Before you start creating your physical model for the .SUR file, you need to know how to do it the optimal way. For this, keep the following in mind:
Depending on your objects size and moveability (station or ship, or both) you have to decide how accurate your physical model needs to be. Is it static/slow and big? Players will have time to explore all corners, keep it accurate. Is it moving and small? Nobody will ever notice your wings are cubes instead of smooth curved.
Always keep your model as simple as possible. Try to save polygons and use few meshes. If you have, for example, two crossing beams, don't cut the meshes where they meet. Just keep them two cubes.
There is a rather simple way how to create meshes fast and with good accuracy. Always try to find "shape defining surfaces" (examples marked red):
Now remove all surfaces except those "shape defining" ones:
Imagine, the "shape defining surfaces" need to be some kind of edges for a shape. Merge all surfaces belonging to one shape into one group:
Now select all those groups in Milkshape and use the Convex Tool, after that, remove all currently selected groups (so just the new convex ones are left):
As you can see, the convex shapes are now exactly following the distinctive shapes of the original model. This is a general technique you can and should use for every physical model for every game, not just Freelancer.
- SURs - How to: 2. About Surface (SUR) Files
- SURs - How to: 3. The .OBJ to .SUR Converter
- SURs - How to: 4. Example: Fighter
- SURs - How to: 5. Example: Battleship