Tutorial How to Create New Skies for VtMR

This is a tutorial for creating new “skies” for the levels and maps for the computer game Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption.

It was originally written for ModHaven (when it was still around).

Have a look at my “Akashic Records” level for a sample of a new sky in a level.

Contents

Assumptions

  • You have some experince already mapping
  • You have meddled around with extracting files from Resource.NOB and other base NOB files in Vampire

Background Info

New skies are not simply a new texture. Skies in a compiled map are actually models. Therefore
to create a new sky you must skin it. What follows is simply a simple skinning tutorial modified
specifically for new skies.

Tools

  • Some sort of paint program
  • Some sort of zip tool to extract files from the NOBs
  • A Hex Editor (such as UltraEdit from www.ultraedit.com)
  • A Transparent Texture

How to

  • Step 1. Deciding what you want to do

    Have an idea of what kind of sky you want. Say you want just to have a sky that doesn’t have that annoying
    black bit the the other default day skies have. Or perhaps you want to create a sunset rather then straight day.

    With this in mind, inspect the default skies and pick one that matchs as closely as possible to what you want. (I’ve posted a list of the default skies along with pictures on ModHaven to help you).

    But for the sake of completeness here is the list of the default skies avaliable:

    NAD file NOD file
    PragueCastleNight.nad PragueCastleNight.nod
    pragueDaySky.nad pragueDaySky.nod
    pragueEastNight.nad pragueEastNight.nod
    Prague2Night.nad Prague2Night.nod
    Prague2NightVysehrad.nad Prague2NightVysehrad.nod
    PragueWestDay.nad PragueWestDay.nod
    PragueWestNight.nad PragueWestNight.nod
    judithBridgeDay.nad judithBridgeDay.nod
    judithBridgeNight.nad judithBridgeNight.nod
    londonNightSky.nad LondonNightSky.nod
    londontower.nad londontower.nod
    newyorkdocks.nad newyorkdocks.nod
    newyorkuptown.nad newyorkuptown.nod
    ViennaDay1.nad ViennaDay1.nod
    ViennaNight1.nad ViennaNight1.nod
    ViennaSky.nad ViennaSky.nod
    Sky.nad Sky.nod

    For example, the default sky (sky.nod/sky.nad), covers fully and would be useful for maps “floating” in the sky but for a sunset it would be useless because it’s kinda blocky rather then from bottom to up.

  • Step 2. Selecting your starting point

    Extract the sky’s nod file (using the list above) (from your Resource.NOB) into your Vampire directory including the subdirectories (which should give you the dir structure 3d\Models\*.nod).

    Open the nod file in your hex editor. You should see something like this (click on the image to see in full size):

    You’ll notice you can read several names at the top of the file (clouds1, moon, StarField2 and dfltMatte). These are the “skins” or textures for your sky.

    Extract the files with extensions tga and nam and with the same name from Resource.NOB into your Vampire directory including the subdirectories (which should give you the dir structure 3d\Materials). Open them in your paint
    program to get an idea of what they are. Now you should figure out how and what you want to change in the sky textures.

    Choose the textures you want to edit and copy them. Rename them, but for the sake of simplicity, keep the filenames the same length (example, rename clouds1.tga to myouds1.tga).

    If any of the textures you want to use have nam files you’re going to have to edit them, which isn’t difficult: After you’ve renamed, open up the nam file in
    any text editor you like. You should see at least one entry:

    texture name.tga

    where name.tga is the name of the original texture. Just change the entry to point to your renamed texture.

  • Step 3. Lets go

    Copy the sky’s nod file and rename it. Such as mySky.nod or fulldarkSky.nod.

    Open it in your hex editor and for the textures you wish to modify, rename them (by replacing character by character).

  • Step 4. Create your new sky!

    Modify the new textures (most skinning tutorials should apply here).

  • Step 5. View your new sky!

    Assuming you have a map prepared, open it and open the scene editor. Go to sky and in the nod text field, put in the name of your nod file. For the nad file, take the nad file from the original unedited sky.

    Export your map and Walla!

  • Step 6. Including your new sky with your exported map in a nob

    Package your map as normal for a release in a NOB file. Make sure to include the nod file you created and any of the new textures you created maintaining the correct directory structure in your NOB file.

Troubleshooting

You used default sky (or any sky) and you still have that black shape of a city!

Replace the dfltMatte texture (or that odd texture thats all black) with a transparent texture (refer to the MapDepo’s Dynamic FAQ avaliable on ModHaven on how
to create transparent/masked textures)
.
Walla, it’s gone.

For other problems, I suggest reading up on skinning and/or ask the skinners.

Originally posted 29th June 2001

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