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Modeling Guide

Author File Description
File Details
Version: AoM:EE
This guide covers nearly everything you could possibly want to know about visual art assets in Age of Mythology from getting started with 3ds Max to unwrapping textures to rigging and skinning characters for animation. Complete with pictures and video guides where necessary, this guide has been peer reviewed and received contributions from some of AoM's premier modders.

This guide uses 3ds Max 2016 with Ryder25's AoM Model Plugin as well as Gimp for texture editing. It was written with AoMEE in mind, however, concepts carry over easily to all other versions of AoM.

Here is the abbreviated table of contents:

1. Modeling
1.1 Importing
1.2 Viewport Controls
1.3 Editing Attachpoints
1.4 Applying Textures & Materials
1.5 Object & Sub-Object Editing
1.6 Creating New Sub-Object Geometry
1.7 Creating New Object Geometry

2. Texturing
2.1 Using Existing Textures & Materials
2.2 Creating Simple Texture Maps
2.3 Creating Unwrapped Maps
2.4 Player Color
2.5 Binary Transparency
2.6 Specular, Gloss, & Normal Effects
2.7 Ghost Textures
2.8 Texture Baking
2.9 Icons

3. Animations
3.1 Vertex Animation
3.2 Biped Animation
3.3 Rigging & Skinning
3.4 Animating Attachpoints
3.5 Combining Animations
3.6 Animating UV Maps
3.7 Looping / Rotating Animations

4. Exporting to EE & Common Errors

5. Porting Models from Other Sources
5.1 Typical File Formats & Useful Applications
5.2 Example 1: Age of Empires III Working w/ Granny Animations
5.3 Example 2: Halo 3 Assigning Material IDs
5.4 Example 3: World of Warcraft Working w/ FBX Animations
5.5 Optimizing High-Poly Models
5.6 Ethical Use

6. Alternative Model Files
6.1 GRN Files: Granny 3D
6.2 LNG Files: Lightning & Beam Effects
6.3 PRT Files: Particles
6.4 DCL Files: Selection Circles, Footsteps, & Dynamic Lighting

7. Special Topics
7.1 BTX & BTI Files - Partial Transparency Revisited
7.2 MTRL Files - Materials
7.3 Sprites
7.4 Skyboxes
7.5 Terrain
7.6 Water

8. Lighting
8.1 Global Lighting
8.2 LGT Files - Preset Lighting
8.3 Tone Mapping - Additional Options
8.4 Shaders & the Graphics Pipeline

9. Character Creation Workflow: Recap

1.1 Change Log - 1/21/18

- Added a discussion of the EE graphics options at the end of the intro
- Renamed chapter 1
- Additional notes on attachpoints
- Shuffled sections in chapter 2 so that binary transparency comes right after player color
- Corrective notes on some export errors
- Corrective notes on MTRLs
- Incorporated Dnas�¢ï¿½ï¿½ method for working with GRN material flags
- Expanded discussion of transparency in PRTs, LNGs, and DCLs
- Added Chapter 8 summarizing the workflow for from-scratch character creation

2.0 Change Log - 4/14/18
- Added section to chapter 3 on a newly discovered method for linking attachpoints to sub-object geometry – this allows us to add attachpoints to AoM, AoE3, etc. animations without rigging and reanimating
- Added section to chapter 3 clarifying some confusion about looped animations
- Essentially rewrote section 6.1 on GRNs, now includes a useful comparison table for BRG vs. GRN
- Rewrote chapter 7: combined sections on BTI and BTX files and offer additional insight into how they work with help from Warrior Mario
- Added chapter 8 on in-game lighting and a brief note on shaders and rendering
- Footnote superscripts are now linked to the footnotes at the bottom of the document, footnotes have been greatly expanded to offer more detail
- Minor edits throughout the document
- Added an afterword on alternative modeling programs like Gmax, Blender, Maya, etc.
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Rating: 5/5

This is one of the best most extensive modding guides to date! It fills a gap that has been left there by all the other guides: modelling. It goes into depth not only in how to do things but also into how things work. Almost everything related to 3D modelling in AoM is explained.

This guide would not only teach you modelling for AoM but for game development in general. I love this so much, since it reminds me that AoM marked the start of my game development career. And so I hope that this guide could mean the same for others.

This guide is a worthy gift to the community, with a brave goal of improving mods for AoM.

Rating: 5

Great guide - very through and easy to follow.
File Author
Thanks for the reviews guys. I've posted an updated version of the guide with some substantive changes, minor edits, and I put it in PDF format to be more professional . I'm still working on editing the aesthetic of the guide. It was originally intended to be a Steam workshop guide with separated pictures but I decided it would be an absolutely monumental task to convert it over and the character limits on Steam would make it quite difficult to ramble on as I like to do.
Pablo_117 Nice guide bro
File Author
Ryder25 has updated his plugin to work for 3ds Max 2017-2020 versions (https://ryder25.itch.io/aom-model-plugin). And not a moment too soon as Autodesk has removed the 2016 version from their student trial.

The guide is written using the 2016 version. However, the tools covered are pretty low-level so I don't expect them to have changed much even unto the 2020 version of 3ds.

I have been sitting on an update for the guide for quite a while, but now that AMP has been updated, I will postpone working on the guide until I have reason to update to a newer version of 3ds.

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