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3DSMAX - 6. Making complex objects - Buildings and Land

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  • X-Seti

    .Retro mod developer. (Xenon Brothers)

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 04:43 PM Edited by X-Seti, 15 April 2014 - 09:09 PM.

This tutorial is the forth continuation from me (X-Seti) on how to create complex objects - Buildings and Land. You'll need to read the first 3 tutorials if you have not already to continue on this section.



Text editing - Notepad ++ -> http://notepad-plus-...oad/v6.5.5.html
Image Conversion tools -> http://www.mwgfx.co.uk/graphix.htm
Gimp or some other Paint editing tool. -> http://www.gimp.org/downloads/
To be able to run the tools below use XP compatibility from right clicking the tool.
                     System dlls -> http://www.mwgfx.co....ad/mwgfxdll.EXE
                     ConvIM -> http://www.mwgfx.co....rams/convim.htm
                     Show -> http://www.mwgfx.co....wnload/show.zip

Other related tutorials on pre-lighting - useful once we have our models ready for exporting to game. -> http://gtaforums.com...el-prelighting/


Advanced Radiosity Lighting. -> http://gtaforums.com...anced-lighting/

I will be posting images with an explanation allowing time for you to complete each step and reply to your posts. I will be taking questions for each step as we go. We will be learning how to make basic models first (eg buildings) then more complex objects as the weeks advance. If you know MAX you can also help me by taking questions.
I released the tutorials in sections:


1. Face Mash editing. Getting to know the basic tools and panels, Poly /Vertex Mash editing. Forming better shapes like roofs.
2. VU mapping and texturing. Applying textures to your objects the right way. &. Creating the Collisions with surface maps and TXDs.
5. How to get objects in game.
6. Making Complex objects and mapping.
8. MAP-IO and aligning objects in game.

making complex objects - Buildings and Land


I want to make some more land south of Vice City next to the docks and airport.


Loading a map into the game.


To import objects you can use Kams script's shown on the right DFF-IO, Click on [DFF Path] to import the models and select your dff models folder.


Note;:I keep a repository of all the models I have stored in the IMG files in the models/ folder on the Desktop. If I update anything in the game I also have to update the models folder in case I import the map again.


Next we either want to select [VC] or [SA] I want to work with VC. under that is tga,, bmp.. check boxes click on .bmp.


Now we can import the map by clicking on [IPL]



From clicking [IPL] I can browse for the ipl file I want to load into 3DsMax.




Click on Primitives.jpg Primitives tab on the right and select plane. Give this object around 22 segments in both the length and width segs boxes.


Right clicking on the new plane I select Convert to -> Convert to editable mesh. I will also give Plane01 a name so clicking on Plane01 I will rename it to cow island. I can't think of anything else.


I have not planned the shape of the island at all. however in my mind I do have an image of something of how the island could turn out like. so I guess we are going to wing it a little.


First I level the grid by selecting all the vertices and line this up with the road using the Select_and_move.jpgselect and move, I click on the  snaps_toggle.jpgsnaps toggle and then the snap_to_vertex.jpgsnap to vertex toggle I can select, move and delete the vertices I do not want.




I have the shape I am after and I am thinking of the swamp areas around Miami, long grass, trees and crocodiles.


We need to define the sea edges, the height of the island. faces we can texture later.






The best way to do this is select all the vertices on the edges of the island, then drag them down just a little by Z (image above)


3 hours later I end up with this (image below), I still need to shape the land some more but it's beginning to look like an island.




All I'm doing is moving the vertices up, down, left and right to form the land.


If I click on the modifier list and select optimize. We get this..




Before I texture the island I want to make sure that the road edges are lined up with the road shown in blue. I used convert to editable mash, I moved the vertices and switched to faces to join it all up. If I find I come up short on faces I can just make more.


You should know how to make new faces from the earlier tutorials; making boxes and planes.

  • fastman92 likes this

  • X-Seti

    .Retro mod developer. (Xenon Brothers)

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  • Joined: 28 Jun 2005
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Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:31 PM Edited by X-Seti, 11 April 2014 - 01:45 PM.

Part 2.


How to texture the island.


Click on Perspective and browse all the options, Left, Right, Top and Bottom views, Select Top.


Rotate the island so you can see the bottom of it and make this level using Arc_Rotate.jpg Arc Rotate.




There are many ways to texture the model from covering the whole mash and with a grass texture and then detailing the edges with the right type of texture. I prefer to do the edges first shown the bottom image and then the middle.


Also observe the modifier panel mapping options. Length, Width and Height values.








I decided to have a better road edge so I can apply a better texture with the grass to stone transition texture.




Cut out part of the road by highlighting the faces and [ Detach ] these from the original model. We now have a new model cut from the old original mode.


Clone the new model selecting convert to editable mash and apply the new model to the outta edges of the original road making this look wider. Move the vertices of the new model so these align with the original model.




Replace the textures with grass to stone transition.




[ Attach ] the new cloned model to the island mash, Not the road shown in blue (3rd image above) The road that was first cut up I [ Attach ] this back into itself making that model whole again. 






Next we do the edges.


Select 3 faces under the bridge and apply the grass to cliff texture. Go to the modifier list and select UVW mapping. Here we can check the Length, Width and Height settings then level the view using Arc_Rotate.jpg Arc Rotate and then chick [ View Align ] this button will level the texture depending on the angle of view.


If you are happy with the aligned texture right click on UVW Mapping -> Collapse to.


Move on to selecting the next face. and repeat.




Working our way around the island we end up with..




Getting your stuff into game - More detailed.


Click on the Primitives.jpg Primitives tab.




Select the object. Right click and select convert to editable mash.


Highlight the faces you want to [Detach]. Lets try for the small island on the bottom right.




Once there are some faces highlighted click on [Detach]. A new window will appear showing 'Detach as': check the name starting with the original object name - example 'Swampisland' add a numeric after the model name 01, 02, 03.... depending on how many pieces are detached from the original model.




The bottom image shows there are 8 pieces in all detached from the original model, now are have 8 smaller models for the game.




Note: Checking for rogue vertices;


Before we get to the point of exporting the models as dffs and exporting the IPL data we need to check each model for any vertices not connected to any faces. This can create problems aligning the models correctly in game.


Select the first model and select vertex.


When you detach pieces from other objects you can have vertices left behind in areas no joined up to the selected object, Example shown below.




And again highlighted in yellow.




What has to be done is the rogue vertices for this object need to be deleted by first being highlighted and identified. then delete these left over vertices just leaving the model object. Do not delete any vertices connected to any faces. Also you many need to check each object you detach.


Also you can check over this earlier tutorial http://gtaforums.com...bjects-in-game/


The object pivot;


We should now have 8 objects all checked and ready for the pivot to be aligned: First select all the objects and click on the uddder.jpg udder icon.



Click on [Effect Pivot Only] and below [Center to Object] & [Align to Object] Right click the center of the object and select Convert to editable mash.




Next click on [Effect Object Only] and below [Center to Object] & [Align to Object]




Right click Convert to editable mash on the object one more time. For some reason the pivot changes do not update without this step for exporting the DFF objects and changing the MAP-IO coordinates for exporting the IPL data.


Exporting your models using MAP-IO;


Next we select all the objects.


Moving on...  Click on the white entry box on the bottom left corner to bring up the listener window. (second image below).

We can now see every action from 3dsmax and the scripts. Click on the ac_dchammer.jpg - Hammer icon, scroll down that window and pick [Map-IO]


Press + to open the top tab and select [VC] and then .bmp. In the export section. Check on export IPL




Select file on the listener window, Save to file. now give it a name with the extension .ipl


We have created a new IPL file. We need to look at this file again later to amend the ID's for the IPL lines.


The model Dffs


Click on the ac_dchammer.jpg - Hammer icon again and look down for GTA Scripts Bar. Click on [Launch bar] from this click on [Blastov] this will being up a new window with a ton of scripts attached.


First we need to click on Mass DFF exporter. just continue pressing [EXPORT] choose a file to export your models too.


Open a new 3dsmax window and click on the ac_dchammer.jpg - Hammer icon once more. Select DFF-IO. Now select [VC] and then press the +Import DFF dropdown to revile a new section where we can import the dff models from before. one by one we can load in the DFF models.




We can see all the models stacked and ready to be all selected so we can make the COL file collisions with perfectly cantered pivots.


Click the ac_dchammer.jpg - Hammer icon again and click on [Launch bar] from this click on [Blastov] and finally [Mass COL exporter. In the new window locate where your dff's are exported and save your cols there also.


We now have the DFFs done and the COLs done.


You can now refer to the getting your objects in game tutorial to go the rest of the way, but remember you have more then one object to get into game so you need to plan what ID's to use and fix the ID's in your IPL.



  • lpgunit, DK22Pac, PacketOverload_x64bit and 3 others like this

  • eugene89


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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:13 PM

is there a way to populate the island? Like have people walking around and be able for cops to drive there as well?

  • X-Seti

    .Retro mod developer. (Xenon Brothers)

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 06:45 AM

is there a way to populate the island? Like have people walking around and be able for cops to drive there as well?


Yes there is, laying down path nods for peds / vehicles to follow.




I will make a tutorial on how to do this real soon.

  • lpgunit

    It's L, as in Lpgunit, not I.

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:20 PM

That sure sounds like a 'swell tutorial for aspiring mappers out there. Been thinking about coming up with my own TC for years, but the complexity of building a full-size map kinda' turned me off.
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  • FacuuDS

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 08:44 PM

thank you for all your work making this tutorials!

  • maro_hannover

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 02:02 PM

Man Your Tutorials are the best. please keep it up

  • hgboy

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 10:45 AM Edited by hgboy, 02 February 2015 - 10:50 AM.

Please make tutorial on populating the island and this tutorial is awesome thanks.I have 3ds max but can we do all of that with gmax.

  • dkluin

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 07:57 AM Edited by dkluin, 28 February 2015 - 05:37 PM.


  • deltaCJ

    Davy Jones' Sock

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 07:29 PM

Um, I get an error, that it's +/- 255 across an axis. does it mean its too big??

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