neXt - How to Construct Own Sceneries:
First of all, you need a high quality 360° panorama photo. Here are some tips: taking panoramic pictures.
Here you can download a neXt template scenery 'MBG Mauchenmuehle' for Blender.
You should be familiar with Blender. The Blender is a free 3D content creation suite. You can get it here.
- Step 1: Produce a 360° panorama photo and create a 6-side 360° cubemap.
- Step 2: Replace the cubemap files in the neXt template scenery.
- Step 3: Open the Blender neXt template scenery and construct and place the collision objects.
- Step 4: When everything is done, you can submit the project to us. We convert these files into a neXt scenery file which you get back.
The most important Blender shortcuts:
Step 1: You can use PTGUI Pro for building up your 360° panorama photo. The image resolution of the 'MGB Mauchenmuehle' panorama photo is 28322 × 14162. When you are ready, select 'Tools / Convert to
QTVR/Cubic...' from the pulldown menu. Press 'Add Files...' and select your 360° panorama photo. Change in the 'Convert to' line the
output to 'Cube faces, 6 separate files' and 'Tiff'. Set the cube face size to 4096 pixel, therefore disable the 'Automatic' function.
Then you can press 'Convert'. Of course, if your panorama photo is not big enough, you can also convert it to 2048 pixel cube faces.
Step 2: The cube map textures are located in the 'Textures' folder. Simply rename your files and overwrite the example textures.
Step 3: Open the Blender template scenery and examine it for understanding how it works. The Skybox is a big cube where the panorama
photo is applied. It's very important to place this cube always exactly at the center (coordinates 0,0,0). The virtual camera should also
be placed at the center.
There are also three textured 3d objects. The 'CollisionObj-Board', 'CollisionObj-Stake' and 'CollisionObj-Table'.
These objects can also be textured (if needed) and they will be shown in the neXt as typical 3D objects. The helicopters can collide with
them and they hide the helicopter partially when he flies behind them. You can add as many as needed. But take care to use not too much
Now we come to these collider objects which are always behind the helicopter. They have no own textures because they get their colors
in the neXt from the cube map. The 'Runway' is the collision object for the runway with grass. The 'Runway-Asphalt' is the
collision object for asphalt parts. Place these object as exact as possible and also don't use too much polygons. The 'CollisionObj-Ground'
is a collision object for the surrounding area. The 'CollisionObj-Planting' and 'CollisionObj-Three' are also only invisible
The 'Skybox-Alpha' is a cover object which has no collision function. It has tiff textures with an Alpha channel attached. The
transparent parts will be cut out. The other parts will hide the helicopter when he flies behind these objects. You copy the Skybox object
in object mode, name the copy 'Skybox-Alpha'. Switch to the edit mode and delete all these cube sides which are not needed. Then
you duplicate the needed cube faces and delete the old ones. That is necessary for the next step. You set the pivot point to center (0,0,0)
and scale the sides to the desired position.
The 'SecurityArea' describes an area where the helicopter cannot fly. Normally it's invisible and when the helicopter touches this
object it will get tinted red and the helicopter will be destroyed.
You can see the camera view in the right lower area of the Blender template. Place the cursor over there and press Shift+F to move the
camera by using the mouse. If you like to zoom in, press the right mouse button to exit the camera view mode and use the scroll wheel
of your mouse. In the inspector (top right area) you can switch off single objects by clicking onto the eye symbol. When I place or work
on an object, I switch off most of the other collision objects. Sometimes it can help when you place a Google Earth screenshot as background
Step 4: The neXt scenery files are compiled and contain all objects and textures in one file. So your work is protected because
nobody can examine it or use parts of it without your permission.
||Toggles between Edit and Object mode
||Creates a new object
||In object mode, you duplicate the selected object and in the edit mode it duplicates the selected parts
||Box selection in Edit mode
||Adds a new polygon between selected edges or points.
||Moves 3D cursor to center
||Switch the scale center to the 3D cursor
||Modifies a selected SDS edge
||Switch the current view from perspective / orthographic
||Change to camera view
||Switch to front view
|strg + numblock 1
||Switch to back view
||Switch to top view
|strg + numblock 7
||Switch to bottom view
||Switch to right view
|strg + numblock 3
||Switch to left view
|Move / Scale Objects:
||Grab. Keys x, y, z are blocking the other directions.
||Scale. Keys x, y, z are blocking the other directions.
|shift+middle mouse button
|| Move Viewer
||Preview of the scenery: Move Camera view angle (without moving the camera position). Press 'esc' for exit from this
||Set children to parent object position
|Win: strg+a / Mac: ctrl+a
||Apply location, rotation, scale