Armada Storm3D SOD Utilities

What the name says :p . Have fun with it!


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What the name says :p . Have fun with it!

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  Storm3D Tool v1.0 

Author : Steve Williams.


Storm3D Tool has several functions :-

1. Artwork preview 
    - Allows existing or newly exported .SOD files to be inspected 
      for errors, compared, etc.

2. File format updating
    - Load old format .SODs & resave in the latest format (which is public).

3. SOD hierarchy inspection
    - Examine the organisation of existing .SOD files.

3. Simple editing 
    - Node positions & orientations can be modified, vertices can be 
      repositioned. Limited functionality due to time constraints, but may 
      be useful. Modified .SODs can be saved.

4. Technology demonstration 
    - Illustrates the capabilities of the Storm3D rendering engine.

5. Entertainment 
    - Play around ST: Armada 3D models for no particular reason. 


For more complex editing, you'll need to either use the Storm3D SoftImage 
Exporter, or develop exporters/importers for other art packages, using the 
"Storm3D Object Definition (SOD) File Format" documentation for reference. 
When developing new artwork, pay attention to the hierarchy of existing
models. Organizing your hierarchy correctly is the key to getting new art 
to function correctly within Armada. Inspect a few existing object 
hierarchies in Storm3D Tool for reference.


Windows 95/98/2000 & *primary display* 3D accelerator card with at
least the functionality of an nVidia TNT1 & at least 8Mb video

DirectX7 or higher, Star Trek: Armada, with patch 1.1 or later installed.

As always, ensure you have the latest recommended drivers installed
for all your hardware.

NB: A primary display graphics card is the one which is used to
render the Windows desktop.Passthrough cards such as 3Dfx 
Voodoo1/Voodoo2 are not supported at this time (because they
cannot run in a window).

IMPORTANT: Make sure your windows desktop is set to a resolution
supported by the 3D hardware of your graphics card. I.e. either
16 or 32 bit. Note that 32 bit (for 3D) is not supported by some
voodoo cards. I recommend setting your desktop to 16 bit mode


Storm3D Tool package consists of two files :

Storm3D Tool.exe (the application)
Storm3D Tool.txt (this file)

1. Ensure Armada is correctly installed on the machine that you wish to install
Storm3D Tool on. 

2. Copy Storm3D Tool.exe to the same directory as you have installed Armada.
I.e. The directory containing the file Armada.exe

3. Run the tool, just double click on the Storm3D Tool.exe icon. 
If you make a shortcut, ensure the starting directory is correct - ie. the Armada
root directory.

4. Help is available within the tool by pressing the F1 key.

Quick Tutorial

1. Getting started

Install & run the program as described above. If all goes well, you should 
see a window on your desktop showing the ST: Armada logo. The blue box around
the logo indicates this is the selected object. Press the F1 key at any time
for help.

Storm3D Tool has two main modes, preview mode & advanced mode. Preview mode
is used for simple object inspection, advanced mode is used for inspecting
and editing object hierarchies.

Preview mode

The selected object can be rotated/moved using left & right mouse button
drags. The rotation uses a method called 'rolling ball', when you hold
down & drag the mouse, try to imagine dragging a point around an imaginary
ball surrounding the object. It's a bit tricky at first, but shouldn't take
too much getting used to ... Zoom in & out using the a & z keys.

Hit PG/UP to select the next object (in this case, a light). 
You can change the light's direction (left mouse drag) or colour (hit the 'c' key).

You can place additional lights by hitting the 'l' key. 
Note that the more lights, the slower the application will run. 
I'd recommend a maximum of 3.

Deleting objects/lights 
Hit the DEL key. (it's a little over the top, but I like it ...)

You can select the next/previous object using the Pgup/PgDown keys.
Alternatively, shift left click can be used to select the closest object 
to the mouse cursor.

Placing objects
Press F8, then select the appropriate file. Use the space bar to place the
selected SOD at the current mouse pointer location. Note that new objects
appear with a random team colour. You can change the object's team colour
by pressing the 'c' key whilst the object is selected.

Saving objects
Save the currently selected object (the one with the blue box around it) by
pressing the F9 key.

Spinning objects
Press the 's' key to toggle spin mode on a particular object. When you next
perform a left mouse drag on that object, it will spin. This may take a 
little getting used to. Press the 's' key again to stop the selected object
from spinning. Note that you can set lights spinning for some nice effects.

Advanced Mode

Press the F2 key to toggle to advanced mode (you can press it again to
return to preview mode).

Advanced mode has three sub modes, which can be activated by pressing
the appropriate key - [o]bject, [n]ode and [m]esh/vertex.

Object mode - As preview mode, with on screen information.
Node mode   - Used for editing node position/orientation.
Mesh/vertex - Used for editing mesh vertex positions.

The currently selected mesh is indicated by flashing wireframe/solid.
The currently selected node is indicated by red/green/yellow axis.

Object mode
See preview mode details, the controls are identical.

Node mode
PG/UP, PG/DOWN can be used to select the next/previous node.
Shift left click can be used to select the closest node to the cursor, this node
is indicated by magenta axis.

Nodes can be positioned & rotated using the same controls as object or preview mode.

Sometimes you want to synchronize the current node & current mesh (i.e. to move the
current mesh). This can be done by pressing the F7 key.

Mesh/vertex mode
PG/UP, PG/DOWN can be used to select the next/previous mesh. Shift left click can be
used to select the closest mesh to the cursor. The currently selected mesh should 
flash to show it is selected. An oval cyan 'brush' around the cursor is used for 
selecting vertices, the brush size can be modified using the F5 and F6 keys. 
When the brush is moved over vertices on the selected mesh, they are highlighted. 
To select these vertices, perform a shift left click operation. Selected vertices
are highlighted in magenta. To deselect vertices, move the mouse over them and 
perform a shift right click. Selected vertices can be moved using a right mouse drag. 
A left mouse drag can be used to rotate the current object.

Changing Texture
You can change the texture on the current mesh by pressing the 't' key & selecting
the texture you want. Note that just selecting a random alternative texture will
probably result in strange patterns on the object, this is because the texture
coordinates are not set up for that texture. Texture coordinate editing is
unfortunatly not available at this time, so you will need to make a copy of the
original texture & modify it using the original as a guide.

On screen information

Object info
In the top left corner of the screen, the currently selected object's filename
is displayed. The number in square brackets is the object radius. This is
followed by the number of objects loaded, initially two - the logo & the light.

LOD info
Under the selected object info is the LOD mode. The LOD mode is initially auto,
this means Storm3D selects the appropriate LOD based on object size/distance 
from the camera. LODs can be forced using the numpad +/- keys. Note the logo
only has one LOD, so changing the LOD has no effect. Other objects however
do contain LODS.

Frame rate
Displayed in the top right.

Sub mode
Displayed in the bottom right - object, node or mesh/vertex as described above.

Node info
Displayed under the LOD info.

Information available :-

1. The currently selected node.
2. Closest node to the cursor (highlighted by magenta axis) - this node can be selected
using a shift left mouse click in node mode.
3. The selected node's hierarchy to the root. By studying the hierarchy of several
existing models, one can become familiar with the hierarchy requirements for a
model to work correctly within Armada.

Additional Features
See online help by pressing the F1 key for further details.


1. The program will not start what can I do ?

Storm3D Tool runs best in a window. To ensure this is possible,
ensure your Windows desktop is set to a resolution supported by 
the 3D functionality of your graphics card. I.e. 16 or 32 bit.
Your primary graphics card must support 3D functionality.
Avoid 24 bit desktop modes - these are rarely supported by
3D hardware. 

2.The program runs out of video memory. What can I do ?

Users of older video cards with less than 8Mb of VRAM should
ensure ensure their desktops are running in a low resolution
(640x480x16 or 800x600x16) to avoid running out of video
memory. Also, if you resize the window & the app exits, you
have probably run out of video memory.

3. I can't run the program on my Voodoo3. What's the problem ?

Voodoo3 owners - make sure your desktop is in 16 bit mode.
The Voodoo3 chipset cannot render to 32 bit displays in 3D mode.

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