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Lesson 10 - 3D Clipping with BSP

A Guest Tutorial by Gripp

Note: This tutorial was written by Gripp (aka Mike Ruete). If you don't know Gripp, he runs the #level_design channel on #EFNET (drop by some time - I hang out there once in a while). He is also really good at putting BSP through its paces. To see a sample of his work check out Rust in Peace, a cool level he made. Anyway, he graciously agreed to take time away from his busy schedule to write up a tutorial on using the 3D clipping plane in BSP. (Thanks Gripp!!)

I've shown a little 2D clipping here and there throughout these tutorials, but I haven't begun to show the power that exists in this feature. Be warned: this is pretty technical stuff and takes a lot of trial and error to get used to, so roll up your sleeves and let's dig in. If you don't understand how to set clip points, you might be better off checking out Lesson 2 before you attempt this lesson. It demonstrates how to clip in 2D planes and should give you enough info to get started.

I have added some comments here and there to Gripp's text to help clarify some of the murkier points. My comments are in this color to distinguish them from Gripp's. So now, without further ado, heeeerrre's Gripp!

The 3-point clip plane in BSP kicks ass. But, to use it effectively, one must first understand how 3 points define a plane as it relates to 3D editing. In general math, a plane is just an infinite set of points described by an equation. However, in 3D games/editing, the notion that a plane has a front and a back is tossed in, just to make things more complicated.

In BSP, when you use a clip plane, stuff "in front of" the plane is kept, and stuff "behind" the plane is either clipped away or split off into a new brush (depending which button you hit). So, there are two main problems with using the 3-point clip plane:

Both of these problems can easily be overcome with an efficient mode of thinking about the problem, and with lots of practice. Here's a description of the mode of thought I use: Here are some examples of simple shapes, and how you might going about creating them.

Shape One: The 1/4 spike

From the top, this looks like a triangle:
BSP Screenshot

Follow these instructions, and see what you come up with:
BSP Screenshot

BSP Screenshot

Shape Two: Tapered Cylinder

For this shape, look at the sample map here to see the objects described. Start with the brush on the left in CYLINDER.MAP, which can be created with simple 2-point clipping. This brush is a vertical 8-sided cylinder, with the top tapered along the x and y axes. However, the faces that are along a 45-degree angle aren't tapered. The brush on the right is the finished product we're going for, just for reference. Here's the view of these brushes from the top:

BSP Screenshot

Here's how to turn the brush on the left into the brush on the right:
BSP Screenshot

BSP Screenshot

Now, there's two ways to clip the rest of the faces. The way I suggest you use now to get practice is to just repeat the above steps for the other three, keeping in mind that you're clipping the top off the brush, or rather, you're keeping what's below the clip plane. So, you need to place the points in clock-wise order.

The other way to do it is MUCH faster, and it involved using the 3D view, the "Set Clip Plane From Face" function (check your bspmou3d.ini to see what it's set to, if anything), and the "90-degree rotate about z" button. See if you can figure it out.

This is a little tricky, so I'll help you out. First of all, select Preferences/Mouse from the File Menu. Under 3D settings, select 'Clipper'. This turns on the mouse Clipping functions in the 3D window. Now go to the 3D window and move around until you can see the face that we just clipped off (the first tapered face).

Right-click on this face. BSP forms a Clip Plane from this brush face. Now, switch to the Top X/Y view (just so you can see what's going on). Click on the 'Rotate on Z' button. The brush rotates, but the Clip Plane stays where it is! Now click on the Carve button and voila! You've just carved the second plane at the same angle as the first. Repeat these steps for the other two faces and you're done! That is really powerful!

Other shapes: In, I've made a little hallway with some other shapes created with the 3-point clip plane. See if you can re- create it. Good luck!

Well, there you have it. I really want to thank Gripp for taking the time to do this tutorial. I hope you have found it as useful as I have. I have to admit, I even learned something new (the 3D mouse clipping trick). I guess you can show an old dog new tricks after all... :-) Take it easy!

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