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Class for Dark Forces Editing : Texturing Overview


Why do you texture? Doesn't that have an obvious answer? Well, I'll answer from two perspectives.
ONE - A level would be horrible without any textures! It would simply look awful, you wouldn't be able to tell what anything was. Take it a step further, and it means that you can't have any switches, animated textures, or walkthru walls.
TWO - It's absolutely necessary from a programming persepctive. How can you create a wall with absolutely nothing on it? It's gotta have something. So, a default texture would be used, and more than likely, it isn't what looks right there.
So do your texturing right, and you'll do well.


Of course, I'm going have to define Good Texturing before I can tell you what to look for. Good Texturing is any place in your level where your texture fits the situation and enhances the level.
Now - how to do it. First off, you need a theme. There are two types here - overall level theme, and area theme. Overall theme is the general mood of the entire level. Many levels have an overly happy mood, and this should be avoided. If appropriate, a very dark and foreboding atmosphere is good. If that doesn't fit, then some general Imperial atmosphere is fine. Area theme is the general atmosphere of a certain area. This is harder to control, but not much. Overall theme can be easily modified by the music you select, while area theme can only be changed by texturing and, to a certain extent, architecture. Objects can easily help here too. Your area atmosphere shouldn't be too different from your overall theme, because your music can't be changed inbetween areas!
Now you've gotta choose a texture that fits your theme while doing what you want it to do. What do you want it to do? Well, you'd better figure out!
This is the stage where your texture lists are very important. If you're using my own texture lists, I've already built in several hand-selected themes. I've got Rebels, Imperials, Fuel and Hangar, and Industrial. Rebel is usually a light-coloured texture. Imperials are usually dark, but this also includes luxuriously expensive textures. Fuel and Hangar are generally steel or silver, or may have racks on the wall or something like that. Industrial is anything that may have rust or grime on it, maybe machinery. These will help, but sometimes you've just gotta go through the entire list by hand looking for the right texture.


If you don't have WDFUSE, then this will be a huge pain in the neck. It means that you've gotta go through and manually align every single texture. But what is aligning and why is it important?
When you are building a house or building, you have to put up wallpaper. The Dark Forces engine puts up textures like the stupidest wallpaperer on Earth. Just like when you are putting up wallpaper, you have to cut into the paper to go around features like a door or a window. If you don't, it will be ugly. The Dark Forces engine puts up a texture from the bottom up. At the base of the wall or section of the wall goes the bottom of the texture you choose, then it proceeds up until the texture is over. Then it starts over again. So, therefore, if you've got a window in the middle of a wall, the texture below the window (BOT texture, just for future reference) will look fine. However, the texture above the window (TOP, just for future reference) most likely will not. So you've gotta cut a shape in the bottom of it to make it fit right. That is Y aligning. X aligning is much more difficult. This is horizontal aligning, because if your texture has any features painted on it, such as a small panel or control, you don't want it to stop and then start over when it hits your window. You want it to keep going as if the wall never broke there. So you've gotta again cut a shape in the side of the texture to make it fit. I won't explain how here, because quite frankly I don't know, I use WDFUSE to do mine. Just always remember that the Dark Forces engine has the Y axis going down for whatever reason, so it's inverted. If you are using WDFUSE, you'll notice that it isn't always inverted, that's because Yves Borckmans did only a partial job of fixing that.
I seem to have explained why above as well. It will just plain look ugly, so you have to. You've got to realign every time you break a wall, whether it's to make a door or window or to create a corner in your room, you've gotta realign so that it wraps along nicely, just like a good wallpaperer.