces together to assemble the model. This is why all the newer mechs have custom geometry for weapons, while the older mechs do not - the new stuff is fully modular. The downside is that it's a pain to organize them for GUI integration. But before I can do that, I have to bulk rename all the models from *.cga to *.chr. So there are a lot of small steps on the path to mech enlightenment.

So how many parts does a mech come in? A lot:

Posted Image

And with another 4 models set to be released in 17 days, I'm going to be extremely busy just extracting and prepping models from the game - let alone making unique assets for the rest of the mech bay.


Can I advertise my merc/faction/clan/guild/party/unit?

Yes. I'm looking at donation based advertising in a few ways.
Recruitment posters tacked around the public mech bays. This space will be limited and offered on a first come, first served basis. The unit will be responsible for providing the recruiting poster, but I'll outline the dimensions a quality requirements. They're pretty easy to make.
Radio ads played over the comm system as part of the ambient noise. I will look into streaming HPR into the mech bay, so that will kill two birds with one stone. The idea is to create an immersive environment similar to the radio station.
Custom mech labs for units. This would involve getting custom decals and unit insignia around the mech bay. However, this hinges entirely on a multiplayer component, so is on the wish list, not necessarily the to-do list.
This is basically to cover the costs of running the server and potentially adding more features. For example, I could use Miximo to very quickly animate models to walk around and create more ambiance than a deserted office building. This would take a lot of time for me to do manually, but $30 at Miximo would have it done in about 5 minutes.



As for bandwidth costs, Smurfy is putting his daily traffic at 12 gigs. That's for an entirely text based site. That means this could easily run over a hundred gigs per day in traffic. Yikes. If this gets out of control and would require fully monetizing the mech bay, I'll switch it over to be completely offline (just download the executable and go).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
9/20/2013

Where's the Update!?
I'm working on it! ;) I've been sidetracked by other, life sustaining, projects. I've been trying to clear them up so I can spend the weekend on the mech bay.

Currently, the plan is to make the mech lab browser based instead of a stand alone installation. Why? Well, two major reasons:

1) The purpose of this is to allow you to experiment with mechs without using the mwo client - if you're at your computer, then you have access to the MWO client, and what's the point? This will allow you to do it on the go.

2) Updates are seamless and there isn't a bunch of emphasis on client patch management.

This will be cached on your machine, so if you're stuck somewhere without net access it will still work. Mind you, this is all subject to change depending on how much bandwidth is devoured every month. However, this is what we are aiming for right now.

Will This Ever Turn Into a Game?
No. The idea behind this is to make an extension for Mechwarrior Online, not to replace it. As such, you won't be able to die (no matter how many times you jump off the gantry), there will be no small arms, health, armor, etc. It's strictly for simple pleasures like battlemech viewing. I think the mechs so far look pretty phenomenal and I think it's a waste that we can't walk around and admire them. So that's pretty much what this will revolve around.

Release Timeline
I *hope* to have a working beta of the mech bay within the next 2 or so weeks. This will be public and open to anyone who wants to give it a go, and will only include the mech bay, not the full lab. In other words, you'll be able to select a mech and change it's geometry, but not swap out weapons and equipment.

Have Questions?
Go ahead and ask. I'll try my best to answer.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
FAQ

Q: How are you getting these mechs?
A: Heffay created an excellent tutorial on this subject here.

Q: How can I help?
A: If you really want to help, you can extract a few mechs, remove the doubles and convert to quads for me. If you're interested, shoot me a PM.

Q: Will you take donations?
A: Yes, when it's closer to completion.

Q: Can I advertise my in-game faction/Merc Corps/House/Company?
A: Yes. I'm still hammering out the details.

Q: How much would you like for advertising donations?
A: I'm not sure yet. I'm not trying to monitize this, but getting enough to cover bandwith, hosting, and maybe some cool extras would be nice.

Q: When will it be released?
A: I wish I could give you a firm date, but it depends on how busy I am and how quickly things come together. Before Christmas? I hope...

Edited by S3dition, 11 October 2013 - 06:29 PM.


#2 Intruder

    Member

  • PipPip
  • The Bold
  • The Bold
  • 48 posts

Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:58 AM

Well I love the idea so I hope you get it working.

As most people use Smurfy for their MechLab would you consider simply integrating it into that site as graphical element or are you hoping to be an alternative?

#3 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 07 September 2013 - 03:08 AM

View PostIntruder, on 07 September 2013 - 02:58 AM, said:

Well I love the idea so I hope you get it working.

As most people use Smurfy for their MechLab would you consider simply integrating it into that site as graphical element or are you hoping to be an alternative?


Well, There is a lot more involved than just the mechlab itself. To be honest, Smurfy has done a great job, and I'm not looking to steal his thunder. The ability to simply import an xml file is certainly within reason, especially if PGI releases an API that standardizes it.

To start with though, this will be mostly a flashy way to look at your mechs.

#4 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:33 AM

Here are some very early WIPs of the Mech Hangar:

Posted Image

Posted Image
Posted Image

Posted Image

#5 smurfynet

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Legendary Founder
  • Legendary Founder
  • 403 posts

Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:40 AM

Nice idea, but a long way to go. i also did some research in somehow rendering the models from the game in html5 but i faild on that task. (3d is not my strong side).

for me the idea was to show the user how his mech would look like, maybe with the ability to rotate around the mech, but no walking and such.

also i currently have arround 12 GB of outgoing traffic (per day) with the site alone, 3d models won't help what ;) but its still a posibility.

i'm also looking forward for a standardized/offical way to import/export loadouts. thats one of the reasons i added my own api in the first place.

Edited by smurfynet, 07 September 2013 - 04:41 AM.


#6 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:47 AM

View Postsmurfynet, on 07 September 2013 - 04:40 AM, said:

Nice idea, but a long way to go. i also did some research in somehow rendering the models from the game in html5 but i faild on that task. (3d is not my strong side).

for me the idea was to show the user how his mech would look like, maybe with the ability to rotate around the mech, but no walking and such.

also i currently have arround 12 GB of outgoing traffic (per day) with the site alone, 3d models won't help what ;) but its still a posibility.

i'm also looking forward for a standardized/offical way to import/export loadouts. thats one of the reasons i added my own api in the first place.


Thankfully, I'm not using HTML 5 :). Nor flash, which I may never touch again if I can help it. My web host gives me unlimited data, so we'll see how long it holds out. At 12gb per day for a text based website... wowzers. My hosting may be on fire :S

Edited by S3dition, 13 September 2013 - 06:27 AM.


#7 Raso

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Sickle
  • The Sickle
  • 1,297 posts
  • LocationConnecticut

Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:01 AM

Would you be able to make it so that the hardpoint's visual appearance changes when you install weapons? Could you also make it so that it changes the appearance on mechs that currently don't support that feature? I always wanted to see what a HBK-G would look like with 2 UACs in it's shoulder....

#8 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 07 September 2013 - 01:01 PM

View PostRaso, on 07 September 2013 - 08:01 AM, said:

Would you be able to make it so that the hardpoint's visual appearance changes when you install weapons? Could you also make it so that it changes the appearance on mechs that currently don't support that feature? I always wanted to see what a HBK-G would look like with 2 UACs in it's shoulder....


The first request is one of my objectives. However, PGI announced they are going to do another pass on the older mechs to add that geometry, so I think I'll hold out for the official models.

#9 Scav3ng3r

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Survivor
  • Survivor
  • 1,052 posts
  • LocationFree Worlds League

Posted 07 September 2013 - 01:08 PM

S3dition you are awesome, your only down side is you're not sporting a purple eagle ;P

#10 Raso

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Sickle
  • The Sickle
  • 1,297 posts
  • LocationConnecticut

Posted 07 September 2013 - 01:23 PM

View PostS3dition, on 07 September 2013 - 01:01 PM, said:


The first request is one of my objectives. However, PGI announced they are going to do another pass on the older mechs to add that geometry, so I think I'll hold out for the official models.

See I'd like to believe they'll get around to it but there's this little, niggling voice in the back of my head saying "Where's the profit model? We're moving forward, buy hero mech!".

#11 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 07 September 2013 - 01:57 PM

View PostScav3ng3r, on 07 September 2013 - 01:08 PM, said:

S3dition you are awesome, your only down side is you're not sporting a purple eagle ;P


Well, I'm sure there are a few other downsides, but thanks :D

View PostRaso, on 07 September 2013 - 01:23 PM, said:

See I'd like to believe they'll get around to it but there's this little, niggling voice in the back of my head saying "Where's the profit model? We're moving forward, buy hero mech!".


New players still buy old mechs :D. Besides, as of October 15th, there will officially be a metric ton of mechs to add before I worry about adding my own geometry. That's a lot of work for one man :blink:

Edited by S3dition, 07 September 2013 - 04:27 PM.


#12 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 07 September 2013 - 06:43 PM

Progress is ongoing. The damn mechanics keep ignoring equipment maintenance though. Elevators in a mech bay can be dangerous if not repaired or maintained properly. Just look at what happened to poor Bill:



#13 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 08:05 AM

Still plugging away. The good news - we are now beginning the rebuild of Mercpedia (more about that over there). Since we'll be using the same system for both apps, it greatly reduces the amount of time it will take to develop this.

I have a quick update video with the elevator mostly working and the awesome inserted for comparison with the atlas. I also textured the atlas with the founder skin.

The video is still uploading, but it will appear when it's done:



#14 Scav3ng3r

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Survivor
  • Survivor
  • 1,052 posts
  • LocationFree Worlds League

Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:23 PM

Suggestion? Maybe add some scaffolding at different levels of the mech that can be used to inspect the mech at different levels?

Cause.... that'd be cool ^^

#15 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:28 PM

View PostScav3ng3r, on 11 September 2013 - 12:23 PM, said:

Suggestion? Maybe add some scaffolding at different levels of the mech that can be used to inspect the mech at different levels?

Cause.... that'd be cool ^^


Already got it planned :)

Most stuff is still on the drawing board, but I'll update as soon as I start figuring out how/when/what is going to be included.

#16 Scav3ng3r

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Survivor
  • Survivor
  • 1,052 posts
  • LocationFree Worlds League

Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:34 PM

Sweet! Can't wait to see this when you are done!

#17 Deathsani

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 220 posts

Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:30 PM

Thanks for your hardwork! Can't wait to see what it looks like when you are done.

#18 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:24 PM

View PostScav3ng3r, on 11 September 2013 - 12:34 PM, said:

Sweet! Can't wait to see this when you are done!


View PostDeathsani, on 11 September 2013 - 01:30 PM, said:

Thanks for your hardwork! Can't wait to see what it looks like when you are done.


I'm having fun doing it. Lots and lots of work though. I'll have more information up as I figure out exactly what I'm going to add. I think you'll like it though :)

#19 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:27 PM

Here is a quick update with a Raven for size comparisons. I'll be working on it a lot more Fri - Sun. Have stacks of servers to inventory and create purchase lists for as part of my volunteer work tomorrow. Expect more updates over the weekend.


Posted Image


Posted Image

#20 S3dition

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,633 posts
  • LocationWashington, USA

Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:44 PM

I squeezed a little bit of time into the program today. I'm experimenting with some of the lighting and hammering out more of the elevator system. I know it seems a bit odd that I'm putting so much time into it, but considering the amount of catwalks and elevators there will be, it's probably a good idea.

I have a brief preview showing off some lighting effects and the 90% finished elevator system. It has a few bugs in it, and the control surfaces aren't finished or fully textured yet. It might take a few minutes to finish uploading.







1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users