Call of Duty 5: Modeling/ Skinning

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Setup

For CoD5 modelling you need version 8.5 SP 1 of Maya. The Personal Learning Edition won't do, so do not waste any time on it. An original license of 8.5 is somewhat hard to get as it has grown outdated in the meantime and even on Ebay people wouldn't sell too many copies. The SP1 is available for download at Autodesk in case you can only catch 8.5 vanilla (click here).

If you want to work on stock xmodels, the tool 'xmodel exporter' will provide you with .obj file exports of the models. They won't, however, be rigged on their original skeleton, so you will have to rebuild it. XModel exporter creates a html file that shows the model's skeleton joint coordinates and the joint hierarchy and the joint tag names, so while it takes some time, you can recreate the skeleton and rig the imported .obj file back to it. In order to import OBJ files into Maya, you'll need an OBJ-importer plugin that comes with Maya Bonus tools (need to register and then search for appropriate version here). Make sure that you provide yourself with the proper Bonus Tools for version 8.5 otherwise you won't succeed. The OBJ. file format is also an excellent way exchange models with other popular 3D modelling tools like 3ds. And then again, Maya can import 3ds models, too.

Finally you will need the xmodel export plugin for Maya which is provided along with the CoD5 mod tools. Thoroughly mind the Readme on how to set up those files with Maya as it is NOT just a plugin manager job in Maya. Actually you have to set up some files and write some entries while you leave the mod tools' Maya files untouched and right inside the mod tools' bin folder. Don't screw with that or the bug hunt is all yours .... we told you so.

When you launch Maya for the first time after preparation for CoD5, you want to enable the CoD5 plugin in the plugin manager. After restart you should notice a 'Call of Duty' menu in the top menu bar. We have received inhomogeneous feedback on localized Windows versions: Sometimes Maya seems to ignore your language and keeps looking for english path names. Workaround: Create an english path under C:\, e. g. instead of C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen in the german version use C:\documents and settings. The same is true for all subfolders.

In Maya 'preferences' you always want to set the Z axis up and the standard grid unit to 'inches' as 1 inch corresponds with 1 CoD5 radiant unit. Proper scaling will become far easier when you obey this little step.


Propaedeutics

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Create a vehicle model

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Apply material to the model skin

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Create a skeleton and rig the skin

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CoD export prep work

A proper export from Maya demands, that in the Outliner window the complete hierarchy is opened. Hidden elements won't export and thus you will face problems later on, esp. when you miss one of the obligatory vehicle joints. Make sure to click through all '+' boxes and open the complete skeleton hierarchy in Outliner.

The same is true for polygon groups. It will be easier to unparent them and have all polygons in parent position in Outliner. Mind the maximum of 32 separate polygon surfaces in one xmodel. While there is also a limit for the amount of polygons in an xmodel that doesn't matter here: Even if the surface consists of only 1 polygon, the limit is 32. You want to mind that when doing your own models. But hang on:

For vehicles, the use of the destructibledef files comes in handy as you can attach other xmodels to your vehicle model's bone tags by the use of destructibledef files. Example: Check the xmodel 'veh_ger_panzer_mp_dpm_main' either in the mod tools' Asset Viewer or in XModel Exporter preview and you will find that there is only the tank's main body. It doesn't have treads, wheels, armor plates and the like. Why? Because these parts have been done as separate xmodels that will be attached thru a destructibledef file that will be hinted to in Radiant's asset window as a key-value pair. So back to topic: If you want to use more than 32 surfaces then check your model concept for parts that can be attached as separate models and rid them off your current model. A more detailed tutorial on destructible vehicles modelling will follow later. For now just bear in mind that by the use of destructibledef you can have more than 32 surfaces.

So now you have all Outliner hierarchies opened and you have made sure that you don't exceed the surface limit for your xmodel, you're almost ready for export.


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Post export jobs in AssMan

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Setup your vehicle model's prefab

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ADVANCED USERS: create a destructible vehicle - additional steps

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--Sven71 03:16, 27 February 2009 (UTC)