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[OMSI 2] Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer II: Development log

Discussion in 'Projects' started by Road-hog123, Dec 13, 2015.

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  1. Road-hog123

    Road-hog123 OMSI Legend (Apparently) Moderator UKDT

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    Note: This is a thread intended to be used as reference by other people who want to make buses for OMSI, hence it is locked. More informal discussion and updates will be found here: [OMSI 2] Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer II
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    Hello... :)
    I thought that it would perhaps be beneficial to start a thread showing my progress with this project... I've been live-streaming a lot of my progress on my
    Twitch Channel, but I haven't streamed everything and the past broadcasts disappear after a while, so I thought it would be a good idea to post my progress in many ways as a reference to those wanting to make their own buses, detailing how I'm going about making the bus and how I solve problems that I come across. :)
    As such, I'm going to start this thread simply by outlining the project's intended outcome as it stands:

    Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer II
    HuL73-dgsep9JmaPl6Xq4rKTJV45zwAh.jpeg
    My aim with this project is to end up with one of these in Omsi, finished to a similar quality to existing European content, and not released unfinished or poor quality like much of the RHD content so far. The project started simply to build a single bus, but with research I have found that, like every bus type, no two are the same...

    There are 5 lengths of Darts, categorised into 3 groups: 8.8 metre Mini Pointer Dart (MPD); 9.3, 10.1 & 10.7 metre Super Low Floor (SLF); and 11.4 metre Super Pointer Dart (SPD). These were produced from 1997 until 2001 by Dennis to one specification and then by Transbus (a merger between Alexander, Dennis and Plaxton) to another specification from 2001 until 2007. To thoroughly represent the darts, I'm going to produce 8 variants: the MPD, the Single Door SLF (10.7m), the Dual Door SLF (10.1m) and the SPD all in both Dennis and Transbus varieties. I'm going to try and make them as generic as possible, but as my local company is Stagecoach, there will likely be a slight bias towards Stagecoach specifications as these are what I am familiar with. I will be producing scripts and models for LED, Flipdot and Rollband displays, but as yet I'm not sure how I want to go about implementing these.


    As with any Omsi project, accuracy of the final product very much depends on the reference material that the maker has available to them, so if there are any photos you have of normally unphotographed parts of Darts, specification sheets or other reference items, these would be greatly appreciated. :)

    TL;DR: I'm making a bus for Omsi. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  2. Road-hog123

    Road-hog123 OMSI Legend (Apparently) Moderator UKDT

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    Making a Bus for Omsi - Step 0: Should I even bother?
    So you want to make a bus? A project like this can only be successful if you are patient, skilled in the required areas and have adequate reference materials. You should start by asking yourself a few questions:
    • Do I have the time to devote to researching, learning required skills, modelling, texturing, scripting and adding sounds to a bus?
    • Do I know how to use suitable 3D modelling software (Blender 2.49b is the software used by Marcel and Rudriger to make the original game), image manipulation software and sound recording/manipulation software?
    • Do I have/is there suitable reference material available to me to be able to make this bus?
    And, possibly most crucially:
    • Will I finish the project if I start it?
    Perhaps another question that could be raised is, "is there a point in making this bus?". If a similar bus, or indeed the same bus exists already in Omsi, or the bus you are producing is one of a kind, is your bus going to fill a gap or offer greatly improved quality over another vehicle? For example, there's no point making two Enviro 400s of similar quality with just slightly different specifications if there are other vehicles that would fill gaps in the Omsi garage just as well!

    Confident in yourself that you can do this? Great! Take your time, don't be put off by the minority of people of forums that are impatient whiny children and let's get this bus built!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  3. Road-hog123

    Road-hog123 OMSI Legend (Apparently) Moderator UKDT

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    Making a Bus for Omsi - Step 1: Research... and a lot of it!
    As previously mentioned, a project like this can only be successful if you have the reference materials to support it. To get these, you're going to need to do some research. Ideally, you'd have the following:
    • Accurate, dimensioned blueprints of the bus from many elevations including front, rear, sides and seating layouts (a good place for these is on brochures/specification sheets or the-blueprints.com). Even better if you can get side/front elevations of the interior!
    • A bus of your own. Superb for taking measurements, sound recordings, reference photographs, texture photographs, scripting and animation information and getting the feel of the bus just right.
    • A detailed specification of each major component, e.g. torque and power curves for the engine.
    Of course, if you already have your own bus, you're unlikely to want to spend time you would otherwise spend driving and maintaining it modelling a virtual one and driving that, blueprints aren't commonly available and people like to model buses that are not in current production, and as such the specs aren't available, so we'll have to find alternatives. For my Dart project, I was able to find the following:
    • No blueprints, but I was able to get hold of some front/rear/side elevations from brochure artwork (thanks to Daniel C on Aussiex) and a seating arrangement from a specification sheet.
    • Spec sheets for the chassis, body and several major components that include curves and the like. web.archive.org was very useful for finding old specifications (N.B. both Dennis and Tranbus used www.dennisbus.com, whereas Alexander Dennis now uses www.alexander-dennis.com)
    • My local operator has several Darts that I can ride on and use as reference.
    • Hundreds of photos of Darts on Flickr including some useful ones of the Dashboard/Cab/Interior/other useful shots
    • Side/front/rear elevation photos. They're not as perfect as blueprints, but they're often more accurate than artwork.
    Some things not to use, however:
    • Paper bus templates or other art. Often horribly inaccurate.
    • Different variants on different sides... produces interesting results. xD
    • YouTube sound recordings, often with lots of background noise and poor quality.
    Anyway, once you have been able to assure yourself there is enough reference material available (I recommend downloading what you can so you still have it even if it gets removed online), we can start modelling the bus!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  4. Road-hog123

    Road-hog123 OMSI Legend (Apparently) Moderator UKDT

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    Making a Bus for Omsi - Step 2: Modelling
    (All these modelling steps are going to revolve around my experiences modelling in Blender 2.49b. Other software can be used, but your mileage may vary)
    upload_2016-12-4_21-18-50.png
    I've found that the best way to start modelling a bus is to take the overall vehicle (body) dimensions (found either on the VIN plate or on spec sheets), and make a box that size, centred at the origin. I'll then take the chassis dimensions (including wheelbase, front overhang, rear overhang, axle height (half of the wheel diameter) and width) and add them as a line drawing to the same mesh. If you have the body overhangs, those are good for positioning the chassis dimensions into the box, but otherwise it can be done quite easily with a reference image. I find the best results can be achieved by setting the dimension mesh to be always wire-frame:
    upload_2016-12-4_21-21-28.png
    At this point you can put in a background image to work from. Given that you will have to switch between different images for each angle, I recommend writing down the settings you use to set them up. Depending on your source material, you may find that it doesn't quite align with your guides, this is to be expected. Some things to note: wing mirrors don't seem to be included in width measurements, but boxes on the roof will be included in the vehicle height quoted in the cab (manufacturers don't like to mention height on spec sheets for some reason); modern buses kneel, so you may find reference photos have wheels at the wrong ride height. Artwork can often have the "wrong" ride height too... You can see how my reference image is "too short", but in reality SPDs have a lump at the rear not shown on the image and all lengths usually carry a radio bulge above the cab. My actual model also sits far above the quoted entrance step height when aligned with this artwork image.
    (The two images that were here when this was originally posted were lost along with the other images in this thread and much of the formatting, when we moved from IPS to Xenforo forum software to improve reliability. I've been able to recreate the formatting and bring back images I have copies of, but I don't have the two images here, nor the model file they were taken on to recreate them. :( )
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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