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Quake Model Editor Tutorial Part Deux

Letís make ourselves a monster for Egoboo.  Today we create the basic model.  We will also eventually apply a skin to our model so it looks like the creature we are shooting for.  I have decided to immortalize in Egoboo that most noble of animals, the Coconut Monkey.


Before we make our creation, we must gather reference material.  I have in front of me a copy of PC Gamer magazine featuring pictures of our simian friend.  You can also have sketches that you have drawn, photographs, a plastic figurine or anything at all.  Make sure you have something to remind you of what you are aiming for though.  It really does help.


Also, at some point in time you will have to make the skin image for your model.  I went ahead and did this right off the bat for our coconut monkey.  The skin will need to be in both bmp and pcx format.  Egoboo uses bmp and the modeler uses pcx.  The image will be a 256 color image which is 64 x 64 pixels in size.  This may seem a little small and may change later in Egobooís development.  Remember though, the creatures wonít be very large on the screen, so you donít need a tremendous amount of resolution.  If you want, you can prepare the image in a larger size and convert down for now.


Anyway, our coconut monkey skin image looks something like this:

Notice that I have drawn only half of his face.  Since our hard shelled yet milky centered friend is symmetrical, we can use the same texture for the left and right halves of his body.


But Iím getting ahead of myself.  We havenít even built the model yet.


Coconut Monkey doesnít have many moving parts.  In fact, he has none at all.  But Iím going to go ahead and make his head move so that I can demonstrate animation in the next tutorial.  To make things easier on animation, I will build the model in two parts.  His head will be one part and his body, the other.  You could call this a segmented approach to animation.


Enough planning, letís get started: 


  1. Fire up the modeler and go to the Create tab.
  2. Click on create vertex.
  3. Now left click in the top view window (upper left) to aim your cursor.  Get it in about the center of the view window.
  4. Press ĎEnterí, you have just made your first point.  This will be the very top of our monkeyís head.


You probably wonít be able to see your point very well.  To make the points show up better, press ĎTí.  The t stands for Ďticksí.  The ticks get in the way when youíre trying to just look at the model to see if it feels right, but they are very useful at this stage of development.


Coconut Monkey is fairly round; so letís build his frame out of some circles laid flat.  Sort of like a cylinder standing on end.  Un-highlight the point that is already made by pressing the Ď/í key.  The slash key will undo any highlighting or selecting.  Now, letís make some more points.  In the side view window, move the crosshairs down just a bit so we arenít on the same plane as our previous vertex.


Now, in the top view draw 8 points in a rough circle around our center dot.  It should look something like this:



Letís manipulate this circle a little bit, just in case it doesnít look quite right to you.  Click on the Modify tab.  First, letís move the circle up just a bit.  The circle should still be selected, if not click select and then draw a box around the circle from the side.  Make sure you donít select the dot on the top of his head.


Now, click the move button.  When you left click and drag on the window, the selected vertices move.  If you want them to only move up and down, lock the X and Z axis.  Then the points will only move along the Y axis.


If you want the circle to be bigger or smaller, select scale.  Make sure you unlock both the X and Y axis if you had locked them in the last step.  Click in the center of the circle in the top view and drag the mouse up and down.  Observe how the circle grows and shrinks.  Find a nice size and then letís get on with the next step.


Letís fill out his body some.  While the circle is highlighted, click Ďcopy selectedí from the edit menu (or just press ctrl-c).  Now paste (ctrl-v) and select Ďappend the vertices to the modelí.   The other choice replaces currently existing vertices, we donít want to do that just now.


Move your new circle down a bit and scale it so that you start to form the shape of a coconut monkey (kind of a coconut shape with a slight dip in the center).  Paste again and continue to position the circles.  Do about 8 layers (plus the already existing point at the top of the head).  Your monkey should look like this:



While Iím thinking of it, press ĎGí to get rid of that pesky reference grid in the upper right hand view screen.  There are a lot of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to make your life easier.  Iíll try to mention them as I think of them.


Now we have the basic shape that we will be using, but we still have to add polygons to flesh it out.  First, make sure you are comfortable with camera controls.


Letís get used to rotating the camera in the 3d view.  Go into the 3d view area and hold down ĎShiftí on your keyboard.  While holding down shift, left click and drag in the window.  You should see the model rotate.  If you right click, you can zoom in and out.  Oh, and if you hold down both mouse buttons you can change the parallax or depth of your view (Iím not sure how to explain it exactly, just try it and see).  You can also move the model up and down and back and forth in the other three view windows.  Position the model so that you can see the top of itís head at a slight angle, like so:


I have highlighted the three vertices that are closest to us in the above picture.


Now we are going to play connect the dots.  Select the Create tab.  Now, click on the ĎBuild Faceí button.  The important thing to remember when building a face is that it will only be visible when viewed from one direction.  You must draw the face in a clockwise direction for them to be viewed from your perspective, counterclockwise from the opposite perspective.


Of the three dots I have highlighted, in the 3d view window click on the top one, then the lower right then the lower left.  A triangle will be created.  You can rotate the model and observe that it is not visible from the opposite direction if you like.  Continue to build faces all the way around the top of our monkeyís head.  Note that although I highlighted the vertices used in the first example, it is not necessary to highlight them to build the facet.


Continue to build triangle faces all the way around the coconut monkey.  Move and rotate the model as needed to build the faces correctly. 



If you make a mistake, select face mode on the bottom.  Then highlight the mistaken face and delete.  Then just continue on your merry way.  It is easy to make mistakes; sometimes the wrong pixel gets clicked on accidentally. 


I made the head and body of the monkey separate, so they donít have any connecting vertices.  This will make it easier to animate later.


You may want to view your model in a mode other than wireframe.  Try this:  ctrl-2 = flat face mode, ctrl-3 = smooth shaded mode, ctrl-4 = texture mode (we donít have a texture yet, so this one wonít do anything) and ctrl-1 will get you back to wireframe mode.


Here is a picture of our smooth shaded monkey with the ticks turned off (press ĎTí to turn off the ticks):



I intended to include the skinning section here, but itís late as Iím writing this.  I am going to get some sleep.  It looks like part 3 of these tutorials will be about skinning.


Oh, and feel free to create a model other than coconut monkey.  Just apply the same basic techniques.  Remember to separate the different sections of the body so they can move independently of each other.  Actually, you donít HAVE to do the parts separately.  The skin will deform and allow you to animate your model however you want.  The segmented method Iím using makes things easier.  Also, assuming youíre modeling for Egoboo, that seems to be the basic style the game uses.


Also, you can create furniture and other immovable objects too.  You donít even have to read the animation tutorial for that.


See you next tutorial,