Williams Space Shuttle

GeorgeH

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I struck out on two items of the check list. I don't have any side rail models that fit this table. The area for side panels is quite short so there is very little room for anything anyway. The only thing that might fit there is a star field but I've decided to not add side rails. The other item I can't do are the bump maps. The texture for the space shuttle is too smooth and so there are no bumps that show up on it after going through the process. I tried adding bump maps on some of the plastics but those use TGA files that are mapped for areas that are transparent. I determined that bump maps don't work on TGA files. The plastics are supposed to be flat anyway.

Let's proceed on to the good news. I have successfully added shadow maps. They don't always work on every table but they do on this one (at least on the front of it). The back of the playfield has large black areas where the shadows don't work as well but they look good on the front which has wide blue areas.

The way I add shadow maps to the slingshots is a little tricky. This table like many others I have worked on only has 4 bulbs that light up that light up brightly when the slingshot is hit. Unfortunately, I can't get the shadows to look right when the slingshot is not being hit. So I add 4 more bulbs that are always on. Then I add shadow maps to all 8 bulbs. I would like to stack the 4 always on bulbs directly on top of the other bulbs but the shadow maps don't work this way so I stack them partially so they are slightly offset. Anyway they are close enough so that a 2 bulb set cast the same shadow. Doing the shadows this way makes them look good when the slings are not being hit and the bulbs cast a brighter shadow when being hit.

I usually add the lighting before the shadow maps. I have found that I usually have to rework the lighting a bit after I add the shadow maps. We'll see how it works doing the shadow maps first on this table. Anyway the following is a screenshot of how the table looks now. The back part of the table looks too dark to me but that will be fixed when I do the lighting.

SpaceShuttle1.23.png
 

GeorgeH

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I am nearly finished with the lighting. For those of you that work on tables, it is better to add shadow maps before doing the lighting. I did have to rework the shadows slightly but much. If you do lighting before the shadow maps, you will have to rework the lighting quite a bit after you finish the shadows. I will post some screen sots of the lighting when it is finished. While I was working on the lighting, I zoomed in close to many of the table objects. I noticed that Tomasaco's smaller models look stunning and are nicely detailed. Here are a few screen shots zoomed in close:

Drop Target:
SpaceShuttle1.2.png


Spinner:
SpaceShuttle1.22.png


Stationary Targets:
SpaceShuttle1.25.png
 

GeorgeH

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I have finished the lighting which makes the table look pretty slick. I owe a lot to Tomasaco's textures and models. I started with my reworked light settings from Attack From Mars and changed them a bit. I think the lighting looks better than my other table mods. The "FP Original" setting never looks as good as "New Renderer" on any table but the "FP Original" setting on this table is very close to the "Day" mode that uses "New Renderer". Adjusting the render settings in BAM is tricky because there are many settings and some of the settings produce similar effects to others. I made the lighting switchable with the light mode for a number of objects on the table. On this table, each light mode has separate settings for ball brightness and brightness of the targets, flippers and some of the plastics. I tended to use global commands for these things in the past.

I am often hesitant to post screen shots because because they frequently don't look as good as the table. I don't know the reason why. This screen shot looks good although it is a bit difficult to see the halos from the lights shine through the plastics. The lighting is set to "Dark Night". The "Night Glow" mode is more popular but it is darker and screen shots of it don't work as well.

I have noticed that owners of real tables can buy a kit that back lights the instruction cards. I decided to add the same thing to this table but make them switchable so the end user can turn them on and off. They are turned on in the screen shot. They have the same lighting as the rest of the apron when they are turned off. Each lighting mode has its own setting for brightness of the card. It is pretty difficult to read the rules when the cards are turned off but they do tend to attract more attention there when playing the game so that is why I made them switchable.

I added bulbs that shine halos through the slingshots. The bulbs are turned on in the screenshot but are not quite as bright as they appear on the table. I planned on adding halo bulbs under the rest of the plastics but decided they look good as is. Tomasaco created models for the plastics and they produce halos that look different than normal surfaces but they actually look better.

SpaceShuttle1.2.png
 

GeorgeH

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Thanks Nic. I am pleased with the way it looks also. I worked on the menu system today. It won't be long before it is ready to post.
 

GeorgeH

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I have finished the menu system. You could probably anticipate the options I added if you have read my previous posts. They are:

1) lighting
2) instruction cards on or off
3) lane lights that use both flippers or the right flipper only
4) 3 or 5 balls per game
5) HUD on or off.

I could post screen shots but they are the same or similar to the screens used on my other table mods.
 

GeorgeH

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The table is finished though it will take a little time for me to create the version for rotated display and write everything for the posting. There is also a bit of testing to do.

One thing about Tomasaco's textures is that none of them use power of 2. You can read more about power of 2 in the FP help. To be honest, I have never really understood why PC applications have to use this for their graphics. I do know that FP is not the only application that requires power of 2 so it must be something about the way PCs work. I probably would not understand it if someone explained why it is needed anyway. FP will allow you to use textures that do not comply with power of 2 but then it will require a lot more resources on your PC so it is best to use it. I have learned a trick on how to apply power of 2 to any texture used on FP. I am willing to post a tutorial on how to do this if someone requests it. Anyway, I have converted all the textures used on this table to power of 2. It does make the table load faster.

I have imported the XML code for the custom physics into the script. I also added the message that displays if you are not using the correct version of BAM.

I decided I did not like the sound the flippers make. I watched several videos of the real table and listened to the flipper sound. I found some audio files that are a pretty close match to the real table and have replaced the audio for the flippers.
 

GeorgeH

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Guys,

I have posted the table now:


Before I posted it, I made a few more changes. I figured out a way to make the gas segmented displays stop flashing by disabling some thing called "Boredom" in the FP editor. I thought it was intended to imitate the flicker of segmented displays that you can see in videos but maybe not. Real tables don't flicker like that in real life so I don't want this table doing it either.

I did some things to make the 3 bank of drop targets next to the spinner so you can hit it. I moved it out into the lane a little more and a few other things. I also did a few things so it is easier to see whether the flags are dropped or not.

George
 
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