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svösh 08-27-2004 05:45 AM

Modeling tips: tuts For Gmax and 3DSMax 4 KotOR
Modeling tips: For Gmax and 3DstudoMax

Here are Tools you will need to make your own models.

3d Modeling programs

3dsmax :-

Side plug in suite that allows you to import and export in ascii-mdl format

Nwnmax :-

For gmax:-
For max:-

Model compiler / decompiler


And of course KotOR....

If you download Gmax take the time to download the help file it’s invaluable to any level of 3d artist from newbie, to 3d Guru, it’s full of helpful tricks and tips and know how.

Max and gmax work great with a 3 button wheel mouse
The wheel is used for zooming in and out of the selected view port Right click brings up the QUAD menu any of the default and most commonly used tools move, scale, rotate, extrude edge, extrude poly, and is completely customizable so if you select group of poly’s are selected and you wanted to scale them by right clicking them you could chose and scale and use left click to do the scaling right click again and choose move and keep right on going making work, quicker and smoother.

When viewing the model in the perspective view port or all view ports. Right click the name of the view port and turn on edged faces this enables you to see any possible mistakes and allows you to see your wire frame over your smooth shaded model. Simple but very effective I turn this on before I even convert my model to editable mesh :)

When building your model over an image or an existing model you would like to maintain the look of. Go to the material editor click new > chose standard > apply a default material by dragging and dropping the white sphere to your model and turn the opacity down to 20 or 40 so this will help line things up.. a mask for example over an existing pc head or the image of a sword or gun so you can see where thing are supposed to line up.

Always check all of your view ports when modeling don’t concentrate on modeling in the perspective view port, it leads to trouble. Something may look lined up in it but when you see it in the front view port it’s miles away. Using your orthographic views top / left / front will help. Arc rotate in the perspective to see all sides of your model

Box modeling goes along way ! Using extrude, scale, and rotate, and move you can model almost anything from a simple box as your starting primitive. Take a look at the default saber hilts they started with a 5 sided NGon extruded poly, scaled, extruded poly, rotated, scaled, extruded poly, scaled, extruded poly, scaled, and that just about does it. The final touch make 2 buttons and the world worst ever uv map :p

Spline modeling is also a great way to start but be careful not to add to many anchor points. There is not a lot of support for this type of modeling in gmax , unless you use the surface tools , spline cage method.

When using the lathe modifier in the front / back or left / right view ports turn your segments down, 16 is default in gmax and 32 is default in 3dsmax this is way to high, aim for 6 to 10 segments maximum I keep with even numbers my self it makes for a better looking model . As well as one that can easily be sliced in to and half on the Y axis In some cases your smooth mesh will look funny almost half inside out, you may have to flip normals. There is a small check box on the right in the creation roll out. click to do this you can also check on cap start or end this will create a capped end on you model or ends try all of the 3 settings min / max / center to see your shape most likely your saber hilt or sword handle trying the X, Y, Z, axis will give you different results.

A general rule in game design is keep your poly count DOWN
Look at what the poly count is on the game models to give you a better idea. A standard character model has fewer than 2000 polys. An item, mask, or weapon should really not exceed 500, 1000 should be a max number to work with. Not everyone has a high-end system to chug along rendering your 20 000 poly model so keep this in mind.

When modeling save your self a lot of trouble by modeling one half only! Tweaking it to you’re liking and then clone / mirror the other half, weld both sides together avoid instance mirroring as it will cause problem when compiling.

Save often as your model progresses. I try to save every half hour but if I make any major changes to the model I will rename it by adding a number to it so sv_blaster becomes sv_blaster2 , I do this because if my idea for sv_blaster2 doesn’t pan out I can revert to sv_blaster and continue from there.

Don’t model in the dark. Import a model of similar type to model yours after. This helps for two reasons 1 you can constantly check proportions and 2 there is already a base for masks and swords and for blasters this is a must because the bullet hook is already there. [The helper object that tells the game engine where the muzzle of the gun is.]
Using images as a guide on the view port backgrounds helps a lot as well most useful in the left / right if you have a profile image or in the front / back if you have a front view or the image.

With masks import some of the pc heads to check for size use an existing mask to place yours is the same place and the last step is delete the original one.

For helmets.. Heads will clip the hair on females and head tails. So good luck getting a helmet that is proportioned right that will work on females or aliens…not much of a problem on males but not all players characters are male and the same goes for the gamers ;)

Delete whatever extra geometry in your scene except for the Aurora base, Ngon, bullet hook in some cases, and of course your new model before exporting.
To delete any geometry make sure you are out of any sub objects editing, verts, faces, polys, ect.. Select the extra geometry and hit Delete on your keyboard.

Before attempting a radical change to you model, a Boolean operand or slicing it in 2 Make a copy of it by selecting the model mesh. Not the sub objects and holding down Shift and dragging it on either X or Y axis. I like to do this in my left or right view port and drag up on the Y axis this way the clone is not in the way of any of your other views apart from top. In the clone options box simply hit ok. Now go nuts on the clone and if it turns out like you want, then go ahead and do the same to your model. Or if you want SAVE drag the clone down then delete the original model, and continue using it in place where the original was.

Restrictions for models in Kotor:

Use mdlops click [read and write] on your freshly Extracted mdl from Kotor tools
In order to make the ASCII file both original mdl and mdx file must be in the same directory

Importing on the NWNMAX speed bar under MDL Loading click the radio button Import Geom Only then hit browse now find your ASCII mdl and hit import on the speed bar.

I use my meshes folder in gmax to extract my final ASCII mdl to you can change this before extracting of course if you click the name of the Aurora base you will see that the base is name of the model and not the model it’s self change the name from ex: w_HvyBlstr_004 to w_HvyBlstr_048 just something that will not override any of the other models in the game.

You must start Gmax by the NWNMAX icon The GREEN & BLACK one Not the gmax one you or will never export your final ASCII mdl. When you click the NWNMAX icon you will see the snoop running in the system task bar
*{A personal note I can not test my models in Kotor with gmax still running or the snoop, THE GAME CRASHES I have to right click the snoop in the system task bar to turn it off even if gmax is already closed the snoop still runs}

If you use 3dsmax start it normally the NWNMAX snoop doesn’t appear in your system task bar but you will see the NWNMAX speed bar in the left when the program starts

Use the NWNMAX speed bar in the mdl to import section your ASCII mdl model to begin Notice that the back is the front and front is back do not change this
And don’t’ move the Aurora base or NGon

All models must have the Aurora base and Ngon [ bullet hook only when making gun models ]

Diffusion colour of the shader material must be set to white or the model appears far to dark in the game. Especially in the lower city of Taris and under city Use a metal shader setting change the default to metal in the dropdown on the left or use blinn
The two important slots are diffuse: and Ambient: when you set diffuse to white ambient fallows suite.

Like any file name for Kotor and NwN file names must be shorter then 16 characters or they get truncated, and any other files that depend on them will not work.

Add an AuroraTrimesh to the top of you modifier stack for each piece of your model. You really should only have one fully welded model but in some cases using different shader types and materials all the pieces will require there own AuroraTrimesh modifier.
Because these are simple models you can link the model up to the Aurora base bullet hook and NGon by selecting everything in your scene and in the NWNMAX speed bar under General Utils you see a button called Fast linker hit it and now you are just about ready to export click the Aurora base and on the right side under the modifier stack you will see Export Geom only Click that and providing all went well there would not be any sanity check box come up.

NWNMAX site’s are more then helpful a must book mark for any one getting in to modeling although they are porting their at the moment many of the links relevant to modeling for NWN still work so the same for KotOR

Bioware's own NWN developers site has some great tid bits as well. You better think twice before adding cast shadows to your models, trust me on that ;) All file formats for NWN tuts explanations 3d modeling and more NWNMAX documentation NWNMAX documentation


These movies are all very helpful for modeling texturing ect.. but the down side is they are around 45 mb each not to bad for high speed dsl / cable but bad news for 56k users. Anyways for the best of the best check these out.

Here are some tutorial links to help you they range from beginner to expert

GMAX tuts [ spline modeling a sword ] [official gmax forum] Lots of helpful stuff here

3DSMAX LEARN to grasp the very basics of 3d modeling short lessons [FRENCH web site] [FRENCH web site] [ Danish + English site with 140+ tutorials ]

Now you know your XYZ….. and here are a few for UV ………..mapping :D this is the normal method for uv mapping however to get a uv map that will not stitch it self back together you MUST segment your model up in the exact same way as you lay out your uv map.


For online tutorials

This is the preferred technique used for nwn uv mapping check out danmars video tutorial for the best explanation on how to uv map your models.

I will add to this thread as we progress past simple item models.

I hope this info helps all of you, and may the force be with you


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