Tuesday, December 27, 2011

UDK's inverted normal maps, and how to fix them

I have been modelling for UDK

For a little while now and I came across a hitch. The normal maps on my models were apparently inverted. This was odd because they looked fine in blender. As you can see in the picture, it looks like my bricks are concave, rather than convex.

The bricks are accepting light opposite to the direction from which it is being cast.

A short jaunt in google brought me to this thread. A bit of fiddling and I have found a workaround. The short version: invert the green channel of your normal map. The long version? Read on...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Graphics vs Imagination

I've been playing a bit of Project Zomboid recently, which has me thinking about the nature of graphics, and our brains way of interpreting presented information. Anyone who has read a book and then watched the movie knows how much of the experience is lost purely by having the visual input catered for. Characters on screen are vastly different to the ones in our heads. I think it's the same with computer graphics and our experience of them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reserved words in Mysql

Here's a quick one for anyone who has a query that just won't work (insert and update in particular). Mysql reserves certain words for its own uses. One such word (and the reason for this post) is 'desc'. An oft used abbreviation for 'description', 'desc' recently caused me three hours of confusing, frustrating code rewrites and function restructuring. Turns out naming a column 'desc' is a right reserved for mysql, and if you try it mysql will not tell you about it, just imply a syntax error. Mysql hogs 'desc' and other common names. Seems a bit selfish to me.

Just out of interest, here's a list of mysql reserved words that you should keep handy in case of an insolvable refusal of your query.

I fucking hate mysql.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Website visual design vs function design

You'd think that as a modeller I'd have a good grasp on the visual side of web design, or at least enjoy it. Well I don't. I find designing the look of a site tiresome and unrewarding. It's like playing tennis. I'm shithouse at tennis and, as a direct product, I hate the game. You need to have a certain amount of success to enjoy an activity. I find more enjoyment in coding functionalities and subsequently wearing out my f5 button testing my multitude of minimal modifications. There's a lot to think about with visual web design. Page lines, unifying texts, colour balance, information weighting and heaps more. This all goes sailing over my head as I tap away at php and jquery functions, so my web designs are inevitably un intuitive, uninspired and ugly.