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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe? (Read 4377 times)
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Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Oct 6th, 2014 at 9:08am
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It would be so cool to have this clear and concise for everyone to be able to use. It would be a great addition to Unreal 2 tutorial stock. It seems as though the pictures are missing though and some of them seemed to be detrimental in showing what he was doing. Hellkeeper, I noticed you had done some commenting on this. Do you know much about it. The instructions are very vague, especially where he mentions Actors. There's another spot where he mentions Select "ParticleSystems.BendiBeamTemplate" As above."
"As above" is confused and I can only imagine he must of meant it was shown in the pic directly above the instructions, which sadly, are missing.

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.unreal-design.com...
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #1 - Oct 6th, 2014 at 10:50am
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***Update***
I've had a good and unexpected turn of events.
I have actually figured out a few things and have a working Beam. If I get this figured out (and I expect to, since it is going well) I will write a tutorial for the community. If any one still wants to chime in, I'm sure it would still be helpful.
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #2 - Oct 6th, 2014 at 12:43pm
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The "as above" part seems to refer to a missing pic. Given that it then points to a complete classe structure I guess you're supposed to set this in a ParticleSalamander, as they refer to their Templates and Forces with this type of naming. The tutorial was not moved to the main site on Unreal-Design, so unfortunately, the pictures weren't saved. I don't have U2 installed right now so I can't be more precise.

If you want to write a tutorial, please do, any documentation is welcome for U2 which is sadly underdocumented.
The tutorial you've posted is very basic. I remember Cold-Fusion's work for U2, but it was very basic. The missing pictures didn't show much except what parameters he used. I could translate it correctly (because omg the google translation...) but there's barely much.
  

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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #3 - Oct 7th, 2014 at 10:29am
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Yeah that's what I was saying about the "above" it is missing pics.
I'm not sure there are any Particle Salamanders. I loaded the original map Mission01c which has the huge machine with the beam and tore the machine apart but found no Particle Salamanders, err, none that seemed to be associated with the beam per se.'
I could be wrong but I didn't find any. Real time preview on or off. At the bottom of the beam was the BendiBeamGenerator actor. Cold-Fusion mentioned the beam needing Connections, he mentions "eg PathNode0 or LookTarget0 ect " I'm not sure about that or what he means exactly. Instead I found the connections in the original level to actually be the static mesh valves below and above the beam, which I found to be very ingenious. I found this out by accident when tearing the machine apart, I moved the top valve static mesh and I noticed the top of the beam moved with it as if hooked to it, so I moved the bottom....same thing. So on a hunch I checked the "Connections" property in the BendiBeamGenerator properties and sure enough the connection tags were the 2 static mesh's, a true eureka moment. At first my beam was a thin strip of lightning but it eas very easy to widen it up, however it has spicky sides instead of being smooth like in the original level and it also does not seem to flow upwards, I'm not sure what is causing this to be different, that's one instance where I'm stuck right now, but I'm trying to work that out. Another erea where I'm stuck is; the original beam has two Templates, but because of my lack of experience and inability to back engineer Particle Salamanders, I don't know how to add another Template. When I made mine it started with the usual [0] line, the original has a [0] line and a [1] line. That's where I'm at right now.
Yeah google didn't translate it perfectly, I noted that.  Tongue
That's where some confusion on his tutorial originates, and also the fact that he was writing in French. Some of his expressions are different than say what English speakers might say, that's to be expected. One thing that really confuses me is he mentions, I believe twice, "60 connections." But he doesn't explain that. I have no idea what he means by this and what this has to do with anything. Just another point of confusion. [shrug]
Well anyway, If anyone wants to add anything that would be helpful. I'm not sure how long this may take me, most of my time comes on weekends over night since I keep with my 3rd shift work schedule on days off.
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #4 - Oct 7th, 2014 at 12:12pm
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I reinstalled Unreal 2. After reading his stuff, the pictures are, actually, not needed. It also forced me to experiment with this for the first time, and once again, I love the particle system of U2.

Quote:
I'm not sure there are any Particle Salamanders. I loaded the original map Mission01c which has the huge machine with the beam and tore the machine apart but found no Particle Salamanders, err, none that seemed to be associated with the beam per se.'


My mistake, it's been too long since I messed with these. It's in the BendiBeamGenerator's properties. Cold-Fusion doesn't say anything about this though, so this mention is useless.
In reality, the thing is that both the BendiBeamGenerator, the PulseLineGenerator, the ParticleSalamander etc. Are subclasses of the ParticleGenerator which allows you to add templates and forces to your particle system. I misused "ParticleSalamander" when I should have said "Particlegenerator". Anyway, forget about this, that was just me being confused about something which has no bearing on the rest of the tutorial whatsoever.

Quote:
he mentions "eg PathNode0 or LookTarget0 ect " I'm not sure about that or what he means exactly.

It's easy; the beam has to be drawn between two points. In the Connection parameter you decide of the starting and ending point of your beam, and you can do that either by inputing coordinates or by inputing the name of an actor. The name is found under the Object tab of an actor's properties, it's not the actor's tag, and usually looks like PathNode145, Brush12, etc. That's what he meant.

If you input an actor's name, you can no longer change the coordinates by hand: the BeniBeamGenerator inputs the actor's coordinates itself in the fields. If you move the actor, the Generator updates the position itself to reflect the new location of the destination (or starting) point, so you don't have to do it yourself.

By default, the beam is invisible because the EndActor and StartActor field are empty, and both coordinates are 0,0,0. This means the Generator tries to draw a beam from the origin of the world (coordinates 0,0,0) to the origin of the world, so a beam with no length, and this nothing is displayed. As soon as you input something new, you can see your beam.

Quote:
At first my beam was a thin strip of lightning but it eas very easy to widen it up, however it has spicky sides instead of being smooth like in the original level and it also does not seem to flow upwards, I'm not sure what is causing this to be different, that's one instance where I'm stuck right now, but I'm trying to work that out.


If you find your arc seems to "flow" int he wrong direction, simply invert the starting and ending points.

If you find your arc seems to be a spicky stuff, it's because of the texture used in PulseLineGenerator=>BeamTexture. Find a better one.

If you want your beam to be a straight line, I suggest using a PulseLineGenerator with PulseLineGenerator=>BeamWidth to 0;0, as the main feature of the BendiBeamGenerator compared to the normal PulseLineGenerator is subclasses is to have a very wavy arc. If you are set on using a BendiBeamGenerator, then you have to set both PulseLineGenerator=>BeamWidth to 0;0 and BendiBeamGenerator=>MetaBeamWidth to 0;0.

Finally, it should be possible to have several Connections in a single BendiBeamGenerator/PulseLineGenerator, but when I attempted to add new ones, UnrealEd crashed nice and proper. Inputting negative values in most fields seems to kill the editor too.
« Last Edit: Oct 14th, 2014 at 12:28pm by Hellkeeper »  

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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #5 - Oct 8th, 2014 at 12:06pm
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Hellkeeper wrote on Oct 7th, 2014 at 12:12pm:
I reinstall Unreal 2. After reading his stuff, the pictures are, actually, not needed. It also forced me to experiment with this for the first time, and once again, I love the particle system of U2.

Glad you reinstalled. I love this game. And yes the particle system and effects ARE great. I agree. The game has some sweet effects. I was speaking with GreatEmerald the other day and I know in his video on Particle Salamanders he says they are very intuitive to work with. I wish they were for me. I think for a lot of people they are probably not or else we would not need more documentation and maps. Understanding the definitions are a start I suppose. I've always been determined in the face of opposition of something I like so I'm going to do everything I can to figure these effects out.

My mistake, it's been too long since I messed with these. It's in the BendiBeamGenerator's properties. Cold-Fusion doesn't say anything about this though, so this mention is useless.
In reality, the thing is that both the BendiBeamGenerator, the PulseLineGenerator, the ParticleSalamander etc. Are subclasses of the ParticleGenerator which allows you to add templates and forces to your particle system. I misused "ParticleSalamander" when I should have said "Particlegenerator". Anyway, forget about this, that was just me being confused about something which has no bearing on the rest of the tutorial whatsoever.

That's ok, I understand and that's what I knew. That's where I found the properties. You had me for a moment there though, cause I never found Particle Salamanders within that machine and I tore it apart pretty good.  Smiley
When I didn't find them I knew they had to be within the BendiBeam properties. Woop!

It's easy; the beam has to be drawn between two points. In the Connection parameter you decide of the starting and ending point of your beam, and you can do that either by inputing coordinates or by inputing the name of an actor. The name is found under the Object tab of an actor's properties, it's not the actor's tag, and usually looks like PathNode145, Brush12, etc. That's what he meant.

Right, right. That's what I knew. That's why I said in the original level the connection points are actually the top and bottom Valve static meshes, which I had said I felt was ingenius. I really like that they did that instead of inserting some actor or another (I mean another type of actor than a staticmesh). Very very cool. But now I do understand thanks to your explanation what he meant by the pathnode thingie an etc. I just took him literal thinking I had to add a path node or something. It confused me because like I said, I found out Epic/Legend used the static meshes above and below the beam for connections, not a literal path node or etc.

By default, the beam is invisible because the EndActor and StartActor field are empty, and both coordinates are 0,0,0. This means the Generator tries to draw a beam from the origin of the world (coordinates 0,0,0) to the origin of the world, so a beam with no length, and this nothing is displayed. As soon as you input something new, you can see your beam.

Yes sir. That is correct. Once I connected the beam to the top and bottom of my static meshes (above and below the beam) I instantly had visible lightning.

If you find your arc seems to "flow" int he wrong direction, simply invert the starting and ending points.

Nah, that's not the problem really, I meant its not going neither up OR down, it just looks like a fat bolt of spiky lightning. HAHAHAHA. It has animation and all but note how the original is a wide clean cut band of energy which is flowing upward? Nah, not mine. It just looks as I described above.

If you find your arc seems to be a spicky stuff, it's because of the texture used in PulseLineGenerator=>BeamTexture. Find a better one.

But that's weird because I'm using the same texture Epic/Legend used.

If you want your beam to be a straight line, I suggest using a PulseLineGenerator with PulseLineGenerator=>BeamWidth to 0;0, as the main feature of the BendiBeamGenerator compared to the normal PulseLineGenerator is subclasses is to have a very wavy arc. If you are set on using a BendiBeamGenerator, then you have to set both PulseLineGenerator=>BeamWidth to 0;0 and BendiBeamGenerator=>MetaBeamWidth to 0;0.

ok, I will have to check into this. I want the same exact type of beam they used, if it is the same that's cool, if what you say is different than their properties somethings wrong. I will check.

Finally, it should be possible to have several Connections in a single BendiBeamGenerator/PulseLineGenerator, but when I attempted to add new ones, UnrealEd crashed nice and proper. Inputting negative values in most fields seems to kill the editor too.


Yeah when I tried to add a [1] Template my editor crashed too. The original is using two u may note, namely [0] and [1]. Though I was investigating on how to add a new Template which I wasn't sure how to do so I hit duplicate off the [0] line.  Smiley But yeah mine crashed too straight away. next time it does that I'll slap it around for the both of us. lol. ::::WACK! SLAP:::::
To conclude, I'm not sure how much I'll get done the remainder of this week. I have most of my time on the weekends when I'm off work all night long when everyones asleep and house is quiet. But we'll see. Wanna work on it right now but can't decide, very tired from work overnight.  Undecided Tongue

I noticed quotes are messed up in this post after I submitted it, sorry, but everything is here. I accidently (somehow) included my responses with your quotes. Ooops.
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #6 - Oct 8th, 2014 at 4:44pm
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Abominog wrote on Oct 8th, 2014 at 12:06pm:
Glad you reinstalled. I love this game. And yes the particle system and effects ARE great. I agree. The game has some sweet effects. I was speaking with GreatEmerald the other day and I know in his video on Particle Salamanders he says they are very intuitive to work with. I wish they were for me. I think for a lot of people they are probably not or else we would not need more documentation and maps. Understanding the definitions are a start I suppose. I've always been determined in the face of opposition of something I like so I'm going to do everything I can to figure these effects out.

Not quite intuitive. At least, less than UT2003/4 emitters in my experience, but they look very nice and once you get into it, it feels right.

Quote:
I found out Epic/Legend used the static meshes above and below the beam for connections, not a literal path node or etc.

In this case, I believe (I haven't looked at the maps) the Generator works from the position of the static-mesh, brush or decoration actor. Punctual actors are easier to pinpoint. Personnally, I'd be more inclined to input the position by hand, but that's just old-fashioned me.

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Nah, that's not the problem really, I meant its not going neither up OR down, it just looks like a fat bolt of spiky lightning. HAHAHAHA. It has animation and all but note how the original is a wide clean cut band of energy which is flowing upward? Nah, not mine. It just looks as I described above.


Once again, having not looked at the map (and being unable to do so right now), I can't refer to it. I have a hard time understanding the problem. What exactly is spicky? Is it the TEXTURE or is it the BEAM ?
The beam can be straigthened using the BeamWidth and MetaBeamWidth parameters and the texture can be changed. With a combination of these, you could get a perfectly straight beam with a perfectly straight texture.

Regarding going up or down, Check if what's moving if the particle or the texture itself. I remember you can't input materials as particles in UT2003/4, but maybe you can in U2, in which case you could simply set a Combiner.

Quote:
But that's weird because I'm using the same texture Epic/Legend used.

If you want the same effect, simply copy the Generator. If it happens to crash, I suggest removing the starting and ending actors references in the Generator because this might be the cause of the crash (as it looks for an inexistant actor). If you want to remake it by hand, look at the setting of the Generator compared to a default one and see what they changed. I wish I could look at it right now, but if the texture is similar and you want "one wide clean cut band of energy", there might be several beams spawned at once which, superimposed, create a single line (you can modify the number of beams total between two points). Again, experiment and check how they did it.

Also, give me the precise name of the map so that I can take a look at what you mean once I'm home and can check.

Quote:
Yeah when I tried to add a [1] Template my editor crashed too. The original is using two u may note, namely [0] and [1]. Though I was investigating on how to add a new Template which I wasn't sure how to do so I hit duplicate off the [0] line.  Smiley But yeah mine crashed too straight away.


Try adding it with realtime preview disabled. Sometimes it crashes, sometime it doesn't. This is a very old, obscure and unstable build.
« Last Edit: Oct 8th, 2014 at 7:03pm by Hellkeeper »  

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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #7 - Oct 9th, 2014 at 2:39am
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Can screen-shots be posted on here? I could post what the beam looks like in my level.
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #8 - Oct 9th, 2014 at 7:49am
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Yes. You can upload them to imgur and link them in here by clicking the image button. There is no dedicated way of uploading an image to this site per se however. Just use imgur. Cry Roll Eyes Cool
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #9 - Oct 9th, 2014 at 1:35pm
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Thanks. If that's all it takes I can maybe use my photobucket account then.
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #10 - Oct 10th, 2014 at 10:30am
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http://i1160.photobucket.com/albums/q486/horus-ra/Bendibeam1.jpg

Original BendiBeamGenerator from Unreal 2 level: M01c

http://i1160.photobucket.com/albums/q486/horus-ra/Bendibeam2.jpg

My level after inserting the BendiBeamGenerator and making the connections.

http://i1160.photobucket.com/albums/q486/horus-ra/Bendibeam3.jpg

BendiBeamGenerator after adding second Bendi Template. It is smoothed out hellkeeper (the 2nd template caused this) and the original level also uses 2 templates, namely:
[0] and [1]. I did the same. Note the spikies on either side I mentioned? It was worse the other day when I mentioned it to you, but the 2nd template tamed that down, but not sure how to get it smooth like in the original. By the way, ignore the glass tube surrounding the Beam, that's not part of the bendiBeam.


  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #11 - Oct 10th, 2014 at 4:02pm
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You are not using the same texture as Legend. You are using the default texture, which is stored in ParticleSystems.u. The Generator of the map you want uses a texture from ScottT.utx.

The spikes on the texture come from here.

Even if you copy/pasted your generator from the map, you are using the wrong texture. It seems you can't copy/paste a ParticleGenerator in U2. When you paste it, it reverts to its default properties, probably because used Templates are stored in MyLevel and, from the look of it, not carried over a new map when you change level. So then you paste an actor referencing inexistant templates so it creates default ones for you.
  

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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #12 - Oct 10th, 2014 at 4:16pm
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Hellkeeper, that should not be true. You are right they are from scottT. The textures I used are:
ScottT>Effects>Fx glowbeam smokey001_pan and
Texture Particle systems pulseglowfuzz
I specifically added (entered) them. This is the textures that showed in epic/legends beam properties.
Also I didn't copy their beam, there was a whole series of problems with that. I added this beam in and did all the properties myself.
  
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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #13 - Oct 10th, 2014 at 9:31pm
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Ok, then you lost me.

State clearly and precisely what you did, what happened, what you wanted to do and what is the problem. Between all the things you said, all the things I didn't understand and all the things you fixed along the way, I no longer know what's the issue here.


OK, I get it. Here's what you need to know and do.

The size of the texture on the U axis is determined by parameter "BeamTextureWidth". By increasing the value here, you can get the texture "Big", as in thick. However, because you are not stretching it on the V axis, it looks stretched ont the sides, and because the texture looks roughly like a spikey line, once compressed, it looks like a spikey mess. Hence, also the kind of "star" you see in the TOP viewport.

To stretch it on the V axis, increase the values in BeamSegLength. Input something like A=2500/B=6000 and you'll get the effect you want.

This is what is done in the Unreal 2 map. To make the beam even more solid looking, I suggest you do what legend did and also change NumBeam to 2/3 or 4/5: this will superimpose several identical beams and make it more opaque. Keep A and B 1 apart, otherwise there will be radical variations in how opaque it looks.

Now BeamSegLength works in a way I don't really understand, but here are the basics I could gasp:

If you set equal values in A and B, the texture gets funky at the beam's ending point. Make sure there's a difference between these two values.

If the two values are different but close enough, the texture gets funky in its center. I had a 3500 gap between A and B and it seems to prevent all these problems, so go ahead.
A SEEMS to be the size in units of a full section of the texture on the V axis. However, this is seems to be contradicted by the facts that...
A and B can be used interchangeably: A doesn't have to be smaller than B and you can input 2500/6000 or 6000/2500 with the same result...
You can enter a negative value in A and a positive one in B and have an eldritch result. Inputing negatives in both A and B crashes everything to hell...
The result is also dependent on the beam's length. If you use a 512uu beam, the texture will be less stretched than if you use a 1024uu one.

Notice also that a beam cannot be longer than 2400uu. This arbitrary limit is hardcoded in that if you input an ending point more than 2400 units from the starting point, it will simply cap whatever number you entered so that it doesn't go above 2400uu. If you use starting and ending actors (or a mix of actors and absolute coordinates) the beam will start from its set starting point, extend 2400 units towards its ending point/actor and then stop abruptly. Furthermore, if it can't reach its ending point, the end of the beam gets funky once again.

Right, this should do all you want. I believe most of the important stuff is covered. MetaBeamSegLength didn't seem to do anything in my test, although modifying MetaBeamWidth had an effect, so I don't know exactly how the interaction between these meta parameters and their normal versions works, but I would guess it overrides them if you input something specific.

One last note: it seems I was right and the Generator itself doesn't pan the texture: the material inputed is a TexPanner which pans the texture quite fast on V, which creates the "pulsing" effect. If you want to invert the direction of the laser, create an inverted TexPanner or invert the starting and ending points.

EDIT: here's a picture of my result.



As you can see it looks like what you want. Here are the properties of the BendiBeamGenerator. Everything I touched is highlighted, even the MetaBeamSegLength which seems to be absolutely useless. All other settings (except the colour) are necessary. You shouldn't need to add other Templates or Forces for anything to work as intended.



As a final note, on at least one occasion, I let a perfectly valid Generator work in the background while doing something else. When I came back to UnrealEd, the beam was going crazy, changing size ten times a second and acting like it had a crazy BeamWidth. When I clicked in the viewport, it crashed.
« Last Edit: Oct 14th, 2014 at 12:31pm by Hellkeeper »  

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Re: Anyone understand this BendiBeamGenerator Tutorial: Hellkeeper, maybe?
Reply #14 - Oct 14th, 2014 at 12:05pm
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Was very busy over the weekend but found some small time to finish the beam off, and yeah, the texture was compressed, I used figures near yours and that fixed it straight away. Heck, there was no need for me to write a tutorial, you got the bulk of it anyway.  Wink
I'm going to start on the tutorial shortly, may take a bit (a few days, a few weeks, maybe a month) but I'll be on it here pretty quickly. I wrote down some of the major points this weekend. Might not be a bad thing if I passed it on to you before releasing it and you might fill in what I missed (if you wanted to) I certainly have nothing wrong with co-writing it. And anyone who wants to take whats here and run with it, that might not be a bad idea either. I think everything has been covered for the most part. Epic/Legend has a Particle Salamander or two within the beam also, but I didn't bother with that in relation to "how to make a BendiBeam" because it didn't seem important on how to make the beam itself. They were evidently just for some glows and pseudo-sparks near top and bottom "connections." Epic/Legend also has a "look at Trigger" in there I believe and have no clue what that's for as I know absolutely nothing about LookAt Triggers, haven't ever seen any documentation for one either I don't believe. It was tagged to "bendilooky" or something like that but I never found the thing it was tagged to, so I have no idea on that one.
  
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