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Rider's Guide to Anim Editing

created 9/4/03

By RiderofEternity

Since quite a few people have wanted a guide to anim editing I decided to take time off my projects to write one.
NOTE: When i say something in [...] it means what goes there varies on what you have chosen.

Requirements
First of all you'll need AOMED along with Cheesy's Anim Editor, both of which can be found at the Modding Resources page. First, create a new folder anywhere, I created it in the anims directory of my AoM folder. And name it backup (this folder will be used as a backup of your anims), next use Vachu's bar explorer or AOMED to extract anims.bar found in the anims directory, extract it to the new folder you made before.
Now you have a folder containing all the anim files of aom. Open Cheesy's anim editor and your ready to begin!

Ok, so what is an anim? An anim of aom is a text document that tells aom what it should attach to a unit. Like which weapon to attach or what the unit should change to when it gets upgraded.

Using Cheesy's anim editor Open cheesy's anim editor and select Choose Anim File now browse to your folder with the anim files in and choose any of them.
Now I will tell you Basic anim editing, advanced anim editing and pro anim editing. Read carefully.

Basic Anim Editing Attaching weapons to normal units Choose a person like a hoplite or toxote, not myths or animals etc. Most unit's have a separate anim file for what weapon it uses. In the top big box it should say Import <weapon>_defines_anim.txt- This will link the weapon's anim file to the unit's anim file which will make the unit hold the weapon. There are a few kind of these weapon anim files. EG bow_defines_anim.txt (for toxote) spear_defines_anim.txt (for hoplite) axe_defines_anim.txt (for ulfsark(i think)). So find the weapon you want to attach to your unit and swap the [weapon name] with the other [weapon name] you'd like.

Editing the weapons This will change the weapon within a [weapon name]_defines_anim, hero anim or an MU anim. Choose Arkantos_anim.txt for example.
In this part of the editor you should find a Define Spear click on it, then press edit, text should appear below saying

//====================================================
define Spear
{
   set hotspot
   {
      version
      {
         Visual Attachments A Spear Iron
      }
   }
}


The part that says Visual Attachments A Spear Iron is the part that defines which weapon Arkantos uses. To change which weapon he uses highlight that part and find this below The top box contains ALL attachments, particles and body parts, the 2nd box contains ALL weapons and attachments and the last box contains particles like glows, mummy flies etc. Click on the second box and choose which attachment (weapons etc) you'd like Arkantos to hold then click on the GO next to the second box. This will change the highlighted Visual Attachments A Spear Iron to what ever you chose. Now press and the text will be transfered to the top box, overwriting the part that you've edited! To save your work press and browse to the anim directory and save it as it's original name.
Launch Age of Mythology and Arkantos should be holding whatever you chose him to hold :D
Remember you can also do this with Myth units and other [weapon name]_define_anim files.

Adding SFX to units Well maybe you don't know what SFX is right now, I didn't know what SFX was before I started anim editing; SFX is the glows, the mummy flies, the various lights, etc that you get when you place a unit, for example when you place a hero a light shines down, or maybe when something walks smoke follows them, this is what SFX is. To add SFX to a unit you must first learn how to make your own 'Define' or Definition. Definitions are used for attaching things like SFX, weapons and heads to units, although not all anim files have these 3 things in because the attachments may be on the model of the unit. To add your own definition look at this part of the anim editor and press Add, it'll come up with a message box, in the box it says Define____ and below that is a blank box where you can type the name of the define in, you can type any name you want but it's better to write the name of the thing that you're going to define because then you won't get confused. Once you've added your definition click on it and press Edit (the button above Add),

//==============================================
define u
{
   set hotspot
   {
      version
      {

      }
   }
}
Will appear in the box below. There is a gap after
version
      {M

This is where you add the SFX (or any other attachment), click on the gap and then look down at open the bottom one that says particles, most SFXs have Visualparticle at the start of it's name, it is then followed by the type of the particle and then the civ it comes from (NOTE: I think U stands for Underworld and UI is an indicator like a Idle villager banner or Group banner etc) and then by the name of the attachment. Select an attachment begining with Visualparticle SFX and press Go, the attachment will appear in the gap. Now to attach it to the unit (I bet you thought you'd already attached it) Press on an anim <unit action>, choose the one that you want the definition to be attached to. Make a new line below the 'Visual [unit, action]' (eg: Visual Cavalry G Cataphract_Walkb) or below the tags and numbers which are sometimes below the Visual [unit, action], now look at this Click on Current Definitions and there is a list of the definitions in the anim file, click on the definition that you created and then click on ATTACHPOINT, a list of names of various parts of a unit's body is opened, choose which part of the unit you would like the definition to be attched to and press inser connection and Viola! You've created you very own SFX!:D Note: This can be done for any attachment.

Advanced anim editing Changing unit's appearance when upgraded We all know most units change appearance when upgraded, even weapons do when they get upgraded in the armory but I bet you didn't think it'd be because of an anim file! Well it is; now I will teach you how to do this! Open cheesy's anim editor and browse to toxotes_anim.txt and in here you will find anim idle, walk, death etc. In each one of those you will find

//====================================================================
anim walk
{
    SetSelector
    {
        CinematicLogic
        SetSelector 
        {
            TechLogic none/Medium Archers/Heavy Archers/Champion Archers
            set hotspot


The part that says TechLogic makes the unit change appearance when the techs followed by it (none/Medium Archers/Heavy Archers/Champion Archers) are researched. To change how the unit looks after upgraded you must change the bits below that say Visual Archer G Toxotes <Unit movement eg: idle, walk>, units have different anim names (eg: Visual Archer G Toxotes), the 'Archer' is based on the unit type so there'll be Archer, Cavalry, infantry, scenario, hero etc, the 'G' part is based on the civilization th unit is made by: G means Greek, E means Egyptians, N means Norse and I think A is for miscellaneous and Heros. The Toxotes part is based on the unit name. And finally the bit that says idle, walk, death etc determines which movement it does. Now to edit this go here again and click on the top one which lists everything including body parts, you can now choose which body part and animation you'd like the unit to have, highlight the Visual Archer G Toxotes <Unit movement eg: idle, walk etc< part and from the list choose a Visual [Unit type] [Unit civ] [Unit name] [Unit movement (note: unless you want the unit to walk while idle or something I'd suggest you use the kind of animation that the unit your editing is using).

To be continued...

Coming Up:
Swapping Unit heads around
Copying and pasting
Make a unit ride another unit