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.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------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.
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:
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.