Saturday, August 9, 2008

Meshing Tidbits

I'm a fair newcomer to the world of meshing. I've been making recolours for a few years, but it got to the point where I was tired of recolouring that Maxis girls' dress. I couldn't find the custom meshes I wanted, either. So I figured it was time to learn. Little did I know how frustrating it would be in the beginning.

I've learned a few things since that I wish I had known from the outset. It would have saved me a lot of aggravation (and a few tears of frustration) had I known. So I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned.

1. Toddler meshes are, in some ways, easier to make. Why? There's no fat morph to deal with. Unfortunately, if (like me) you make your meshes from cobbling together parts from other meshes, there's not a lot to work with. Maxis really didn't include enough toddler clothes.

2. Take advantage of SimPE's tools. Once I found out about this one, my mesh-making really took off. I'd been following the beginner meshing tutorial on MTS2 and, as excellent as it is (I couldn't have learned without it!), it hasn't been updated in a while. When I followed the tutorial, I'd always get stuck on the part where you have to gather together the four files to create the new mesh. Invariably, I'd mess something up and the mesh wouldn't work. But I was informed that the new version of SimPE has an extractor tool. All you have to do is enter the filename and it will gather the four necessary files for you. I've made most (if not all) of my meshes with this method, and they actually work. It's a huge time-saver.

3. Fat morphs suck. Okay, well, they don't really suck, but they're kind of a pain to make. I've learned a few things about fat morphs:
  • If you're making a full body and you're making a lot of changes to the mesh (replacing body parts, moving vertices a lot, etc.), it's probably easiest to make your fat morph after you've finished with the regular mesh.
  • If you're making separates, always do the regular mesh and the fat morph at the same time. Why? Because you need those to line up with all the other separates. You can't just go pulling vertices willy-nilly and expect everything to line up. When I made my first separates, I ran into this problem. I'd only made the regular mesh, and needed to make the fat morph afterward (this is how the tutorial suggests you do it). With separates, though, it's not that easy. My mesh actually exploded.

4. Sometimes meshes explode and there's nothing you can do about it (see above). That's the fat morph shown in the picture. I had to remake it (obviously).

5. Just because it came with the game doesn't mean it's perfect. I've come across a few glitches in Maxis meshes, both in the mesh itself and in the UV map. Oh, and let's not forget the time I spent too much time wracking my brain, trying to fix a mesh... when it was the Maxis skintone that had the line on it!

6. Downloaders will always want the age groups you didn't make. Ah, well. Such is life. I guess I'm off to make some fleece pajamas for toddlers!

No comments: