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Topic Subject: Blender 3D modeling ~ 2. Proportions and Naming Conventions (Approved; Addition Pending)
posted 05-12-17 05:48 AM CT (US)   

  • Content: Blender tutorial for proportions and naming conventions
  • Requirements: Some knowledge of Blender
  • Estimated Time: Short


    In this second tutorial for Blender I will explain how to make sure your buildings have the right proportions to fit in the game and how to proper name your materials, textures and files. You might ask why I would include the latter, but it is quite likely that you will share your blender file with others or look at one made by someone else, for example in a modding project. Having everything organized and with proper naming will make it much easier for yourself and your fellow modders in the long run.


    First make sure perspective view instead of Ortographic (Numpad 5) is on. If you haven't already, get familiar with the Numpad hotkeys as they're very important (Numpad 0 for camera view, 7 for topdown view, 1 for front view and 3 for right view.) In the main screen you will see a grid like this.

    That grid will help you make sure your model has the right size. However to get one square in the grid to be the same size as a tile in Age of Empires II, you will have to change the scale from 1 to 0.75. If you don't see the transform properties window on the right, press N to open it. Then scroll down in the panel until you get to display.

    [Note: Toggle Quad View is also a very useful feature. Especially for those who are used to 3Ds Max.]

    After you changed the scale, the grid will match the game. 2x2 for a house, 3x3 for a barracks, 4x4 for a town center and 5x5 for a wonder.
    As you might notice, your grid won't have a line for the uneven numbers because in the data the game uses half a tile as well (0.5, 1.5 or 2.5). If you want your grid to have a line bordering for example a 3x3 sized barracks, you can change the scale to 0.375, but keep in mind that one square in the grid is now only half the size of a tile in game.

    Now height is a bit more trickier since there isn't really an easy way to measure the building in game. For my town center it was about 2 tiles high, while a one story house might be just 1 tile. Still the best way to be sure, is to render you image, paste it into a screenshot of the game, and see if it matches the height of other similar buildings.

    Same counts for eye candy like wheelbarrows, barrels, ... Until we have a more objective way to do it, the only way to do this, is to compare it with other Age of Empires graphics. This is why it is a good habbit to append eye candy from other .blend files, to ensure the size of your graphics is uniform in all your work.

    Naming Conventions

    File names
    It is best to name them the same as the internal names in your data files.
    Examples: BLAC2N1E, CSTL3NNF, ARCHR_AN, TKNIT_SN, ...

    Object names
    Here I usually use two parts separated by an underscore, describing the nature of the object and its orientation or location.
    Examples: cam_target, front_wall, left_forearm, ...

    Material and texture names
    Same as the object names, it is two parts separated by an underscore. The first part describes the type and the second part the material or pattern.
    Examples: cloth_crosshatch, wall_stone, wall_wooden, ...
    When you download a texture image from the internet they often have long convoluted names, so make sure to rename them similar to the texture in blender.

    While not the most attractive of tutorials, I found that making this one was necessary. I often see people struggle with scale in their graphics and hopefully this will remedy that to some extent. In the next tutorial we will address a longer and more complicated subject in 3D modeling: Texturing and UV-mapping.

    See you there,

    [This message has been edited by Jan dc (edited 10-14-2017 @ 07:07 AM).]

  • Replies:
    posted 06-23-17 08:28 AM CT (US)     1 / 13  
    Are you still working on part 3? I've been wanting to take a swing at some building design and I have used Blender for awile so this is just what I was looking for.
    posted 08-31-17 04:36 PM CT (US)     2 / 13  
    Certainly, it's nice to see people being interested in this. I've also been working on my unit modeling skills so I hope to make tutorials about that as well. It's been very busy for me this month with aoeDE and gamescom and next month I'll be travelling a lot as well but I hope to pick up where I left in October.
    posted 09-28-17 02:44 PM CT (US)     3 / 13  
    very Nice I used blender for 4 years, very glad to follow this guide... I would like to see more, modelling in blender is very useful specially for making composition , I would like to see a pallett of colors to make the same compostion in blender and create something to share-.

    [This message has been edited by ralpstrip (edited 09-28-2017 @ 02:46 PM).]

    posted 10-14-17 07:09 AM CT (US)     4 / 13  
    Next tutorial is up .

    @ralpstrip, do you mean sharing materials and textures?
    posted 10-15-17 09:21 AM CT (US)     5 / 13  
    Hi, I meant sharing 2D here in the community... I am interesting in this blender's thread. thx... can you upload a image of a "tile" in game to compare with the blender's grid?

    if I want to create a barrack the scale must be 0.075 or 0.375?
    ( 2x2 blender's grid for house , 3x3 for barracks in blender's grid with factor scale as 0.75 at the begginig of the trhead ? or specially for uneven numbers it is 0.075?) thx.

    [This message has been edited by ralpstrip (edited 10-15-2017 @ 11:36 AM).]

    posted 10-15-17 02:58 PM CT (US)     6 / 13  
    Hey, yh it would be a good idea to make blank tiles to see it matches in game. For now I just used the TC I made as a reference:

    If you use 0.075 scale then the outline of your barracks will be 1.5 lines away from the origin and if you use 0.375 it will be 3 lines away. If you want your grid to match the in-game tiles I suggest using 0.075 scale.
    posted 10-15-17 08:13 PM CT (US)     7 / 13  
    ok... firts of all I need a "tips" or rules of thumb for this and manage my proyect for the Town center (see my starting concept below)...

    I am trying to "fake" a pytagoras's thorema , just to match the grid with buildings (and their own limits or outliners , just for that, is not the real theoreme).


    in this thread, I might use 0.075 scale's distance between 3D view grid lines , so, my result are this (see the picture below, it is just simple test with metric system and a default plane for my starting and testing process)... I have a little and struggle doubt , what do you mean with "lines away from the origin" ? what's origin do you mean ? the respective geometry's origin right ? (for example a 2 meters plane with location (0,0,0) and rotation (0,0,0) with scale (1,1,1) show me this result. ( pivot point at the same location 0,0,0 that cursor (0,0,0) too, so the origin of this will be set(0,0,0) for initial the geometry?

    as you see , it is not a mathpressicion it is not Pythagoras's theorem and it is not trigonometrical's reason . But I would like to know if I am right , so , conclution with the setting :

    *2 blender's grid square represent the towncenter "H" (take it as if it were the Hypotenuse (fake Hypotenuse).
    **4 blender's grid square represent or match the wonder size? (take it as if it were the Hypotenuse (fake Hypotenuse).

    * I mean 2 * 2
    ** I mean 4 * 4

    [This message has been edited by ralpstrip (edited 10-15-2017 @ 08:20 PM).]

    posted 10-16-17 07:59 AM CT (US)     8 / 13  
    Yeah I mean the origin of all (0,0,0). Your setup seems alright. If you're not sure you can render a cube and copy paste that on a screenshot of aoe2.
    posted 10-16-17 12:42 PM CT (US)     9 / 13  
    ah ok , global trasnformation. I have my game setting's resolution to 1080x1920 , so I take a screenshot with that configuration (I think most of people use higher sreen resolution to play the game) , then open my photo editor and compare it with the rendered plane?...

    this is an extra question :

    is there a rules of measures, grids, outlines for a path near the house ? for example (I would like to model a house with a little aisle below the windows with some summer's flowers and some things as little stones or garden's things).

    I think a diagram for this (for every building specially for that stuff of decorations of the active building.) :

    the red area ( represents the active building , house, TC, market, etc , the meaningful shape or significative one)

    the yellos area (represents the passive area of respective building , it is decoration or some stuff to put in place , such wheelbarrows, stone garden, barrels , extra thigs)


    [This message has been edited by ralpstrip (edited 10-16-2017 @ 12:45 PM).]

    posted 10-16-17 01:11 PM CT (US)     10 / 13  
    If you're not sure about the resolution of the screenshot, you can always extract the images from the slps files.

    I don't have exact rules for things going outside of the red area but in general, tall objects should be inside it. Medium-sized objects like wheelbarrows, carts, barrels,... (as tall as the half a villager) can be on the edge but not much farther, and stones, plants or grass (as tall as the shoe of the villager) can go in the yellow area but I wouldn't take it too far out either. If you go too much outside of the outlines, you'll have to start separating them to give them another layer mask.
    posted 10-16-17 01:49 PM CT (US)     11 / 13  

    Ok ,understood, I thought the same logic for planning my composition.
    Does exist any resolution for a villager? for example 32x32 px for a villager and 256x256 px for a town center?

    well I hope the next part of the tutorial ,thx.

    [This message has been edited by ralpstrip (edited 10-16-2017 @ 01:51 PM).]

    posted 10-16-17 05:07 PM CT (US)     12 / 13  
    They are cropped so every frame has a different resolution. Thanks, I'll see when I can do the next part .
    posted 10-16-17 10:14 PM CT (US)     13 / 13  
    ok , it will be a meaningful idea to plans size, sprites and all that, thx.
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