The Basics of Modeling and Texturing
for Rise of Nations
The ToolsWhat You will need:
3D Studio Max
This is a popular 3D animation, and modeling software that costs in the range of a few thousand dollars. Not very affordable for the average gamer but this is a very powerful software that is commonly used by the gaming industry. Many have asked if there are alternative 3D Modeling software. There is a free version of 3D Studio Max called GMAX, and there are others. You can download it if you just want to practice modeling in 3D. Click here, if you want to try it out. Additionally you can go to 3DBuzz.com for some great tutorials for learning 3D Modelling. Unfortunately the BHG exporter is only compatible with the full version of 3D Studio Max. Therefore there is no alternatives to this software if you want to make a model for RoN.
3D Character Studio
This is a toolkit that normally comes with 3D Studio Max, so if you have have 3D Studio Max you should have this toolkit as well. What this toolkit is for is to facilitate the Rise of Nations game engine in rendering animation.
Any 3D object can be "flattened" out, so to speak, onto a 2D surface, that essentually forms the skin around the model. LithUnwrap is a free software that allows you to create a template for texturing your model. From the template you can then use it as a guide to paint the surface skin of your model with the paint program of your choice. It also creates a texture mapped model for you to import back into 3D Studio Max for exporting into the game. You can download LithUnwrap here.
This is a format exporter that translates 3D Models from 3D Studio Max's default format to a proprietary format that is used by Rise of Nations. You can download the BHG exporter from Big Huge Games. The zip includes the exporter plus sample models with animation nodes attached which you will need to help rig up your own model. It also includes a brief tutorial on modeling and some pointers specifically for Rise of Nations Unit Modeling.
This is a popular graphics package. This will be used to create textures for the Models, or skins if you will. It is also a fairly expensive software package costing a few hundred dollars. But fortunately there are free or cheaper alternatives. GIMP is a popular choice. You can download it here. But any graphics manipulation package that can output .TGA format and supports alpha channels will work.
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