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About vometia

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    Vometia Munro
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  1. vometia

    Normalmaps: weird format?

    Thanks again guys, especially for the reassurance that I'm in the right general area even if my understanding still needs some honing! And yeah, I'm using Wardust's stuff as I like the more muted colours: easier to mix and match that way. Or, rather, I'm using a subset of it but one that I'm certain includes the spiders and imp, so I'll remove them. But not on a running game: BTDT and it opines its discontent by crashing. I shall look at the plugin: I don't even recall the provenance of the one I'm using at present but "not designed for Gimp 2.10" seems quite likely. And I shall look elsewhere for the startup glitch, which is probably nothing to do with the textures. I did quite a lot of faffing about with the redistributables when trying to get it going which I suspect is a much more likely culprit; otoh, it's pretty stable other than that (well, and the stuttering) so perhaps I should just leave it alone.
  2. vometia

    Normalmaps: weird format?

    Can anybody point me to a list of what all the maps do? I'm sure there must be done somewhere. So far this is what I've figured out and observed, but it's incomplete and what there is here is probably riddled with inaccuracies. d or do: diffuse map, I.e. the basic colour of the model. RGB channels do what you'd expect, do is the naming convention for the version with an alpha channel (presumed all 1s if absent) which determines the transparency, 0 being invisible to 1.0 (or 255 assuming RGB8) being opaque. The processing of the alpha channel is determined by the opaque/masked flag in surface.txt. is the naming convention for the version with an alpha channel (presumed all 1s if absent) which determines the transparency, 0 being invisible to 1.0 (or 255 assuming RGB8) being opaque. The processing of the alpha channel is determined by the opaque/masked flag in surface.txt. Format is DXT5 with mipmaps. n: normal map. Red and green channels specify bumpiness (not 100% sure how they work: seems one is X bumpiness, the other is Y, but it's more complicated than that) and blue is a bit of a mystery. Most of those I've encountered tend to have R & G set to mid-high numbers and blue either 0 or 1, but it's often appropriated for something else, as it seems to be in this case, e.g. obj_d_s_b_metal seems to consider it an overall lightness control and appears to treat R & G as signed numbers with negatives giving off an increasingly bright glow. That may be completely off but it's based on my trial and error attempts to get it working. Shaders in general seem to handle the contents of normalmaps differently, resulting in quirks like this or the amount of bump-mapping and so on. Format is U555, needs Nvidia DDS Tools to read/write, which is said to produce better results than Gimp's plugin anyway. sg: specular/glow map. Shows highlights and reflections under more direct lighting. RGB like the diffuse map but often just uses greyscale. Alpha channel controls the specular or glow property. Haven't tested whether this is on/off or gradual; I imagine the latter. From dimitrius154's comment, format is DXT5 without mipmaps, which I always forget to turn off, though apparently with no harmful effects.* l, lx or hx. Dunno. Well, I know roughly what it does, but not exactly how it works. This seems to be some sort of colour modifying map that affects the diffuse layer; may or may not affect the specular/glow one too, I have no idea. Often used to set skin tones and highlights but used in other stuff too. It's another one with an optional alpha channel, hence l vs. lx or hx which I'm guessing is determined by the shader rather than directives in the surface.txt file, and probably not inferred by the filename. My assumption is that alpha 1 means "apply the chosen skin colouring" and anything else means "don't", but different shaders may have different purposes. In terms of naming, I don't know why there's lx and hx as they seem to do the same thing. Format is again DXT5 with mipmaps, I think. I think that's everything I'm likely to encounter when modding armour, albeit with a frustratingly incomplete understanding. And skill. And I still lack much of an idea of which shader to use, even with a whole array of examples in front of me: I think a better understanding of what they do would make me more comfortable. Notes: "Apparently with no harmful effects": well, kinda. The game now loads really quite slowly and once it goes beyond the main menu the screen goes nuts as if losing sync until I alt-tab out and back again. I'm sure it never used to do that. Plus I'm finding some invisible beasties like certain cave spiders and my porter imp. Might be one of those incorrect formats; may be Sacred 2 running out of memory with the new textures; might just be another Sacred 2 bug. As long as it doesn't corrupt my save file! Gimp 2.10: just say no. Except that I've said yes for long enough that reverting is going to be a problem, and 2.8 doesn't (easily) co-exist on the same machine. I guess my options are to use Cygwin in some way, either running Gimp across the network from another of my machines (probably not awesome: even with a Gbit LAN I think the performance isn't great over X11), running a virtual Linux/FBSD box on Windows or probably easiest installing Cygwin's own copy, which I presume is possible to do without it conflicting with Windows' own version. After all that, my catsuit seems to be working well in terms of making the other armour pieces seem more congruent. Rather than doing what I often do and trying to finish everything in one sitting, I've settled for dealing with the bits that manage their own skin rendering as I find them and fix them on an ad-hoc basis, replacing the skin with either dark leather or canvas-look material depending on what I feel like doing at the time. To compensate for covering up more I'm making her shoes less practical, so inspired by the Genesis-set peep-toe boots (which have a minor clipping problem, fixed by setting the surface.txt flag to masked and trimming off some of the overlap) I've done the same with some others only using texturing and normal-maps, which worked surprisingly well; or chopped bits off, removed EQUIPCUT from itemtype.txt and have her tottering about in her strappy spiked heels. She has entirely the wrong personality for too much practicality.
  3. vometia

    Normalmaps: weird format?

    I'm still somewhat confounded by normalmaps, though I'm happy enough with the file format I'm now using; more importantly, the game is happy! However, creating them is still a bit of a mystery to me. As I've mentioned, I Am Not Artistic™ so I've tried to figure stuff out by trial and error, which involves more error than anything as, well, I am not very good at it and don't really know what I'm doing. What I have figured out is that just applying the normalmap filter to the image and hoping for the best is going to give poor results. What gives better results is a greyscale image with highlights and lowlights applied as necessary, even though I don't really know how much is too much; and trying to contour it with a multitude of overlays including airbrush, gradients, hand-drawn (or rather mouse-drawn) areas with lots of blur applied and so on. When it comes to "which filter do I use? What scale do I use? Do I need a minimum or any of the other settings?" I'm just totally confused. I've just ended up trying out various ones and seeing what seems to end up producing the results closest to what I want, or furthest from what I don't. The latest confoundment has come in the guise of Sacred 2's shaders. I've noticed certain of them produce a garish yellow glow if I'm not careful, or even if I am careful; such as the magic trousers, which is one of the pieces of armour I needed to work on to fit in with my chainmail catsuit. The shader they were using is obj_d_s_b_skin, so I figured "I don't want skin so I'll just chomp that bit off the name, obj_d_s_b looks the same so it is the same, right? Er... well I dunno about that. Maybe I don't need to change it since I've deleted texture3Name anyway (though maybe I should've set it to just black or something rather than deleting it) but I figured not, but obj_d_s_b has its own "issues". I tried obj_cloth in its place but in doing so I seemed to completely lose the height mapping, which was unexpected, so I went back to figuring out obj_d_s_b instead. My starting point is that I noticed the normalmap for seraskin was an unusually dark blue colour: it's normally lilac, so I just guessed at what I was doing, doubling the maximum level to use the full range, which seemed to work well enough as the basis for my interfering. I tried the opposite with the magic pants and halved the brightness, capping it at 128 (actually should've been 127, but y'know). It got rid of the glare but also made them a grey colour. Seems with that shader at least, the blue channel of the normalmap influences the brightness of the diffuse map, confusingly. Well, confusing to me, I'm easily confused. So I left he blue channel alone and halved the red and green ones instead, noticing I now had something that looked very much the same as the original seraskin normalmap I'd extracted, so maybe it wasn't just an artefact of me not knowing what I was doing. And it seems to work properly. I now have leggings that have height detail but without the, erm, yellow glow. This is probably all documented somewhere so my puzzlement just makes me look daft. I don't care, I am daft.
  4. Interesting. I've been doing this for some time but was worried I may eventually break something (I hate the "One True Save" system because of the risk of corruption... even though I back it up regularly) because doing it "correctly" is very slow and deposits me far from where I want to be. I think I should take reassurance from people who know what they're talking about actually suggesting this approach!
  5. vometia

    Normalmaps: weird format?

    Thanks to you both for the clarification! I've been using DXT5 with mipmaps for everything so far and somehow been getting away with it until now; normalmap for the player body seems weird as I can't get it to work without compression but it may be because I'm also generating mipmaps. Having said that, it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that I've made a mess of something else and this was just the final straw. I would experiment more if I had the patience to deal with Gimp's glacially slow file manager: but taking 10 seconds to come to life every time quickly becomes very painful! Talking of which, yeah, those fits with the dds plugin: once it decides it's unhappy about something that's none of its business it just becomes increasingly unstable. I've had so many problems with 2.10, though I find the layer groups useful for organising stuff, but I'm not sure they're worth the hassle of it just being such an unpleasant experience. It also turns out that there aren't many armour models that try to do their own skin arrangement, it's just that typically of my luck the first two I looked at were the only two (so far) that use that particular approach: everything else seems to Just Work™. My idea of just making it look a bit like leather with some suitably-placed highlighting seems to be "good enough", and in particular is probably better than my attempts to get my rather knobbly chainmail texture to line up.
  6. vometia

    Normalmaps: weird format?

    Just in case anybody was curious about what I was up to, and showing off my complete lack of texturing skills, I figured I'd do a chainmail catsuit as the default skin as I decided that the dental-floss underwear was just a little too silly for me. Obviously I left the heels alone because, y'know, shoes. Of course I've immediately discovered a flaw in my plan which is that some bits of armour simply have gaps revealing what's underneath and not deactivating the underlying mesh; others use their alpha channel to make bits invisible; some incorporate the relevant part of the body mesh into their own GR2 and then map them to the seraskin material in surfaces.txt; and then there are the problem cases where they incorporate part of the underlying model and then decide they're going to be clever and texture it themselves. And that is really difficult because the sole example I've looked at so far, std-magic leggings, is approximately the same orientation as the right leg but to a different scale and slightly distorted perspective, and trying to get a useful UV map out of Granny Viewer is its own additional problem. Having to figure out exactly what I need to paste in place, which needs to be fairly precise owing to the obvious texture, and having to do up to four DDS files (including the "now with added laboriousity!" writing the normalmap to a temporary TGA and getting Nvidia DDS Tools' nvdxa to write a U555 DDS, which I'm guessing is what Sacred 2 wants... it seems to want it uncompressed, anyway, and not doing so with the body normalmap can make the game hang, weirdly) for each of four variants of each piece of armour that needs fixing is going to be very tedious. It's not a complete write-off but I think I may settle for the same approach I've taken with the wrists, ankles and neck and have a (supposedly) leather-look bit hiding the join as the seam will be a lot less obvious that way.
  7. vometia

    Normalmaps: weird format?

    To answer my own format, Nvidia's command-line tools extracted the contents for me. Marginally less convenient than I'd like but it does the job!
  8. vometia

    Normalmaps: weird format?

    Hello all, Just wondering if anybody can shed any light on the format used for Sacred 2's normalmaps. I like to tinker and meddle with stuff so it would be useful if I could open the existing normalmaps as I lack the artistic skill to do the contouring and shading to properly generate my own, which usually look pants as a result. I know cutting and pasting bits of normalmaps and saving the result is less than ideal, but it's the least less-ideal I have available! Except in this case I don't have it available because I can't figure out how to open them. Gimp's usual DDS plugin just moans about not being able to open them, ImageMagick can't figure them out and even the Unix "file" command is left flummoxed about exactly what it is. Could anybody out there offer me enlightenment?
  9. Thanks for the tips and links! Though judging by what you're saying they may not do me much good... even at the best of times I am not a skilled modeller, though occasional bloody-mindedness makes me see if I can achieve the "technically unlikely"! I think half the reason I modded e.g. Ego Draconis was to prove to myself that it could be done rather than to accomplish anything worthwhile, for instance (actually it's not that hard once you figure out its "everything's a NIF" approach: once that hurdle is overcome it's much the same as modding Oblivion, at least from a texturing and meshing point of view). And yeah, Norbyte's DOS converter didn't work... so how come I didn't put two-and-two together and think, hmm, he talks GR2, maybe he'll have done other converters?
  10. Ah. That would explain a few things, then! I've been experimenting with "poor (wo)man's modelling" by using the alpha-channel to chomp off bits of outfit and additionaltype to glue my two models together. It works*, once the game's had a chance to get used to the idea, but the start menu isn't happy about it. * "works" in that whether or not there are longer-term consequences of my meddling remains to be seen. I wondered why the game is initially confused and doesn't always animate one of the models but hanging them off the same part of the skeleton would explain it if it's only expecting to find one mesh. But if it's a problem with that, reequipping the item sorts it out, weirdly. Of course a better solution would be to figure out how to edit GR2 files with Blender, which I suspect isn't going to happen after all these years: if anything RAD have become even less open and more proprietary about the format. Pity it's so popular with games devs as it's very modder-unfriendly so it's quite frustrating to even find it in games intended to be modded such as the Original Sins. Norbyte's DOS Extractor can deal with OS's particular version in a slightly roundabout manner but sadly it doesn't support Sacred 2's GR2 files: I read somewhere it's more of a family of formats and there isn't a lot of commonality. But I digress, as ever.
  11. vometia

    Sacred 2 US Voice Actors

    I apologise (a bit) if it's incredibly bad form to necro this topic after so many years but I just wanted to say thanks to PowerPyxel for unearthing this information after finding that IMDB failed to do so, as is too often the case with video games. Voice actors are so often the unsung heroes of video games and personally I like to know whose voice my character has appropriated, or who it is I'm talking to. I was about to say "things have changed since then" but actually I don't think they have: the A-listers when they're involved are often mentioned probably courtesy of the marketing department but it still seems to involve quite a lot of investigation to find out who did the bulk of the work. Seems odd when the credits so often mention even the play-testers and the pizza delivery guy but not the people who are so instrumental in giving a game its soul.
  12. vometia

    Community Patch

    Thanks! Also just as well I properly investigated a subsequent problem I encountered before asking about it publicly as it turns out to have been something I did. Oops! I'm not entirely sure what or why, but s2logic.dll was very unhappy about it. Removing the offending config file (and I've no idea what it was trying to accomplish a decade after the event: probably trying to merge two or more other mods of the time) stopped it being unhappy, and therefore stopped me from being unhappy! Everything seems to be working properly now.
  13. vometia

    Community Patch

    Ah. I do apologise, but I'd failed to apply the most basic computing wisdom of all: "have you tried turning it off and back on again?" I've no idea what was the problem but a quick(-ish) reboot and it's come to life.
  14. vometia

    Community Patch

    May I ask how to install it? My old installation was a bit of a mess so I've just downloaded the Gold edition from Steam (and started it up, getting as far as the menu, to make sure everything's configured, registered and so on) but when I run cm-install it doesn't seem to be doing anything. I mean it comes up with a window saying it needs admin rights but after that... nothing. No error, but no modifications or anything either. I've probably just overlooked something obvious, but quite often the obvious fails to be obvious until someone points out what it is...
  15. It was, now that I've finally (!) reinstalled it. And something I was rudely reminded about has suggested a possible candidate for the problem, which is I'd completely forgotten I'd changed a few bits and pieces: the "reminder" was the unwelcome appearance of the various minstrels who I'd banished from my game long ago! I'm not sure if the Community Patch is as sensitive to changes as the official patches are, but I guess it's the obvious culprit. I think I backed up my tweaks and twiddles, so perhaps I should banish the annoying town square nuisances once again.