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    Lightwave (LWO/LWS) Basics With Milkshape

    So you wanna be a master of LWO. But you don't have the skillz to be number one. I'm afraid that no one in our lands has perfected the art, but there are a few smithies with the knowledge to forge the most basic of blades. As one of those smithies, I feel it is necessary to pass down the secrets of the trade so that future generations may one day bear true masters. Masters of the Light(wave).


    Before I show you how to forge a blade of the light(wave), let me demonstrate how to summon an existing piece so that you may study its properties.






    Pay special attention to the import options. You'll want to use the one by CCCP for best results. However, notice how the textures don't show up. This is a problem inherent with Milkshape. If, however, you want to forge your creation for testing purposes, follow these steps:


    gallery_27_6_55052.png  gallery_27_6_59359.png


    In-game, your creation will be either white, completely black, or some shade of gray. The reason is simple. There is another way to texture models, which is to directly apply color and other properties to them. I call this pseudotexturing. When you are making a material to apply to a model in Milkshape, you will see buttons for Ambient, Diffuse, Specular, and Emissive. Diffuse is flat color and Emissive is glowing color, and only these are supported in LRR.


    When you export a 5.x LWO with Milkshape, the RGB values of its pseudotextures will all change to be the value of the red channel, so RGB becomes RRR. If you have a hex editor such as XVI32, you can fix the pseudotextures after the export by scrolling to the bottom of the file and changing the COLR values accordingly.


    Let us move on to a much more powerful Anvil, the legendary Lightwave. Its power is such that you do not need to use importing techniques, and it displays your creations almost as they would appear in Valhalla. However, it cannot always find textures on its own, so you'll need to guide it. Remember that the sword does not guide the warrior, the warrior guides the sword.




    As you can see, Lightwave is much more useful if you want to see what your creation will really look like. However, the way that LRR handles texture transparency isn't understood by Lightwave, so do not be alarmed by giant triangles jutting out every which way. Let me also show you the Image Editor. This lets you view the textures that are applied to the model and to change some of their properties. Milkshape has a similar tool, but remember that it doesn't show imported LWO textures correctly. If you want to fully edit the textures applied to a model, you will need to use the Surface Editor. PWNZOR has a tutorial that explains the Surface Editor in depth so that you can texture your models correctly. I personally recommend it.




    Forging a creation is easy. While there is an export involved, Lightwave will handle the settings for you. Note that while the Anvils known as Lightwave are indeed powerful and revered, they were created by man and are not perfect. The one you see here is the Seventh Anvil and cannot remove impurites from the models you forge, so they will appear completely black in LRR. This condition is known as "superblack" since it appears as an eternal shadow in Valhalla, even in the presence of the Light. The Eighth and Ninth Anvils are able to forge your creations to satisfaction, and the The Fifth Anvil reportedly does the same. That Anvil was used by the Ancient Smithies of the DDI Clan, and I came into possession of this Anvil after an archeologist discovered some in a dark crypt. Unfortunately, the crypt was destroyed by bandits shortly thereafter, but both he and I have been consulting the ancient texts so we can attempt to understand it.


    Thankfully, the export process is the same for all recent Anvils. Just select Export Lightwave 5 and your creation will be forged.





    Now I will bestow unto thee the knowledge of how the Norse gods sew together the flesh and metal of beasts and blades alike. First open up Lightwave Layout and open an LWS file. For educational purposes I'll show you how the Small Transport Truck is formed.




    You will quickly notice that many of its pieces seem to be missing. Take note that not even Lightwave can replicate how things truly appear in Valhalla. Go to the object list and scroll through. You'll notice many things that represent the missing parts. These are called nulls.




    Nulls can be moved around and rotated. They may even have child nulls, as evidenced by the yellow ones that move and rotate in unison. You can choose a parent for the selected null or object by pressing 'm' then scrolling through the object list that appears. Let me show you how you can create nulls yourself.




    Nulls define where parts of the model are located. This makes upgrades possible in Valhalla, as different objects can be assigned to nulls in an AE file. There are also animation bones, though I do not know if they have a purpose in Valhalla. If you wish to experiment with them, here is how to summon one:




    This is all I can teach you for now. I hope it will be of use to you. Remember that the teacher never knows everything, so if you learn something that I an unaware of, feel free to become the teacher and I the student.


    LRR Compatible Models Require One of the Following:

    • Any version of Milkshape with CCCP's LWO exporter. Export as 5.x with the settings shown. Textures will not be retained when exported, and pseudotextures will have the red value duplicated across the green and blue values. Alternatively, you can export as a 6.5 model and load that into a compatible version of Lightwave to do the final export.
    • Lightwave 8 or more recent. Textures cannot be UV'd; they must be applied planarly. Simply export as a Lightwave 5 model. Textures and pseudotextures will be retained.


    LRR Compatible Animations Require Lightwave:

    • Some Anvils do not export animations correctly, such as the Ninth Anvil. The Seventh does, and I have heard that the Eighth does so as well. I have not confirmed whether or not the Tenth can export LWSes correctly.



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This is probably a stupid question but if I were to import a model from Rock Raiders, could I export/compile it into a different format such as an MD2 file or better yet save it as a MS3D file?

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This is probably a stupid question but if I were to import a model from Rock Raiders, could I export/compile it into a different format such as an MD2 file or better yet save it as a MS3D file?

It'll take a little messing around, but it's possible.

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On 1/24/2015 at 12:10 PM, Cyrem said:

It'll take a little messing around, but it's possible.


Ah, okay. Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate it.

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