Modeling tutorials and such

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VSMIT
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Modeling tutorials and such

Postby VSMIT » Tue May 31, 2011 8:22 am

This thread is meant to be a compendium of modeling tutorials, for whatever program you see fit. If anyone would like to add their own tutorials, please feel free.

Please note, before you post in this thread, that this thread will be moderated. What that means is that periodically, I, or another moderator, will go through this thread and split off any discussion to a separate thread. If you wish to ask questions, please create a new thread and reference either the individual post, or what the tutorial covered, and we'll see if we can help.

Try not to create too much clutter. We all have to live here, you know.

Thanks,

V.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby VSMIT » Tue May 31, 2011 8:31 am

I'll get the ball rolling with a copypasta of a thread of mine from the old 1.3 CP2 board on BZU.

This is a list of (obviously) free 3D modeling programs. This list is mainly for those who wish to learn how to model, but people who already know the basics but haven't found a good program can use this, too. Of course, if you're really masochistic, you can write your own XSI files in Notepad, but who wants to do that? Note that only one of these programs has an XSI exporter, but that's easily worked around. If you've not attempted modeling before, or have tried it but not liked an interface, try these.

1. trueSpace. I've not personally used it, but I'm sure BNG Da BZ Fool could help you here. DL at http://www.caligari.com/downloads.html.
2. GMAX. This is a stripped down version of 3D Studio Max. It can only save as .gmax files, which can't be opened by anything, and can only export as .p3d files, which I've never seen used. However, you can download and install the Tempest game pack from Turbosquid, which has an MD3 exporter (Which can be opened in a couple of modeling programs), and there is also a workaround for exporting as an X file, which I will go over after I finish this list. DL at http://www.turbosquid.com/gmax.
3. Blender3D. A pretty powerful 3D program, but the interface can get some getting used to. OvermindDl1 has developed an exporter for Blender that exports to BZ2's version of XSI, but it needs testers. DL Blender at http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/, DL the exporter at http://www.overminddl1.com/forum/index.php/topic,694.msg4731.html#msg4731.
4. Wings 3D. A subdivision modeler, it's very easy to get high-poly fast. May have a suspect poly counter. Can export to 3DS. DL at http://www.wings3d.com/

*Program* to XSI:
1. trueSpace. I believe trueSpace can export to .x, so you can use the X2XSI utility found on BZScrap.
2. GMAX. There are 3 ways to go about this. One is Slaor's way, found here: http://www.bz2md.com/fishdotxsi/Slaor2xsi.htm. The next is Greenheart's way, found here: http://www.bz2md.com/fishdotxsi/gmax.htm The third is the Direct2X way, which I've found to be the easiest. I'll diagram that here.
1. First download the 'Gmax gamepack SDK' found at this link: FlightSimulator exporter plugin. Size is about 15Mb. Although only 3 files are actually needed, they are not available as separate downloads, so unfortunately you'll need to download the whole thing.
2. Next, download programs 'MDLCommander' and 'Middleman'.
3. After download, you'll see that the 'fs2004_sdk-gmax-setup' is an exe. If you install it in the default gmax directory, you'll end up with a lot of extra stuff that you don't need. So create a new folder somewhere on your hard drive and install it there.
4. When done, open the folder, go to gamepacks > fs2004 > plugins. And copy all 3 files: 'FSModelExp.dle', 'makemdl.exe' and 'makemdl.parts.xml' to your main ../gmax/plugins folder.
5. You need to rename two of the files. Right click on 'makemdl.exe' and rename it to to 'mkmdl.exe'. Then right click on 'makemdl.parts.xml' and rename it to 'mkmdl.parts.xml' (without the quotes).
6. Next, unzip 'MDLCommander.zip'. Then copy 'mdlcommander.exe' to your main ../gmax/plugins folder. This file also needs to be renamed. Right click on 'mdlcommander.exe' and rename it to 'makem.exe'.
7. Finally, unzip 'Middleman13beta3.zip'. Then copy 'makemdl.exe' to your main ../gmax/plugins folder.
8. To convert your gmax model to .X format. Go to 'File > Export' and select 'Flightsim Aircraft Object' (.MDL) from the file type dropdown. Type in a filename and click Save. The Middleman dialog window should now appear. Click the 'Options' tab and check 'SaveXFile' (this saves the x file) and 'nocompile' (this tells mdlcommander to only create an .X file not mdl/bgl). Then click the GO button.

After a few seconds the dialog will close and your newly exported .X model should be in the directory where you saved it to.

3. Blender3D. As I've said previously, there is an XSI exporter, just DL it, install it to the correct place, and have at it. I don't know where the "correct place" is, since I haven't used Blender all that much, so you'll have to experiment.
4. Wings 3D. As I've said previously, Wings can export to 3DS. DL Blender, and import the model into Blender. Do whatever you need to here, like place HPs, set up a hierarchy, or UV map, then export using the XSI exporter.

Many thanks to Nielk1 for continuing to host the necessary parts for the Direct2X method.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Col Klink » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:04 pm

What may be useful to those new to 3D modeling software; may want to convert the XSI Model Pack to a format that their software supports in terms of importing models in to their 3D modeler. I converted my Model Pack to DirectX models and can import them in to my modeling software. A useful tool for converting XSI models to other formats is called 3D Exploration version 1x. If you use GMAX or Blender you can convert them to 3DS and import them in to either modeler. Doing this allows them to study the tree structure of a typical BZII model, how parts are named, and where they go in terms of what needs to go where. The models can also be edited as well.

Addon: Whatever, modeling software you choose must support key frame animation if you you plan to make the more advanced BZII models. The modeler must also support linking model parts together as BZII requires that all model parts be mated together in a logical order prior to exportation. If you plan to reuse the original BZII texture files then you have to extract and convert them to a format that your modeling software can import for application to your models. Your going to also need to get the free BZII DXT texture converter to prepare your model textures for use with the latest Public Beta of BZII as I understand it is now the standard texture format supported by BZII. I have several BZII specific modeling tutorial to help get new model makers started.

The list is slowly growing but because I have limited interest and time for BZII these days some modeling aspects may not get covered in much detail.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Apollo » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:01 pm

Has anyone boned and rigged a model in 3D studio max and exported the xsi that worked in 1.3 yet?

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby MrTwosheds » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:39 pm

Not that I am aware of. I think it may be beyond the abilities of the xsi exporter to export the envelope info to xsi. This can be done manually if you are very determined.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Apollo » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:28 am

The bone etc is in the code, i'll bet there's a way... DRII used it.
I resently Had to learn how to bone and rigg a biped in 3DS to make a 2142 mech walk smooth, maybe i'll try it sometime.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby MrTwosheds » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:21 am

Boning isn't a problem, in the xsi a bone is just another hidden object like any other, you can make them and animate them in 3ds max, what does not happen is that the bones are not linked to the vertex once exported, this you need an envelope for, look in an xsi for the format of this. Basically you need an envelope entry for each bone identifying its vertex, they are numbered as in max but -1.
If the model is fairly simple this is not so difficult to do. I have made vertex animated pilots like this, its not a quick process, but worth the effort. Just keep the model as low poly as you can and don't bother doing it until your sure you have finished altering the models body, because doing it twice is annoying.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Col Klink » Thu May 03, 2012 1:28 am

I'm beginning to learn a new modeling software called Anim8or and have begun posting a few tutorials on how to use it for creating BZII models and props. The software is a simple sub division model creation tool that does not have a lot of complicated modeling tools. I've also created a BZII model export script with the help of another Anim8or user named Raxx to export models directly into BZII. The tutorials will focus on how to create the model parts that BZII uses. Some of the tutorials will introduce new modeler's on how to use the modeling tools to create things in Anim8or. A8, supports object sub division, basic UV mapping, and key frame animation. The link to the forum is Leroy's BZII Anim8or modeling tutorials. As I learn more about Anim8or new tutorials will get added to what I have already.

The XSI exporter is still a WIP, but it's state can be considered stable enough for use in creating simple models like Sabre Tanks and other non animated models and props for BZII. Texture support is working but all need to be squared in powers of 2, i.e., 128x128, 256x256, 512x512 with support for texture sizes up to 1024x1024. Textures also need to be manually copied to your addon folder as A8 won't copy them when you export a model. People who have trouble using Blender will find Anim8or much simpler to navigate the modeling tools because it doesn't have a ton of them to begin with. Cheers, Leroy aka Col Klink, U.S. Retired. :lol:

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Nielk1
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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Nielk1 » Thu May 03, 2012 2:23 am

Apollo wrote:Has anyone boned and rigged a model in 3D studio max and exported the xsi that worked in 1.3 yet?


I have yes. However I had to relay all the points for the bone weights manually. I have been meaning to make a MAX Script to automate the construction of this bit of ASCII but I have not had the time.

If I could get my hands on the source code for the different versions of Dummy's XSI Exporter I could try to add bone envelopes to the export.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Col Klink » Thu May 03, 2012 2:26 pm

MrTwosheds wrote:Boning isn't a problem, in the xsi a bone is just another hidden object like any other, you can make them and animate them in 3ds max, what does not happen is that the bones are not linked to the vertex once exported, this you need an envelope for, look in an xsi for the format of this. Basically you need an envelope entry for each bone identifying its vertex, they are numbered as in max but -1.
If the model is fairly simple this is not so difficult to do. I have made vertex animated pilots like this, its not a quick process, but worth the effort. Just keep the model as low poly as you can and don't bother doing it until your sure you have finished altering the models body, because doing it twice is annoying.


Are bones read differently then goemtry by BZII? I ask because when I import XSI to X converted models into my modeling software and select the option to import bones the bones are not attached via joints; they just appear attached to the geometry objects themselves. It looks quite odd to be honest as the original XSI models from the XSI model data pack have no bones at all? Is this a quirk with 3DEX X converter or possibly the X format itself?? When I animate objects using bones and export the model as X I don't see the bones in 3DEX afterwords even though the animation looks fine in 3DEX.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Apollo » Thu May 03, 2012 2:57 pm

Nielk1 wrote:If I could get my hands on the source code for the different versions of Dummy's XSI Exporter I could try to add bone envelopes to the export.


Well the xsi code is Pandemic's.
In 3ds max 2012 it needed a couple functions fixed which i bypassed as it's not needed for Bz2.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby MrTwosheds » Thu May 03, 2012 8:10 pm

Are bones read differently then goemtry by BZII?

The "bones" and "joints" in bz2's xsi models are just frame headers without any geometry object. I use ordinary hp_ objects so I can see clearly how they move in 3dex, there is no difference between bones, joints or any other objects frame header except in how they are animated. They only become "bones" once they are referenced by an envelope.

I would guess (because I have not tried) that the best way to animate, say a human figure, for bz2 in a program like 3dsmax, would be to make the skin object and then make a skeleton out of ordinary hp_pyramid objects inside him, animate those to perform its various movements, export the lot to xsi, spend a few hours making the envelopes for each bone. Then see what it looks like in bz2. I would then attempt to tweak the xsi models bones and animations to the desired result, rather than return to 3dsmax to do it.
This is a process that may not appeal to many.

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Zero Angel » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:05 am

While BZ2Maps modding subforum has been oriented towards mapmaking, we now have a subforum dedicated to Battlezone II 3D Modeling. The subforum contains a lot of useful information about converting models from different modeling programs to Battlezone II XSI format.
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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby Nielk1 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:55 pm

In news related to the previous posts in this topic:

MaxScript Bone Envelope Exporter:
viewtopic.php?t=1246&p=20036

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Re: Modeling tutorials and such

Postby XxHAMADEHxX » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:18 am

For people who have no idea how to model or use blender.
http://www.youtube.com/user/tutor4u/vid ... lf_index=6


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