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 Forum index » Modding Central » Media Hut » Tutorials
Making Voxel tank tracks and wheels properly
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G-E
Defense Minister


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2022 12:00 pm    Post subject:  Making Voxel tank tracks and wheels properly Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've seen a lot of badly designed tanks, but nothing irks me more than basic errors like incorrect/untenable physical mistakes, like nonsensical track shapes.

I hope people find this useful, or at least enlightening for a topic they never really put much focus/effort towards.


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Allied General
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2022 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Its a video game where it takes second to make a tank.

Even the T-34 which was streamlined for quick production took 36 hours to make (compared to 200 hours) so why are you stressing out over some side pixels?

Unless you're saying your voxel is a model accurate real life tank, you can do whatever you want. There is nothing wrong with unrealistic tanks in a game with giant squid and giant brain vehicles.
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Kerbiter
Cyborg Soldier


Joined: 05 Jun 2018

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2022 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That's a nice insight on the details for those who are unaware. Though I hope you realize that 99% don't really give a damn on the position of a few pixels that are only visible from the sides of a tank, so your attitude here is kinda strange.
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G-E
Defense Minister


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2022 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kerbiter wrote:
That's a nice insight on the details for those who are unaware. Though I hope you realize that 99% don't really give a damn...

While that may be casually true, everyone appreciates good looking voxels, and I'm only writing such tutorials to raise the level of quality. The more approachable it is to design good voxels, as in demystified and straightforward, the more people will try their hand at it. That's a good thing right?

There's other topics I plan to cover like normals and how to design a voxel for shrinkage, advanced topics that experienced voxel makers will benefit from, or inspire them to think about the process in new ways.
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G-E
Defense Minister


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2022 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another trick that can help when fitting tracks to a chassis, is to use irregular spacing. Although I always recommend making the tracks first, if going for a realistic tank, making something from imagination will probably start with a hull shape, then progress outward, and for those instances some gap finessing may solve design issues.

In cases where you can't make the track curves look right, you might need to shift a wheel rearward or forward, and in such case, you may realize you can't divide the space with the required road wheels and gaps. Deviating from the normal regular spacing can salvage the design, without having to enlarge or lengthen the track.

During WW2 the Germans focused on torsion bar suspension, effectively the same as a swaybar on a car, you twist a piece of metal until it doesn't want to twist anymore, this creates a very progressive spring effect, soft intially, increasing in stiffness under compression. This meant that German tanks were very compliant on uneven terrain, small bumps were absorbed with little impact, allowing them to shoot on the move quite accurately, before gun stabilization. Their initial softness meant they needed more of them to balance a tank in weight transitions, this is why Panzer 3 & 4 had so many smaller wheels, and why you saw overlapping/staggered larger wheels on Tigers and Panthers.

The Soviet tanks of the era used coil springs, and bounced around madly, because for the spring to be able to hold up the tank, it has to be really strong. A strong coil spring decompresses with the full force of the weight it has to support. One counter to this is to more tightly control the pressure of the suspension at the front of the vehicle, matching them more closely to the forces they experience, so if the tank is unevenly weighted, less road wheels will be used at the lighter end. They continued this practice even when switching to torsion bar suspensions.


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cxtian39
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Joined: 11 Feb 2016

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2022 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like your attitude. No need to care about people don't care about what you care about.
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G-E
Defense Minister


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2022 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cxtian39 wrote:
I like your attitude. No need to care about people don't care about what you care about.

Anyone who wants to suffer is free to suffer.
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McPwny
Cyborg Specialist


Joined: 29 Jan 2018

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2022 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

im looking forward to that tutorial about keeping voxels no larger than 1 cell tbh
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G-E
Defense Minister


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2022 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This one is a big more complicated as it involves real face curvature, which auto-normals works against without some clever tricks to force it to behave. Normally every shape is auto-normalized with the goal of making it appear to be the smallest possible shape touching those pixel locations, which means in an overly simplified way, that it is trying to create spherical lighting... resulting in soft, rounded shapes.

Your typical tank wheel is lit so that the rim closest to the viewer shines towards the viewer, and the far side shines away. For a relatively flat wheel shape, say 2 layers thick, this is probably acceptable, but for a complex shape with a dished face, this works against it, except at very large sizes.

Now to be clear, I'm not suggesting using this method on smal wheels, there needs to be enough material to remove on at least 2 layers to make it worth doing, otherwise it could more reasonably be faked using colour alone. The larger the wheel, the more appropriate it becomes to give it actual depth and shape complexity.


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