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[Model] How-to: Convert .WMO files to .M3 (Importing Structures from WoW to SC2) [Advanced]

  • 12 posts
    #1 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:17 UTC - 0 likes

    Hey guys, I'm back with another tutorial! This time it's how to manually convert .WMO Files, aka the ever so elusive WoW building models, into .M3 files usable in SC2. First off, I'm warning you now that this tutorial is for advanced level users only, and requires knowledge of both Photoshop and 3ds Max. It's a fairly long and complicated process that the everyday user won't want to do, but for a dedicated few, will make their mods entirely.

    In the video, I'll also briefly cover my previous tutorial on converting textures from .TGA to .DDS, which will save you a ton of space in your map files. You can find that tutorial here for a better explaination:

    To follow along, you'll also need to download and install a few things first. Such as:

    - WoW Model Viewer 32bit/64bit:

    - NiNtoxicated01's .M3 Plugins for 3ds Max:

    - NVIDIA's Texture Tools 32bit/64bit:

    Lastly, you'll also need working copies of Adobe Photoshop and 3ds Max 2009-2011 (2012 will not work!).

    With that said, here's the video:

    Protip: If you're having trouble with the material editor, under the Mode menu you can change the appearance to the classic version. I don't know anyone who uses the slate material editor and neither do I know how to use it.

    I've also uploaded the tutorial files here for you to check out. It includes an example map and 2 additional models to play with, as well as some experimental Normal Maps created from the Farm House's diffuse textures. In the future I may go over the creation of Normal Maps, but I'm by no means an expert on them. For that, I recommend you contact someone who isn't a noob at 3d like myself.

    Tutorial Files:

    If you're a bit more knowledgeable, you can cut down some of these models to optimize them. Remember that most WoW structures have interiors which you will never see in SC2 looking down on them. All those insides are wasted polys slowing down your game, and they're using textures that may not even be necessary to import. So, if you know what you are doing, during the texture application process you can select and delete bits of geometry from the insides of the models. Make sure to save often, or you may need to revert back to your .OBJ file and start over again!

    Lastly, I want to warn all you would-be total conversion modders out there. Yes this tutorial will teach you how to access a wide array of new assets, but keep in mind that NONE of them have any animations! You will have to go and create those yourself in 3ds Max, so don't rush off thinking you can create a bunch of structures for your custom race. I will not tell you how to go about doing this as I have no idea myself where to start when it comes to animation. These models will be good as a base and nothing else!

    Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps bring all of your fantasy/warcraft mods closer to completion!

    Last edited Aug 13, 2011 by Saeris
    #2 Aug 13, 2011 at 00:23 UTC - 0 likes

    @Saeris: Go

    Thanks for the tutorial man, gl on your projects!

    #3 Aug 13, 2011 at 00:47 UTC - 0 likes

    I have neither 3ds max nor photoshop....
    Someone needs to make an art asset for this with a whole bunch of buildings in it

    If you need me to do something and I don't do it in the next 3 hours, PM me. I'm really forgetful.
    Also, because of school, I only work on weekends.
    My thread for requests:

    #4 Aug 13, 2011 at 02:52 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from jaxter184: Go

    I have neither 3ds max nor photoshop.... Someone needs to make an art asset for this with a whole bunch of buildings in it

    I'm already starting one :P

    #5 Aug 14, 2011 at 15:41 UTC - 0 likes

    @Terminator8: Go

    Alrighty.... The WC3 remake people just got really lucky :D

    Good job Saeris!

    Feel free to Send me a PM if you have any questions/concerns!

    #6 Aug 14, 2011 at 21:44 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from zeldarules28: Go

    @Terminator8: Go

    Alrighty.... The WC3 remake people just got really lucky :D

    Good job Saeris!

    Thanks! I should really have done this tutorial sooner, as I've known roughly how to do it for months now.

    Another thing I want to note about it, that's now included in the video annotations, is about textures. Unlike most .M2 files which have 1-3 uvmapped textures, .WMO files share textures with most other .WMO files, meaning that buildings that look like they have the same roof or walls.... really do have the same roof and walls! Thusly, you can further cut down on your texture memory by only importing 1 of each texture you need, making .WMO files very flexible!

    As a preview of a possible tutorial I'll be doing in the future, I plan on combining a bunch of .WMO's and .M2's in 3ds Max to create composite buildings, such as recreating the Chicken Farms from WC2 (which are bassicaly just a farm house, some fences, a few little field plots and some roaming chicken models).

    I think combinations like this will be what will make up most of the buildings used in say, a WC4 mod. Think about it: Barracks with units actually training out front for their build animations, an Altar of Storms with summoners standing in the middle channeling a spell, etc. The combinations are truly endless, and although will still take quite a bit of time to put together, it's all using assets provided to you and eliminating the need to create buildings from scratch.

    #7 Aug 25, 2011 at 16:10 UTC - 0 likes

    I got an error at the last step "Export",the materials are "standard" type,perhaps this is the cause?

    #8 Sep 02, 2011 at 15:37 UTC - 0 likes

    So remember when people were going to start creating great model assets using this technique? What happened to that?

    #9 Sep 08, 2011 at 22:31 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from rpc190: Go

    So remember when people were going to start creating great model assets using this technique? What happened to that?

    by people you mean me and only me? Cause as far as I know I'm the only one who has expressed this interest. No one has offered to help and therefore it's going really slow and I have my own project I'm creating it for.

    #10 Sep 12, 2011 at 22:52 UTC - 0 likes

    @Terminator8: Go

    Well I don't think a lot of people can exactly help because those who have access to 3DS Max are a minority. I'd help in any non-3DS Max way possible like identifying which WMOs crash and such if you wanted, I was just really expecting at least the staples like barracks, towers, walls to get released.

    #11 May 22, 2013 at 05:48 UTC - 0 likes

    @Saeris: Go

    HI Saeris! I followed your tutorial, and I keep getting an error when I try to export my model to .m3 using the plugin (last step):

    "Runtime Error: Vertex weighted to undefined bone!"

    Have you ever encountered this error? Do you know what I may be doing wrong?

    Im using: -3DS Max 2011 64-bit -NiNtoxicated01's m3 export plugin v0.35 -WoW Model Viewer (.obj model exports/imports perfectly to 3ds max)

    The model I'm tryin to export is the Orc Hut from WSG.

    Last edited May 22, 2013 by seatleson
    #12 May 22, 2013 at 06:13 UTC - 0 likes

    Here's an image of the error I'm getting:

    Last edited May 22, 2013 by seatleson
  • 12 posts

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