Latex Heads are only selected with costumes that utilize your actor's .HD Starmaker head. Which makes since for the game designers. If the costume is using this function, why not have latex head replacements? We can convert any Starmaker head into a latex head. You would have to do some conversion first. Dcmodding released a python script for Blender that imports the Starmaker heads (.HD). Once a head is in Blender, we can then do all the modifications we want. If you are making a latex head, then it must be exported in .MSH format. And then named to follow the latex heads already found in the game. You can of course overwrite the latex heads, but why do that. Just use MED (The Movies Game Editor) to find out which is the next available number for your Latex Head. If you already have a latex head mod installed then you can look into the data/meshes folder and scroll down to the Latex_f_head_v05.msh or whenever the numbers start. The last number on the list, just add one. If you find latex_f_head_v08.msh then export your head as latex_f_head_v09.msh. Latex_f__ is for female heads, latex_m_ is for male latex heads. Now that is an important distinction to watch out for. And not only for gender.
The expansion pack included an extra feature to latex heads. Skin textures which is drawn onto the costume. The skin feature is used with all StarMakers as well. When you choose the skin color of a star maker, it will draw over the costume, then the .cos file will draw the costume color options over this skin draw. The skin color option won't become active unless costume color options are applies in the .cos file. The best way to make your Starmaker skin option and latex head skin option available in wardrobe room is to use a .cos file already in the game that uses these options. Open a .cos file from the game with CosEd and replace the base mesh with that of our new costume mesh. And then delete the color options the old costume came with and add your own color options. This will activate the skin draw feature. And using a .cos file in the game that uses latex heads will make the option available. This actually creates a problem for new latex heads. The skin texture draw for each head is shared by both genders. And this can't be changed. The Latex skin textures are found in the data/textures/makeup folder. mup_latex_v00.dds, mup_latex_v00_t1.dds, mup_latex_v00_t2.dds. Is how they are named. v00 is for the first latex head. For more color options of the same latex head what follows is _t1 and then _t2 and then _t3. There is no _t0. When the naming changes to mup_latex_v01.dds then the next latex head skin option has started. When a latex head is a mask, like the hockey mask, there is no skin option. yet a file is provided for it 1 pixel by 1 pixel alpha image that does get drawn over the costume, but does not have any appearance due to the alpha. The reason is the game must have a blank skin in place for the game engine to keep reading down the line for available options. If you leave that out for a custom latex head, then the skin option for the next custom head will not be read. Even if the naming is proper.
A problem arises when the latex head is gender specific. If you notice, the game's latex heads are not gender specific, even if the 3D models account for each gender. Why? The neck connect is a different size for each gender, and more importantly, the skin texture draw feature is shared by both genders. So if you make a Freddy Kruger latex head for the males with an ending number of _v08, and then provide it with a mup skin draw texture, the head on the female side, if there is a latex head ending with _v08, it will share the Freddy Kruger skin, even if the head was female specific. So what do we do? Why not place a dummy latex head for the opposite gender so as not to make this mistake. Also make Freddy Kruger latex head a female one, even if it will never be used. That way, the next head you make will use the latex mup skin properly and not out of place. It is the best way to avoid it. You could make a blank mesh with no appearance for the other gender, but the skin will show up still. Having a copy for the other gender would also tell the you that this is there for that reason. If you release mods for the movies game, you may think this becomes a lot of work for those who download it. So what. If we do this work when modding, then so should others. It will only get complicated for them when they may want to add skin options themselves later. Its a great feature so why waste it? If you don't want a latex head head for both genders to have a skin draw feature then make a blank alpha image 1 pixel by 1 pixel.
What most people do, and I think it is because they never thought about latex heads having skin textures, is make the skin option a body paint feature and not a latex head feature. It may make better since to just have the skin show up during head selection, since the game will already look for the skin option. If the costume has normal skin draw, then it can be used as, for instance, before Freddy became beef jerky. To Load a head, and then load a body paint is not the best way to have both options. The head will load a skin by itself.
Latex Heads can emote and talk. Actually, any human armature object can be made into a latex so long as it is named right in the data/meshes folder. Yet, the game expects a head and will subtract the actor's star maker head for the new object. If the new object is not a head, then this will look funny. I'm not sure if any of the game's latex heads talk and blink as the StarMaker heads do, but they could. I made some lizard latex heads that can talk and blink eyes. I used the facial rig armature for this. I'm not sure if this is the area the game targets for facial animations. If you have a custom costume with no latex head, one that uses the facial rig, it will animate facial animations. The facial animations are applied as a separate pass from scene animations. It may be the game looks at the armature for each object and then applies it if it finds the bones for it. Reason I bring it up is what if another armature was used? Would it crash the game? It probably would be in its static position. Yet I am finding that .flm files are very dynamic. And the animations being applied can be altered. What I am thinking is, for instance, a parrot on the shoulder of a pirate being animated.
To make a latex head is all in the naming. It is a .MSH file found in the data/meshes folder. Also, to make a skin draw option, the file has to exist and be in the data/textures/costumeoptions folder. Latex heads can function without a skin texture file to go with it. But not using one waste this option and makes it harder to use one later. If you make a latex head available, and do provide a skin texture, the downloader will most likely have to rename everything to make it available to them. Maybe they already have a latex head mod. So they rename theirs to say, latex_f_head_v09.msh since that may be the next number available for them to use. And then they would have to rename the skin texture to mup_latex_v09.dds, and further ones to mup_latex_v09_t1.dds and then _t2 and then _t3. The problem there is if the latex head mod they installed previously, the one titled Latex_f_head_v08.msh does not have a skin texture for it (it was from another modder who didn't provide one) then your skin textures will not show up unless they make a dummy alpha 1 pixel by 1 pixel texture for their _v08 latex head. Which may be a lot of work for them. So what. Don't they want the full potential of the latex head feature? If someone really wants to use your latex head then they should be instructed in all these matters for your mod to show up in their game. You should tell them in the readme file you may provide and if you may want to even provide dummy textures they can rename for their earlier latex heads.
Here is some advice for modders that may help. If you have a costume that needs a particular head, just make it a part f the costume. We have the .hd scripts available now and can add star maker heads to our costumes. In CosEd just unclick the "has Head" option. It is only causing gamers a head ache when you make the heads for the costumes as latex heads. Unless the skin option is the intention for the latex head, it makes having more latex heads that does use the skin texture option harder for people to accommodate. And it is not necessary. Your costume can have the head built in. If the head's appearance is skin, then it can be a body paint makeup option. Then you can use any hairstyle still. Latex Heads by design should be made to deliberately use any costume. It shouldn't be made to only use the costume you make. Not when the head can just be a part of the costume. Not everyone knows how to use Blender, and retexturing a latex head may be the only way for them to manage what they intend.
Here is what a typical latex head uses and all it's files:
You can add more color options to existing heads by renaming the end result of this example to mup_latex_v00_t4.dds. Here I have added 3 more color options to the first latex head. Opened the fut_alien_tz1_1_head_x0_v00.dds into Photoshop and adjusted the color setting to achieve a different look. Also opened the mup_latex_v00.dds and did the same. Then saved the first (head) as fut_alien_tz1_1_head_x0_v04.dds, and the skin as mup_latex_v00_t4.dds. In the game I took a screen shot of the head being used and then cropped it to thumb size. And saved the thumb as cos_latex_head_1_4.dds in the data/thumbs/costumeoptions folder. You can download these to see what is involved in making new colors. There is no 3D .msh file with it as it was only adding more options to the one found already in the game.
The empty thumbs are from heads I made and did not make thumbs for. Or had downloaded and did not have thumbs provided. Thumbs for costume options were added to the game with the expansion pack. But not all costume options have thumbs. Is there a way to make thumbs for items that don't normally have them? Another thing to note is that even though the game folder doesn't have the four thumbs from the original options, the later thumbs still show up. This is unlike the skin textures the heads use, which must have blank alpha versions for other heads not using them. Also the game's content you will not see in the folders (unless extracted using MED). They are compressed in the .PAK files. Anything with the same name found in folders overwrites the original in the .pak files. You can deliberately overwrite something to achieve whatever you wish. Yet it is possible to add anything without overwriting any game content. It is also advisable not to have mirror matching files in the folders as this will take up more space on your hard drive. You do not have to use the thumbnail selector to use the head. You can still use the arrows on the sides of the button to select the next head or color option. Which was the game original design.
Note: If you use the commit to game option in MED (The Movies Game editor) you will get all the textures already found in the game exported to your game files. Potentially making your memory storage eat up space. It might be better to save to workspace and delete the textures already found in the game while keeping the new textures you might have added. Also, if the resources you draw from are already placed in the games folders before you assemble them with MED, you can delete all the textures from the export to workspace. Unless you are providing an upload mod for 8eyedbaby, then you would keep the textures. Some people do not have S&E expansion and thus do not have the textures your new mod might have. So you can include them anyways.
TM_hd_import.py for Blender.
Using StarMaker heads for latex heads requires importing them with the .hd scripts that were provided by DCModding. DcModding is now closed so you may have to look else where for them. If I provide them I would only post the script that you can copy and paste into notepad, from there you would save it as .py instead of .txt and it would become a python script. Then you would place that file into your Blender scripts folder. I do not feel comfortable posting it though as it is not my property. I do, however have a couple blend files you can append all the heads from. Also the facial armature renamed to the costume armature (which it needs to be used properly). The eyes and mouths. These files have re-weighted heads to be used for auto animated props. They can't use facial weights for that animation is not provided for props. So it is important to have heads that do not use those weights.
The other blend file is for all the heads including facial weights. But I have found a bug in the HD import scripts that generate an improper weighting of the heads. It is actually not the scripts fault but the head used in the blend with script was made to append weights from. The head is from the game. It came with a facial rig armature and used all the facial weights. But this head itself found in the game has a couple of errors. The first is not all the vertexes in the bottom neck ring are assigned to the neck connect group. Allowing for a split in the neck to costume connection. Also, the top eyelid groups were weighted too strong to properly animate in the game. Watching them in the game, they blink horribly. The solution to this is to open the blend file the scripts put into the blender script folder. Go to the bottom and add all the verts to the neck connect. Next go to each eyelid and remove most of them from the group accept just the very most necessary. This might not do the job perfectly as the group may move to widely still during animation. Therefor those same verts might also need to be assigned to a maximum of 1.000 to the head group. Assigning one more group will give the eyelids something to compete with during animation and will slow down the heavy movement. After these adjustments, make sure you select all verts and run a weight normalize script. Changing weights to movies game content without running that script will not go over so good in the game. Then save over the old one. If you mess up you can always unpack the zip you downloaded and replace the blend again. Maybe start over. But they are simple and minor adjustments. After doing this all heads imported should work perfectly.
Update: Mediafire deleted these heads for some reason. Mediafire was very bad to me. Anyways I have made adjustments to the HD script that would give a better result to the heads. If I remake the appending HD heads blend file, I will release it here.
The head provided in DcModding's HD script's blend file is where all imported star maker heads will get their weights from. All verts are the same for each starmaker head so the transfer simply finds out what each vert's individual weight is and then applies it to the newly imported head. If there are weights not properly assigned, as in the head that was used from the games mesh folder, that will be applied to the new head. Which is why one would want to correct it. If you don't believe me then you can extract the generic_facial from the game using MED and load that into Blender. It's exactly the same and making it a new latex will animate with the same wrong eyelids and disconnected neck connect group. But the error was very minor and easily missed. The error was pointed out by a friend who needed my assistance in making a new head. After several attempts I looked into the blend file the scripts provided and found the error was with the head being used. One with the exact number of verts the starmaker heads used. At first it would seem the perfect mesh to use, if not the only mesh to use. They should have examined the head more closely to find the problem. I brought it up to the forum but no team members were using the forum anymore. Anyways that's how to fix the problem.
There was another adjustment I made to the generic_facial.blend file the script appends weights from. The head in this blend file has a material and a texture assigned to it. This also carries over to the newly imported head. So I deleted the material and unhinged the uvmap from texture used by the head. I then saved it over the old one and opened again 3 times to clear out Blender's material memory. (Saving over and opening 3 times seems to clear out Blender's memory) When I import a new head, the weight fixes are there and the material is gone. But a new texture has been loaded into blender. The one for each head. If I import the black male 1 head, then the texture found in the data/textures/people called black male 1 is loaded instead of the default one that was appended from the generic blend. I was aiming for no texture to be loaded because I never use the textures from the game but custom textures. And to rid the textures the .HD script loads is just extra steps in the way. But at least the material was no longer appended.
UPDATE: Here is a link for three Starmaker head import python scripts for Blender.
The original script released by DCModding.com (now closed), and 2 modified scripts. One to fix the problems mentioned and one for importing a head for Auto-Animated props.
The down side to using StarMaker heads as Latex Heads is that latex heads removes the hair style option. If you want a latex head to have a hair style then you must add it to the .msh file you make. You might be able to add the hairstyle as another option in the .cos file but being a latex head is loaded in you may not be able to select from all the hairstyles. Also, hairstyles have a way of merging with the shape of a Starmaker head your actor is using, but will not merge with the latex head you are using, so your latex head may bleed through the hair style. If you are adding a hairstyle to an imported HD head then be sure to test if there will be any bleeding of the head through the hair shape. You can make hairstyles be renamed to be just another mesh option loaded alongside your latex head. Again watch for bleeding. Once you have a hairstyle positioned over your head, you can use a trick to keep bleeding from happening. Since there is a hairstyle, no one will ever again see the scalp under neath the hair. Thus you could delete the verts of the head, just below the hair. Many game models do not include scalp verts because there will only be one hair or a hat that will ever be seen. Many game heads are only a face, ears and neck.
Another tip is to manage the textures of all your model's creation. just as Starmaker heads, you can import a latex head and permanently fix it to a costume. normally head and costume are joined by the neck connect weight group. This will still function in the game with the head being an imported mesh from the .cos file. On the other hand, you can do away with the neck connect group altogether. If both head and costume is joined as one object then the neck connect becomes obsolete. The problem with joining heads to costumes is that the uvmaps of each now will overlap each other in the uvmap window. You can prepare for this. In fact you can have every single object used by the model as one joined object. Many game models have all of the characters features on one texture image. The Movies game is designed to have all the items as interchangeable as possible and thus each item is its own separate object. In blender we can change all that. First we would have to plan out the texture. In photoshop I expand the canvas to 1024 by 1024, instead of most of the game's sizes 512x512. In animation it is important to always keep factors of 4 in the texture otherwise it slows things down. Rendering in blender becomes a monster task when the size of the image is not kept in the 4x4 factor. 128x128, 512x512, 1024by1024. Once the canvas (not the image) has been resized to 1024x1024 then you have a lot of empty space to add more textures to. In Photoshop, and other paint programs, you can decide which direction the canvas will expand to. So if you expand the canvas of the head to the right, and then expand the canvas of the body skin to the left, they can be added together as another layer without overwriting on top of each other. You can have the skin, the head, the hat, the clothes, the boots, the accessories, even special effects if you design them, all on one texture. Once you load the texture in blender, you would first reassign each object's uvmap to it. There is a button somewhere in the uvmap window that will keep the size of the uvmap when applied to a different size image, but I forget the exact button to press for this. Just look for it. other wise when the uvmap is placed over a larger image, it will be expanded as if the image was the same size. What you would do then is sale down the uvmap. If you hit the S button (scale) and then hold down (ctrl) button, you can scale it down in increments of .10%. Since the new image of 1024x1024 is twice as big, you can scale down until the numbers reach, 0.5000%, which is half. Now place each object's uvmap over the right places in the uvmap window. Once all objects have been mapped out how you like. Then you can select all the objects and join them as one object. They all can share the same material.
You may not want to join all of the items. Because you may not want to have each one share the same material settings. If you want glowing eyes, (eyes that will stay bright even if the lightmap was switched to a dark one) then assign that material a self lit flag. That would be done in the id properties menu. You may want to join all the objects one at a time. For instance the head and the body, you may want to join the neck to the costume. Select all verts where the neck connect would be on each. Then go to the buttons menu and change the limit setting to 0.007. Then hit the remove doubles button and those verts will merge. Be sure to change the limit back to 0.000.
I made an altered version of the .HD import script. Do this at your own risk. If you don't know what your doing then do not do this. I made two more copies of this script and 2 more blend files of the generic_facial.blend file. One was to suit my needs for importing Starmaker heads. In the blend file I renamed the armature to that of the costume armature name: 507812352. And also the adjustments to make the head more functional during animation. Then saved it as the new blend file I want the new script to go to. Then I opened the python script (which is a renamed copy and not the original) with notepad and found the part which was appending the details into blender. I found the name of the old armature and renamed also to the new armature name: 507812352. Then saved it as the new script. (remember keeping the old one and not overwriting the old one). Now when I import a StarMaker head, the armature is already named to the one the game needs for it to function. Thus eliminating that step. There is probably a way to cancel appending textures or materials but I haven't experimented enough yet. Remember. This alters the way the script was originally ment to function. Doing the wrong thing here could mess it up. So be careful when altering a script and make sure it is a copy. I also renamed what blend file the script was looking for. Instead of calling from the original generic_facial.blend file, I made it call from the new one I made. And was sure to enter the name of the new one that was made.
Another version I made was for importing heads that will only be used as auto-animated props. A normal Starmaker head won't function properly as an auto-animated prop, because they do not use face animations. To have a script do this was similar as the previous remake. I made a new .blend file of the generic_facial.blend and renamed it to generic_autoanim.blend. Then replaced the naming in the python script with the new name. In the blend file it self I deleted all the facial weights. Then reassigned those verts to just the head bone. I even replaced the armature it appends. The new armature it appends is one from a costume and not a head.
I won't release them as the original script is not my property. But it is possible to do. And you can do it yourself. You must make sure that any adjustment to the blend file or python script is saved as a new version of the script. And if you do not know what is going on here then you could mess it up. So don't do it if you are going to mess it up. Only do it if you know what your doing here. And do this at your own risk. If you do something dumb and save over the original script, then just reinstall the original script from your zip file that you downloaded from DcModding.
Why were these adjustments not in the original script. I think the script was still in alpha anyways. And this territory is largely new ground to cover. The naming schemes might have functionality in area we hadn't yet explored. Any mad science is feeling around in the dark. To close one area off in favor of another may prevent finding new directions not yet discovered. And a person should be adept in these naming requirements if they are to be worth their salt in blender.
MADSCIENCE: Reusing Star Maker Heads.
There is a folder where the game has several default Starmaker heads (.HD) to choose from in the Star Maker program. If you copy one you exported and place it into this folder, it will be selectable in Starmaker along side all the regular ones. You can keep adding the end result to extend features well beyond Star Makers limits.
There is one problem here that begins to show up after several re-workings, the verts begin to warp along the neck. Issues begin to arise even though everything appears to be normal still. Lots of people would ask Gleem if he was going to release an .hd export script. He said there was more research to be done before this can be done successfully. Also he stated that issues begin to arise. I wonder if it was this same issue. I'm speculating now, but I wonder if he did manage to get a script that could write the heads, but then placing them into the hd folder discovered the same things arising as I had. If so that would mean it is not an issue with his export script at all but in the way the game is reading new heads it finds in the HD folder. It may also be there is no work around for it. Or it may be there is. But no one is looking into this anymore and I do not know hex or python. This does not matter anyways. We can make these heads into latex heads with no problems.
Extracted from a fresh install of the game using MED (TheMovies Editor). Why? For those people who unfortunately have download version of S&E. The programs that edit TheMovies can't gain access to S&E content because, according to Rileyman, download version has an encryption. MikeDeBoing, StvnDysn and Rysto graciously exported the files and uploaded them for the community. However, this was long ago and those sites that hosted these files have since closed. In recent years I was able to obtain S&E with no encryption. So once more, here are the S&E files.
All STARMAKER (.HD) HEADS
Be sure to have the (.HD) Import Python Script from DcModding:
Two Talking Alien Latex Heads
Have skin textures and thumbnails. Install instructions.
And 3 costumes
Tony Montana Head. Talks. Part Of Mod Pack
Comes with 6 guerrilla warrior costumes.
The eyes move. No mouth, but the jaw bone moves.
Can't have auto-skin color like costumes have. So I made them slider options. I tried to make all races for the face skin. And you have to hit the slider until the right skin color matches the actor or actress who is using it. So all races but it isn't automatic. Use the latex head slider to get the right skin color.
And it talks.
One has wings.
For the male costumes but there is a throwaway female version just to keep the thumbs and body textures selectable.
And Also Some Make Up Mups. The heads are the in-between state of werewolf transformation. The final transformation is into the new werewolf costume that came with the expansion pack. Soon I will release talking versions of those. But since Gleem already had some I made different werewolf versions for both genders that talk and you may want and work well with these latex heads, stay tuned.
Talking Robot Heads
With Body Skin Textures.
Movies Game Talking Robot Costumes And Talking Robot Latex Heads
This will add three more colors to the first latex head in the game. Also adds the skin body color. Does not overwrite anything. Also has thumbnails.