Okay, the hardest
part of a journey is the first step. Skinning for the LithTech engine
will be no different. If you have Primal Hunt, you should have most
of the stuff you will need but I will assume you do not for the
sake of the lowest common denominator. The skills apply to both
but the extraction of the files is different.
need the following:
- AvP2 Retail
up to the latest version 220.127.116.11
6 or higher or Paint.net (you can get it at download.com)
vs. Predator 2 Toolkit Update
If you have
PH, then the ToolKit will be on your Primal Hunt disk as well as
the updates for the toolkit. If you are skinning for NOLF, NOLF
2, or TRON 2.0 do a Google seach for the tools...again DON'T be
lazy and email me about them.
Install and patch up AvP2.
Install the toolkit. This should create a directory under your <game
path> called tools. <game path>\tools
These tools are a collection of tools that you will use to skin.
The ones we will use are Lithrez & Dedit. I will walk you through
each as we go as they can get confusing. ModelEdit is also a cool
tool but I think I'll leave that for Advanced users at this point.
This step isn't
going to make a whole hell of a lot of sense right now but you will
love me later. You want to make a shortcut to your command prompt
on your desktop. Basically find the command prompt icon in your
windows applications menu and right click on it. In the menu that
pops up, go to "Send to" and then "Desktop (create
STEP 4: Go
to the Desktop and find your newly created icon. Right click on
it and from the menu select properties. You will get a menu that
looks like this:
the "Start in" line (not the highlighted one above) from
%HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH% to <game path>\tools (Don't
make me come to your house and slap you by actually typing "<game
path>" Type in the path to your installation of AvP2 in
it's place. Last time I will mention this). And then hit "Apply".
STEP 5: Okay,
now I want you to double click our newly modified Command Prompt
icon. This should open a DOS window in your <game path>\tools
"unrez.bat" and hit "Enter" This
is going to take a while, so sit back and wait. (Please note you
can also navigate to the <game path>\tools directory via Windows
and double click on the unrez.bat for this portion of the tutorial)
This will extract all the AvP2 files in the game's compressed "rez"
files. You will become intimate with the rez concept later, and
that is when you will see the benefits of setting up this command
prompt shortcut. Technically you are in the process of using the
LithRez program for the first time, but the folks Monolith have
basically created a batch file to do the command line work for you.
DON'T WORRY, I'll walk you though it later when I talk more about
unrez.bat is complete you will see "Unrez complete." on
what the hell did this unraz.bat do? Well if you look in your <game
path> directory you will now see a folder called "AvP2".
In that folder is EVERY resource the game uncompressed:
MESS WITH ANYTHING IN HERE YET! Go to the next step.
STEP 6: We
are getting close to doing some real skinning here, but first you
need to install your graphics program of choice. Again I prefer
PhotoShop but a new version isn't cheap! However you can probably
get a copy of version 6 on ebay for a reasonable price. I recommend
that you do if you plan on skinning regularly. Paint.net is a nice
program and honestly you could probably use it forever without registering
it (making it free), but that's an ethics issue and I won't bring
it up here other that to say I think it's worth registering.
7: If you have PhotoShop 6 or above there is another file I want
you to download, unzip and follow the instructions in the files
readme.txt here it is dtxplugin.zip
Thought we would
be working on graphics in this section, didn't you? Sorry we still
have some house keeping to do. Like the previous page you will only
have to do this once, but it will make a world of difference. (Please
note I have Primal Hunt so this may be a bit different than your
AvP2 version, but the directories that concern us are the same)
This part of
the tutorial requires some heavy explaining, mainly so you can wrap
your mind around how LithTech works with models and skins. First
however we need to add some folders to your computer so we are all
on the same page. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer and go to
the <game path> folder. Create a new folder called
"custom". When that's done you should have <game
path>\custom we'll need this later, just do it and forget
it for now.
Now go to your
C drive and create a folder called "avp2work" i.e. c:\avp2work
This folder will
be where all of your pre-rez work will happen and this leads us
to the most conceptually complicated part of this whole operation.
Ok remember when
we ran the unrez.bat? It created the AvP2 directory under our <game
path> as seen on the right. As skinners we are only
concerned with the "Skins" directory. This is where every
skin for every model in the game exists, from character to weapons
to floors, ceilings, caves, etc.
So as you can
imagine there is a hell of a lot of stuff in this folder in a very
specific order. This
directory structure is the order things HAVE to be in in
order to LithTech to find what it needs and it is the directory
structure you will have to emulate to make your skins override the
in game skins.
the left you will see the skins directory I am pointing to above
in an expanded mode. I have also expanded the "Characters"
directory and sub-directories. These folders are where all the skins
for all the characters live.
They exist in
a special .dtx format (an output of Dedit...we'll get there). Note
the directory structure. Before you jump ahead and try to open them
in your graphics editing program I can save you the trouble and
tell you it won't work. PATIENCE!
In this tutorial
we will (eventually) edit the Harrison skin, which will be found
in the <game path>\avp2\skins\characters\marine folder.
In preparation of this work we need to setup the proper directory
structure under our recently c:\avp2work.
Okay so let's
pick a name for our project...We'll call it "medic". So
first we need to create a folder called "medic" under
"avp2work" and then all the folders FROM the avp2 directory
above. In other words we need to create a directory structure like
careful with the plurals and singulars when setting these up. Watch
the hierarchy! It makes a difference. Caps and Lower Case do not
matter as I have demonstrate above.
Hang in there,
I know this is confusing. It's the worst part of skinning for AvP2
but it will make sense in the end I promise. Once you have all this
setup we can begin to actually do some work.