To many places, too many hidden details:

The place to discuss scripting and game modifications for X³: Reunion.

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To many places, too many hidden details:

Post by Hank001 » Fri, 24. Feb 06, 19:07

:D I'm an old Freelancer Modder whose created about 100+ Ships for
their mods over the years and now I'm into X3. I've got all the
3D modeling tools and the DDS plugins for Photoshop, but what I'm
looking for is a COMPREHENSIVE guide on how to get a .3DS model
with .DDS textures into X3, from start to finish, Step by step, this
hunting around is rediculious. You need 1 place to download the tools
and one singular guide on the how-to and nuts and bolts details.
REMEMBER, we few real 3D Designers are not primarily computer
programmers and things programmers take for granted might simply
have not occurred to us. With one lump sum download with the
ENTIRE toolkit for .3DS conversions and programming TOOLS and
one COMPREHENSIVE guide then perhaps interest in model modding
for X3 might increase a bit.

(((Or is that what your AFRAID of?)))

Edit 11 years in the making:
And low from a humble challenge what great things developed!
(Well maybe not so humble, but someone had to shake the tree.)
Now 11 years later I'm retired. Modding and modeling is going to
be a hobby instead of a job. It took me all of 90 minutes after pulling together all the updated tools from centralized links, brush up by reading all the great tutorials over and 90 minutes to pull good old Argon_M1 out from cat to bob to bod and get her textured. Things have truly changed. At least here, for much for the better. Ad Astra. Hank001. :)
Last edited by Hank001 on Wed, 14. Feb 18, 06:17, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Jackshyt » Fri, 24. Feb 06, 19:35

As a 3D modeller with ZERO programming skills, this sounds like a good plan to me.

Tried modding for Call of Duty, man that was complicated, but Jedi Academy was worse, My head really hurt. I would love to throw some of my own models into this game.
Oh look, I seem to at the bottom of a deep dark hole. That seems a familiar concept. What does it remind me of? Oh yes, now I remember, Life!

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Post by Cisor » Fri, 24. Feb 06, 19:49

Hank001: Make it happen.

Edit: or DIY.

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Post by J.Anderson » Fri, 24. Feb 06, 20:03

I really wish someone would make a good, clean, organized mod site for x series.

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Post by Observe » Fri, 24. Feb 06, 20:48

I learned how to do this (.3DS model with .DDS textures into X3) for the first time yesterday. I agree with you that it can be a bit daunting trying to figure out what goes where when. Although there are several possible variations on the theme, here is what I did in a nutshell as I recall - using the Argon Nova as a basis for “proof of concept”.

1. Use Doubleshadow’s X3 ModManager (ver 0.0.5) and extract all the game files from – (or whatever the highest number is) into a working (sandbox) directory. You wouldn’t have to extract them all, but what the heck.

2. Now use Doubleshadow’s X2BC command line program to convert the file objects\ships\argon_M3.bob to argon_M3.bod. I extracted all my .cat files to e:\xtbc\data, so my command line is:
e:\x2bc\x2bc -d "E:\x2bc\data\objects\ships\argon\argon_M3.bob”.

3. Make sure that the file objects\ships\argon_M3_scene is also in .bod format. As I recall, this file was already converted when I extracted the .cat files, but you may need to execute X2BC on that file as well (if it isn’t already.bod).

4. Install the Doubleshadow’s DBOX2 plugin for 3DS.

5. Run 3DS and use the MAXscript DBOX2 plugin to import argon_M3.bod. This will import the Nova spaceship into 3DS.

6. Change/create the ship.

7. Use the DBOX2 plugin to export your ship to a file named argon_M3_my.bod. This is now a custom ship body file.

8. Within 3DS, use DBOX2 plugin again to import the “scene” file argon_M3_scene.bod. This presents you with an unmodified Nova along with guns, engines etc.

9. Click on the ship and rename it: Bships\argon\argon_M3_my_1b. This will reference your modified ship. Save the scene as: ships\argon\argon_M3_scene_my.bod.

10. Using Doubleshadow’s TXT Editor, open the file types\Tships and copy and paste the Argon Nova.

11. In the ID section replace NEW_OBJECT_1 (or whatever) to something like SS_SH_000. Change the description number to 5900.

12. Still in TXT Editor, click on the Text Res button and open the file t\440001.pck.

13. Scroll down to the Boardcomp.objects section and right-click in the right window pane and select “Add text”. Enter 5900 in the ID, and enter a name for your ship. I called my custom Nova “Phoenix One – FIGHTER – nova” (I go by the name Phoenix. It has no reference to the Teladi Phoenix ship). Add text again with ID number 5901. This will be the description of your ship. I entered “Classified”. Save and exit the Text Resource Editor.

14. Back in TXT Editor, in the Model tab for your ship (SS_SH_000) change Ship scene: ships\argon\argon_M3_scene_my. Save and exit.

15. Using a text editor (notepad), open types\Components.txt (from the files you extracted in step 1). Locate the 2 lines that have something like:

16.Copy and paste those 2 lines so they are duplicated. Change one of the lines that says ships\argon\argon_M3 to ships\argon\argon_M3_my. This will correctly set the “cockpit” viewing position for your ship. Also, at the top of this section will be something like: SCTYPE_COCKPIT; 134;. Increase the number (134) by 1 so that the count reflects the added entry.

17.Using Modmanager, create a new .cat file (I called mine in the Mods subdirectory off the game root. When you start the game, you will be able to select flagship.mod.

18. Add the following files from your “sandbox” to your file in Modmanager:
textures\novamat.jpg (the texture I used in 3DS)

Run your game and either script in a Phoenix One – FIGHTER – nova, or add one into the game with the Universe editor. I add my ships to one of the existing shipyards so I can buy them from there.

You will now have a custom ship in the game!!

I’m sorry that this may not be the most elegant way to do things, but at least it will give you an idea of one of the ways to do it. Keep in mind my naming and numbering are somewhat arbitrary.

There is a lot more to all this, but that is how I've started out.

Here is the result of using this procedure to apply a new paintjob to the Nova:

Last edited by Observe on Sat, 21. Jul 07, 01:05, edited 22 times in total.

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Post by Galaxy613 » Fri, 24. Feb 06, 21:38

Observe, you have more guts then me to be able to sit down and outline the entire process. Methinks that post should be added the modding sticky. :D That is a very good outline...
10,000 Lightyears of awesomeness

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Post by Observe » Sat, 25. Feb 06, 15:39

Thanks for taking a look at this Galaxy613. Since you are one of the foremost resident experts on these things, I welcome your feedback. Please let me know if you see any glaring errors or omitions in these very basic instructions.

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Post by Burianek » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 08:17

added to the tutorial sticky.
thanks :)
"Nature's first green is gold" . . . stay golden.

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Post by Ermey » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 11:53

This is just what I have been looking for. The only responce I've ever got to the same question is read stickys. Great Job. With people like you out there I think the community will take leaps forward in generating quality mods.

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Post by pospi » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 12:45

When you install DBOX2, it comes with a very informative tutorial which, whilst not covering all the details, does give you enough of an insight into how the game works to be able to work everything out for yourself. Just click on the tutorial link in the DBOX2 panel in 3dsmax.

Took me ages to work out that DBOX2 was what I needed, but once I had it installed and read over the help everything sorted itself out very nicely.

The important things you should remember with modelling are that ships are defined in parts. You have 'objects', which contain geometry and dummy objects for things like lasers and cockpit positions; then you have 'scenes' where you store references to those objects, along with their position/scale/rotation.

So to make a fully functional ship, you'd almost always have to model its guns separately to the main ship part. It's handy, cos you can reuse the same subobjects multiple times - almost every ship in the game uses the 'weaponDummy' object for its lasers for example.

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Post by apricotslice » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 14:44

Burianek wrote:added to the tutorial sticky.
thanks :)
Its actually way past time that someone assembled all the best modding and scripting advise into a single pdf document for download.

Like its also way past time all the game guides were likewise assembled into a game handbook and either published for retail, or pdf for download.

There is some much good advise around now, that finding it is often too hard, because it gets lost within the minutia of the forum.

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Post by Red Spot » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 15:11

apricotslice wrote:
Burianek wrote:added to the tutorial sticky.
thanks :)
Its actually way past time that someone assembled all the best modding and scripting advise into a single pdf document for download.


eeehhmm ... whats holding you back ?? ... :roll: ;)


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Post by apricotslice » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 15:47

Red Spot wrote:
apricotslice wrote:
Burianek wrote:added to the tutorial sticky.
thanks :)
Its actually way past time that someone assembled all the best modding and scripting advise into a single pdf document for download.
eeehhmm ... whats holding you back ?? ... :roll: ;)
What would be the copyright and forum positions on someone doing this ?

I would assume that a good deal of communication would be needed with authors for permissions and that it would need to be officially sanctioned by egosoft.

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Post by esd » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 16:43

it would need to be officially sanctioned by egosoft.
Why would it? I don't see how that'd be the case any more than Giskard's combat guide "requires" Egosoft's to sanction it.

You'll need to organise with the other writers, collect credits for the end, establish a non-royalty, non-exclusive license to use other's images.... it'll be a bit of work, but I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Good luck Apricotslice, I think you just volounteered yourself! :thumb_up:
esd's Guides: X² Loops - X³ MORTs

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Post by Observe » Sun, 26. Feb 06, 17:57

Please keep in mind that my instructions are very basic, and show only the way I've started out with modding.

My thinking is that if you keep it simple, and can first get an existing model out of the game into 3DS, make some changes to that model, and then get it back into the game again, then you have won a fairly big battle in figuring out the fundemental steps involved in modding with X3.

There are many other details to consider if you are creating a ship from scratch, but using an existing one can be a good learning platform. Things like making sure that all objects are linked to the "parent" mesh in 3DS, correct cockpit/viewing position, etc, can present challenges that you will be able to overcome once you have succeded using the method outlined above, in conjuntion with Doubleshadow's and others information that you will find.

Issues are still being sorted out as the game evolves, and modders decipher the details.

Sometime in the next few days I hope to post part 2 of these instructions which will detail some of the 3D design issues to consider when designing a ship from scratch and making it X3 ready.

Keep trying. You are bound to succeed! :)

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