Formats/Material

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Materials were named shaders at Quake 3 time, they must not be confused with GLSL shaders.

Material format is engine specific (mods don't modify it).

See also Particle and Trail.

Supported material formats and keywords

The Dæmon engine supports:

  • Quake 3 materials in files named like scripts/<basename>.shader with Quake 3 material syntax and keywords (if it's not 100% compatible, it's a bug, please report!);
  • Some Doom 3 material keywords like normalMap and others, but the Dæmon engine can stage them too (it was a regression from Doom 3), files named like materials/<basename>.mtr are not supported.
  • Some Darkplaces keywords like dpoffsetmapping or dpreflectcube, features like implicit image sidecar loading and compatibility with Darkplaces blending limitations when enabling r_dpMaterial and r_dpBlend.
  • Specific Dæmon engine features like physical mapping, reflect mapping and others, with the ability to stage them, and other keywords like normalFormat to support multiple formats for normal maps.

Texture creation

See Image for details on texture formats and packing.

Texture naming conventions and material keywords

Technology File suffix Material keyword Material stage keyword Notes
Diffuse _d N/A diffuseMap Red, Green, Blue colors. Opacity in alpha channel (white is fully opaque).
Height _h N/A heightMap Greyscale, white is floor level, black is down.
Normal _n N/A normalMap Red means X, Green means -Y, Blue means Z (see below).
Normal with Height _nh N/A normalHeightMap Normal map in RGB channel, height map in alpha channel, ➡️ prefer doing separate files.
Specular _s N/A specularMap Black means no reflection, white means a lot of reflection, ➡️ prefer doing physical maps.
Physical (Occlusion, Roughness, Metalness) _orm N/A physicalMap Occlusion in Red, Roughness in Blue, Metalness in Blue.
Glow (Addition) _a N/A glowMap Red, Green, Blue, black means no addition.
Preview _p qer_editorImage N/A For usage in editor as preview, will also be used by map compiler to color bouncing lights.

Dept, doubt and shortcoming

Preview image

While optional to be rendered in game, a material should feature a preview image to be rendered in the level editor. It can be different from the diffuse map, but if the preview does not have to be different, just reuse the diffuse map.

Information 48x48.png

Note

For some historical reasons the q3map2 map compiler usually uses the preview image (editor image) to bake light bouncing colors, so it's better to not do preview images that doesn't look like the diffuse map. For example if your preview image is pink for a surface that is green, the bounced light will be pink. Fixing this requires q3map2 changes.

Normal map

Quake 3-like .shader material files assume X -Y Z like DirectX because XreaL mimicked DOOM3 that followed that standard, it's possible to use X Y Z (OpenGL-like) with the keyword normalFormat X Y Z (or any unconventional variant). The normalScale keyword can also be used to scale the normal map components this way: normalScale .3 .4 2.

Gloss map

Maybe the engine supports Gloss map in alpha channel of specular maps. Some of our model textures provide additional data in alpha channel of specular maps, and the renderer does some computation with it. We should investigate what's this computation is for. Some people call gloss map the specular map, but some people seems to design two different things with those two different names. The About page of Unvanquished says: “Support for glow, gloss, specular, and physical mapping”, so maybe the gloss map is the alpha channel of the specular map since the Dæmon engine does something with it? The Engine page says: Specular mapping (color and intensity), so maybe the alpha channel is the intensity?

Physical map

Occlusion seems to not be implemented in engine yet. Roughness and Metalness is.

Material manuals

Those material manuals are from other games, though a big part of them is compatible, they may even be incomplete even for the original game they were written for.

  • Q3A Shader Manual,
    The Dæmon engine must be 100% compatible with it, if it isn't, it's a bug, please report!
    The Dæmon engine may provide more efficient ways to do things anyway (for example via the use of pre-collapsed stages).
  • XreaL Shader Manual,
    The Dæmon engine may not implement everything, or may implement it in another way.
    If you need something listed in the XreaL manual but it does not work when you try to use it, please report a feature request.

Material syntax

Information 48x48.png

Note

Material paths must always start with textures/ prefix if they are expected to be used in maps.

While textures can be stored in various places (textures/ for usual textures, env/ for skyboxes, models/ for per-model textures), the NetRadiant level editor will only list files from textures/ folder. Also, the Quake 3 .map format we use to store source level assumes all materials start with textures/ and strip that prefix before saving.

The material syntax is inherited from Quake 3 and Doom 3, but the Dæmon engine also received fixes for design regressions introduced in Doom 3 (components like normalMap can be staged).

Keywords prefixed with q3map_ prefixes are map compiler keywords (Q3map2), keywords prefixed with qer_ are editor keywords (NetRadiant, its ancestor was named QERadiant, QE dates back from Quake with QuakeEd).

There are other keywords not having prefixes for historical reasons like cull, nopicmip, nonsolid, trans, etc. Some may be compiler keywords, others may be engine keywords. The surfaceparm keyword may be read and may be used (or not) by both compiler and engine, they may affect surfaces or content of brushes with faces having this material on its sides.

Comments are preceded with //.

Here is an example of material file defining three materials:

// this is a material name (to be applied on a surface):
textures/shared_vega/plasma_whirl
// this block is a material definition (a single-staged one):
{
	// those are optional per-material editor, compiler or renderer keywords:
	qer_editorImage textures/shared_vega_src/plasma_whirl_p

	q3map_surfacelight 150
	q3map_lightRGB 0 .95 0
	q3map_globaltexture

	surfaceparm nonsolid
	surfaceparm noimpact
	surfaceparm nomarks

	cull none

	deformVertexes wave 64 sin .25 .25 0 .5

	// this block is a stage definition:
	{
		// this is a texture keyword with a texture path:
		map textures/shared_vega_src/plasma_whirl_b

		// those are optional per-stage renderer keywords:
		tcMod rotate 20
		blend blend
	}
}

// this is another material name:
textures/shared_ex/base1a
// this block is another material definition (a multitextured one):
{
	// those is an optional per-material editor keyword:
	qer_editorImage     textures/shared_ex_src/base1a_d

	// this block is a stage definition,
	// it is called a pre-collapsed stage as diffuse, normal
	// and (implicit) lightmap stages are done within a single stage:
	{
		diffuseMap      textures/shared_ex_src/base1a_d
		normalMap       textures/shared_ex_src/base1_n
		heightMap       textures/shared_ex_src/base1_h
		specularMap     textures/shared_ex_src/base1_s
	}
}


// this is another material name:
textures/thunder_custom/ter_rocksand_yz
// this block is another material definition (a multi-staged one):
{
	// those are optional per-material editor and compiler keywords:
	qer_editorImage textures/thunder_custom_src/ter_rocksand_p

	q3map_nonplanar
	q3map_shadeAngle 90
	q3map_tcGen ivector ( 0 256 0 ) ( 0 0 256 )
	q3map_alphaMod dotproduct2 ( 0 0 .75 )

	// this block is a pre-collapsed stage definition:
	{
		// those are a texture component keywords with texture paths:
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_pk02_src/rock01_d
		normalMap   textures/shared_pk02_src/rock01_n
		specularMap textures/shared_pk02_src/rock01_s
		
		// those are optional per-stage renderer keywords:
		rgbGen identity
	}

	// this block is another pre-collapsed stage definition:
	{
		// those are a texture component keywords with texture paths:
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_pk02_src/sand01_d
		normalMap   textures/shared_pk02_src/sand01_n
		specularMap textures/shared_pk02_src/sand01_s

		// those are optional per-stage renderer keywords:
		blendFunc blend
		alphaGen vertex
	}
}

Material examples

Simple materials

This material features a pure white diffuse map and lightmap will not be baked on it, engine will not draw weapon impacts and other marks.

textures/vega_custom/white
{
	qer_editorImage textures/vega_custom_src/white_d

	{
		diffuseMap textures/vega_custom_src/white_d
	}

	surfaceparm nomarks
	surfaceparm nolightmap
}

This environmental texture features a diffuse map, a normal map, an height map and a specular map.

textures/shared_ex/base1a
{
	qer_editorImage     textures/shared_ex_src/base1a_d

	{
		diffuseMap      textures/shared_ex_src/base1a_d
		normalMap       textures/shared_ex_src/base1_n
		heightMap       textures/shared_ex_src/base1_h
		specularMap     textures/shared_ex_src/base1_s
	}
}

This player model texture features a diffuse map, a normal map, and a specular map. The engine will not reduce its resolution to side size below 256 pixels to keep details readable.

models/players/level4/level4b
{
	qer_editorImage models/players/level4/level4b_d
	imageMinDimension 256
	{
		diffuseMap  models/players/level4/level4b_d
		normalMap   models/players/level4/level4b_n
		specularMap models/players/level4/level4b_s
	}
}

Graphical effects materials

This buildable material features a diffuse map, a normal map and a specular map, and two stages for glow maps with custom blending functions. The top glow map is waving using a sine function, the around glow map uses a custom per-color-channel blending function.

When the buildable is destroyed, another material is used instead which only features a diffuse map, a normal map and a specular map.

The engine will not reduce the image to side lower than 128 to keep details readable.

models/buildables/drill/drill
{
	qer_editorImage models/buildables/drill/drill_d
	imageMinDimension 128
	{
		diffuseMap  models/buildables/drill/drill_d
		normalMap   models/buildables/drill/drill_n
		specularMap models/buildables/drill/drill_s
	}
	// white lamp on top
	{
		map models/buildables/drill/drill_top_a
		blendfunc add
		rgbGen    wave sin 1 .85 .5 .08
	}
	// small yellow lamps around
	{
		map models/buildables/drill/drill_around_a
		blendfunc add
		rgb       .85 .85 .85
	}
	when destroyed models/buildables/drill/drill_dead
}

models/buildables/drill/drill_dead
{
	qer_editorImage models/buildables/drill/drill_d
	imageMinDimension 128
	{
		diffuseMap  models/buildables/drill/drill_d
		normalMap   models/buildables/drill/drill_n
		specularMap models/buildables/drill/drill_s
	}
}

This material is a non-solid double-sided (not culled) translucent rotating material emitting light, the surface will be deformed like waves and no impact will be drawn on it.

textures/shared_vega/plasma_whirl
{
	qer_editorImage textures/shared_vega_src/plasma_whirl_p

	q3map_surfacelight 150
	// radioactive green #00f200
	q3map_lightRGB 0 .95 0
	q3map_globaltexture

	surfaceparm nonsolid
	surfaceparm noimpact
	surfaceparm nomarks

	cull none

	// deformVertexes wave <div> <func> <base> <amplitude> <phase> <freq>
	deformVertexes wave 64 sin .25 .25 0 .5

	{
		map textures/shared_vega_src/plasma_whirl_b
		tcMod rotate 20
		blend blend
	}
}

This material is a double-sided, non solid, moving water texture, with a scaling and scrolling effects applied. Surface is also deformed.

If a player manages to go enter a brush using this material, the player view will be affected by in-water view effect.

textures/shared_vega/water
{
	qer_editorImage textures/shared_vega_src/water_p
	qer_trans .5

	surfaceparm nonsolid
	surfaceparm water
	cull none

	q3map_globaltexture

	deformVertexes wave 64 sin .25 .25 0 .5

	{
		map textures/shared_vega_src/water_b
		blendFunc GL_dst_color GL_one
		rgbGen identity
		tcMod scale .5 .5
		tcMod scroll .01 .01
	}
}

Translucent materials

This glass material features a diffuse map and is translucent. The engine will render things behind this surface.

In NetRadiant editor, the image will be rendered with a 50% translucency (0.50/1). The editor renderer is not as advanced as a game engine and does not support blending, that's why we use simpler tricks like half translucency in editor.

This texture is double-sided (not culled) and considered as translucent by the Q3map2 map compiler (surfaces behind will not be removed from BSP tree so the engine will render them). When baking lightmaps with Q3map2, the casted light going through this texture will be affected by this texture, producing shadows with darkness relative to the alpha channel of the glass texture.

textures/shared_trak5/glass
{
	qer_editorImage     textures/shared_trak5_src/glass_d
	qer_trans           0.50

	cull                none
	surfaceparm         alphashadow
	surfaceparm         trans

	{
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_trak5_src/glass_d
		blend blend
	}
}

This grate floor material features a diffuse map, a normal map and a specular map.

The Q3map2 map compiler will keep visible the surfaces behind and when computing lightmaps, it will cast shadows based on the diffuse map alpha channel.

The engine will not draw weapon impacts and other marks on it. The engine will not blend the texture, instead, it will consider opaque everything that is greater or equal (GE) to 128 (from 0 to 256). Other options are GT0 (greater than 0) or LT128 (less then 128).

Because of the nopicmip keyword, this textures will always be displayed in full resolution (you may prefer using imageMinDimension keyword instead, to only set a minimum value to not reduce the resolution below it).

The game will play metal step sounds when a player walks on it.

textures/perseus_pk02/floor07
{
	qer_editorImage textures/perseus_pk02_src/floor07_d

	surfaceparm trans
	surfaceparm nomarks
	surfaceparm metalsteps
	surfaceparm alphashadow
	nopicmip

	{
		diffuseMap  textures/perseus_pk02_src/floor07_d
		normalMap   textures/perseus_pk02_src/floor07_n
		specularMap textures/perseus_pk02_src/floor07_s
		alphafunc GE128
	}
}

Light-emitting materials

This material for a star chart to be displayed on a wall only features a diffuse map and emits a light with an intensity of 150 and not lightmap will be baked on it.

textures/vega_custom/starchart01
{
	qer_editorImage textures/vega_custom_src/starchart01_d

	q3map_surfacelight 150

	surfaceparm nolightmap

	{
		map textures/vega_custom_src/starchart01_d
	}
}

This is a light-emitting material for the surface of a soda vending machine front. It features a diffuse map, a normal map, an height map (adding relief to buttons and other things), a specular map, and a glow map.

The emitted light is an arbitrary RGB color (with floats from 0.0 to 1.0)

The emitted light intensity is 150, a light is emitted every 64 unit, the backSplash light (a specific light added to lit back the surface) has an intensity that is 100% the one of the light and is positioned at 20 quake units in front of the surface.

textures/shared_ambient/soda-machines/khalsacola
{
	qer_editorImage         textures/shared_ambient_src/soda-machines/khalsacola_d

	q3map_lightRGB          .392 .235 .392
	q3map_lightSubdivide    64
	q3map_surfaceLight      150
	q3map_backSplash        100 20

	{
		diffuseMap      textures/shared_ambient_src/soda-machines/khalsacola_d
		heightMap       textures/shared_ambient_src/soda-machines/khalsacola_h
		normalMap       textures/shared_ambient_src/soda-machines/khalsacola_n
		normalFormat    X Y Z
		specularMap     textures/shared_ambient_src/soda-machines/khalsacola_s
		glowMap         textures/shared_ambient_src/soda-machines/khalsacola_a
	}
}

This is a light-emitting material for a door surface. It feature a diffuse map, a normal map, and height map, a specular map and a glow map. The emitted light is averaged from the glow map.

The light intensity is 50. The backSplash light values are the default ones (5%, 23 qu).

textures/shared_pk01/door01a_50
{
	qer_editorImage     textures/shared_pk01_src/door01a_d

	q3map_surfacelight  50
	q3map_lightImage    textures/shared_pk01_src/door01_a

	{
		diffuseMap      textures/shared_pk01_src/door01a_d
		normalMap       textures/shared_pk01_src/door01_n
		heightMap       textures/shared_pk01_src/door01_h
		specularMap     textures/shared_pk01_src/door01_s
		glowMap         textures/shared_pk01_src/door01_a
	}
}

Terrain blending materials

This is a material featuring two stages. The first stage featuyes one rock texture with diffuse, normal and specular maps. The second stage features one sand texture with diffuse, normal, specular maps. Those two stages are blended together by the engine according to the alphaGen vertex value of the surface (computed by the Q3map2 tool) allowing a rocky surface to smoothly fade to sand surface. This is useful for example blend some rocks into a sandy floor.

The preview image is custom.

textures/thunder_custom/ter_rocksand_yz
{
	qer_editorImage textures/thunder_custom_src/ter_rocksand_p

	q3map_nonplanar
	q3map_shadeAngle 90
	q3map_tcGen ivector ( 0 256 0 ) ( 0 0 256 )
	q3map_alphaMod dotproduct2 ( 0 0 .75 )

	{
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_pk02_src/rock01_d
		normalMap   textures/shared_pk02_src/rock01_n
		specularMap textures/shared_pk02_src/rock01_s
		rgbGen identity
	}
	{
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_pk02_src/sand01_d
		normalMap   textures/shared_pk02_src/sand01_n
		specularMap textures/shared_pk02_src/sand01_s
		blendFunc blend
		alphaGen vertex
	}
}

Materials reusing textures

Those two ceiling material variants have specific diffuse and specular maps but reuse the same normal map.

textures/shared_ej01-clean/ceiling01
{
	qer_editorImage textures/shared_ej01-clean_src/ceiling01_d

	{
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_ej01-clean_src/ceiling01_d
		normalMap   textures/shared_ej01-common_src/ceiling01_n
		specularMap textures/shared_ej01-clean_src/ceiling01_s
	}
}

textures/shared_ej01-ice/ceiling01
{
	qer_editorImage textures/shared_ej01-ice_src/ceiling01_d

	{
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_ej01-ice_src/ceiling01_d
		normalMap   textures/shared_ej01-common_src/ceiling01_n
		specularMap textures/shared_ej01-ice_src/ceiling01_s
	}
}

This material is a light-emitting one with diffuse, normal, specular and glow maps. The normal map uses a custom -X -Y Z normal map format.

The glow map uses a dedicated stage using a blending function to only make the red channel glowing. This means another material can reuse the exact same image but glow in green or blue or yellow by using other RGB blending values.

One can do another material reusing the exact same textures with another intensity and/or another color by modifying q3map_surfacelight and q3map_lightRGB and modifying material name to reflect the changes.

textures/vega_custom/squarelight01_red_150
{
	qer_editorImage textures/shared_vega_src/squarelight01_red_p

	// red
	q3map_lightRGB 1 0 0
	q3map_surfacelight 150

	{
		diffuseMap  textures/shared_vega_src/squarelight01_d
		normalMap   textures/shared_vega_src/squarelight01_n
		normalFormat -X -Y Z
		specularMap textures/shared_vega_src/squarelight01_s
	}
	{
		map         textures/shared_vega_src/squarelight01_a
		blendFunc add
		red   1
		green 0
		blue  0
	}
}