Forum > DJT14 Modding

My Introduction To Modding

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I often see posts come up on the site from people wanting to know where to start at for modding, so I'm going to give my take on this. This is only my thoughts and take them for what they are. If people take a liking to this maybe I'll keep adding to it going more into depth, we'll see.

Choosing Your ProgramThis is where it really all begins. I'm going to show the programs that I know are commonly used and or have used before. Don't be like me and many others and start with sketch up. Your not going to get help from anyone really significant if you are going to use it. Sure, it's easy to model with, but most likely you're using it because of the premade models and it's easier. With the new SKP it even tells you how many polys each model has, so you know right then it's going to be a polybomb. Another thing is crappy textures come from sketch up.

So now I've got you thinking "Premade models, can't I just get those off turbosquid?". Yes you certainly can, but take this model for example.
It sure does look nice, textures and model. But 80,000 polys for that is quite a bit. I know of guys that have semis that are under 50,000 that they made and are very nicely detailed. You may get help with a turbosquid model, but DO NOT hold your breath on it

Enough of my rant on premade models, let's get you started on modelling programs.

* BlenderBlender is a common program for many beginners. It's free, and tutorials are easily accessible through the interweb. There are many users on AEM here that use Blender, so help is not hard to come by. I myself do not have much experience with Blender, so I can't say much.

* 3ds Max/Maya3ds Max and Maya are very similar programs, so if you need help in one of these programs, more then likely a fellow board member can help you out as there are many of us Max and Maya users on here. It is free under a student license if you can obtain one. Or else it gets a little pricey which is where many will result in going to Blender. You can basically learn the entire program through YouTube videos if you have the patience and time to watch them. You can test these programs out free under a 30 day trial.

There are a few other programs out there that will work, but resources through others is limited, and I know nothing about them, so I'm not even going to list them.

Making ModelsYou've not got your program chose to build with. More often then not, people get all jacked and are going "Yes! Downloaded a modelling program, can build our 8360r John Deere just like we have on the farm!" (Cause lord knows we only need another 8360r). Then they'll open up the program and go "Well where the heck do I start?" Like every other person who's ever made a model will say, smart small work your way up. Try making something a little simpler then that 8360r and try a simple cultivator or something. There is tons of mods not made for the game yet that are simple, but will have a lot of use.

Building something decent also requires that you have a know how of what your making. I was once a mod team and the leader wanted me to make something that I've never even seen either then on the internet. Needless to say I wasn't on that mod team for long. If you're going to make something, make something you actually need/want, and can get dimensions of it and pictures. Nothing is work then making your mod and it looking nothing like it's supposed to or it's out of scale.

Ingaming Your ModelNow that you've spent months making your model to perfection and have your textures done (Which is what I can never seem to do  *facepalm*) you need to ingame it. This is actually quite simple, once you've gotten the hang of it. I can go extremely into depth about this, but I just get myself lost.

For this you'll need 2 things, notepad++ and Giants Editor.
You'll need to make an account for Giants Editor, but it's free. You will also need to get your exporter from here.

A good start is to just put your model on another models scripts, which involves deleting the old model, putting the new one on, and reindexing the nodes from Giants Editor to the xmls. I once read from an unnamed member "Practice wrecking the model and putting it back together". No, never ever do that. You'll just get yourself lost and end up coming to the board, and another member will have to do it for you, and then you've learned nothing.

I think this about all I need to go on about for now, if people like this, then I'll add to it.

Some Tips To Being Succesful
* Don't set your standards to high, weather it be release date, or what you're making etc, keep it reasonable
* Don't just make everyone else do your work all the time, and if they do it for you, make sure you know how they fixed it, and then learn from it.
* Try not to be annoying, when you're starting out, you need all the help you can, so don't be annoying and sent 30 PM's a day to the same person and then get no help from them later on.
* Don't be cocky, like I said, you know nothing when you're starting out, so don't act like you know everything there is to know, one day you'll need the help and you won't get it.
Some Modding TermsTo some at first, the terms a lot of us use are really confusing. I remember when I first started modded and someone told me to check my xml I thought "What in the * is the xml?". So heres a list of some of the commonly used terms and words and what they are.

* ".i3d" This is the format of the file that your model is saved in for it to work ingame. In the mod your working ons folder, there will be a orange square with a G in it. This is the .i3d file.
* "Texture paths" Whenever your mod goes entirely white, or some pieces, you've most likely edited it and broke texture paths. To fix these, open your .i3d with notepad++ and there will be a line that looks like this

--- Quote ---  <File fileId="23" filename="Textures/" relativePath="true"/>
--- End quote ---
Then find that image in the textures folder (Sometimes there will be an assets folder, or no folder at all, you'll have to figure out) and then correct the path in notepad. If you need help there is a whole forum that can help you, including myself.
* "xml" This is what brings your mod to life. I can't explain it all in this list, but maybe I'll go in depth in a tutorial later on. To find this, it's in the mod your working ons folder and will be a picture of a notepad. There is normally 2 xmls. One is the moddesc, which is what you put all the details about in your mod, and there is the vehicle name xml, that's where most of the coding is for your mod.
* ".lua" The .lua is another type of script for the game for some specilizations, I don't have any experience with .lua so I can't write much about it. Maybe if someone knows something they can PM me and I can add it into here with provided credits?
* "Check your log" In the FS13 folder there is a text document normally at the bottom called your log. This is where all errors for your game are recorded. If you're working on a mod and run into problems this is where to check. Whenever you post on the forum wanting help it's always nice to have a log to look at so others can help. Ideally your log should have no errors. But some modders have low standards and don't bother to fix them, or you've messed up on a mod and created errors.
* "Callstacks" When you delete something in the scenegraph of your mod, it can throw off the nodes of your mod, and if these nodes don't correspond with the .xml then you will get a callstack error. If it's something serious it'll freeze your game and make a messy log.

That's all I've got for now, comments, questions, or some possible info for me to fix or add in please let me know, I'm not the best modder so I may have mistakes...

Change Log
April 29th 2014- Added Modding Terms Section.

Very nice well spoken ;) (y)

Agreed. Should move this to the AEM library.

Added some modding lingo to original post. I appreciate the comments, but think I'm going to keep this in my section for now, as it's strictly my opinions and some may not agree with them in the library and cause controversy.

Fraser Cow:
You must have been really bored to take the time wright all this.


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