Hey all! This here is a tutorial about creating your very first combinable animal for Impossible Creatures. It follows the quickest and easiest method to make a new little critter, export it, and play with it in the ComboTest application.
It is recommended that you download the RDN tool and documentation set to help you with some of the technical aspects and terminology.
You can grab the tutorial in *.doc form here (1.17 Mb)
or in *.pdf form here (728 kb)
Try this out and fire back your questions so we can get a good FAQ going at the base of this post.
1) I've exported my animal and when I test it in the ComboTest the torso area is gray. Wassup?
The Combiner needs to have a copy of the torso texture stored in the Data directory to properly do the texture blending.
You need to duplicate the critter_01.bmp torso texture (where critter is the name of your... well... critter) from ..DataSrc\Art\EBPS\Stock\Critter\model and copy it to ..\Data\Art\EBPs\Creatures\Stock\ where all the *.ebp files are. Then rename it to be critter_torso.bmp.
If you reopen the ComboTest app your torso texture will show up.
2) When I try and load the vertice and limb assignments onto my new model, I get an Assertion Failed error and GMax crashes.
There is a problem with your new mesh, likely an unwelded vertice. Check under Object\Properties and see if:
Patch Vertices = 290, and Patches = 288. Note that the regular Vertice and Face count can change depending on the amount of visible Tesselation steps.
Make sure to be very careful when you are welding the seam of your mesh's two halves together. If you accidentally weld too many vertices, or not enough, then the information from the Wolf will no longer work.
One way to check for unwelded vertices is to select the mesh, enter Edge mode, and press the "Select Open Edge" button. This will really help you nail down where the problems are.
3) I tried to use BoneCopy to duplicate the front leg, and when I did it made a copy that was upside-down and all crazy. Help!
It looks like you didn't select the top bone in that limb. Basically the way the BoneCopy works is to look at whatever bone you have selected, then mirror the entire chain below it about its root. So if you select the Front_leg1_l bone it will properly mirror the whole leg across the spine to which it is parented. If you select Front_leg2_l, then Front_leg1_l is the parent and trouble ensues.
4) What are front_arm1_l and r used for?
Those are the stub-bones that help describe where pincers and claws should attach onto your model. They should be located on the first patch forward of the front leg.
Wings have their own set of stub bones as well, and should be located one patch above the front leg.
5) What are the antler and Top_Wing bones for? More stubs?
Yes... but unneeded ones. Once upon a time we swapped horns and antennae from creature to creature. Although unused, some of the art still has those stub bones in it. You can delete them, as well as the limb and connection info for antler and TopWing.
SWing (Side wing) stub-bones should *not* be deleted, and are required for hooking wings onto your creature's back.
6) I've made my creature, applied Boner and transferred the limb and vertice info without any warnings, yet when I rotate a bone the mesh stays the same. What's up?
It is possible that when you first applied Boner you didn't actually Assign any of the bones. Go back and delete Boner, then reapply it again. This time hit Assign and select All. If when you enter Topology mode, you see any boxes, then they are unassigned and need to be added.
7) When I load the vertice assignments I get an Error: "The saved Topology file is different than the selected patches".
To work, the topology files need the geometry from the original to the final to have the exact some number of vertices, Anchor patch and Anchor edge. First check that your Anchor patch and edge are in the correct places. The Anchor patch should be one patch forward of the front leg. The Anchor edge should be the top line in the patch.
If those are correct, then you geometry has changed. Check your Patch vertice and Patch numbers under Objects\Properties to see if they are the same as the Wolf. You may have welded 2 vertices that you didn't mean to.
8) When I have my mesh selected and press topology, it stays as a bunch of white lines and I have a hard time selecting the patches. Isn't it supposed to be blue or something?
Yes. Before you press Topology under the Boner modifier, your mesh should be in shaded mode with no visible lines. You can toggle these viewport modes with the default keys of F3 and F4.
Only when it is smooth shaded without lines will you be properly able to select your anchor patch and edge.
9) When I click on topology, the smooth shading goes away and I am left with a black, much lower res, wireframe version of the skin geometry mesh that doesn't allow me to select anything. Yes, I have choose patches selected. How do I fix this?
Check your driver settings under Customize\Preferences\Viewports\Choose Driver and set it to Open GL. That should clear it up.