Author: Soul_Assassin
Author Website:

Requirements: No addons required

Version: 1.1

Short description: Set of tools designed for 3dsmax that are primarily built to help modding for ArmA2.

Date: 2009-10-21 09:42

Comments: (6)



Modding Toolbox for 3ds Max

The toolset consists of a great deal of interconnected scripts to help do the majority of the modding work in 3dsmax and not O2, like basic selection naming, model.cfg generation, rvmat file generation for supershaders and glass, preview in the 3dsmax viewport, setting up bone hierarchy, managing LODs and exporting all this madness into a fully functioning p3d file.

    Project setup:
      This module allows you to prep everything before you start. Generate some project folders. Create an accurate blueprint crossection. Set up a 3 light system for better preview with materials in the viewport and finally to quickly make sure that the scene you are working in is indeed set into metric system for 1:1 export to O2.
      In here you can quickly and easily bake Ambient Occlusion (and also a special variation of them for Super Shaders called _AS maps) as well as diffuse color maps. With a few clicks tweak the size and quality and automatically preview the results straight away in the viewport.
    Named selections:
      This module allows you to quickly name your model parts. The whole system works on reuse of what I called Selection Name Sets (SNS). These are special files (more on these later) which contain a list of selection names (e.g. otochlaven) and their normal descriptions (i.e. Gun). Of course with ArmA the use of standardized Czech names is not required anymore so the SNS can contain any desired names and meanings.
      The interface on initialization checks the special folder for these sets and loads them in. This way I can have separate sets for e.g. Fixed wing aircraft, Tanks, Cars all saved separately and accessible at all times. I pick the required set for the particular model, chose the part name, if required add prefix or postfix characters, preview the name and if satisfied apply it to the selected objects. Of course the part name can also be custom text entirely, and not from the name set.

      There is also an option of sequenced naming. For example I choose prefix l_, part name "wheel" and check off "Sequence". Then select the wheels on the left side of the vehicle in the order of the sequence. Hit apply and the wheels are properly named l_wheel01, l_wheel02 etc.

      When you import the model into O2 the selection names will be carried through.

      The selection name sets are generated through an interface built into the toolbox, here you can load/save sets, edit them by adding/removing or editing entries.

      The only one limitation of 3dsmax is that the names only apply to whole object (or max nodes) and not verticies like in O2. Thus this does not provide a total solution.
      A system allowing you to manage the LODs of the model. Linked to the layering system of max. Create new LODs with ArmA2 preset names, edit them, duplicate them and isolate lods by double-clicking on their names.
    Memory lod:
      In here you can set up the backbone of the animations. Create points, manage them and use them to create axis for the animated parts. This will allow you to preview rotations in the viewport. Points are automatically placed into a Memory LOD.
    Hierarchy and animations:
      This is the beginning of the model.cfg module which will allow to rig and check the model in 3dsmax. By applying the parent-child linking directly in the viewport you can setup the hierarchy and preliminary test out the animations on the model. Later this hierarchy will be used to generate the cfgSkeletons part of model.cfg.
      It also allows for quick overview of the model part and double-clicking names selects them in the viewport.
    Model .cfg exporter:
      This little handy interface lets you quickly generate model.cfg files by incorporating the hierarchy and memory point lists. Complete with Inheritance. Also the ability to open previously generated files and add to them.
      Here you have two options: export some selected geometry as a 3ds file or go for the grand slam and use the FIRST EVER PUBLIC EXPORTER OF P3D FILES FROM MAX . It takes into account: the lod system, selection names, smoothing groups ( no SG applied = sharp edges, any SG applied = smooth edges ), vertex normals, material and texture assignments, UV maps. All in all a fully functional p3d. So upon first opening O2 you will have: assigned textures and materials, working animations, correct LODs etc etc.
    RVmat generator:
      In the toolbox you will find 3 specially designed directx HLSL shaders (super shader, glass, stencil). They have a dual purpose: to allow a simple preview of materials in the viewport of max (with normal, spec and ambient maps) and they also generate rvmat files with proper texture assignments upon p3d export.
To install the toolbox follow the steps:
1) Unpack the folder ArmAToolBox into the $maxroot$\Scripts\ folder.
2) Unpack all the icons: arma2toolIcon_##i.bmp and arma2toolIcon_##a.bmp into $maxroot$\ui\icons\ folder.
3) Unpack loadArmAToolBox.mcr into $maxroot$\ui\macroscripts\ folder.
4) Start 3ds Max.
5) Customize>Customize User Interface...
6) Select Toolbars tab. Click on New.... Call the new toolbar whatever you want.
7) From Category choose "Unofficial ArmA 2 Toolbox".
8) Drag the action "Start ToolBox" from the list into the newly created toolbar.
9) Maximize the viewport by pressing Alt-W.
10) Click on the button to start the tool.

Steps 4 to 10 are outlined in the following video:

Extra info:
Check the complete documentation including different video's here:

To do:
RTM module for easy creation and export of soldier animations.

Forum topic:
- BI forums

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