My Tools Page is where you can download some tools and scripts.
Modding With Movies Game Programs:
Which is my old obsolete way. Now with Lefty's scripts, we can make any size costumes we want!!!
And Tutorials showing how to use Lefty's Animation import export scripts!!!
Links & Resources
If you wish to make models for the Movies Game, and use DCModding's import scripts, you will need Blender version 2.49b
Also where you can upload mods, watch videos, and more tutorials.
I uploaded All TheMOvies game files, so that anyone who unfortunately has download version of S&E can gain access to that content...
After the complete beginner tutorials are out of the way I will make more for Blender's various other features. Eventually a person may want to film something the Movies Game can't. Blender to the rescue. You can film a scene using the sets and costumes and props of The Movies Game right in Blender. Also with Blender you can make Animated Overlays for The Movies Game.
Some news, there are several modding tools I am making for the Movies Game with Blender's game engine. An auto-animated prop maker is one of them. The only problem is I will need to know how to trigger Python scripts from within a running game. Blender can export games. People can even run these games on their computers even without Blender being installed on them. But this is not the only thing the game engine can do. It doesn't have to be a game that is exported. What it will do is import all the items you want for the prop. The head and costume and accessories. Then export them into the game as a new prop. But I don't know how to run Python from a game yet.
Rileyman was making a command line program that would make Auto-Animated props. Or was he going to use another interface? But his project may be on hold. His website has been down for some time now.
The first thing you will need to do is set up Blender
The first thing you will need to do is set up Blender
When I can I will post some picks describing some Blender functions and tools. Mainly what to expect when editing or creating a Movies Game model. Blender, out of the box, is not set up conveniently with everything as handy as we would like it to be. Blender can be customized to suit our needs as modders. Mainly to have the "Outliner Window" available and the "UVMap Window" Available as well.
Importing a Movies Game costume will have things already set up in Blender for us. The import script is just great and gives every object a material. Also an armature (The Bones) which moves a costume around. A Blend group for every pivot containing child objects.
Every 3D model has a structure we can edit in Blender. But to get at this structure is a matter of being in the right Blend mode. The object itself can be edited with Blender's basic tools. "S" key for scale (to change the size of an object.) "G" to grab or move the object. "R" to rotate the object. This is in "Object Mode." There is another mode called "Edit Mode". In edit mode we see the true structure of the object or what defines the shape of the object.
Each shape is proportioned by points floating in 3D space. Each of these points is called a "Vert" or vertice. Commonly known as polygons.
Each of the verts are connected to each other with an "Edge".
And 3 or 4 edges often form a "Face." A face is either a tri or quad (triangle or square). The import script will break the model's faces into tris. On export the faces will be converted back into quads.
Each of these are selectable either individually or several at once. You can select a single vert, or a single edge or a single face by simply clicking on it.
You can tell Blender which type you wish to select or edit by pressing "CTRL + TAB" keys. A menu will pop up and you can select from it either vert, face or edge.
After you have selected a single vert, (or edge or face) you can select another one. Doing so will change which vert is selected at present. But if you hold down the shift key while clicking on another vert, the second one will also become selected without losing the first selecting. Now two verts have been selected at once.
You could quickly deselect everything by pressing "A" key. "A" key either selects All or deselects ALL.
There is a tool for selecting. By pressing the "B" key a box will show up. Actually you have to make the box. Press and hold the left mouse button somewhere on the screen. Holding down left click, drag/draw a box over a select number of verts. When you let go of the mouse button whatever is in the box will suddenly become selected.
If you press "B" key twice in a row you get Blender's second selection tool. The circle. The circle stays active. From here you can move the circle over any particular area. Left click anywhere to make whatever is in the circle to become selected. Press right mouse button to end the circle select function. Or hit the ESC key to end it. Also, if you spin the mouse wheel the size of the circle increases or decreases.
The same selection tools work in reverse. For the circle, middle mouse button deselects verts. And using the right mouse button to drag/draw the square will deselect stuff found in its borders.
Once the verts have been selected, you can move only those verts by hitting the "G" key (grab). The left mouse button will un-grab the verts and release them at a new location. (RMB to let go and return to previous state.) You can also move them along an axis. X Y or Z axis. If you want to move some verts in only an upward direction, you can, after hitting "G" for grab, press the "Z" key (which is for Z axis 'up and down'). Wherever the verts move from here will be an up and down motion.
You can move or edit selected items in other ways. You can change the size of an object with hotkey "S" for scale. Or you could rotate the object or selected items with HotKey "R" for rotate. And as with Grab, if hitting the X Y or Z key afterward will allow the editing to be constrained to that axis.
Now sometimes you have a vert selected but it seemed to be more then one located at exactly the same spot. When any Movies Game object is imported, each object is solid only by which part is sharing the uvmap. You can click one vert and then press CTRL + L key to have everything matching the UVMap to become selected at once. If you wanted each version of the vert to move at the same time, you can use the selection tool (B key) to have it all selected. Or you can remove all double cases of verts. There is a button called "Remove All Doubles." You must be careful before pressing it. Right next to the button is a box with numbers in it. These numbers tell each Blender tool how strong it should be. Blender's default is at "0.001" (which is crazy) in which case verts near by will get joined together. This is to be avoided unless you need that specifically. Click on the numbers and enter 0.000. Then you can hit the remove doubles button and every vert right on top of another will get merged into one vert.
Put merging doubles off until you need to. It is handy to have the object broken up into selectable segments. However, you may find after smoothing verts, some have come apart. The doubles were not removed and that is why. Press CTRL + Z until the smoothing is undone. Then remove doubles, then smooth them again.
When objects change shape or size, Blender still remembers it's original shape and size. When you are done reshaping or resizing an object, you can tell Blender that the object is now in a new permanent state. In the 3D window is a button to the left of the Mode box. This button changes depending on what mode you are in. In Object mode it is called "Object". The button, no matter what it's called, will always bring up a popup menu. Select Clear/Apply. Another menu pops up and select "Clear Apply Scale Rotation.". It's always good to do that before telling Blender what an Object's center is.
The selection tools work in both Object or Edit modes. In Object mode, verts will not become selected, instead any object or pivot can become selected. You can select one object at a time, or have them selected at the same time by holding down shift key and then clicking on another object. Then two or more objects can be selected at the same time.
When making Movies Game mods in Blender, you will need to know how they are set up in the Outliner window. Much of the selecting and renaming of objects happens in the Outliner Window. To rename an object hold down CTRL button and then click on the item. Empty Pivots and Objects will need numbers in the name. The best way to see what goes on is to import a Movies Game item into Blender and see for yourself the items arranged in the Outliner Window. Below is just a thumbnail of a larger picture that shows what is happening in the Outliner Window.
Click To See Full Size
Icons at far right in the Outliner Window:
Visibility allows you to hide the object in the 3D window. Clicking on the eyeball icon will hide or reveal it. You can also turn off it's selectivity. In this way border select or Hotkey A will ignore the object in 3D space. The picture icon is a button that will tell Blender cameras to ignore the Object when rendering a scene.
Here is the armature of the gorilla costume. It is found inside the object. Normally it is hard to see. Only a bit of the finger bones will poke out of the hands. So we can see the armature if we hit the "X-Ray" button. This will be important when you want to switch into "Pose Mode".
Each item can have it's visibility turned off so we can edit other smaller objects. Sometimes stuff is just in the way. The pivots (green 3 arrows) sometimes gets in the way and I turn those off from visibility. When something isn't visible it can no longer become selected in the 3D window. Usually I turn visibility on or off by clicking on the eyeball icon next to the object in the Outliner window. On the other hand you can press the "H" key for hide. You can press the ALT + H to make all hidden items visible again.
In edit mode we can make selected verts become hidden also by hitting the "H" key. Alt + H restores the hidden verts. It is easy to accidentally hit the wrong key in Blender. If you hit the H key while in edit mode, the selected verts disappear. Then you are left wondering what happened. You can always hit CTRL+Z to undo the last action, and this would return the verts to visibility. Or just hit ALT+H to un-Hide those verts. Edit mode is tricky. The Outliner will always show if an object still exist, even if it's visibility is turned off. But in edit mode, if you accidentally turned off visibility of some verts, the Outliner Window won't tell you more verts are there. Going back into Object Mode (TAB Key) you can see the shape of the object still knows those verts are there. If in doubt, use ALT+H to make sure all verts are on.
In the 3D window objects can have more then one appearance. But it's appearance may be different then an actual rendered scene or baked texture. Other buttons can help with this. There are two buttons that will change an object from a hard or soft appearance. Set Smooth and Set Solid.
To get the render or the Baking to reflect smoothness the next panel over has a button called Auto-Smooth. I do not press it, However I do change some numbers. The numbers just below it decides the strength of smoothness. I believe the max is 80. 80 for max smoothness. 0 for no smoothness. When I need a smoother appearance for a texture bake, or even when I render the scene (exp: F12 hotkey if camera and lamp are present), I set the numbers to 80.
The Movies Game has its own Auto-Smooth during game play. This is to save memory, disk space and CPU draw. Everything does not need thousands of verts to achieve a smoothness. DAZ models have lots and lots of verts to give their models smoothness, but such models, although they work, is an unnecessary draw on the computer's performance when running the Movies Game.
Sometime the texture won't show up? Or the Models has a darkening thing going on? Normals are in the wrong direction. Normals tell the program which way the face is pointed. A bad cheat is to have faces double sided, or to have a face show the image on both of its sides. But this is bad. Double siding a face should be used to make walls visible on both sides. But not as a fix.
You can see normals in 3D window with a button. I rarely use it and it's not needed to manipulate or edit them. But you can see them with a click of a button.
Your 3D models use images to give an outward appearance. These image files are in .DDS format. If a mesh is imported after being extracted by MED, it should also import the texture it uses. This depends on if the (.MSH) was in the data/mashes folder and the image was in the data/textures folder. Moving the files will stop the image import. You will see the image in the UVMap window. Or with this window you can simply load in another image. Also, when you go into edit mode, and then select some of the model's faces, the uvmap of that face will appear in the UVMap window. The map can be moved around. Or repositioned. Later I will describe how to make new uvmaps or more then one uvmap... and how to make one from scratch.
Much of the information you will need to learn will be what conditions must exist to allow a model to export into the Movies Game. The script will attempt to do the job regardless of how ready the project is. Fortunately we have the Preflight Script which will go over your project and find what is wrong or still "needs to be".
It is possible to convert a game model to a Movies game model. You may have your favorite game character and want to use it in a movie. Once you have the object in Blender, the best way to convert it is to append the items you need from an existing project. Any one or several objects can be appended from another Blend file. There are two ways to use appending. You can append the armature from another costume, resize the character object to be the same size of the armature and then give the costume weights that the armature will need to move it. Then add a empty pivot. Then parent the costume to the armature, and parent the armature to the empty. From there give the empty a name with a number. "00" without the quotes will do. Double zeros works. Then add the empty called 00 to a new Blend group. Name the Blend group also "00" without the quotes. (has to be the same name). Then add the costume object to the Blend group. The costume needs a material with the tex box renamed to "diffuse". Give the diffuse an image setting and select the texture for that image reference. Then run the Preflight.
Or you could follow the opposite direction. Import a Movies Game costume. Delete the costume object but keep the armature and the empty pivot. Next append the new game costume object and change its size (scale) to the same size of the armature. (Make sure to clear apply scale rotation to it once resized). Next give it a proper material with the right name settings as just mentioned. Give the object the weight groups. These weight groups must have the names that the armature's bones possess. Add the object to the already existing Blend group. Then parent the costume object to the armature. In this case there is already an empty pivot and there is already a Blend group.
When I get to it I will add more and more picks, and additional tips about Blender. The hard part is learning where all the buttons are. Once you are familiar with all of Blender's functions, the work becomes fast and fun. In the future I will provide tips on projecting uvmaps. How to film and export movies in Blender. How to bake textures. Even how to use some weight group tricks to achieve "Beyond the Bone" movement and make it look natural.
Importing A Movies 3D Model (.MSH) Into Blender3D
Once you install The Movies 2009 (.MSH) Scripts the next thing is to start using them. The following tutorial describes how to extract a game model using MED, and then import it into Blender. The tutorial is specific to The Movies, but it is the step that most modders for other games would use as well. Namely, you would extract a game model from the game, then use an import script to import it into Blender. Your other game would need an import script specifically designed for your game's models. Which won't be the one used in the tutorial. Fortunately for Movies game modders, the script was released by DcModding.Tutorial - Importing Game Models Into Blender
If you have models from a different game the best advice for finding a Blender import script is to first know your game's model file tag. For The Movies it's (.MSH). In this case I would google "Blender import script .msh" or "Blender Import script The Movies". You may have to do some searching and asking of forums as well.
Basic Prop Tutorial
In this tutorial is how to create the easiest type of game model, as far as work load is concerned. A Prop has, or can, have only one object, one material and one empty. Those are very fast to add or create. You could create this model in less then a minute. There is a video tutorial with it.
The steps are:
The tutorial aims at revealing the process of developing something in Blender and getting it into the game. Also shows that there are requirements for the project for it to be exported.Basic Prop Making Tutorial
Another Installment. The UVMAP and Bake Function.
Here is some notes about making a UVMap and Baking a new texture image. The process is about how you want the object to utilize the texture image. UVmaps reveal what verts are where on the image. New objects do not have them yet and need to be made. Imported game models often have them (The Movies Game Models will have them). And if they have them you can either move it in the UVMap window. Or in the following case, we will just make a new one, and forget the old one.
1st I will take some picks of edges being selected and then giving those edges a seam assignment. Those edges will turn orange in the 3D window. 2nd to have all of the model's verts selected. 3rd, click a button called UVMap Unwrap. 4th, Arrange it in the UVMap Window to how I want it. 5th, add some lamps all around the costume object. 6th, Add materials to the object and change the color of the materials. The color of the materials will be the colors of the image that will get baked later. 7th, in edit mode select only the verts I want to have a given color, and by clicking a button called assign. 8, Click on the object so it is selected, and then go into the buttons window and find a button called "Bake". 9 - Click the Bake button and see the results over the image. 10 - save the image as a new texture. Blender does not save images in (.DDS) format that the Movies Game requires. So it will have to be loaded into a Paint Program and then saved in (.DDS) format.
Seams are the borders of the UVMaps we create. Select an edge, and most likely a whole bunch of edges, then select "MESH" button (next to mode box), popup menu, select Edge. Select Mark Seam. Or the easy way is to use a hotkey popup window. CTRL + E and the top should be Mark Seam. You can also clear a seam that was misplaced. Or if you no longer need anymore seems, select all verts and select Clear Seam.
That is Select "Mesh" button, then select "Edge" from menu, then "Mark Seam."
Once the UVMap has been unwrapped in the UVMap window, it may be any which way. I will find the two portions of the legs and put them side by side. I will get the chest and the back and put them side by side. Same with the hands and feet. Looks better that way but not real important. It is easier to add further details in a paint program that way. Like a superheroes symbol on the chest.
There are other ways to Unwrap the map. For other purposes. Some will not require a seam to be made. Project from view is good for walls. Once the view in 3D window is facing head on (for a wall object), then you could select "Project From View". Then it will appear over a brick image in UVMap window. Now the object is a brick wall. In this example I will just use the regular unwrap choice.
You can see the UVMap in the UVWindow and I have arranged it in the order I like.
Click To Enlarge
It will need an image to bake on. Blender will make one with the click of a couple buttons.
The size is important. 1024x1024 is the best and is chosen by default. You could also choose 512x512 (Standard Movies Game costume size). Most important is the 4x4 multiplier. 32x32 or 64x64 or 128x128, or 256x256, or 512x512. Even 512x256 or 1024x256 (which backdrops are).
The black square is a blank image. A button in UVMap window would show it's alpha if you wanted it to. But its not important right now. (Being lazy and this is for newbies).
The "New" button in the buttons window will add a new material to the object. Make sure the object is selected first. You can choose the color of the material by clicking on the color box and a popup window appears. These colors will be baked into the new image. In edit mode you can select several verts, then down in buttons window select the assign button. That part of the object, where the verts were selected, will now have that color appearance. For another color, add a new material, then select different verts, then assign those to the new material.
Click the color box for a popup color picker
Click To Enlarge
As mentioned earlier, the bake will need to a have a smooth factor. Just because we clicked the "Set Smooth" button does not insure the bake will be smooth. Use the numbers below the Auto-Smooth button. I do not press the button. I just set the numbers below it to a higher setting. Set the numbers below to 80.0 to make sure the bake is smooth. If you are baking hard surfaces, like a robot body, then you won't need the smooth. Leave it alone in that case. For a spandex appearance, set smooth to max.
Here is an important note. Blender doesn't like materials that were created during the import. And if the object already had a uvmap with an image, we can not use these. It also may be a black square is the image. That happens when the (.MSH) file was imported while not being in a location the scripts wanted. Or the texture was missing in the data/textures folder. It's not needed, and maybe the uvmap or materials you had no intention of editing. Blender created a dummy image on such a case. This topic requires that we are editing the materials. In the example pictures I used the cos_m_50s_und.msh file. First thing I did was delete the material. And the second thing I did was rid the image file. (Actually I have the object saved in a .Blend file with no materials or images saved to it. And here I just appended it for the examples.) Which is what I needed. If you are using an object already found in the game, make sure you delete the materials before adding new ones. And make sure the bake is over a newly created image (and not an image that was imported).
Light shines brightly on a new material. So we need to turn down the specular of the material. Here is a pic where you would edit the numbers. In buttons window everything is a slider, but if you aim the mouse skillfully over the name, it will become a number you can change instead of a slider. In this case, I changed the SPEC to 0.08.
Oops, Specular, not spacular.
There are several types of lamps. They each have settings that can be adjusted. But the default settings will be fine for this task. As long as the lamps are not too far away or too close to the costume body object. The idea is to have light hit every side of the costume from all angles. 6 lamps will do. Above, below, in front, behind, the left and right. The 3D cursor is where a Lamp will appear when you add one to the scene. You will also see in the outliner window the Lamp object name. Lamp's visibility can be turned on or off as well. One trick is to use the "Make A Double" function with the lamps. Once you add a lamp, you can hit SHIFT + D key to make a double and then move it to the other side of the costume.
But pretend I said "Lamp" instead of "Camera". Cameras will also appear where the 3D cursor is.
Whatever object that is having a texture baked on, or with, or to, must be selected first. Then in the buttons window you may not see at first the bake button. There is a tab shared with "Bake" which is called "Format". Instead of format select the "Bake". Now a big BAKE button is shown. Next to this button is a stack of smaller buttons. These fine tune the baking process. We want "Full Render." At the bottom is a button called clear. It may be you are baking a texture several times over, in which case you would leave "Clear" or unclicked. But for a one time bake, or if you do not like the outcome you can do it again, (as many times as you want.) Hit "Clear" button and every time you do a bake, it will overwrite the last one. Perhaps you find the lamps are too close or too far or you need to change the color of the light the lamps are giving off, or need to add more lamps or less lamps. In such cases you can do another bake.
You will see the results in the UVMAP Window. You can also see the new texture over the costume model by selecting the Texture Paint mode. Actually there are a great many ways to see the texture over the model. If you had a camera facing the scene you could hit the F12 key to render a frame. Or you can use a small floating popup menu called the "View Properties Menu". Either way you can see the result. Since, in this case, I still have the colored materials over the model, the result doesn't look that much different then the model's assigned colors.
The next step would be to save the new image. Chose a file type and a location to save it at. Unfortunately Blender does not save images as (.DDS) format. It will save it as a (.PNG) and in a paint program you can convert it to a (.DDS) file.
You can draw over the model and have the brush strokes saved on the image. Every time you draw on the model, you will see the texture image also get drawn on. If you do not like the last brush stroke then you can press the image-reload image button (in the uvmap window). If you like the new appearance then you can save the image over the last save. Be careful and make a backup if you need one.
As with any project make sure you save your work often. Blender will make a backup of your last save every time you update the save. It is in the location of your .Blend file. But it will have a number in it. (.1blend). You can tell Blender that you want several backups. As many as you want I think.
In this example it was as if a new costume was being made and there would be a few more steps to make this costume one you can export. Since a new UVMap was made, the texture you baked would only work with this model (this costume), which means you need the object as the costume. Movies Game costumes do not have more then one material. You would then delete all the colored ones you made, or just delete all but one. Then use the last one as the one the game will need. Or if you deleted them all, make a new official material the game will need. The last or new material will need to have texture names before you export it. I will post more pics and tell you how when I get to it.
On the other hand perhaps you just want to make new textures for existing Movies Game models and don't need the costume object. An example would be a Body Paint, or a skin color for a latex head. Or another color option for any of the game's costumes. In that case you would not make a new uvmap but use the one the model already has. But that presents a problem. Movies Game costume textures share space on the images. The arms share the same part of the image. The hands and feet also share the same part of the image. And when you set up your cameras and material colors, then hit the Bake button, the hands feet and arms bake twice, one on top of each other and often this will mess up the image. If you were doing that, I would delete one of the hands, one of the feet and one of the arms. Then that portion of the image will only get baked once. Or you could set the new image size to 1024x1024, Then 'scale' the uvmap back down to 50% the size. Move the UVMAP to the top left of the image. Then move the portion of the uvmap for the second hand, second foot and second arm off to the side. when you save the image, in a paint program, you can crop the top left side of the image (25% of the image). As long as no uvmap overlaps another part of the uvmap.
Tip: When scaling an object, or a UVMAP, if you hold down CTRL button you will see some numbers at the bottom that will tell you by how much you are growing or shrinking the item. CTRL button will scale in increments. When you get to 50% then you can stop easily. If you needed a very slow increase or decrease, you could hold down the shift key during scaling. Also when moving the uvmap, you can hit the "G" (Grab) button, then hit the "Y" button to confine the movement to up and down. With CTRL button pressed it will move up or down in increments. "X" for left and right increments. Blender allows for very clever and precise editing, but how to do it is not easily seen. But once you know the tricks, Modeling 3D objects becomes easy.
The above information is just a smattering of Blender functions and tricks. Once you know some of the basics, it will be a cinch to know where to look for the rest.
The most important part will be giving your new Movies Game mod only the necessary items it needs, the names everything needs to happen. What needs to be parented to what. Fortunately there is a tool that will let you know if you've covered the basics. It is called the Pre-Flight script. You run it from the scripts window. You would change any window into a scripts window. A button on the bottom will be called "Scripts" and will bring up a popup menu. From it select "Misc.". Another menu pops up here and you will select "Movies Preflight". A browser window will load then and will list off all of the requirements. If there is a problem with something, it will tell you what still needs work. Later I will detail more of that information when I get to it. And will also add even more pics to stuff already discussed.
How to use the "Extrude" function
Hotkey "E" - for extrude. Any selected verts will get doubled and you can move them to a new location in 3D space. These verts will be connected to the old selected verts, with faces even.
In this picture I added a cylinder object. Went into edit mode. Deleted the vert that made the wall end. Then selected the open edge. Now press "E" for extrude. (You don't have to delete the vert, all faces will continue to remain using Extrude. Try it both ways. Just an open edge and also a closed object.)
Erase everything. Fastest way is up to File button, then select New. Or Hotkey CTRL + X.
First I found an image of a weapon online. One photographed from the side view. Then I loaded it into a paint program and made sure the canvas size was 1024x512. A multiple of 4s which Blender will need or it will grind to a halt trying to render the sucker. If Blender freezes then make sure the image you use is the proper size. Blender will eventually (if it doesn't crash that is) catch up. But stop this mess immediately. Better to close the program, fix the image and start again with the proper sized image. If Blender won't even close use Task Manager to close the program. The newbie mistakes will never happen if you know what to do in advance.
Next loaded the background image I downloaded online. This is done in the 3D Window using the 'View' button at the bottom. Selected 'Back Ground Image'.
A popup menu. Click 'Use', then the 'Load' button. Navigate to the image (adjusted in a paint program). Select it. The image shows up but may be too large to use. At least for me, I use the size setting to shrink it down a bit. Also it may be see through. The Blend slider tells how visible it is.
Holding down CTRL key while using middle mouse wheel as a button, will spin the view into a locked axis view. This is very important and handy. Many adjustments must be made while the view is looking head on along an axis. Either top down, left side or right side. Front side or back side.
When using a back ground image, it will only become visible when you snap the view along an axis. This means, in this case, the grid floor is completely flat at the center on the screen. Also make sure you are not at a 45 degree angle (meaning at least one of the axis lines faces you and looks like just a dot and not a line).
If you move the view, which you will do from time to time, snap back into locked position along an axis using the CTRL + Mouse Wheel Button maneuver.
I added a cube object. At top next to File is a button called "ADD". From the drop down menu I selected MESH, then Selected CUBE. Any object you add will be added wherever the 3D curser happens to be.
In edit mode move the cube to some starting positions. Place the verts where you need them.
After selected the edge I want to move outward I hit Hotkey "E" for Extrude. Then I hit the "Y" key to force its movement to move out along the Y axis. When I get to the end I further move the verts into better position.
Oops, other end.
Next I added another cube in edit mode. When adding another object and being in edit mode, the new object will be in edit mode too. Position it to be at the handle. Selected the bottom edge (face) and extruded it downward.
Now I choose the clip to be made. Add another cube object in edit mode, place it at the area of the clip. Pick the bottom face and extrude it several times to produce a curved effect.
The game already has an AK47 and I don't want to marry this thing. It was fine for showing how to extrude objects into place.
The texture making can go in different directions here. Once you get good at baking, you can just make your own out of the 3D model, and with materials. They can even have a metal shine. But you could also use the same image we sculpted around. In the UV Window the image can be selected. Just to show it is possible to use it, I will use a "Project From View" uv unwrap.
Here is another way you can create a UVMap. Project from view in 3D Space. Position the view to be sideways as in the picture. Then select "Mesh" and choose UV Unwrap. Then Select "Project From View".
In the UVmap window, you can scale the map to fit the image. Once the Map lines up with the image we used, then we can see the result on the model.
Making Materials for your new 3D objects.
Following is some pics that will describe these steps: One object needs one material. And in the materials (F6) buttons give it a named block in the stack. (Which at first will be called TEX). Rename TEX to Diffuse. At far right select an image. Thatís it.
Any object can share a material with another object. You can assign existing materials to new objects in the F5 buttons menu. But every object needs one. Another important note is that objects ONLY have one material. If an object has more then one then delete the extra ones.
Before I create a material from scratch, I will show you an existing material that is imported into the game.
Using MED (The Movies Game Editor) you can extract the games 3D (.MSH) files individually. Here I extracted the gorilla costume. When you extract a 3D model from TM there are 2 types of files extracted: The Mesh file (.MSH) and the image file the model uses (.DDS). When extracted using MED the folder's and their proper locations are created. As long as you do not move the files found within these folders, importing the model will also import the image file.
The material of the gorilla object already exist and set up properly. Named properly. Materials for the Movies Game do not need to function in Blender as they do in the Game. However the script is intuitive. If a model is a window having alpha (see through), the material will also have it set in Blender. F12 key (when a camera is present and pointing at it) will render the scene and you can see through the window. F6 will activate the buttons window for the materials. At least what we need to edit to make them work in the Movies Game.
In the following pic you will see the TEX boxes have been set to four names. Image files get attach to each name. The gorilla only has an image attached to the Diffuse block. Other objects will have more image files.
So lets start with a brand new scene. The following example will turn a cube object into a prop. Mainly I want to show you what happens when we add a new material to an object.
This cube has just been created. In Materials Buttons window (F6) it is blank because there is no material yet. F6 is actually the textures button window but requires a material. F5 is the actual materials button and is right next to the textures window. You can click on the "Add New" button to give the cube a new material. Or if one was created earlier or was imported earlier, you can click on the little arrows next to the button and select it from a popup window. Here there isn't an extra material yet. You can also go into the Editing Buttons F9 menu and create one there.
The cube will change color in the 3D Window because materials have a color setting. For Movies Game exported models, the color will not matter in the least. The game just needs to know there is a material and what the conditions are. For the gorilla costume, it is just a material that has a TEX block called Diffuse containing the image of the (.DDS) file. Go into the F6 menu. The block at the left has no image in it. There is a stack of empty name blocks. These need to be changed.
Here we need to let Blender know that an image file is used with the Cube object. Right now there isn't an image file or texture yet. In a previous example I showed you how to bake one. Here we will do the same. And this time we will unwrap the UVMap with Smart Projections. In 3D Window, click "MESH" button, Then select "Unwrap" from popup menu. Then select Smart Projections. When the final buttons popup shows up, just click "OK". At the far right (in the UV Window) the uvmap consist of 6 square faces evenly distributed over the entire area.
Now we need to create an image to bake on. Click "Image" button (in the UV Window), Then Select "NEW." It can be left at 1024 x 1024 since we don't actually need this. Just for now.
In the Scenes Buttons Window F10 - find the bake tab and click it. This will reveal a giant "BAKE" button. Before you click it, at the right of this button is a stack on smaller buttons. Click the one called "Normals". We don't need lamps to bake normals. Now click BAKE button.
All we need is an image in Blender we can use. We did not need to bake it, but it is a fast way to do it. The image was newly created a few steps ago and is called "Untitled". That will be its name in Blender's memory. You could have imported the gorilla's image texture (which is called: gorilla_x0_v00.dds). But the object will need a UVMap and we made one. The material will need an image assigned to it and now we have the image.
Now let's go back into the Material Texture Buttons Window. (F6) Now click on the "Add New" button. The block in the first stack has just changed and is now called "Tex". It wants something here but first we will rename it.
Click on the "TE: Tex" to change it's name. The Movies Game needs this block to be called "Diffuse". The Movies Game materials have 3 more Blocks on the stack further named "Reflection" "Lightmap" "Specular". But if you do not have images for these then you do not need to do this. The base texture just needs the Diffuse block and the rest will get written to the mesh upon export.
Not needed here but the further steps you could take for other objects would require more images. A Lightmap is another image file which tells the game if the object had any shadows on it. Or if it was in day time or night time. A set has hundreds of objects sharing just one lightmap image. If you had that image then you would rename the third block to "Lightmap" and then the image assigned to it would be the lightmap image. Sometimes a window has a reflection on it. There are a few files in the game that resemble the reflection found on a window when looking at it. Like an office window or a windshield of a car. When materials have these, whenever the camera moves, the reflection would shift and roll across it, simulating what reflections do. Specular is yet another image sometimes found in different Movies Game stuff which gives the surface a different kind of appearance.
But lets just say, as in the case of the gorilla costume, that only the Diffuse texture was used. The export script will take care of the rest of the blocks in the stack, the reflection, lightmap and specular. You can also make these manually and would need to for objects that require them. A nice script to make would be a python script that would automatically write these blocks for you. (Could even turn on alpha and other settings if they were needed).
After the TEX has been renamed to Diffuse, we need to assign it the image we baked a second ago. Just to the right is a button called "NONE". Click it for a popup menu and select "Image". Now at the far right is a button called load. You could load an image you had made earlier in a paint program. But we already made one when we baked the normals. Next to the load button is a tiny arrows up arrows down button. Click that and all of the images already in Blender's memory will popup. Select "Untitled" which so far is the name for it. If we had saved the new image as something else then that name would show up here.
At the far left the preview window now shows the image that was selected. If there had been a light map image, clicking on that block in the stack would show the lightmap image at left. But there is no lightmap image and we did not make a lightmap name block in the stack.
That's all a material needs to be exported with the model. One object needs one material. And in the materials buttons give it a named block in the stack. (Which at first will be called TEX). Rename TEX to Diffuse. At far right select an image. Thatís it.
Sometimes in a project materials can be created and no longer needed. Sometimes we do not want the material already in use by the object we imported. There are cases when unneeded objects that used to exist and have been deleted also had their own materials. When objects get deleted, their materials are still around. How do we get rid of materials we no longer need?
The preflight script will tell us when the project has unused materials. Also when you select from memory, you can still see old materials hanging around. You could export the model with the extra materials but this makes the file larger then it needs to be. We do not need them. Blender is like an elephant. It really never ever forgets anything. Its great power can at times be its great curse. But there is a trick to get rid of them.
The secret Blender trick is simply saving the project 3 times and loading it 3 times. This means you save the project as a blend file. Then start over CTRL + X. Or File - NEW. Then open the project again. Do it again. Save it and load it. And one more time, save it and load it. Strange, right? Hotkey fast way: CTRL + S, then F1, then ENTER. And 3 times. What does this do? Forces Blender to Bleeping forget something we told it to but it did not want to forget. This clears out Blender's memory of unused items.
Most of the time. Sometimes a material WON'T go away. Sometimes a deleted object is still somehow in Blender's memory. You can see it in the OOPS window. What do we do then? Another trick. Sometimes I give stuff temporary existence again just to export it. Then reimport it and delete the item again. That is the very last fail safe. If that doesn't work then you will have to call an Exorcist. Blender has such power that sometimes only the hand of Jesus can overcome it. If an exorcist doesn't work then you can start a new project an append from the old .Blend file all of the parts that is normal. And leaving out the item that is confusing Blender's evil memory.
Armatures, Weight Groups, And The Parent/Child Relationship
Armatures consist of a collection of Bones that are invisible in the Game, but not in Blender. These bones move objects that are parented to them. The child objects being moved know to move with the bones because they each have weight groups. The weight groups consist of a select number of verts assigned to a given weight group. Weight groups can be edited in Blender's Edit Mode. And the Bones can be moved in Blender's Pose Mode.
In the tutorial you can learn how to create a new Barbell prop, which has 3 bones. Barbells have 3 scenes in the Movies Game. They are not selectable in scenes, so you can't change one into another barbell. You will have to make new scenes to use new barbells. At the end of the tutorial is another tutorial describing how to use FLM Reader Zero to make a new scene for a new barbell. And it is very easy.
You do not have to actually export a new mod or barbell, and you do not have to make a new scene in order to participate with the tutorial. Its main purpose is to show you what is going on with 3D models possessing an armature. There are a ton of pictures describing every step and also a video at the end showing how easy it is to do the steps described.Barbell Tutorial.
Another Lightmap Tutorial
How to bake the entire light map at once using Blender. And there is a video aid.Baking LightMaps In Blender
There was another tutorial for lightmaps but this one may be more noob friendly.
Using The Append Function
During a Blender session we can get items we saved to other .blend files. A very handy tool for making sets or auto-animated props. You could eventually have whole libraries of .blend files to append from. So I made a two part tutorial showing how handy it could be.
Part 1 is also a tutorial for making an auto animated prop. (Ones that move on the set). It isn't 'the' way to make them, because there are several, but it is 'one' way to make them. It will show how to use a human costume, give it a head, and turn the whole thing into a prop.
Using Append Function Part 1
Using Append Function Part 2
Here is a brief description of each type of model's prerequisites. You can see these prerequisites in the outliner window.
What models are found in the Movies Game?
Prop Objects. They are placed on the studio lot or are set dressings. The easiest to make in Blender. They require an Empty Pivot (exp: 00.00), A Blend group (which has the same name as the pivot, exp 00.00), The object itself (exp: Object.00), A material, A UVMAP, And the map projected over an Image Texture. In buttons window, the material needs to be defined as what kind, and what kind is the image texture. And all objects must be children of the empty pivot.
Auto-Animated Props. These move. Like the horse you place as a set dressing. Or the dog. You can make human costumes into these. Probably the hardest to make as it requires the most work (Mainly outside of Blender). Otherwise it is just like a costume (If it is human). As above, An Empty Pivot (exp: 00.00), A Blend group (exp: 00.00), An armature (which is the child of the pivot), And object, which is the dog or horse or human. An armature (exp: 507812352) which is the parent of the object. An armature is what moves the prop. The Object must have weight groups. The Object must have weight groups which tell the object how the armature will move it. The objects must have a material, and the material must be defined in buttons window. An image texture that the material is looking for. And Objects must have a UVMAP which is projected over the texture image. Armatures never need to be added to a group, but all pivots and objects do.
Sets. Sets are a collection of objects that give the appearance of a setting. A forest or a house. Most all sets have a backdrop object. It doesn't have to but the game's sets all have one. Sets usually have more then one pivot empty and more then one Blend group. All objects that are children of the pivots share the same blend group that belongs to that pivot. The objects of the set. Up to this point, they are just like props, as the objects all have uvmaps and materials and texture images for them. But sets also have layers. A layer is found in Blender and separates types of objects which have different functionality. A custom set may not have any layers and extra functioning objects but good ones do. In 3D window you can move between the 3D view of extra layers. There are objects that define where an actor can stand on the set. If an actor walks up a stair case, there is an object that will tell the actor how high on the set to walk up and down, otherwise they would go into the stairs. There is also a pivot for where the sidewalk connects to the set on the studio lot. The last layer contains 'Shape' objects. No one yet knows what these shapes do. I wonder if it a way to degrade the model to a lesser time of rendering. As the camera moves away from the set on the lot, the set may revert to a state of just basic appearance. And these shapes may be the screen in which it does so. But I could be wrong about it. Sets may also have an armature, like the shower curtain in the bathroom set. Sets also have lightmap images. These lightmaps are just like the other image files in .dds format. But an extra uvmap is added to them and the material also has a setting which reference the object to the light map. Lightmap uvmaps are called, with capitals: LightMap, instead of the regular UVMap.
Sets have another file to make them work in the game found in the data\meshes\extrainfo folder. They have the same name as the set. For instance set_stage.msh will have in the subfolder set_stage.inf. Sets must have this extra file to be removed or moved on the studio lot. Also other set data becomes active with this inf file. There is another lightmap image not found in blender a set uses, and the type of extrainfo file the set uses decides how this other lightmap image cast light over the set. You could experiment but changing a set's extrainfo file (INF) and watch the lightmaps have a different location over the model during game play. Another feature of some inf files is a call to another of the game's 3D mesh files. The skybox. A skybox is like a backdrop but seen in all directions. You don't see the sky box on the studio lot. there is one but it belongs only to the studio lot. That's the object showing the Hollywood sign on the hill, or the water and beach down the street from the gate. City street sets and mini city street sets use such a skybox object. It is called with the extra info file (inf) and you can change its appearance in Blender. I have made several custom skyboxes for sets and had to use DCModding's hex editor templates to have a new one called. DCModding was going to add (.INF) support with the next release of the Python scripts but since DCModding closed, this has most likely been abandoned. Such a sad loss.
Sets also have doors which open and close. or can have them. The pivot to which they are parented to is the key function (as well as the extra info file for it). But if you rearrange the numbers of the pivot empties then they can suddenly lose their functionality. If you, for instance, deleted an earlier group and pivot, then added later ones, then on export everything will get renamed and renumbered and the extra info file looks to the actual number in a name to know what to do. If it doesn't find it then nothing happens. Doors won't open, or the wrong door opens because it's group and pivot was named to an earlier deleted one. There for when using an original Movies Game set, be sure to not delete any groups. Just use the groups provided for the set. Even if no objects are parented to the empty pivots. Another important group to sets and facilities is the land group. This has functionality in script writing and on studio lot. Again if these numbers change then there functionality suffers too. The land group allows the camera to move out further so keep it. You can change it's texture to a blank transparent one if it bothers you.
Update: The extra functions in the extra layers of sets have to be made of tris not quads. When making a new zhieght, be sure that it is made of triangles. The script breaks the quads of these into 2 triangles and always ends up loosing one triangle. So a character may walk across the set and suddenly sink into the floor at that part. Be sure to convert all quads into tris (Only in the extra layers) before export. Here is how to view the other layers:
Use the little grid buttons to move between layers. In buttons/groups window you can set an object's layer
Costumes. What actors wear. There are two kinds of these. Ones with heads and ones without. (I'm lying, there is a 3rd type not used by the player unless they use an unlocker for them, such as the crew members or the sensei.) They have an empty pivot (exp: 00.00), A Blend group with the same name as the pivot. An armature (exp: 507812352) which the costume objects are children of. Also the armature moves or animates the costume objects. The objects, having materials, uvmaps projected over texture images. Material settings that know there is an image being used and how. And the objects have weight groups. Weight groups define how the armature moves the costume. The arm portion of the object will have groups called: arm_l, forearm_l, hand_l, fingers_1, fingers2_l, thumb_1, thumb2_l. All objects are children of the armature and the armature is the child of the empty pivot. Armatures do not need to be added to the Blend group but all objects and pivots must be added to the Blend group.
From Blender costumes require files to become available to the game. The costume objects and color options are assemble in the .COS file (Use DeadSane's CosEd to make one). Found in the data/costumes/data folder. Next a .INI with the same name as the .cos file. This is the conditions of the selectivity for the costume in the game. And then that name must be entered into a costume category .INI file also found in the "data/costume" folder. A .dds thumbnail is optional and found in the "data/textures/thumbs/costume" folder. When saving a custom costume in wardrobe room, a thumbnail for it is generated and saved to your computer's "documents/themovies/customcostumes" folder in .DDS format. You can copy this image and rename the copy to the same name you entered into the category ini file, and then place it where the thumbnails go.
Facilities. They are found on the studio lot to hire employees or write scripts or for all the studio's functions. You can make your own. They are very much like sets (they even have their thumbnails in the same folder as the sets). With shape objects (which is why I think the shapes are specific to the studio lot), Several empty pivots and several blend groups. In the extra layers you can find the facilities extra functions (the blue floor you see in game play) There is a bug here in the export. The scripts, upon import break all quad faces into two triangle faces. For instance the said of a building may be one square face, but upon import the same side of the building becomes two connected triangles. Now upon export back into the game, the triangles are merged back into squares. When you make custom room objects for facilities, they break upon the export. Triangles don't turn back into quads but instead loose half of their face. If you are appending any of these from another facility then do not alter them as they will break upon export. The workaround is to break the quads you make for these into triangles before you export. Be sure the objects in the extra layers are tris and not quads. Moving on, facilities have more then one appearance and function on the studio lot. The first is just cosmetics, to look like a facility, the next being what the facility actually does, which is in the extra layers in Blender. These become functional depending on the .INF file associated with it. Since .INF support never came to fruition for the scripts, we can only use .inf files from facilities that already exist. Right now you can only make more facilities that do what original facilities do, but without the time restrictions the originals have.
I will lessen the descriptions from here on as this should be a quick reference. And I've covered most of what something is for.
Accessories. Costume options. Such as a pistol holster, or a tie. generally these objects mesh files have the title acc_ in front of them. Their texture files are located in the subfolder of data\textures\accessories. Now texture subfolders keep things tidy. There are some locations that do matter, such as the thumbs and at times the extra color option for costumes, but in the end it is just to keep things tidy. You could make a set into a costume and watch it walk around on the studio lot. That's silly but the textures will load just find. And accessory will 95% of the time use an armature to move them. They have an empty pivot, an armature, and the object parented to the armature. The object has a uvmap projected over an image. And a material defining how the image is used. And the objects have weight groups which define how the armature moves it.
Hats. Hat objects are worn on the head, but may not have an armature to move it. This is because the .cos file (which compiles all the stuff for a costume) has it's own setting for hats called an anchor. You would set the anchor to 'hairline', and the hat will move every which way the head moves. On the other hand, a hat hides hair. One of the scripts DCModding released for Blender was the property IDs. These are flags which are activated with a one or deactivated with a zero. 1 for on and 0 for off. Now I have never actually tested this yet. But I think the way a hat hides hair is by an object in another layer called collision. It is at where the hat would hide the hair. And there is a flag called 'Hide Hair'. There is the empty pivot, a Blend group, and an Object that has a material, and a uvmap projected over an image.
Gears and Such. Costumes can have lots of options. Much like accessories and hats, they are extra items that can have armatures like accessories do, or no armature like hats and move with the anchor setting. See accessories for details.
More specific is the Ring objects. Rings are obviously found on the finger and are worn by just about every costume. And right there is it's benefit. Because anything can be made into a ring. And if you wanted an object to be used by every costume then that is how you would do it. They are numbered with a _v00 at the end, or a _v01. They end maybe at _v04 or _v05. If you added another one it would have to end with a _v06 or it won't show up. If you have more installed you would have to find where the numbers end and then add an addition to the new one. You may have to look with MED (the movies editor) to find out what the next one is since you may not have any in your data\meshes folder. It's there but actually found in the game compression files. You would have to manually add them if you want different ones. Why add more? You could add a hand held sword. I have made a hand held sword that shows up as an extra ring. Magical hand blast as rings. Rings have an empty pivot. An armature. A ring object, that has a weight group called fingers_l or fingers_r depending on what hand it is worn. But a costume object could have different ones. It has a material with a setting referencing the .dds textures using it. A UVMap projected over a texture image.
Latex Heads. These are also worn by most costumes. There are very specific details to a latex head and you may want to visit the latex head page (link above) to find out about them. Being a head requires a lot of extra work. One detail is that they have a flag set in the ID Properties menu. A flag called 'Hide Head'. It is set to one. Because any star maker head your actor uses needs to be turned off or the two heads will be used at the same time. You don't want that. Latex Heads, like rings are numbered and a new one needs to follow the originals. Beside all the extra details, they are much like costumes (that are only heads). They have an empty pivot. A blend group. And armature. Objects. Weight groups. Materials. Uvmaps. Image files.
There is also a bunch of objects found in the folders that the game uses for it's own purposes. Such as a build object. Lp replacements. Special effects. Weather objects. Sidewalk. Plants (which can be props). Floating icons. You can edit them all and add more as you see fit. I once changed the laser effect for a Thor hammer to shoot like lightning instead of a light beam. But this overwrote the laser beam and needs to be reverted back. I tried to find the call for the sf object in the extra info file but missed it. It may not be there. It may be the game is hard coded to use these objects. Sometimes an ini file tells the game to use mesh files for specific purposes. I altered the litter ini file to call mushrooms instead of trash so that whenever someone tosses a bottle on the studio lot, a mushroom would grow in its place until a junky janitor came along and harvested it. Also staff would slip on it like a banana peel.
Cars. These are scene usable or as a set dressing. often it is a lot ornament. There are two types you will find. One with an armature and one without an armature. I believe the game appends weights from a car that has an armature. otherwise how could a car without an armature crash and get banged up, even though it has no armature? You can do weight transfers from a car that has weights to a custom car you made. I have done both but don't know which way I prefer. The most important part of cars is the pivots. Pivots not only act like group containers but also to animate it's various parts. The wheels move because the game continually rotates the wheel pivot. The steering wheel turns because it's pivot is moved in the game. Doors open with these same pivots. In a four door car you will find many pivot empties, four for doors, a back wheel pivot, two front wheel pivots, a steering wheel pivot, and also another pivot for the car's body. Each has there own child objects. The objects have uvmaps projected over image files, and they each have materials. Sometimes they have armatures and in such a case the objects will have weight groups.
Minis. Mini cars, mini helicopters. Mini space ships. A mini car has an empty pivot, and armature, and object, and image file and weight groups. Uvmap. Materials. Mini helis have a pivot for the propellers. Other are the same but maybe no weight groups and an armature. Space minis are detailed. They have a special effect item. that moves with another object (the rear jets). Where ever a special effect pivot is placed on an object will be where that special effect shows up during animation. Here is a trick. These pivots can be scaled to produce much larger versions of itself.
Large helicopters are very similar to their mini counter parts. They might have an extra pivot for the rear rotor. The large space trans is also much like it's mini counter part.
Weapons. They animate by the pivot they are parented to. But also they often have a special effect. All special effects do not function unless the mesh file has the sister inf file in the subfolder. And you must get the right one for the right effect for it to work. They can't mix and match, but would that be cool if all weapons shared the extrainfo file that knew what each weapon required? Would save a lot of headache. The special effect moves with the weapon. Special effect pivots can be scaled to produce larger or smaller versions of the same effect. There is an empty pivot and a blend group. An object which has a uvmap projected over an image. A material. Also a special effect pivot which can be moved depending on what kind of weapon you are designing.
I haven't tested it yet, but I made a flying mini robot that fires a cannon. The idea was to make it an auto animated prop that uses the human costume animation to move it. It's still in Blender for now. Human animation weapon files contain also the data to animate the weapons and it's positions. Not just the human poses. What stopped me half way was realizing that even though it would move, the special effect would have to be activated by a scene file which doesn't occur with auto-animated props. Not a big deal. I could still make custom scenes for it. A scene that naturally puts the actor in an invisible costume. But it's becoming a larger project now. Then I thought why not have more effects being used by the costume portion? Haven't come up with any yet and the project is on hold for now.
Horses and Dogs. The game has several animal objects. Of course the auto-animated ones, but also objects called in scenes. They have a pivot empty. An armature, each with it's own unique version. And objects parented to them. The objects have materials and uvmaps projected over images. Weight groups. A Blend group.
There are also other animal objects you won't find in the game. Easter egg items never developed further or where abandoned. Or were waiting for addons. A giant ant prop. Cow props. You can unlock these by making your own scenes for them. Gleem had made a pack of auto-animated cows. The animations for them existed in the compression files. So I made the cows into costumes and exchanged the human animation for cow animations. You can download the new scenes from my downloads page. Never did find any ant animations, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I just haven't found them yet. I did re-weight the ant to a human armature and made it a costume. I made two of these versions. One as an ant that crawls and one that walks like humans do. I also weighted the ant to the horse armature and now having a horse ant. Someone pointed out in the tmunderground forum that I left out the category ini file for the ant. I figured someone could enter the name into a category of their choice since I could not generate (at the time) the proper category files. I had DL version of S&E which didn't allow MED to view it's content and would produce a faulty category file. I will delete all my old mods from 8eyedbaby and repackage everything now that I got all the proper tools and versions. An ant pack.
Other scene usable props. There are two types of these. Ones that animate, like hand held scanners and cell phones. And then there are static props like tables and crystal balls and bath tubes. They can be changed in a scene and need to have ini files pointing the scenes to their existence and availability. the one thing to always look out for in a selectable object is the trick that makes it work. Weapons have special effects. Cars have doors and sets have doors. Bathtubs have water. The naming of the empty pivots is important for their functionality.
The bare minimum of any mesh file is a empty pivot, an object, a Blend group, a material, a uvmap, and an image file. There are probably more objects to talk about but I'm getting stymied right now. If I think of more I will come back and talk about them. Also I will make a page that goes into more detail about the terminology of Blender tools. Like materials. Or bones. Or mesh tools. The important thing for beginners is to become familiar with Blender's functions. You can cut your modding time into a third if you know how to use all the amazing tools Blender provides.
Keep Modding The Movies Game