games models using Realsoft3D and Milkshape3D
"The Rookie" Dodd
Many thanks also to Stefan "Beg-inner"
Gustafsson and Michael
The global games industry
is now worth more than the Movie industry
and is a very popular calling for
3D Artists. While Realsoft 3D has
excellent modeling tools it has several
problems in producing 3D models for
for real-time 3D games. The most limiting
is the lack of support for importing
and exporting work to different RT
(Real-time) formats and secondly is
the lack of game specific modeling
tools such as texture baking and polygon
However by using a combination of
Realsoft 3D, Michael Schmeling's Wavefront
and Milkshape3D there is enough available
to make a practical interim solution
for Realsoft users. Realsoft3D provides
the platform for modeling and texturing
your 3D Model, the Wavefront Exporter
allows you to export the object and
its UV mapping to an industry standard
3D format and Milkshape3D provides
a solution for rigging, animating
and finally exporting the data to
a series of popular game file formats
such as MD3, DirectX and VRML.
The details involved in creating a games
object are beyond the scope of this
document, instead this document aims
to cover the procedure
and to reveal the solutions to
most of the problems you will encounter.
However the details are all well explained
elsewhere and for further information
please refer to the Realsoft3D and Milkshape3D
Realsoft 3D: Creating
|This is where you use
your 3D skills to generate the model.
Only use SDS Objects and try to work
with them in Polygonal mode, as this
is an exact representation of the geometry
in the game (You will get a result more
like that on the right when you use
smoothing groups, groups of faces that
are shaded to give the appearance of
a curved surface).
Remember to keep an eye on your polygon count, you can do this from the 'Spec'
tab on the SDS Objects properties
form, where it is displayed as the
number of faces, this will give you
a close estimate of your polygon usage.
If your using mainly four sided faces
you should double this number as these
will be converted into two triangles.
When you are modeling make sure your
faces only have 3 or 4 sides, if a
face has more break them up with new
Blob Model Geometry
Realsoft 3D: Texturing
|There are several ways
to texture models in Realsoft 3D but
the one you should use is face-wise
mapping as this dispenses with the problems
of UV Edges wrapping around the texture
and is also the same method that Milkshape3D
To use face wise mapping, create a material mapping object (usually creating
three parallel mappings for front,
side and top is a good idea).
Select some faces on your SDS object
and the mapping object itself, now
click the Map2Obj tool on
the Materials tool tab. From the target
list choose 'Selected faces',
in the source list make sure 'map
coords' are chosen and in destination
material choose the material you are
using to skin your object.
Only one material can be used in
this process as multiple materials
will distort your UV co-ordinates,
if you need to use more than one texture
for your model you will need to texture
the object in Milkshape.
Blob Skin Texture
|After you open the UV
Editor window right click to open the
sub menu then make sure your material
is the only material on the menu and
that it is selected. Also make sure
one of the 'Current Face Material' options
You can now use the UV Editor to position the faces or UV vertices across the
texture. The easiest way to do this
is to map a group of faces, move them
into position in the UV Editor window
and then hide the faces on the model.
This will give you a nice clean workspace
in the UV Editor.
Important: When you import
your model into Milkshape3D the UV
coordinates are upside down! So the
last thing you need to do is to select
all of your UV mapping in the
UV editor and mirror it.
Blob in the UV Window
Wavefront Exporter: Exporting
Make sure you save
your model in Realsoft 3D format so
you have a reliable and complete reference
project. Then once you have done this
save it a second time under a different
filename and this time in Wavefront
OBJ format. You can use most of the
default settings although you will
want to make the following changes:
Increase the scale. This obviously
depends on the size of your model
in Realsoft3D but I typically
needed to scale mine up by a factor
of 100. Obviously this is something
that needs to suit your preferences.
You can use 'Export selected
objects only' if you wish, but
the entire project will become
a single object in Milkshape3D.
You may want to clear the 'SDS
objects as triangles' option this
will hugely increase your
polygon count and isn't really
Make sure 'Export material definitions'
is unchecked, Milkshape3D
cannot make use of this information
and it can cause a crash in Milkshape3D.
Finally make sure 'UV coords
as' is set to 'per face
uv coords' (assuming you used
the recommended face wise mapping).
The Export settings from Michaels
Wavefront Export Tool
Milkshape 3D: Importing
Importing into Milkshape3D
is very simple.
From the File / Import menu use the
Wavefront OBJ Import option to load
the file. There are no settings and
the model will appear in the display
with all of the view windows correctly
scaled to display it.
It is now a good idea to load in
a reference model from your target
game. This is will give you a good
idea as to whether your model is correctly
scaled and positioned, if it isn't
you can select your models group before
scaling and moving it into position.
When your happy simply select your
reference models group and delete
The Milkshape 3D Import Option
Milkshape 3D: Materials
The OBJ file does
not contain the material reference
so simply use Milkshape3D to create
a new material assigned to the same
texture as the Realsoft 3D material's
You can then assign this material
to the models group and the texturing
will be set up. You may also need
to select the main object group, open
up Milkshape3D's Texture Editor and
just tweak the UV points perfectly
back into place (after you turned
them upside down!). Just select them
all and you should be able to move
and scale them into position in seconds.
The Milkshape 3D Texture Coordinate
The Milkshape 3D Material Panel
Milkshape 3D: Rigging
The rigging and animation
must be done completely within Milkshape3D
as skeleton and animation data cannot
currently be exported from Realsoft3D.
Fortunately you can save pure skeletons
and animation data from Milkshape3D
so if you need to revisit your model
you will not need to recreate the
skeleton and animation, however you
will need to recreate the vertex assignments
to the joints, this is a very work
intensive task so its not
going to be something you are going
to want to do too many times.
The animation sequences you need
to create depend on the games format
you will be exporting too. The Milkshape3D
tutorials on animation cover the key-frame
animation system very well.
Milkshape 3D: Exporting
to your game
Finally you need to
export everything to your game, Milkshape3D
supports a dozen different games formats
and half a dozen other common 3D formats.
Each of the processes is different
and may include: creating special
tags for holding weapons, dividing
your model into special groups for
games animation, converting the image
format of your textures and editing
model files that specify image locations
and sizes. Please refer to the details
for your specific format.
Hopefully in the future we will have
a skeleton/animation export function
from Realsoft3D and the entire process
will be a lot simpler. But for now
this process does work and its good
The Blob in a Real Time view
Finally there are
a few bonuses to this integration
of Realsoft3D and Milkshape3D. Michaels
Wavefront plug-in can also import
Wavefront files into Realsoft3D and
Milkshape3D has a few particularly
- The first is the text
tool by Craig Musgrave, when imported
into Realsoft3D these appear as
pure SDS objects perfect for people
wanting to deform their text in
animation. Once imported you should
perform a 'Join Faces' on the object.
- Secondly there is a terrain
generator that provides a very nice
mechanism for generating fractal
- Thirdly games models can be extracted
from games modifications and imported
directly into Realsoft3D complete
with UV mapping (and most of them
are very impressive too).
Quake 2 Hueteotl Model by Brian "Evil
Bastard" Collins Rendered in
For Details on Milkshape
3D - click HERE
to download demo / learn more.