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Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 04:01 AM
Hi all,

I'm just in the process of going through the CryEngine tutorials on Digital Tutors and will be trying to implement a workflow to use the free SDK to create architectural or level style walkthroughs in my pipeline.

I'm primarily a hobbyist but have been developing my skills by self study and hard graft for possible future freelance work or a job in the industry.

I will post my developments here and anyone is welcome to help and contribute to this thread if they would like, please do. I am aware that in the past there have been a couple of threads but these are old and have died of death a little. I'm hoping to put a bit of life into this type of workflow so wish me luck. :D

Why did I choose CryEngine over Unity or Unreal Engine.

Simple really. Unity free version does not have enough advanced lighting options and is more limited graphically, although the workflow I have tried before is very good with Lightwave. Unreal Engine is a close second and would play better with substance designer which I own, however, l believe lighting needs to be baked and this can take some time and I wanted a more real time visual option. If I fail with CryEngine then I will move over to Unreal.

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 04:30 AM
So far level design and creation seems pretty intuitive.

Layer painting, vegetation and mesh object placement, road and river creation, again seem easy enough.

That is all stock content though and should be easy, the real challenges lie in being able to bring my own assests in and being more customised.

For your own assets, FBX import is done by using the RC.exe file convertor that is in the Bin64/RC folder, you drag and drop your FBX file onto this .exe and it will convert it into a .cgf asset. Custom assets also need to be placed in the correct folder inside of your GameSDK folder. I created my own 'Objects' folder inside of the GameSDK folder. Create new sub folders inside the new folder that you called 'Objects' and place your assets inside there and organise how you see fit. These assets later can be found inside of CryEngine when using a brush to place a static object in the RollupBar menu, using the browser hierarchy of :- Objects/'Your Named Custom Folder Objects' and you will see your custom .cfg inside there.

First FBX conversion attempt failed and the reason for this was the UV map. This map was created from LWCAD and the UV map was outside of 0-1 UV boundaries. I redid the UV set inside of 3D coat and exported the file as an FBX again with one UV tile 0-1 and the asset this time was converted into a .cfg file for CE.

Asset seems to be upside down and has scale size issues. No doubt pivots and centers need to be looked at here. A simple first workaround could be just to flip the object but I will look into this properly and also the scale too.

Once I can export asset correctly and at the right scale I will look into the texture side of things. I will look into both diffuse and normal maps initially and then specular.

Later on I will discover how to use custom textures for layer and terrain painting and these will be created using substance designer.

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 06:42 AM
Ok before my custom objects were in a strange location but now they are place exactly where I expected them to appear before. They now appear inside of the CE RollupBar menu hierarchy browser of 'Objects' and then my own 'Test' folder that I created inside the 'Objects' folder and they are there.

I did a test texture in 3D coat and exported in the .dds format and then using the default material inside of CE, added my own .dds texture and it shows up inside of CE.

I won't want to overwrite or pemanently use this default material. I will need to create my own material or custom materials based on an existing CE material for example 'concrete', use some of the CE parameters but use my own custom concrete substance designer texture.

This and fixing the import scale of objects brought in will be the focus. I think the objects seem about 100X smaller than inside of lightwave. I noticed the lightwave fbx exporter has some mention of scale at 0.01 which kinda makes sense as to why the could be around 100X smaller. However in this last test I actually took the .lwo into 3D coat and exported as an FBX from there and it was similarly tiny inside of CE. It would be a simple fix though if it just a case of exporting from Lightwave with the scale set to 1.

Mr. Wilde
02-25-2014, 07:43 AM
I was thinking about working with a game engine (I was also thinking of Unity or the CryEngine), and was wondering if LightWave was the proper tool to create assets for it. So I'm going to keep an eye on this thread. :)

lardbros
02-25-2014, 07:45 AM
I use CryEngine on a regular basis... so if you have any queries please shout. I don't use LW though, I use 3dsMax... but like I said... ask away!

Little tips I can help you with...

ALWAYS triple your polygons in your software before you export. Sometimes upon export it does some different triangulation than you may do yourself, and it can throw up errors.

The scale for importing into CryEngine from 3dsMax is cm's. So this may be the same from LW. Weirdly, objects created in CryEngine and exported to an obj, are exported as metres! Nice.... thanks for adding to the confusion Crytek! :D

- - - Updated - - -

Oh... as for creating assets for CryEngine... LW is more than capable. But it's still best to export to 3dsMax as an FBX and then use the 3dsMax exporter for CryEngine.

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 09:53 AM
I was thinking about working with a game engine (I was also thinking of Unity or the CryEngine), and was wondering if LightWave was the proper tool to create assets for it. So I'm going to keep an eye on this thread. :)

Hi!!

Hopefully I will have some success. I will try to post screenshots and better information once I find a nice sync with some kind of repeatable workflow.

Unity does play very well with Lightwave but as I mentioned earlier the free version won't have the better lighting and physics, some restrictions on graphically quality too.

I have played with all engines, UDK was ok but for the lighting of scenes I believe you have to bake a lot of that into a scene and this can be quite time consuming when levels of detail get high.

CryEngine has much better realtime visualisations and is quite stunning without much effort from the start. UDK can be made to look just as amazing with its environmental lighting but as I said the baking of this HDR lighting and environmental stuff is a time killer for me that I don't want to get into.

Lightwave alone to CryEngine would be limiting. I need to use at least 3D Coat for some UV mapping and some detail texturing, and I'll also create tileable textures inside of substance designer.

I will probably attempt to do a lot of modular asset and texture creation to help with the efficiency, size and placement of textures for repeatable areas and speed of workflow.

One of my best traits is that I am very stubborn and won't give up lightly, I will succeed and find the way. :D

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 10:01 AM
I use CryEngine on a regular basis... so if you have any queries please shout. I don't use LW though, I use 3dsMax... but like I said... ask away!

Little tips I can help you with...

ALWAYS triple your polygons in your software before you export. Sometimes upon export it does some different triangulation than you may do yourself, and it can throw up errors.

The scale for importing into CryEngine from 3dsMax is cm's. So this may be the same from LW. Weirdly, objects created in CryEngine and exported to an obj, are exported as metres! Nice.... thanks for adding to the confusion Crytek! :D

- - - Updated - - -

Oh... as for creating assets for CryEngine... LW is more than capable. But it's still best to export to 3dsMax as an FBX and then use the 3dsMax exporter for CryEngine.


Hello mate!

I did actually read some of your earlier posts a year or two back on this subject, I hoped somebody else with experience would be able to interject and contribute so thanks!! :D

I'm aware of some of the things that I may come across with this Lightwave approach. I agree if I had Max, Maya then it would be more easier, but I hope to find a workflow that will do the job!!

Crazy isn't it with the scale thing. As long as it is consistently 100x or 10% adjusted then I might find something that gives.

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 04:45 PM
Ok.

Earlier I thought the first FBX conversion that failed was due to the UV map range. On further tests it seems that might actually be irrelevant as other attempts to export an FBX from Lightwave always fail to produce a .cfg file. I haven't tried every single version of FBX but I won't bother. Any FBX's exported either from 3D Coat or MODO do convert properly into a .cfg file so I guess I won't fight this one. Not a good start for a limit Lightwave pipeline.

Luc_Feri
02-25-2014, 04:51 PM
Next.

I succesfully installed the CryTiff plugin into Photoshop Elements 9 , which was pleasing seeing as I have no intention of buying CS6 etc.

I have now learnt how to create custom materials and also use my custom textures inside CE which is cool. I had exported .dds files straight from 3D coat before I had installed the CryTiff Photoshop plugin and these do get read fine in CE. The plugin though is great for PS and does allow for better compression of the .dds files and to better set up the export parameters and texture types for optimisations.

Finally, scale is exactly 100X reduced from the original model that was created inside of Lightwave. A test with a 10' wall was exported out, the mesh was tiny inside of CE so a 100x scale up was used and once the game was run, the character matched up roughly as expected from a perspective approximsation from that of a 6' male character.

Imported custom meshes into CE also need to be adjusted for rotation and centres before conversion into .cfg files. I hadn't noticed before that inside of CE the Z axis goes vertical so both model and center/pivots need to be rotated to match up the Z+ as vertical alignment.

Ha Ha, no wonder LardBros that you have been using Max to export the FBX files. It seems that as you say in Max you can ammend the Metres - Units scale to cm's before exporting. I guess I'll have to scale up and rotate for the time being. :D

Luc_Feri
03-04-2014, 03:40 AM
OK.

I have brought assets into CE now of varying types. I have used tiling textures or texture maps just on diffuse and bump/normals to get a look.

I didn't realise there is a 10K Poly limit on assets. I think the physics side of the engine restricts this depending on the type of asset you bring in. That is the key with modular design I guess, bring in assets to snap together and construct the scene.

I had problems for a while though. I had created a custom GameSDK folder and although the CE will recognise location from the config file it will not read assets and create levels properly. Any levels created will not save and then I get black textures for the base terrain layer. This is a problem other uses have had too and I would put it down to admin/user rights for access on the file folder. Once I used the default folder location for GameSDK everything is fine again.

If I save model from Lightwave I do this as a standard .lwo not using the .FBX export option. I use Modo to load up .lwo file, in 'Item' mode I rotate 90 to face Z up and then freeze transformations and export out as .FBX. The asset will be the correct way up and I don't have any scaling issues like before.

So far I am torn. Whilst I know I can get things to work at my end and I am figuring out the quirks, I personally couldn't recommend this as a great pipeline or workflow. I will continue but I am always looking for efficient ways of working and right now seeing as I'm not exactly making a game and I was more looking to use CE as a level design or environmental art/ArchViz walkthrough, CE is not efficient.

Too many conversions for assets is a time killer. Every single model file has to be run through the RC.exe to convert to a .cgf model. Every texture map or normal map has to be loaded into Photoshop and saved out as a correct CryTIFF and then again run through the RC.exe. I'm sure game studios do batch conversions but it is a pain in the backside for efficiency.

Mr. Wilde
03-04-2014, 05:40 AM
I didn't realise there is a 10K Poly limit on assets. I think the physics side of the engine restricts this depending on the type of asset you bring in. That is the key with modular design I guess, bring in assets to snap together and construct the scene.

Is that certain? I couldn't find anything about a poly limit per asset in the documentation.

lardbros
03-04-2014, 06:13 AM
There is a limit of 64k polys per exported node.

Sooo... in 3dsMax, you can have MASSIVE objects, but cut them up into 64k poly (or think it's vertices actually) chunks... and then parent them to a master node. If you choose to export the master node, it'll create the object absolutely fine.

But, the RC.exe (resource compiler will fail if it has more than 64k points.)

lardbros
03-04-2014, 06:30 AM
I'd very much suggest using 3dsMax for this (sorry).

In 3dsMax you can have as many nodes (objects) as you want, all exported at the same time and it will generate a .cgf at export for each model, or even merge them all into one single node.

Also, all materials and textures come straight through from the 3dsMax material (As there is a 3dsMax Cryengine Shader, within the standard material.)
Unfortunately, the Z axis being up is because they developed their asset tool around 3dsMax, and this is how Max does things. (The opposite of any other tool).

Another thing that 3dsMax can export, is animation... which is really handy for simple animation, or even full-blown characters.



Also, did you see this post that I put on here a year or two ago... not sure if it's come along any further, but it looked promising. It's an opensource FBX exporter for CryEngine.
http://www.crydev.net/viewtopic.php?f=315&t=94539

Luc_Feri
03-04-2014, 08:34 AM
Yeah you are right about the 64K poly limit, I worded my sentence badly to be honest. I can import assets above 10K it was just that the 28K asset wasn't able to have a material added to it. I think it has something to do with the physics side of the CE and that you need to create a low proxy version for the physics to be applied.

All I know is my 28K asset just couldn't use any standard materials or no textures could be applied at all but again no doubt if exported from Max I wouldn't have these issues as like you say you can use material components in the exporter. The error message was clearly logged in the command log.

All objects for me at the moment would have to be single layer and single material and would be severly limiting if I was using one tiled texture. Other than that I could use a texture map and paint the individual uv islands. I was yesterday using a vertex colour map as a colour mask in Substance Designer to apply different materials to each uv shell seeing as I am limited.

I have experimented with UV sizes. LWCAD can create real world size uv maps and this can help with better tiled texture mapping. I was under the impression that the UV tile might have to be inside the 0-1 range but that doesn't appear to be the case and you can be outside of this.

Luc_Feri
03-04-2014, 08:49 AM
Ultimately yes I need to be using 3ds Max and I won't be buying that, no way, just not happening. :D

It is a shame that things couldn't be more condusive to a better pipeline workflow. I know I can use Mari to paint higher detail maps, I'm not sure how CE would cope though if I started loading up on 4 or 8K texture maps for detailed assets.

GandB
03-04-2014, 09:15 AM
I've been following postings on Lightwave to "Game Engine X" over the years. It seems that there is little attention given to game artists, by the Lightwave Team, and it seems to continue to this day. Calls for more attention to be paid to a multi-billion dollar industry always falls on deaf ears here. I'm going to attempt a Lightwave--> Blender--> Unity pipeline, and see where I get; with both animated and static entities. I have no real wish to purchase ANYTHING from AD at all. I've also been following Modo's development, concerning game development; things are much more productive over there. I'm looking to make a purchase this summer, for either a LW upgrade, or a move to Modo. Things continue to look bleak for LW on this front. At this point, if Rob and Crew ever want to win back the game artists/devs that they say they "love"; they've got a LONG way to go. It gets bleaker for them as the years go by, with little effort put towards it. A shame.

Luc_Feri
03-04-2014, 09:25 AM
I've been following postings on Lightwave to "Game Engine X" over the years. It seems that there is little attention given to game artists, by the Lightwave Team, and it seems to continue to this day. Calls for more attention to be paid to a multi-billion dollar industry always falls on deaf ears here. I'm going to attempt a Lightwave--> Blender--> Unity pipeline, and see where I get; with both animated and static entities. I have no real wish to purchase ANYTHING from AD at all. I've also been following Modo's development, concerning game development; things are much more productive over there. I'm looking to make a purchase this summer, for either a LW upgrade, or a move to Modo. Things continue to look bleak for LW on this front. At this point, if Rob and Crew ever want to win back the game artists/devs that they say they "love"; they've got a LONG way to go. It gets bleaker for them as the years go by, with little effort put towards it. A shame.


Yeah I know what you mean. The game side of things is just dominated by Max and Maya and it is frustrating for alternative studios. Modo too though is far from perfect though with regards to I/O, FBX support was quite poor and animation could not be transferred through FBX or collada at all.

I suppose the LW3DG have been working with implementation for the Unity pipeline and the I/O between this program is decent enough.

How do you find Unity? I would only be able to use the free version. I can't make any extensive use for better HDR lighting that the Pro version supports, which is really the key as to why I was trying to use CryEngine because that has fantastic real time lighting and shading.

lardbros
03-04-2014, 09:44 AM
I wrote a feature request for CryEngine support years ago, as there was an exporter for LW, but it ceased development when the guy stopped using CryEngine. http://walen.se/

Hey GandB... think it was you who posted about the FBX opensource exporter originally... thanks! :D

GandB
03-04-2014, 10:14 AM
Yes; I get why you are going for CryEngine, versus Unity. I work with the Free version from time to time; my partner has purchased the full on version (though he's the coder). At the very least; you'll get a nice piece worked up for your portfolio, and perhaps be picked up for freelance work by a studio using CE.

The biggest thing that has my eye; is the sheer amount of increasing interest and support in Unity in general.

Luc_Feri
03-20-2014, 06:52 AM
Ok not that anybody was probably too bothered, but I have aborted this workflow, no more. :D

It was just unfeasable with the amount of conversions of assets and images that would have to take place through the RC.exe

Oh that and the recent announcement of UnrealEngine 4!! :D

Goodbye CryEngine, the workflow was not for my pipeline I'm afraid.

Mr. Wilde
03-21-2014, 09:24 AM
That's unfortunate.

I'm trying to find a feature comparison of CryEngine 3.5 and Unreal 4. So far no luck. Does lighting still need to be baked in UE4, for example?

Luc_Feri
03-21-2014, 10:34 AM
That's unfortunate.

I'm trying to find a feature comparison of CryEngine 3.5 and Unreal 4. So far no luck. Does lighting still need to be baked in UE4, for example?


I believe at the moment lighting still needs to be baked in UE4. They implemented a system to have real time lighting but they are not there yet and it just wasn't working as expected, developers are working on this for future release. I think though that the light baking has been more optimised and is quicker than before with this new release.

It is unfortunate that I had to abandon this pipeline. CryEngine itself is great and I really liked a lot about it. The asset import workflow is terrible for a non 3dsMax user though, it would have took forever just to get lots of props and assets inside. I said I wouldn't give up easy but I was kidding myself to continue down the lightwave/modo path, time is too precious to waste on the number of steps needed for it to work.

As for feature comparisons I guess you would just have to read each of the engines website details and lots of forum posts. :D

As for getting started training, UE4 has a ton already on YouTube and it is very well presented, looks good. I haven't subscribed yet, I may do later, but I might just knuckle down and try some different workflows in LW and Modo.

GraphXs
03-21-2014, 03:58 PM
Did u just try using layout fbx? That works good with unity and even going to max. I dont have to do to much fussing around. However i do make sure i use a node at 0 for the items i export.

Mr. Wilde
03-21-2014, 05:33 PM
Did u just try using layout fbx? That works good with unity and even going to max. I dont have to do to much fussing around. However i do make sure i use a node at 0 for the items i export.
That's a thought. You seemed to try to export single LWOs as FBX. If you export a Scene to FBX, you can export multiple objects, even lights, similar to exporting a 3ds or maya file to FBX. The scene root would then probably be the master node you were talking about.

Luc_Feri
03-23-2014, 06:40 AM
The fbx export doesn't work at all coming from LW. RC which is the resource compiler just doesn't seem to do anything with LW exported fbx files. I tried again today from LW Layout just to see and it failed after several tests.

Maybe there is a golden setting in the exporter that will suddenly make everything work but the point really is, all assets still have to be conveted and compiled through the RC and it is a complete and utter waste of time and resources to go down this route.

If I compile modular assets then I can simply build one item, a wall or ceiling and then snap pieces togther inside of CE to make a bigger scene. This might help to improve the workflow. I may still persist seeing as UE4 lights still have to be baked and it isn't realtime like CE, I'm torn really.

Also the reason I was exporting solo meshes out was so I could work within the correct polygonal limits for importing assets into CryEngine. Each asset could have it's own material assigned for texture maps and bump/normal maps. I don't think I can setup multi material mesh items if that makes sense. A scene in LW could obviously have parts in different layers and each assigned it's own surface shading but for exporting multiple objects within an FBX file it has to be set up from 3dsMax to have a cry material assigned I think for this to work.

motivalex
03-25-2014, 04:25 AM
Found this tutorial. How to export from Lightwave to UDK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UalEoSEe2_M

Luc_Feri
03-25-2014, 07:48 AM
Found this tutorial. How to export from Lightwave to UDK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UalEoSEe2_M

Cheers for the link, I actually watched this a couple of days ago too. :D

LaughingJack
09-29-2014, 03:57 PM
I wrote a feature request for CryEngine support years ago, as there was an exporter for LW, but it ceased development when the guy stopped using CryEngine. http://walen.se/

Hey GandB... think it was you who posted about the FBX opensource exporter originally... thanks! :D


Hey all,

any chance someone can post the plugins from walen.se ? i am having enough trouble learning Lua etc. and dont want to have to learn a whole new product on top of that to make objects for Cry, as i only use LW.

cheers.

.LJ

lardbros
09-30-2014, 06:29 AM
There was talk at Siggraph this year about dragging and dropping Alembic files into CryEngine... bringing across any point-cached animation along with it.
This had been developed for Ryse: Son of Rome, but hopefully will come to the commercial version of the engine too? Not certain it will though... but with LW's built-in Alembic support, maybe this would be a better way to do it?

Also heard that FBX files can be dropped straight into the Resource Compiler, but haven't managed to get that working as yet. Both methods will work with LW, which is great.

I do have the LW plugins but, and with no offence to the developer Johan, I never really got them to work properly in the latest version of Cryngine. There were always smoothing issues, even on simple spheres objects. :( I can pass them to you if you want them though... just PM me your email

LaughingJack
09-30-2014, 04:07 PM
Hi lardbros,

thanks for the info, much appreciated. i will look into the Alembic and FBX thing (im only going to be creating static objects at this point). i was concerned that there would be issues with Johans exporter and the newer versions of CryEngine/SandboxSDK anyway, but i had to ask ;-) (ill pm you)

cheers
.LJ