It turns out submaterials work just fine in .ase models. Even if they’re exported from some blender object that uses not only several material slots, but also several UVmaps. Shadowmaps, normal and specular maps seem to be working on such objects ingame too. This makes me think that the entire .ase environment thing is completely reasonable. Naturally, the object has no collision at the moment, but it is fully grid-aligned and not terribly complex so building a collision hull from a few clip brushes would be a snap.
I have reason to believe that the mesh collision situation is going to improve anyway, so brushes for clipping might not even be the last word on the matter.
Here’s the object in Blender. Three material slots, each with one texture and one UVmap. Exports just fine!
It feels good to be back at SJ development. Blender 2.70 was released a few days ago, and one of the major, major improvements for environment artists is the “walk mode” navigation (Shift-F.) This gives you basically WASD movement like in most games, so you can navigate your environment just like you would in the game engine.
Cleaning up the triangle mess that q3map2 made is still a minor annoyance, but thanks to matcap and gigantic face normals it’s easy enough to see where faces are inverted and correct it. Going through the herdbase level and slowly getting everything to a state of all-quads with reasonable edge flow instead of half-inverted triangle soup is somewhat meditative.
I think this will be totally worth it in the long run. Blender for mapping? Absolutely!