Author Topic: HG: L - Texture File Information  (Read 3520 times)


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HG: L - Texture File Information
« on: Jul 31, 2009; 12:37 PM »
I thought I'd start with a bit of information for budding HG:L texture modders, It's a bit long winded but I hope the info is helpful

HG: L - Texture File Information
First off, a little bit of info ... HG:L uses a file format with the .dds extension for most of it’s textures, these files use a DXT or Direct X compression, which allows for very high quality files with low file sizes in a standardised format, It also allows for files to be saved with an ‘alpha channel’ and ‘mip maps’ Alpha channels provide an extra piece of information in the files for things like transparency and opacity, the ‘mip maps’ are the ‘scaled down’ versions of the file, so instead of rendering the full sized image when you zoom out, it can use a premade smaller version of the texture instead to speed up performance, in general the textures in HG:L have 11 mip maps inside of each .dds file. The main difficulty when modifying these files is that there is nothing ‘Standard’ about standard, and as a result, you can have some difficulties when creating files that HG: L will except, furthermore, FSS seem to have not been able to decide which ‘Standard’ they liked , so there is several different compression system used in HG:L ...

So if that hasn’t put you off ... Read on.

The main .dds compression used is DXT 5 which is fine for almost all textures and happily is supported by Paint.Net. The one exception is the *Item Name* file, which uses ATI compression, and it’s THIS file which you need the larger graphics programs for so you can open and edit these texture files.

    All of the following information assumes that either 1) (a) you are running HG:L ‘unHelled’ or (b) you are familiar with using the HGLZap program and  2) you are fairly familiar with using a graphics editing program

File Types and Names:  Within the HG:L installation directory (or within the .dat files) are several Directories which contain the model and or texture information for the majority of HG:L’s assets, now (for the moment) we can’t alter the 3D models or animation files so we can ignore them and concentrate on the textures
*You’re HG:L Directory*Databackground - for the advertisements, Wall textures and most of the static texture files
*You’re HG:L Directory*Dataunits - contains the directories for weapons, armours and so on

Look in the ‘Players’ Directory for Amour types

    These are the programs I use for creating/modifying the files (if you have trouble finding any of them, PM me and I'll see if I can sort you out :

Paint.Net – A free image editing program that has native support for basic .dds texture files. I prefer this program partly because it’s open source, so it’s kind of reminiscent of Revival in that it’s a bunch of guys "takin’ on da man" It also has a very light system footprint, so even on slower machines you can keep it running in the background, while testing you’re mods ingame. (this is handy because you can leave the program running while you test you're mod in HG:L and, if you make a mistake, you can use the 'undo' function in and try again ... saves a BUTTLOAD of time and hassle believe me)

Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop– The big boys (or ‘da man;) ) These programs are unfortunately necessary for some of the more complex editing you may want to do, but most importantly they are required for one specific .dds file that uses a compression system that Paint.Net can’t handle (more later), but because of their size I don’t recommend leaving them running all the time, unless you have a very fast PC. However during the initial ‘creative process’ the extra editing options they offer are essential, and you learn to use CTRL-A (select all), CTRL –C (copy) and  CTRL –V (paste) between these and Paint.Net fairly often. To use these programs with .dds files requires the following plug-in from nVidia

nVidia DXT Plug-in – This plug-in allows you to view and modify the ‘normal map’ files for HG:L as well as the other .dds files.

Compressonator – This tool comes from ATI and has the ability to not only generate ‘mip maps’ but also to save the .dds files in the ATI2N format which is required for the *Item Name* file. It can also open other, uncompressed image formats such as .bmp or .tga and convert them into a .dds file

Ingame Assets:
Each Item, Object or Armour has the following files (with some variations),

*Item Name* – This is the main texture file for the item and it also sets the main colour scheme. Here is where you’ll be doing most of your ‘painting’ in order to create the look you are after, remember that the texture will be ‘wrapped’ around a 3D model ingame, so these files rarely resemble the actual item you want to change. Also the names of the asset files aren’t always the same as they are ingame , so try to look for small familiar details ... The Armour files are thankfully broken down into fairly straight forward directories, unlike the weapons which are a bit of a mess. The 'Static' textures, such as Advertisements or Wall Textures, don't have 3D models, BUT the Do get reused and/or scaled ingame (even reversed sometimes) so you'll need to experiment a bit with these.

*Item Name*_colourmask (or just _ mask).dds – This is the file that tells HG:L what part of the dye kit i.e. colour 1  to 6 to use in each part of the texture and also the intensity or opacity to display differently from the original colour in the diffuse file

*Item Name* – This is a tricky file to understand. It controls how the lighting in the game will be shown against the texture i.e. bright, muted, shadowed, dark but it also affects the ‘shinyness’ or ‘reflectiveness’ of the item i.e. apprentice armour is usually dull, where as higher level armour has a ‘mirror’ finish, it’s also to a lesser extent responsible for very slight colour variations. This file uses a white to black scheme where White is 100% light reflectivity and Black is 0% reflectivity and all the shades in between. So you can use various shades of white, black or grey depending on what material you are trying to represent, but it gets even trickier than that because you can use various ‘opacity’ settings to further alter the look of materials, so you can have metal armour that is dull (light grey) but still reflective(opacity low) or leather armour that is non reflective(black or dark grey) but still has that shiny ‘wet’ look(opacity high)

 *Item Name* – This file is what gives the 3D models it’s ‘feel’ it’s roughness or smoothness and also it’s fine detail, such as scrollwork or edges on armour and swords, it gives the appearance of ‘depth’ to things like grooves or etching on weapons, it can also add basic details such as buckles or buttons to clothing and so on. This file can be edited using the program although I don’t recommend it because the game doesn’t really use it.
The following link provides an in-depth explanation on what a normal map is and what it does ( it gets quite technical in places ... you have been warned) But It's definitely worth a read for thos serious about Texture modding.

*** Here is a link to a much simpler tutorial for creating normal maps from a standard image file, using the same tools, which gives surprisingly good results with a little practice

*Item Name* – This is a very difficult file to modify, and even more difficult to get right! It works the same way as the other normal map except it’s much more intense in how it effects the item, it’s also the file that HG:L uses more so than the standard file and because it doesn’t use the standard DXT5 compression it’s unfortunately the only file that cannot open or edit, so to modify this one you’re going to need one of ‘the big boys’ like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop. With this file though you can create and add some truly awesome texture effects for you’re items, it’s almost possible to turn a box into a ball with this file, so adding realistic looking skin or cloth/metal material effects is easy.

*Item Name*_sillum(self_illumination).dds - Not all items have this file, generally only those items that have some sort of light on them, such as certain weapons or armour may have this file, it shares a similar role to the following file, in that it’s primarily for showing specific ‘glowy bits’ on items that are the same no matter what version of the item you’re using or what colour scheme you select.

*Item Name* - This is the other illumination file and is more common, but it differs from the one above, in that it is directly affected by not only the specular file , but more importantly by the ‘Dye Kit’ or colour scheme currently selected.

Ok well That’s pretty much the hellgate files ripped open with a fishgutter ... I haven’t gone into any great details or steps into actually editing or creating texture files, because ... well ... It would take too long to go through each step, and you’d probably die of boredom half way through  ;)  ... So I’ll leave it up to you to work out the basics yourself (it’s more fun that way anyhow), as I mentioned earlier, this is not for the graphics editing novice, and anyone with some knowledge of image editing should be able to muddle through without much trouble ... I’ll be constantly screwing about with the files myself, and posting them on here, so If you need ANY help, more info or just an ear to bend about editing files, or using a specific program let me know, and I’ll try and help as best I can (or if I made a mistake  :shock: )

    Decided to add some more info for you,[/list]

    To give you an idea how the game deals with the various colours, have a look at this color_mask file ... The different colours represent what colour and what intensity to use on the various parts ... So

      Very basically
    Green represents metal parts, Blue represents glass/plastic/vitreous parts and Red represents leather/cloth parts from the original texture file as painted by FSS or you ... however there are a few caveats and variations on that ...

    Cyan = will show the original textures with NO changes whatsoever regardless of dye kit used (ideal for skin tones)

    Bright (flurescent) Green = will show the 'shiny' reflective metallic highlight parts of the armour colour (ideal for armour scrollwork or belt buckles)

    Bright Red = will show at full intensity the base armour colour (this changes depending on the 'dye kit' or 'eye dropper' you use)

    Full or Bright Blue = Will generally represent the 'Glowy Bits' of the armour but this needs to be used in conjunction with the *item_name* and/or *item_name* files to make any effect or, for non powered armour, it will show one of the other colours at low intensity (i.e. with some 'bleed through' similar effect to the bright green but with a different colour)

    The other colours, Dark Green, Maroon, show the other colours with a lesser intensity i.e. with a small amount of the original colour from the diffuse texture 'bleed through'
    Aut viam inveniam aut ipse viam faciam.


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    Re: HG: L - Texture File Information
    « Reply #1 on: Jul 31, 2009; 06:28 PM »
    Berit , this stuff is really impressive.


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    Re: HG: L - Texture File Information
    « Reply #2 on: Jul 31, 2009; 11:12 PM »
    Thanks icymercy ... I'd really like to see some other budding artists have a go too ...
    Aut viam inveniam aut ipse viam faciam.


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    Re: HG: L - Texture File Information
    « Reply #3 on: Aug 01, 2009; 01:50 AM »
    I'm reading ... I'm reading ...

    Thanks for the tutorial!