Monday, March 8, 2010

New Builders Kit Part 1 With more textures and update to Avatar Templates

This is the first part of version 0.75 of my builders kit for Blue Mars. Download link is to the right. It has 450 textures this time, including a partial update to the avatar templates.  The template links to the right are the "raw" version, directly as they came from the models supplied by Blue Mars.  The raw version has no labels or helpful guides like are found on the nice Second Life templates.  I'm working on making better ones, but since they seem to be popular, I have left the links for the raw version up.  The set in the Builders Kit includes some .dds formatted ones that can be loaded directly into the Body Editor on the female model so you can see what parts go where, and I have gotten about 1/4 of them labelled.  When I finish I will replace the raw version links and post the new set instead.

In addition to the avatar templates, I have added a bunch of new textures, and converted most of them to DXT1 format.  The documentation for Blue Mars is still in pretty sorry shape, and I didn't know that DXT1 is preferred.  Its half the size of the DXT3 I used before (better compression).  The exception are the ones with alpha (transparency) channels, which need DXT3, and the ones being used for terrain distance viewing, which need to be uncompressed.  Terrain close up textures are normal ones, and both types are used to make a complete terrain layer set.

Part 2 of the Builders kit will include a set of simple 3D objects, a copy of Google Sketchup 7.0, 7zip, whatever other useful software I can find, and whatever tutorials I finish in time for this update.  I split the kit into two parts for size reasons. Note that Sketchup 7.0 is NOT the latest version (7.1 is the current one).  For some reason the latest version does not export properly for Blue Mars.  Since the old version will get harder to find, I decided to include it in the kit.  You can use any 3D software for making Blue Mars items as long as you can export to the correct COLLADA format.  But Sketchup is free, and appears to be the easiest one for new people to get started with.

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