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BAT Tutorial: Part 2

Creating a building from your walls

Now that we’ve created a wall; we can use it to create a building with at least 2 identical walls by copying the wall we have now. First off, select the wall (don’t select the windows though), and shift drag (instance) it a few tiles from the original one. This is where angle snap will come in handy. Select the rotate tool, and rotate the wall 90 degrees.

In my example building, a problem presents itself. Simce the rotation axis was not exactly in the middle of my wall, the wall ended up to be not correctly aligned to the grid lines anymore! This problem happens when the wall has a length that does not give an integer when divided by2 (thus putting the pivot point in the middle; which is situated on one half of a grid line.

To solve this problem, gmax has the possibility to change the object’s coordinates by typing them. If you experienced the same problem, undo the rotation, and acces this manual coordinate box by selecting the move tool and selecting Tools -> Transform Type-In in the main menu, or hitting F12. The menu as depicted in the screenshot will pop up.

Notice that the X coordinate (this can also be the Y coordinate) is not an integer. Remove the 0,5, thus making it 15,0 in my example. Now the pivot point is located exactly on a grid point, so we can now safely rotate our wall 90 degrees. Remember, you’ll need angle snap (described in part one of this tutorial) activated for this to work correctly.

Now that we’ve rotated the wall, we see that the wall is still offset by 0,5 of a grid line. Again, bring up the Transform Type-In (make sure you have the move tool activated). Add or substract 0,5 from the other coordinate (X or Y, depending on the one you changed earlier), so that the wall is now perfectly aligned again.

Now position the wall so that only the corners of the wall overlap. As you can see; the grid helped us position the walls correctly so the seam is invisible; it looks like they’re one object.

Of course, we can also copy the windows from our existing wall. Hold shift and drag one of your windows a few grid lines away to create an instance of this window. Now rotate this wondow 90 degrees and you’ll see that you get a similar problem as described earlier; the window will not be correctly aligned. Again, we undo the rotation and edit the values manually; bring up the Transform Type-in, and you’ll see that either the X or Y coordinate is not an integer; correct this, and then rotate the window. Now, try to position the window into the hole of our new wall.

Hiding objects

When working with highly detailed buildings, you’ll notice that your computer will get slower. To solve this, we can hide objects we don’t need. This is also handy if the’re’s a lot of detailed geometry in the way of an area you want to spend some work on. Keep in mind that you can unhide the hidden objects at any time.

To hide objects, select them (for example a wall that you don’t need), right click and select Hide Selection. The selected objects will be hidden (not deleted). If you want to unhide them, right click in one of your viewpoints and choose Unhide All, and your objects will reappear.

Adding a door

The third wall we’re going to create will have a door, so people can get inside the building. One of the problems is that we can’t use the standard rectangle ‘n rectangle method (the one we used to create windows), as the hole-cutting rectangle is not allowed to touch any of the sides, which is obviously the case in case of a door.

We can create our own extrudable shape by using the line tool, which can be found on the Shapes tab. As shown in the screenshot, set both Initial type and Drag type to Corner, to avoid curved lines.

Now we can create our own wall, with a custom hole for the door. Note that the standard size for one induvidual door is about 1×3 grid lines. Leave an opening about this size in your wall, as you can see in the screenshot. This way, no rectangle will actually touch the shape, and if we extrude the wall, the gap for the door will appear correctly. If you want to have windows in this wall, you can add those the regular way; since the shape we’ve drawn is already treated as an editable spline, the only thing you’ll have to do is to attach some rectangles for the windows to it.

After extruding the wall, position it so that we now have a building with four walls. We can now finish the doors in the same way as we created frames and glass for the windows. Instead of a glass (transparent) material, we can also apply a new, solid one to the door.

Texturing your four walls

Now that we’ve almost got a complete building, it’s time to put a nice texture onto our walls. Open the gmax Material Editor, and click New to create a new material. Select standard. Now, click on the small square next to the diffuse colour indicator, and choose ‘Bitmap’. Search for a nice texture (you can find links to online texture libraries on the forums), and click OK. You’ll see that your texture got applied to the ball in the top of the menu.

Click on the white-blue checkered box (shown in the screenshot) to activate this texture in the viewpoints. To apply this texture, select all the walls (don’t select the windows or the door, just the walls), and click Apply in the texture menu. The texture will get applied.

Yet, the bricks I chose turned out to be way too big. Keep the walls selected and click UVW Map Modifier on the Modifiers tab. On your right; select Box, and type 3 identical values in the Length, Width and Heigth boxes. If you have chosen the right value (this depends on your texture) your texture will now be perfectly scaled, as shown in the screenshot.

Adding a roof

To complete our building, all we have to do is to add a roof. In the top view, draw a rectangle that covers the entire building, and add a UVW Modifier to it. Drag this rectangle up along the vertical axis, untill it looks like a roof. As with the walls, you can add a texture to it if you wish. Since we already used a UVW map modifier on the rectangle, scaling the texture is easy.

Written by oppie - January 29, 2004 | Share this article

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