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View Thread: 3D Studio Max - Mapping Tutorial by [SGC]
Vietcong.Info » Vietcong General Discussion » Maps & Mapping
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3D Studio Max - Mapping Tutorial by [SGC]

I found back the old mapping tutorial made by the french community "Base[SGC]".
For those who can understand French, you can still follow the tutorial in its original form by clicking on this link (now "dead", sorry!).
And for all the others, I decided to translate and post the tutorial "as it is", in English and in this mapping section.
It's also a way to save these useful informations because we never know how long it will be available online.

ALL the credits go to the [SGC] members and friends who made it. Thank you!

[SGC] Kjeldorius - Leader of the tuto3ds project
[SGC] Xeron - Layout of the tutorial
= BC = Lt M. GOLDMAN - The 3dsmax teacher
MOG - Author of the tutorial on water and waterfall in chapter 7
SEEK - Author of Lods in chapter 8

Important note: Don't forget that this tutorial starts to be very old.
Some informations may be outdated or unavailable at this time!


3D Studio MAX

With this tutorial, you will learn how to use 3DSmax to push the limits of the Ptero-Engine II editor.
However, you will not learn to master this software 100% but it will cover the essential points
to create a terrain, put textures, use advanced functions such as Sectors and Portals technology,
in order to create the environment and objects that you want to do.

This tutorial is adapted for 3DSmax 6 in English version, because it is downloadable for free in demo version,
but owners of version 5.1 will not be disoriented. Finally, this tutorial has been produced to be accessible
to the majority of people with the patience and motivation to learn a new tool.

9 steps:

You will therefore learn through the 9 steps to obtain the 3dsmax 6 software from the Internet,
install the appropriate plugins, work with textures to prevent flickering from appearing, create a terrain,
configure the functions of rotary movements used to move trees, create essential sectors and portals
for greater fluidity, and finally how to export your work to the Ptero-Engine II editor.

Next -> 1° - Installation
Edited by Intruder on 02-04-2023 17:01
  x 1  x 1  x 2

Download 3dsmax 6 from the Internet

First, you must have installed on your computer:
- Vietcong (preferably with Fist Alpha)
- Patch 1.60
- Editor Ptero-Engine-II
- 3DSMAX 6 (or 5.1)

* If you install 3dsmax before the Ptero-Engine II editor, plugins for 3dsmax will be automatically installed
when installing the Vietcong editor. Convenient, you won't need to download them to install them.

To install 3dsmax 6, you must first obtain it by downloading it here:
Download 3dsmax 6

The proposed version is in English and only last 30 days but it is still a full version where the zip weighs 75 MB.
However you just have the 3ds tool and the help, tutorial and library files are not available.
We have to download them separately, but it's not very useful for our purposes.

For installing 3dsmax 6 itself, this shouldn't be a problem, so we can move on to the next point.
If you want more time to work with 3dsmax 6, you know what you can do but there will be no links or help in this tutorial!

Install Pterodon plugins for 3dsmax

Pterodon plugins are essential for working with 3dsmax and the Ptero-Engine II editor. Thus, you will have Pterodon tools
included in 3dsmax allowing you to export your achievements in .BES, (mandatory extension to use your objects under
the Ptero-Engine II editor) choose collisions according to the textures recognized by Vietcong etc. ...

So if you installed 3dsmax last, after Ptero-Engine II editor version 1.61, download the plugins from Pterodon at this address:
Download plugins

Here is a montage of the Pterodon download page with the essential files to download underlined in green.
For the plugins that interest us, click on if you have version 5.1,
otherwise click on for version 6.0.

After downloading your .zip, you can see that it is made up of 4 folders called:
- plugcfg
- plugins
- scripts
- ui

Extract the files directly under the directory where you installed 3dsmax6 with Winzip or Winace for example.
(Example D: / Softwares / 3dsmax6) You can also put the files one by one manually
by following the FAQ3dsmax Q3 and Q4 - link to the forum -

Next -> 2° - Preparation
Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 04:37
  x 1  x 1

Find textures

Now that everything is installed on your computer, namely the Ptero-Engine II editor version 1.61,
the Vietcong game patched in 1.60, 3dsmax6 (or 5.1) and the appropriate plugins,
we will now focus on a vital element: the textures!
Yes, once you have created objects or terrains, you will need to apply textures to them,
which will benefit from having a large library of image data.

You have 2 possibilities which are to choose the textures supplied with the Ptero editor or to take some from the Internet,
but this requires a format conversion with software which is fortunately easy to use.

1- Textures with the editor

Let's start with the easiest method: take textures from the editor. To do this, start the Ptero-Engine II.
Note that if you have the Fist Alpha add-on, you can use the following shortcut to obtain many more textures by right-clicking
on the icon / Properties shortcut: "D: \ Vietcong \ dev \ engine \ editor.exe -addon fistalpha"

If you are launching the Vietcong editor for the first time, I strongly recommend
that you first see Xeron's tutorial on the Ptero-Engine II editor.
Note: Deactivate your antivirus if it takes an extremely long time to launch the editor.

To find the textures, click on the Tools tab and select Export textures from CBF

A screen is displayed as below (blank screen)

This screen is made up of 3 windows, one on the left to choose textures, the top right box is used to view textures
and the bottom one shows the textures you have selected.
Initially, you have the choice between 4 files which are:
- G
- Levels
- Patch
- Unipage
The 2 directories to use are G and especially Levels grouping together all the textures of each solo missions of Vietcong and Fistalpha.
To select a texture, just double click on a .dds file in the left box and it will be displayed in the bottom right box. To validate, click on OK.

The selected and validated textures will be put in a directory named ddsfromcbf located under Vietcong. (example D: / Games / Vietcong / ddsfromcbf)
To choose these textures with 3dsmax, you will find them in this directory.

2- Textures on the Internet


There are many sites to find textures with many different formats and many different styles, all very often in .jpg
However, for an optimal use of textures with the Ptero-Engine II editor, they must be converted to .dds!

Here are 2 softwares allowing you to rework the textures according to the extensions:

Download DXTBmp

This software can convert .dds files to .bmp or .jpg files

Download DXTex

This software is very important because with it it is possible to convert .jpg and .bmp files found
on the Internet into .dds files that can be used with the editor.

Prevent flickering (with DXTex)

The DXTex software is very easy to use but it can happen that your textures flicker under the Ptero editor,
especially if they have undergone a conversion to .dds
However, we can fight against this phenomenon by taking the right precautions from the start!

This is how the software looks, with an open .bmp texture, in 256x256 format and weighing 262 kb.
Note that the software works with the following texture formats: 64x64, 128x128, 256x256, 512x512…
it is therefore necessary to possibly rework the texture formats taken on the Internet.

Click on the Format tab and select "Change Surface Format" The table below will appear and choose DXT1.
The sample texture now weighs around 32kb.

Then click again on the Format tab and select "Generate Mip Maps" This will prevent the texture flickers from
appearing in the Ptero-Engine II editor (but not in 3dsmax). By the way, the size of the example texture increases slightly to 43 KB.

Finally, save the texture under the name you want by doing "Save as" and which will be automatically converted into .dds

Next -> 3 ° - Getting started
Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 04:43
  x 1  x 1
Getting started

Global overview

3DSmax can take several seconds to launch, between 30 seconds and 1 minute,
it depends on the power of your PC. Once launched, this is what you should have on screen:

Make the editor full screen if you haven't already, as you need as much space as possible.
Now, let's explore this 3dsmax editor that looks very impressive at first glance.

- The 4 gray boxes in the center are 4 windows with different views including one in perspective (framed in yellow on the screen).
This window is the most important! You can resize windows by positioning the cursor between 2 windows,
the cursor changes and allows you to enlarge or shrink.

By right-clicking on the name of each window (here Perspective), a menu appears where you can change
the view of the windows in the views section with all the possibilities (front view, right, left, top ...)

By clicking on Configure, you have access to many options including Layout which allows you to arrange the windows.

Also click on Edged Faces which will then allow you to see all the polygons, faces of your lands and objects.

- At the top, there is the toolbar, classic:

The boxes underlined in green are the functions that you will use most often, namely (left to right):

+ File = File to open, save
+ Edit (not underlined in green) = You will be able to clone objects
+ 2 curved arrows = Undo and redo
+ 2 boxes next to it = tied or untied (dummy for example)
+ Cursor = Select
+ Cursor with text = Select from a list
+ Cross = Move
+ Arrow in circles = Rotate
+ Square = Enlarge or shrink an object
+ Customize (not underlined in green) = Restore 3dsmax

- At the bottom are the coordinates:

On this screen are the coordinates of the mouse cursor, ie what is the position of the pointer in space.
There it does not matter, but when you have an object, you will have its position on the 3 axes and you can move,
rotate and enlarge or reduce the object by inquiring with the coordinates.
This is an efficient way to position an object precisely by typing the value directly into the 3 boxes.

This is where this makes the difference between mappers because not everyone has the same notions about 3d software.
The first signs of worry may appear in the less motivated people, but as you manipulate the software everything will get better.

- Manipulate the mouse:

+ The left mouse button is used to select
+ The right mouse button is used to open a menu
+ The middle mouse button is used to move in space
+ The scroll allows you to zoom (after selecting a window or an object)

- Right menu Command Panel:

The control panel is the main menu in 3ds and you will be navigating it quite often.
The 3 tabs underlined in green are the most important.

+ The "cursor" tab create (1 ° on the left) has 7 icons (geometry, shapes, lights, camera, helpers,
space warps and systems). Retain the first icon (starting from the left) which allows you to create
shapes and the fifth where the Dummy is located (scale tutorial)

+ The last tab on the far right with the Utilities hammer, is mainly used to export in .bes

+ The "blue angled" modify tab (2 ° from the left) allows you to select the faces of a terrain
for example (Edit mesh), apply a texture correctly (UVW map). In fact, this is all the history
of your constructions and it is certainly the most important tab!

Restore 3dsmax

It sometimes happens to make bad operations, and no longer having the right menu (command Panel)
or the top toolbar has disappeared. Don't panic, you can restore the situation by clicking on Customize / Load Custom UI scheme

A menu opens and look for the 3dsmax / UI directory
Then there should be 4 .UI files namely DefaultUI, discreet-dark, discreet-light and Modular ToolbarsUI.
Select the first: DefaultUI.ui

Note: you may not have any of these files and it will be difficult for you to restore 3dsmax ...
You might also see a new menu: The PteroProps Panel which can help you in step 7: Advanced functions.

If you lost the toolbar at the top, you can do: Customize / ShowUI / Show main Toolbar.

Import an object

You can import objects, creations made under another software like Maya for example.
The method is very simple since you have to click on File, then Import.

The window (montage) above appears and it is possible to select several types of format to import.
You essentially have the choice with files coming directly from 3dsmax so the .3DS but also the .IGS / .IGES which are present
in a lot of software. However .STLs are more efficient than IGS because taking fewer polygons, therefore less "heavy".

STL files are therefore recommended for importing objects under 3dsmax. Once the object is imported, you will only be able
to do very few actions on it, such as removing faces, modifying the shape or even putting textures of course.
It will not be possible to completely rethink the shape of the object! For that, you will have to go through your software again.

So if you are familiar with software other than 3dsmax, feel free to use it to create objects faster,
then import later if possible ...

Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 04:52
  x 1  x 1
Construction: The basics

In this tutorial, there will be no precise explanations for learning how to make complex objects
like a house, a bunker, a bridge... but just the basics of 3dsmax.
On the one hand, it would take too long to explain and on the other hand, it would only be an example to create a specific object!
There are many sites that specialize in learning 3dsmax with many examples and specific
tutorials so here are some addresses:



Continuing with the previous Getting Started chapter where you learned about the 3dsmax environment,
you will now learn the basics of building an object and learn more about how the editor works.

Select Edged Faces in the perspective view if it is not already done and click on box (create "cursor" tab)
in the control panel (menu on the right) and create a cube as below.

You have surely seen an extension of the menu appear as in the image above with the name
and color of your cube (modifiable by clicking on it), the method to create its cube and the parameters
that allow you to define the size of your cube which can also become a block, and finally the number of faces. <br>
Put the same values ​​(50) in length (length), width (width) and Height (height) then put 2 for the Segs (Segments, faces) .
You have noticed that the cube now has a more precise mesh (triangle, faces) (only if Edged Faces has been selected
by right clicking on the name "perspective" at the top left of the window).

Select the Select and move icon then click on the cube. A marker with 3 arrows X, Y, Z appears on the cube.
You can also see that the coordinates of the object in relation to the 3dsmax origin frame are hazardous...
(see image below with a montage of coordinates)

Pass over an axis with your cursor and it turns yellow, click on it and hold then move your mouse:
the cube moves and the coordinates change in real time. Then type 0 in the X, Y, Z coordinate system
and here is your cube perfectly in the center of the 3dsmax coordinate system.
You can check the alignment of the cube by looking at the 3 windows next to it.

Then click on the Modify icon and then on Edit List. A drop-down menu appears and select Edit Mesh.

Now the panel should be like this with the object name Box01 and its color, the Modifier List which is always available
to select other functions later, the selected function Edit Mesh and below Box.

If you click on Box, the cube settings reappear at the bottom and are editable.

The bulb next to the Edit Mesh is to visualize or not the effects that you will have caused on the part.
The cross is used to display a tree structure with the name of the 5 icons in red which is on the panel.

Then, at the bottom there is Soft Selection which will be used for the terrain
in this tutorial and Edit Geometry for advanced functions.

Click on the 3 small Vertex points, and each intersection of faces becomes a point (Vertex) on the part.
On the panel above, the vertex symbol (3 small dots) is placed to the right of Edit Mesh to recall the chosen function.

Select the 4 points at the ends (in red) by holding the CTRL key on your keyboard.
Then click the move icon (select and move) the mark appears and select the Z axis in yellow with the left mouse button,
hold and descend. Here is the result obtained as the image below:

The cube has become editable, modifiable, and it can now be worked to the limit of your imagination.

Thus, the left icon (Vertex) allows you to select all the points of each end of the faces that make up the object.
Next to it, the empty triangle (Edge) allows you to select the edges of the object. The full triangle (Face) allows you
to choose a half-face while the full square (Polygon) allows you to choose an entire face. Finally the cube (Element) selects all the faces of the object.
When a face, a point or an edge is selected, it turns red to indicate that the element is well chosen to be able to be transformed,
modified like the example above but it can also be deleted by pressing the DEL key on the keyboard.

IMPORTANT: When you have selected one of these icons, it is important to be very careful especially if you want
to rotate or translate your object to see hidden faces for example.

Indeed, if you choose to rotate your part, check that there are none of the 5 icons to select to properly rotate the object.
Or select Box below Edit mesh in the Modify panel.

Other modifications

With 3dsmax, you can make a lot of changes to an object so it's impossible to put them all here,
but it's just to show the software's capabilities a little more.
So, for example, we can make chamfers on a cube to keep it simple:

We select an edge of the cube (underlined in green) as on the screen above,
then we open the Edit Geometry section, we click on Chamfer (button in yellow) and
we enter a value (15 here for a 40x40x40 cube). The cube now has a chamfer.

Add - Subtract

Here is now a quick example to show you other possibilities of 3dsmax
with the Boolean function which allows, to add, subtract objects with others!

In the control panel, on the Create menu, click the text
Standard Primitives and select the title Compound Objects.

A menu appears with a Boolean box, click on it and options are available such as
Pick Boolean and Parameters used to choose between a subtraction, union, intersection

To show you a result, a cylinder has been created and positioned in the room as below.
The part (box) is selected. The Pick Operand B button is pressed (it turns yellow) then the cylinder is selected.

Cylinder positioned in the Box.

Cylinder selected after pressing Pick Operand B.

Here is a beautiful piercing in the box. This function is to be used before putting textures.

Duplicate an object

To duplicate an object is very simple, you have to select an object.
Then just go to Edit, then click on Clone. The dialog box below appears.

You must select Copy (underlined in green) and OK.
The duplicated object has coincided with the original object.

Just select the move icon (Select and move), then move the duplicate object.

Change the part number

Each object has a coordinate system comprising 3 axes X, Y, Z and therefore
the part translates and rotates around these axes. So, sometimes when you want
to move your objects imported under the Ptero-Engine II editor by making rotations,
the object turns around a badly placed axis and hinders the positioning on your map.

By clicking on the hierarchy icon (underlined in green), the menu opposite appears
and on your part is added a marker with transparent 3d arrows.

Click on affect Pivot Only (in blue) then on Center to Object (in green).
The part mark is placed in the center of the part.

You can also select the Move icon (Select and move) and the arrows to move
appear above the part mark. So you can manually place the part mark.


The more complex your object will be, the more faces it will have and therefore
there are more polygons to calculate for the PC, hence a decrease in fps under Vietcong!
It is therefore essential to remove all unnecessary faces
from your objects to gain polygons here and there...

Here is a .STL controller imported in 3ds with a face selected by doing Edit Mesh.
This controller will be hung on a wall by the face in red, so it is useless
to keep this face and we remove it (DEL key on the keyboard).
When deleting, a box opens asking for confirmation of the deletion of faces.

All faces that are not visible under Vietcong like the top and bottom faces of doors,
the face of a floor of a house on the land side, the exterior faces of a room
buried in the earth... are unnecessary and can be deleted.

Remember: As soon as a face is deleted, we can see through it
because the objects are not "full" A face has just a tiny thickness
and is visible only in one direction and therefore also has a collision only in one sense.

Next -> 5 ° - Create a terrain
Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 05:10
  x 1  x 1
Create a terrain

Many solutions

There are 2 ways to make a ground according to your wishes and especially your ideas,
by starting directly to work its ground without precise ideas or by the method of the levels of gray
if you have requirements in layout of the ground. In addition, several tutorials on the procedure to create a field exist.

- So you can go see the Goldman tutorial, similar to the one available at this address:

>> Complete tutorial on creating a terrain through the grayscale method,
applying textures and exporting a .bes but lacking precision for beginners.

- The most complete Pterodon tutorial available here:

>> in 3 versions (Editor & Tools section):
- English:
- German:
- Czech:

You will understand, the fault for us is that there is no French version!
There is also no explanation for grayscale because Pterodon uses the other method.

1- Quick method

With the Pterodon method, we do not have to make a grayscale drawing in .bmp or .jpg
which requires rigorous work but makes your land take the desired shape that you have drawn.
There we attack directly on a flat surface, to be modified manually to take the desired shape.
If you don't have any real ideas about the shape of your land, this is a good and fastest method.

In the Pterodon tutorial, the texture is first put on the flat surface and then the terrain is shaped.
This is a mistake you should not make because if you do the procedure in this order you will end up with stretched textures!

So it is preferable to work on the shapes of your terrain before putting the texture (s),
but rendering in 3dsmax does not allow you to easily find your way around and know
which shapes exactly the terrain takes! You can also make your terrain in several pieces with for example,
the ground first and the mountains then, it's up to you and this is also the best method to make a terrain in several pieces.

We are going to make an example that will serve as a basis for building land.
3dsmax is launched and immediately select the Edged Faces option
(see chapter 3 - Getting started), then you create a flat surface with the control panel.

You can then adjust the dimensions of your land in the control panel with the Length
and Width boxes, set here to 80x80 representing the approximate area of ​​WaterFall as a guide.
Then there are the Length Segs and Width Segs boxes (20x20 in the example) which allow you
to adjust the precision of your terrain by putting more or less faces as for the creation of an object.
Here, the planar surface contains 800 faces. The more Segs there are, the more faces there will be
and therefore the more points connecting the meshes between them and thus giving a terrain
which can be shaped in a precise way but in return the terrain will take more system resources
when it is implanted in the editor of Vietcong and will decrease fps!

The ideal is therefore to find the right compromise between precision of the terrain and fluidity of the game.
If you are going to fill your map with vegetation then it is strongly recommended not to exceed 10,000 faces.
If, on the contrary, you plan to make an NVAbase or HalongPort style, you can put 20,000 faces or 100x100 in Segs
(Do not exceed this value unless your terrain exceeds 200x200 in dimensions but that would amount to a map larger than Stream).

Do not forget to adjust the flat surface at the level of the coordinates by putting 0 on the X, Y and Z axis
to have a terrain well positioned in the reference frame.

Now we are going to modify the terrain to make it take shape. For that click on the Modify icon
(blue angled object - see Construction: the basics), then Edit List and Edit Mesh and finally,
click on the Vertex icon (3 small dots). Then open the Soft Selection menu and click on a point
of your flat surface like the image below:

All blue points on the flat surface are therefore the result of the number of Length and Width Segs.
In red, the clicked point, and around the points affected by the Soft Selection settings in the control panel.
Currently there are 20 (Falloff) and we can change that number at any time. The higher the value,
the more orange-yellow dots will appear as the circumference increases.
On the contrary, if the value is 1, only one point will be selected, for a precise adjustment.
To better understand the usefulness of this function, click on the Select and Move icon
and go up or down the chosen point according to the Z axis and you will make
a more or less high "mountain" or a more or less crater deep.
The width of the bump or hole, therefore, depends on the Falloff figure.

Here is a preview of the flat surface modified with the Soft Selection command.
Now, are my bumps going to be very high for the player or just small undulating plains...
It is thus difficult to really realize the shape of your terrain in 3ds and this is why you must
export regularly his terrain3ds under the Ptero-Engine editor, do F8 F9 and walk around!

Now we have to keep this editmesh in the database which will only be used to modify the terrain
to prevent stretching the textures with other editmesh used to select faces to texture them.
In fact, you have the plane which is the terrain and then the editmesh which is used to modify
the shapes of your terrain. Then, you will go to the textures of the terrain in the next step and thus,
there will be another editmesh which will follow afterwards then a UVWmap etc...

2- Precise method

The following method is more precise because you have to go through a drawing
that you will have done before, having taken care to seriously think about your land.
However, you will understand, this method is therefore much longer but allows you
to have an already shaped terrain that will only have to be reworked.

To better visualize the work and the importance of drawing with this method, the .png image
below represents the FistAlpha Bridge map made under PhotoImpact:

The size of the image is not important and there are 3 major levels here: black which represents
Bridge canyon, gray is the plateau and white is the mountains. At the bottom is the US camp and
at the top the VC camp in CTF. Well, far from us to reproduce the map of Pterodon but this is for better
visualization knowing that this drawing was done in 10 min and that to conclude the black represents
the deep and the white the peaks.
Resume the drawing or make one and save it in .jpg or .bmp or .png…

In 3dsmax start exactly the same procedure, namely, making a flat surface of 80x80 for example
with Segs of 50x50 which makes 5000 faces. The more Segs there are, the more precise the terrain
constructed by the image will be. If you don't put in enough, the terrain won't look like the drawing at all.

Go to the Modify icon but instead of doing an Editmesh, select Displace. Put a value in the Strength box (40 here)
which will give relief to your image. So the lower the value, the less pronounced the relief,
the higher it is and the more the terrain will have mountains and pronounced crevasses.

Click on none in the Bitmap box and choose your drawing and you will have
a result equivalent to the one below.

Immediately after that, create an Edtimesh (in modifier list) which will only be used to modify your terrain,
retouch it, shape it, adjust it… Moreover, it is advisable to rename it to Editmesh modif terrain for example
to remember that it is is it that will have to be selected to move the meshes without stretching the textures thereafter.
That’s why we have to create it at the beginning, after Plane and Displace.

Then there will be yet another editmesh right after the previous one for this time to select the meshes,
faces to be textured but that's in the next step: Apply textures.

Next -> 6 ° - Apply the textures
Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 05:15
  x 1  x 1  x 1
Apply the textures

Select faces to texture

Let's start with a little recap to see what you should have
on screen before we put textures on the selected faces.

So on the right in the control panel, there is the plane and the Displace
because the method presented here is that of the precise method with image so
if you have opted for the other method, the Displace is not there. On the other hand
you must absolutely then have an edit mesh to modify the terrain (rename here
to edit mesh modify terrain) and immediately after another edit mesh to select
the faces (in red) as on the screen above.

Note: An edit mesh to select the faces for a texture. So if you have 3 textures
to put for example (grass, cliff, rock) you will have to put 3 edit meshes coupled with 3 uvwmap.

So above, there are the selected faces (with the square icon) which are in red.
To choose them, you hold down the CTRL button on the keyboard and click
the left mouse button on the desired faces. There is also a faster way to select faces
which consists of holding down the left mouse button and making a global selection
via a small dotted rectangle. Be careful though, because by doing this method,
you select all the faces that are in the "rectangle" that you see or not so be careful.

Going back to the selection from above, it is unimaginable to leave it as it is
and then texturize it, as it is "raw" and you see the "saw teeth". It is therefore necessary to refine.

First, select the red triangle at the edit mesh to be able to select half-faces
and thus adjust the selection, but that will not be enough. We must therefore
go back to the edit mesh modif terrain to shape the terrain and soften the angles.

Note: a message may appear telling you that you are about to modify a later file
and that this will modify the current configuration of the land, click on yes because this is the desired goal.

Here is now the selection of the faces after first having refined the selection
of the faces via the edit mesh at the top (we see the triangle on the side) then after having reworked the terrain
with the Edit mesh modif terrain (we see the 3 small dots on the side).
It took about 5 minutes to move the points (vertices) to the places that were at "right angles".

In the current state, the result is convincing and serious, so we will be able
to texture this red selection which therefore represents the ground.

Apply a texture

The objective is to put a texture on the selection in red of the chosen faces
and for that press the "M" key on the keyboard or go through Rendering / Material editor
while checking that the selection is still active and for that do not press on no other key.
A menu arrives with gray balls and lots of tabs that can be disconcerting (see below left).
Just press the Standard button, a new window will appear and double click on PteroMat
which is at the top. If it isn't, you have incorrectly installed the ptero plugins for 3ds.

You should have the menu below now (right)

Press the box 1 below Used Textures in the PteroMaterial Properties section (colored green).
A PteroMap browser window opens with a load new, click on ok and choose your texture
in the ddsfromcbf directory of Vietcong for example.

Here is the texture comes to be put in a square box but there is still no modification
on the ground and same for the ball which is always a solid color but that is normal!
Click in order on the little "s" (circled in green at the bottom) and here is the ball that now has the texture.

Then you have to put a collision to the texture, by pressing the small arrow
to the right of none, and a drop-down menu appears with a list of all the existing
collisions for Vietcong ranging from grass to sand, via water and the earth ...

The collisions present are numerous and will all have specific properties
with a different noise if you pull in it, walk on it etc ...

Certain collisions can also allow the balls to pass through (wood, metal sheets, etc.)

Thanks to nesta for translating the collisions for us! - link to the forum -

Then, click on the icon at the top left (circled in green) then finally on the one
on the right (checkered icon) and there, your terrain changes because the red color selection
has taken into account the parameters you have chosen and the texture is put but in a coarse way,
even in a united way with just a change of color. You will need to make a UVW map to calibrate
the texture (see the continuation, UVW map: Calibrate the texture)

Note: By the way, if the texture is pixelated, it means that you put the wrong driver when
you first launch 3dsmax. To change it, do: Customize / Preferences / viewports then choose driver.

You have the choice between 3 drivers which are: Software, OpenGL and Direct3d.

Here the driver is put in direct3d version DirectX 9.0 and to modify the main driver to switch to Software,
for example, just click on Revert from Direct3D and you can choose again.

The image opposite comes by pressing Advanced Direct3D

Transparent textures

To make windows with transparent panes, just choose one of the
5 transparency options in the material editor (M), section PteroMaterial Properties
(Type of transparent, below used Textures)

However, transparency does not apply to all textures
and so it will be necessary to opt for that of Pterodon where there is
blue or green color as on the attached texture available in Halong Port.

UVW Map: Calibrate the texture

The texture is coarse and we will have to make it "edible for our eyes"
and luckily it is very easy to achieve. Plus, if you've followed the instructions to the letter,
you won't have any stretching problems so the task is simplified!

So, click on UVWmap in the modifier list (it is at the bottom of the list)
and your control panel will be as opposite.

Choose the Box or Planar field and put the values ​​4 in
the boxes length (length), width (width) and Height (height).

Do not go below 3 because the texture would be too fine and would repeat itself too often
and do not go above 5 (12 for mountains) because the texture would be too coarse
and would provide a "shortened legs" effect when we evolve on it while playing.

UVWmapping is therefore an essential step to have an excellent rendering in terms of textures.

However, this solution is only the hidden side of the iceberg as there is a lot more complex
to having a perfect rendering and Mouzeman explained it in the following link.

For more details on how to texture a terrain, you can see Elder's tutorial: link to the tutorial
A step-by-step explanation with screens to support, ideal for people who are really just starting out.

And finally Mouzeman's tutorial which is intended for expert users
because this is the method Pterodon uses: link to the forum

Replace a texture

At any time you can change textures by clicking on the desired EditMesh then press "M"

In the Material editor, click on the name of the texture (highlighted in green)
and the same window appears as when you press button 1 to choose a texture the first time.
So just look for another texture.

Gizmo: Position a texture

On the entire beige band of the screen (sourcemap: DamNhaPhu),
you need to apply a transition texture to make a nice gradient between the sand and the grass.
The problem is that the texture (after doing an edit mesh + UVWmap) is not facing the right way.

This is why we have to use the Gizmo function by "expanding" the tree structure
of the UVWmap by clicking on the small square with a cross.
Select Gizmo and the Edit Mesh selection turns red. Then, all you have to do is choose the 2 tool icons
displacement and rotation (or even enlargement / reduction) to either rotate the texture or move it.

Put multiple textures

You can obviously put as many textures as you want and to do it right,
you have to proceed exactly as you just did by following this chapter on texturing but by doing
another editmesh to choose another face to texture then select a another gray ball.

Above a screen regrouping the control panel (given in larger size opposite),
the field with the Edged faces removed and 2 textures and finally the Material Editor with 2 gray textured balls.

Here is a summary of the procedure to follow to put several textures on a ground.

Optimization: removal of faces

As with objects, if you can remove terrain faces that are out of sight (above cliffs)
then do an Edit Mesh at the top of the edit list hierarchy (after texturing everything if possible)

You can download the .3dsmax with the textures to analyze the method yourself
and thus better understand how to create a terrain under 3dsmax 6.

Next -> 7 ° - Advanced architecture
Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 05:24
  x 1  x 1
Advanced architecture

Create a waterfall

1- Create a Plan:

The plan you are going to create will correspond to the waterfall of your dreams, but for that,
even before making this famous plan, you must first think about its general shape and according to the terrain.
Explanation: making a straight and very smooth waterfall is easy but hardly realistic, on the other hand,
the one that hugs the ground is more difficult but much prettier. The waterfall will be created after the land.

If you have followed the previous chapters making a plan will not be complicated. You just need to know
what shape your waterfall will have depending on the terrain to define the number of faces,
thus allowing the deformation of the plane to match the terrain.

You can therefore distort the plane to give it a rounding or any other shape.

2- The animation effect:

Now we need to create a file that will animate the texture by reproducing the effect of moving water. This file is called IFL.
Go to the tools (the hammer) then click on the Other button (More)

A window opens with several names. The file we are interested in is in the middle and is called IFL
Manager for the French version and IFL Manager for the English version.

You therefore click on the name IFL and validate with OK. In the control panel on the right you will see
a new functionality appearing corresponding to the screen below (English version 3dsmax 6.0):

You will click on Select
A new window opens and go to your directory where your textures are located:

To find waterfall textures, just export the DDS from the editor as you saw in Chapter 2: Preparation.

You will find waterfall textures in the files:

BomberPilot / Tex / Voda
Potok / Tex / VodoPad
Serpentiny / Tex / VodoPad
WaterFall / Tex / Pad

The textures of the cascades are to be put in the tex directory as for the other "normal" textures.

You select the first DDS in the series which imitates the waterfall (Ex: SPLAV_B01.DDS) and you open it.

You can see that the last file is automatically taken from the END box on the control panel
and there is also the number of frames in the whole series. It works like a GIF after all.

3- Create the IFL file:

All that remains is to create the IFL file.
You just click on the Create button which was previously grayed out.

Give a meaningful name to the IFL file and save.

4- Put the texture on the Plan:

Now the IFL file is created and contains all of your waterfall animation.
All that remains is to put the texture on the plane created previously via this IFL file.

You select the faces of the plane to be textured, press M and you do the same
as applying a classic texture except that you take the IFL file as the texture.

With as parameters:

-Opacity: 98
-Material colision: H
-Type of transparency: # 0

Experiment by changing these settings to change the effect.

Still like a texture, you apply UVW texture and you can thus modify
the positioning and the repetition (here 2) of your waterfall:

There is only one thing left to copy the series of DDS textures that your waterfall makes up and also
copy the IFL file to your LEVELS \ NOMDEMAP \ TEX directory to view your work (in 3DS the animation is not visible).


Very simple it is the same thing, which changes: the plane which is horizontal and the DDS.

Do not forget the level.ini which must be placed in the following directory: Vietcong \ levels \ camname \ data \ camname \ level.ini
if ​​you want to have the other effects underwater.


Next -> 8 ° - Advanced functions
Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 05:30
  x 1  x 1  x 2
Advanced functions


In this chapter of Advanced Functions, we will talk about the “extras” that we can do with Vietcong by doing a little programming or rather,
let's say that we are going to write a few command lines to apply effects to objects and so, realize for example: Crates that move as if they were floating in water,
set display distances (Lods) so that at a precise distance the object disappears and thus using less PC resources, make Sectors and Portals to have gains fps ...

PteroProps Panel

There are 2 methods to write these command lines and thus assign an object, using either the PteroProps Panel (below left) or by going directly to Properties.

To have the PteroProps Panel, you have to load the right interface by doing: Customize / Load Custom UI Scheme then DefaultUI.ui in the UI directory.
Then remove the toolbar on the left by dragging it to the right with the left mouse button pressed and the panel on the left should appear.
This panel is called the PteroProps Panel and groups together all the configurable functions to have faster access than through direct properties,
because you do not have to write any codes or command lines, it is done automatically.

However, since not everyone has this control panel, the explanations will be given by doing the other method, that is,
by typing the command lines directly in the properties of the object.

Command lines

To type the command lines, you must go to the properties of your object (here creation of a simple cube) by selecting it first.
Then right click mouse and properties.

Then a big panel comes up with lots of options, but just click on the User Defined tab and you will have access
to a whole field to put text and therefore put the command lines.

Note: The command lines are present in the help of the Vietcong Ptero-Engine editor in
Help / Contents / Modeling in 3dsmax 5.1 / User Defined Objects Properties.


Wooble technology is used by Pterodon to move trees by mimicking the force of the wind.
We can therefore move objects with repetition of the same movement.
Thus, we can make swaying movements from left to right or back and forth, a complex rotation on several axes…
We can therefore make objects move by imitating any force, the wind for the trees, the tide. to imitate crates floating in water etc ...

We can only make rotational movements but on the 3 axes and define the rotational speeds for each axis.
The first 3 digits (0.2) correspond to the angle (in degrees) you give to your object.
The last 3 digits (5) correspond to the speed of rotation as a function of the angles.
If you put "1" there will be no speed and nothing will move.

Clip Distance

The ClipDist function is also present in the editor.
This therefore consists of making an object invisible from a value that you enter in the properties of an object via 3dsmax.

The value 47 is entered in the properties under 3dsmax so the object will disappear when we are beyond 47 meters from the object
Note that it is preferable to enter this value directly with the Ptero editor when the time comes to optimize fps.

LOD: Level Of Detail

1- Presentation:

The level of detail (LOD) is used to reduce the amount of graphic detail which significantly accelerates the rendering of the game.
Indeed, LOD technology consists in having a very precise and very detailed rendering of an object when you is nearby.
On the other hand, the further away you go, the less detailed the object is and thus saves precious fps.

To better visualize when to use LODs, here is an object where LOD technology would work wonders:

This bridge has 14 perfectly circular posts which therefore have about 40 sides each.
It’s detailed but unnecessary to have such a rendering from afar and doesn’t save any fps.
It would therefore be necessary to put LODs by duplicating the same posts with the same spacing
but using only 10 sides for each post. Thus, between 0 and 20 meters for example,
we would have hyper precise posts on 40 sides and then from 20m to 150m, the posts of only 10 sides would take place,
thus saving fps. Afterwards, beyond 150m, we could make the posts disappear altogether.

So in this example there would be the 40-sided columns, then 1 LOD with 10 faces and that's it.
It is advisable not to exceed 3 LODs per object!

2- Application:

Now we'll take a simpler example so you can practice and see for yourself how LODs work.
We will therefore create an object which will be a simple standard cylinder (18 sides on 5 segments in height)
with the name: Seektube instead of "Cylinder01"

Once this object is created, you need to texture it and calibrate the texture by making a UVWmap as you learned in Chapter 6: Applying textures.
Then, once the object is well textured, we will create 2 LODs to reduce the detail to save fps.
Click on the object and duplicate it (chapter 4: Construction: the basics) and rename it:
> MONOBJET_LOD01 (here it will be Seektube_LOD1)

Note: The names of LOD objects must start with the character ">"

Note: Do not forget to change the cylinder parameters to see the modifications with the Ptero-Engine II editor.

Repeat the same operation for the second LOD by now duplicating one of the two objects that you will rename it:
> MONOBJET_LOD02 (here it will be Seektube_LOD2)

Seektube = 18 sides and 5 segments in height
> Seektube_LOD01 = 10 sides and 5 height segments
> Seektube_LOD02 = 5 sides and 5 height segments

Now that we have our 3 objects that are textured and with different parameters, they must all be positioned in the same place.
That is, the 3 objects must overlap and all have the same coordinates in the frame in X, Y and Z.

3- Link the objects together:

Now we will link the LOD objects (> Seektube_LOD0X) to the main object (Seektube).
In the menu bar, click on “Graph Editors”, then “New Schematic view”.

The schematic view shows all the objects present in the drawing.

To link an object to another, select it (it becomes white) then menu edit select connect.
A "Z" will appear in place of the mouse pointer when you are over the boxes,
keep the left mouse button pressed and drag the pointer to the object to connect.

So you need to link LOD01 to the main object (Seektube) and LOD02 to LOD01.
Here is what you should have in the Graph Editors.

4- Configure the LODs:

Close the schematic view. We are now going to indicate the display parameters of the LODs.
Select the main object (example "Seektube"). Right mouse button, properties. In the Properties Object window select the User defined tab.

This example shows a case, where there is a main object with two LODs.
The main object is displayed between 0 and 25m. Then the LOD01 takes over between 25 and 50m.
Finally the LOD02 takes over. The -1 which means that the last LOD will be shown until it is included in the visibility of the scene defined in the editor.

Here, a parameter called LastLodAlpha has been added. This means that the last LOD will gradually disappear,
becoming more and more transparent. It will cease to be drawn entirely from 75m.
Now you just have to export your object to the editor (add link for export).

5- Modify the values ​​under the editor:

All the parameters that are entered in 3ds are editable in the editor. For that, we must Select the object in question and we have 2 solutions:
Either with the Select (Home) window, check the Show subentites box in Display (on the right)
then select the name of the object (red circle with the indications LOD.

Either by clicking the object with the yellow selection (Toogle entity).

Once the object is selected, you can change the LOD values ​​in the Editor Panel.

You just have to double click in the corresponding LODS and change the values ​​in the small window "set new LOD distance".

Note: It is very difficult to access this function in the control panel, because it is located at the very bottom.
The 1024x768 resolution on a 17 "screen is the minimum required to be able to access the Lods.

Sectors and Portals

Here is the ultimate technology to have spectacular fps gains. Indeed, a Sector is an area of ​​any shape,
created under 3dsmax (cube, paving ...) where once inside, the fps increase considerably!

1- How does it work?

A Sector is an area. You enter this area through Portals (doors, windows, etc.).
When you are inside a Sector, all the objects outside and not touching the Sector are not displayed and therefore not calculated!
When you are outside the Sector, the items inside are not displayed. Finally, whether you are inside or outside a Sector,
as soon as the gaze turns towards a portal (with a distance to be defined), all objects are displayed.
If you cross a Sector without going through a Portal, you will be erased ...

2- How to use it?

Applying a Sector is very difficult as items disappear if you are inside or outside the area and you can only enter a Sector through Portals.

There are perfectly adapted places which are the closed places (tunnels, caves, underground rooms,
buildings with few windows ...) Indeed, if we take the example of a simple straight tunnel and opening,
we enter only by the ends. Thus, we will encompass the whole tunnel in a Sector, trying to adapt it as best as possible
and put 2 Portals on each end. If we take a house, we're going to enclose it in a Sector (passing the Sector through the walls)
and put Portals on every window and door to show the outside as soon as you look out.

The goal is to have as little aperture as possible, to have as few Portals as possible
because it is not the Portals that increase the fps since they display everything!

3- Make a Sector:

Creating a Sector under 3dsmax is not complicated, especially if you enclose your area in a cube or a paving stone.
If it needs to fit more precisely to the shape of an object, you will need to EditMesh the cube and modify it according
to the number of segments and vertices as you have seen in the previous chapters. Here is an example
that will allow you to better visualize how to make a Sector.

So here is a house, with 3 doors to the outside and 2 windows, with a sloping roof
where the player can climb on it. The Sector will therefore have the form of a paving stone of the same length,
width and height as the house with the top sloped to match the shape of the roof.

Below, the Sector with a shape adapted to the house:

Rename this modified tile to Sector_Monobjet.
Here, in the example, the Sector will be called: Sector_abrisb

Also, don't forget to put Sector = 1 in the object's properties.

4- Make a Portal:

Creating a Portal consists of making a flat surface the size of an opening (windows, doors, etc.) or even slightly larger.
The difficulty is in the positioning of the Portal in relation to the Sector. First, a flat surface has only one side visible.
Second, the flat surface should “cut” the Sector. Make a slight rotation of the Portal so that you have an intersection with the Sector.
Third, we must link the Portals to the Sector with the same name!

The top view (Top at the bottom left) is the most important because it allows you to make the intersection with the Sector.
Indeed, we can see the Portals (in green) which have undergone a slight rotation. If you can't see the Portals in the perspective view,
that's normal, because the invisible side is always on the outside of the Sector.

And that’s the trick ... You have to position the Portals the right way and since it’s a flat surface, one side is visible
and the other is not. In summary, the visible side of the flat surface is facing inward of the Sector
and the non-visible side is therefore facing outward from the Sector, and therefore here, the house.

All Portals must be renamed to Portal_Myobjet.
Here in the example, the Portals will be called:
Portal_abrisb1, Portal_abrisb2, Portal_abrisb3 etc ...

As for Sectors, you will have to type a command line in the properties of your flat surfaces which therefore act as Portals.
But, it's slightly more complicated ...
The last 3 digits are for the color your Portal will take and you do not need to use this feature. Put 0,0,0.
The first 3 digits are more complex to understand because they act directly on the function of a Portal
by reacting on the distance in meters to display the objects. In the example above, beyond 30m from the Portal,
exterior objects will not be displayed. All of this won't tell you much and you will have to practice to figure it out for yourself.
It is recommended to keep it simple by putting a command line like this for example:
Portal = 15.0,15.0,0,0,0,0

Note: The values ​​can be modified via the Ptero editor and also strongly recommended to put them with the editor.

There is one more thing to do, which is to bind all the Portals to the Sector.
Proceed in the same way as for Lods by going to the menu bar, click on “Graph Editors”, then “New Schematic view”.

The 4 Portals are therefore all linked to the same Sector, bearing the same root in the name
and all have a command line in the properties. All Portals must be flat surfaces, with the face visible on
the inside of the Sector and slightly tilted with a rotation. Finally, last point not specified until now,
Sectors and Portals must be empty, only to be exported to .BES as a classic object !!!
You will position via the Ptero editor, the Sector group and Portals on the object in question.

5- With the Ptero editor:

There is therefore work to be done afterwards, with the Ptero software. Indeed, you must export in .BES, its object (here the house)
and export in .BES the Sector and Portals group linked to your object. Then you have to load it all under the editor:

Note: Do not forget to do CTRL + H and check the Sectors and Portals boxes.

On the screen above, you have the house and the Sector (in gray) and the Portals (in green) just above,
not positioned. It must therefore be placed manually.
On the screen below, the Sector and Portals group is well positioned with the Sectors passing
between the partitions of the walls so not visible and the Portals (in green) placed for the openings.
In the editor, the portal's flat surface becomes visible from both sides.

To be able to modify all the parameters of a Sector or a Portal, you must go through the yellow selection
by clicking on the Toogle entity / Subentity selection tool (A key on the keyboard).

Thus, if we click on the Sector (difficult to have the selection), we can modify parameters identical to the Word Sector
but which will only affect the area located inside the Sector. We can therefore make a very dark tunnel for example
because the parameters of the Sector in question will be independent and therefore different from the World Sector !!!

Last subtlety, if we click on Portals, we will act on the parameters opposite, which are the work of the command lines via 3dsmax.

However, if we click on the outside face of a Portal, we will enter data to display the objects in the Sector according to a distance (in meters).

On the contrary, if we click on the inside face of a Portal, we will enter data to display according
to a distance (in meters) the objects located outside the Sector.

To better understand, you can load the DàmNhaPhù map under the Ptero-Engine editor,
and thus analyze the Sectors and Portals. You can also see the OldTemple map, again via the editor.
Also, don't forget to check the corresponding boxes by pressing CTRL + H.

Next -> 9° - Exportation
Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 05:46
  x 1  x 1  x 1  x 1

How to export?

To export an object, it's very easy. Just click on the hammer icon and then press More.
The window below appears and you choose BES Export, then click OK.

The window opposite has just appeared below the hammer tools.
Normally, for your first export to BES, the ruins1s.BES boxes and the Export Filename address are empty.

You must therefore click on...

...the gray rectangle (where it is marked Rune1s.BES).
A window opens to type the name of your object in
the directory of your map, example:
Vietcong \ Levels \ FolderName \ Nameofyourobject.BES

Once it's done, you just have to click on the Export button at the top!!!

Mistakes to not make

1- Texturing:

Before exporting your object, it is essential that it is textured. Whether it is a terrain or an object,
there should not be a single surface that is still gray, not textured! Otherwise, you will be entitled to
a nice crash of the Ptero editor when you do F8 / F9.

2- Collisions:

Also, don't forget to put a collision or collisions, especially to your terrain because you will pass
through it and make a fatal fall… However, an object or a terrain without collision does not cause bugs
with the editor but it does not. is really not recommended.

3- Naming:

When choosing a name for your item, keep it simple and don't use accents or other symbols.
Put names like: Tourdegarde.BES or Pont1.BES ... If you use 3dsmax in French version or put accents,
then you will get the following error message: COM_HashString wrong character: è (-24)
This message is only an indication and will not bug the Ptero editor.
It's just binding when you have put lots of personal objects in BES and you have to type 15 messages of this type...
there is a solution to "correct" the French version and it is here:

Note: For the terrain that will make up the opening of a new map,
it is absolutely necessary that it is called: land_name of your land.BES

With the Ptero Editor:

1- Put your textures:

The textures that have been chosen to texture your terrain or your objects via
the Material Editor (M) of 3dsmax must be found in the “tex” directory of your map, example:
Vietcong \ Levels \ Nomdevotremap \ tex \ Put your textures here

Note: If possible, always choose textures in DDS format in order to save fps as much as possible.

2- Initialize the textures:

When you go to open your map and insert your objects for the first time in it,
they will all be white or in part. Normal because you just put objects with unknown textures for your map directory.
We must therefore make a RebuidTexDB which is in the Ptero editor, Tools tab.
The procedure is therefore to open your map, do a rebuildTexDB, reopen your map and insert your objects.
If some objects are still white, a texture is missing in the tex directory.

- END -

There you have it, this is the end of the tuto3dsmax applied to Vietcong.
I hope he has helped you with the construction of lands and items.
With a little personal work on your side, good will and patience, you will be able to create maps with high quality.
By following the methods, you are able to make maps like Tour of Duty, BaoKhanh or DàmNhaPhù.
Even if everything has not been explained and there are several methods of making a terrain,
it is with experience that you will be able to evolve and make more and more beautiful maps.

Remember that there is the Vietcong-SGC forum at your disposal with the 3dsmax section.
Also take a look at the FAQ and feel free to post your questions on the forum.


Participants in the creation of this tutorial on 3dsmax:

[SGC] Kjeldorius - Leader of the tuto3ds project
[SGC] Xeron - Layout of the tutorial
= BC = Lt M. GOLDMAN - The 3dsmax teacher
MOG - Author of the tutorial on water and waterfall in chapter 7
SEEK - Author of Lods in chapter 8


Edited by Intruder on 27-01-2022 05:50
  x 1

I've finally fixed the missing pictures of this thread!
It took me a lot of time but I hope it will be useful again for some... Wink

  x 3
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