[MOD] Centaur - Heavy Mech v1

Discussion relating to modding gratuitous tank battles
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[MOD] Centaur - Heavy Mech v1

Postby darkstar076 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:30 pm

A long time ago in a email far far away - I asked cliff how the mechs were animated. Cliff explained an animation frame system which made it sound like a mere modding misfit like myself has a chance at making mechs come to life . . . So i took some time out to have a play around and see what i could create.
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centaur.png
centaur.png (39.71 KiB) Viewed 11592 times

This mod will add in the Centaur - Heavy Mech Frame and a few other goodies for you to unlock.
Download: http://www.mediafire.com/?q1fsty9b6ssb7ut
Required: GTB v1.010
Install instructions: Extract to your GTB directory.
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Mod Development notes:
It took me awhile to get the "walk animation" realistic as possible. well about as realistic as these mechs get :P
In the end i chose 1/4 "offset" between the fore and hind legs which looked better than the legs moving in a scissor action.
Heavy Mech IV with Top.gif
Quad Mech in Action.
Heavy Mech IV with Top.gif (212.46 KiB) Viewed 12140 times


Heavy Mech IV.gif
Remove the torso - this is whats happening underneath.
Heavy Mech IV.gif (210 KiB) Viewed 12142 times


What I Learned
- Be prepared to lose a large amount of time learning how it all fits together. It took me 12 hours to get this fully functional in the game and still the animation is not the best.

- Plan, Plan and plan some more. I can not stress this enough. Have a clear vision in your mind on what the end result is going to look like. It will save you plenty of rework

- Use Layers, Lots and lots of Layers. at least a third of todays efforts was rework. I had compressed an area only to realise that i had made a mistake with the positioning of the legs.

- Save multiple versions. In case you make a mistake and the Undo can not remember what you did 100 actions ago, you can call up an earler save.

- 120 frames of pain. The leg animations use 120 frames for a leg to complete 1 cycle. The game mirrors the image and offsets it by 60 frames to get the walk animation. There is nothing worse than to start compiling the animation and find your 4 frames short.
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby cliffski » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:53 am

I'm impressed you've done this. The originals are done with a 3D model rendered out in 120 different positions, then crunched together manually by me (how tedious!).
The amount of work involved in old fashioned isometric RTS games must have been staggering.
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby Praetors » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:27 pm

wow, pretty awesome! I just can't wait to buy the game and start modding it!

But i feel something like fear very inside of me, as you guys show more and more about GTB. Thats cuz it starts to look more and more complex in comparision to GSB, i fear that i might not be begin able to deal with very complex modding proccesses...
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby cliffski » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:06 pm

GTB will be much easier to mod than GSB. Creating custom mech animations isn't trivial, but GTB has a built-in map editor, something GSB didn't even have a concept of :D
I'll be turning my attention more to proper formal mod support in later versions.
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby Praetors » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:09 pm

Happy to read that! =D
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby darkstar076 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:48 pm

cliffski wrote:I'm impressed you've done this.

Awww shucks :)

cliffski wrote:The originals are done with a 3D model rendered out in 120 different positions, then crunched together manually by me (how tedious!).
I could see how having the mech in 3D would make this process much faster than kitbashing the images like i did. As for the compiling - I agree, it was tedious indeed (and i only made one). At one point, I assembled 120 frames in reverse order - It looked like my mech was moonwalking :P

cliffski wrote:The amount of work involved in old fashioned isometric RTS games must have been staggering.

Agreed, even if some of the old RTS were played on a screen that could only support 800x600 and the animation would involve a graphic that was 32x32 pixals big.

Once thing i have to say, in all the years i have been modding games, GSB and GTB have to be the easiest games to mod i have ever come across.

Praetors wrote:But i feel something like fear very inside of me, as you guys show more and more about GTB. Thats cuz it starts to look more and more complex in comparision to GSB, i fear that i might not be begin able to deal with very complex modding proccesses...
I would have to agree in one way Praetors - the time it took me to create this mech, i could have kitbashed several tanks (no moving parts). However this is only one aspect of modding in GTB

In GTB the module stats are now located in one Comma Seperated Value file which makes it really easy for mass editing. Then you have the partical editor, map editor and who knows what else cliff will send our way when he focuses on modding support.
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby Irrational » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:57 pm

Wow. You did that by hand? That must have been nerve-wracking.
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby darkstar076 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:30 am

Nah not nerve wracking, just damn fustrating when you make a mistake (like making a mech moonwalk) and it takes you an hour to fix the mistake. The concept of building a mech is simple enough, its just the tedium of kitbashing 120 animation fames in the correct order.
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby Kalthaniell » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:39 pm

Wouldn't it be 1000% easier to just animate it in 3d and save as gif? I would take less than an hour too :P
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby darkstar076 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:23 am

Fully agree. However i dont have a 3D program (i know there are a few free programs but i dont know which one to choose)
So I will leave it up to the next person (looks at Kalthaniell), to add in the next mech can use a 3D program and show how much an improvement over kitbashing is.
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby Praetors » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:54 am

Looks like if i want to make a GSB to GTB crossover i will have to learn to use 3D programs, if not my idea of mechs and infantry with six legs for the aliance will be compromised -.-
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby 123stw » Fri May 18, 2012 11:04 pm

This animation thing looks complicated......
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby darkstar076 » Fri May 18, 2012 11:23 pm

123stw wrote:This animation thing looks complicated......

Personally i dont think its complicated, its just laborious ! (but dont let that put you off)

These are the steps i used:
------------------------<<This part took me Several Hours>>-----------------------------
1) Make 3 layers (Foot / Leg / Hip)
2) Copy paste these layers 120 times in Photoshop (named them frame 1 - 120)
3) As you move through the Frames, Move the Foot and Leg by a few pixals (Hip remains stationary)
4) Compress each frame
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------<<This part took me about 2 Hours due to errors>>---------------------
5) Move each frame into their final position on the Leg Animation Files
6) Create alpha channel
7) Compress
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Done :)

It sounds like Steps 1 - 4 were created by a 3D program for GTB - Cliff had to then place them into the Leg Animation Files.
So if you can find a 3D program that can output the frames, you can save yourself several hours of kitbashing

Cliff is still working on Modding support - so who knows what is in store.
(Maybe he will release more leg animations for modders to use ?)
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby rjtipton » Sat May 19, 2012 12:17 pm

I assume that modding tanks into the game is much much easier? seeing as though there isn't anything to animate in those cases?
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Re: Centaur - Heavy Mech . . .

Postby darkstar076 » Sat May 19, 2012 1:52 pm

Quite correct.
In fact if you were to cast your eyes here . . .
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=7147
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