Modelling Again

I have been fiddling around with Neverwinter Nights for quite awhile now. One reason why I stop updating this blog while messing with NWN is that scripting doesn’t present well in a blog post – not in my opinion anyway. Recently however I made some models for NWN, and so I do have something to show.

In October the Custom Content Challenge theme was Weird Science, and so I decided to take a stab at something you would find in a lab. I came up with a rusty table, and a microscope. These are screenshots from NWN:


Table with Metal SheenTable with Metal Sheen

Table and Scope in GameTable and Scope in Game

There are a few things I learned here. The first was that a single 256×256 texture is adequate for a small object like a microscope. The camera almost never gets close enough to see all the nice detailing I did in the 512×512. I probably could have simplified the geometry too. Once I started looking closely at other placeables in the game, I realized that this model is a bit more intricate than other objects. In fact aesthetically the microscope is out of place in the game, and so while it is a nice model, I think for NWN it was a failure.

The table works much better for the game. It is a simple model with a very clear texture that uses the very simple shader system for metal nicely. NWN basically does not have “shaders” in the sense we think of them. The texture has an alpha and that alpha can be reflective, or transparent. There may be other things you can do with the alpha but I haven’t figured that out yet. The reflection in this case was very carefully controlled and toned down so that a few spots of the metal table are shiny while the rest is rusty or matte. Its as if most of the table is grimey but a few spots have been rubbed clean and in those spots the metal shines.

After warming up on these, I took on a more ambitious project. I have long wanted to model a madrone (arbutus menziesii) and get it in game. What I did is took a photo of a madrone and traced it with splines. I then extruded the trunks and limbs of the tree along these splines. It took a few tries to get right as initially I generated far too many polygons. And in the end I created a tree that is fairly more complex than most of the NWN trees are. But I like the look of this one. It is the first tree I was modelled and imported into NWN, and as a proof of concept I think it was success. I would like to make a bunch more of these and create a forest tileset with them. But that will have to wait until I have time.

Here’s a screenshot of my proof of concept.