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Critique my catapult


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#1 RAZORUNREAL   Members   -  Reputation: 567

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 01:45 AM

First off, I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. I'm a programmer (meaning this is programmer art) and I'm only 17. But I spent a lot of time making this catapult for my 4E5 entry (like 4 full days) and I'm quite proud of how it's turned out. Here's a shot of it in my game engine: Catapult And here's one from blender, so you can see the texture without lighting: Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us It's 851 triangles with a 512 by 512 texture. I'd really appreciate some advice on how to make it look better.

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#2 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 01:53 AM

not bad... As for improvements, I cant see a spring mechanism or something which would make the catapult spring forward when the rope is cut ;)

#3 RAZORUNREAL   Members   -  Reputation: 567

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 02:04 AM

In true medieval style, you just bend the wood:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
It's actually animated too, but it seemed a bit weird to cut the rope and have it materialise again out of nothingness, so I just left it there.

EDIT: If you'd like to see it in motion, here's a test app:
Catapult Test

[Edited by - RAZORUNREAL on July 8, 2006 9:04:08 AM]

#4 D Shankar   Members   -  Reputation: 241

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 03:36 AM

What's with the moving light?
It looks very realstic. Good luck with your project & 4e5.

D. "Nex" ShankarRed Winter Studios

#5 Jarrod1937   Members   -  Reputation: 507

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:11 AM

for programmer art that is not bad at all... better than a lot of starting artists' work actually. what type of game is it for?

#6 n3Xus   Members   -  Reputation: 720

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:37 AM

its actually very good :D the animation looks extremly good becouse it bounces on and off a bit. i relly dont know much about catapults but i think it would move a bit or jump becouse of the force when that thing that carrys the rock hits the bar(i mean the whole body+wheels).keep it up !

#7 Ezbez   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1164

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:40 AM

Looks great for an RTS game, if not for a first person game. Is it just me or are the normals on the cup in the first picture off?

Though, about the whole spring mechanism, catapults didn't really bend their wood so much. They actually used rope for the springiness. You see the wood beam that is at the base of the arm (hopefully you do, you made it)? Well, that would be replaced with coiled rope wrapped about the arm. No wood needed there. It works surprisingly well.

Also, many catapults didn't use cups at the end of the arms. Frequently, it was a sling like a trebuchet.

Of course, no one really cares unless it's supposed to be a simulation.

Edit: after seeing it in motion, I have to say that the normals of the cup are definately not so great. other than that, nice work!

#8 Professor420   Members   -  Reputation: 496

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 10:27 AM

If you are going to spend 4 full days building something, at least research how it operates first!

http://science.howstuffworks.com/question127.htm is a good start.

#9 bytecoder   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 10:32 AM

Quote:
Original post by RAZORUNREAL
In true medieval style, you just bend the wood:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
It's actually animated too, but it seemed a bit weird to cut the rope and have it materialise again out of nothingness, so I just left it there.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you don't cut the rope every time you want to fire it. I'd imagine there's some kind of release system.

#10 RAZORUNREAL   Members   -  Reputation: 567

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 06:21 PM

Quote:
Original post by Professor420
If you are going to spend 4 full days building something, at least research how it operates first!

http://science.howstuffworks.com/question127.htm is a good start.


I did, and read that. Wasn't specific enough to be any use, so I just went with a system I thought would be appealing to players.

Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Looks great for an RTS game, if not for a first person game. Is it just me or are the normals on the cup in the first picture off?


Thanks, and yeah it's for a tower defence game. You're right that the normals aren't great. They're "correct" for the geometry, but that needs some work. Not sure how to fix that without messing up the texture coordinates, but I'll have a go.

Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Though, about the whole spring mechanism, catapults didn't really bend their wood so much. They actually used rope for the springiness. You see the wood beam that is at the base of the arm (hopefully you do, you made it)? Well, that would be replaced with coiled rope wrapped about the arm. No wood needed there. It works surprisingly well.


Ah, I see. Thanks! I did a bit of a search before I started, but didn't come up with much.

Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Also, many catapults didn't use cups at the end of the arms. Frequently, it was a sling like a trebuchet.


Ok, but that's more trouble to make. I may yet make a trebuchet... Can they be used defensively? I need some sort of heavy tower.

EDIT: Fixed up the bucket normals. Turned out the normals around the edge of the bucket were shared between the top and bottom, which was really too sharp without more tesselation. So I just made it a hard edge, which looks good enough for my purposes.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Thanks guys!

[Edited by - RAZORUNREAL on July 9, 2006 1:21:08 AM]

#11 Professor420   Members   -  Reputation: 496

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 04:47 AM

I myself didn't inspect the howstuffworks link, so I'll critique based on my knowledge the the various weapons books I have:

Mangonels (medieval) and Onagers (roman) usually had either a scoop or a sling as their head. The scoop was far easier to build, but the sling was better and more common (adding as much as a third to the distance). I can't find pictoral references to the head being a bowl, but they may be out there, and it doesn't really matter anyway, unless you're doing a sim.
Also, they came both wheeled and staked to the ground. If the artillery was defensive, it'd probably be staked so there was less recoil (and less strain on the pieces, less repositioning, etc).
They were powered by a wound skein, probably made of sinew. It would be threaded around the catapult arm, and wound by two winches at the base of the arm, until it was ridiculously tight. An additional winch would be at the rear of the catapult, and would be wound to bring the arm down to loading position (and put the arm under even more tension).
The projectile would be loaded, and the trigger pulled, and the arm would come flying up, hit the cross-bar, send the rear wheels of the mangonel or onager into the air (hence the nickname of wild ass), and the projectile would be launched.

Here's a good site:
http://www.redstoneprojects.com/trebuchetstore/build_a_catapult.html

#12 RAZORUNREAL   Members   -  Reputation: 567

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 11:12 PM

Thanks for the info! That site could come in handy.

#13 Ezbez   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1164

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 01:20 AM

The normals look alot better now! It looks alot less 'chunky' now.

And, again, most people don't care as long as you have the general idea of what a catapult is doing. Though, it just seems to be that several of the people who *do* care reside in this forum. :D

I've never heard of trebuchets being used defensively, but balistas where. I believe that that was the primary use of balistas.

<offtopic>
Oh, and if any of you guys live in New Hampshire or near-by, I encourage you to check out the Yankee Siege trebuchet. It's a massive (40 foot tall, IIRC) trebuchet. The counter weight ways a over a thousand pounds (again, IIRC), and it throws big pumpkins hundreds of feet. It's highly impressive. It's website is here. It only runs during the fall when there are pumpkins to chuck.

#14 Professor420   Members   -  Reputation: 496

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 01:34 PM

All artillery played primarily a role as seige weapons. It was not common (or possible) for larger engines to be deployed in battle, though smaller versions certainly were.

Artillery also was far more important to an attack than defender. Seige weapons fired from inside a city could do relatively little damage to a force that has surrounded a city and fortified itself. On the other hand, seige weapons fired INTO a city wreak havoc, because anything they hit becomes a problem. So they were primarily offensive seige weapons.
Ballistae were just better forms of the Onager or catapult, they were designed as offensive or defensive. Ballistae could throw a projectile twice as far, and far more accurately, than a similarly sized onager.

I also agree you don't need such great historical accuracy, but there needs to be an effective way of the catapult working. Just some minor modification of adding a couple winches and rope-covered-bars is probably enough. The animation is fine.




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