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  1. #1

    Default Question about adding animations to the mod

    Hello, I am currently learning to animate in Maya LT (went to school for 3D animation, but it wasn't for video games, so now I am making the transition to animate for games)

    While I am learning this new program and creating a portfolio for myself to hopefully make it in the big leagues, I wanted to see if I could possibly spend some extra time (while still practicing my craft) animating for TATW, and by extension DaC.
    Since TATW was only just a collection of previews before release I always hoped it would have more custom animations than it did. How cool would it be for each race to get some extra flavor with some new animations?

    Anyway, to my understanding Maya LT needs the .FBX file type to open and edit animations. My question is, what is the best way (if there is even a way) to get M2TW animation files in .FBX format or at least some other way I can edit them in Maya LT? It is important to me to be able to use Maya, because honestly I am not really willing to put in more time to learn another program while I am trying to learn Maya for career purposes. So if I NEED to use a different program to animate for M2TW, unfortunately it would seem this is not going to happen any time soon.

    Any help you can give would be appreciated.

    TLDR; How can I get M2TW files into .FBX format?

    Groovy

  2. #2

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    You can open the original CAS animations from Caliban in Milkshape 3D.

    I don't know if anyone still has the original TATW animations, but if they do and are reading this hopefully they can upload or link to them. You can use the modeller's toolbox to extract and compile the animation and skeleton packs but the animation CAS files you get out are not usable. Without the original animations set, we don't know the unit's base pose so we would need to either guess it or animate a new set from scratch.

    Milkshape 3D has an option to export to FBX (and basically any other format you can think of). I have only done experimental animation work in Milkshape. I don't know if you will get good results translating between .ms3d and .fbx but it should be possible as the OG animators back in M2's heyday were using 3ds Max. Let us know if you get good results.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    I appreciate the reply sir.

    Using the links you provided and doing some digging I am starting to realize there is a good deal I need to learn before I even get to the animation part of things.

    Now I am fairly certain I am completely wrong here, but this is where my head is at: I unpacked the Third Age .DAT files, and I get a bunch of .CAS files with names of specific animations (like 2H_sword_advance). I assume that .CAS file is what is put into the text file which tells the unit what animation to use.

    Using the modeller's toolbox I cannot convert these .CAS files to MS3d files, I am assuming because they are not actual models (are they simply the skeleton performing the animation?) So I guess my new question is how would I open one of these files that I am assuming is just the skeleton performing the animation?

    At that point would the next step be editing this specific animation to my liking, then saving it back as a .CAS file of the same name so the unit uses the new animation instead?

    I have a feeling I am waaaay off the mark, but that is what my head has come up with thus far. Again any information from anyone would be appreciated.

    Groovy

  4. #4
    Araval's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    Hey, read here, maybe alreadyded can give you the unpacked TATW animations: https://www.twcenter.net/forums/show...1#post15717343

    If not, a workaround may be possible to use vanilla animation pack for editing and repacking by the game if you won't be editing any custom TATW animations. Then you can attempt to merge them with a "merging unpacker-repacker" to the TATW animation pack.

    If you have questions, maybe someone in here can help you: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forum...and-Animations

  5. #5

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    Thank you Araval

    So this is where I am at now. I have managed to use the GOAT tool to merge both a unit model AND a .CAS file together into Milkshape 3D, effectively allowing me to play and edit specific animations. (not gonna lie just getting this far took me hours and hours)

    Next step is to see if I can export this MS3D file into a .FBX and FINALLY actually do some animating. Then convert it back into MS3D, and use GOAT to unmerge the animation part back into a .CAS file. This .Cas file can then theoretically be used by units in-game.

    I wonder if anyone around is already good at getting the game to correctly use .CAS files? If not I'll take a crack at it, but messing with countless text file lines really isn't my thing. The results could be disastrous.

    Groovy

  6. #6

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    I wish you all the luck that it will work!

    Please keep us updated

  7. #7
    Araval's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    I doubt anyone in this subforum knows much about animations. There are these tutorials that you can read:
    https://www.twcenter.net/forums/show...-for-Beginners
    https://www.twcenter.net/forums/show...-of-Animations
    https://www.twcenter.net/forums/show...-MS3D-for-M2TW

  8. #8

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    Alright just an update. I have successfully converted animation into Maya LT, edit the animation, and converted it back into Milkshape so that GOAT can finalize the process. However I am running into issues with GOAT on that last step. I will try to get it figured out soon.

    Groovy

  9. #9

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    Alright so bad news is, I cannot figure out a way to animate with Maya and still have the whole process work. It seems my only real option would be to animate with Milkshape itself. Despite me previously saying I wasn't going to learn Milkshape, I gave it a go. Turns out it is indeed a fairly basic and not ideal program for animating, but it should serve its purpose.

    So this means two things:

    1. I have officially edited an animation and have it in .CAS form. Last step is all the text file stuff I am probably going to mess up.

    2. Because I seem to have no choice but to animate in Milkshape, I am not going to be able to put the amount of time I wanted to into this. Progress will be slower, and probably even lower quality than it could have been if I could use Maya LT.

    With that in mind I am still going to try and work on this when I can. So I started small with the first animation and edited the two handed sword advancing animation. Just to give you a little idea of what I'm trying to do here I got this small preview. The idea is to adjust animations to make them feel more appropriate for the LotR setting.

    You'll note the grip on the sword is fairly low, and it is because whoever modelled this unit did a good job at compensating hand placement for the original animation. The sword would need to be pushed down in the unit's mesh file itself. Anyway here is a side-by-side comparison:



    Last edited by Soul Reapir; August 19, 2019 at 01:11 AM.

    Groovy

  10. #10

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    Wow, man, even though it's a small thing, it looks fantastic. Thanks for taking the time!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    This looks great! Hope to see this in the game eventually.

    Would you bother to look after the 1h axe animation? It always annoyed me that there is no proper killing animation for this (even in the base game)
    And there is a fair amount of units in DaC which use axes.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Auerode View Post
    This looks great! Hope to see this in the game eventually.

    Would you bother to look after the 1h axe animation? It always annoyed me that there is no proper killing animation for this (even in the base game)
    And there is a fair amount of units in DaC which use axes.
    If I get this whole process working anything is fair game as far as I am concerned. My plans though were to first focus on making 2-handed swords look better all around for both the Elves and human units. Reworking that entire family of animations is going to be fairly time consuming. My next plan was to see if I could make Orcs feel more like Orcs. More wild swings, more hunched over posture, that sort of thing. But honestly none of this is set in stone, especially while I still haven't got it all figured out just yet.

    Groovy

  13. #13

    Default Re: Question about adding animations to the mod

    Take your time, again I hope it will work out in the end.

    The plans with the 2h swords and orcs sound great!

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