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Witcher placeable conversion project

nwn2 custom content placeables models textures modding conversion

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#1
Tchos

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Note: See the bottom of this post for the latest version of the pack, which will be kept up to date.

 

As a player of The Witcher, I've seen many placeables that I'd love to use in my NWN2 modules.  Some are simply alternate or better-designed objects that NWN2 also has (like treasure chests), while others are objects that simply don't exist in NWN2 (like a telescope or fish).

Since CD Projekt RED has given permission for modders to import their assets into other games (provided it's not for profit, and not used to defame them as a company, or things like that -- see below), I took on the task of converting them.  This required several new tools -- a tool to extract the data from the Witcher archives, some import/export plugins, and unfortunately 3ds Max.  The latter is necessary because the only import/export plugins I could find for The Witcher models only work in 3ds Max, and specifically not in the free Gmax that I've been using for NWN2.

I say "unfortunately", because it's an expensive program, and I have several free 3D programs that suit my needs aside from plugin requirements.  I downloaded a 30-day trial version of 3ds Max, and I'll have to see how much I can convert in that time.

At the time of this initial writing, 5 days into that 30-day trial, I've completed 43 models, where "completed" means I've fully converted them and imported them into a NWN2 module, where they display and behave correctly.  Since my current priority is to get the models into a format that I can work with after the 3ds Max trial has ended, there are fewer completed than there would be otherwise.  There are 162 additional models that I've converted to the .3ds format, which Gmax can import, awaiting their final steps.

There are 482 models that I haven't yet begun to convert, but these are all object placeables.  There are some other items, like buildings, that I haven't yet found in the archives, but I want to convert those too, so I'll have to hurry up.

I've reserved the range of 15000-15999 on the NWN2 wiki's page of reserved 2DA ranges, giving me a limit of 1000 placeables.  I currently have 899 entries in my 2DA, and there are an unknown number of additional objects within the resources that can be converted.  If I end up with fewer than 1000 placeables, I'll amend the reserved range to free up the unused ones.

A few pictures, showing some of the conversions in the NWN2 toolset (Aldanon included for scale).

Using Dropbox for these links for more convenience, except Dropbox doesn't generate clickable thumbnails like Picasa does.

Permissions for importing The Witcher assets into other games:

 

PaweÅ Panasiuk (BANAN), CD Projekt RED, 2013-03-15
All I can say that you can use the assets. You have to be careful with how you use them, avoid using them in a way that will cause harm to our company in any way.  Now, you should also know that selling this kind of mods and using them in any way to earn money is strictly forbidden.

 

Marcin360, CD Projekt RED Community Manager, 2013-03-20
Pretty much what BANAN wrote. As long as it's not for commercial use and you're not doing anything offensive with it, we're fine with your creations:)

 

-----

Latest version, to be updated as appropriate:

Please inform me if the links stop working, so I can fix them.  I recently had to update the links due to a change in Dropbox's internal structure.

 

Witcher Placeable Conversion project v0.388.7z (334 placeables)
2015-03-16

 

Update patch:

Witcher Placeable Conversion project update v0.431.7z (36 placeables)

2015-06-12

 

Thumbnail gallery of placeables not yet converted (make your requests by filename, visible by clicking on an individual picture)


Edited by Tchos, 06 April 2017 - 08:03 AM.


#2
Tchos

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I'd love to see some buildings and exterior stuff if that'd be possible, especially those farm buildings and huts! biggrin.png
Good work, I hope you get a lot more done during those remaining 25 days!
...
(Maybe learn armor conversions.... :-x )

 

I'll do my best to get those excellent buildings and exteriors. First, it's a matter of finding them. They're not placeables like in NWN2.

 

as far as i remember they're combined with the area mesh. you've to import the area into max and manually extract the buildings. perhaps a cleanup of the mesh is also needed.

Those are sweet placeables Tchos. This is great support and assistance to the community. I love the bed object.
PJ

What awesome stuff!!
Nice goin Tchos!

Nice work! I'm sure these will be welcome additions.

I love the Witcher! Sure is good to have you as part of the community!

Whoah, that's a lot of new stuff. And they look really good too!

 

I thought you all would enjoy them. smile.png

 

Very nice. With the counter, is there a way to put it back where the PC won't go behind it to talk to merchants?

 

Sure, with any counter you can cut off the walkable area to prevent the PC from running around to talk to them.  You can do it with walkmesh cutters, or block it with placeables, or move it close to the wall enough so that the ends are against the wall.



#3
Tchos

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The number of completed toolset imports has only grown by a few, but there are now 221 converted to 3ds format. The main reason for the delay is that I was delving deeper to find the area files for the buildings. The Witcher doesn't use tilesets, nor does it use placeables for its exteriors or interiors. Instead, as Semper mentioned, the entire areas were built as "sets" in 3ds Max. This means I can't easily convert individual buildings into placeables, because they're drawing from a pool of common architectural textures, not using self-contained UV maps, so I'm not sure how I'd handle converting the textures. Nevertheless, I'm saving these sets in .3ds format so I can deal with them after this trial is expired. A few of them seem to be too large for the import plugin to handle, though, so I think some are going to have to be missing.

I'm actually not even sure how to get the textures to display in 3ds Max. When I import these objects, they're untextured, though the UV coordinates are preserved. It's not until I've exported it to the NWN2 MDB format and used MDB Cloner to point it to the texture maps that I can import them into either of the Max programs and see the textures applied properly.

If I can figure out how to apply the textures within 3ds Max or Gmax, then perhaps I can just put the architectural textures into the NWN2 project folder and the separated models will display correctly even though they're not self-contained UV maps.

I did find some more objects that can be used as placeables, under "items".

I don't plan to try converting any creature objects at this time, because they'd need to be rigged to a skeleton, and I don't have any idea how to do that. But I can keep them on hand in case that changes in the future.

Also, this game doesn't really have any armour as such -- the characters come with clothes as part of their bodies. There seem to be 4 or 5 different complete models of Geralt, for instance (see image) -- one for each of the few armour upgrades you can get for him, with that armour on his body. And since it's not really a gear-based game, there are relatively few weapons, but I think I can convert what there are of those, at least as placeables for now. Maybe later as weapons, though I'd have to learn how.



#4
Tchos

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that's because the importer plugin creates appropriate materials and automatically links the textures to the right slots. if you want to do this manually you have to press m, select a material slot or create a new one, and link a new bitmap (in your case the diffuse texture) to the diffuse color slot. if you're using max10 and above the material editor was swapped with the slate material editor. there it's the same principle, but you've to create a new standard material first.

gmax is very similar in handling materials.

 

I'm using version 8, so it has the material editor you're showing there. At the moment it's refusing to allow me to select any DDS files, though, so I can't test it. Keeps telling me "Error creating Direct3D device". I'll see if Gmax works better.

 

Ah, forget I mentioned the clothes - I was mixing up with Witcher 2 and the legendary Triss armor from the Skyrim Nexus. smile.png
Pity about the buildings being part of the whole area, I thought they were placeables... NWN2's country houses are so ugly and there's no real replacement for them like the medieval City hak for cities... sad.png

 

Don't worry just yet -- I'm not giving up on the houses. I'll try extracting one after I have everything saved as .3ds files. I really want them. They were one of the main reasons I wanted to do this.

 

Can these be scaled and tinted?
PJ

 

Well, they're normal placeables, so they can be scaled like any other. 

As for tinting, yes and no.  The Witcher engine was apparently not set up with anything like tinting, so they do not come with tint maps.  In the image with the chests, they created a couple of separate models with separate textures for those large chests at the two sides, but that could have been done with tinting.

For all of the placeables I've imported into NWN2 so far, I've applied a generic tint map as a "better-than-nothing" temporary solution, so that they can be tinted.  The tinting covers the entire item.  For some objects which are made entirely of one material, that can work fine, but in many cases that's not an ideal solution.  I think the altars look fine, but that "roasted bird" is too uniform.

I also created a custom tint map for one of them.  I'm not sure if I can create custom tint maps for all of these, just due to the time it takes.  Any kind of texture work takes longer than the conversion process itself.  This probably isn't the best example, since the screws are already coloured brown-ish in the original, so when I tint the wood you don't see much difference there, but you can at least see that the big metal clasp in front is not affected by the wood tint.

 

Those look good. I think the birds okay, the stock one looks a little underdone anyway.

The altars would do well as they are but the chest is a very good effort. I thing the altart on the left would make a very good step or pedestal as well so I am looking forward to having that one smile.png

PJ

 

I'm pretty sure the original one is supposed to be raw, and you'd use it in a kitchen environment. smile.png



#5
Tchos

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Had a marathon conversion session today, bringing the total up to about 450 placeables converted to 3DS format. A couple of choice ones also got imported into NWN2.

I want to state here that if anyone sees a placeable that they want right now, instead of when they're all done, just let me know, and I'll make it available.

A small percentage of the placeables have no texture maps, and those seem largely to be placeholder objects (basic cones, boxes, or copies of other placeables eith different names). Others are objects that combine multiple objects, or objects that have generic textures (like seamless tiling rock). I've kept the ones that could easily be given a texture, but only when they look useful.

I couldn't say why, but all of the Witcher textures are vertically flipped. They're not just rotated, because if you rotate them 180 degrees, they'll still be backward, so they're flipped top to bottom. Their UV maps flip them back to normal in-game.

One interesting thing I've found about the NWN2 toolset is that as long as you don't have a placeables.2da file in a loaded hak or override, you can just drop it in the module folder and it works fine. However, if you first load a module that does include a placeables.2da in an attached hak, and then close that and load your module that has the 2da in its module folder, the toolset will not use that 2da and you'll have a room full of missing placeables (or perhaps I could say you'll have a room empty of non-missing placeables).

This trial version of 3ds Max is rather unstable. It runs fine for a while, and then it starts freezing up at unpredictable times, leaving me no choice but to force-quit it, and this happens more and more often until I can't even convert a single file before it freezes. I haven't found a pattern for any particular activities that cause this freeze. Rebooting seems to be the only thing that makes it start working properly again. Not exactly a confidence-inspiring demo.

Some more placeables. Aldanon stands by for scale again in one of them:



#6
Tchos

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These are looking great. The only downside is that you risk making the standard NWN2 placeables look crappy by comparison.
One of those altars would be perfect for Kuo-toa who worship Dagon.

 

Quite right. In fact, it is an altar to Dagon in the Witcher as well.

 

The total's now at 450 placeables. Almost done with the placeables! After this, there are a few item objects, and of course the problematic architectural areas, which I'm not sure how to handle. I think the best I can do for now is to just convert them to .3ds format so that I can open them in Gmax later.

I've converted a couple of files from the "items" folder. There aren't quite as many objects in that folder, and many of them are so low-resolution that they're not worth converting. With these and the other placeables, I'm looking at around 850 items total, not counting whatever I can extract from the areas.

One of the items I converted immediately included a key object. There has been at least one time that I wanted my module to include a key you could find on a desk and pick up, but the NWN2 resources don't include placeable keys -- only items without models. That meant I had to put the key in someone's inventory, or inside a chest or something, instead of placing it on a table. Now I can do the latter.

Today, while converting, I found the animation controls in 3ds Max. I don't (yet?) know how to convert animation from 3ds Max to NWN2, but now I can see how to create the animation in the first place.

I'm still having trouble with setting materials to have a metallic sheen, despite Semper's pointer to the material editor. There are several items here that have mirrored surfaces, and the usual way of dealing with those in these games that don't include reflections is to just make them highly glossy, but despite applying a high specular power and glossiness to the material, with or without a nearly pure white alpha channel in the normal map for the item, I can't seem to get it to display properly. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.



#7
Tchos

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Oooooh the wall section! More of that please, I'm already seeing all these new cozy interiors! biggrin.png

 

Today was a rather boring slog in converting a lot of weapons, shields, ammo, and other items that I don't see much use for. The interesting parts of this process are in converting things that I personally would like to use. These rest are mainly for the purpose of completeness. The staves are nice, though.

Interestingly, there are a couple of transportation-related items that are prefixed with the word "cut". There's a horse with attached cart and a boat. Possibly they were originally planning to allow the player to buy things to help get around faster, like in Daggerfall, where you could buy a horse with cart and a ship, both of which provided faster transportation and a place to store/carry your gear and loot.

Well, I finished the last of the items, so now it's on to the area conversions. This isn't going as smoothly, because of their size. The import/export plugins seem to have certain limitations. First, it can't seem to export a file with a file size of somewhere around 15 Mb, or it crashes. I'm managing to export them anyway by deleting any parts that aren't needed for the conversion process, like lights, walkmeshes, and terrain geometry. Since it's all untextured, though, I'm not entirely sure what's what. I'm only going by the object names.

Second, it gives errors when trying to import very large exteriors, like the swamps. It complains about vertices out of bounds. It doesn't crash, though, and what I got from the swamps looks like it might have all the important parts (huts, houses, tower, camp area, etc.) We'll see. It might just be failing to import the low-rez backdrop objects that you see off in the distance beyond the playable area.

Unfortunately, one of the largest areas, the Vizima Outskirts (gl09), loads only a wall and a walkmesh, and none of the country houses that you wanted, Casadecrisso. The plugin seems to just give up once it finds a vertex out of its bounds, even if there's more geometry not yet imported that's within bounds. This does not seem to be a matter of the file size or number of polygons, but strictly a matter of the physical dimensions of the area, because some much larger and more complex files opened, but their physical area was smaller.

Ah, but fear not! Area gl24 is another country area, and it contains the same assets, and this one loaded without trouble! Some time soon I'll see what I can do about separating and texturing individual parts of the areas as placeables. Is there a straightforward way of doing that in 3ds Max? There's no cut and paste option here like I'm used to seeing, and "clone" seems to clone the entire object, even if I have individual pieces selected.

Also, as requested, I've brought more of the window objects into the game, and a wall object. One of the windows is just a brick variation on the plaster one I showed before. The unwindowed wall looks like it's covered with a cloth along the top part of it, though, which looks strange. Keep in mind that the house interiors themselves in the Witcher are all single area-wide models like the exteriors, and these windows and walls are made to go over parts of them. As the screenshots show, these pieces are made for much higher ceilings than the standard interior tilesets in NWN2, which may make them awkward to use. The first windows I showed are only slightly taller, though, and can be resized to fit the standard tilesets.

The fourth of the window objects was missing its texture. Possibly they didn't use it in-game due to it having an actual barred window that you can see through in it. I applied the UV texture from one of the other walls, though, and it seemed to mostly match up. There are still 4 upper class windows that I haven't brought in yet, and 7 "partition" objects, a couple of which could be used as walls.

Illumination maps are handled differently in The Witcher, so I generated new ones. I think I may have toned down the later ones a little too much, though. They're possibly a bit too dim, though I could make a set for night lighting.



#8
Tchos

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select the polys or whole elements (all connected polys with welded vertices), press "W" to go into move mode, hold shift and move the parts you want to clone. another dialogue pops up asking you if you want to place the copied polys/elements within the same mesh as a different element or as a new object. select object and give it a name.
uv coords are copied too so you don't have to unwrap it again.

 

Thank you. That sounds like what I need.

 

<running...>

You may also, at the point where Semper said to move the element, look to the rollout for "detach" which will give you the option to name a new object or clone as a separate element on the same object. This method doesn't require moving the mesh out of position.

<...on a treadmill>

 

And after the parts I want are separate objects, then I would guess the best way to go from there would be to "export selected", eh?

 

better click the detach as clone, else you're "destroying" the original mesh which could be troublesome if you're accidently saving your scene afterwards. because you have to move your object anyway it ain't that bad to do it straight away. it's also easier to check if you've got all the needed polys.

nope. it would be best to save selected first as a new scene and clean up your mesh. exported objects should be at the world's center flat on the ground, else the origin of the mesh is off and placing/rotating your object within the toolset sucks hard biggrin.png

 

I didn't mean export to MDB in this case. I have to use export to save it as .3ds format rather than .max format, so that I can edit it in Gmax after the trial is ended, so I'm always exporting rather than saving as a scene. Every mesh I've processed has been moved to the origin, resting on the ground plane.

 

k, then exporting is the way to go wink.png

Very nice and super excellent of the Witcher guys to not have a problem with this.

 

Yes, I have a great deal of respect for CD Projekt RED and their policies. Especially no DRM on their games and all the free upgrades and free DLCs they give away.



#9
Tchos

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I've converted 39 areas to make them Gmax-ready. There are 14 areas left to convert, not counting the two or three that can't be fully imported. The remaining 14 are all interiors. After that, all that's left is to finish processing the remaining placeables for import into the NWN2 toolset, and separate some pieces of the areas. I may do some quick exports of the creatures after all, just for completeness.

Only a few placeable imports today -- part of a series on Aldie's World of Furniture. These are three cabinets suitable for a wizard, cartographer, or perhaps a clerk.

Cabinets

My recent activity has inspired Dropbox to point out their album functionality for image uploads. I'll try that next time there's more than one image to show, though it's still not the thumbnail functionality that I'd prefer.

 

Good night...I ignore the boards and you go nuts!! This is a new level of awesome!

 

Heh, I guess it is a little nuts. Glad you're pleased, though. smile.png

Today mostly I just brought the models into the toolset. No area conversions today.

I did a little experiment on one of the conversions. Some of the items in this collection have semi-transparent glass, and as we know, NWN2 does not support semi-transparency in placeables. It's either fully opaque or fully transparent.

I first tried using a diffusion pattern that I hoped would simulate transparency at a distance, but it doesn't look good at the resolutions of these textures, and I don't think scaling them up would be a good solution. Lack of antialiasing in cases like this requires a higher resolution to compensate.

While placeables can't have proper transparency, special effects can. For at least one of these placeables, the glass is a flat plane, so I made a billboard special effect that can be rotated as a placed effect, and grouped it with the cabinet so that they can be moved and rotated together. It works this way. One limitation is that special effects can't be scaled in the toolset, so that means you can't scale the cabinet if you want to use the glass with it.  [However, if I had instead made a separate placeable for the glass and simply applied a transparency effect to it, I could scale both together without problems.]  Another thing is that the glass is very subtle -- almost so unnoticeable that it's not worth the effort.

Before
After

Here's one of the things I really wanted to include from the Witcher assets -- a bulletin board of a sort that can be used for quest hooks; pointing the player to a particular NPC, for instance. In The Witcher, it was used as a container, from which you would take readable papers that would begin quests, which is another way of doing it aside from the usual conversation with a placeable.

Also in the screenshot are a couple of wall-mounted signboards for official proclamations. With decorative (?) burnt edges.

Bulletin board and signs

Here are the rest of the wall sections with windows, plus a couple without windows. Again, very tall. Sinking them into the floor and only using the top parts is a possible option, if you want to use them with the lower ceilings.

Walls and windows 1
Walls and windows 2



#10
Tchos

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I'm really digging the windows, something that was sorely lacking in nwn2.

 
And how!
 

You can scale FX by assigning them to a non-static non-usable placeable, and then scaling the placeable. The challenge is finding a placeable you can hide. I've used the 'floor' placeables in indoor areas, since you can set them -0.01 below the floor level. Since they're two dimensional, scaling in the Z axis won't change their height.

It might also be possible to attach the FX to a collision box/ball. If it's non-usable then it should be both invisible and non-interactable. That's something I've never tried though.

Another way to fake glass is to clip that section of the texture out using the alpha channel, and adding a darkly coloured glow map to the same area (just like the lower legs of the drowned dead model). I used that technique to make a shadow dragon with transparent wings. The glass will tend to glow a bit in the dark though - although that makes it perfect for a lit lantern.

 
I attached an effect to a blueprint based on the collision ball (which I had set to usable, without dynamic collision) for the bit in my module where I made the X appear on the overland map so that you could click on the X directly, but it was not visible when I did so. I had to spawn the effect separately from the collision ball. So I don't think that approach will work here.

The other idea sounds good. I didn't know that effects scaled with placeables if they're attached to them. In that case, shouldn't I try to attach the effect to the cabinet itself, instead of a separate object?

The glowing of a transparent area sounds like a good approach, too.
 

Provided the effect is offset so that its origin matches the origin of the cabinet, that would be the perfect solution. And one that didn't even occur to me.  love.png
 
I've found that effects that change a creature's texture (stone skin, spider skin, barkskin, etc) certainly *do* work on collision boxes/balls (at least, they do in-game). Casting 'stone skin' on them turns them into grey blocks or balls of stone. Now I tend to give all my usable collision objects an OnSpellCastAt script that immediately removes the effects from such spells.

I don't like the thought of players seeing my collision objects. It's a "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" moment.

 
The offset would be the hard part, I think.  Trial and error for me.
 

I just wish there was a sheep model smile.png

 

Did I hear somebody say "wish"?  wink.png

(Caveat -- I know nothing of rigging these things for movement.)







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: nwn2, custom content, placeables, models, textures, modding, conversion

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