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Author Topic: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5  (Read 7770 times)

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Offline Koden

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As of lately messing with America's army editors (yes i mean both) has given some good results, so i thought about posting a guide i made, for converting 2.8.5 game assets to 2.5.

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Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5

Please keep in mind that the assets you can import are sounds, static meshes and textures. While sounds and textures will be a more simple matter, static meshes will be exported from the original files to a .obj format.

.Obj is a really handy format, because you will find plenty of 3D modeling programs that will let you import the static mesh model with success (by that i mean achieveing fidelity across the process).
Thanks to the tool we'll be using, sounds and texture will be capable of being imported  with no further processing once extracted.

Software and tools in use:

America's Army 2.8.5 install;
America's Army 2.5 install;

AARE284 - extracting tool (made by ELiZ); http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5875434/software_and_tools/AARE284.zip

Maya 2010, older version of Maya (not including 8.5) will quite surely be fine too.
3DStudio Max
XSI SoftImage Mod Tool(which happens to be available as free but i have to verify if it works correctly).

Unreal Actor X Plugin for one of the above http://udn.epicgames.com/Two/ActorX.html

America's Army 2.4.1 editor for mapping and importing game assets.


Starting: extracting the assets

After installing AARE284, open it and type or find your America's Army 2.8.5 folder, click on select, then click load and export all packages. The extracting process will take some time, at least a minute or two.




 

Converting the static meshes



Now you have 3 folders, with Wav for sounds and DDS for textures. Since those are fine already, let's concentrate on the static meshes. Open Maya (using a different tool you'll happen to have quite different settings for importing and exporting) and click import, deselecting group and "remove duplicate shading networks", and select default references in the below menu.





Click import and select the .obj file you want to import in Maya. Now, please note that since what you are importing is an extracted .obj version of a package containing several staticmeshes, you'll have all of these staticmeshes imported in one workspace. This represents a more than fair amount of models and might drive to freezes depending on your hardware capabilities.



At this point i suggest you to switch to a ortographic view to get a better viepoint (to do that, press spacebar once, and then with mouse over an ortographic view -front will suit- spacebar once again).
Zoom out (mouse scrolling) and move to your right to see the meshes, they will appear are as lined up to the X axys.



 If you imported a big package you will have probably not least than 60/70 meshes, so you'll have to manually move into the workspace and select the one you want to export, or going to the Outliner editor and look up for the name of the one you want. Do a visual check of the model, you might happen to have a tube protruding from your model or something wierd, so just select the unwanted additional tube/rod and delete it.





The key point is that if you don't export 1 object at a time, once exported as .ase you will have a unique staticmesh made of the 2 or more meshes you selected. Anyway, if you are willing to convert the whole amount contained in the package, just go to Edit -> Select All.
Obviously this shouldn't be done for packages that go over 10-15mb of size as it will probably take a lot of time (and it might even happen to crash the editor), since in a medium to big package there are more than 80 meshes. Basically, don't waste your time.

IMPORTANT NOTE! You need to place the static mesh you want to export at the very axys origin, otherwise once imported in AA editor it might even fall of of the working area. To do this, select it, go to modify -> center pivot. Then, click on the icon with the arrow close to window right end, and select Absolute Transform, and type 0 in each of the 3 nearby boxes, and press enter. Your object will be now placed at the axys origin.
Note: some staticmeshes gets rotated by 90 degrees on  when exported in the obj.So, if you see a mesh laying over your workspace grid, its likely rotated: rotate by 90 degrees on the X axys to fix the misrotation.




At this point you are ready to export the static meshes, so load the ActorX.mll plugin if you haven't done before. Then, type axmesh in Maya command line (white space with MEL written next to it), and once the window has opened select Selected Items only and Consolidate Output Geometry. Select the output path, and click Export Mesh. Good practises: name your files with the exact name you want them to have when they will became part of a static mesh package.



Final step

Launch America's Army Editor 2.4.1, and select the static mesh tab. Go to File, Import and import the file you exported out of Maya. Now remember that if you selected 2 or more meshes in Maya, and then exported, you will find them to actually be as one under one name. Now you can manually add textures to those meshes by right-click-> StaticMeshActor Properties -> display -> skin.



Last but not least, if you use original assets name to get the files you are looking for, remind that:

Quote from: AARE284Author
My process of reading the nametables from America’s Army packages is not perfect, the signs of that is that the objectnames is not 100 % accurate.



Tips (Spanky's): if you take a map and change the file extension from .aao to .usx (unreal staticmeshes packages format) you will be able to use that map as a package of the exact static meshes used in it. Working only for 2.5 maps of course (2.8 maps can't be read straight off 2.4.1 editor but will need a namespace converting aside of the pure assets converting).
Might help if you have issues converting a particular staticmesh, copypaste it to a new empty map, save and try it on.
« Last Edit: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 12:17:20 PM by Koden »
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Offline BlueBlaster

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #1 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 01:53:53 AM »
Yea I just couldn't read the whole thing either lol. But I trust Koden. :)
+1 for Skrewy.



Offline Koden

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #2 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 03:50:55 AM »
Yea I just couldn't read the whole thing either lol. But I trust Koden. :)
+1 for Skrewy.

Gonna add images to make things more easier to understand, it can be confusing to have to image what the work into Maya is without actually having worked on it. Also adding a couple thing i reminded.

Edit: done, now i think it's clearer, might add some other parts later (about maps general converting).
« Last Edit: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 04:55:13 AM by Koden »
"I’ve begun my voyage in a paper boat without a bottom..."



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Offline urban-ninja

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #3 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 05:12:00 AM »
few maps i would love to see converted:

  • Rummage
  • Floodgate
  • SF Refinery
  • SF Old Town

Offline Saltuarius

Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #4 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 05:27:59 AM »
Steamroller...

Offline Koden

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #5 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 05:53:55 AM »
few maps i would love to see converted:

  • Rummage
  • Floodgate
  • SF Refinery
  • SF Old Town

OldTown seems very very interesting, ill try taking a look at that, of course im already working on other maps but if there's other people willing i can surely write the remaining part of the guide that talks about map converting *wink wink*

p.s. good news, OldTown seems to have only 2 M_AAO package staticmeshes (but it still
has 836 T_AAO class ones, in comparison to t_AA2 ones). AAO tagged assets are the one missing from 2.5, usually. That means there should almost no need to convert meshes but you would have to do a lot of retexturing job.
« Last Edit: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 06:10:15 AM by Koden »
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Offline Spanky

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #6 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 15:33:40 PM »
few maps i would love to see converted:

  • Rummage
  • Floodgate
  • SF Refinery
  • SF Old Town


Should probably pay more attention. Rummage and Refinery are already converted.
so it's like trying holding on to  5 cats in your hands at the same time

Offline Koden

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #7 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 18:17:03 PM »
Once we start converting 2.8 maps there will a share of 2.8 assets available as part of the mAAp pack (or at least it is what the idea is, the amount of files might start to became more consistent and so it might need to belong to a different package).

Updating with more details and a pretty important note.

Quote
IMPORTANT NOTE! You need to place the static mesh you want to export at the very axys origin, otherwise once imported in AA editor it might even fall out of the working area. To do this, select it, go to modify -> center pivot. Then, click on the icon with the arrow close to window right end, and select Absolute Transform, and type 0 in each of the 3 nearby boxes, and press enter. Your object will be now placed at the axys origin.

"I’ve begun my voyage in a paper boat without a bottom..."



Sweet US of yours http://bit.ly/VgDkWB

Offline Spanky

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #8 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 20:31:41 PM »
Turned this into a sticky, this is fantastic. Thanks Koden!
so it's like trying holding on to  5 cats in your hands at the same time

Offline Koden

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #9 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 20:56:34 PM »
Turned this into a sticky, this is fantastic. Thanks Koden!

Ty, a lot of this couldn't have been find out and written down without your help. And i have to wrote another part that should fill the circle of converting a map from 2.8 resources (and i had to ask you a couple questions, pm'ing).
"I’ve begun my voyage in a paper boat without a bottom..."



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Offline BlueBlaster

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #10 on: Saturday, February 04, 2012, 21:26:22 PM »
Koden you're such a boss. It's nice to see people doing quality work.



Offline ELiZ

Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #11 on: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 12:12:03 PM »
Hi


I am the author of one of the above mentioned apps, AARE284.
I had the intentions of moviemaking in Aao, but if would like I could remake it so that it would be possible to export complete maps, I remember doing that for AAo-> UT2004 back in the early days.

I got a few messages the last few days about my work in the old AAo community, I suspect some of them have responded in this thread.

In short, I’m taking requests.

Besides authoring AARE and PBSSCollector, I have a few unreleased tools that I made when making AAo movies.

/ELiZ



Offline Spanky

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #12 on: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 12:15:26 PM »
WELCOME! I posted a comment on one of your YouTube videos and I suspect VendorX has been trying to get in contact with you as well. Anything would be appreciated and if you wanted to even create stuff for 2.5, we would certainly welcome it.

Converting 2.8 maps is a pain in the ass :D
so it's like trying holding on to  5 cats in your hands at the same time

Offline ELiZ

Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #13 on: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 12:18:24 PM »
WELCOME! I posted a comment on one of your YouTube videos and I suspect VendorX has been trying to get in contact with you as well. Anything would be appreciated and if you wanted to even create stuff for 2.5, we would certainly welcome it.

Converting 2.8 maps is a pain in the ass :D

Any specific map I should start messing with?

Offline Koden

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Re: Guide for converting game assets from America's Army 2.8.5 to America's Army 2.5
« Reply #14 on: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 12:22:09 PM »
Hi


I am the author of one of the above mentioned apps, AARE284.
I had the intentions of moviemaking in Aao, but if would like I could remake it so that it would be possible to export complete maps, I remember doing that for AAo-> UT2004 back in the early days.

I got a few messages the last few days about my work in the old AAo community, I suspect some of them have responded in this thread.

In short, I’m taking requests.

Besides authoring AARE and PBSSCollector, I have a few unreleased tools that I made when making AAo movies.

/ELiZ

Thanks for your contribute, without AARE converting static meshes could have been a real show stopper. Everything you can help us with is really welcome :) at the moment we're converting some maps from 2.8 backwards to 2.5, but i guess Spanky already anticipated you part of the story.
"I’ve begun my voyage in a paper boat without a bottom..."



Sweet US of yours http://bit.ly/VgDkWB

 

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