MODDERS ONLY!!!- Here's an irregular kind of file; normal BF2 players, you can skip over this, you'll have no clue what it is. Honestly, I'm not too knowledgeable about this either, and certainly don't really know how to use it, so I'm stealing quotes and stuff for this review.
The posts at Gametoast (specifically, from psych0fred) is where I'm getting these from:
So there's this program online called 3D Object Converter (http://web.t-online.hu/karpo/) and it's shareware. I've tried using it periodically and it never quite did what I wanted it to, but recently I found version 3.8 supports Empire at War .ALO files so I was using it to convert all of the EAW models for Battlefront. That's not the cool part.
The program wouldn't quite work right when batching so each file needs to be saved one by one to retain all the materials. This is fine since I was importing the saved files into a another program to do some minor cleanup and saving before importing the final obj file into XSI for even more cleanup and exporting. So I decided to email the guy and let him know the batch conversion didn't work right and told him exactly what I was doing with it.
So he emails me back and tells me he had fixed the bug in the version under development (3.9) and that he added support for MSH files. So I look on his site and sure enough in the development section just days ago he added Battlefront msh file support for file types it imports. He sent me a dev copy of the program and I tried it out. Depending on the model it works great, worst case scenario there are some texture read problems but the way I use the program that's normal, I just clean it up in another program. I imported a pistol, looked great.
I imported a unit (Like) he was almost perfect, one of the textures chokes and I think I could see his shadowvolume but I didn't save the file and dissect it in another program because the dev version was not registered. I tried opening some animation msh files and could see the bones but can't say whether their corrd's are retained. I would assume not.
It'll also help people create new models from existing ones, like I'm doing with the Venator. You can also dig through the assets and extract things like backpacks and jetpacks and peices of objects to assemble them as new ones. It saves lots time in model creation when you have prefab parts to work with.
The way I use this program is a bit unconventional but I have spent a lot of time converting models so had found the best way to do what I need to do. In general I use whatever program I need to extract game models and convert them into a standard format like OBJ or 3DS or XSI. There are many different programs, all game specific and the more game specific the better they work. The best program I have found has been discontinued but can still be found on P2P networks -- it's called Right Hemisphere's Deep Exploration. It's basically like 3D Object Converter or Unwrap 3D only it was created by a professional company so it was pretty full featured, supports many file formats and allows a limited amount of editing.
So what I do is extract the models from the game assets, use a converter like 3D Object Converter to extract and save the assets as a standard file format, then typically I open that file in Deep Exploration and do materials/texture fixes in that program. for example with Empire at War assets I needed 3DOC to exract the models and save them, and OBJ files seemed the most intact. But when I imported the OBJ file into XSI from there the model was not oriented properly and other things weren't quite right. So instead I open the OBJ in Deep Exploration first, which handles it fine. I can then tweak the object which most means applying the textures to the right materials using info from 3DOC as reference, then I resave it as an OBJ, fixing the orientation and sometimes scaling differences in the pre-save options.
That OBJ if I re-open it in Deep Exploration is now jacked because of the orientation changes I made, but when I import it into XSI it looks perfect. In XSI I then clean it up and build it out for Battlefront by getting rid of uneeded geometry, fixing or tweaking and textures and verts, adding collision, shadowvolumes, bones, hardpoints, etc. Typically models from other games are only good for the visible geometry and games like EAW need a lot of poly extraction and merging to create new objects that can be articulated for Battlefront.
The creator of 3DOC tells me he hopes to have version 4.0 out next week but he's got a day job so he's not sure. Keep in mind you'll have to purchase/register to save with it but if you are a heavy modder it's worth it. It's just one of those software utilities you find youself going back to time after time as you work with different games.
I have other weird tricks I use to extract models, there's a program that can also capture and OpenGL data so in theory ANY rendered model being displayed in ANY program can be captured with what amounts to a screencapture utility that reverse engineers the data being sent to the monitor and saves it to an OBJ file. It didn't work with EAW. It's kind of hit or miss, most games have extractors that work better. Since it didn't work I searched for the ALO extractor until I found 3DOC.
See the thread at Gametoast for the full thread.
Hello, I am Zoltan Karpati the Creator of 3D Object Converter for Windows. It is a polygon based 3d object file format converter program and it is supports 440 file formats ! In the last days I added the Star Wars: Battlefront .msh loader module to my program and I uploaded the developer version to my web page. You can download it using the following link: http://web.t-online.hu/karpo/3dc32390x_dev_20070217.zip Original files I did receive from another modder: http://web.t-online.hu/karpo/msh_examples.rar Exported .obj/mtl files: http://web.t-online.hu/karpo/reconverted.zip Regards, Zoltan
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