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Copying a skybox to another map?

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    Copying a skybox to another map?

    Hey, I was wondering if it was possible to easily copy the skybox from one map and drop it into another one without much editing or messing around to get it to work properly. I'm guessing the answer to that is probably no, but I figured I'd ask first. I've got a steam group for UT99, UT2004, and Jedi Academy, and for my UT2004 server I wanted to edit a custom map called DM-MountainTownPT. It's normally used for large scale TDMs or Invasion, and I was making some edits to the weapon and ammo placements to make it easier on Invasion newcomers when I thought an appearance change might be cool too with an updated skybox to make it look a bit less like a void. One skybox I liked was from DM-CBP2-Tempest and I was wondering if that could be taken and dropped right into the map if I loaded the texture file it's skybox is in first and then copied the skybox from Tempest to Mountain. Any help would be appreciated!

    #2
    The answer is yes - select all parts of the skybox in 2d viewport (ctrl+alt+drag IIRC), right click - copy, open another map, right click - paste here.

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      #3
      Hey, you were right, I was able to easily copy and paste it into the map. The strange thing is the result I got. here's how it looks normally,


      And here's how it looks in the editor.

      Now after I past the skybox in, I get this strange error where the map itself becomes the skybox in a weird loop situation.

      I figure some settings need to be changed but I only know minor editing tricks from when I was a kid, I never learned how to do it from scratch (though I probably should have.) Any ideas? I'd appreciate any help.

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        #4
        I was able to replicate what you did by pasting the new sky into the map without deleting the old one or rebuilding. This confuses the game into thinking that the main area of the map is the part of the sky zone.

        So first, look for the binocular icon and search for "skyzoneinfo". Delete it and the box it's in, and save the map with a new file name. Next, select the new sky as as Aberiu said. Find a spot to paste it that's pretty far away from any other geometry. Click on the "build options" icon and change the lighting mode from DXT3 to RGB8 in the drop down list - this will make it look nicer. Then hit "rebuild all."

        You'll notice that the mountain walls have some ugly black borders on the tops that you can see now that the sky isn't black. There are a few ways to fix that, but the simplest thing to do is to change the texture scaling so it isn't noticeable. Select all the surfaces you want to fix (hold control while you select) and then press f5 to bring up the texture menu. Click on the "Pan/Rot/Scale" tab, click the "relative" box so it's checked, and type 1 in the U box and 1.25 in the V box and click apply. (You can press CTRL+Z to undo and CTRL+Y to redo at any time.)

        By the way, you'll get a message saying that such and such static mesh package needs to be updated - be sure to click NO. (This happens when static mesh packages made for UT2003 are loaded in UT2004, the game updates some things automatically when the package is loaded, but saving it isn't necessary and will mess up its online compatibility.)

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          #5
          Thanks guys, that was a huge help! Got it working right away. I actually managed to get the rockwall texture out of the editor and edited it as a png and managed to make the black spots transparent, could I get that back into the editor and then use it that way? Also, would I have to change the names of the .usx. and .utx packages in order for it to work? Or is there a way I can do that anyway so that my versions of the files for our server doesn't get confused with regular versions of it?

          Also, funny I see you guys here when I made a post with Aberiu's concept art on the UT4 forums and I suscribed to Jefe on youtube. Thanks again guys!

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            #6
            Depends on what software you use. I usually save my stuff as dds in Photoshop. The thing is, there's no png transparency in UT2004. Instead, an additional alpha channel of the texture is used, which defines the areas that should be transparent (black - transparent, white - opaque). So the texture itself should have it's potentially transparent areas filled with neutral color, matching the rest of the image, otherwise you will see borders around transparent areas once the texture is upscaled in game.

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              #7
              We're both UT2004 diehards so it's not that weird to see us here.

              So yeah, you can set up transparency, but since that texture on an outer wall, the clear part will have a hall of mirrors effect - there's nothing to render behind that surface and no way to make just the transparent parts have the fake backdrop attribute that you use for skyboxes. That's why I suggested changing the scaling because it's less complicated to get looking acceptable.

              To use that texture so the sky will appear behind isn't that complicated though. It requires another layer - the mountain texture in the foreground and another layer behind it as the fake backdrop. To change your existing surface, hit F5 for surface properties, and click the "fake backdrop" checkbox. Press "k" so you can see how it looks with the skybox.

              Next we need to consider the foreground layer. You could make BSP sheets a few units away from the existing back surface, or you could convert a small BSP sheet to a static mesh sheet and duplicate it a bunch of times throughout the level. Each approach has pros and cons. Lighting always looks better on BSP (basic geometry), but it can be a bit more difficult to work with and in general has a lot of limitations. Static mesh lighting can look pretty awful and is a bit harder to match up to BSP surfaces with the same texture - it's going to look too bright without a few tricks. However static meshes wont screw with your existing geometry or make BSP holes and you can vary the size of the meshes easily so that it's less obviously repetitive.

              The BSP option will be the easiest solution on this map though. If you haven't worked with brushes yet, I suggest that you work through a tutorial so that you get the hang of basic things like moving brushes and actors, and vertex editing brushes to change dimensions. What you'll want to do is vertex edit a sheet so that it fits a few units away from the new fake backdrop of those cliffs. ADD the sheet and apply the new transparent mountain texture, scale it so it matches the other surfaces using F5 (Selecting a surface with CTRL C and applying it to another with CTRL V also works to get the right scaling) then rebuild. Repeat that for the other walls. (Uncheck "build paths" on your build options so that it doesn't take so long to build.)

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                #8
                Thanks again guys, I really appreciate all the help. I've begun experimenting with it a bit in some other custom maps, but for now I'm pretty happy with how I got the change to look.

                I know I used to get hard to find maps off of the redirect, so I made sure to edit the level description to note the author of the original map and the authors of DM-CBP2-Tempest in case anyone got this version off of a redirect.

                I might experiment with the transparency on the black parts of the rockwalls somewhere down the road and use what you posted as a guide. I always wanted to get into mapping but other interests like drawing and sports always got in the way. Maybe one day I'll stop being lazy and get into it. Thanks again for all the help guys, breathes some new life into a map that's been a favorite of mine for eleven years!

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