map-pin Constructor Guide Part 5: Pie Slices

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14 Dec 2023 10:56 #1
Welcome back to the Constructor guide. If you’ve followed from the beginning, you should have everything you need to make a pretty solid level just using basic shapes - flat platforms and ramps can take you a long way, maybe more than you can imagine right now, but there’s plenty more to learn that can really bring your levels to life.

Going forward, there will be less explained of what’s already been taught (particular texturing, which buttons to press that aren’t new, etc.), but those basics should become pretty easy to get the hang of relatively quickly.

This part of the guide will cover pie slices, the tool used to make circular shapes.

Building a Pie

These are the two platforms we’re going to connect with a circular platform. The open ends (the ones without trim) are facing the same way, so we’ll make a 180° turn - half of a full circle.

After choosing a desired texture, start with selecting the Create Pie tool, which is under the User section of the Tools menu. Direct your attention to the top-down 2D view while you work - your cursor should have turned into a crosshair, so click and drag anywhere to create your pie. The dots on the sides (red and green) and corners (white) of the borders can be helpful as guides to resize accordingly to fit the position of the two platforms you’re connecting. Make sure you align your pie with the floor tiles of the platforms, not the trim.

Remember your vertical sizing as well! Use the blue dots in one of the side-view 2D perspectives to adjust the height and depth, or look at the Z value under the Size field in the properties window and change to 0.5.

So… looks a little weird, but it should fit. We’ll fix the texturing later on and focus on completing the shape we’re going for. Go over to the Properties window and check the Hollow Center box. Change the X and Y values to align with the inner sides of the two platforms being connected - every floor tile is worth 2. Make sure the size of the hole does not exceed the radius of the pie, or the entire thing will disappear. While you’re at it, change the U and V scale options at the bottom to 0.5, how you would normally size a floor tile.

The last thing before finalizing the build of your pie is the number of segments it’s made of, which is in the Properties window. I always try to keep that number as a multiple of 4, and I often determine that number more specifically by trying to have the width of the inside faces of the pie be roughly a floor tile wide. I set my segment count for this pie to 24.

Texturing a Pie: Flat Sides

Finalize the shape - hit Make, press Enter, as you wish - and now to make it look presentable. First things first, and most obvious, is to delete the unnecessary brushes.

So, texturing. The two platforms that were connected with the curve I already have the shift set to 0 and 0, which definitely isn’t a must-do and it’s partially because I get very picky like that, but the more broadly justifiable reason is it will ensure that I’m not trying to connect platforms with a curve that will leave me with part of a tile - everything will line up perfectly.

It also means that I can set the shift of the texturing on the pie to 0 and 0 as well! And this is all as easy as selecting all of the top faces that make up the curve, pressing the Face button, and setting the shift to 0 and 0.

You can also do the same on the underside, same process and all. I’m using “pattern_cool2” scaled to 1x1, exactly the same as in earlier parts of the guide.

Trimming Pie Slices

Nice to have the main path down, so next step is doing the trim, first with the outside. All of the basic steps have already been run through by now so there’s nothing new - draw and align the pie, set the size of the hollow center to fit around the main part of the path, change the U and V scale settings to 1 so the trim texture is the right size, finalize the shape, and delete the unneeded brushes. Make sure the number of segments stay the same as what was used earlier. The same process can be used on the inside trim.

A helpful piece of information to have is the formula that can be used to determine the size of the hollow center when you’re trimming a pie slice, both on the outside and the inside. Take the size of the new pie slice, divide by two, and subtract 0.5. Here is that formula being used for both sets of trim, outside on the left and inside on the right.

Texturing a Pie: Curve Sides

Firstly, the top and the bottom of the edges. It works just the same as when you textured the floor tiles: select everything on one side, hit Face, set the shift to 0 and 0, and repeat for the other side.

Now to texture the inside and outside trim faces of the curve, which have to be done separately since both sets will end up being different sizes from each other. Start with the inside faces by selecting all of them and hitting the Face button like you normally would.

The critical piece to having the trim faces align correctly is the Stretch to fit width button, which sets the X value of the texture size so one tile perfectly covers the width of the face.

And now the reasoning is explained for why I suggest setting the number of segments in a pie so that the width of the inside faces are roughly a floor tile. The X scale of the trim faces are very close to 4 (or more generally, a whole number), so the next step to fix the texturing is to take that number and divide by 4, so there will be four evenly-sized trim tiles that perfectly fit the width of the brush. (You can write in these fields like you’re using a calculator! Typing “/4” will suffice.)

This is a case where setting the X shift to 0 will not result in a clean look. so use the Justify Right button to adjust the texturing so it all looks nice.

Even though that whole process is a little bit more complicated than other texturing processes that have been covered so far, it’s still pretty easy and can just as quickly become a very fluid series of events. The outside trim faces of the curve are done in the exact same manner:

  • Select all the faces
  • Hit the Face button
  • Resize using the Stretch to fit width button
  • Divide the new size by the nearest whole number
  • Final adjustment with the Justify Right button

A quick note: sometimes the decimal value you get after using the Stretch to fit width button won’t be as close to a whole number as what I had with the inside faces, and that’s exactly what happened when I was texturing the outside faces. I ended up with 6.52631, which is annoyingly right in between 6 and 7 - at this point, it doesn’t matter what you divide by, so just round accordingly. (I divided by 7.)

More to Come

That’s a sweet basic curve! There’s quite a lot that you can do with them, and there’s a future part to the guide that will elaborate on three pretty important parts to curves: better trim texturing, improving efficiency in actually making curves, and making loops. All of those three are closely related and actually made a significantly easier and cleaner process by learning the previous, but it’s important to have a basic understanding of making curves in the first place.

Previous Part: Ramp Trim

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14 Dec 2023 11:06 #2
If you're using the bounding box of the pie to resize it, and want a circular curve, also be careful to make sure that your horizontal dimensions remain equal. Otherwise your curve will wind up squashed or stretched.

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