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volume 1, issue 31

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

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Hey Half-Life fans! Looking for some good reads? Check out Valve designer Harry Teasley's guest editorial, our review of Half-Life, or our interview with Marc Laidlaw!

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Thinking Outside the Box:
The Many Faces of Kelly Monaco

(Part 1)




By Paul "Villam" Steed

Anything I say comes from me and represents my personal opinions, views and subtle plans for influencing society. Read, ruminate over and remember at your own risk. If I teach you something and it helps, teach someone else.

eez, you’d have thought a couple weeks ago it was ‘Steed Week’ or something with all the steed-related stuff that popped up. I even got some mail asking me if doing all this extraneous stuff detracts from my work on Quake 3:Arena, and if it did to knock it off and go back to work. Valid point, but rest assured it doesn’t detract at all.

I did the Sam Hell interview about a month ago, the GDC lecture was done about a month and a half ago (Rogue13 at PQ did a bang-up job soliciting and posting it, too), the TOTB took me about nine hours on the Tuesday it was posted (because I had forgot it was due – sorry, loony), but as far as that goes, all the Q3:A related modeling tutorials will be shipped with the game as a ‘how to’ vehicle so people can get their own models going anyway. The ‘Dear Mynx’ thing took about a half hour since all I had to do when answering was think, "how would Mynxie answer this?". So really the time-sink was well spent and didn’t impact my schedule very much at all.

Matter of fact this week’s tutorial came as a serendipitous result of creating another female model base for some Q3:A characters and lately, that’s the ONLY way I feel I have time to bang these out – if they’re done in conjunction with creating real stuff. Then again, I think that’s what you guys want, some in-the-trenches journal writing. Some of the best compliments I feel I’ve received are from fellow artists at other companies who feel they can glean at least a couple tidbits of useful info from TOTB. Makes it all worth it. And of course all you pups; all you Quake Huns out there itching to find out how to get your own Q3:A models going. That’s why I take time out of my busy day to sit down and shoot the polygonal breeze with you all.

Besides, it’s just another outlet for my energy surplus that doesn’t say…make it into a plan file :]

Alright kids, on with the show... Normally I don’t do this since I think appreciating the female form (especially the nude female form) is pretty crucial to American male evolutionary development, but I have to implore you to go elsewhere this TOTB if you’re under 18. There is some nudity in the following content so consider this a (shudder) ‘didactic parental disclaimer’ (or DPD for short).

[Editor’s crude note: yeah, baby!]

First, though I’ll preface this installment with just a plain, normal disclaimer: I’M SICK OF ANIMATING!" I need a break from making motion. I’ve been making some models the last week or so to hone the skills and increase the number of player characters in Q3:A. The next two installments will cover issues and techniques used as I continue my efforts to create the perfect polygonal woman. This is NOT a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a sexy female model. I’m just using her creation as a backdrop to show you some (hopefully) useful techniques.

After many hours of exhaustive Internet research via Tommy’s Bookmarks (http://www.tommys-bookmarks.com/playmates.php) I’ve decided the perfect woman to help me in my quest is Playboy Playmate, Kelly Monaco. I like the physical structure of Chloe Jones a tiny bit better (more back, more rack), but KM really is utter perfection. She tends to be not only beautiful, voluptuous, 5’ 3", sexy, etc., but she tends to face the camera orthogonally (cheesecake is nice, but this is reference we’re talking about. No. Really. I mean it! She faces the camera almost dead-on or dead-on sideways, etc.)

So I’ve begun building the perfect Kelly model. Recently, at the ’99 GDC I got a couple really useful tips when I gave my lecture on low-poly mesh optimization. The most useful one deals with vertex merging and weld thresholds. Basically I found out I don’t have to use the ‘select two vertices – uniform scale them several times – hit weld selected’ thing anymore. All I do is adjust my ‘Weld Threshold’ to suit the circumstances (knew WT was good for something). For example, by default my ‘Weld Threshold’ is set at ‘.1’ when I boot Max up…

This is cool for when you’re just merging flush vertices along a centerline axis from copying and flipping half of a mesh like this case…

The ‘.1’ setting just means that only selected vertices separated by very small distances (.1 units or less) will merge. Now if you crank up your ‘Weld Threshold’ setting to say 10 or 20 then it basically serves the same purpose of selecting vertices outside a .1 weld threshold and scaling them in until they’re within that .1 units distance. For example, if I were to try and merge these two vertices with a setting of .1

…I get this error message.

If I change my ‘Weld Threshold’ setting to 10…

…they weld just fine, merging at their relative median point in x,y,z space the same as if we had selected them and u-scaled them into a single point...

(Continued on next page)

Credits: Thinking Outside the Box logo illustrated and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 1999 Paul Steed. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't even try it. We've got really big guns, and we're ripped, baby.