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Adding Romanian Infantry


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I'm new to modding ToW, so please bear with me. Here is what I am trying to accomplish:

I would very much like to add a simple Romanian infantry squad to either ToW or ToW2. This will be a basic 8 to 10 man rifle squad. Nothing fancy to start with.

Here is what I have done so far:

I have downloaded the megamod pack and poked around in the various files trying to get a basic understanding of the file types and where they go/what they do.

I have read (and tried to comprehend) the tutorial on adding new units to the game. Still very confused here...

I have looked at existing units in the game ie: heir.ini, units.ini, etc. to see how they were created.

Now comes the trouble part.

Sadly, I am stumped at the very basics. I have no idea how or where to place the megamod pack files that I downloaded to even begin to add Romanians to the list of available soldiers. In other words, I don't understand how one gets the skins/models/etc into the game. I also have been having trouble figuring out how to use the SFS extractor and am not even sure if I need to use it since I believe I have all the model files and textures available to me in the downloaded megamod pack.

I think I understand how to edit and manipulate the various .ini files, but I am not sure which files need to be used for a simple infantry squad. Also, I have some very basic skill with graphics programs, so making things like the rank textures or awards shouldn't be a problem. I just don't know how to extract existing textures (such as the Russian ranks or awards) to see the dimensions of the texture so that I can make my own.

I have read and re-read the earlier posts by someone who was trying to do the very thing I am trying to do now, but it seems as if that person gave up and the fountain of information that was being presented dried up.

Also, as a side note, I don't intend to create a new nation (if that can even be done). All my future Romanians will be a subset of the Germans. Hopefully, that will make it easier.

Thanks in advance for any help and guidance.

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I'll try to help as much as I can, but don't expect too much, as what you're trying to do is really the most difficult thing to mod in the game due to our lack of understanding of the way to create soldiers.

First thing you have to do is to use the SFSExtractor utility to extract the default game files (textures, models and configuration files) from the data.sfs and 3dobj.sfs files (they're currently stored in these files, so you can't see them unless you retrieve them with the extractor.

Next, you'll have to recreate the same file structure in the main game folder as in the SFS files. Once you've extracted the SFS files in a temporary directory (I use a SFS_extracted_files folder in /MissionEditor to store the extracted files), you'll find inside this folder a models/Human/sk_0/Ger/ directory containing all the german type of troops in their own folders. The one you're interested in will be the Ger_solder_1943_afrika folder containing the 3D model, mat files and texture files of the german soldiers. You have to create in ToW2 main game folder the same kind of folders structure for your romanian soldiers (the difference being that you'll name the Ger_solder_1943_afrika something like Romania_Solder_Summer instead). You'll have to do the same thing with the other files needed for the infantry (configuration files for detachments, names, ranks, awards....etc)

The next step will be to replace each default files of the german soldier by new ones you created yourself - replace the german award pictures by romanian award pictures for example.

The first obvious step would be to replace the german 3D model of the soldier by a romanian one. That's where things become very complicated (maybe even impossible). The files in the Mega Mod Pack where created for ToW, not ToW2, so they might not be compatible sthraight from the pack - I never tested, so I've no idea. I suspect this will work only for ToW because of the heads textures (but it might work without, I don't know).

To replace the textures and mat files would be easy and sthraightforward: replace default ones with the ones of the romanian soldier in the mod pack.

The next step would be to replace the 3D model of the German africa soldier by the romanian one (simply use the romanian mesh file instaead of th german one). Again, I've no idea if this would work because the mesh files might not be compatible with ToW2. It might work for ToW, though.

Try to replace only one file at a time and see if it works before replacing the next file, to help find where the problem comes from if the file is not working.

To conclude: I would not advise someone beginning modding for ToW or ToW2 to start with things as complicated as a soldier model. The chances are very high that you'll hit your head against a brick wall, and get quickly discouraged. It would be better to start to work on a much simpler undertaking like a static object or support airplane untill you have a perfect understanding of the procedures involved in adding new units to the game. Even creating a brand new vehicle seems easier to me than creating new infantry models.

Once you've created a static object, you'll have a much clearer view of what needs to be done to create other units. You'll not feel discouraged, having achieved already something, and will have learned a lot. What you have learned will allow you to attempt something much more complicated with at least some chances of success.

Be aware that you'll need to be extremly stubborn for this (I spent some 6 month of trials and failures before I was able to create my first new unit for ToW successfully. That gives you an idea of how stubborn you'll need to be ;-)

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Thank you very much for the information :) Now, at least I have some idea of where the proper files are located and how to retrieve them. If nothing else, I will continue to tinker with my Romanian troops and learn as much as I can in the process. In the mean time I will certainly post any major progress that I am able to make.

Perhaps in the future 1C will simply make an Axis add-on pack for us to purchase much like the Centauro add-on for ToW2 Africa :) Then I wouldn't have to struggle with getting these little Romanian buggers in the game myself. One can only hope...

Again, thanks for your response. It sounds like I may have bitten off more that I can chew, but we'll see.

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If you are referring to the post "new infantry". I'm still here . I agree with Knokke. We miss some passages in the infantry modding process. I tried to mod italian infantry models for tow2. I imported 3d file and textures in 3dsmax8. I modified an american helmet shape and i created an italian round classic second war helmet then i attached it to an italian soldier model without helmet which i previously created. Quite all textures fit correctly except helmet textures. I created helmet textures with photoshop and gimp ( another image program ) and pasted them on the texture .tga file of the italian soldier. My result is here [img=http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/151/immaginern.th.jpg] . Now the frustrating part... there isn't a 3dsmax plugin to export models and textures to msh game files, so i tried with mshconverter but without success. This is a synthesis of what i did. If you need specific help i'm here. About tow1 infantry modding i tried to create italian soldier but if i remember well some files are missing or maybe the 3d msh file is "incomplete" ( nocollisions etc). So if you have romanian uniform textures and a complete 3d msh file model you should create the unit, but if you need to modify the 3d model with 3dsmax you could have trouble in exporting in msh format. About infantry weapons if you don't have to create a new one is a quite simple work.

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I believe that there might be a possibility to create soldiers model without having the proper plug-in. I should be possible to export any soldier 3D model created in 3DSMax in msh format just as if it was a static object (it means that the visual of the soldier could be taken from this file - 3D coordinates, UV, ect). Needless to say that the soldier's resulting *.msh will not work as is (collisions, hooks and bones would have nothing to do with thoses of a soldier). But if it's possible to save one of the default soldiers in text/msh format with MshConverter, there might be a way to combine the two files to create a new soldier (replacing the 3D coordinates, faces, UV info from one file in the other). This way, we might be able to reuse the existing soldier "skeleton" -hooks and collisions and simply replace the part of the file describing the visual appearance of the soldier. There might be some skinning problem though (by this I mean the weighting of the vertices on the skeleton - not the textures)

Quite a daunting task, but it might be possible.

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I tried to export from 3dsmax with static object plugin but there was an error message and i don't know how it could be modified to work properly. A problem with mshconverter is that the prog rotate the model so you must change rotation and scale setup and it's quite a mess with textures, collisions, hooks etc.

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The error message of the House.ms plug-in is "normal": the script accept only a few names for some objects (for example, a mono.sim type of object accept only names according to the following convention: ground_level, x0y0_dam0_l? for the main mesh and lods, shadow_x0y0_dam0, collision_x0y0_dam0 or collision?_x0y0_dam0 if there is more than one collision. Obviously, this is the reason why all kinds of error messages will pop-up when anything is named differently. The trick to export something anyway is to conform to this names convention.

For example: for a ToW2 enterable house, the script will not accept hooks with names like h_door01 and shoot_??. In order to export my building models, I have to use the names window??, window??_d and window??_x0y0_dam0 instead. When the script recognize all the names, the model will export correctly. I simply have to edit the resulting msh file in notepad to delete the window??_d and window??_x0y0_dam0 objects, and replace the window?? names with h_door?? and shoot??.

So it should be possible to export a soldier model as a static object by renaming all the objects in the 3DSmax file to whatever will be accepted by the script.

The problem with the orientation matrix is a bit more complicated for someone like me who hate mathematics. I suspect that the problem with incorrect rotation of the hook and/or collision objects for the soldiers in mshconverter is only in the orientation matrix, and not in the textures coordinates nor 3D coordinates of the model. the trial and error method (changing the 0 and 1 of the oriention in the matrix) should be able to solve the problem, but this is really a pain for me. It should be no problem with someone with at least some knowledge in mathematics (I hate myself, there.... ;) )

Also, there shoud be the possibility to reorient the offending part by hand in 3DSmax.

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I had a better look at the soldier models in ToW2, and I believe it is possible with the tools we have to create new soldiers. Here is the process i'm thinking of:

Exporting the model as if it was a building, and then massively editing the resulting mesh.tse file in notepad to change the names of the hooks (using the soldier hooks in place of the window?? hooks. Then, with the hier.mcn file, it would be possible to change the names of the collision shapes to whatever is needed for a soldier. In 3DSmax, the collisions would simply be named normally (collision?_x0y0_dam0).

Of course, without the proper plug-in, this is not an easy task, and it would require massive editing of the mcn file and tse file to remove any unwanted objects like shadows, damage lods etc...

The most complicated and boring part would be to reposition the hooks properly on the Body mesh, since MshConverter import the hooks without their offset (all centered in 0,0,0). Not an impossible task, as we can see in MshConverter viewer where they should properly located.

Once all this have been done, the resulting x0y0_dam0.mesh file can be renamed to Body.msh and should be compatible with the game (<--- fingers crossing here!)

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@ prlugo:

...it's quite a mess with textures...

Don't forget to set VScale to -1 instead of 1 in MshConverter "save options" tab. Setting VScale to -1 will export the model with the textures coordinates corresponding to the texture file (an other solution - less elegant) would be to flip the texture in Photoshop. If you don't flip either the coordinates or the textures, they'll appear like a big mess with the details on the texture having no correspondance with the model.

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