This page is part of the Essential Series modding tutorials. It will cover how to use Industrial Park to import custom 3D models to the game. Models for levels, stage objects and characters can all be imported. We will also talk about how to import/replace textures and how to set rendering pipeline settings for models, needed for vertex colors and transparent textures.
Creating/Editing Your Model
There's not much I can say about this part in this tutorial, as teaching how to 3D model is out of the scope of this tutorial. I (igorseabra4) recommend Sketchup as a 3D tool for beginners, as it's simple to use and can export to formats supported by IP, but it lacks more advanced features, such as better texture mapping and vertex colors. Blender and 3ds Max are also commonly used tools. You can also get your model from another game or a site such as The Models Resource, but that'll usually require some kind of processing in a 3d tool, usually to scale the model to an approprite size, split into smaller parts (for the case of level models) and convert to a format accepted by IP.
Exporting as DFF
This method is the most traditional, and necessary if you want to import rigged models (with a skeleton, which also allows for animations). This allows you to create a custom character, for example, and even replace one of the player models (although the process of creating custom animations to replace each one would be lengthy). Another option would be to extract the player model and rig a different model to the same skeleton, which would avoid needing to make new animations.
This method is quite simple: have your 3d model in 3ds Max or Blender, then use the DFF plugin for 3ds Max or DragonFF for Blender to export the model (in 3ds Max's case, you must have only the bones selected, then click on Export Selected, for the export to work properly).
These are the correct settings for the export (note: it is possible that other settings also work, depending on your model's needs):
Exporting as Other Formats
This method works when exporting from any 3d editor. The most common formats are OBJ, FBX and DAE, all of which are supported by IP.
Importing to the game
After exporting from the 3d tool, you can either use the Asset Data Editor of a MODL asset to import the data over it, or the Import Models dialog in Industrial Park to create a new MODL asset. You will also need to import the texture for the model.
Creating a New Level
When you have your own level model, usually you'll want to create a new level for it, and not import the model in an existing level, right?
You can do this by, first, creating a copy of the blank HIP/HOP files. They are available under Utility, in the IndustrialPark-EditorFiles (which we talked about here). You can paste them into your game's files and give them a new name. Any combination of 4 characters will work as a level name. For example, the original game had JF01 up to JF04. You can add a HIP and HOP and name them JF05, or JFAB, or even AXYZ if you'd like, as long as the file is in a folder called AX (the two first characters of the file name). With the file in place, you can set the boot level to that in the INI file, or you can create a portal from another level leading there to be able to access it ingame. The files work as levels immediately after copying and renaming, but they obviously have nothing in them but SpongeBob falling in an empty void! Blank HIP/HOPs are also available for Movie and Scooby (just the HIP as Scooby has no HOPs). Open the files in Industrial Park, create a new Model layer in the HOP and use Import Models to add your level models to the stage.
When exporting level models from your model editor, it's important to note that there's a maximum amount of vertices/triangles that the model can have. After a certain amount, the game starts to lag, and after another one, it will crash when loading the stage. It's not known precisely what is the size, but the resulting MODL asset should not exceed 100 KB in size (you can check the size in the Archive Editor after importing). If your models are big, you can split them into smaller pieces in the 3D tool and import them as separate assets.
Once the models are imported, you will need to make SIMP (Simple Model) assets and add them to the HIP so that the models will actually appear in the world. This can be done automatically in Import Models, but is also covered in the SIMPs page.
After importing the models, you will need to import their textures.
This is available in the Archive Editor, under Edit. Make sure you have a Model layer selected before opening it!
Use the Import button to choose your model files. You can choose any of the available model formats (including DFFs, which were mentioned above, and more common formats like OBJ and FBX). The models will be imported with vertex positions, vertex normals, texture coordinates, vertex colors and faces if they have all of those things (and will not if they don't have vertex positions or faces, obviously). This is what each of the check boxes do:
- Flip UVs: this will flip the UVs (texture coordinates) upside down when importing. This is useful if you note that they are imported upside down. You will certainly need to check this if you import from 3ds Max.
- Ignore Mesh Colors: 3ds Max and other editors will sometimes add unwanted colors to the mesh (these are not vertex colors!) when exporting to FBX or DAE which make the model darker unnecessarily. Check this to ignore them.
- Generate SIMPs: this will automatically generate SIMPs for each of the imported models and place them in a new Default layer. This is used for importing level models, as they need a SIMP to actually appear in the world.
- Ledge Grab SIMPs: check this to enable the ledge grab flag on the generated SIMPs. Otherwise, the characters will not be able to ledge grab on the models.
- Create PIPT: this is needed for models which vertex colors, for the vertex colors to show up. If your model has no vertex colors, leave this unchecked.
- Overwrite: if this is checked, existing MODL assets with the same names will be overwritten.
After your model is imported, if you had Generate SIMPs checked, you'll already be able to see your model in the stage, but without textures. Otherwise, you'll need to add an Entity asset with a reference to your model to see it. If you think you should be seeing your model but are not, check the process you went through again and make sure all steps were correct. Check also if the scale of your model is not too big or too small for the game (SpongeBob is 1 unit tall).
This is available in the Archive Editor, under Edit. Make sure you have a Texture layer selected before opening it! Remember also that Texture layers must be the first layers in a HOP archive. You can use the arrows to reorder the layers and ensure this when adding a new layer.
You can import textures of various formats with this, but PNG is recommended. Choose the textures you want and press OK to import. The textures should be visible on the models immediately. If they aren't, you can click on Refresh Textures and Models under Options to do this. This is what each of the check boxes do:
- Append .RW3: this is necessary if you are importing textures meant to be used by models! (this can sound silly, but some textures are used by User Interfaces for example). All textures used by models must have .RW3 at the end of their names, and the Asset ID will be generated from that. Otherwise, the game will not be able to find the textures and will show the models blank instead.
- Generate Mipmaps: choose whether mipmaps will be generated for the textures.
- Compress: if checked, textures will be compressed. There will be a very minor loss in quality, but the size of the archive will be smaller. This must be turned off for textures with transparency, as transparency is lost on compression.
- Flip Vertically: this will turn textures upside down when importing.
- Overwrite: if this is checked, existing RWTX assets with the same names will be overwritten.
If you just need to import over a single texture, you can use the Asset Data Editor for RWTX assets instead of the Import Textures dialog.
This is a function which Industrial Park has, mainly to allow you to edit or replace existing textures. From Edit -> TXD Archive in the Archive Editor, you can click on:
- Export (RW3): this will export a TXD (texture dictionary archive) with all the textures that have RW3 on their names, which are the ones used by models as explained above. The RW3 will be removed from the names when exporting.
- Import (RW3): this will import a TXD archive and add RW3 to the texture names when importing. This is meant to import the same TXD you exported with the above button! Existing textures with the same names will be overwritten.
- Export (No RW3): this will export a TXD with the textures that don't have RW3 on their names, so the ones used by menus and particles and not models.
- Import (No RW3): this will import a TXD without adding RW3 to the names. This is meant to import the same TXD you exported with the above button, existing textures with the same names will be overwritten.
Pipe Info Table
The Pipe Info Table PIPT is an asset, usually present in the Default layer of the HOP. It contains information to be sent to the rendering pipeline about models. This is important to us because we must edit it if we want our models to have semitransparent textures or vertex colors, for example. Checking "Create PIPT" when importing the models will automatically set PIPT entries for vertex colors, but you must set them yourself if you want alpha blend on textures, for example.
To do this, open the PIPT Asset Data Editor and navigate to the PIPT entry of the model you want to set alpha blend to (or add one and set the MODL asset it in the entry, if it doesn't exist). You can choose one of the presets or even edit the flags yourself, if you know enough about the rendering pipeline to do that. These are the presets you can choose:
- Default: this is the same as not having a PIPT entry. The model will have no vertex colors, default lighting and no transparency. Any transparent textures on the model will have rendering issues.
- Vertex Colors: disables default lighting and enables vertex color display on the model.
- Alpha Blend: enables blend on transparent textures.
- Alpha Blend + Vertex Colors: combines the two above.
- Additive Alpha: enables additive alpha on the model. This turns all "blacks" of the model into "transparents": the model becomes translucent and very bright.
- Additive Alpha + Vertex Colors: combines Additive Alpha and Vertex Colors.
In the Asset Data Editor for MODL assets, you can click on the [...] button near the Materials field to open the Material Effect Editor.
It allows you to create and edit not only texture names and material colors for individual materials in the model, but also create a Material Effects PLG RenderWare section with Bump Mapping, Environment Mapping and Dual Texture effects. None of these effects are previewed in Industrial Park. The Bump Mapping effect, although available, doesn't actually seem to work in BFBB.
Other parameters specified in the executable uses an effect added to an atomic when the name's scanned during the loading process. Documentation on how it's setup can be found here and the data names used in BFBB are HI_TAGS (stands for Heavy Iron Tags) and MORPHSTATE.