Creating models for Allegiance
New or improved models are always welcomed by the community. This article aims to outline the process required to contribute new models to Allegiance community. There are several steps in the modeling chain needed to take a concept for a new model and get it inside the game:
- Artwork - creating the 3D mesh and texture.
- Adding "Meta data" - Information used to indicate cockpit position, weapons position, garages, etc.
- Optimization - Modifying the model for best performance in the game engine (poly count optimization, scaling, LOD, etc).
- Compiling - Converting the optimized model and meta-data into the final format used by Allegiance.
There is no need for one person to do every stage. Individuals are encouraged to contribute in any of the above areas without feeling compelled to master them all.
Creating the mesh and texture for the model is largely left to the discretion of the artist. The only real constraint is that whatever 3D modeling package the artist uses should be able to export to the appropriate format (.x). Otherwise, it is good to be aware of recommended polygon counts.
In addition to the mesh, which defines the visible shape, each model also requires meta-data to indicate cockpit position, weapons position, garages, engines, and other hardpoints used for interacting with the model in-game. See Defining model meta-data.
- Creating collision models - Using MS tools to create the hit box of a model.
Due to technical limitations of the game engine and computer hardware there are further refinements that should be done to ensure that an artist's model will perform well. See Model Optimization.
The last step is converting the optimized model and meta-data into .mdl format so it can be used in game. When Microsoft released the Allegiance source code, they also released their model tool-chain. See Compiling a model with Microsoft Tools.
- Creating models with Milkshape - Pre-source-release tutorial based on KGJV's AMT plugin for the 3D modelling program, Milkshape. This method is technically obsolete now that we have better (and free) tools available, but some people still use it while instructions for the preferred method are fleshed out.
- Microsoft Art Tools