~Firmum in vita nihil~

 

Ask Lane: Tutorial — Tilable Textures

WHAT, YOU MIGHT ASK, MAY ONE DO WITH THESE TILABLE TEXTURES? Mr. Bunburyist’s downloadable textures may be used in any artistic endeavour involved in the process of constructing a mod for Freedom Force or Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich by Irrational Games. In particular, one has permission from Mr. Bunburyist to alter and use these textures in the production of

character skins
object and FX textures
pre-mission screens and backgrounds
any other two-dimensional art asset included in a mod

Of course, if one chooses to include these art assets or art assets derived from Mr. Bunburyist’s tilable textures in one’s mod, my employer asks that the modder kindly cite him in the mod’s credits or readme file.

For the purposes of this primer, I will assume that the reader is a modder who does not use Autodesk’s 3ds max and who must, consequently, use a hexidecimal editor to modify the video game’s three-dimensional art assets. A hexidecimal editor is invaluable to a modder on a budget, and its capabilities, once mastered, afford modders a wide array of options for realising their Freedom Force gaming visions. If the reader is unfamiliar with the process of hexidecimal editing, she or he should study the hexidecimal editing tutorial available on this website.

Let us learn via illustration, shall we? First, open your hexidecimal editor and load a three-dimensional art asset—in the case of Freedom Force and Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich, a Netimmerse or Gamebryo .NIF file—that you wish to redecorate. For this tutorial, we shall use a simple three-dimensional box object.

Once the file has loaded into the hexidecimal editor, you should run an ASCII search for the name of the texture file that you would like to replace with another tilable texture. This graphic file, a Truevision TGA or “targa” file (the standard graphics file format for Freedom Force art assets), typically appears below the text “NiSourceTexture” in the ASCII column of the NIF file. In this case, the box’s only texture is named “littleredbox.tga.”

 

Once your hexidecimal editor has located the ASCII text that matches the name of the box’s texture, you need to edit this name to replace the texture with another. When hex-editing a .NIF, it is advisable to merely replace the letters of the texture’s file name; otherwise, corruption of the .NIF file may occur. Consequently, in our example, we must assign a new name to the box’s texture that contains precisely twelve (12) letters. I have selected the file name “marbleredbox.tga” to be used with the “marble1.tga” from Mr. Bunburyist’s Stone Textures Vol. 1.

Position your cursor in the hexidecimal editor at the beginning of the file name “littleredbox.tga” and type in the new file name, making sure that each letter of the new file name replaces one letter of the old file name. Check your spelling and save the .NIF file in the hexidecimal editor. Afterwards, simply make a copy of the “marble1.tga” texture file and rename it “marbleredbox.tga.”

Place the newly renamed .TGA file into the appropriate directory:

For modders of Freedom Force

C:\Program Files\Irrational Games\Freedom Force\Data\Art\library\area_specific\_textures

For modders of Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich (U.S. version)

C:\Program Files\Irrational Games\Freedom Force vs The 3rd Reich\Data\Art\library\area_specific\_textures

For modders of Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich (U.K. version)

C:\Program Files\Digital Jesters\Freedom Force vs The 3rd Reich\Data\art\library\ area_specific\_textures\

Once you have placed your replacement texture in the “_textures” folder and your hexxed NIF into the appropriate mod subdirectory of your “area_specific” folder, your modified object should appear in-game as you have intended.

 

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