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Thread: importing Sketchup models into trainz

  1. #16
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    sketchup pro can export to a lot of 3d formats; sketchup free version can export to blender only via dae format.

  2. #17
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    Probably what we need is a small library of textured Blender models that can be modified. That might tackle the learning curve problem.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks John

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnwhelan View Post
    If you stick with Blender 2.79b then https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Trainz...al_for_Blender try the moving house tutorial. The problem with Blender is it is very rich and we only use about 5% of it so Trainz specific tutorials are best. If you look in the forum there are video tutorials as well. The exporter for trainz only works with 2.79b. For 2.8 you need to use FBX and import into it could be a minimum of TANE I'm not totally sure.

    Cheerio John
    How are you John? I have been trying to follow your Moving House Tutorial because I am at that point in Route Building where I really need to make some bespoke buildings. I bit the bullet, downloaded Blender (2.78) and sat down to go through your tutorial. I got to model the House and the bit where we move on to texturing. However, when I open up my house to start your tutorial, the base grid is missing and the house appears in a solid form with no toolbars showing. I can shut Blender down and restart to its default settings, but as soon as I open my house.blend file, it goes back to how I don't want it.

    Do you know a way of getting the screens back without having to go back and start your tutorial all over again? Please?
    There's the Great Western Way of Doing Things and There's The Wrong way!.........

  4. #19
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    I have used Sketchup to create simple buildings mostly for my own use. Some are on the DLS. Here are my thoughts:
    1. I have stayed with Sketchup 8.
    2. I installed Blender and even bought two books from Amazon: Blender for Dummies and 10 Minute Blender. If you believe you can learn Blender in 10 minutes, LOL
    3. I am 95% certain you can import Sketchup models into Blender. I gave up on Blender due to it's non-standard user interface and complexity that far exceeded my needs.
    4. Everything I do in Sketchup is very low poly with decent quality textures. Buildings only, or things like simple underpasses, building bases etc., and well below the limits beyond which N3V now requires LOD (500 polys I think)
    5. I know how to use textures efficiently and I keep the number of texture files as low as reasonably possible.
    6. I am convinced that part of Sketchup's poor reputation on this forum is that some users have gone to the 3d warehouse and downloaded someone else's model and put it onto the DLS. Many of these models have thousands or tens of thousands of polys and are unsuitable for video games whether created in Blender or Sketchup. Stop doing this.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sterrett View Post
    How are you John? I have been trying to follow your Moving House Tutorial because I am at that point in Route Building where I really need to make some bespoke buildings. I bit the bullet, downloaded Blender (2.78) and sat down to go through your tutorial. I got to model the House and the bit where we move on to texturing. However, when I open up my house to start your tutorial, the base grid is missing and the house appears in a solid form with no toolbars showing. I can shut Blender down and restart to its default settings, but as soon as I open my house.blend file, it goes back to how I don't want it.

    Do you know a way of getting the screens back without having to go back and start your tutorial all over again? Please?
    Try <Crtl><up arrow> and see what happens.

    Cheerio John

  6. #21
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    There are lots of buildings on the DLS already, check out the ones by Dave Snow, for example. But there were all these hotels on the 3D Warehouse and there is a lack of US style hotels including Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, etc. in Trainz, Dave Snow made a Holiday Inn Express and a reskinned Red Roof Inn, though. You could probably reskin his hotel with any hotel name you want. But I want different styled ones, like different Hampton Inns, Embassy Suites, etc. I never learned how to make buildings myself, it seems too complex. And forget about locomotives, I could never be a Jointed Rail or K&L Trainz. I just reskin other's models to get what I want. We need an easier to use modeling program at least for buildings, signs, etc. that can export directly to Trainz format.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbcz View Post
    I am a new Trainz user, and I am attempting to import sketchup models of my town into trainz. I have been successful with several imports using the TMIX app. However, a few of the building models will not import. I get this message when importing: "parse error file: line 1: expected float, found 'NaN'. If I proceed with the import the entry in my file content is printed in red and indicates it is faulty. It has to do with the mesh file import, but I am clueless as to why some import just fine and others do not. Any advice is appreciated.

    Hi, I hope your Trainz journey is on smooth track in the future.

    I went through a little Sketchup phase many years back. I can't recall seeing an error message like that. I am wondering if new versions of Sketchup produce models that are not as compatible with the now-quite-old Ruby Tmix as they used to be.

    In any case, others here have pointed out the flaws that RubyTmix produces for Trainz assets, but I found that assets more acceptable for Trainz could be made by 2 step simplifications:


    1. Before generating the Trainz asset, simplify the Sketchup asset by stripping out as many polygons as you can, especially bits that are not visible or bits that are rounded excessively.

    2. After generating the Trainz asset, modify it again by eradicating as much texture duplication as you can. This can be a time consuming task, depending on the asset of course.

    As you can see, a fair bit of extra work is required to make "acceptable" Trainz assets with RubyTmix, and may require knowledge you do not have as yet. I made a Trainz version of the London olympic stadium (it is on the DLS) using these techniques and managed to make an asset that, while still very big, is at least useable in Trainz without slaughtering the frame rate in cold blood. I hope it goes well for you.

    A71
    Recently released DLS routes - DSEPR02 Pilbara Iron, and DSEPR03 HS1 London to Lille

  8. #23
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    Everyone seems to be stating issues with the performance of sketchup models based upon experiences from years ago. Has anyone tested them in the latest version of E2 engine?

    Tony had this to say in MSGsapper's LOD thread.

    Here is an example of the RMRX GP40-2. It goes from 200k polys at high detail (20 years ago this had to be more like 2,000 polys), down to 100 polys at low LOD.

    Are these models over 200k polys?

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wreeder View Post
    Everyone seems to be stating issues with the performance of sketchup models based upon experiences from years ago. Has anyone tested them in the latest version of E2 engine?

    Tony had this to say in MSGsapper's LOD thread.

    Here is an example of the RMRX GP40-2. It goes from 200k polys at high detail (20 years ago this had to be more like 2,000 polys), down to 100 polys at low LOD.

    Are these models over 200k polys?

    Some on the DLS are over 500k polys. There isn't an easy way to do LOD in Sketchup. It's the number of polys and texture files that have the most impact and the version of Trainz doesn't make much difference to that.

    Cheerio John

  10. #25
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    I was wondering the same thing. Today's systems process millions of polys per second.


    Quote Originally Posted by wreeder View Post
    Everyone seems to be stating issues with the performance of sketchup models based upon experiences from years ago. Has anyone tested them in the latest version of E2 engine?

    Tony had this to say in MSGsapper's LOD thread.

    Here is an example of the RMRX GP40-2. It goes from 200k polys at high detail (20 years ago this had to be more like 2,000 polys), down to 100 polys at low LOD.

    Are these models over 200k polys?

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by K4andT1lover View Post
    I was wondering the same thing. Today's systems process millions of polys per second.

    But some are running on laptops with integrated graphics. Numerically the number of systems that have high end graphics are way out numbered by those with lesser machines. Besides the less processing the machine does the less electricity it uses and that all helps global warming.

    Remember a highly demanding Sketchup model and a lesser demanding model made in Blender etc will look exactly the same in the game. Well maybe not there are a number of things you can do with textures such as PBR etc you can do in Blender but I understand may not be available in Sketchup.

    Cheerio John

  12. #27
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    There's another aspect of these models that we keep forgetting here. Unlike an optimized Blender model, the textures in a Sketch-up model are individual textures. With a single UVW mapped model, the textures for individual parts are loaded at once because like a decal sheet they are placed in a single file. This file is referenced internally by the mesh and it knows internally where to place the textures. A Sketch-up model has individual textures assigned to each part. This means that each window on a large skyscraper, if modeled, will have its own texture even though the texture maybe the same as its neighbor. The windows in this case will be called window_1.tga, window_2.tga..., window_1000.tga, etc. This may not seem like a lot when the individual files are small, but the constant fetching of these individual textures from disc slows things down. An SSD maybe fast, but it too is slower still than something that's floating up in the system memory and quickly accessed by DMA. The SSD is still bound to the buss it's connected to and the SATA buss is still maxed out a 6 MB/s on most motherboards. The access time on those the connect to the motherboard via the PCI/e buss are faster, but still this buss is not as fast as RAM.

    With a single UVW map, the texture-file is loaded once into memory and accessed by the mesh as needed since each window, using the example from above, is the same texture referenced within the same file and not an individual texture. This may not seem to be too much of an issue on a fast modern system, but when there's a lot of this going on, this can slow down the processing a lot and cause jitters and pauses when the model is loaded. This is most apparent on slower systems with slower components overall due to the fewer resources to start with.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnwhelan View Post
    The problem with Blender is it is very rich and we only use about 5% of it...

    Cheerio John
    The problem with Blender is that is tries to be the Swiss Army knife of graphics programs. Imagine an all in one program that supports 3-D graphics - using any combination of facets, meshes, and NURB and splines -, animation, digital sculpting, video editing, compositing, and God only knows what else. That's Blender. Now try to come up with a straight-forward, cohesive, at least somewhat intuitive user interface. What you get, instead is... Blender. Imagine how much better it could be as a suite of tools with a collection of common core elements. I did computer graphics for something like 30 years using a lot of different tools. Every once in a while, I'll get a fresh copy of Blender and try to do something simple. Then I leave it alone 'til the next time.

    PS. Blender is perfectly capable of creating models with hundreds of thousands of faces and is quite good at it if the user doesn't pay attention.
    Mark Wilson
    Simulationist, TechnoGeek and former WDW Railie

  14. #29
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    Mark, is there a free or low-cost 3D program you feel would be better suited to most of what creators do in Trainz? That deals in the file and texture types Trainz uses?
    “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” - R.L.S.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawilson View Post
    The problem with Blender is that is tries to be the Swiss Army knife of graphics programs. Imagine an all in one program that supports 3-D graphics - using any combination of facets, meshes, and NURB and splines -, animation, digital sculpting, video editing, compositing, and God only knows what else. That's Blender. Now try to come up with a straight-forward, cohesive, at least somewhat intuitive user interface. What you get, instead is... Blender. Imagine how much better it could be as a suite of tools with a collection of common core elements. I did computer graphics for something like 30 years using a lot of different tools. Every once in a while, I'll get a fresh copy of Blender and try to do something simple. Then I leave it alone 'til the next time.

    PS. Blender is perfectly capable of creating models with hundreds of thousands of faces and is quite good at it if the user doesn't pay attention.
    But there isn't really anything else that has the capabilities to create content for Trainz that is free. Basically 3DS is out of the price range of many content creators. 3D canvas but you need the version that costs money. You need the tutorials as well and that is where Blender has the edge. There is a learning curve with these products so much so that many content creators still work in GMAX even with its limitations. Mind you GMAX is free but has limitations so I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. The other thing to consider is support. If you can't do something in Blender you can ask in the forum, there are fewer users for products such as 3DS.

    Cheerio John

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