2019 Drive 05/31/2019Can you lend a hand? GET STARTED TODAY
ALL eaw 3D models are flawed, except, for a few simple shapes and those which came from other Microprose games and remained unaltered.
Now this statement is NOT an attack on anyone's endeavors in 3D modelling, it's just a simple fact. All modified planes are stuck together with spit and string, as Moggy so aptly described in another forum. In 18 years of flying EAW I haven't encountered one single 3D model which wasn't stuck together like that.
As a result of lack of knowledge on the subject of calculating and understanding the rendering sequence, nearly all models show bits and pieces randomly switching on/off at certain viewing angles or distances or 3D parts being visible when none should be visible. Perhaps I'm spoiled but this fact has always annoyed me, simmilar to the viewdistance switch which happens between lores and hires model when aproaching an object. I find it distracting and it takes away much of the immersion EAW provides.
For this reason I've visited many websites dealing with the subject and read whatever I could find on the topic. It's taken me 10+ years to understand, plus I spend a lot of time dabbling with other commercial 3D packages used for other flightsims but most of these are not comparable to how EAW deals with a 3D world. I had to revert to a more hands on approach using the tools made available by some more knowledgable people then me.
I learned that there are no shortcuts and very stringent rules for creating 3D models and that not a single 3D model will allow the same approach in order to get it to work. However, more important was that after very slow progress I verified that Gurney's R/S calculator is working 100%, as long as you stick to the rules of 3DZ modelling. This again means that there is no need for flawed 3D models, they can all be fixed provided that someone will spend enough time on figuring out why some polygons cause the calculator to screw up.
It is a painstaking process which requires a lot of ingame testing, but there's always a solution even though the solution to the problem is different for each model. Often there are multiple solutions, which is where decisions have to be taken as to which one is the best. Now the sad part is that a solution may remain illusive for months or even years and it's useless to stare yourself blind on it, it's like finding the right pieces of a puzzle or like Rubic's cube, where a single polygon change can cause a cascade of errors in the model which will always cause Gurney's R/S calculator to get stuck.
I want to reitterate, that the calculator is fine and when it locks up there's something not right in the model. When it's not right it can cause the game to crash, which is obviously another indicator that it's not right. I can't teach people how to solve such issues, it would take too much of my time, only trial and error will bring this understanding. I also hope you will understand that fixing every flawed 3D model from the past, that's nearly all of them, is a herculean task which I'm not going to take on.
It's more fun to create your own models, as you're in charge of what you're doing when you build it, then it is trying to spot where others have gone wrong in their endeavours and you can only use the current tools available for doing so. On a personal level there are some simple good working models which are flawless because of their simple design, but everything flawed is total failure in my eyes and proof of not understanding of how it works. I know it's a harsh judgement but in doing things right there simply is no compromise.
Even I do have models I have been unable to fix up till now, which started 10 years ago. They just didn't make it because I can't see what's wrong, and untill I find the solution it stays under the heade of total failure and will not see release untill it's been fixed. I know there is always a solution so I come back to it to see if I can solve it that time. Any other approach is useless, wether you can see the model in game or not.
I hope some people will rise to the challenge and have the determination required to truely become a 3DZ modeller, it's about not giving up or trying to take shortcuts, no matter how much time it takes. Start small and work your way up, study the Microprose models as some of the answers are in there. Its the only advice I can give.