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Old 12-13-2020, 09:24 AM   #1
gap
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Default "Lochinvar" Clyde puffer

From Wikipedia:

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The Clyde puffer is a type of small coal-fired and single-masted cargo ship, built mainly on the Forth and Clyde canal, and which provided a vital supply link around the west coast and Hebrides of Scotland.
Built between 1856 and 1939, these stumpy little steamboats [...] characteristically had bluff bows, crew's quarters with table and cooking stove in the focsle, and a single mast with derrick in front of the large hold. The funnel and ship's wheel stood aft above the engine room, followed by a small captain's cabin in the stern. [...] In 1905 the ship's wheel was still in the open, but later a wheelhouse was added aft of the funnel giving the puffers their distinctive image. Their flat bottom allowed them to beach and unload at low tide, essential to supply remote settlements without suitable piers. Typical cargoes could include coal and furniture, with farm produce and gravel sometimes being brought back.

The puffers developed from the gabbert, small single masted sailing barges which took most of the coasting trade. The original puffer was the Thomas, an iron canal boat of 1856, less than 66 ft (20 m) long to fit in the Forth and Clyde Canal locks, powered by a simple steam engine without a condenser, since as it drew fresh water from the canal there was no need to economise on water use. Once steam had been used by the engine, it was simply exhausted up the funnel in a series of puffs as the piston stroked. As well as the visual sight of a series of steam puffs following the boat, the simple engines made a characteristic puffing sound. By the 1870s similar boats were being adapted for use beyond the canal and fitted with condensers so that they no longer puffed, but the name stuck. Some non-condensing puffers (included those with compound engines) were built until the 1920s when purely canal traffic decreased and the vast majority of coasters had to operate in sea water. A derrick was added to the single mast to lift cargo.

From this basic type of puffer three varieties developed: inside boats continued in use on the Forth and Clyde canal, while shorehead boats extended their range eastwards into the Firth of Forth and westwards as far as the Isle of Bute and from there up the length of Loch Fyne, their length kept at 66 ft (20 m) to use the canal locks. Both these types had a crew of three. Puffers of a third type, the outside boats, were built for the rougher sea routes to the Hebrides islands with a crew of four and the length increased to 88 ft (27 m) still allowing use of the larger locks on the Crinan Canal which cuts across the Kintyre peninsula. There were more than 20 builders in Scotland, mainly on the Forth and Clyde canal at Kirkintilloch and Maryhill, Glasgow.

During World War I these handy little ships showed their worth in servicing warships, and were used at Scapa Flow, and for World War II the Admiralty placed an order in 1939 for steamships on the same design, mostly built in England, with the class name of VIC, standing for "Victualling Inshore Craft".
I have used the plan of a generic Clyde puffer called "Lochinvar" as base of my work:



...and this is the result so far, entirely modelled in Wings3D:

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Old 12-13-2020, 10:34 AM   #2
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Looks great! Nice little boat.
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Old 12-13-2020, 11:10 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Cybermat47 View Post
Looks great! Nice little boat.
Thank you Cybermat,

that will be of the 'shorehead' (66 ft) type. Her game dimensions will be: length - 20.08 m, breadth - 5.55 m, draft 3.68 m, so yes, she will be one of the tiniest boats modelled in game
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Old 12-13-2020, 03:34 PM   #4
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Hey, looks great! It could also be used as much better looking "coastal boat" than one currently present in game

And if making it will give you appetite for some more, I have a ton of plans and photos of various cargo ships stashed on my drive that I've collected doing research for my ship pack - mostly smaller sizes, up to 2000 GRT, but also a bunch of larger ones
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Old 12-13-2020, 04:06 PM   #5
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looking good gap,
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Old 12-13-2020, 05:40 PM   #6
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The Clyde puffer was immortalised in the Para Handy novels of Neil Munro and a 1970's BBC Sitcom loosely based on the books entitled 'the Vital Spark'

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Old 12-13-2020, 05:42 PM   #7
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Beautiful!
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Old 12-13-2020, 06:06 PM   #8
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Great job! And nice to see another wings3d user active on the forums. The details are top notch, and the hull cross sections look correct.

In my opinion, small ships like these are needed much more than the big 5,000 - 10,000 tonners - even in WWII, little cargo vessels still made up a lot of the merchant fleet. And too often in SH3/4/5 we see big ships like Liberties operating inshore, where they rarely would have been in real life.

Oh, and the accents in Sonarman's clip are great.
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Old 12-13-2020, 08:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapuhy View Post
Hey, looks great!
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Originally Posted by mkiii View Post
looking good gap,
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Originally Posted by vdr1981 View Post
Beautiful!
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Originally Posted by iambecomelife View Post
Great job!
Thank you for the nice words guys

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapuhy View Post
It could also be used as much better looking "coastal boat" than one currently present in game
Not in place of the stock "coastal boat" but hopefully together when my boat will be finished.

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Originally Posted by kapuhy View Post
And if making it will give you appetite for some more, I have a ton of plans and photos of various cargo ships stashed on my drive that I've collected doing research for my ship pack - mostly smaller sizes, up to 2000 GRT, but also a bunch of larger ones
I have some ship and aircraft plans too, together with many SH-related models whose completion and/or release is still pending: a French lighvessel, some aircraft, several lighthouses, various U-boat equipments, bombs, air torpedoes, depth charges, DC throwers and racks, some German and British coastal defense emplacements, a couple of memorial, a floating mine model by Targor Avelany. This list could is not even complete but you got the idea More than an appetizer I need a doctor to prescribe me a diet and someone to remind me to finish a project before I start the next one lol

Out of jokes: let's share our resources and discuss our respective projects. I am sure we can find some common priorities and if more cargo ships are part of those priorities, I will do my part of the job

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The Clyde puffer was immortalised in the Para Handy novels of Neil Munro and a 1970's BBC Sitcom loosely based on the books entitled 'the Vital Spark'
Yes, I have watched some episodes of that sitcom. They have been a great source of inspiration, and their tranchant humour was hilarious even for a non-native Englishe speaker like me

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Originally Posted by iambecomelife View Post
And nice to see another wings3d user active on the forums.
I am in love with the simplicity of Wings3D. As much as I tell myself that I should get more proficient with more powerful programs like Blender, I always go back to Wings

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The details are top notch, and the hull cross sections look correct.
As usual, figuring out details too small to appear clearly on that plan, was probably the hardest part, with the complicated windlass winning the first prize in this case.

Talking about small details, I have a small problem that maybe you or kapuhy can help me with.
From the plan I have used as template, and from several pictures I have seen, it seems that puffers had most of their rudder chain running in the open all the way from boat's wheel to the stern. As you can see from the screenshot below, the chain was not running straight but it formed several angles.
I have tried modelling it as an almost flat geometry with a transparent, seamless chain texture. This is a trick I used for keeping acceptably low the poly count of other models, but in this case it didn't work. Due to the prominent position of that chain on to its changes of orientation, having it as a 2D texture looks really odd.



For the moment I have opted for a 3D chain. I simplified each chain link as much as possible; it is composed of just 18 vertices and 36 triangles, but there are many of those links, and in total the chain accounts for 2,232 vertices and 4,464 faces. A bit too much for a small detail like that.

Do you guys have any better idea on how I could make that chain to look nice and natural while keeping its poly count under decent limits? Yes, I know, I could scrap it all, and very few naval fans would notice its absence, but being stubborn realism fanatic that I am, I can resolve to adopt such a drastic solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by iambecomelife View Post
In my opinion, small ships like these are needed much more than the big 5,000 - 10,000 tonners - even in WWII, little cargo vessels still made up a lot of the merchant fleet. And too often in SH3/4/5 we see big ships like Liberties operating inshore, where they rarely would have been in real life.
I agree. Uboat.net's database of ships damaged/sunk by U-boats is a great resource, and not surprisingly ships under 500 grt are quite common a common entry there. Talking specifically about puffers, we are a bit on the low end: their tonnage is of only about 100 grt and I don't think any of them to have ever been attacked by a WWII U-boat. Yet, they were a common and tvery typical finding around the coasts of England. When I figured out that no other SH modder had ever modellled it, I told myself that something had to be made
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Old 12-14-2020, 01:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gap View Post
Talking about small details, I have a small problem that maybe you or kapuhy can help me with.
From the plan I have used as template, and from several pictures I have seen, it seems that puffers had most of their rudder chain running in the open all the way from boat's wheel to the stern. As you can see from the screenshot below, the chain was not running straight but it formed several angles.
I have tried modelling it as an almost flat geometry with a transparent, seamless chain texture. This is a trick I used for keeping acceptably low the poly count of other models, but in this case it didn't work. Due to the prominent position of that chain on to its changes of orientation, having it as a 2D texture looks really odd.

For the moment I have opted for a 3D chain. I simplified each chain link as much as possible; it is composed of just 18 vertices and 36 triangles, but there are many of those links, and in total the chain accounts for 2,232 vertices and 4,464 faces. A bit too much for a small detail like that.

Do you guys have any better idea on how I could make that chain to look nice and natural while keeping its poly count under decent limits? Yes, I know, I could scrap it all, and very few naval fans would notice its absence, but being stubborn realism fanatic that I am, I can resolve to adopt such a drastic solution
Lowest possible polycount for 3D chain I came up with was this (12 vertices/24 triangles per link):



Other than that, only thing I could think of is leave hanging part of chain as 3D and make the part that is running in the narrow "trench" 2d.

EDIT: Or, make links a bit larger than they should be - not totally realistic but hardly noticeable and it will allow you to cover the distance with fewer links. Also, make sure parts of chain that are not visible (mainly concerning the "trench" part) are removed.

In general, when I was modeling my ships I still didn't know if I will be able to import them as .gr2, so I set the polycount of Taihosan (nice looking .dat ship of circa 15k polys) as "alarm limit" - if any of my ships was reaching that, I'd start to cut details without mercy. Now with gr2 you have LOD model for larger distances so you can afford some more details. According to vdr1981, PB4Y plane model (160k triangles, aka two Queen Mary's) doesn't cause significant lag so the engine apparently can take it.
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Old 12-14-2020, 02:00 PM   #11
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Back sides of the chain links will never be seen. Delete them.
Camera position in Game will not allow a close enough view to see most of it anyway.
Is this to be a GR2 or dat version?
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Old 12-14-2020, 09:15 PM   #12
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Thank you for your good suggestions Maciej and Jeff

I had not considered "squaring" chain links. Indeed that would enable the saving of 12 triangles per link - 1,488 in total. In terms of aesthetics, I find "pointy" links preferable but that's such a small detail that at the end I might decide to use this trick.

Modelling the lesser visible portions of that chain as 2D objects is an idea I had in mind, probably the best option in terms of poly reduction, but I need to check whether the transition between 2D and 3D links will be too evident.

Removing "back sides" is another idea I had. It might be used on more enclosed portions of the chain as a lesser drastic alternative than making them flat and mapping a simple chain texture on them, but selecting the right faces to be deleted, might be a long and tedious task.


@ Jeff

For now my plan is to import the Lochinvar in game as a GR2 unit, but I don't exclude a later port to the dat format, for SHIII fans to enjoy her too.

Such a conversion might bring some pro's, one of them being that we might bind the same link mesh to multiple nodes with different rotation/position settings. Again, the implementation of this elegant solution would involve some work, but it would be definitely worth all the effort.

Unfortunately multiple bone bindings are not managed by the granny format (or by GR2 Editor) as well as by the dat format and S3d. Another fine solution for exploiting the 'multiple mesh usage' trick might be importing the chain as a separate dat object and linking it to the main GR2 unit via eqp file or merge controller. It wouldn't cast any dynamic shadows, but probably those shadows wouldn't be very noticeable anyway

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Changing completely of topic I have a new question guys. If memory serves, torpedoes, bombs and guns shells make actual 3D holes on GR2 units that one can see through. Should I model some basic interiors for the upcoming unit?
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Old 12-15-2020, 12:38 AM   #13
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Greetings, gap, and glad to see you.

I think you absolutely should not bother about this little thing-a chain in 3D execution. (You can make a solid long object with a simple cross-section, and make details-chain links using a texture).
And i will give you an example, i think very suitable, which should convince you of this.
Here is the “Vickers mgun Mk-5 mount” that I was started to make for a Torpedo boat for SH5, the old one, in SH4 that was too rough and simple, I wanted to make it more detailed. In addition, I had to try to adjust the geometry of the game model and its moving parts, the movement of which is simplified under the conditions of the game and based only on the rotation base and traverse of barrel blocks, so that it was most similar to the original and did not cause visual dissonance, because this turret in reality has a rather complex design and motor skills with many moving parts and the movement of articulated structures.. perhaps this adjustment was excessive, because all this turned out to be again inconspicuous in the game.

 


This is the final view, but before its start assembling it in GR2 and texturing it, it went through the maximum simplification and initially had even more details. But as I later saw the result in the game, the model could be safely-simplified cut back, for example, in these details:

 



and this is without prejudice to her appearance.. these MachineGun parts are too small.

Well. These are the closest screenshots in the game that I managed to make (with a resolution of 1920x1080):

 




Even in optics from a distance of 150-200 m from the submarine details are indistinguishable:

 


As I did not try to make out the pins of the hinges and other small details-in the game they were indistinguishable and invisible.

The length of your ship (66 ft) length - 20.08 m, the dimensions of Vosper (70-72 ft) length - 22.1 m. Approximately comparable. Look at Vosper and look at Vickers, then look at your ship and the chain – it will be a barely discernible "thread" in the game render. Do you need it made entirely in 3D, the beauty of which can be seen and appreciated only in the exported model in a 3D editor or viewer?
The weight of the entire final Vickers model cost 4070 faces, I think it could be safely reduced to 4000 without losing the visual, having the experience gained. This is a whole anti-aircraft mount that can be reused, for example, on some fairmile-d or others. similar to vosper*s if our develop the mtb shipyard in the game. You have one chain… In general, the choice is yours, gap.

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In addition, you can use such details as: a slightly convex door and the contours of the eluminators – you can simply bake them into a high-quality Normal map and Diffuse and remove the 3D details.
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If memory serves, torpedoes, bombs and guns shells make actual 3D holes on GR2 units that one can see through. Should I model some basic interiors for the upcoming unit?
For such small units, if they do not break into pieces (hull) - no. Getting a ship's torpedo into such a unit is almost impossible, even if someone wants to spend valuable torpedoes on it. In GR2, a ready-made 3D “Decals”is applied. By the way, on the test of my little Vosper, when firing these Decals appeared rarely, more often it just sank without waiting for them. And most often it was the underwater part. In 1 case of gunfire from 3 somewhere it was possible to notice them.

 


And in SH4 " holes” - yes - there is a sense to do the internal content, but the "holes" against the background of such small ships (although, i think, here you need to consider each ship separately, depending on different details: whether there are high large superstructures and how the frame models themselves look, etc. - perhaps in some cases 3d internal frames will look normal when damaged), as far as I remember, were so big that it is better without them, and I did not connect these damages on Vosper in SH-IV. And of course: all of the above is just my opinion.

Last edited by Rosomaha; 12-15-2020 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 12-15-2020, 03:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosomaha View Post
Well. These are the closest screenshots in the game that I managed to make (with a resolution of 1920x1080):
Mighty fine job there sir

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Changing completely of topic I have a new question guys. If memory serves, torpedoes, bombs and guns shells make actual 3D holes on GR2 units that one can see through. Should I model some basic interiors for the upcoming unit?
You can do it (GrannyDamageDecals controller that is responsible for 3D holes has an option to assign interior mesh that will be visible through holes), though I don't recall any ship - modded or stock - using this possibility (as well as second option to set the hole shape that shells will tear in a hull - all ships have this field blank and use default holes).

On another note and related to earlier posts about sharing resources and plans - there seem to be several units currently in progress, perhaps (just a thought) we might use a sticky thread in SH5 Mods Workshop somewhat like this:

https://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthread.php?t=97328

Such thread would contain list of WIP units currently being made and perhaps links to resources like plans or models available online in case a newcomer would like to give a try to creating a new unit. Plus, maybe some form of basic guide for importing units as the needed info is currently spread over many multi-page threads.

Last edited by kapuhy; 12-15-2020 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 12-15-2020, 09:08 AM   #15
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Hi Rosomaha,

thank you for your feedback and glad to se you too. Your torpedo boat looks amazing, I hope her release date is not too far


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I think you absolutely should not bother about this little thing-a chain in 3D execution. (You can make a solid long object with a simple cross-section, and make details-chain links using a texture).
That is one of the options I am considering for chain's horizontal sections which, after all, could be seen only from the top. Originally I had tried using a "bill-board" mesh also for the vertical part of that chain, but it is visible from many directions and even from a certain distance the result was quite poor.

The other option I will be considering, is assembling the whole chain as dat object, where the same 3D mesh can be used many times with negligible increase in file size and no increase in poly count

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Do you need it made entirely in 3D, the beauty of which can be seen and appreciated only in the exported model in a 3D editor or viewer?
Well, at some point I might decide uploading my models on Sketchfab or similar website. For this reason and for my own pleasure, my models tend to be slightly more detailed than our game would require.

Once they are finished, cutting down unnecessary detail before game import is a relatively easy process.

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Originally Posted by Rosomaha View Post
In addition, you can use such details as: a slightly convex door and the contours of the eluminators – you can simply bake them into a high-quality Normal map and Diffuse and remove the 3D details.
Yes, good point. Take those 3D doors as "place holders". The will help me drawing the doors in the correct position within the texture and to bake a better AO map, but they are likely to be removed before import in game


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Originally Posted by Rosomaha View Post
For such small units, if they do not break into pieces (hull) - no. Getting a ship's torpedo into such a unit is almost impossible, even if someone wants to spend valuable torpedoes on it...
I do not plan making the hull of such a small boat to break apart, but some sub-parts like mast, cargo hold cover, lifeboat, vent cowls, funnel and maybe portions of the wheelhouse might be destroyable. My only concern about 3D damage decals, is them not to reveal... an emptiness made of air or water where there should be metal.

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Originally Posted by kapuhy View Post
You can do it (GrannyDamageDecals controller that is responsible for 3D holes has an option to assign interior mesh that will be visible through holes), though I don't recall any ship - modded or stock - using this possibility (as well as second option to set the hole shape that shells will tear in a hull - all ships have this field blank and use default holes).
Wow, I dind't remember that that controller had so many options. During recent gunnery trials I remember having seeing torn metal through the holes made on the hull and on the superstructure of the target ship (one of the stock merchants). Probably vanilla units don't have an interior mesh specified in their GrannyDamageDecals controller because most of them already have basic interior compartments included in their 3D model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapuhy View Post
On another note and related to earlier posts about sharing resources and plans - there seem to be several units currently in progress, perhaps (just a thought) we might use a sticky thread in SH5 Mods Workshop somewhat like this:

https://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthread.php?t=97328

Such thread would contain list of WIP units currently being made and perhaps links to resources like plans or models available online in case a newcomer would like to give a try to creating a new unit. Plus, maybe some form of basic guide for importing units as the needed info is currently spread over many multi-page threads.
Good idea, but I suggest extending the scope of such a thread to game-related plans and 3D models in general, what do you think?
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