Having been the one who introduced Doga to the world of Nationstates, and having had to answer many questions about Doga's operation, I've decided it's high time I wrote a FAQ up for people. So, without much further ado, here it is, Rep Prod the Game Mod's easy guide to Doga!
Got a question that's not in the FAQ? Email me and I'll answer ASAP!
Q: What is Doga, and where can I get it?
A: Doga is a 3-D modeling program that is great for beginners. You build models from over 500 pre-built parts- so it's somewhat like playing around with Legos, only cooler. You can download it here. I would recommend starting with L2, and then moving up to L3.
Q: Does it cost anything?
A: A great big NO. If you want to render ANIMATIONS, you need to register it. For simply rendering still images, it's free.
Q: How do I color/texture my models?
A: This depends on which version of Doga you're using. L1 has no texture options (or color options, if memory serves correctly- it's been forever since I last used it). In L2, you have some color/texture options. Simply select the part you want to color/texture, and you can set it's color/texture/material using the Part Attribute stuff in the lower right corner of the window. This can be quite tedious on larger models, however, because you have to set the attributes to each and every part manually.
In L3, the stuff beneath Part Attribute has changed. You can use palettes instead of labeling each and every part. To create a new palette, click the "New" button beneath Part Attribute (when you start a new model, there is one default palette labeled 'noname'). This will bring up a menu where you can set color, texture, and material. (There are far more options in L3as well, such as setting bumpmap textures, reflective textures, and so on.) You can also select if that palette will cast shadows or receive shadows (L2, on the other hand, lacks anything for specific shadows). If you want to change an existing palette, click it (It will be listed under Part Attribute), and then click the "Edit" button to go to the menu. When you want to apply a palette to a part, select the part, and then click the palette you want to apply to it. Much easier than having to set the palette manually.
Q: How do I make my model poseable? (example: a tank with a turret?)
A: First, you have to create the 'units' of the model. In the example of the tank and turret, you need to build two models- the tank's main body, and the turret. (I recommend building the entire tank first and saving it, then removing the turret from the model, save that under another name, like 'tank1'. Then reload the original tank, and remove the main body, and save what's left under another name, like 'tank2'.)
After you've made the units, close Doga to go back to its main screen. Then select "Create a multi-joint object". The ConnectionBuilder at a glance looks identical to the normal PartsAssembler, but they work slightly differently.
So, using the tank as an example yet again- you want to go to "Unit" in the top bar, and select "Add Unit". Select the model you want to use, and place it however you like. Then, make sure you have that part selected, and go to "Unit", and "Add Unit" again. Place the new unit however you like. (Note that the first unit will now be highlighted in light blue). You will likely want to specify where the new unit will rotate- select the unit (in the tank example, the turret), go the "Unit", and select "Edit Pivot Point". A little red dot with an X in it will appear in the 3 view windows, and you can place it where you want. The unit will then pivot around this point. Voila! You've made a jointed model.
Q: How do I render still images with backgrounds and stuff?
A: This is done through "Design a Motion", in the main Doga menu. (L1 does not have this feature, if memory serves.) You can choose the background and fog settings in "Environment", and you can place your model by going to "Object", and selecting "Add Object" or "Add Multi-Joint Object" (In L2, it's "Add Fixed Object" or "Add Fixed Multi-Joint Object.) depending on what model you want to place. You can pose multi-joint models by selecting the model you've placed, and clicking the "Action Edit" button. ("Pose Edit" in L2). That will take you to the ConnectionBuilder, and you can fiddle around with the model's pose, then select "Fix This Pose Edition" from the stuff in "File". In L2, your lighting is limited to one source, and its options are under the "Environment" menu. In L3, lighting options has its own menu in the top bar, and you can have multiple light sources, have lens flares, etc.
Once you've toggled everything to your liking, go to "Display", and select "Rendering". You can set the size of the rendering by first going to "Rendering Properties". In L2, once the rendering window is done, right click in the blue bar, and select "Save Image As". NOTE: L2 can only save in .bmp format. If you want to use the image on the Net, you will need to convert it to a .gif or a .jpg using a program like Paintshop or Photoshop. In L3, just hit the "Save" button in the rendering window. NOTE: L3 can save in Net-friendly formats like .jpg (recommended).
Q: How do I do special effects like explosions or laserbeams?
A: You have to build them as 3-D models. Same goes for background elements like buildings, mountains, etc. (The background images will only go so far.) This picture is a good example of special effects, while this image is a good example of background models. (The ground, the buildings, the giant railgun, etc.)
Q: How do you make a SUF file? (asked by Somtaaw)
A: SUF files are what Doga's parts are. Doga itself doesn't appear to have anything for creating custom parts- however there is a program listed on Doga's website called Metasequoia, which you can use to make CG models, or new parts for Doga, as it can save stuff as a .SUF file. Unfortunately, I have yet to try it out, so I can't help with Metasequoia yet. Sorry!
Q: Is there anyway to make your own textures, and if so how?
(asked by Santa Barbara)
A: In Doga L3 you can use custom textures. In the palette editor, at the bottom of the Texture menu, you'll see an area labeled "User Texture Area", with several white boxes underneath it. Simply click the arrow next to one of the boxes, and select the image you want to use as a texture. (NOTE: It only accepts .jpgs for textures!). Once that's done, you can select that texture by clicking the box with the image in it, just like you would for the textures that came with the program.
Q: Where can I get more parts?! (asked by many, many people)
A: There are two ways:
Do it the hard way like I did, google around for parts, download them from a number of Japanese sites, then figure out how to install them and so on.
Do it the easy way, and download them straight from me, all ready to go! (I'm really too nice for my own good, you guys had best appreciate this! =p) To do this the easy way, there are two .zip files you will need to download:
1) dogaparts.zip (9.6 MB zipped)- Unzip this file, and simply replace your parts directory in Doga with the folder setup and all from the .zip- all set up and ready to go. (The parts directory is DOGACGA/common/parts/.)
2) dogaparts2.zip (1.3 MB zipped)- This one contains all the catalogue pictures (y'know, the images you see when selecting a part from the parts menu?). Simply unzip this one into the Catalog directory (DOGACGA/common/catalog/), and if it tells you such-and-such file already exists, just tell it to overwrite or replace or whatnot. After that, you'll be able to select a slew of new parts in the normal parts menu, and in L3, there are an additional 50 or so parts you can get at by choosing "Add Part from file" (The folders d1 through d7 in the parts directory all contain custom parts that lack catalog images or that I never got around to setting up for the main menu. There are some very handy parts in there, including more robot parts and a ton of new cockpits.)
DISCLAIMER: None of these parts are my creation. Most of them were found on the Fire on the Suns website before they moved. (They no longer appear to be hosting the Doga files, which is a shame.) Many parts were also gleaned from a number of Japanese websites. In short, none of them are mine, and I sure as hell am not making any money off of this!
Hope that helps!
~Queen Firefury Amahira
~Shogunate of Reploid Productions