Hi all, here's a short tutorial about modeling, the best is to start using existing parts, and to work with them.
Once this first step becomes easy, it's good to start shaping your own meshes.
Here are a few ways to learn fast, in my humble opinion:
1: kitbashing example: open the Bloodthirster model, get a horn out of him, delete everything but the horn, save file as Horn.MAX, then open your yourunitname/Reference/Ref.MAX file, merge the Horn.MAX with it, and attach the horn mesh to any mesh. All done.
2: mixing example: open your yourunitname/Reference/Ref.MAX file, create a small pyramid (or any simple geometry), shape it as you wish, turn it into an editable mesh, give it an Unwrap UVW modifier (plus its own texture made right after using the Texporter plugin, another tutorial for another time maybe) and attach it to any mesh. All done.
3: complete modeling: shape a whole model from scratch (good luck), create a bone structure, rig the model, then either (assuming bones and meshes parts are named identically after a Relic model) Xref animations from a Relic model, or create a complete new set of animations (good luck, it requires to rig the model, and then to create some animation files, and then to animate them), then texture your model, all done basically.
To learn fast and well, i suggest you start from #1 to #3 in order. Also, do not be afraid to follow some online tutorials, for example, a tutorial that teaches you how to shape a woman warrior, or a car, or a simple object like a lamp, etc...
Step 1 will give you the opportunity to become familiar with the 3Ds Max user interface.
Step 2 will enhance your skills at shaping meshes, at giving them an UVW map, and at texturing from scratch a complete new object.
Step 3 is well, the pure modeling step, you will have to do everything yourself, hence why it's the last step here.
- 3Ds Max 6 through 8, you can find this software at: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet...3112&id=129446
It is a very expensive software, be aware of that!
- To texture your models, i recommend that you get Adobe Photoshop at: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/index.html
I will pass on the free softwares like Blender, GIMP etc...if you prefer to use those, then use the SEARCH function on the Relic forums to know more about them.
- Santos Tools, you can read about them and find them at: http://forums.relicnews.com/showthread.php?t=76791
- Relic Tools at: http://forums.relicnews.com/showthread.php?t=144448
Those are the basic tools only, some other awesome tools exist, for example made by those talented people: Corsix, Fneep, Mudflap, IBboard etc...here are the links:
Mudflap's Tools: http://forums.relicnews.com/showthread.php?t=116040
Corsix Tools: http://www.corsix.org/cdms/
IBboard Texture Tool: http://skins.hiveworldterra.co.uk/Do...xtureTool.html
Fneep Tools: will be released soon hopefully, take a look at http://forums.relicnews.com/showthread.php?t=146661
I will skip the "how to install" all this, use the SEARCH function, many threads talk about that, however, if you're really stuck, please feel free to post in my thread here, and i will answer/help as best as i can.
So now let's assume you got all the basic tools installed and ready to run, proceed this way for a simple kitbashing example, you want to add some horns on the forehead of a Chaos Space Marine.
Step by step:
- go to your main game folder, backup the pipeline.ini file and edit the actual one like this (make sure it's not in READ ONLY, then basically, you will see this section in the file already, all you have to do is to copy it, paste it under the existing one, and change the "my_mod" with your mod's name):
; NOTE: Replace "my_mod" with the name of your mod folder below!
Description = Your Super Duper Mod Name!
DataSource = ModTools\DataSrc\My_Mod
DataIntermediate = ModTools\DataInt\My_Mod
DataGeneric = ModTools\DataGeneric\My_Mod
DataBurn = My_Mod
DataFinal = My_Mod\Data
LocaleFolder = My_Mod\Locale\English
Parent = DXP2
DataSourceShared = ModTools\DataSrc\My_Mod
-open your Modtools folder, go in the 3dsmax folder, copy every files/folders, open your 3ds Max folder (where your software is installed) and paste everything saying something like "yes to overwrite everything".
-Still in the Modtools folder, open the Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\ModTools\DataGeneric\My_Mod folder and copy the _default.burn file. Paste it in those folders:
Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\ModTools\DataGeneric\yourmodnamehere
Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\ModTools\DataGeneric\yourmodnamehere\Art\EBPs\Races\yourracenamehere\Troops
This will make sure that the Object Editor and 3Ds Max scripts/plugins "burn" the files correctly. Better remain on the safe side eh?
-open your WINDOWS\system32 folder, copy from the Dark Crusade game folder the file Dxtc.dll and paste it in the system32 folder, this will allow 3Ds Max to load the Relic plugin correctly.
- open IBboard texture tool, extract the chaos_marine_unit.rsh, a chaos_marine_unit.dds will appear, then click on DDS--->TGA, and you will have a chaos_marine_unit.tga.
Place this file in your Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\ModTools\DataSrc\yourmodnamehere\Art\EBPs\Races\yourracenamehere\Texture_Share.
- open 3Ds Max, on the top right, you will see 6 tabs, starting from CREATE (an arrow icon) to UTILITIES (a hammer icon).
Click on UTILITIES, then click on MAXScript, then click on the little crolling list, and click on WHM Import, find where you have extracted the game data (using the Relic Mod Packager tool, a must!) and select the chaos_space_marine.whm file, for example mine is in: Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\BACKUP\Extracted Data\W40k-DXP2\Data_WHM\High\art\ebps\races\chaos\troops.
Save the files in Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\ModTools\DataSrc\yourmodenamehere\Art\EBPs\Races\yourracenamehere\Troops\yourunitname.
Just wait, if 3Ds Max asks you for a missing texture (most likely a banner related texture), don't panic! Use your SHOW DESKTOP button on your Windows Quick Launch bar, or hit the Windows key of your keyboard, then find the missing texture in your extracted game data, use IBboard tool, put the texture in the texture_share folder, now back in 3Ds Max, click on CONTINUE (or something like that). Once the model is completly imported, close 3Ds Max.
- go to Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\ModTools\DataSrc\yourmodenamehere\Art\EBPs\Races\yourracenamehere\Troops\yourunitname\Reference and open the REF.MAX file, it should now open like a charm, to make sure everything is alright, click on the QUICK RENDER button, situated on top right. If no missing texture message pops up, you're good to go.
Now go to your texture_share folder, find the chaos_marine_unit.tga, copy and rename it as yourunitname.tga.
Back to 3Ds Max, click on the Material Editor button on the top toolbar (it looks like 4 colored balls). You will see a Multimaterial, in the middle of the window is a list of the textures used by the model. Basically, in the texture_share, you would already have copied and renamed those textures used by your model. Click on each texture in the Material Editor, click on MAPS, under Diffuse Color, click on the texture and link to the new nenamed one. Repeat the process untill you have linked to the new renamed textures.
So now you end up with a model's name in lower caps (or my friend Thudzeimer will unleash chaos on you lol, if you need his AI to work for you), with textures names in lower caps too (might as well), and a model using its own textures, so bye bye the color bleeding problems and incompatibility with other mods or with the Dark Crusade game itself!
- repeat the same IMPORT process for let's say the Bloodthirster. Once you have its REF file open, click on a mesh having a horn, for example its head.
So select the head, then hit the H key on your keyboard, this will open a list of components that make the model (meshes, bones, markers). Then click on the left INVERT (not the one on the right!), click on SELECT, hit the DELETE key on your keyboard, don't worry, you won't loose anything. So now the only thing left is the Bloodthirster head, make sure it's selected, and click on the MODIFY tab (remember those important 6 tabs on the top right), now you see something like: Skin, Editable Mesh. Click on Skin, right click it and click on DELETE. Open the Editable Mesh scroll list, click on Element, select any part you want, and click on DETACH on the right of your screen under EDIT GEOMETRY. Or, you can click on Vertex instead of on Element, select the vertices you need and again click on DETACH. Close the scrolling list now, so you can move your cursor around freely. Now you end up having a part that you need, a horn, a skull, or whatever you want. Select it, hit H on your keyboard, click on INVERT, then on SELECT, hit DELETE on your keyboard (as you did before), now the only thing left on this scene is the horn (for example).
- on top left of the screen, you can see the menu bar, click on File, Save As, and save your mesh as Horn.MAX for example. This way, the Bloodthister model is not messed up and is still complete, and you have what you needed in a new file.
- open the Ref.MAX found at Dawn of War-Dark Crusade\ModTools\DataSrc\yourmodenamehere\Art\EBPs\Races\yourracenamehere\Troops\yourunitnamehere\Reference. Click on the menu bar on File, Merge, and find the Horn.MAX. Merge it, always choose the "auto-rename" options, so you end up with a textured mesh, and also you won't accidentaly replace an existing mesh, in case the merged one has an already existing name.
-open the Material Editor again, and click on an empty grey slot, click on the little pencil icon named "Pick Material From Object" and click on the Horn.
Do the same copy/rename process for its texture(s), so your model is using at 100% its own textures, to avoid any color bleeding in case...
- reshape/resize (anything you want) the horn and then move it around until it sits nicely on the head, wherever you like, select your Chaos Marine's head, click on the MODIFY tab, again you will see in order "Skin" and "Editable Mesh", click on Editable Mesh, click on ATTACH, and click on the horn, then choose the option "match material ID's to material".
You're almost done.
- select the "BIP01 head" bone, or something named like that with "head" in it, on the top tool bar, you can see a "select and rotate" button, rotate the bone, and make sure the horn is not oddly deformed. Click on the UNDO button (left arrow icon, on the top toolbar on the left side). Indeed you need the UNDO button, because no bones must be moved/rotated! If all is ok, save the model as (not a simple save, use only "save as"!), and export the model (click on the Utilities tab on the right side, click on MAXScript, click the scrolling list, click on "Warhammer Model Export").
If you get some vertices error message, don't worry, here's an example:
Select the head, click on Modify, click and open the Skin modifier, click on ENVELOPE, under Weight Properties on the right side, click on Weight Table, find the culprit vertex, you might find a value like 0.002, SHIFT RIGHT CLICK on it, to reset it to a zero value. Close the Weight Table and the Skin in Modify Tab. Save File As (again), click on REFRESH on the Relic Maxscript, and click on EXPORT, it should now work.
To now try your model in game, you need to Xref the model, burn it in the Object Editor and use the Attibute Editor or Corsix Tool so you can build the unit in game.
For now i will pass on that, use the SEARCH function, basically, find the Santos Tutorials, they explain all of it mostly.
Good luck with your models and mod
- how come my Dark Crusade game folder misses some spaces where the "-" sign is? Because otherwise clicking on Ref files won't open the file, it seems like 3Ds Max doesn't like too many spaces in the path name, so i renamed my game folder, edited all my shortcuts and the registry. If you are not an advanced user, DO NOT DO THIS!!! You might end up with a messed up Windows operating system, and you will loose everything and will have to reinstall everything.
So i strongly suggest that you just uninstall the Dark Crusade game, and reinstall it, choosing the name "Dawn of War-Dark Crusade", like this exactly.
- when i burn my model, why is the Object Editor giving me some "surfacecompiler..." error messages? Well, 2 days ago i was still using the Dawn of War tools and i've never seen that problem before, since i migrated my mod in the Dark Crusade, i get this error message, well, i don't care except it's annoying that my models are all dark in the Object Editor, because otherwise everything works fine, the models show normally in game, so it's no big deal really.
Problem solved: copy the Drivers folder found in your Dawn of War-Dark Crusade folder to your Modtools folder.
- i followed this tutorial and i end up with some ugly squary models, how come? Because you have to add a SMOOTH modifier to each mesh in your model, even the meshes declared as bones by the DoW Properties Browser (by Relic) and give each Smooth modifer it's own number (called a group).
Ok, i did all this and now the Relic Exporter doesn't work anymore, i get an error message saying something about "...can't build mesh...".
Don't worry, click on the culprit mesh, click on its SMOOTH modifier, click on the group number to deactivate it, check the Autosmooth and Prevent Indirect Smoothing boxes, change the Threshold value from 30 to 100. Try to export your model again, it should work fine now.
Message to everybody: as it goes, i will fix typos and mistakes i've probably made in this tutorial, also, if you guys/gals like it and find it useful, expect more from me then.
PS: if any moderator decides that this thread should be sticky, he/she will do it, otherwise please DO NOT even mention it in this thread (otherwise believe me, you'll get in trouble).