Cataclysm... Updated?

As an experiment around what the old Cataclysm engine could take a good friend of mine decided to see if Cataclysm could handle the HWRM meshes. He ran hard up against the old texture system but the improved meshes didn’t bog down the game at all

This thread is to gague the acceptance of the relevant Gearbox peeps for us taking this experiment and making a Cataclysm mod out of it, to improve on the original game with HWRM assets. If we can’t use the existing meshes from HWRM as a starting point though there’s no reason to expend any further energy on this. So please tell us upfront :slight_smile:

Here’s some pictures to see we’re not kidding

Before and after

A real test of the old game engine

More pictures!

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The things we do when we are bored, and in covid-19 lockdown lol. Yes, The fool that did this was me. I did it pretty much to see if i “could” do it. The answer obviously from the screens was “yes i can”. Cataclysm eats the HWRM polygons for breakfast, and ask’s for seconds. Pretty much all but the Somtaww, and Beast have been replaced with HWRM counterparts. No texture corruption (the bane of old school HW1 modders). No LAG!

There is however some buggery due to how the meshes were made in HW1, and Cataclysm/Emergence. However that can be worked around. Being as i modded HW1, and Cataclysm back in the day it shouldn’t be too difficult to fix the mesh errors. Now that i have refreshed my memory on how to do it. Cat still has that 256 meg brick wall hard coded texture memory limit. Yet most of the models use a 256, or 512 res texture which was equal to and/or less than the memory the original textures used.

This can be considered a “proof of concept” project. However like Nathanius said. If Gearbox does not approve there is no point in continuing. It can give us something to play with until HW3 comes :wink:

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This work is amazing and the fact that upgraded meshes work at all, giving no issues with polygon count is incredible. Textures will have that hard coded limit unfortunately, still great showing for such an old game… imagine if it came out in 2000 with those models, everyone would have lost his/her mind at the quality!

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How did you get around the double textures… Geo, Peo?

I’m not sure i understand what you are asking.

The only “double textures” i saw were the fact that in each lod folder there was a peo, AND a geo file. Each with its own textures. Cat only used one file, or the other. Not both. It used mostly the geo file. However some were flagged to use the peo instead. IMO there was a lot of waste so i removed the other files textures from the Textures.ll (and all of the lods with it). Mainly to make room for the new textures. I fully understand how the textures.ll file works now.

If you are talking about “texture corruption”, As i explained i made sure the new replacement textures did not exceed the memory that the original model used (as in all 4 lods texture memory combined), and that the old textures were removed from the .ll file. It is basically a totally new .ll file that is used. TBH i am amazed this worked, and there is no texture corruption at all (yet). If we are going to do full Beast, and Somtaaw lineups, the only thing we can do is “enhance” the meshes themselves, but keep their textures “as is”.

@SAAA In 2000 our rigs may have been state of the art, but they belong in a beige, and CRT monitor museum now lol. A 256 meg video card was considered top of the line back then. I don’t remember much but my old rig was a 600mghz athlon, and only had 1 gig of ram. a 10k+ mesh would have made it come to a screeching halt.

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I always wondered about the double textures and why they did it that way. It’s down right amazing what you’ve discovered. I’ve got Cat on my system and running flawlessly in glide. Looks very good for an old game.

…those were the days :wink:

This looks gorgeous. Would love to see what the opening cinematic looks like with the updated models. :slight_smile:

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@sasteri We will work on an opening cinematic video for ya.

Understand that unless we get Gearbox’s approval we can not release anything. I hope they are paying attention, and approve.

Here is a fraps i did of opening scene. Not that good of quality, but best i can do for now.
https://youtu.be/VFQoAMLhOas

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This is amazing work… I wish they’d remake Cataclysm - perhaps release it along with HW3 some day. That’ll be amazing.

I asked someone at GBX to pass the thread on to whoever might be responsible, which they said they would do. I’m not sure if you’ll get a direct response though - GBX don’t generally offer formal approval or endorsement of fan-generated content.

If you’re really concerned, I would suggest directly contacting their legal department - there’s an address in the site TOS.

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Thank you. I will do that.

TBH I do not see much of an issue. Since it is Homeworld related content inside a Homeworld game. However you never know.

If we do go full bore on this it will be a monumental effort. We would have to literally dissect, and rebuild the models the way it was done for HW1. Using 20 year old tools. While keeping the texture memory usage the same and/or better than the original. The examples above were just to see if it could be done at all. All of the units except the Beast, Somtaaw, and some unique to Cataclysm derelicts have been replaced with HWRM units. I could have replaced Beast infected units with HWRM variants too. However we decided to stop for a moment to see how well this would stand up before putting the amount of effort before mentioned into it.

Last week was the first time in decades that i played the campaign to completion. I forgot how fun this game was.

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A before, and after shot of the second attempt to import a HWRM model. To try to clean it up a bit. There is no smoothing on the HWRM model at all for “reasons”. Mainly because smoothing looks horrible with the mesh the way it is. This is what the model looks like with the “smooth” flag active.

Hence why the mesh has to be dissected, and completely re-worked to enable proper smoothing. That is the “monumental” effort i referred to earlier. Also that is the best i can do for now with the texture. At least at that resolution. It is a single 256x256 texture. Where the vanilla model has about 20 16x16, 32x32 etc. little textures with a separate material for each texture. That is how HW1 did its smooth groups. A separate material for each smooth group. You only have 2 choices in the HW1 engine. A flag for Smooth (default 45%), or flat shaded. No in between. Also Deep Exploration automatically welds all of the points on export to peo. HWSE recalculates all of the normals automatically. So that idea is no good ether. So there is No Control in those aspects. Damn 20 year old tools :confused:

This is the same texture at 512x512 res. Liflist will not convert anything higher than 512x512 pixels.


That is also the LUCKIEST Taidan Interceptor ever LOL
The HW1 engine might be able to use a 1024x1024 texture, but we will never know because of Liflist’s limitations. Besides a 512 res texture is over the memory usage of the original vanilla model. So we cant use it.

I will work on this some more to see if i can get the texture any cleaner. Part of the problem is the team/stripe colors. Even the original HWRM 1024x1024 team/stripe texture it is very pixelated from the start, and that makes it hard to make a clean transfer.

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I use 3Dexploration. It doesn’t weld vertices. I can get you a copy if you want?

Did you get the old HWSE program to run? If so, how did you do it.

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Stress. You can get around the welding by using Milkshape (import/export). If you don’t have it I can get you that also. Just let me know.

I have both. Milkshape imports peo, but does not export. The welding problem is not exporting from 3dsmax to .obj. Points remain as is on export. The problem is exporting .obj from Deep Exploration to peo. That is when all the welding buggery happens. You say old 3dex doesn’t weld? I’ll have to try it.

I use a virtual machine with WindowsXP installed to run HWSE, and most of the other old HW1 mod tools. 20 year old OS for 20 year old HW1 tools :wink: You can set one up using Virtual Box (Free), or VMware Workstation. Both work equally good for the tools. Just don’t try to run Cataclysm (or any other game) in a VM… Cat HATES VM’s.

I don’t know if you ever delt with HW1 turrets before. How the hell do you make them NOT look like the normals are reversed? The Taidan Heavy Cruiser, and Kushan Destroyer are the worst offenders, but pretty much every ship with turrets, and mad animations has this problem. I tried using different materials for the turrets, but get same results. Turret Mesh looks fine in max, and deep ex, but once in game its facepalm city. I’ve been trying to find delphy, spooky, crook etc. along with any old HW1 modding info, but all of that seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

I’ve never had problems like you’re describing. Did you reset X-form and collapse? When you mirror in MAX it will flip the normals. You have to reset and collaps to see it. Then it’s just a matter of flipping the normals back.
Export from MAX to OBJ. I also hand edit (with Notepad++), rename (if necessary), separate, and reorder (straighten out) all parts for all models while in OBJ/MTL format (both files). This should prevent re-welding .
If the OBJ file is not correctly ordered (‘all’ v then ‘all’ vt then ‘all’ vn then ‘all’ f after export from MAX. Take the OBJ into MilkShape and export to OBJ. This will fix it so you can edit.
Reason: You edit the f entries.

Now I dare 3Dex and HWSE to try and reweld the verts and flip normals.

If you need more help or samples just holler :wink:

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I’ve tried 3 different VMs on this new build (Win 10). Can’t get anything to run flawelessly. I need to revert to Win ME to get ‘all’ my old programs to run. Problems at every turn. It’s always something. Sucks big time. I had win XP running fine in Win 7. Win 10 sucks big donkey asses. Someone PLEASE prove me wrong…

I love cata, more deliciousness plz!