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Thread: Questions about advanced AI setup, and replace#.gif questions

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2005
    Location: The limbo region of hell

    Questions about advanced AI setup, and replace#.gif questions

    I want to create custom AI. I also want to extract objects from Thief/Thief2, fiddle with them, texture them to use the retexture textures (the textures with the big 0, 1, 2, 3 on them), set them up to properly take new textures, and most probably make my own new retexturable objects.

    I know how to mesh, how to texture meshes, how to make textures, how to convert bin to e and then e to 3ds, then from 3ds to e to bin, etc, etc. I have all those little dos programs for all of that from back in the day. I have and can use sketchup, milkshape, paintshop pro, and photoshop. I am not asking n00b questions about texturing and meshing. I know those things for general purposes. What I don't know is how to set it all up so the fickle bitch dromed understands what I want. And when it comes to custom AI, I will profess n00bdom.

    I know these things are possible to do, Rob Hicks did them in dedx, Drk made his guardians, and Schwaa did retexturable beds, but for the life of me I can't seem to find a nice consolidated resource explaining how to go about doing any of it. I can't even find any threads about any of it...

    Is making retexturable objects as simple as changing the texture name in the e file? I doubt it, but thought I'd ask. Also, if there have been any new developments regarding bin to e to 3ds to obj to 3ds to e to bin, I am all ears since it's such a hassle switching through multiple formats to get to ones I can edit and back.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    And yes, all these questions mean I have dusted off the old campaign I was working on a long time ago, if anyone even recalls at this point. But no there is no release date in the foreseable future. I just decided perhaps it's about time to do more than quietly tinker around making houses and landscapes.
    Last edited by kamyk; 16th Apr 2012 at 19:43.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    Quote Originally Posted by kamyk View Post
    Is making retexturable objects as simple as changing the texture name in the e file?
    Yes, or set the texture in your object program if you're building from scratch. You can use replace0.gif - replace3.gif. Those files are in object.crf.

    For retexturing AI meshes, see this thread: http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113695. In short, you need the MeshFix tool to allow a custom AI to be able to use the Mesh Textures property.
    Last edited by R Soul; 16th Apr 2012 at 12:37.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2005
    Location: The limbo region of hell
    Regarding replaceable textures...

    So, if I change the name of a texture in an e file to replace0.GIF (replace1.GIF, etc) on a preexisting object and then recompile the e file to a bin that texture will then be replaceable in dromed using the txtrpl r0 (r1, etc) properties under shape?

    More to the point though, so I just use those textures (replace0.GIF, etc) on the texture map when creating my own objects or heavily tweaking preexisting ones? If so, does dromed just recognize that the txtrpl command applies because of the texture name on the model?

    Regarding custom AI, I guess I should be more specific. I don't want to just reskin a guard for example. I want to make new AI, more or less.

    As and example of what I mean, I'd like to make a gargoyle AI, that is bigger and bulkier than any preexisting AI, give it horns, a tail, wings that occasionally move, have it use the general animations for a human guard, except when close range attacking at which point I'd like it to swipe ala Apebeasts, and I'd like it to spit fireballs when at a distance, as well as use it's own sounds and speech rather than any from other AI.

    That kind of thing is what I meant regarding making AI. How do I do such things, in terms of both setting up the 3d models before importing, and setting it up in dromed? Do I need to use a preexisting AI model, and tweak it? Are there limits to new vertices and faces? Can I make such a model from scratch? How do I add mesh attachments? How do I make moving parts? How do I make it spit fireballs? How do I tell dromed what animations to use when? How do I set it up so that it uses it's own custom sounds and speech rather than ones from preexisting AI?

    I already know some of this stuff when it comes to other game modding like sims or rollercoaster tycoon 3, but I haven't the faintest idea how you do any of it in dromed.

    I'd really like to know,as in the course of my campaign I'd like to introduce something like 15 new AI. I understand that will be a lot of work, but I'm perfectly willing to commit to it, if someone will just tell me how, or point me at resources that will.
    Last edited by kamyk; 16th Apr 2012 at 19:37.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    Quote Originally Posted by kamyk View Post
    So, if I change the name of a texture in an e file to replace0.GIF (replace1.GIF, etc) on a preexisting object and then recompile the e file to a bin that texture will then be replaceable in dromed using the txtrpl r0 (r1, etc) properties under shape?
    That's right, but bear in mind that that property can't be used on archetypes, otherwise the texture will go missing.

    Do I need to use a preexisting AI model, and tweak it?
    That's probably the easiest way to start, since all the joints and limit planes will already be set up. You can scale/move them to match the new AI.

    How do I add mesh attachments?
    Dromed Deluxe has some AI with mesh attachments, so I recommend loading some of them into the base mission. You can then see what sort of values you can use in the Mesh Attach property.

    How do I make moving parts?
    I doubt a mesh could have flapping wings, but if they are mesh attached, you might be able to build them as ordinary jointed objects. with some tiny base object inside the AI's body so you can't see it. Info on jointed object setup: http://thiefmissions.com/lpg/VHots_Axles.html


    How do I make it spit fireballs? How do I tell dromed what animations to use when?
    A while ago I had a look at Equilibrium, and posted my findings here:
    http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthrea...=1#post2062552

    How do I set it up so that it uses it's own custom sounds and speech rather than ones from preexisting AI?
    I suggest you look at the schema files (http://www.thiefmissions.com/telliamed/schema118r1.zip) and open up SG1.sch (one of the guards). It's just a list of wav files to play under a variety of conditions. Each schema has 'schema_voice' values, and those values are all listed in speech.spc. All you need to do is add a new value, then edit a copy of one of the AI schema files. Getting a good number of sounds will be a challenge.

    There is info on schemas here: http://southquarter.com/dromed/?p=184

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2005
    Location: The limbo region of hell
    Thank you R Soul, you are being very helpful.

    A few questions I forgot to ask regarding AI models... Can I bin to e to 3ds to obj or whatever or does that go to far? At what point will I lose the joints and limits? I only know how to use sketchup and milkshape. Will those do, or do I have to use 3ds or some other program? I've never exported/imported anything with moving parts into dromed before...

    Another thing I note is interesting is the bit about the wings being ordinary jointed objects. If I do that, might it be possible to set up a vrand system that sends a frob command to the wings now and then, making them move? It never occurred to me that the wings could be set up like doors. That might present interesting possibilities if I'm right.

    Out of curiousity, what happened to all the other editing crew? Did everyone move on to other things? Used to be that if you posted in here you got at least 7 different replies per topic... Is Thief (sadly) finally winding down?

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements
    Quote Originally Posted by kamyk View Post
    Out of curiousity, what happened to all the other editing crew? Did everyone move on to other things? Used to be that if you posted in here you got at least 7 different replies per topic... Is Thief (sadly) finally winding down?
    Not so I've noticed. I suspect folk are just busy making new missions. Have you seen all the missions released this year already?

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Drinking baby lemonade!
    I have stopped posting replies here as often as I used to mostly because there are plenty of others who jump in and help. Robin took care of your questions better than I could have, for example. So I think this community is still doing fine.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    Quote Originally Posted by kamyk View Post
    A few questions I forgot to ask regarding AI models... Can I bin to e to 3ds to obj or whatever or does that go to far? At what point will I lose the joints and limits?
    I don't think you can convert an AI bin file, but fortunately the .e files are all in mesh.crf, so you convert those to 3ds.

    I only know how to use sketchup and milkshape. Will those do, or do I have to use 3ds or some other program? I've never exported/imported anything with moving parts into dromed before...
    As long as you can set names for specific parts of an object, those programs should be fine. The base object can be called anything. People often go for 'aa' but it's not essential. The joint is just a line called @x00aa2500. '@' tells BSP that this is a joint. 'x' says it's a rotating joint (use 'z' for a sliding one). '00' is the joint's number, so you can use 01, 02 for more of them. 'aa' is the first two letters of the base objects name. '2500' is something to do with a range of angles that BSP will use to check that the sub-object doesn't go through the base object. I often use '0000' because I don't care if it goes through.
    The sub object is usually called @s00bb. '@s' means it's a sub object, '00' is the number of joint it belongs to, and 'bb' is the name of the sub object, which needn't be limited to two characters.


    If I do that, might it be possible to set up a vrand system that sends a frob command to the wings now and then, making them move?
    Jointed objects cannot behave randomly be default, but the Tweq joints property can be changed in game. Best done using S&R and the Set Property effect. The tidiest solution is probably to use a few NVScript objects to send a stim to the AI at various intervals.
    Last edited by R Soul; 17th Apr 2012 at 12:03.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2005
    Location: The limbo region of hell
    @LarryG
    No, I hadn't really noticed the FMs that came out. I got burnt out on Thief a few years ago, and haven't played an FM since Rose Cottage, other than a few by Haplo. So, I'm guessing I've missed quite a bit then?

    @Yandros
    Still good to know that other members here are still around though. Back when I first joined, and started learning dromed I used to pester you and Schwaa a lot, as well as R Soul, and several others. It was one great big modding party. Just wondered if after my hiatus from Thief I was coming back to the liquor cabinet being locked up, and some of the best guests going home...

    @R Soul
    Again thank you for answering. It is good to know I can still rely on competent people in here. I suppose it would have been better if I had just kept at it back in 06 till now, then I would probably already know most of this, but I have attention issues. It's a miracle Thief kept my interest for 4 years before I got burnt out before... In any event, I just want to say I truly appreciate you helping out an old slacker (me).

    I'll look into NV's scripts when then time comes. I always did have a sort of fascinated dread of messing with scripts for dromed. In the meantime, I'd say I have more brushwork to do and models to build and import.

    I did have one other question for now on a mostly different topic? Scene complexity. I am asking because one scene in one of my missions hits 705 polygons rendered in one spot. That's without AI, or loot, or objects, and I know max is 1200 or something like that before I get a scene too complex crash. It's all architecture, so I really don't know how to make it less complex without ruining the scene. Does it matter if you use an object or a terrain brush? Like if I make a column, for example. If they were identical in shape/faces/etc, would an object add less or more complexity to a scene or the same amount?
    Last edited by kamyk; 17th Apr 2012 at 23:27.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Russia
    1000 polys or 768 unique cells. Every of the limits causes crash.
    Objects don't count, though. You can add objects until they start to disappear (or FPS slows down).

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