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Old 11-19-2005, 04:05 AM   #1
fyrwurxx
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Bones/animation & characters

OK so I spent some time modeling an IG-88 model replacement for HK-47 and have met much success until now so I decided to bring it to the scene for help.

After obtaining a mesh of the replacement model, what needs to be done to get it ready for export and in-game? Upon viewing several of BioWare's models I'm somewhat confused because some PCs have bone structures while HK-47 for example has no bone structure but only dummies and all geometry is aurora trimeshes. But Mandalore for example has a full bone structure and the 'actual' model is just an editable mesh with the Skin modifier. There is a second mesh made of aurora trimeshes that compirise the bones.

I assume robots like HK-47 and T3 don't have bone structures because they are robots and therefore don't have skin so it would be counterintuitive to have stretchable meshes but without bones how does the engine know how to animate them? Here is an image of what I have so far:

IG-88

I have the aurora base and all necessary dummies...what do I do now? BTW don't criticize my modeling skill because it's a proof of concept not an actual skin! Cheers,

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Old 11-19-2005, 06:11 PM   #2
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I'm sorry to tell you, however we can't import animations into KotOR yet, meaning that the model you made can't actually be used in KotOR (yet).



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Old 11-19-2005, 06:50 PM   #3
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Well even assuming anims can't be imported, I'm not really interested in that (yet) because all I want to do is import a new mesh to replace an old one (much the same way as replacing a lightsaber). The problem is a lightsaber is a static mesh and a character is a dynamic one...I think the problem is how to hook the new mesh to the old animations, something no one has tried or done successfully.

The process for importing a character is slightly different than a lightsaber or other static mesh because there are multiple parts and more dummies. I think character mesh replacement should be possible but again we're venturing into uncharted territory so we're looking at a lot of trial and error, the modders way!

Any experienced modders have suggestions for where to start as far as character mesh replacement? If you want my IG-88 files you're welcome to them just respond to this thread or PM me. I think this is the next step in KotOR modding but I can't do it alone. Anyone want to take a crack?
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Old 11-19-2005, 08:06 PM   #4
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Theoretically you could replace IG-88 with hk 47 in the replacer function of mdlops, if.. He has the exact same number of tri mesh objects to replace 1:1 You will notice hk actually has 4 tubes made of skin mesh ..this could cause a problem as the replacer only works on tri mesh. His torso , hips and thighs, are actually tri mesh but also his bones . When you go to the Display tab and click bones under the hide by category you will notice those tri mesh sections disappear.

I was considering trying to make him as full skin mesh to be able to compile with a human to adapt there animations, if you rig him with a human skeleton and weight him as skin mesh this will work but it’s a heck of a lot of work. But it would be pretty sweet to have a saber wielding droid.

The reason I know this method will work is there have been a few successful Full body model replacements never released, the last was a full master chief model, made from scratch to replace the space / underwater suit.

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Old 11-19-2005, 08:34 PM   #5
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Svosh... mind running by that again?
Can you explain in better detail?
This sounds like it's worth the time, coffee and
cigarettes...


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Old 11-19-2005, 08:42 PM   #6
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Update:

Well with a lot of trial-and-error I've been met with some success but mostly failure...but some success is better than nothing! Following svosh's bodymesh editing tutorial I managed to get at least some of my new IG-88 mesh to replace HK-47's bodymesh. A screen of my result is here:

Partially replaced...

As you can see we have a LONG way to go but any time you can change something without the engine crashing you've been at least a little successful! Obviously for some reason it's not importing his head, legs, feet, etc and I still need to properly UV map him (something I'll do last...) Here's how I did what I did, for those interested:

1. Import the original HK-47 bodymesh w/ mdlops
2. Check the properties for all trimeshes and make notes of parent/child relationships
3. Delete all trimeshes leaving the aurora base and dummies
4. Import my IG-88 bodymesh as a character, and re-link my mesh with the dummies properly.
5. Export/override, launch, etc.

What I think I did wrong was:

1. Did not set environ before modeling IG-88 in nwmax
2. Maybe did not link all trimeshes/dummies properly (most likely the biggest mistake...I did it all in kind of a rush)
3. Other miscellaneous mistakes...

I should also note that when I tried to take HK-47 out of the hawk in my party the game crashed...not entirely sure why. As far as I can tell the mesh is static (no animations, even the old HK ones) but you can interact with HK i.e. talk to him, etc. May not be perfect but a step in the right direction...
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Old 11-19-2005, 08:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrwurxx
...but some success is better than nothing!
Darn straight... nice work, I guess your on the right track there..
Keep up the good work... Patience is the key..


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Old 11-19-2005, 08:52 PM   #8
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Svosh it would not be too much work to rig HK with a weighted skin mesh/bone structure...I would start by importing HK's trimeshes into a human's bone structure then just reweight the verts on HK's trimesh. but I still need to get a better feel for everything before I try something like that
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Old 11-19-2005, 09:12 PM   #9
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I was refering to the animations not working properly, however you seem to be making progress on the mesh/geometry



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Old 11-19-2005, 09:28 PM   #10
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yes well I plan to take some more time this weekend to properly link all geometry after carefully studying the link hierarchies from the original HK-47 model. Then I just have to figure out why my model's head and legs freak out whenever I resetxform and I should be gravy...but then the question of whether or not the animations from the original HK model will apply properly to the new IG mesh...time will tell. for now i must get off my bloody computer! I will resume later. Cheers
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Old 11-20-2005, 04:59 AM   #11
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Yet another update:

Another step forward as more of the model is visible and I can now take IG-88 (or the retarded model of him) outside the ebon hawk. Check out this screen:

One step closer...

As you can see the guns fit nicely into IG's hands but his head is nowhere to be seen and his left leg is misplaced. Also when I walk around with him there are no animations (no surprise) he just floats around. As I stated previously paying closer attention to link hierarchy yielded this success. also I know I need to set the self illumination color for his arms/legs etc higher to match the torso.

What I did wrong:

1. Obviously it doesn't like Ig's head for some reason...whenever I resetxform it inverts the head's normals, scales it WAY big and offcenters it...the same sort of thing happens to the left leg, but no other geometry. I have no idea why. Any suggestions?
2. Possibly some more linking errors, have to double check HK's link structure
3. No anims...this is the big problem which you all know. I have not yet tried to import HK's anims and save them as IG's because from what I understand mdlops "kills" the animations upon recompiling. What do we know about anims and how to preserve them? What about mdlops kills the anims?

Other than that I'd say I've taken a few steps closer to fully replacing a bodymesh. Although IG88 would be cool it did dawn on me that Mandalore kind of looks like Boba/Jango Fett...hmmmmmm maybe I'll try that next...
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Old 11-20-2005, 04:44 PM   #12
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One more update:

Well after more research and consideration I've come to the conclusion that PC bodymesh replacement is effectively impossible, for the sole reason that MDLOps cannot export animations. I could put forth the effort to skin IG-88 and get his head/leg displaying properly but all that would be for naught because he would be as stiff as a rock when you went to play him in-game.

I know very little about programming and perl scripting so I will not even consider editing MDLOps to export anims. I leave it up to cchargin or other experienced coders/perl scripters to make a version of MDLOps or a similar program that can export animations from 3ds. Until then we are limited to editing only static bodymeshes...as far as I can tell. I will not give up but without anims even the best mesh replacement will be useless. Sorry guys

cchargin, any word on when/if/how anims could be exported? If we can do this a whole new world will open for KotOR modding...please 0
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Old 11-20-2005, 06:46 PM   #13
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Hey fyrwurxx, Might I offer a suggestion? What if you imported HK's model into gmax and change the vert coords to look like IG-88? It's basically reshaping the existing model. However I would be careful as not to reduce any one set of vert coords to small as when using Taina's replacer tool it tends to have issues with the vert coord pairs being to small.


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Old 11-20-2005, 07:00 PM   #14
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That thought had occurred to me and I appreciate the input but we still have one fundamental problem: mdlops cannot export anims (even though it can import them.) I will not pass judgment on cchargin because I know nothing about coding and perl scripting so I trust that if his program will not export anims there must be a very good reason.

Incidentally I was able to import HK's model into 3ds, replace his head with IG-88's head and re-link it to the dummies so his head actually was animated in the animations on the timeline. But upon export, again, mdlops basically ignores the anims so any way you cut the cake we have no way of getting an ascii model+anim to a binary model+anim. Where's a coder when you need them? :P like I said the KotOR world will change the minute someone can convert ascii anims into a binary. Keep your fingers crossed....
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Old 11-20-2005, 07:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrwurxx
That thought had occurred to me and I appreciate the input but we still have one fundamental problem: mdlops cannot export anims (even though it can import them.) I will not pass judgment on cchargin because I know nothing about coding and perl scripting so I trust that if his program will not export anims there must be a very good reason.

Incidentally I was able to import HK's model into 3ds, replace his head with IG-88's head and re-link it to the dummies so his head actually was animated in the animations on the timeline. But upon export, again, mdlops basically ignores the anims so any way you cut the cake we have no way of getting an ascii model+anim to a binary model+anim. Where's a coder when you need them? :P like I said the KotOR world will change the minute someone can convert ascii anims into a binary. Keep your fingers crossed....
You remember me about one similar problem when I edited Bao-Dur's remote. It was ok but no animation. To make this work I put in override dir only mdx file and animation is ok. Another time with another model I put only mdl file. So give a try.
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Old 11-20-2005, 08:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrwurxx
What about mdlops kills the anims?
It's the rotations, they're represented by quaternions and the conversion from the binary data to what the quaternion data should be is problematic.



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Old 11-20-2005, 08:21 PM   #17
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@ fyrwurxx Are you compiling the model using the read write button or are you using the replacer button.
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Old 11-20-2005, 08:48 PM   #18
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I am compiling with read/write. As far as I understand replace only works with exactly the same number of mesh/skin/bone, etc which my model does not have. But I will try only overriding the mdl or mdx...btw what is the model extension file (mdx)? What information is stored in it? Curious to know...

I will try some more and get back to you guys. Cheers
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Old 11-20-2005, 09:14 PM   #19
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Replacing only mdl or mdx files does nothing but greatly distort the mesh. I am curious to know...you actually edited Bao Dur's remote's mesh and imported the new model with old anims by just replacing the mdx? ???confused??? Please enlighten me as to how this works! I'm also curious to know if the method you did would work on a more complex mesh such as a PC...maybe your method only worked because the remote is only one mesh or something...but in any case I'd like to know more about your mod, what you did, and how you did it. Cheers
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Old 11-20-2005, 09:20 PM   #20
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Umm.....this is of topic but how do you get pictures in the front of your names?
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Old 11-20-2005, 09:21 PM   #21
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Avatars... top of the page... user cp (user control panel i guess) check in there..
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Old 11-21-2005, 01:28 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrwurxx
I am compiling with read/write. As far as I understand replace only works with exactly the same number of mesh/skin/bone, etc which my model does not have. But I will try only overriding the mdl or mdx...btw what is the model extension file (mdx)? What information is stored in it? Curious to know...

I will try some more and get back to you guys. Cheers
Try the replace funstion as it should just replace (obviously) the co-ordinates of the verts rather then replace them leaving animations intact. Its how Achilles changed the look of Miras clothes in this mod:

http://pcgamemods.com/mod/12581.html
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:54 PM   #23
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Hello all,

Quote:
cchargin, any word on when/if/how anims could be exported? If we can do this a whole new world will open for KotOR modding...please
Quote:
It's the rotations, they're represented by quaternions and the conversion from the binary data to what the quaternion data should be is problematic.
Yep, there are some rotations that I can't figure out how they are encoded. I have had help from many people here trying to "crack the code", but we just can't seem to figure it out.

Quote:
As far as I understand replace only works with exactly the same number of mesh/skin/bone, etc which my model does not have.
With MDLOps replacer you replace 1 mesh with another. So, if your new model and your source binary model are similar in design it should work. For instance I could see that you could turn HK into C3PO (it would be a tall C3PO though) since they are both very similar bipedal droids. HK into IG might be a bit tougher since the body/limb proportions are a bit odd for the IG droid. The only place you will really run into trouble is if you need to change the number of joints. So if you have a droid that should not bend in the middle, HK would not be a good starting point.

Quote:
I was considering trying to make him as full skin mesh to be able to compile with a human to adapt there animations, if you rig him with a human skeleton and weight him as skin mesh this will work but it’s a heck of a lot of work. But it would be pretty sweet to have a saber wielding droid.
Interesting idea. But how about this... Take the HK model and leave it as tri-mesh, but rename all the bones and dummies so that they would be compatible with the human animations? You might have to split the head into a seperate file just like the other body meshes. Hmm. This might work, but I have to dig into it a bit more to see.
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Old 11-22-2005, 02:57 AM   #24
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lol @ "chown -R cchargin /plans/deathstar/*"
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