go to Darksaber for proving this was practical and
As you know
the Low-Detail model is what is used when the ship
is far enough away from the players point of view
that a box with the ship drawn on will look the same
as the full detailed model and when it is also much
more likely that the player will be able to see several
of the ship (e.g. the entire squadron) rather than
just a few or one (e.g. the fighter the player is
is most critical for using with Fighters (Base OPT
only) as they are the ships which both change range
fastest and which are normally the most numerous in
a mission. In some ways it seems less necessary for
starships as you less often get far enough away from
them for the LOD model to be able to be used (especially
if the LOD is a box-with-textures) but since this
is not a great deal of extra work this option should
a short step by step guide :
thing to do is to make your OPT and to plan how
you are going to very greatly simplify it. This
should be as low a facecount as possible - remember
that you can view the TG LOD models by importing
the OPT into OPTech which will give you some idea
of how they simplified their models.
carefully take pictures of your OPT (I used printscreen,
pasted the screen into PSP, and then cut out the
required part of the screenshot) which will become
the textures for the LOD model. You can do this
in either ACE or OPTech - the advantage of ACE
being that if this is how you made your OPT then
you'll have a project file to load already while
the advantage of OPTech being that if you decide
to include the FG colours that this program can
/ Resize the pictures down to small sizes (32*32
or 64*16 for example or even smaller), reduce
their colour depth to 256 colours and save as
the boxy DXF of your OPT (or you could do this
before the previous steps). This should be low
enough in facecount to easily be able to be (and
should be) a single mesh.
new ACE project import the boxy DXF and texture
it. This should not take too long considering
how few faces you will be working with. Save the
project and save as OPT.
OPTech and create a new OPZ. Import either your
full-detail OPT or your LOD OPT- save - Import
the other OPT - save.
the LOD mesh and then holding down Ctrl select
the main hull or section of your full detail OPT
and then click the Assign LOD button.
in a deliberately low value in the Cloaking
Distance box for the mesh.
the OPZ and save as OPT.
go into XWA and set your Use Low Detail Models
setting to minimum and fly a skirmish with your
OPT. You should see the change which will confirm
that you now have a LOD model in your OPT.
the OPZ again and put a "proper" value in the
Cloaking Distance box for the mesh. The
best way to decide what value you require is to
simply look at comparable TG OPTs.
the OPZ and save as OPT.
go into XWA and this time the change should occur
further away. I had previously suggested that
you should keep the Use Low Detail Models
setting at minimum and adjust the values so that
the switch would be just on the edge of being
visible or slightly beyond with this setting.
On reflection this is a stupid piece of advice
as this would mean that the Use Low Detail
Models setting would change between barely
visible distant switch and totally invisible very
distant switch rather than (as with the TG OPT
Values) between visible close switch and invisible
Having thought it through I'd now advise changing
the Use Low Detail Models setting to
about 3/4 of maximum (to allow for a margin of
error) and then changing the values in OPTech
to make the switch just on the edge of being visible
so that the player can bring the distance much
closer into visible or further away into being
invisible.get used (which would make adding them
Once it is working fine - Congratulations, you've finished.
method of box with texture is useful for fighters
and can be used for starships as well (example the
TG CRS and to an extent the TG Dreadnaught) but an
alternate method for starships which is worth considering
is to use a more complex model and simply omit the
smaller details (example the TG ISD and VSD).
will obviously have a higher facecount than a box
with textures (so it will have less of an effect each
time) but since it can be used at much closer range
the LOD model will be more likely to actually be used
and have the effect. Which method you use depends
on the design of the ship, how large it is (hence
how far away you'd have to be for either method),
and how many of them may be in the mission.
If the starship is reasonably small then you'd be
more likely to have more than one in a mission, so
a greater need for facecount reductions, and more
likely to reach a distance at which this ship looks
small enough that a box with textures will work fine
(like with the Dreadnaught).
However if the starship is a large one then conversely
it is more probable that you'd more often only have
one or two. so less need for facecount reduction,
and less likely to reach a distance at which this
larger ship looks small enough for a box with textures
to work - and so a reduced detail model with more
normal textures may be better (like with the ISD or
Or of course you can compromise and have a model which
is more detailed than the 5-Box LOD model of the CRS
but much less detailed than the ISD or VSD model -
which is the method used for the TG Winged CRS.
(detail in texture)
(small detail in model)
("high" detail in model)
to get the LOD model for the IRD done in about 3 hours
(even with the FG colours which meant 7 sets of 4
textures (28) rather than just 7 textures) from start
to finish so you can see that compared with the amount
of time the rest of the OPT can take this is fairly
I've only done this once (so far) so any corrections
/ additions / tips are welcome.