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Thread: Marks, stains, splashes, etc. Tutorial

  1. #1
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: UK

    Marks, stains, splashes, etc. Tutorial

    Here's an easy way to make impressive, fully resizeable, variably-translucent stains, splashes, marks, as well as symbols, signs, graffiti, etc. that can be stuck on any surface at any angle and can really enhance your FM and make it look lived in. You can have grime around a light switch; water splashed in the kitchen; grease marks; macabre claw marks on the wall of a bricked up cellar; spilt milk; a message written in blood. Follow this simple parrot-fashion guide and you can get results in only a few minutes. Even my budgie said after creating a complete mural, 'Pieces of cake' or something.

    First, IF you want MORE THAN ONE type of mark in your FM then you will require either BIN2E (search forum) or a HEX editor. I've heard that there is a hex editor provided with Windows but can't recall where it is. But there are loads of hex editors to download off the internet. Just search for 'hex editor'. You only want a very simple freeware one for this. Don't be daunted by this; you'll only be using it to retype one word. Or, as said, you could use BIN2E which converts the bin file to plain text then use BSP to convert it back after editing it.

    If you only want a SINGLE mark in your FM (even if used many times) then you do NOT need BIN2E or a hex editor at all.

    The one other essential requirement is that you have a painting program of some kind and at least some rudimentary knowledge of how to use it. No great artistic skill is needed but the more the better. The paint program needs to be able to edit a 256 color palette and save 256 color palette images in GIF format.

    It's theoretically possible to use MS-Paint which is provided with Windows but its not easy because the palette editor does not indicate the absolute palette position number. Instead, I recommend PaintShop Pro which is simple to use and good enough even for many professional applications -and it has its own forum on usenet. However, if all you have is MS-Paint then I will describe how to use it for this purpose.


    If you have PaintShop Pro or Adobe PhotoShop or some other 3rd party then I am assuming you have some idea how to use it for simple pictures at least so I will mostly describe how to use MS-Paint for absolute beginners and trust that you know the equivalents in your own program. Sometimes I just say 'Paint' for 'MS-Paint'.

    To run MS-Paint, you should find it in the Start Menu somewhere unless you didn't install it. If you can't see it then just enter PAINT in the run command line. If not, use Control Panel Add/Remove programs, Windows setup to install it.

    Start a picture 256 wide by 128 high and 256 color palette. In Paint you can't initially work in 256 colors but it is set automatically when you save in GIF format. To get a 256 by 128 picture in Paint use the Image menu > attributes and make sure 'pixels' is selected.

    In Paint, Do NOT change the color of the first palette entry at top left of the color selector at the bottom of the window (you need View menu > color box to see this displayed.) Leave it black. This is Palette ZERO by default but if you change its color then Palette zero is moved elsewhere and you can't always tell where. And you NEED it later. Anything using Palette zero will be transparent so it will form the background of the image.

    If you are creating a LIGHT colored stain or mark then flood the picture with this default black palette zero using the fill tool.

    If you are creating a DARK stain then MS-Paint users should AVOID using the default start color of black (on the brush, etc.). But DON'T change the color of that first palette entry. Instead, pick a bright color from elsewhere in the palette like hot pink. Double click any color to change it if you want but don't change palette zero.) Just before saving we'll be flooding this area with palette zero. Anyone using other paint packages with proper palette editors can use palette zero from the start and change it to hot pink or whatever.

    Make this first picture a quick test. Don't waste any time doing anything elaborate as you can then see what I'm talking about and adjust it later or do a new one or throw it in the garbage. You can even search the Internet for images and modify them.

    For this quick test we are creating a dark stain so MS-Paint users should first flood the picture with a bright color as described above. DON'T change palette zero!

    Put some OTHER black or dark ink on your brush from another part of the palette and paint an irregular stain in the middle of the picture - like an ink blot. You see now why we wanted a bright colored background so that this mark will stand out; a dark stain on black would be hard to see in the paint program even if the surrounding black does eventually become transparent.

    Avoid making accidental marks (such as stains) symmetrical (unless you are creating a genuinely symmetrical mark like a symbol or something).

    Normally, for stains, marks, etc., avoid touching the sides of the picture as this will cause straight edges. Exceptions might be when you want to butt two or more together to form a larger stain with more detail than you can get with just stretching one. Or maybe a stain you want to push right up to a wall and don't want to poke out the other side into another air brush.

    If editing in higher than 256 colors then do NOT (normally) set your brush to soften (blur, anti-alias) the edges. If you do then the soft area will include fragments of the surrounding color AS IS. This will NOT become transparent in the game. So, if your surround is hot pink and your stain is black then you will end up with a black stain with a hazy pink fringe. Just leave your edges as hard and jaggy - they will be softened sufficiently in the game you will see.

    If you want to use the same stain several times in your FM then avoid very distinctive shapes in your stain. For example, a splodge that stretches out and bends at the end so it looks like a boot or a hook or something. Why? Players will notice the similarity between multiple uses of this stain in your FM even if rotated and stretched. Instead try for vague indistinct shapes with unmemorable edges. Rotating, reversing, and reshaping shadowing, etc. in the game will however, help to disguise the fact if you are using the same stain more than once.

    When finished, Paint users should fill the surround with palette zero. Don't worry if you can't now see your dark stain on a black background as palette zero will be transparent in the game and you can always flood it back in this picture again later with pink or something if you need to. You might prefer to keep a separate copy of your picture with the contrasting color still in place.

    Non-Paint users can leave the surround as the contrasting color if they wish as it will not show in-game.

    Save your picture in GIF format in Thief\obj\TXT16 (you will need to create this folder if it is not already there. 'Thief' is, of course, whatever you have named your Thief folder but 'obj\TXT16' should not be renamed.) Save the file with only SIX characters, plus .gif of course, eg, stain1.gif, vomit5.gif; NOT more and NOT less than 6 characters in the prefix.

    When you see how it works in the game you can consider using any advanced drawing skills and imagination you have for marks of different colors and textures. The only thing to remember is to use Palette zero for complete transparency, ie, the area around the mark and any gaps or holes within it. Translucency of the actual mark is dealt with in-game separately.


    An easy way to get the stain into the game is to use a suitable existing object and change the way it looks. The best object I have found for this purpose is the PIRATE FLAG because it is flat, resizeable, can be placed anywhere without falling, eg, on a wall, ceiling, floor or whatever, is a reverse mirror image if turned over. And it is relatively little used in Thief compared to say, a crate (it can still be used anyway with a little more effort). Furthermore, it has no special actions attached and only has one component. If you try using an art picture you will find your stain is framed! And don't try using a door or you'll probably find that guards 'open' your stain as they go by!

    The pirate flag can be found in the object hierarchy under...

    physical > decorative > banner > PirateFlag

    If you only want ONE stain (even if used many times) and don't need to use the object as an actual pirate flag then all you need to do is to rename your image file (in Thief\obj\TXT16) to piflag.gif. If you then create a pirate flag in your FM you will have your stain instead (see later for tips on how configure it.)

    If you want MORE THAN ONE type of stain then do the following...

    Using WinZip or whatever UnZipper program you use, open the archive file Thief\RES\obj.crf. Extract the file called piflag.bin into the Thief\obj folder (NOT TXT16.)

    Rename the suffix of the extracted piflag.bin to any relevant name you like, eg, bloodSplatter.bin. You must leave the .bin suffix. (If your Windows config does not show suffixes then it is probably OK)

    Open the above bin file in a hex editor (see earlier). Do NOT use an ordinary text editor such as Notepad.

    You should see the name PIFLAG.GIF near the start. (NOT just PIFLAG)
    Change it to the name you gave your gif file.
    Resave the bin file.


    You could now create a new object in the hierarchy for your stain and resave the gamesys but I don't usually bother. If you prefer it as a new object then search the forum or tutorials as to how. In this guide I am just going to change the model name as needed...

    Start by creating a pirate flag at the place where you want the stain. This is at....

    physical > decorative > banner > PirateFlag

    Select its properties (bottom of Dromed) and Add:

    Shape > Model Name : binPrefix

    'binPrefix' is the prefix of the bin file you created. So if you called it greaseStain.bin then enter greaseStain as the model name (This step is NOT needed if you saved a single picture under the original name of piflag.gif because the pirate flag will automatically show as your new stain.)

    You should now have the stain in your FM. Rotate it to floor or wall or whatever, turn it over, resize it, stretch it to suit your needs. Zoom in and place it to just touch the surface of the floor or wall you want it on.

    Select its properties again and Add:

    Renderer > transparency(alpha)

    Set the value initially to 0.50.
    (0 is invisible; 0.1 is almost invisible; 1 is solid opaque; .9 is almost opaque, etc.)

    Again, in properties, double click 'A PirateFlag' at the top of the list and change the name to something more relevant, eg, myStain01.

    Save the FM and run it to check out your new stain. Adjust position, size, transparency, etc. as required.


    Create 256 x 128 x 256, 6-char prefix GIF file of mark with palette zero surround.
    Save in Thief\obj\TXT16.
    Extract piflag.bin from Thief\res\obj.crf into Thief\obj.
    Change PIFLAG.GIF in the bin file to your gif file name using a hex editor.

    In Dromed:
    Create: physical > decorative > banner > PirateFlag
    Select its properties (bottom of Dromed) and Add:
    Shape > Model Name : binPrefix
    Renderer > transparency(alpha) to 0.50 initially.
    Change 'A PirateFlag' at the top of the list to something more relevant.

    You can re-use the same stain elsewhere in your FM and/or create new stains gifs and bin files using the above methods.

    This technique can be used to create all kinds of marks. All you need is imagination and you will find that even the simplest marks can be very effective indeed in enhancing your FM with extra realisim.

    Hope that helps.

  2. #2
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Canada, Ontario, Toronto
    Can ya put in some pictures to illustrate ze harder stuff?
    My eyes are hurting from the plain text.

    Great stuff anyhow.

  3. #3
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: staring out to sea
    Can this method be used to create posters in Thief ? I've tried but all I'm getting is a sort of red/green check kind of effect in-game. This is the first time I've tried this so even that's a bit of an achievement !
    If not then is there a tut. on making posters ?
    Thanks !
    Last edited by madwolf; 24th Dec 2003 at 11:47.

  4. #4
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    I've used this exact method for posters before. If you're getting red & green checks (called the Christmas light effect), it may mean your texture is bigger than 256x256, or has the wrong palette (put it in \obj\txt16 if you have it in \txt currently).

  5. #5
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: staring out to sea
    Thanks Yandros , at least it's seasonal , speaking of which I've just been playing your wonderful Christmas FM.
    Yeah it could be the size I'll mess about a bit and see what happens.

  6. #6
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: Go is to the fountain.
    Wate, can't a pirate flag get slashed?

    Anyway, paste this to notepad, change "decaltxt.GIF" to the name of your decal texture, save as yourdecal.e and BSP away:

    BEGIN "mesh01"
    1,"material01",,TMAP "decaltxt.GIF",0,TRANSP 0;
    4,N,0,   1,(3,1,0);
    4,N,1,   1,(2,3,0);
    And if you want it to be doublesided, run BSP with '-b1'.

    As for importing it to dromed, I'd recommend creating a 'Decal' under 'SFX' and go from there. Only thing you need to change then is model name and scale (tho a water receptron has some potential ).

  7. #7
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2003


    FreeHexEditor !

    Also :
    Here are list of object's you can use replace textures at :
    Written by Telliamed:


    objname - (Depth x Width x Height) Sides:num,size ...

    adoor1 - (4x4x0.5) NWSETB:0,8x8
    adoor2 - (3x6x1) NWSETB:0,8x8
    adoor3 - (7x6x2) NWSETB:0,8x8
    adoor4 - (4x8x1) W:0,8x16 NSETB:1,8x8
    adoor5 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,8x8/0,4x8
    bdor3x7 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:0,8x8
    bramdor5 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,4x8/0,4x4
    bramdor6 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,8x16/0,8x4
    dor35x7 - (1x7x3.5) NWSETB:0,8x16
    dor4x8x1 - (1x8x4) NS:0,8x8 WETB:0,8x16
    dor5x5x1 - (1x5x5) NWSETB:0,8x8
    litevad - (26x5x24) NWSETB:0,16x16
    rafdor13 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,2x4/0,16x4
    rafdor14 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,4x8/0,16x4
    rafdor15 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,4x16/0,16x4
    rafdor16 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,8x16/0x16x8
    rafdor17 - (3x7x1) NWSETB:1,16,16/0x16x2
    sdor3x7 - (3x7x1) NS:0,8x16 WTB:0,8x8 E:1,8x8
    sdor5x4 - (4x5x1) NWSETB:0,8x8
    sdor7x4 - (4x7x2) NWSETB:0,8x16
    sdor4x4b - (4x4x0.5) NWSETB:0,8x8
    sdor5x2 - (2x0.5x2) NWSETB:0,4x4
    mis11sd - (4x8x2) W:0,8x16 NSETB:blustn

    There are some custom made shapes done by Raetsel with 4 TextRepl sides ..
    Can't get to her site, so I can mail them to you if you like
    It can really save you some work !
    At least while trying object's...
    You create them under terrainlike !

    Good written tutorial
    - Listen to Alexuis ( though he should listen to himself )
    - add a couple of images - and send it to DC !

  8. #8
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: staring out to sea
    I've PMed you SneaksieMog I would like a copy.
    Wonder what ever happened to Raetsel she hasn't been around for a while.
    Thanks for everyone who replied, I got it working , well done Fidcal, very easy to follow Tut.

  9. #9
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: UK
    Glad this got dredged up again as I have used it quite a bit with the pirate flag. It's extremely versatile and flexible for all kinds of things. Anyway, now I need to go back and check if they are all slashable! Look, just don't tell anyone OK? Nobody would think of slashing at a stain anyway. Would they?

  10. #10
    Registered: Nov 2002
    Location: GOMLAND
    Members like Mortal Monkey !

  11. #11
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: staring out to sea
    OK I've got my first custom poster and I'm very happy with it. The problem is I don't think Thief enjoyed being hex edited. When I try to create another poster and change it's model name Thief crashes. I've edited the Piflag bin file , changed piflag.gif to myname.gif , saved it and put it in my obj file. When I try to create it dromed crashes when going in-game.
    I tried using the custom shape very kindly sent by SneaksieMog but it's a secret door and the tex colour doesn't look right.
    Last edited by madwolf; 27th Dec 2003 at 14:18.

  12. #12
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: staring out to sea
    .....and now all of a sudden it's working perfectly !

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