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Attention All UnitMakers: Hundreds of New Models!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Unit Graphics' started by Shqype, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    I discovered yesterday that Empire Earth 2 uses the Gamebryo graphics engine, and all of the unitmodels are NIF files! KillaMike718 helped me with this, and we both have been experimenting with some models.

    In case some of you are not familiar with Empire Earth 2, it's an RTS that spans about 20 epochs of human development, from pre-history (cavemen) to post-history (battle mechs). In other words, we have models for virtually everything one might need for Civilization 4, with the exception of fantasy mods.

    The creators of Empire Earth 2 included a "Zips" folder to allow their users limited modability. In this Zips folder KillaMike718 and I discovered the Graphics folder which, lo and behold, contained many many files in ".nifcache" format. What this means? Change the file extension to ".nif" by deleting the extraneous "cache" and you've got .nif files that can be directly used in Civ 4! You will find these models in the graphics/cache/nifcache folder. As an added bonus, you will find 5 more folders in the graphics/cache/graphics folder which contain the .kf files that handle the animations for these structures and units!

    There was a separate folder called Textures which presumably had the textures for these models, but they're saved in .pcpatch and .texcache files, which I have no idea how to access. From what I gathered on the internet, it seems that a Python program somehow decodes those to get the real textures.

    In a worst case scenario, we have tons of new models (and possibly animations) that just need to be skinned. Now the flood of units can really begin!

    http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=0F0CABF201F490AE

    I have some requests for units I need for my mod, so if someone is feeling generous enough to help out, please PM me :)

    Here is the archive that contains the textures in wierd format... perhaps they can be manipulated to work with CIV ?

    http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=1963061B05FC0652
     
  2. C.Roland

    C.Roland FFH Art team member

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  3. C.Roland

    C.Roland FFH Art team member

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    I checked one model in the nif viewer and I check it texture propriety and it seem that the texture is in Truevision Targa (.tga) but I do not have any texture folder in my zip. Do you think you can find me the zip wit the textures ?
     
  4. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    Yes, I have them but all the files are in .pcpatch and .texcache file format. Perhaps renaming them .tga will do the trick.

    In any case, the zip archive is about 275 MB large, so I'll begin to upload it now.
     
  5. wow! Are you telling me that not only are these things animated, but they are actually already compatible with civ4, and other than the lack of textures can be plugged in directly into civ?

    which of course begs the question, wth do you need us (unitmakers) for, if all the units are already done? :)
     
  6. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    Because you guys are experts ... I'm not good with 3DS Max, and making additions to models. Heck, I've removed things from the existing models and when saving them in .nif format they ended up 7 times larger than they were originally :lol:

    These models are ready, they're just missing textures (which I can't do for the life of me). But, who knows, perhaps you guys may want to use them as bases and add your own elements to them (like new weapons).

    I'm no good at this stuff, so I'de rather leave it to the experts and see the units come pouring in. It helps me and the whole Civ community :)
     
  7. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    First post updated with the link to the textures.
     
  8. Prestidigitator

    Prestidigitator Prince

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    Is this a trick question?
    Interesting, but could we get our hands on some buildings as well? They seem to have a good collection of Aztec and Mayan buildings...
     
  9. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    They're all included there. If you remember Empire Earth 2 there wasn't that much variety of buildings, but you will find Town Centers and Barracks and the like in the graphics folder. Just look harder ;)
     
  10. woodelf

    woodelf Bard Retired Moderator

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    Nice find Shqype. This is great for us non-unit makers as well. :)
     
  11. Hmmm, ok I think I got bad news.

    I took a look at the files, the textures (pccache and texcache) are gamebryo files that, I guess it's kinda like the engine specific format for images, probably similiar to what it does when you export it from 3ds max with textures built into the nif. If there is a tool out there that can convert them to images I couldn't find it.

    As for the units, the problem I'm seeing here is that there are only KF files, no KFM files. Without KFM civ4 will not know what KF files to call, and I don't know of any way to generate the KFM files.

    Another problem with the textures is that if we can't use the ones in the game, it's gonna be difficult to figure out the mapping.

    Finally, and this is probably the worst part (I hate to do this, really), because these are nif files there's not much we can do with them, so if we can't figure out how to use their animations we can't add our own.

    Given the tools we have right now, about the only thing we can do with this is grab any static objects - buildings, trees, rocks, figure out how they're mapped, create the texture and use them. With units I just don't know if there's anything we can really do.

    Unless we could import them into Blender and then export as 3ds files, then we can put them into max and apply textures and animations, but I don't know much about blender so I don't know if that's possible.
     
  12. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    Thanks for the investigation. Can you do me a favor and download Blender and try? I was able to import them with Blender, and Blender has the ability to import and export.

    Anyway, thanks for breaking the news to us. I guess this further shows why we need unitmakers to do this stuff!

    By the way, I thought it was possible to create your own texture by UV Mapping it yourself... is that an option? Don't mind me, since I really don't know what I'm talking about.
     
  13. Chalid

    Chalid Black Dragon

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    If you can import them in blender at least we can grap things from the units and we can add our own uvmaps/determine how they were mapped for buildings and static objects.

    Oh and if we need some new heads....

    Concerning Animations: Has anybody ever tried switching a part of the animations between units. Eg giving the Wordsman attack to the warrior but keepng the rest of the warrior animations. If this would work we could try making an generic .kfm file that calls the animation provided in that .zip.
    The second problematic thing is, if they use the same eventcode formalism as Civ4. If they do not we wont be able to make them work. If they do we might be able to do some hexediting
     
  14. Ploeperpengel

    Ploeperpengel academic precarity

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    I'm not sure if I understand fully where you going too but I already mixed some different animations with different units. I.e. Darth Vader is a mixture of Samurai with warrior idle and chonuku fidget animation. All you need to do is renaming the kfs. About Eventcodes I don't know anything. But maybe this method could be enough indeed to call the empire earth animations:)
     
  15. Chalid

    Chalid Black Dragon

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    Ahh thanks Ploperpengel. I thought that i have read something along this line. :D
    Then we only have to find out if the new .kf work with our .kfms.
    Problems might be as mentioned the eventcodes (each Civ4 animation knows to which code/and therfor which action it belongs) and the animation length (Combat animations should be exactly 21 frames long to go in line with the other units).
    So we either study them or simply try it out :D.
     
  16. Ploeperpengel

    Ploeperpengel academic precarity

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    Well studying will be impossible for me. I don't have a hexeditor. But I will try it out as soon I have some time again for certain. If you or CR could UV map working combinations then that would be great:)
     
  17. Ploeperpengel

    Ploeperpengel academic precarity

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    Ok made a first attempt and failed sadly. The problem is I suppose that empire kf contain information which is seperated in diverse kf in civ. Examples are fadein, fadeout, rundie etc. Just a guess right now but this could be because civ isn't able to process the animations(I said I can't hexedit to be sure). Think you will have to do studies Chalid. I don't believe simple switching will work here.:(
    Damn I definitly could use this bolthrower and mortar:mad:
     
  18. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    So then, if I understand you guys correctly, we can't use textures or animations, we can only use the models themselves...

    How are animations made in the first place? Is it difficult to use the model and make new animations for them to work?

    This is more work than anyone hoped for, but surely there's something that can be done so these models don't go to waste...
     
  19. Killamike718

    Killamike718 Proud Maya User

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    Did anyone try to actually use the Textures in the game, As rabbit white said, The texture format, is a gamebroyo engine specific file format, if we place the texture in the same folder as the model, will the texture show up in game??

    Concerning animations, there is a way, maybe in a couple of month, The team behind the NIF plugins for Maya, blender and now 3DS Max, will alow us to import animations and then we can Export them to the Compatible format for Civ IV. So i dont concider them a waste, but will requirte paitence.
     
  20. snafusmith

    snafusmith Unit Maker

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    I've been everywhere, man
    The best thing I can think of for these pieces (if I can put in my 2 cents), is to convert them to some sort of file 3ds Max can easily read (.max would be the best) and re-animate them ourselves and re-map them. Personally the it takes me very little time to animate models or map them. Anyone know if it's possible to change the file type with blender?
     

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