This week I created a few placeholder assets to set my materials up with. I set up a master material that takes an integer from 1 to 4 to display the correct direction for the texture.
I’m using an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) map to control the colours, and for the first few assets I painstakingly drew each map by hand. Fortunately, I quickly realised I could apply a block colour to certain parts in the 3D Modelling program. Using an orthographic camera I took 2 shots every 90 degrees; one for the texture and one for the RGB map. These were then composed in Photoshop.
For players that want that “custom look” without having to colour every item by hand, I’m hoping this system will allow for ship-wide colour schemes. It will give modders more or less complete control over the colours of their creations too.
To sum up, making master materials or master actors takes time to set up, but is a great time saver in the long run. On the programming side it’s much easier to work with a master that takes a few inputs, than creating unique assets for every item/material combination. From a player perspective this will ultimately grant the highest level of control whilst still being intuitive and simple to use.
The next item on the to-do list is letting players place, rotate, and delete these items in the Ship Builder.