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18-Jan-99 by JM

     The Basics

The graphics in Carmageddon II - like in all 3D games - are called textures. Textures are "mapped" onto triangular surfaces called "polygons", that form the visible parts of a 3D object like a car, pedestrian or even the worlds in a game.

The textures are stored into standard graphic file formats. A common file format for images on the internet is JPG, but the JPG format is not suitable for storing valuable graphic material due to it's careless method of discarding color and image information in favor of a smaller file size. For this reason, Carmageddon II uses the next best alternative, the TIFF format.

The TIFF format is recognised by all computer systems and graphics software, thus highly versatile. Unlike the JPG, the TIFF file can be stored as a 256 color image as well as a 16 Million color one, which is vital in order to view textures in non-3D accelerated games, such as the Carmageddon II software mode.

The best software on a PC or Macintosh system for graphics handling and editing comes from Adobe Systems. In these tutorials I will refer to the Adobe Photoshop series of graphics programme, more specificly the latest 5.0 version. Also the odd referreal towards Jasc Software's Paint Shop Pro versions 4 and 5 is in. PSP is a shareware program that does most of the things its big brother (at a whopping 1000 USD) Photoshop does.

    Widths Heights and Colours

Bitmapped graphics files are formed of square pixels lined next to eachother in clusters or random order. Pixels can have any colour, in an RGB spectrum or a 256 color palette/table.

RGB stands for Red Green Blue, and consists of values that define the amount of each colour, enabling the forming of millions of colour shades. RGB is used in textures for the 3D accelerated version of C2. The RGB spectrum is an universal standard.

The 256 colour palette has a palette of colours holding a maximum of 256 shades. The palette must be defined for each individual image file, or the image will look scrambled. For each game - for instance - there is an individual palette. C2 has its very own palette for 256 graphics. 256 colours is naturally inferior in comparison to millions of colours, meaning 256 graphics appear pixellated and seemingly colourless.

The resolution of an image is defined by how many pixels (horizontal) times pixels (vertical) there is in an image. The only bounding aspect (format and colours aside) in C2 texturing is the actual resolution of the image to be used as a texture. Usable resolutions for any texture are (but not necessarily limited to): 32x32, 64x64, 128x128 and 256x256. These are safe resolutions to use and will not cause any errors in the editing process.

There are also vectorized graphics, such as Clip Arts in Micro$oft Word or fonts in the Windows operating system. This means they can be scaled from small to extremely large without any pixellation (Remember DOOM? LEGOS!). Vectorized graphics are not suitable for usage in C2, unless they are converted into bitmaps first. So if you want to use a Clip Art Santa or a company logo in the game, convert the file into a bitmap first. This is easiest done by taking a screenshot of the desktop when the image of your choice is presented on the screen, press "Print Screen" on the top right of your keyboard to store your desktop in the clip-board. Then open a program, like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, paste the image as a new image, cut the imporant bit out and save as a texture (remember resolutions!).

When you keep these things in mind, editing C2 textures should be a piece of cake! (no really.. ;).

Your next step is the:
[ Car Texturing Tutorial ]

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