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Old 02-01-17, 14:08   #1
The Great Chi
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Default 3D meta turorial for Tomb raider Classics

I have been asked by many over the years how I use 3D meta to create new TR1 to TRC characters, and change the room designs in existing levels in my Youtube videos.

I will try to show you here, but note that although modified characters can be boxed into a collosion detection box using Pixstr, the room changes using Rview_50_R3, cannot. Hence it does not matter to me if Lara can walk through these walls as I just make videos from these modified levels. But a game builder would want to keep these room changes so that lara or baddies cannot access these walkthrough walls. I believe there is another Meta program that is mentioned in TRF forums that does take collision detection into account.

Anyway, Have a look at my Xmas video to see these changes using Rview_50_R3, Pixstr, and 3D meta....


Now lets look at the changing of a Leopard into a reindeer, all it needs is a head change using 3Dmeta and retexturing, like so....

You open PIXSTR and select the mesh you wish to change and in this example it is mesh 73 (the head), you go to file and export DXF, this is now the format to put in 3D meta (NOTE 3D META is a BOUGHT Program, you need to buy it).

You now have the wireframe head in 3dmeta (shown left) and what you want to end up with (shown right). OK, move the leopards head up by rope-ing it using ROPE, and select MOVE and move it up a bit in three dimensions, you then have to create or bring in a rectangle to make neck and antlers, bringing in an already built rectangle is easy, as you just go to the static meshes in a TR level using Pixstr, save that mesh to a DXF, and put it in 3Dmeta using INSERT button.

With this rectangle you can enlarge and change dimensions of the rectangle using SCALE. You first rope the rectangle and then scale. You can make a big and long rectangle for the neck, and a short thin one for the antlers. You need six rectangles to make the antlers so use COPY and rope and move and you have six antlers, you then rope, and move and ROTATE, to get all the pieces into the 3D space and join them up. While you are doing this you have to rotate the whole model and move in and out using the wheel on your mouse, and the mouse itself to move around, to make sure you are joining everything up right.

Now most important when you go to export the DXF when saving the model, make sure you tick the INVERT FACE box, or you model will come out with faces inverted.

Unfortunately you cannot texture the mesh while in 3D META, so you have to use other programs to texture, like Pixstr, or Strpix or TRtexture, I tend to use Pixstr, but there is another problem as when you change a model in 3d meta and click the invert face box to get the exported DXF mesh, you have in fact moved the texture 90 degrees.

Now I expect there is a fancy way of getting the textures round to the correct way you want them, as someone will tell us, as there is a 1 in 4 chance of getting it right, but I use a slow method to solve it by just keep putting the DXF mesh back into 3D meta, and clicking the invert face box and save and check the texture orientation, and just keep doing that till its right.

CREATING YOU OWN 3D shapes....

I tend to take existing meshes and modifiy them, for example to make a fancy round building as in the above video, I used a static mesh barrel from a custom TR game level, and scaled it to make a large building.

To create your own shapes you use either PRIMITIVE, that gives you basic shapes like cubes, cones, pyramids , donuts, cylinders, etc, and just scale them to suit, and move around using rope and move, and copy etc.

The way to make a shape yourself is to use the CREATE tool, which lets you create point to point lines which you can face in, eith on one side or both sides. Warning if you use both sides, you can create conflicts with textures either side not matching and will flicker in the game. THough if you match the textures it will be fine.

You can delete part or all meshes by rope and then select and delete, also you can copy and paste vial select.

Extrude is also an interesting tool as you highlight the area you want to extrude by roping then EXTRUDE and pull it out, to change the shape.

You can also invert the faces by roping an area and INVERT.

The main thing is to experiment with 3Dmeta and get used to it and create wonderful stuff and save and put it back into a Tomb raider file.

I have given you the basics to create 3d models, and there are other commands that you can experiment with, but the main thing is to save the DXF's and keep copies of them, so if you make a mistake, you can use an earlier one, and thus you have not lost all your work.

Make sure your textures end up the right way as described earlier.
Do not make your 3d shape too complex or the game will crash, or create webing or streching...
Also do not let each mesh interfere too much with another mesh in a character or again you can get game crash, or create webs or streching.

Webs or streching, the problems and solutions.....the webs (or spikes) can be touching within the characters meshes or go right off the screen from a part of the character.

3D ROOM CHANGES and retexturing using RVIEW_50_R3

Ok, have a break for a while if your head hurts

Right, moving on, the most interesting thing about a TR model room mesh is that they are about 10 times smaller in 3d meta than character meshes or static meshes. Or put it another way the characters and static meshes are nearly 10 times bigger

The reason I think, is down to the lack of complexity of a TR model room, as it is just made up of squares and rectangles and triangles, whereas the characters and static meshes are far more complex.

How the game engine sorts out this scale problem I do not know, but it works. Or maybe it is just the way 3d meta protrays it.

So this leads to an interesting point, is that if you INSERT character meshes or static meshes into a room, they are around 10 times as big. So in the next example of a room change (as seen in the video at the narrow bridge) I take a static mesh barrel, and shrink it using SCALE, to get a large building and then re-texture. In other rooms I take static mesh stairs, shrink them and put them in position to link up buildings in the bridge gap room in video.



OK, what you do is open RVIEW_50_R3 and select a room and expoert a room in DXF format, go file and export DXF, and now open in 3D meta, and you can modify the room.

In my example I added six buildings, I got a barrel with a cone head, and INSERT it into the room, and shrank it down, I then inserted the room, making sure both meshes do not touch until ready. I then took the barrel and cut it in half by roping the back of the barrel and delete, then used copy and scale to make different height buildings, and then roped each one in turn and moved them into position, and then save by exporting DXF, and put back into Rview_50_R3.

If you want to make changes to a room from scratch, you can rope and delete parts of the room and use the create button to add meshes. You can also add buildings from scratch again using the create button or primitive button.

You can then retexture each mesh by clicking the textured mode in the select room box, make sure you put the modified room back into the correct room number (It will be one number higher than that used in most other TR tool programs, so watch that. For example if the room is number 53 in Rview_50_R3, then it is number 52 in fexinspect).

Retexturing can be selected from the texture blocks and then click to the mesh you want coloured in the room. Also you can re-texture all the one texture, by clicking edit, then change all textures.

Once complete, save the data level, and its ready to play.

3D meta can do room changes but has no collision detection, you can walk through walls.
Do no exceed changes outside the room box dimensions or yo can get blinking in and out of existance.
If you remove part or all of the roof or walls in a room that leads to viewing the sky box, make sure you use fexinspect to tick sky enables and outdoor enables, in that room and joining rooms

Conclusion: This again gives you the basics to create a 3D room, and you can experiment with other commands in Rview_50_R3. Have fun.

Phew, too much writing, Cheers Chi
Humble words by The Great Chi

Last edited by The Great Chi; 17-01-17 at 12:38.
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