Kev's Saber Pack (2.0)

By kcbrown
Date: 11-28-2002
Version: 2.0




README for Kev's Saber Pack

Title : Kev's Saber Pack, version 2
File Name : KevSabers-{thin,medium,thick}.pk3
File Size : About 380k each
Author : Kevin Brown

Email Address :


Installation instructions:

There are three different saber packs included here:

KevSabers-thin.pk3 A set of thin sabers. These are the same as in
the previous version.

KevSabers-medium.pk3 A set of medium sized sabers. These are 50%
thicker than the thin sabers.

KevSabers-thick.pk3 A set of thick sabers. These are twice as
thick as the thin sabers.

Extract the .pk3 file of your choice into your GameData\base folder.
Note that if you have a different saber mod already installed then
it'll be unpredictable which one gets picked up by the game. Hope you
like them!


Yet another saber mod which supplies the blades and the colored glow
around them... The goal here was to generate "photorealistic" blades
that would stand up well to close-up scrutiny, and a colored glow that
would look as "real" as possible given the limitations imposed by the
game. Unfortunately, that means that a thumbnail of the screenshot
won't necessarily do them justice. Hopefully you'll at least take a
good close look at them before passing judgement. That said, I'm
always open to feedback, so if you find these lacking in some way then
please email me!

This second version includes three different sizes. Hopefully this
will give the saber pack greater appeal to people. The first round
didn't do so well...

For those of you wondering about the size, it's because the images
are four times the resolution of the ones supplied by the game, and
are saved at the highest quality jpeg settings possible.


Yeah, yeah, I know saber mods have been done to death. But hopefully
you'll like these anyway.

I haven't been all that satisfied with the sabers that are available.
About the closest thing I've found to "perfection" for me has been the
Episode 2 blades by Pheen_e_Kass. But even those weren't quite right
in my eyes.

What I was after were sabers that would look more or less "real" if
such things existed in the "real world". That means that they would
really look like glowing objects with a definite surface.
Additionally, there would be a relationship between the glow right
next to the surface and the glow further away: the glow closer to the
object would be "hotter", which means it would be putting out more
higher-frequency light than the glow further away.

But I also wanted the sabers to look reasonably movie-ish. So the
wide glow around the blade (what I'll call the "penumbra") had to look
roughly the same as it does in the movies. At least the colors had to
be close. So I started with those colors and worked backwards.

And so the red saber has an orangeish glow next to the blade, the
orange one has a yellowish glow, the yellow one has greenish glow, and
the purple one has a whitish glow (since the eye can't see frequencies
higher than purple). But since I was also going for a nice movie-ish
look, I had to make some compromises in the "realism" department as
regards colors. So the green saber has a yellowish glow and the blue
saber has a whitish glow (the blue saber looks quite cool with a
dark-blue/purplish glow next to it, but I deferred to the movies on
this. Even so, the glow coming off the blade is ever so slightly
purplish, unnoticeable to all but the most discerning eye).

You can see all this in the picture I've included, which shows the
sabers in full as well as in detail.

As for the size (width) of the blade, I set it up with a slight taper
(almost unnoticeable) and set the width at the base such that it would
fill the black "hole" that is present in the end of the default saber
handle. This gives them dimensions that should be close to the blades
in most of the movies except for Episode 2, which used significantly
wider blades.

One other thing I improved was the resolution of the blades produced.
The resolution of the saber images supplied by the game is fine for
most things in the game, but you can see the pixelation in-game upon a
closer inspection (for instance, when you're standing with your back
against a wall). So the sabers I'm supplying here have a
significantly higher resolution: 256x1024 for the blades themselves.
This should stand up to close scrutiny a lot better, and I think the
example image I supply demonstrates that.

As I mentioned earlier, I tried to start with penumbra colors that
matched the movies as much as possible and work backwards from that.
That's not a terribly easy task, as the colors tend to vary a bit from
movie to movie and, even worse, even within a movie. I ended up
experimenting with a number of sources for colors, among them being
online trailer footage (view the trailer, take a screenshot, then
subtract the background color from the penumbra color to get a "pure"
penumbra color), still pictures, and of course the movies themselves
on DVD and laserdisc. In the end, I used the Episode 2 trailers to
derive the red and green colors. I used the old Mark I eyeball while
watching Episode 2 on DVD to derive the blue and purple colors (Mace
Windu's saber, interestingly enough, looks a lot different on the DVD
than in the trailers). I tried to pay special attention to the blue
color in particular. I looked not only at the basic color as seen
against a black background, but also at the color when seen against
lighter objects (Obi-Wan's fight against Jango Fett is a particularly
good scene for this, because we get to see what the penumbra looks
like against a very light background). Hopefully I got it reasonably
close to correct.

Some may notice that the penumbras aren't terribly bright. That's
intentional for two reasons. The first is that in real life, they
probably wouldn't be (in fact, they wouldn't really exist at all
except in very humid air). But more importantly, the way the game
renders them (by painting lots of instances of the penumbra image
along the length of the saber) makes it look really stupid when the
penumbra image is relatively bright: the fact that they're circular
becomes immediately obvious. This effect isn't nearly as bad when the
penumbra is relatively dim.

I tried to get the penumbras to all come out roughly the same in
intensity. This is harder than simply setting the "value" parameter
the same in HSV color space, since the human eye responds more readily
to reds and greens than it does blues. So I used the blue penumbra as
a reference and reduced the intensity of all the others until each
looked about the same intensity as the blue one.

A surprising amount of work went into these, as I ended up having to
experiment with pretty much everything: colors, shapes, glow patterns,
glow colors, gradients, smoothing, etc., along with learning the tool
I used to create these to begin with (the GIMP under Linux).

My thanks to all the other saber creators out there. Not only did you
give me inspiration to create my own, but it was very useful to be
able to look at your work. I am in your debt.

Thanks also to the LucasArts crew for such an awesome game.

Kevin Brown
November, 2002