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New Torque TER plugin

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New Torque TER plugin

Postby Aaron » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:20 pm

Hi Everyone,

In the latest developmental build of L3DT Pro (v2.7 build 20, on the downloads page now) you will find a new plugin for generating TER files for TGE/TGEA (Torque Game Engine / Advanced). If you're not sure how to download developmental build updates, please refer to the How can I download updates? question in the FAQ.

To use the plugin, simply select the 'File->Export->Export Torque TER file' menu option (for exporting) or 'File->Import->Import Torque TER file' (for importing). The relatively complete userguide for this plugin is on-line here:

http://www.bundysoft.com/wiki/doku.php?id=plugins:fileio:l3dtio_torqueter:userguide

Please note this plugin has been tested with TGEA 1.7.1 only, and is not yet guaranteed to make TER files that are compatible with TGE or T3D. They may be compatible, but I don't know yet. The plugin works smoothly in my tests, but your mileage may vary, since you may use other settings that I've not tested yet.

Anyway, here's a quick picture of the output. This is a custom L3DT map rendering in the 'Stronghold' demo of TGEA:

Image

Please reply to this forum thread if you find any problems, would like to make suggestions, or even if it just works properly for you. Happy using / testing!

Cheerio,
Aaron.
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Postby Aaron » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:45 pm

Hi Everyone,

I've updated the L3DTio_TorqueTER plugin to support MegaTerrain, and also to automatically write .mis files that include the correct terrain block definitions, water block definitions, etc. The mission files work as-is with the game examples provided with TGEA (e.g. T3D, Stronghold), but you may need to further edit the mission file if your project differs from these examples in some ways*.

The new menu options for exporting TER/MegaTerrain files are:
  • 'File->Export->Torque->Export Torque TER' (for single-file terrain)
  • 'File->Export->Torque->Export Torque MegaTerrain' (for multi-file terrain)
The user guide for the plugin is on-line here.

The update is included in L3DT Professional v2.7 build 23, which is on the Pro downloads page now. If you're not sure how to access these updates, please see the previous post (above).

Obligatory screenshot of a MegaTerrain in TGEA that was exported from L3DT by said plugin:

Image

Please let me know if you find any problems with the plugin or would like any other changes made.

Best regards,
Aaron.

* e.g. If shaders, detail textures, etc are not found in your project.
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Postby BugsPray » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:25 am

Aaron, is there any way the version of L3DT for Torque can be updated on the GG site or the plugin posted so we can start using it ASAP?
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Postby Aaron » Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:37 am

Hi BugsPray,

Thanks for your question and your interest.

Alas, the plugin cannot be made available as a separate download because it relies on new features in the plugin API that were not included in the last public release version of L3DT for Torque. If a user attempts to use the plugin in an older version of L3DT, it will not load due to this incompatibility. Thus, the plugin can only be tested with the latest developmental build of 'L3DT for Torque'.

I do agree that it would be beneficial to get this plugin out into the community. However, I am averse to uploading developmental code to the GarageGames servers, as our past experience with the beta release of the Atlas plugin was not good. I shan't bother with the details, but it suffices to say that I learnt from that experience to only provide experimental code to users that have explicitly asked for it.

I have just now PM'd you the download instructions for the latest build. If any other users are also interested in using the latest build of 'L3DT for Torque', please reply here and I shall PM you the link too.

By the by, I should mention that we are now approaching the release of the next version of L3DT for Torque (v2.8 ), and all that remains is beta testing and bugfixing. When the official beta release is ready for testing I shall announce it on the GarageGames forum and make it available to anyone who wishes to test it.

Best regards,
Aaron.
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Postby MR » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:01 pm

I'd b interested in getting the latest Torque build too.
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Postby Aaron » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:07 pm

Hello again,

MR wrote:I'd b interested in getting the latest Torque build too.


Sent! Please let me know if you find any problems.

Important note

The current version of the TER plugin exports TER v5 files, which are compatible with TGEA. The next version, in development but not yet available, will export TER v7 files for T3D. Whilst T3D also supports the 'legacy' TER files (e.g. v5, for TGEA), these files do not allow the large map size supported by the new v7 files for T3D.

I'll post back here when the v7 TER plugin is available for testing.

Best regards,
Aaron.
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Postby FormidableInc » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:14 pm

hello!
great plugin, it works well with TGEA 1.8 that i have. unfortunately, it does not seems to work out of the box with TGE (or even not at all?)

I have exported the .ter file and the texture in the same directory. Then i use the tutorial demo from TGE and replace in the mission file the flat.ter by the name of my file but the object is not loaded. i just get this error in the console.log

myname/data/missions/flat.mis (0): Register object failed for object Terrain of class TerrainBlock.

did i forget something (like copying or modifying a texture name somewhere), or is .ter files v5 will never work with TGE (seems a .ter file v3)

thx
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Postby Aaron » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:56 am

Hi FormidableInc,

As far as I know, TGE doesn't support v5 of TER. I will attempt to add v3 support to the export plugin, but it would help greatly if you could send an example v3 TER file and a TGE mission file to aaron@bundysoft.com [I don't have TGE, you see].

Best regards,
Aaron.
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Postby Calsa » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Sweet, downloading this now, was waiting for this feature.

As always, nice work!
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Postby Calsa » Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:40 pm

Aaron,
Just a few questions about this.

1) When I try to export I get an error

L3DTio_TorqueTer
Terrain file must be exported to the 'scriptsAndAssets' folder under torque or a sub directory thereof

But I am exporting it to my assets folder. Our file paths are different from stock tgea is that the cause of this? If so can I bypass the error or retrain L3DT to use our games path structure? Or is this not what the error is telling me at all? Right now im trying to export to the path gameRoot\Core\Assets\Missions\Terrains\TerrainName.

2) Any chance we can get a GUI that relative paths from the ter export location to the location of our textures. For instance all of our terrain textures are located in gameRoot\Core\Assets\Textures\Terrains\TerrainTextureType where gameRoot is the root game folder and TerrainTextureType is like a folder named grass with the different grass textures or rock with different rock textures, ext.... However our terrain ter files are saved in gameRoot\Core\Assets\Missions\Terrains\TerrainName.

Right now it looks like the exporter is expecting all the terrain textures for a mission to be saved in the same folder, however for optimization and reliabilities sake all of our textures are stored in one shared texture library categorized by the texture type (grass. rock, ext...). Is there any way we can tell the exporter where each texture is on a texture by texture basis? or feed it a root folder for a texture library and it automatically finds the textures even if they are not all in the same child folder? Or is there a quick hack on my end to take care of this after and save you the trouble. (90% of problems are user error after all!)
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Postby Aaron » Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:55 pm

Hi Calsa,

Thanks for giving the plugin a try.

With regards to your first question, I had written the exporter with the idea that directory structure of the Torque project would match the Torque defaults, and thus the interface was hard-coded to require export into the 'scriptsAndAssets' folder. Given that there's no way for L3DT to 'know' what directory structure you're using for your torque project, I've removed this check, so the interface now trusts you to do the right thing.

Please note that the mission file writer will still make references to assets within 'scriptsAndAssets', so you may need to edit the mis files manually to correct paths if you are not using the Torque default. A minor hassle, I hope.

As for your second question, I will have to think about what sort of UI could be made to allow you to export different textures to different directories. I'm reticent to clutter up the UI or needlessly confuse users who do not require such functionality. I may in fact build a second, expanded UI for users who need greater customisation options such as these.

Anyway, you may download the updated plugin from:

[link deleted: plugin is now available in L3DT Pro dev build installer]

To use the above plugin update, extract the plugin from the zip file and copy it over the existing plugin in the following directory:

Code: Select all
C:\Program Files\Bundysoft\L3DT [version]\Extensions\


NOTE FOR OTHER USERS

The plugin update linked above does require a recent developmental build of L3DT Pro; namely v2.7.0.24 or later, which was released on the 9th of August 2009. It will not work with older versions, so you will need to update before installing the new plugin.

For T3D users

The above plugin also includes a BETA, EXPERIMENTAL, UNPROVEN AND UNDOCUMENTED exporter for T3D terrain files, using the 'File->Export->Torque T3D->Export Torque TER (v7)' menu option. TER files created by this option may work in T3D, but they also may not, as I'm not quite sure I've got the material layers working correctly.

Help needed

It would help immensely if users of TGE or T3D could send me (to aaron@bundysoft.com) an example TER file and mission from these engines. I'm not quite clear on the material name conventions in the TER v3 (for TGE) and TER v7 (for T3D) files, and and example of each would help me finish these exporters. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
Aaron.
Last edited by Aaron on Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Calsa » Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:24 pm

Thanks Aaron,

I have TGE and TGEA licenses. When I get home tonight ill pull down TGE and whip up a terrain for you if no one beats me too it first.
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Postby Calsa » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:08 am

Aaron, was the new plugin modified to work with mega terrain tiles? I keep getting:

L3DTio_TorqueTER::ExtExportMegaTer5UI error:
- file is not under 'scriptsAndAssets' folder

CZeoFunc::CallFunction error:
- The function 'ExtExportMegaTer5UI' in the plugin 'L3DTio_TorqueTER' returned an error.

When I try to compile a mega terrain.


***Edit*** Boy I just cant win tonight, I tried exporting you that TGE terrain but unless I have gone completely stupid (which happens!) the latest SDK will not detect any image format to bring in as a heightmap. I tried both jpg and png, both worked before. Can someone else give it a try and confirm this?
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Postby Aaron » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:17 pm

Hi Calsa,

Oops, I forgot to modify the MegaTerrain exporter. The updated plugin is available here:

[link deleted: plugin is now available in L3DT Pro dev build installer]

Previously, the plugin extracted your game folder from the TER file name based on where the 'scriptsAndAssets' subdirectory was in the path string. Now, the plugin will ask you to select your game folder during the export process, and it will remember this for subsequent exports.

For TGE users

The plugin now includes provisional support for TGE. It should now be able to import and export TER version 3 files for TGE using the following menu options:

For import: 'File->Import->Import Torque TER'

For export: 'File->Export->Torque TGE->Export Torque TER (v3)'

When exporting or importing TER files for TGE, you will be asked for the TGE game directory (for the first time, at least). This is required because TER v3 files reference textures relative to the game directory, so the game directory must be provided before L3DT can import / export the textures.

Cheerio,
Aaron.

PS: Many thanks to Emmanuel for sending some TER v3 files for decoding!
Last edited by Aaron on Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby FormidableInc » Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:31 pm

aaron wrote:The plugin now includes provisional support for TGE. It should now be able to import and export TER version 3 files for TGE


\o/ it works. i made only a quick test (import and export), and i will check more later. many thanks!
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