Glossary

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started by Fidcal

The world of 3D game editing has inherited much confusing terminology to confuse the beginner. They often have little or no relationship to their normal dictionary definition. Here are a few common ones explained...

AI

These are the functioning characters or creatures having AI - artificial intelligence to represent living sentient beings in the game: humans, animals, monsters. NPC is another abbreviation for AI.

Brush

A brush is normally an applicator to apply paint, ink, glue but in 3D gaming it means a raw shape. The most common shape is a simple block but Dark Mod provides pyramids, cones, spheres.

All Dark Mod brushes must be convex so you cannot have any recesses or concave angles such as in an L shape, a bowl, a hole in a wall. Instead multiple brushes must be used as building blocks to form these shapes.

Brushes are intended for simple shapes. More complex, detailed shapes like trees, AI characters, etc. are created externally as 'models'

A brush is a primitive and begins as a child of the worldspawn entity. This means it is a direct offshoot of the game world and inherits any properties applied to the worldspawn. If you select a brush and look in the Entity Inspector you will see the worldspawn properties.

A brush may be parented to another entity when it will inherit its properties.

Entity

A functioning item. (Multiple) primitives such as brushes and patches, and also models, can be parented to it and thus inherit its properties and functions. Examples: working doors, moveable items (ie, not fixed, unmoving) lights, readable items, and so on.

Some do not have a visible form in-game at all but only a function such as to trigger an event when the player approaches or to hold the objectives (quests) information sound speakers etc.

A func_static is a passive entity that does nothing but remain fixed in place - it will not even fall if placed in mid-air.

Frob

Frob is shortened for "frobnicate", which means to adjust/manipulate. In The Dark Mod, "frob" describes the interaction of the player with entities in the world. The possibility to interact with (or frob) an entity is indicated by the entity being highlighted when it is centred on the screen and the player is close enough to interact with it. This behaviour of the entity is called "frob highlight".

func_static

A func_static is an #Entity which has no special function other than to be static but which nevertheless has the advantages of being an entity, such as it can group multiple brushes and patches together and many properties can be added that cannot be added to a plain worldspawn brush.

Key

The property of an item (see Spawnarg).

Also used in-game for door and container keys etc.

NPC

Stands for Non-Player Character and refers to basically AI.

Map

A game file. In Dark Mod saved with the suffix .map. A mission or a game level.

Also used in-game for city, treasure maps, etc.


Materials

Materials are plain text definitions contained within files suffixed .mtr and stored in the darkmod/materials folder (within a pk4 zip archive by default.) They are often called material shaders or just shaders (not to be confused with sound shaders.) Sometimes they are just called textures but materials include other properties as well as the visible texture.

Material definitions include many properties such as textures, contour information, shinyness, sound, climbability, slippiness, translucency, as well as dynamic features such as animated water ripples.

Materials are initially selected from Dark Radiant's Media Browser. Textures already used in a map also show in the Texture Browser as a kind of shortcut. Both browsers are on the same panel as the Entity Inspector.

Model

A model is an item that is designed externally in a modelling program. It is not a raw shape. It is pre-designed. Lots of models are provided in Dark Mod, just right click the grid view in Dark Radiant and select create model. For example furniture, decorative items, physical lights, and so on. These often have fine detail whereas building with brushes is mostly (but not always) more suited to larger, simpler shapes like terrain, walls, etc.

When creating a model, by default it becomes a func_static entity which is just passive and inactive. But you can change that eg, a door model can then be changed to be a door entity so it functions as an openable, lockable door in-game.

Patch

A two dimensional surface

A patch is a primitive - a child of the worldspawn entity. This means it is a direct offshoot of the game world and inherits any properties applied to the worldspawn. If you select a brush and look in the Entity Inspector you will see the worldspawn properties.

A patch may be parented to another entity when it will inherit its properties.

Also may be used in-game by pirates!

Prefab

A prefab is a prefabricated map section that can be imported into your map. It can include any game elements; lights, terrain, entities, models. Examples: an openable, lockable chest, shelves filled with kitchen items, a stairway with steps and railings, and so on. These can be modified by the mapper, eg, retextured, if they include brush or patch items.

You can create your own prefabs by selecting items and using menu > file > save selected as prefab. Example, if you built an archway it might be useful in another map so could be saved as a prefab and used again and again.

Dark Mod comes with many prefabs included. (you might need to extract these from their pk4 zip archive if using early versions of Dark Radiant before you can see them.)

If imported via the file menu they will be placed at the same position from where they were exported. They remain selected so you can move them.

If inserted via the right mouse button in grid view then their original position will be added as an offset to where your mouse is pointing. For this reason is it very important to alway move items to position 0, 0, 0 before saving as a prefab.


Primitive

Initially a child of the worldspawn entity. This means it is a direct offshoot of the game world and inherits any properties applied to the worldspawn. #Brushes and #Patches are primitives.


Shaders

Shaders may be sound shaders (see #Sound Shaders or material shaders (see #Materials)


Sound Shaders

Sound shaders are plain text definitions stored in files suffixed .sndshd in the darkmod/sound folder (may be in a pk4 zip archive.) They include information about sound files and how they should be played in the game.


Spawnarg

A spawnarg is an argument (in the mathematical sense) given to an entity or primitive when it is first created (spawned.) These are the properties of the item and consist of a property name and its value (quantity, type, description or nature.) It is often referred to as a key value pair as it represented in the software code in that form. The key is the property name such as origin, rotation, team. After creation the key value pair is referred to as arg. The value can be numerical: 99 - or a string of alphanumeric character abcd99_xyz. There can be one or more values. Examples:

Name (property, key): origin

Value: 496 656 128

Name: team

Value: 2

Name: head_joint

Value: Head

see also Spawnarg

Textures

See #Materials