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Guide to 3D Modding in Civilization V

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Modding Tutorials & Reference' started by Civitar, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Civitar

    Civitar Adventurer

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    This is a massive tutorial covering different ways to mod 3D assets in Civ5. At the moment I have completed the first 3 chapters, and will upload more as I complete them. I will cover as much as I know how to do, including adding the assets to mods, making improvement models, making custom animations, and creating brand new models and textures.

    *************************************************

    I - Tools of the Trade

    Lists all the programs you will need and instructs you on installing them, with an example of viewing a unit in Nexus.


    Covers editing a unit's texture without touching the model.


    An example of converting a Civ4 unit model to use Civ5 animations.

    *************************************************​

    Feel free to ask questions, or ask for help. I can't guarantee I will be able to answer or help you, but I'll certainly try.
     
  2. DarkScythe

    DarkScythe Hunkalicious Holo

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    Seems like a nice compilation of the information currently strewn about all over the place. However, I'm having trouble figuring out where the section on the 'custom animations' is, unless that's still a WIP and to-be-posted.

    I ask because my current / next project depends almost entirely on my being able to create a brand new skeleton with its own animations (no existing animations will work the way I want it to, unfortunately.) I've technically posted a thread here looking for help but it hasn't seen very much attention.

    I think I've gotten down the steps needed to import and rig a model for Civ use, so my next step is the custom skeleton+animations thing (only for movement/idle/attack/death and stuff, I'll probably re-use existing in-game attack animations -- I assume I do this by adding in appropriately-named bones to my custom skeleton.)

    Is there an existing guide somewhere, or am I on my own to figure this out? At a high level, I am thinking that I can probably look at the process for creating new animations for Civ4 (creating the kf files) and then subsequently converting them into Civ5's gr2 format as part of the process of converting "Civ4" animations.
     
  3. Nomad or What

    Nomad or What Wayfarer Supporter

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    Great! It will be nice to have everything consolidated into one thread - particularly with most of the known lessons learned already incorporated into the tutorial.
     
  4. Civitar

    Civitar Adventurer

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    Hey

    That's a later chapter, I'm going through this stuff from simplest to most complicated. Next I will cover assembling a model from several different pieces, chap 5 will be on converting animations from civ4, and chap 6 will likely cover creating a custom skeleton and animations.
    Both Nomad and I have done that (I think!! He may not have created a custom skeleton, but I have a couple times), so we can help you out with this.
    The way I figured it out was I followed this tutorial for the Blender part, but when I finished and exported the animations I followed the instructions for exporting to .fbx in this one.
     
  5. Ekmek

    Ekmek on steam: ekmek_e

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    Good luck. Its a daunting task. I'll do what I can to add Leader stuff when you get to it (multiple meshes, the scene.xml, and why for some reason it must be in a folder by itself)
     
  6. Civitar

    Civitar Adventurer

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    Daunting indeed! Your help is most welcome, I'm still having issues with my own 3D leader.
     
  7. DarkScythe

    DarkScythe Hunkalicious Holo

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    Thanks for the link!
    I just wanted to ask because I didn't see any other "chapter placeholders" on the OP, so I wasn't entirely sure if there would be more to come, or if that was it.

    I know Nomad helped me with fixing up your Wolf models from a while back in preparation for the release of my Holo Civ, but I never heard back from you, so I haven't released the fixed-up versions (along with my own reskin) as a standalone pack yet. Still, I do feel bad about PMing the few people who would probably know what I need out of the blue, so I try to post threads to attract their attention instead, haha.

    Having said that, I sort of figured my workflow would involve basically creating a Civ4 model just to import that "Civ4" model into Civ5. Kind of a roundabout method, but hey, at least it sounds like it should work.

    That guide is a bit outdated though; are you planning on revamping it? In particular, I'm trying to use Blender 2.74, and whatever else is the latest versions of stuff, so sometimes it's been difficult transitioning between the inconsistencies between the guides' old versions, and the new one.

    Specifically regarding the skeleton creation, that older Civ4 guide seems to want to make the bones in Nifskope, while Nomad linked me to a Blender guide in my own thread, so I'm not sure if there's any requirement to make it in one program or the other, or if they're both alternate ways to make the same thing depending on which program you're more familiar with.

    As of right now, I'm doing a bit of a "step by step" process, although it's arguable that I'm still going a bit crazy considering I've not dealt with any of this before, haha.

    In either case, so far I've successfully imported and rigged a model from an unusual-to-CFC source to Civ5 animations. My next step is going to be importing a Civ4 model/skeleton/animations, and replacing the model with my new import, rigging to that, and seeing how the whole Civ4>Civ5 conversion works.

    Once that's done and I understand that process, I'll move on to this new skeleton/animation creation.

    One of these days I might try a 3D leaderscene.. haha. Hopefully the guides will be up by then!
     
  8. DoctorMcGann

    DoctorMcGann Chieftain

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    Thanks for the Civ IV conversion tutorial. I'll have to install Blender 2.49.
     
  9. Civitar

    Civitar Adventurer

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    @DarkScythe: It's fine to PM me asking for help, only now you've got this thread to do it in.;)

    If you are creating a model from scratch, you don't have to do it for Civ4 - you can do it in Blender and when it's done so that it would work in Civ4 simply export it as a Civ5 unit.

    The guide is outdated but there's not a lot Blender 2.7 can be used for as there are no scripts to import .nif files to 2.7 (plus I'm not very familiar with it).

    I have no idea how to use NifSkope so when I cover making skeletons and animations it will be in Blender. And I have no intention of redoing The_Coyote's guide, it's like 9 years old and we're not even talking about the same game.:crazyeye: There are different skeleton requirements for Civ5 units and they usually need more animations to look decent.

    If you import animations from Civ4 (which I will definitely cover as it's how we usually get new animations), you'd be best advised to convert the model you find with it using those animations and then use that converted model as a base to rig whatever model you like to those animations.
     
  10. DoctorMcGann

    DoctorMcGann Chieftain

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    2.7 can be used, but your tutorial is a little more…er…noob friendly. Really glad you made it.
     
  11. DarkScythe

    DarkScythe Hunkalicious Holo

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    Thanks for the offer!
    I may take you up on that in the near future when I invariably get stuck somewhere.

    As of right now I'm still trying to figure out the necessary programs I need to install. As much as possible, I want to install the latest versions of stuff (I'm not a fan of arbitrarily using stuff that's 7-versions-old or something just for the heck of it.)

    Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the Blender NIF scripts are liking Python 2.7.10 very much, and Google searches of compatibility with Python 2.7 seem to reveal some mixed reports. I may have to go back to Python 2.6 to make it work, but it's not something I enjoy doing (what's the point of releasing new versions, then?)

    In any case, to be clear, I will still need to make a brand new skeleton with its own set of animations regardless of whether or not I get the Civ4 Witch imported and rigged with my model. The Civ4 import will mainly be a test of the whole import process (as I've not done it before, it's a good place to learn with files that should theoretically be fine as-is.) However, While I can use the Witches for an early-game unit, the late-game units will still be entirely different, and need their own stuff.

    Regarding your first comment though, the model itself I suppose I can export straight to a "Civ5" format, but since I need to rig it to a skeleton for custom animations, I meant more that I'd need to use a "Civ4" skeleton + animation as a middleman.

    ...I actually have no idea if anything I'm saying makes sense, because I really have no idea what I want to say, haha. Everything still feels somewhat confusing right now.
     
  12. Civitar

    Civitar Adventurer

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    DarkScythe: The first chapter in the tutorial covers everything you could need to install for this stuff. It also has version numbers that are there for a reason - if you insist on getting the latest version of everything, things are guaranteed to go wrong. For example, we use the old Nexus because Firaxis broke it in SDK updates. We use Blender 2.49b because you can't import NIF to 2.7 as far as I know. And as you've discovered, the NIF scripts don't like Python 2.7... I would advise strictly following the Tools of the Trade tutorial simply because that's how I've got everything set up and I'm not borrowing trouble and headaches - if you use exactly what I use it will work. If you try other stuff it may or may not, but leans toward will not.
     
  13. S3rgeus

    S3rgeus Chieftain

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    Firstly, awesome tutorial, Civitar! I've hoped and prayed someone would make a consolidation tutorial like this, because it's difficult to follow the series of tutorials at the moment. That's through no fault of the original authors - we're all discovering stuff as we work on CiV to try and make it better, but some of those tutorials inevitably get out of sync with each other.

    You could do all of your Blender work in 2.7 if you wanted to by importing the nif into 2.49b and then saving it as a .blend file. Blender 2.7 can then open that .blend file and you can use Deliverator's updated br2 Blender 2.7 export scripts to get into CiV from there.
     
  14. Civitar

    Civitar Adventurer

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    Will 2.4 blends open correctly in 2.7 though? When going the other way, from 2.7 to 2.4, the mesh was replaced with a wireframe that apparently had no vertices.
     
  15. S3rgeus

    S3rgeus Chieftain

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    Yes, 2.4 blends open correctly in 2.7, Deliverator recommended this flow for using his new export scripts. I wouldn't expect it to work the other way - 2.7 is backwards compatible with old files, but 2.4 has no way of knowing what the differences would be in the next version.
     
  16. Typhlomence

    Typhlomence Magical Tomomo

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    Did you save as a legacy file format in 2.7? I use 2.74 to import nb2s, save it as a legacy .blend and it opens in 2.49b for me just fine. I think the only main difference between the two is that 2.49b doesn't support non-manifold meshes (in the sense that the other side of faces won't render) but since CiV only renders one side of the face anyway, that's not an issue for us.
     
  17. AW Arcaeca

    AW Arcaeca Deus Vult

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    Now I'm confused. So I can use Blender 2.7 instead of 2.49b or no? Checked blender.org and the oldest version I could find was 2.5 Alpha 0, so I might be up a stream without a paddle here. :/
     
  18. Civitar

    Civitar Adventurer

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  19. AW Arcaeca

    AW Arcaeca Deus Vult

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    Ah. Yeah, I was looking through this page. Thanks for the link.

    You should do a Civ4 Building -> Civ5 Improvement tutorial. I'm trying to follow Ekmek's tutorial but I've never used blender, so I can't find any of these interface buttons or menus that he's talking about. It makes it a tad difficult. :lol:
     
  20. Danmacsch

    Danmacsch Geheimekabinetsminister

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    Hi Civitar, do you still plan to update this tutorial with further chapters? I'm trying to get a better understanding of unit models, and so far I've more or less only succeeded at re-skinning. I've converted a few civ4 buildings to civ5 improvements, but been less successful with unit conversion - that was before your tutorial though, so I'll give that a try later.
    In order to really achieve some uniqueness and accuracy for units for a couple of future projects, I'd very much appreciate a tutorial on how to assemble models from different pieces, if you still have one planned?
     

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