Call of Duty 4: Custom Skyboxes

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Attention 256.png
This tutorial assumes that you already know how to create, compile & create GSCs,CSVs & FastFiles for your maps

This tutorial will explain how to use a scene in Terragen to create a 2D skybox that can be used in Cod4 Radiant.


Terragen

Terragen is a freeware scenery generator which can be used to create 2D skyboxes. The freeware version has a limitation that effectively limits the texture dimensions of the skybox to 960, so it can only really be used for skies at 512x512. If Terragen is registered for $99 (US), the size limitation is removed, so skies at 1024x1024 could potentially be rendered.

Here is an example of what you can achieve (no land on this one)

Skyrender0001.jpg


Creating the scene

Terragen can be downloaded HERE

Terragen takes a little bit of practice to get the hang of. There are many websites that can teach you the basics. Here are some good ones:

Create your scene and save it. The camera position doesn't matter for now. Terragen can render realistic land if you're very skilled however making terrain is not recommended for a 2D skybox.


Set up the script

The skybox requires six images to be rendered. This script will automate the creation of all six so you do not have to repeatedly come back to your computer and readjust the camera after each render.

Use Notepad to save the following script as skyboxscript.tgs. It can be saved anywhere.

initanim "C:\skyrender", 1

;_ft
Zoom 1.0
CamH 0
CamP 0
CamB 0
frend

;_lf
Zoom 1.0
CamH 90
CamP 0
CamB 0
frend

;_up
Zoom 1.0
CamH 270
CamP 90
CamB 0
frend

;_bk
Zoom 1.0
CamH 180
CamP 0
CamB 0
frend

;_rt
Zoom 1.0
CamH 270
CamP 0
CamB 0
frend

;_dn
Zoom 1.0
CamH 270
CamP -90
CamB 0
frend


Render the skybox

  1. Now, in Terragen, uncheck both of the Fixed Height Above Surface boxes in the Rendering Control window. Place your Terragen camera where you want the viewpoint of the skybox to be. What's important here is the Camera Position. The Camera Orientation doesn't matter. Note that changing the height can affect the appearance of the clouds even though the horizon is always in the same location

    Terrastep1.jpg

  2. Set the detail all the way up in the Rendering Control window. Set the width and height both to 512. This is the best you can do with the freeware version. If you have registered Terragen, set them both to 1024.
    Terrastep2.jpg

  3. You should double check that you did the first two steps right so you don't waste a lot of time. Now, choose Execute Script... from the Terragen menu, and choose the file skyboxscript.tgs that you created earlier. Now the rendering will commence. It may take a couple of hours or more.

  4. When the rendering is complete, a dialog will pop up saying the script is complete. Quit Terragen.


Get the textures ready

Now, if you open up the C: drive, you'll see six new BMP files. Rename them as follows, where xxxx is whatever you want to name your sky:

Original filename  Change to

skyrender0001.bmp  xxxx_ft.bmp  
skyrender0002.bmp  xxxx_lf.bmp  
skyrender0003.bmp  xxxx_up.bmp  
skyrender0004.bmp  xxxx_bk.bmp  
skyrender0005.bmp  xxxx_rt.bmp  
skyrender0006.bmp  xxxx_dn.bmp 

Suffix meanings:
ft = front
lf = left
up = up / top
bk = back
rt = right
dn = down / bottom

Use Photoshop or PaintShopPro to save them as TGA files (dont resize them!)into ...Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare\texture_assets\skybox. Create the folder if you have to.


Create the Material Skybox using Asset Manager

  1. Open up the IW Asset Manager

  2. Select Material from the list, click New Entry and inout a name like sky_xxxxx

  3. Refer to the picture below for Asset Manager Settings:

    Assman.jpg

  4. For the Color map note that the pic with _ft needs to be loaded

  5. Press F10 to convert the new Asset

Everything going well you will see your new Skybox in the texture list of Cod4 Radiant  ;D - Good Luck!


--Zeroy. 14:49, 15 October 2008 (UTC)