New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Modelling, Textures, Animating and other general engine asset topics.

Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby nub on Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:08 pm

It's clear you're working very hard on this little tool. I came in to thank you for creating it. This tool seriously streamlines my work flow.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:14 am

Thank you... I've added a new update now... version 0.87. This version now has some configuration settings that can be set:

    * Preference for Export root folder (now can export straight to SDK model_src folder
    * Preference to turn off the model copy and use your model in tool directly (default is to copy)
    * Preference to turn off the tool's creation of its own layers for items
    * Turned on batch mode exporting... no longer have to click multiple OKs to export--note that because of this change, you cannot make settings to exporter directly--and this only works if MAXScript has write permission to your plugcfg folder in Max
    * started batch file creation. In export process there is now a batch file. It's not got the right path to your orangebox bin folder... but otherwise it can be used to compile.

It's too late to give any documentation... which I need to do soon. I'll make a new video explaining the features I've added in last few days when I get a chance.

PS. Much thanks to Neil from http://www.wunderboy.org for giving me help on this tool and directing me to his batch export method.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby Saxon on Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:05 am

I love the rapid progress you're making on this tool! I would normally expect such updates to come once a fortnight, but this quickly gets better and better.

Thanks for such a great program =D
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:31 pm

Saxon wrote:I love the rapid progress you're making on this tool! I would normally expect such updates to come once a fortnight, but this quickly gets better and better.

Thanks for such a great program =D


Thank you! I've loaded a video demonstrating the use of the new version (0.87)



Right when you commented on the speed of development, I have to tell everyone I won't be working on it for a couple of weeks while I change attention to family and the holidays (and finishing a level for CS:Source). But I will keep up on the forums and keep track of comments.

Everyone is welcome to share feedback via email.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby nub on Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:18 am

Looking good.

By the way, I'm quite certain that the FPS lines in QC files are referring to the frames per second that a sequence SMD (animation) plays at in Source. I know that you can set the FPS of each sequence in a QC individually. Say you had a weapon model with multiple sets of animation sequences (which compile in to sequence SMDs), and you wanted the draw animation to play at 25 FPS, but also wanted the reload animation to play at 30 FPS. That's basically what that's for.

Even if you're making a static prop, you of course have to have an idle animation for it. It's just a single frame animation for the model so it "remains still." I don't think studiomdl.exe will even finish compiling if the QC doesn't provide a sequence SMD of some sort. Every sequence line in the QC needs that FPS command though; well, it might just default to 30 if there isn't one. That's just my guess though.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:38 pm

So I lied... I was working on models this morning for my map and wanted the tool to do a few more things... so there is already a new version this morning: 0.88:

Finished adding support to pick all of your own LODs.
    * Finished adding support to pick all of your own LODs.
    * New User Preference to set the SDK bin folder... if set there is a working Batch file for compiling your model with the QC file.
    * Added settings to control the SMD exporter (Reference/Sequence, Start, End, etc). Note that for this to work you must make your Plugcfg folder writable!
    * Fixed the Pick Collision Model function to not Copy the selected mesh if you have set the preferences to not COPY.
    * Fixed bug where extra Center Of Mass helpers were created when changing a collision mesh.
    * New User Preference to set Material Export Root folder. This option is not used yet (since the tool does not yet export materials) but is in preparation for when that is added.
    * Various minor UI tweaks.

And now I am probably done adding to it for a short while :)
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:54 pm

I just wanted to contradict my last post... it turns out that some of the models I'm working on for my map will be animated... and so I am adding animation support right now (making multiple sequences) and support for selecting multiple objects for the model. I'm also adding the auto compiler feature for the export process... not to mention documentation. I hope to have all of this except the docs done this weekend.

Thanks again for everyone emailing me with ideas and encouraging me here and on the other forums.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:35 pm

OK... I have added support for sequences to models. There is now a new rollout called Sequences (and another called Utilities).

The one problem I am having is figuring out how to add animated Collision Hulls. At the moment, collision hulls do not work with the sequences... so if you need the model to have animated collisions, you will need to edit your QC. Also, if anyone can help explain the process of animating collision hulls, it would be helpful.

I have also started working on actual documentation. The docs are now located at http://wallworm.com/projects/utilities/docs/

Some of the other main changes is that you can set the tool to autocompile on export... you should read the docs to set that up.

Here is a list of changes I've added:

Version 0.92 released on 12-20-2010

•Updated Use Local Origin as World Origin. Please see the entry.
•Added Utilities Rollout
•Added New Button to select the model objects in Utilities Rollout
•Added New Button to select the model Collision Hulls in Utilities Rollout
•Added New Button to Prepare a Mesh to be a Collision Mesh. This runs the same function as the Collisionmodel Prep Tool
•Added new button to remove selected items from the model.
•Added new button to remove selected items from the collision hull.
•De-activated the "Make and Use Copy" function in the settings. As the tool is getting closer to completion, this option has lost its need.
•Moved the Configure Tool button to the top of the About rollout.
•Updated the tool's documentation link to go straight to the documentation table of contents.
•Updated the tool's $collisionmodel line in the QC output. If the model has $staticprop set, the hull uses $collisionmodel. If $staticprop is not set, $collisionjoints is used instead. Animated collision hulls is still not available in WWMT.

Version 0.91 released on 12-19-2010
•Added Auto Compile
•Added support for loading multiple meshes to the main model, LODs and Collision Mesh.
•Added Sequences Rollout
•Added Model Name Field
•Added Append Mesh and Add Selection buttons for the Pick Models Rollout.
•Added Append CM and Add CM Sel buttons for Collision Models in the Pick Models Rollout.
•Added Append LOD # and +Sel to LOD # buttons for LODS in the LOD List Rollout.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:09 am

I've added some new updates to the tool below. I'm also working on adding animated collision hull support and skinned models and VMT creation along with VTF/VMT compiling. For those that missed the other updates, the exporter can now directly compile your models.

Version 0.94 released on 12-22-2010

This is an important update that includes updates to the LOD metrics. The new features are not yet documented.

•Updated and corrected LOD metric calculations! New LOD switches are more accurate. See following config additions.
•Added new LOD Metric Resolution menu to config floater. This new menu determines the resolution to use for calculating LOD switch distances. This is a preference setting. The default is now set to 1680x1050 because that is the most common sreen resolution according to Steam Hardware survey.
•New LOD Field of View (FOV) setting to use for calculating the LOD switch distance. This value, in conjunction with the LOD Metric Resolution control the calculation for the LOD values. The default is set to 75 which VDC reports as the FOV for HL2.
•Added some try...catch blocks to code to stop MAXScript errors when generating LODs based off of models that were animated with various position and rotation controllers.

Version 0.93 released on 12-21-2010
•Improvements to the Use Local Origin as World Origin
•Added new option to use Alternate origin placement in case of incorrect placement with default compile
•Updated Prepare CM utility to automatically set the prepared mesh to non-renderable
•Tool no longer creates an $illumposition helper until you've clicked the $illumposition selector in the Export Options Rollout.
•Tool no longer creates an $masscenter helper until you've clicked the $masscenter selector in the Export Options Rollout.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby Mr. Happy on Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:49 pm

Just wanted to say I've been hearing good things about this.

Now make one for Softimage :D
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:49 pm

Mr. Happy wrote:Just wanted to say I've been hearing good things about this.

Now make one for Softimage :D


That's not all too likely. I've been using Max for about a decade... and I'm not likely to use anything else :P Not to mention that I really only started learnging MAXScript so I could make this tool... I shudder at the idea of having to learn a new language to port it to another app!

But the Max users here will be happy that I've finally got skinned and animated mesh support done... though I haven't uploaded it to the internet yet. I will load it tonight or on Xmas after I've tested it a little more and made a video going through the process of making static props and then animated models...
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:32 pm

Merry Christmas everyone! I have loaded version 0.95. The tool now supports using skinned meshes and bone animations.



Not bad for someone who didn't know a single MAXScript function by heart at the beginning of November!
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby Sentura on Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:07 pm

just wanted to pop in and say that the newest version gives me an error when i set a path for the materials (when the config button is pressed).
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby shawnolson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:57 pm

Sentura wrote:just wanted to pop in and say that the newest version gives me an error when i set a path for the materials (when the config button is pressed).

Thanks for the heads up!

I think that this happened to me as well when making the tool at one point but I was dealing with something else and never returned to it since the problem didn't pop up again. Can you confirm that it always happens or just happened the first time you tried to set it?

Also, feel free to PM the MAXScript listener error message and it may help me figure it out faster. Press F11 to get the listener window after the error.

PS... just for those who are following this thread. I've learned that Jed ( www.wunderboy.org ) is working on a new version of the SMD exporter. No hint as to how long until ready... but when done it should make it so that this exporter won't need write permission to the plugcfg folder to do the batch exporting.

PSS. For those who watched the latest video and noticed that the exported model has textures... those were still done manually. I haven't decided yet how much the texture exporter in WWMT should do yet since there is already VTFEdit. At best it will probably be a quick texture compiler for simple materials... but VTFEdit already does way more than I plan on implementing.
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Re: New 3ds Model Tool to expedite Source Model Creation

Postby Sentura on Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:05 pm

happens every time from what i see, but it seems the path does get set. i just ignored it and did some manual work around.
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