Soviet hasn't been on for about a year so...
Oh, and its not bad... Once you get the hang of it (takes a couple minutes... just run a tutorial or two...)
Well... Luckily, I had this on my computer so...
Tutorial: Model creation, texturing and importing into sins.
Hi. This tutorial is going to focus on everything that was left out from the documentations in the Forge tool provided by sins and also will include helpful tricks.
List of things covered.
What you need first…
Modeling, the lost tutorial.
Texturing and you.
ConvertXSI and you.
Oh, S*** not good… (How to easily preview your model in Sins, Model too small, ship flies sideways, textures not showing up, bugs and problems)
Thanks to CanadaMan777, ManShooter, and who ever else explained me how to do all this, after all if not for those two I would never be able to write this. PS if you need Help with anything feel free to PM or AIM me at soviet911 and I will see how I can help you out.
Part 1 what you need
To start your mod, and modeling you will need this 3 things.
1 XSI Mod Tool (its free) If you don’t know how to use it there is a link to videos which will tell you everything you need to know this tutorial will not teach you how to model, well except the lost tutorial.
2 Forge tools provided by Sins.
3 A graphics control tool like Photoshop or Gimp.
For Photoshop you will need DDS Nvidia Plug in.
That’s all you really need to start moding, good now im done… JK
First off go to the Forgetool and open Documentation Folder there will be 3 PDF’s.
1 One will tell you about useful tools and shortcuts that can be used in XSI Mod tool ( I didn’t look through it but u should if you don’t know how to use Mod tool)
2 Second will provide information on how to export the model u made in XSImod tool into .XSI Format so then you could convert it into .mesh format (standard format Sins uses)
3 the third PDF will tell you general info on moding sins. Read it it got lots of usefull info on getting you started.
To make this clear I will not focus on obvious things described in PDF’s above or what’s covered in Help section of XSI mod tool but rather what you can’t find easily, especially Texturing (most confusing and least described part of modeling for sins)
Modeling, the lost tutorial.
I found this tutorial on accident while searching sins forums and its quiet old but is a good tutorial which I think can help some to create good models. Or replicas of models
So here is a link to it:
Texturing and you.
Before you get excited about this, start by watching the videos in the link below.
Things you need to do before creating UV map
Your object should be Merged.
Ok lets start.
Texturing or skinning, as referred to by people is quiet simple and hard at the same time. In the world of modeling and texturing, skins are called UV maps. They determine how a texture is stretched over the 3d model. So the first thing we will do is create UV map and get it ready to be colored with crayons…
Go to your Forger Tool, Documentation folder and open Modding_XSItoSIns_moddingSupplement. Then go to section, B Creating UV map. Follow first 3 steps. And you have created your UV map. This is where you start to see the limits of this documentation. And I will explain what to do next now.
Cool you got your stock UV map, now how would you go about rearranging it (I call it tearing apart). This is where you have to set up ur texturing window. First of all start by enabling several useful tools.
First you want Tearing mode on (Ctrl-T)
Highlight Overlaps and Highlight Coverage’s (this will highlight all the polygons that have another polygons covering on top of them which mean those polygons will not be textured, to find them look at the buttons that are pressed in the tool bar in the screen shot bellow)
Ur Texture screen should look like this (You might want to experiment with different set ups until u find the one you like, but I prefer this set up, also if the the UV map doesn’t look like it’s the shape of ur model from the top wich ever side you want to pull it apart then select all the points and click on subprojection button (circled in picture below) and pick different projection, xz,yz,xy and etc. )
Before we do anything else, let’s get rid of the picture behind the model, and replace it with something less confusing. First open Photoshop or Gimp and create PSD (or file that supports layers) file that will have black background, name it something like UV mesh, and then save it into a location you know. Go back to XSI Texture screen and in the texture window click, File->import clip. Navigate to where u saved the file that you just created, and open it. You will notice that now ur background is black. Something like this
Now in texture editor, to move polygons press (M) and then you will be able to move polygon one by one, if you want to move several polygon at the same time select them while holding Shift and then use translate tool (V).
The trick I will show you below will allow you to visually see and easily dissect your model by selecting polygons on the model and then moving them in Texture Editor. (Do keep all polygons in the range of the image clip you opened)
Minimize your texture editor screen and then go to your model, it should be selected in yellow color with bunch of purple lines pocking out of it. Press (U) this will select polygon selection tool, start selecting polygons you would like to move in texture edited UV map. Ok as you see below I selected the top part of the ship.
Now go back to texture editor, and you will see all the polygon points you selected, as seen above. Press (V) and move those polygons over to a side, as to separate them, once done you should have something like this ( I rotated my model because I prefer it that way.) ( you don’t need to flip anything the mesh doesn’t determine up or down it will paint polygons on both sides
Now you have top and bottom to texture what about those parts like exhost port that u don’t. select the part that you don’t see(like an exhost ports) using polygon selection tool in the 3d view after you minimized your texture editor, and then go to subprojection and realign it with a different projection until it becomes Flat or you can see it completely as seen below.
Continue to rearrange all the parts of the UV map in texture editor and switch between 3d view and polygon tool until you are satisfied, As seen below I finished separation several other parts. No see if you can find any red polygons in your model. Those polygons overlap with other polygons and should be moved till they are not overlapping youisng translate tool or move tool.
Once you finish moving all the polygons and you will not have any red polygons then it should look something like the thing below.
Now you are ready to stamp your UV mesh. Its easy you can eather press Shift+S or go edit->stamp UV map then choose where to save, and in which format, in my case its PSD, then it will ask you if you want to use it as current material, say yes. Now you have ur self a stamped UV mesh (Open the file you saved with a program like Photoshop or Gimp). And you should be set to go.
Textures and You Part 2
There is another part to Textures that’s rarely been discussed, There 3 types of textures you need to create for SINS. First off all your textures have to be saved in .dds format and you should use the plugin provided by nvidia mentioned above.
Color map and you
Lets begin. Open up your stamped UV map and work on the textures, color it and make it pretty, here is what mine looks like. (advice copy the UV mesh and invert it, the background will become white and the mesh will become blue, then copy it into a new document and set its opacity to 50% and leave it as top layer, create new layer and place it under so you would see how to texture and the general shape of the ship. Here what it looks like in Photoshop)
Now that u have colored your texture its time to save it as a color map. What color map does is show up as a skin. Remember to hide all the layers you don’t want to show up on your map, and I would advise to merge all layers (make sure not to save it or you will be left with a single layer which will make ur life difficult). Next what you do is pretty standard. Go to File=> Save as.. then a popup window will show up, select name of the file in this format, yourfilename-cl (make sure to include CL part) choose the file format as D3D/DDS and save. Then an Nvdia screen will pop up with bunch of options. Pick wich format you want it to be saved in (I choose 5.5.5 RGB 16bpp | unsigned, I have no clue what it means but I know I get the ship to look like I want it to this way, this is the format I use to save all of the .dds files including normal map we will discuss that later) then click save. Once saved, I would advise to open and make sure it still looks as you want it to, (sometimes a setting can screw you over)
Here what it looks like in .dds format ready to be applied to the ship
And this what it looks like in game without Normal map or Data map.
Boring, there is no reflection or self illumination. Also if you notice that ur texture is pixilated, its due to resolution, start you can copy ur UV map and scale it (stretch it) and as long as proportions stay the same the UV map on the model it self will not be affected, but the detail will increase.
Data map and you
Data map controls 4 things,
1) Red channel (red color)- it controls area which will be pained the color of your team.
2) Blue channel (blue color) control reflection, the more blue the more it becomes like a mirror.
3) Green channel (Green color) control self illumination, the more green the bright it is.
4) And Alpha channel control Bloom, the more white in the alpha channel there more bloom, the more black the less bloom. ( Read the help file of Photoshop or Gimp to see how to add alpha channels.)
All the colors go from 0-255 in strength, and only one of each color should be used. So in color selector tool there will be three boxes with R,G,B in each (R=red G=Green B=blue) they control the amount of color for each. an example of what u should see in a color selector window for Green coloris show below with what my data map looks like (make sure that if you coloring green that both R and B have a value of 0, unless you want both present, I didn’t play with that yet, but for starters just keep, them separate)
You can save this in a format that should have all four channels so use something like 126.96.36.199 ARGB 16bpp | unsigned and the file name should look like this
I didn’t get to try it yet but it should work. (The alpha channel)
This what it will look like in game, Notice that you can clearly see the art work and the windows on the bridge look like they are lit
Now notice how the ship reflects color and notice that the center part with the red ball is very reflective (value blue 255) and the rest of the ship looks more like polished paint and reflects only abit or so
Normal map and you.
Normal map is the bump map, and will make your texture stand out abit more, you don’t need to do anything special except this, open your original texture file. Then click filter->nvidia->normalmap and then a screen will open, set the value to max RGB and then click ok it should look like this
Your Final product should look like this
Now save it using one of the formats above, it shouldn’t matter, which just make sure that the file name is saved in this format
There is also another way to do this, instead of using the filter setting go file->save as.. choose dds format, then click save, once nvidia tool pops up choose DXT5_NM XY 8bpp | using DXT5 and then click on normal map select RGB max and then save, I don’t prefer this method cuz it doesn’t work for some reason, it either saves it black and white or the main background is gray. Anyway good luck this is a tricky part and im still uncertain if im doing it corectly.
Convert XSI and you.
Now before you can continue, follow through the forge tool documentations, (Forge Tool->Documentation->Modding_XSItoSins_ModdingSupplement). Once you exported your .xsi model you should be all good (if you get strange errors try using different version acsii like 3.5 is what I use but then it doesn’t export the textures correctly so you have to add them to the .mesh file manually as shown in next section.
This pictures and how I learned to use convertXSI is all thanks to CanadaMan777.
Step1 open CMD prompt by opening Windows Task Manager and pressing ‘New Process” then enter into the pop up screen CMD and pressing OK. You should get a command prompt open that looks like this
Then you need to mount the folder of convertXSI with a command cd c:\(location of your ConvertXSI folder)
It should then look like this
Then you should get this screen
Now you are ready to use convertXSI, next you enter command line
ConvertXSI yourfile.xsi yourfile.mesh
And it will create mesh file from your.XSI file. And this should do it.
Oh S***, not good!
OK so you have exported your model into mesh and made it work in Sins, or maybe not yet lets start with #1
How to preview your model in Sins easily?
This is simple, go you sins mod directory and create a folder named “test”. Then put in there Mesh and Texture folders from the original game directory. Now pick a frigate for example FirgatePsiScout.mesh this is Advent seeker vessel, next copy its name and rename ur model with it so instead of being “youmodelname.mesh” it now will be “FrigatePsiScout.mesh”, and place it into the mesh folder in the mod directory, it will ask if you want to replace the original file say yes. Now go find all three of ur textures, cl, da, nm and put them into texture folder. Place the Developer EXE into sins original location, and start it up. Once game is started go to options>mod and activate “test” start a new game as advent and build a seker vessel. Once build u will get a popup that will complain about weapons just skip all, Then admire your model which will be build instead! (that’s how I got all the screenshots of my ship above, so it works I know.)
My model is too small or big!!!
That’s simple to fix, first start off by firing up XSI and opening ur model file (hopefully you still have it, if not you still should have .xsi model so you can import that instead). Select your model and click (X) scale tool, scale it until its smaller or larger. Then FREEZE IT and export it into .xsi and then to .mesh, repeat steps above to update the model, you wont need to restart the game, it should update the mesh file on the fly, That applies to textures and everything else as long as the files where there when you activated the mod.
My model Flies sideways or backwards.
This is simple to fix also, open up XSI mod tool open your model, and rotate it however many degrees its required to get the thing fly in the right direction, if I remember correctly positive X direction is the front of the ship in SINS, but I might be mistaken.
My textures are not showing up!!!!>.<
This is simple to fix, open ur Mesh file, and it should look something like this
As you see in the picture there two materials, in your case it might be one, it might be more. If there is more then do go back to XSI clean up ur model as described in the documentation.
Now what u need to do is edit the file, and add your textures but before that you need to know where to put the texture names in
DiffuseTextureFileName- this is where your color map will go, it control the skin
SelfIlluminationTextureFileName- this is where your data map will got, it controls self illumination (duh)
NormalTextureFileName This is where your normal map will go, it controls Normal map (duh)
Simple right, so once you edit it should look like this and your textures should now work.