Developed by David Wyand
Manual Written by David Wyand
Using: The Torque Game Engine Synapse Gaming Lighting Code Pack
Torque ShowTool Pro started as a quick change to the Torque Game Engine back in December 2003. I was working with a user of my LightWave DTS Exporter that was having a problem with their nodes. Unfortunately, the TGE didn’t have an easy mechanism to view a node’s behavior in-game. I put together a small viewer that would allow me to see where the nodes were within a DTS shape and watch them as they animated. This was the beginning.
This little viewer sat on my hard drive for a few months, with a little tinkering here and there to help with the DTS exporter. It wasn’t until the Spring of 2004 that I realized that such a tool was sorely needed by the community at large. There were a couple of efforts put forth to create a similar tool but none of them got very far. This seemed like a great opportunity!
I put some effort into getting the viewer into a state I would feel comfortable with releasing to some testers. Up go a couple of screen shots on the GarageGames web site, and people seemed to like the graphical interface. Great!
I then contacted Joe Maruschak of BraveTree to see if he was interested in trying out my DTS viewer, then entitled the Gnometech ShowTool – named after my own site www.gnometech.com. He had helped me in the past when I had some questions regarding the capabilities of the DTS and DSQ file formats. He agreed to take a look and really liked what he saw.
I can’t stress enough how much it helps to have a tester that uses the software nearly every day. Joe offered many great suggestions that have been incorporated into the product. And he got the word out to other professional artists who then contacted me to also become testers. Having professionals bang away on your creation really lets you know what works and what doesn’t.
It was now the Summer of 2004 and I started posting a number of screen shots of the viewer, now known as David Wyand’s Looking Glass. Interest was really building and I was contacted by the guys at GarageGames to publish it with them. As their web site was the target audience, this made obvious sense.
The Fall of 2004 was the big push to get Looking Glass mostly complete for the IGC – the first I had attended. Demonstrating the product in front of groups of people and seeing their interest is a real boost that helps carry you through to product launch.
We’re now nearing the end of 2004. Garage-Games would like to incorporate my viewing software into their core product line, and so it is renamed to Torque ShowTool Pro. Quite an honor! In a few days, the product will be unleashed onto the Indie masses and it has been quite a journey. One I hope to take again.
I would like to thank everyone that helped along the way.
David Wyand December 2004
Partial Feature List
· Runs on OSX and Windows
· Capable of loading multiple DTS objects into their own view. DSQ files may be loaded individually or through a standard .cs file to import multiple animation sequences at once. A list of the last five loaded objects is available for quick reloading.
· Multiple rendering formats: textured shaded, untextured shaded, flat shaded, textured wireframe, front face wireframe, wireframe, vertices, bounding boxes, and triangle strips.
· In addition to the perspective view, a number of orthographic views are available.
· User selectable bitmap for environmental mapping.
· The light source may be moved around with the mouse in a ‘trackball’-like fashion, or turned off for unobstructed viewing of the applied textures.
· The current mip map level may be changed at any time with a key press. Mip mapping may also be turned off by locking the current mip map in place.
· Textures may be flushed and reloaded with a key press. They may also be reloaded automatically on a user defined interval.
· All DTS material properties are displayed.
· Background may be a solid color or a loaded bitmap. A snapshot of a game’s level could be used.
· All nodes and their parent/child links may be shown. When a node is selected, its world or local position and rotation are shown along with a graphical representation of the node’s axis.
· If a node controls a mesh’s vertices, they are rendered with color coding indicating their weighting.
· Object bounding boxes, collision meshes, and line of sight collision meshes may all be rendered.
· Any loaded object may be mounted onto any other object using any node. Includes correct orientation for TGE vehicle wheels.
· Levels of detail may be manually selected or automatically determined as they would in-game.
· Animation sequences may be played forwards or backwards at a user defined time scale. The sequences may also be scrubbed through using the animation time slider.
· All animation sequence parameters may be viewed, including a list of controlled nodes and defined triggers.
· View the hierarchical structure of an exported DTS object using a number of methods. Useful for debugging a shape.
· See the rendering structure of your object at each detail level to determine the order the meshes will be drawn in.
· Activate the TGE’s reskinning code to change a loaded shape’s textures, such as for different team uniforms.
· View the rendering order of BSP-based sorted meshes to check that pieces are not overlapping inappropriately.
· Full support for the Synapse Gaming Lighting Pack. See how your object will look if you add this product to your game.
Installing Torque Show Tool Pro
Below are the minimum system requirements for the various operating systems Torque Show Tool Pro runs on. As with most graphics intensive applications, the more memory and the higher display resolution, the better. If your system is capable of running one of the mainstream 3D modeling and animation packages or the TGE demo, then there shouldn’t be an issue with Torque ShowTool Pro.
· Mac OS X 10.3
· G3 with 64 MB RAM
· OpenGL 1.3 compatible 3D graphics accelerator
· 7 MB disk space
· 800x600 display resolution
· Pentium II 300 with 64 MB RAM
· OpenGL 1.3 compatible 3D graphics accelerator
· 5 MB disk space
· 800x600 display resolution
Upgrading from a Previous Version
If you already have a previous version of Torque ShowTool Pro on your computer, it is recommended that you first uninstall it. Please see below for instructions on how to uninstall on your platform.
OSX Installation (10.3 or higher)
Step 1: Download the .dmg from GarageGames.
Step 2a: A Torque ShowTool Pro folder should be on your desktop. Drag this folder to where you would like the program to be run from, such as in Applications.
Step 2b: If you don’t have a Torque ShowTool Pro folder, double click on the .dmg file to open it in the Finder. Create a new Torque ShowTool Pro folder where you would like the program to be run from, such as in Applications. Drag the contents of the .dmg file into this new folder.
Step 3: If you still have the .dmg file, it may be safely placed in the trash.
Step 4: To start Torque ShowTool Pro, double-click the Torque ShowTool Pro application icon just as you would any other application.
Step 1: Download the .exe file from Garage-Games.
Step 2: Start the installation process by double-clicking on the .exe file you just downloaded.
Step 3: Go through each of the steps in the installation software. If you want to select a different directory to install Torque ShowTool Pro into (the default is Program Files/TorqueShowToolPro), choose the new directory when asked.
Step 4: Once installed, you may safely delete the downloaded .exe file.
Step 5: To start ShowTool Pro, double-click the Torque ShowTool Pro icon on the desktop or go through the Window’s Start menu just as you would any other application.
To uninstall Torque ShowTool Pro, simply drag the Torque ShowTool Pro folder to the trash.
To uninstall Torque ShowTool Pro, select the uninstall option from the Torque ShowTool Pro entry under the Window’s Start menu and follow the prompts.
Registering the Product
Torque ShowTool Pro allows for a 7 day trial period, after which time a license key must be purchased to continue using it. During this trial period, a window appears upon startup that allows you to purchase a license key from GarageGames and to register your key with the application.
Once you’ve purchased Torque ShowTool Pro, you’ll be provided with an Ignition Key by GarageGames. If you ever loose your key, you may find it under the My Garage section of www. garagegames. com. To use your Ignition Key, click on the Register button at the bottom of the startup window. This will open the Registration window.
The top most arrow points to the ID required for off-line registration
The bottom arrow is where you enter your Ignition Key from Garage Games
Enter your assigned Ignition Key into the text field and press the Register button. Torque Show-Tool Pro will then access the garagegames.com site to verify the key – Internet access will be required.
To use this method, you’ll need to provide your off-line registration ID that is available from the ShowTool Pro RegistRation window.
Once Torque ShowTool Pro has been successfully registered, the startup window will no longer appear and you’ll not need to worry about the 7 day trial period any longer.
If you ever need help with Torque ShowTool Pro, feel free to drop by the Torque ShowTool Pro forum found at www.garagegames.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to the forum so you’ll always see when someone has posted a new message.
Getting Started With Torque ShowTool Pro
With installation of the software complete and Torque ShowTool Pro started by double-clicking its icon, it’s time to set up the project directories to your game content and load your first object.
Setting Up Project Directories
A project directory points to the location of your game’s DTS and DSQ files. This could be the topmost level of your game directory hierarchy or a directory that only contains shape files. Torque ShowTool Pro begins at the selected project directory and searches down all subdirectories when looking for files to load.
ShowTool Pro allows you to set up multiple project directories and switch between them at any time. This allows you to load in shapes from different games or to organize your shapes within the same game in a logical manner.
For example, the standard TGE distribution has a file pathway of torque/example/starter.fps. Using this for your project directory would provide access to all shapes for the starter.fps game and below.
If you instead wanted to be more specific (which would decrease the number of files displayed within the load file window) you could use a file pathway of torque/example/starter.fps/data/shapes/ player to access only those shapes used for the player. In the case of the starter.fps game, this is the Orc model.
When ShowTool Pro is started for the first time, no project directories are defined. Before you may load any files, you’ll need to create one. To do so, click on the Project Directory button at the top left of the main window, and then select [modify].
Choosing the [modify] option will open the Modify Project Directories window.
Click on the Add Directory button and a new project directory will be created. You may then either manually enter in a directory path into the Path to Project Directory text edit field or click on the Browse button.
The Browse button will open an Operating System standard directory selection dialog from which you may select your game shape directory.
With a chosen project directory you may optionally enter in a more descriptive name using the Name (Optional) text edit field. This name will be used instead of the file pathway within the Project Directory popup.
When you are done adding project directories, click on the OK button of the Modify PRoject diRectoRies window. When you eventually quit ShowTool Pro your project directories will automatically be saved for later.
Loading Your First Object
Before you may load in a DTS file you’ll need to make sure that the correct project directory is selected. One way to do this is through the Project Directory popup. Click on the Project Directory popup and select the directory you set up above. In the example below, the shapes item has been chosen by the user.
With the appropriate project directory selected you may now load in a DTS file by clicking on the Load DTS button at the upper left of the main window.
This will in turn open the Load File... window presenting all of the DTS files in the project directory and all subdirectories. If there are a lot of files it may take a while for the window to appear and it may be worthwhile to create a new project directory that starts further down the directory hierarchy.
Select a DTS file and click on the Load button. The file listing window will close and the DTS file will be shown in the 3D window. Depending on the display settings, the shape’s node hierarchy may also be shown.
The name of the currently viewed shape will always be displayed in the upper right corner of the main window in the Current Shape popup. When you load multiple shapes, you may use this popup to move between them.
That’s it for the Getting Started with Torque ShowTool Pro chapter. For further information on using Torque ShowTool Pro, please see the tutorial and reference chapters in the main documentation that ships with the tool.