Project Shuttle-A Mk.IX

OvalDreamX

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I like the last one! Like a XXL shuttle-a hah. So, if I understand correctly therell be 3 versions right? ShaIX (normal), ShaX (first on post #55) and ShaXI (#58).
Ill try to modify the model and do the bay doors together with the X version. All the while Im beggining to work on the drafts for the cockpit. Already have like 6 different versions but I think I have a clear winner Im happy with.
And then again, Ill procastinate on all of that since now Im not only on fials but also about to move to another country. So my life and maind may or may not be upside down 🙃
Anyway, Ill share my end of the work once theres something to show hah.

Edit: I tried to work on the mesh so you didnt have to modify and crop it again but its faces are separated, so Ill have to work on the original blend model and export a new msh file.
 
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dgatsoulis

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I like the last one! Like a XXL shuttle-a hah. So, if I understand correctly therell be 3 versions right? ShaIX (normal), ShaX (first on post #55) and ShaXI (#58).
Ill try to modify the model and do the bay doors together with the X version. All the while Im beggining to work on the drafts for the cockpit. Already have like 6 different versions but I think I have a clear winner Im happy with.
And then again, Ill procastinate on all of that since now Im not only on fials but also about to move to another country. So my life and maind may or may not be upside down 🙃
Anyway, Ill share my end of the work once theres something to show hah.

Edit: I tried to work on the mesh so you didnt have to modify and crop it again but its faces are separated, so Ill have to work on the original blend model and export a new msh file.
RL always comes first. Good luck with your finals and your next steps in life.

If and when you have the time, focus on the VC, so we can finish mkIX with a fully working VC.

After that, I'll finish the drafts for mkX and mkXI so you have a couple of configuration ideas.
I think I am settling to a horizontal container placement: This is my current MkX:
1666360108698.png
1666360477268.png
The current config for mkXI (on post #58) is kinda ok, but the distance between the pods is far too great. It looks like it would buckle if you add the weight of 9 40ft containers.
I think I might extend the space in the one in the pic above, to be able to load 4 containers in the front and 5 in the back.

Anyway, that's down the line. Please share anything that you think is worthy and I or someone else can pick it up from there.
 
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OvalDreamX

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RL always comes first. Good luck with your finals and your next steps in life.

If and when you have the time, focus on the VC, so we can finish mkIX with a fully working VC.

After that, I'll finish the drafts for mkX and mkXI so you have a couple of configuration ideas.
I think I am settling to a horizontal container placement: This is my current MkX:
View attachment 30811
View attachment 30812
The current config for mkXI (on post #58) is kinda ok, but the distance between the pods is far too great. It looks like it would buckle if you add the weight of 9 40ft containers.
I think I might extend the space in the one in the pic above, to be able to load 4 containers in the front and 5 in the back.

Anyway, that's down the line. Please share anything that you think is worthy and I or someone else can pick it up from there.
I like the handrails! And just now I realized I forgot to add those around the cokpit windows Paul Pepera style hah. I also liked the two extra tanks on the back part for the XI model. That would also allow to use fuel as ballast and have better cg managment. And about the lenght and buckling, I always imagined the sha as a counterpart to corellian ships in the Star Wars universe, built to be extremely modular. So maybe the XI version could have an extra strut on the top side, like a long fin? Extra struts always seems to solve all problems ;-)
 

dgatsoulis

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I like the handrails! And just now I realized I forgot to add those around the cokpit windows Paul Pepera style hah.
In the same way that texture weathering brings the model to life, it's the small details that give it character. Handrails, antennas, lights, etc. Just have the goal to keep the vertex count as low as possible.
I also liked the two extra tanks on the back part for the XI model. That would also allow to use fuel as ballast and have better cg managment. And about the lenght and buckling, I always imagined the sha as a counterpart to corellian ships in the Star Wars universe, built to be extremely modular.
The original design certainly has modular elements. Playing around with the pod section, engines and tanks gives some nice results.
So maybe the XI version could have an extra strut on the top side, like a long fin?
That'd be interesting to see. Not exactly sure how you picture it.
Extra struts always seems to solve all problems ;-)
Words of wisdom to live by! :D

In the mean time, I implemented custom skins and side panel art, through scenario lines in the same way they work in the DG. The textures themselves are simple placeholders for now, but the result isn't too bad:

SH-03:ShuttleA_Mk_IX
STATUS Landed Mars
...
SKIN Red
DECAL RocketGirl
END
SH-01:ShuttleA_Mk_IX
STATUS Landed Mars
...
SKIN Blue
DECAL EvaGirl
END
SH-02:ShuttleA_Mk_IX
STATUS Landed Mars
...
SKIN Black
DECAL IronMaiden
END
1666380909703.png

I also fixed a bug that caused CTD when moving the pod thrust lever in the VC and the 2d panel cargo buttons, which weren't picking up the cargo after it was released.

I added an AUTO-HOVER button in the VC and implemented the autopilot that was missing (that thing had always bothered me!).
I still need to add it in the 2D panel and will post an update .
 

OvalDreamX

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Those skins look good! Did you use substance painter or just did it in the png itself? I plan to do several skins (one like the original shuttle-a paintjob) once all the model its sorted out. Nice work!

The thing with further editing the model to add more details its that the UV map is alreay set, and changing it would mess up the decals. So I would have to redo the whole texturing again :-/
Idk how more experienced modelers handle this hah. But already have some ideas on how to do it in mind
 

dgatsoulis

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Those skins look good! Did you use substance painter or just did it in the png itself? I plan to do several skins (one like the original shuttle-a paintjob) once all the model its sorted out. Nice work!
Thanks!
It was a quick edit of the png (actually the final dds itself). The purpose was to implement different skins through a scenario line, the same way it's done in the DeltaGlider and the XR series.
In a next update, I 'd like to add a couple of "Change skin" buttons in the VC and 2D panel, the same way it worked in the original Arrow Freighter, so you can change the color and side panel art without having to exit and edit the scenario file.
Anyway that belongs in the "bells and whistles" category and there's a lot to be done before that. The framework for the custom skins is in place though, so it wouldn't be too hard to add this feature.

The thing with further editing the model to add more details its that the UV map is alreay set, and changing it would mess up the decals. So I would have to redo the whole texturing again :-/
Idk how more experienced modelers handle this hah. But already have some ideas on how to do it in mind
Oh, that's why you ended up with a single 4096x4096 texture and super-shiny engine bells, but in some places you can barely make out the text...
I am not sure about the exact method you are using for texturing, but the way to deal with this is simple: divide and conquer.
You certainly don't have to retexture anything that's already done, but some parts might need an additional texture in order to bring out the detail.

In Blender: Select the groups (objects) that you want to texture and assign a different material to them. The material can be a simple copy of one that's already used.
Then assign a new texture to that material and go ahead an UV map it.
(You can delete the extra material from the groups in the final mesh file and assign back the already existing material. They will keep the UVs and texture assigned to them).

Anyway, don't worry too much about it, I can handle simple things like that.
 

dgatsoulis

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So I've finally settled on the cargo configuration of the mk X and mk XI

The mk X can fit 10 TEUs. (5x40ft or 10x20ft containers).
1666548375305.png

The mk XI can fit 18 TEUs. (9x40ft or 18x20ft containers). It can unload an XR5 in two trips.

1666548560909.png

I like how the "fishbone" look of the spine ended up and with this cargo configuration, it looks like it can hold the weight.

The Skin and Decals part of the code has been implemented in mk IX, with a slight change since post #68. The side art has been moved farther down:
In this example there two lines in the scenario for the mkIX:

SKIN Yellow
DECAL Caterpillar

1666549075195.png
I've run into a small problem in the panel code for the addition of the AUTO-HOVER autopilot button:
When the button is pressed, it shows up ok (lit) in the panel, but when off, I get a black rectangle. I am guessing it has something to do with the indices of the vertices created by the AddGeometry function:


1666549681789.png

Will figure it out eventually. The implementation in the VC was without any hickups.


I am guessing there is no point in posting an update for such small changes. I'll wait for OvalDreamX's new VC and after the implementation, will post the final version of the mk IX.
 

OvalDreamX

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Oh, that's why you ended up with a single 4096x4096 texture and super-shiny engine bells, but in some places you can barely make out the text...
I am not sure about the exact method you are using for texturing, but the way to deal with this is simple: divide and conquer.
You certainly don't have to retexture anything that's already done, but some parts might need an additional texture in order to bring out the detail.
Yeah, trying to fit it all on a single uv was a begginer mistake I guess hah. I may have to redo it at some point, and the texturing ofc. I guess its part of the learning process, seems I had gotten modelling more or less right, but UVing still a long way to go hah. :)
In Blender: Select the groups (objects) that you want to texture and assign a different material to them. The material can be a simple copy of one that's already used.
Then assign a new texture to that material and go ahead an UV map it.
(You can delete the extra material from the groups in the final mesh file and assign back the already existing material. They will keep the UVs and texture assigned to them).
Thats exactly what I had in mind. But next time this shouldnt be a problem since I think Im going to get the bakemaster addon, that will allow me to bake textures directly from blender, so I no longer have to use substance painter and, on top of that, the decals (via decalMachine) will be independent from the Uv map. That will be way more flexible than my current setup. The problem is that itll require people willing to modify the model to have those addons too.

Another option I was thinking, to keep the amount of work needed to make different versions of the model low, was using a non destructive workflow. Basically making all the notches, bolts and panel lines boolean objects that modify the main one. That way you can bake a low poly model deactivating those booleans, and still have the high poly one available. But with my messy topology itll be a load of work to get those working right. So Idk if itll be worth it.

And theres of course the option of redoing the UV and texturing to use different pngs, that way itll be also easier to keep texel density consistent and avoid those low res decals on the back, for example.

Which one do you think would make more sense?
Also, would these fixes take priority over the new VC or its better to leave these as "finishing touches"?
 
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dgatsoulis

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Yeah, trying to fit it all on a single uv was a begginer mistake I guess hah. I may have to redo it at some point, and the texturing ofc. I guess its part of the learning process, seems I had gotten modelling more or less right, but UVing still a long way to go hah. :)

Even as a "beginner" your modeling and texturing skills are really good. Your work on the Dragonfly and the Shuttle-A is amazing.
As you gain more experience you will learn how to also be efficient. In general, don't use any more triangles than the ones you need and good texturing job can give a lot of detail to a model without the need of more polygons.

Thats exactly what I had in mind. But next time this shouldnt be a problem since I think Im going to get the bakemaster addon, that will allow me to bake textures directly from blender, so I no longer have to use substance painter and, on top of that, the decals (via decalMachine) will be independent from the Uv map. That will be way more flexible than my current setup. The problem is that itll require people willing to modify the model to have those addons too.

Another option I was thinking, to keep the amount of work needed to make different versions of the model low, was using a non destructive workflow. Basically making all the notches, bolts and panel lines boolean objects that modify the main one. That way you can bake a low poly model deactivating those booleans, and still have the high poly one available. But with my messy topology itll be a load of work to get those working right. So Idk if itll be worth it.

And theres of course the option of redoing the UV and texturing to use different pngs, that way itll be also easier to keep texel density consistent and avoid those low res decals on the back, for example.

Which one do you think would make more sense?
Also, would these fixes take priority over the new VC or its better to leave these as "finishing touches"?

Right now, the mkIX has a pretty good texture and the only issue is with the areas that have text. You can even downscale the textures at 2048x2048 and it's only noticeable in those areas. (They go from barely readable to not readable).

You can avoid retexturing the whole ship, by adding a few rectangular planes over them (barely touching the surface that you want to cover - something like 0.001 offset), joining them all as one group and texturing that group with a 1024x1024 texture with all the text, arrows warnings etc. Set the alpha channel to 0 for everything you don't want to show and you are set.
This is how I added the side panel art in the previous pics in this thread.

1666623024217.png

About the VC or the texturing first, hey man it's your show. Do whichever one you feel like you want to get done first. In any case, I and others from the forum will help out in any way we can.
:cheers:
 
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Now all we need is Vee in the pilots seat... 👍

bOBOnErPaIjdQuPXnB8hDey63NX.jpg
 

OvalDreamX

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Thanks for the kind words!
Then, as there are some workarounds to the bad UV layout, Ill focus on the VC (trying to apply and learn good UV packing). Then Ill fix the external model. How much tris is too much for Orbiter? Afaik, my original model counted as Low Poly on game asset standards hah
 

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Thanks for the kind words!
Then, as there are some workarounds to the bad UV layout, Ill focus on the VC (trying to apply and learn good UV packing). Then Ill fix the external model. How much tris is too much for Orbiter? Afaik, my original model counted as Low Poly on game asset standards hah
True, in today's standards the mesh isn't that big, and in my setup it runs easily above 400 fps with D3D9.
There is a hard limit of ~65.5K vertices per group (I think it's vertices and not triangles, but don't quote me on that), which if exceeded doesn't render correctly in Orbiter.
Even in that case, there is nothing stopping you from cutting the group with the many triangles into several smaller groups to avoid this.

It is completely up to you, but in general I think that a mesh in the 5-6MB file size range should give you enough workspace to add a lot of detail. That said, even double that runs with no problems in today's machines.
 

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Managed to finish the internal block out. Its basically ready for the actual modelling process. Also experimented with clothing/insulation/cushion in the interior. The cloth are kinda low poly and I could save even more by decimating it and projecting the normals from the high poly onto it. So this should be compatible with potato pcs too.
untitled1.png
Here's how Im thinking of laying out things:
untitled1explained.png
 

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Oh wow! That looks incredible! :cool:
The insulation around the flight deck really makes the model feel like you are there. (y)
I do suggest you redo the astronauts as well, the original ShuttleA ones are like 20 triangles and look... really bad.
 

OvalDreamX

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Oh wow! That looks incredible! :cool:
The insulation around the flight deck really makes the model feel like you are there. (y)
I do suggest you redo the astronauts as well, the original ShuttleA ones are like 20 triangles and look... really bad.
Thanks! And about the astronauts, I will not have any astronauts on the vc I think. They will not be visible in the external view and I never liked having static copilots in the cockpit. It breaks the immersion hah
 

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Thanks! And about the astronauts, I will not have any astronauts on the vc I think. They will not be visible in the external view and I never liked having static copilots in the cockpit. It breaks the immersion hah
If I may make a suggestion - Why not make having astronauts in the VC an option in the vessel’s cfg?
For me, it breaks the immersion to see a seat empty when it shouldn’t be, and it is extremely easy to program as optional. See my Better ISS addon for an example of how to do this, it’s a only a couple lines of code.
Just an idea, obviously go whatever way you want with the addon. It looks amazing! :cool:
 

OvalDreamX

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If I may make a suggestion - Why not make having astronauts in the VC an option in the vessel’s cfg?
For me, it breaks the immersion to see a seat empty when it shouldn’t be, and it is extremely easy to program as optional. See my Better ISS addon for an example of how to do this, it’s a only a couple lines of code.
Just an idea, obviously go whatever way you want with the addon. It looks amazing! :cool:
Youre right, some people will have different preferences. Ill see if I can find a suitable model (no way I can model a person hah) and then make it low poly. Then dgatsoulis or other person intelligent enough to code could add that option and even a female, male option.
And srry for sometimes forgetting this isnt "my" mod hah. I always wanted it to be a community project where people add features as they please (like dgatsoulis is already doing). So, if people want it, I will try to do it hah
 

dgatsoulis

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I like the way the VC is shaping up! Nice work!
I agree with Max-Q on the optional crew members. I 'll add them in the code. No worries about making the meshes for them, I have made several for the XR2 Crew, so I should be able to add them.
 
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