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Using models / animations from other games

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Creation & Customization' started by Hyreon, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. Hyreon

    Hyreon Chieftain

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    Hi. For a scenario I'll be designing with someone else, we wanted to use models, animations and sounds from an existing game: in this case, team fortress 2. We have full access to these things, but I'm not sure where to begin with this process.

    Most modding tutorials are designed for creating entirely new models or simply using existing sets of .flc files. In this case, we are taking existing models and the animations they have in-game and reformatting them into relevant flc files.

    There's also the small difficulty that most of the tools involved are a little dated - for example, the civ3MMtoolkit's civ3FlcEdit isn't displaying correctly on windows 10.

    All in all, I'm a little lost on where to start. It seems from this guide that sets of .bmp files can be readily converted into .flc files, and I could perhaps make the .bmp files through some eclectic mix of source filmmaker and other conversion tools. All in all this does not seem faster than making them normally, which is not desirable - almost all of the hard work is already done, and surely there are automatic tools for this sort of thing! I almost feel as though it would be faster (and certainly more interesting) to make a tool than to just bite the bullet and make some 12 sets of 5 animations with 10 frames each - so 600 images...

    Am I misunderstanding the guides? Is there anything I can do to speed this up?
     
  2. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Caveat - I have never worked with unit creation. Simply providing info based on what I know from following unit threads for many years.

    tom2050 has made quite a few unit conversions from other games. IIRC he did explain his conversion techniques somewhere, but not in a separate tutorial thread. He also posted this thread about another program to use. If he is still around (hasn't posted in over a year) hopefully he will see your question.

    I do know that Civ3 flics are quirky - non-standard number of frames for example. Vuldacon & Delta_Strife are probably the two most prolific unit makers who are still actively around. I'd recommend trying to contact them for advice if they don't respond here within a few days.

    Steph is another vastly experienced unit maker who developed a tool that may be of some help.
     
  3. Hyreon

    Hyreon Chieftain

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    Looking at those tools you linked specifically, they seem to be doing what I fear worst: taking a bunch of still images and turning them into a flc file. I suppose it looks like the process will be:
    - use something like source filmmaker to make simple, 15 frame videos of basic animations per character (9*8*5 = 360 videos, one per character per direction per animation.)
    - turn those videos into gifs (360 animations)
    - split the gifs into individual images (360 steps)
    - place the individual images in the correct spots into a series of folders (no steps, as the splitting process could just save to the correct directories)
    - run the story board creator you linked on every animation (1, as it handles all units, animations and directions at once; this is very good, but unfortunately is speeding up the fastest process >.<)
    - convert each storyboard into an .flc file (9*5 = 45, as all directions are now in a single storyboard)
    All in all 1126 steps, none of which are going to take less than a minute, putting the animations alone at 19+ hours of work.
    That seems possible, but I don't think I am willing to spend the time on such an endeavor. It's just not worth it for a toy scenarios, and I don't see how to make a full-on campaign out of the tf2 mercs.
    In any case, if I am going to reduce that down, the biggest bottleneck is taking the model and converting into images. That work is totally unrelated to civilization 3, and I'll have to go to the relevant forums to find an easier way.
    Thank you.
     
  4. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    don't give up yet! You opened the thread less than 24 hours ago. give the experts a chance to answer - they probably know things I'm just not aware of. ;)
     
  5. Delta_Strife

    Delta_Strife Deity

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    Hmmm there is always a bit of work to making units the only thing I would suggest is there no way for your program of choice to output animation as a series of images? That would save a large amount of time. When I make my stuff the program I use can output a series of bmp's one frame at at time. Then I convert pcx then to flc. If the unit is simple I can get 5 animations done in maybe 2 hours. More complicated ones can still take most of the day however most of the time is spent setting up the animations. If that is already done you can save a great deal of time there. Converting the bmp's to flc is 20mins of work.
     
  6. Hyreon

    Hyreon Chieftain

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    I wasn't giving up, but I did decide that I would have to approach this differently than the way I had originally planned, and noted that the help I needed was probably outside of these forums.

    What program is that? That should reduce the work by 3/2. Rather than 2 conversions, I would do 1 or no conversions (from what source uses to what your program accepts).
    Even then, there's still the matter of taking the same model/animation and exporting it 8 times for all 8 of the directions. If it could be done at once with any tool I'd easily want to get started over break; otherwise I'd rather mod other games or perhaps work on my own.
    EDIT: you asked what my program of choice was. I have 0 familiarity with it, but source filmmaker is standard for working with games running on the source engine (that's most valve games and some others.)
     
  7. Delta_Strife

    Delta_Strife Deity

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    Well I use Bryce 7.1 but that is for importing a 3d model and then I set up the animations then do all 8 directions and change the animations for the next go. So, I have to put the time in. I know other people use other programs but they all have to render the 8 directions and most have to setup there own animations. Tom2050 was the only I think who was good at converting from different games without using a 3d model and setting up animations but he has not been seen in a while. Also, I think he was converting pre-made images or sprites. When I got started I watched some tutorials that Wyrmshadow posted on Bryce to pick up the basics and then have been experimenting over the years and with tips from others I have achieved better and better results and cut down the time a bit. I think if you give it a go with filmmaker you might learn a few short cuts or easier ways to produce the results that would make the work less daunting. Most unit makers on here have their own individual way of producing the units which is kinda good because there are multiple ways to produce units for Civ3 so you might be able to develop another unique way of going about it.
     
  8. Fortis1

    Fortis1 Prince

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    I convert units from Dawn of War. I use 3ds max and as soon as I have animated model, the hardest part is over. I render it in 8 directions, saving files as bmp images. If animation is too long, I save every Nth frame. When I'm done with rendering, I rename all the files with Bulk Rename Utility and use Steph's SBB tool to make them compatible with FLICster. Then, after making palette, I convert this .bmp to .pcx files with Paint Shop Pro. First, I create the template in FLICster, which match exactly the .bmp file's size in pixels and ctrl+c/ctrl+v the .bmp's image in the template. When you open the file in FLICster after it, it will be your animation. Just save it as .flc file and you are good.

    All the needed programs work with Win10 for me, just FLICster crashes upon exiting, but that's ok.
     
  9. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias I saw the Great Library burn.

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    While we're on the topic - Did anyone ever try or figure out a way to convert SMAC units?
     

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