Make REC Tutorial

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Make REC Tutorial

Post by shoprat »

Make sure you have downloaded the modeler and the plug-ins for MAX and SoftImage. Read this section carefully and follow the directions below to setup both MAX and Soft and you’ll be off to a great start, avoiding confusion down the road.

MAX 3.0
Currently 3D Studio MAX is the preferred modeling tool for the Riot Engine. Before modeling be sure to read the MAX set up outline and follow the directions carefully. It’s easy to set up MAX to create models and the proper set up will ensure your models will be at the right scale and you won’t have any problems exporting. Both the Modeler and the REO exporter are available for download for use with the Drakan. The REO importer is only available to licensed users. The following directions are for MAX 3.0, other versions may vary.

In the main menu under Customize, go to Preferences. Select the General tab and locate the System Unit Scale area. Select Meters from the pull down list and make sure 1 unit=1.0 (it’s set by default so you shouldn’t have to change this setting).

The snap tool is import when making objects that you want to fit into the landscape. See Tips ‘N Tricks.

Make sure MAX is not running. Place the Reoexp.dle and Reoimp.dli files in your 3DSMAX3\Plug-ins directory.

To export or import a REO models in MAX go to import/export under the File menu and select REO from the "Files of Type" dialogue box, locate the file on your hard drive and load or save. When you import a REO you’ll be asked if you’d like to merge or replace you current project. When Exporting a REO Export box will appear. Leave the default 2.0 version selected and choose Weld Close Vertices if you want to do so. See the Tips ‘N Tricks section for more information on MAX modeling techniques.


Each importer, and exporter has two file components. The .cus file and .dll file. Installing the importers and exporters is pretty simple.
Put the: Soft2Char.dll, Soft2REO2.dll, and Soft2REA.dll into the directory: C:\SoftImage\SOFT3D_3.8SP1\3d\custom\bin
Put the: Soft2Char.cus, Soft2REA.cus, Soft2REO2.cus in the directory: C:\SoftImage\SOFT3D_SP1\3d\custom\tools.
Next time you boot Soft the importers, and exporters should work properly.

The first part to developing a character is making the Riot Engine Character (REC). This file contains the polygonal mesh, texture, and skeletal information of your character and is the last step in creating a character for use with the Riot Engine. First import your REO object (Riot Engine Object) into 3D Studio Max (At this point it should be textured). Then export as a "3ds" file (Make sure you have "preserve texture coordinates" checked in the export dialogue box). Now in SoftImage go to Tools and choose: Import> Objects> 3dsImport. The import dialogue asks you for the file name, image path, and camera import. For the Filename just select your 3ds file. For the Image Path you can point to where you have your texture files (if it give you an error indicating a failure in converting texture files don’t worry. All that means is that you won’t see the textures in Soft, but when you export they will be replaced anyway.) As for the camera imports don’t worry about it, I have no idea why that is there. Hit ok and you should now have your character in Soft.

First take your character and merge him into one mesh if it contains more than one object. Next you have to name the mesh with a simple naming convention, "ch_name". Next you need to scale the object up or down to be in proportion to the rest of the characters, and objects in the game. I import another character, in order to find what the best size for my character is. Then in the Model module apply an: Effects> Freeze> Transformations modifier to your mesh. Next build your skeleton any way you want and make sure it is all in on hierarchy when you’re done with it. Then right click select the entire skeleton hierarchy and like you did with your mesh apply an Effects> Freeze> Transformations modifier found in the Model Module.

Now Select your mesh, in the Actor Module apply: Skin> Global Envelope, then click on the root of your skeletal hierarchy. This Skins the mesh around your Skeleton. After modifying the vertices to correctly conform to your skeleton you are ready for export. Simply left click select just your mesh node and go to the Tools Module (Make sure that the only object in your hierarchy that is selected is the mesh, not the rest of the skeletal nodes). Select: Export> Objects> Soft2Char. It will then give you a dialogue asking you to tell it where to put your resulting REC file, and a scale to export it. You’ll probably have to experiment with the scale you export at to get the your character the size you want. Exporting it and placing it in the level then going back to soft and re-exporting at a smaller size if its to big in the game, and vice versa if it is to small. If you used a reference object, or character to proportion your character in soft then all you have to do is export your character at the same scale values that the reference object, or character was exported at. It is also important to note that no changes in the mesh should be made in soft. If you delete, add any vertices or edges, you won’t be able to import the textures onto your REC later in process. Though you can move the vertices around, though I suggest you do it before you skin your mesh to the skeleton.

Now you have a "rough" REC of your character. This contains the skeletal information and mesh information but not the path information to the textures (Although the actual texture coordinate information is there). Open this REC in the Surreal Modeler. Select Edit> Vertices> Remove all Duplicates. This is necessary because soft builds duplicate vertices to deal with 2-Sided faces. At this point the REC you made should have the same number of vertices as the REO you used to make it. To check it you can go: edit> model> name/statistics. Now you’re ready to import the texture path information. Go: File> Import> Textures/Mapping. In the dialogue which appears select the original REO model of the character. Now click on the Render current Model button and your character should be textured correctly, and ready to be tossed into the game.

Open the Level Editor and open a level. Then go: Window> Databases. This opens the Database directory window. Once that is opened click on the Models tab. You can use the pull down menu directly below the tabs to establish which directory you are currently looking at, and editing in the window (Ex: System, NPC’s, Resources, etc) Right click in the window and select "Add Sibling Group" or "Add Child Group". These are used to build a directory tree. Name your directory anything you want. Then Right click on your directory and select: Build> Model> Add. Then in the browser select the REC you created. You now have a character to use in the game. You’ll need to make a class to assign the character model to before you can place it in the level.

The Riot Engine Animation file (REA) is just that, the file containing the animation files for your characters. Making one is pretty simple. In SoftImage once your done with the animation, left click select the mesh node (Make sure that the only object in your hierarchy that is selected is the mesh, not the rest of the skeletal nodes) and adjust your time sliders beginning frame, and end frame to encompass just your animation, because the exporter only exports frames that are currently represented on your time slider. Also the Hierarchy of your character should be identical to the one of your REC. If it is different in any way you will get an error when you try to apply the animation to the REC in the Level Editor. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use any constraints, expressions in order to get the job done, just that the parental hierarchy has to be the same. Now in the tools module go: Export> Objects> Soft2Rea. It will then give you a dialogue, which asks for a directory to put it in, and the export scale value. The scale value should be the same as the export scale value of the REC you’re creating the animations for. Hit ok, and your animation is exported and ready to be used on your REC.

In the Level Editor go to the Database window and right click on the REC you imported earlier and select: Build> Animation> Add. Then select the animation you just made, and it should load up. If you double click on the REC a listing of all the available animations for that character will come up. There you can look at your animation as it will be seen in the game. Just highlight the animation you want to preview and hit start. A 3D window will appear showing your character playing your animation. You can zoom in and out by holding the right mouse button, and rotate using the left mouse button.

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