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Thread: Spore Creatures in Lightwave

  1. #1
    Member precedia's Avatar
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    Spore Creatures in Lightwave

    Myself and my two children ages 11 and 13 created some Spore (the evolution simulation game from Electronic Arts) characters and wrote a short article on how to import them into Lightwave for animation and rendering.

    My blog entry.

    We created a "Spore Creatures in Lightwave 3D" poster containing 225 Spore characters. The two lead creatures are Sword Sporsal (created by my daughter) and The Hawk (created by my son).

    The importing tutorial uses Sword Sporsal and includes assets for download.

    The highest-resolution poster version was rendered in 35mm Academy 1.78 4K resolution (4096x2300), rendered in Lightwave 9.6.1 64-bit Mac edition. Next test is to subpatch the lot and let 'er rip. The Spore characters are quite colorful.

    I am making all assets for the 225 characters, including the poster scene, available for download. See the poster page for details. Please be gentle on my poor server as I only have DSL outgoing speeds of 768K and the file is 282MB in size (if you really must have them). Otherwise the Sword Sporsal file is much smaller and you can generate all the characters you want from the millions of models available in Sporepedia.

    I read through the Spore Export Tool End User License Agreement and verified that I can distribute the assets as long as I append the proper legal words and indicate they are for noncommerical use only.

    Our next stop is to take one of these characters and create an equivalent quad-based subpatch model, better textures, some appropriate transparency (e.g. wings), and of course throw in a few FiberFX to transform it into a really cool looking creature using all the power of Lightwave.

    In the tutorial I highlight a couple of issues we had with the diffuse map containing transparencies. Modo even has problems with the diffuse map even when I tell it to ignore the alpha channel like in Lightwave.

    If anyone knows how to get the COLLADA bones to actually import into Lightwave, please let me know. They get left behind although they are in the DAE files (as documented in the tutorial). The COLLADA files are in the large asset download. I'm building a rig from scratch for my daughter's character absent automatic importing of rigs.

    Stay tuned for a fly-through animation of the Spore poster creatures.

    Enjoy the colorful creatures.

    Daniel
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  2. #2
    World's Tallest Dwarf safetyman's Avatar
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    This is really cool. Thanks for sharing the info! (runs off to create some creatures)

  3. #3
    Member precedia's Avatar
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    If you go to Sporepedia the current model count is over 132 million (132,869,946).

    All it took was a simple-to-use Creature Creator (or their vehicle or building creator) modeling tool with drag-and-drop component behavior to make everyone--from five year olds to eighty year olds--into modelers. That and an on-line content repository.

    If you haven't used Spore, what makes Creature Creator so easy to use is that people don't deal with polygons, but rather they deal with parts where the parts are puzzled together and the tool takes care of binding one part to the next (although not producing the cleanest mesh).

    Automatic mesh bridging of parts with proper polygon flow would be a very useful feature in future modeling tools, such as LightWave CORE. Imagine dragging an eye part onto a blank head part, sliding the eye over the surface of the head, and watching in real-time as proper polygon flow is maintained as the eye is positioned. Sure beats what I have seen in tutorials on face modeling. I am not sure if that is an intractable modeling problem, but it sure would be cool to use.

    Something like MeshMixer but built-in and supports quads with good flow.

    Daniel
    Last edited by precedia; 01-05-2010 at 05:07 PM.

  4. #4
    Banned OnlineRender's Avatar
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    seen your tut nice work

  5. #5
    World's Tallest Dwarf safetyman's Avatar
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    What amazes me about Spore (and the Creature Creator for that matter) is that no matter what kind of whacked out creature you make, the program automatically creates the rig. If you have 3 legs or 10, it makes a working rig that you can instantly move around and play with. Just amazing programming. I wish there could be some marriage between 3D modeling programs and some of these game engines (Crytek, Unreal Engine 3, Spore) that would allow us to do some of these things without having to swap between the two.

  6. #6
    Worms no more! Free fun! Dodgy's Avatar
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    For your tutorial, LW uses image alphas to blend the image with the underlying colour, like a decal, so if you disable it, that'll make the texture solid.
    Push the software, don't let it push YOU!
    My own plugins and work:www.mikegreen.name
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  7. #7
    Member precedia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by safetyman View Post
    What amazes me about Spore (and the Creature Creator for that matter) is that no matter what kind of whacked out creature you make, the program automatically creates the rig.
    Yes, that is a good piece of programming.

    I wish the current LightWave 9.6(.1) COLLADA import would respect the bones in the Spore file.

    I am experimenting with Lightwave CORE right now....

    Daniel

  8. #8
    Member precedia's Avatar
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    It is now possible to import your Spore Creature rig for animation.

    I have updated the tutorial with a new section "Spore Creature Rig."

    Credit goes to Clinton Reese (aka clintonman) over in the LightWave CORE forums (while we were discussing the very cool CORE Q4R4 release and Spore creatures). Clinton noted that Blender 2.5 Alpha 0 can be used to re-write the Spore COLLADA file so the new .dae file has a bone structure properly interpreted by LightWave 9.6 or 9.6.1.

    Attached is a screenshot showing the tutorial's Sword Sporsal character with the bone rig attached. The rig, of course, needs quite a bit of additional work before it's useful in an animation setting, but at least the rig as created by Spore's Creature Creature is available in LightWave.

    Note that LightWave still does not import the weight maps available in the Spore COLLADA files.

    The Sword Sporsal asset zip file on the tutorial page has an updated scene file with rig.

    Daniel
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  9. #9
    Creator of the Strange Skinner3D's Avatar
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    Do you have to have a EA/Spore account in order to get the patches? I have had spore for quite awhile, but haven't gotten an account. I tried typing colladaexport, but it didn't do anything.
    Every time I think about Marvin the Paranoid Android, I realize just how good my life is.

    My site http://www.freewebs.com/skinner3d

  10. #10
    Member precedia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skinner3D View Post
    Do you have to have a EA/Spore account in order to get the patches?
    I do not believe so. When you first start the Spore game it automatically checks for updates and starts the download process (at least on Mac, I assume the same on Windows).

    If you are on Windows you need EADM installed. See patch 5 details:

    http://www.spore.com/patch

    There is one known problem (on Mac) when installing a new copy of the game and patches. The first time you start the game you must say no to patch updates, start the game, enter your activation code, quite the game, restart, then say yes to start the patch process (at least on the Mac).

    My experience has the game performing an automated patch check at start-up and it cycles through all five patches in sequence.

    Daniel

  11. #11
    2D is so Flat! oobievision's Avatar
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    wow thats cool, I got the galactic edition think ill reinstall it.
    Oobievision

  12. #12
    Creator of the Strange Skinner3D's Avatar
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    Would anybody be willing to convert a couple creatures for me? I have tried everything I can to get my copy of Spore to work, but it keeps saying the key is invalid, and won't link Spore to EA Downloader

    Oooh I just realized that the exporter may have been provided. If I don't post again, you can ignore the above
    Last edited by Skinner3D; 03-31-2010 at 10:33 AM.
    Every time I think about Marvin the Paranoid Android, I realize just how good my life is.

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  13. #13
    Creator of the Strange Skinner3D's Avatar
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    soo I am back to square one, the above question has been reopened
    please help
    Every time I think about Marvin the Paranoid Android, I realize just how good my life is.

    My site http://www.freewebs.com/skinner3d

  14. #14
    Member precedia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skinner3D View Post
    soo I am back to square one, the above question has been reopened
    please help
    You can send me a private message and I can help.

    Daniel

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