New model skin thing discussion


Just thought I might point at this, and propose debate on it:
This is a proposed system for allowing people to make some ‘re-skins’ of existing ships. I’m thinking of ways to make modding more accessible, and if people think ships like this look cool:

Then it’s pretty easy to release photoshop fiels to let people make them. It’s just a single layer in 3 photoshop files per ship.

Anyway, the downside is, this would mean you need new variants of existing ships, as totally new textures. I’ts not a run-time compositing system, which is how I’d maybe do it now if I started from scratch (performance-depending…).
Anyway, are people interested in this?


In my opinion this would be an awesome idea if you could apply this individual layer in the deployment screen or the create ship screen. You would have the ability to give different kind of ships (fe. missile cruiser or beam cruiser) a different look. But I don’t think you will do this because it’s really labour-intensive? What you are talking about is to overwrite the existing .dds files or did I understand you wrong?
In summary I want to say that if you can send the same type of cruiser (fe. Tiger Cruiser) into battle, where all of them have different layers applied it would be cool and a real game improvement!
What you are talking about may be that you can access the different designs via the ship hull chooser? This would be also cool, if you could realise some kind of better access system. Till now it’s kind of hard to scroll through all the ships. If you could implement some kind of organisation system it would rock.



[+] Federation
[+] Empire
[-] Alliance
____[+] Stingray Cruiser
____[+] Alligator Cruiser
____[-] Phyton Cruiser
_______[1] Normal Texture
_______[2] Tribals
_______[3] Camouflage

PS: If you would really consider doing such a system you may also implement a filter. Just click on a shiptype and it will not appear in the list. At least this is what I would do (if I could program :wink:


a hull editor even if only to change between alternatives would be awesome, you have talked multiple times about a ship editor and this would be a good first test.


you could always have it so when you make a new ship then it makes a new hull file and .dds files in the proper directorys, and being able chose from pre-made ones and your own.

could alpha layers help as you could just apply a camo texture with a 100Alpha rating (so you still get the original underneath) while the camo is only visible on the parts of the ship?

or each ship could be comprised of different parts which could be modified (Different visible parts etc: the plating, Skin, Glass etc…) even turrets could be coustomisable if the game auto created new directory’s.

but i have no idea if this is doable (i am a just a scripter)


And the damage could use just overlayed effects (instead of a hole new sprite coming in)

the only problem is it will be intensive on the system, beacuse it will have to move with the ship, you could always just have them act as invisible turrets with a high fire rate. or somthing


The decision to just blap entire sprites for damage rather than overlays was a mistake, in hindsight. The only performance issue is that you don’t want tons of overlaid images being composited to draw a single ship on the screen, because overdraw is an issue for low spec PC’s (basically drawing too many pixels per second).


what if the damage effect (hit effect) form weapons stayed in its animation loop when it hit the ship?, this wold work if the hit animation effect was not an explosion, for explosions you could just hide the flame effect under the explosion and have the explosion only happen once while the flame loops, this should fix some issues of unneeded sprites.


Ok, here is the above featured ship for modders to experiment with:

This contains 3 zipped up photoshop psd files.

The normal one
The damaged one
The hulk one.

With lots of different layers. I’ve included the camoflage layer to show you how I’ve done it, but basically I use a soft light blend on top of the hull to get that effect.
I also included as an extra alpha channel, the selection areas for the damage ‘bleed-through’. If you add a new texture, what you need to do is then select that group of areas (ctrl + click on the layer thumbnail) and then delete that from the new added layer, which will allow the flaming damge stuff to bleed through your new texture (it’s already done for the hull layer).

For a ship to work and look right you need to do this to all 3 images, and save out as dds files. I suggest cloning the ships hull text file with a new name and making sure you change the names of all three sprites, and rename the ship hull itself too. Then you can just launch the game and see it in there.
If anyone bothers to do all this, post some screenshots :smiley: It would be l33t to see a bunch of different skins.

This image and the photoshop files are copyright 2010 Positech Games. Do not use them in any other stuff…


Erm, well how exactly are you creating a dds file out of these psd’s? I mean the background is black and not transparent o.O Up until now I always saved the picture with a transparent background as a png and exported it using as a dds file. But I always thought, why do my ships have a strange pixel glimmer when they move around. I also can’t export the files with Photoshop as dds because it says there are too many layers (only 4 supported but there is also a alpha and background layer).
So would you please let me in how you create your dds files? ^^

PS: I’ve got a Nvidia Plugin for Photoshop which should save dds files although its not working at all, it can’t export a proper alpha channel…


you need to flatten the image and ditch the extra alpha channel before you save as a DDS. It’s a pain, but thats photoshop for you…
The background is black, but the alpha channel is in the dds and takes care of that.


Oh now I see, the flatten with black bg and the alpha channel produces the transparent dds. Neat. Which compression method do you use cliff? As I said, when I save a ship they always have a strange glimmering when they fly around. May the reason for this glimering be the wrong compression method?


For my Rebel fleet I tried the Blue Camo and the results are not too bad . .


@ Darkstar,

when I save as DDS my ships flicker when they move, also the original models of Cliff if I save them with the same compression as mine. Do your ships also look different then the original ones? If not, which compression method did you use or which programm did you use to save as dds files?

PS: Yeah the blue camouflage looks really nice ^^

@ Cliff,

as I can see your ships are less detailed in the farest camera position and become more detailed the further you zoom in. At the nearest camera position your ships look the most detailed. Mine become at this stage blurry again after they were most detailed somewhere around 50% of zoom. Why is that? ^^


@ Eich

No, the ships don’t flicker when they move, from the battle where i posted the screen shot, they looked and moved exactly like the standard rebel ships next to them.

I am using Photoshop 7 to create my ships, I saved the files as 32bit ARGB and make sure it generates MIP maps
When i save them the file size is nearly the same as the originals (within 2-3k)
I hope that helps, i am still learning how to do all this :stuck_out_tongue:


ROFL² ^^ Yeah man I’m a total dds noob… MIP mapping… now I know whats this for, I always deactivated it. Thx Darkstar :wink:


When you zoom right in, you can see the full detail of the modified ship (it doesn’t get blurry)


No Problem - you should have seen my first attempt at all this . . ^^;


I generate 4 mipmaps, but it doesnt make the files much bigger if you generate them all. I save as ARGB 32 bit dds files, using the nvidia exporter.


Did you give the Sharpening Medium or Sharpening Soft a try Cliff? It looks very nice from the distance… I don’t know why but my ships still look a little bit blurry when I zoom 100% in. I will try to only make 4 Mipmaps maybe it’s a problem concerning too many mipmaps although I don’t think it has something to do with this… would you share your specifications for fine tuning your dds or are you a magician who doesn’t share his tricks? :wink:
Thanks to the new insights in this thread my new mod is coming along nicely ^^ Thumbs up Cliff! ^^


An attempt at a pirate skin, which doesn’t really seem to look right. Any suggestions for improvements are most welcomed


keep standard fed colours for pirate skin, but rust effect the armour plates and add a smaller insignia …?