So you want to make models for TF2? Well here is a list of things you'll need to do, and guides on how to do them!
Things you will need:
1. A 3D Modelling Program
- Common examples are 3DS Max, Maya, XSI, Blender
- Some cost more than others, XSI mod tool is free, Autodesk software (including maya and max) is available for free on a 3 year licence to students (http://students.autodesk.com/
2. A 2D Art program (and the means to create .vtf files)
- Photoshop plugin (http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?c=154
- Paint.net plugin (http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?p=50
- VTFEdit (http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?c=178
3. Source SDK
- studiomdl is a program which compiles smd files
- it may be useful to use a program like GUI Studiomdl (http://www.wunderboy.org/apps/guistudiomdl2.php
) to help find errors when compiling
- Streamlined exporting and compiling with 3ds Max
"Beginners Guide to Custom Hat Models" by Mnemo:
3DS Max Beginner tutorials:
BenHenry's The complete view model tutorial
Superaldo's custom animation tutorial:
Jigglebones by Sparkwire (3ds max):
UV unwrapping by Skizot:
AO in 3DS Max (recommended: Used Method 2):
HellJumper's "Complete Modelling Tutorial for TF2" On SPUF
Blender modelling Tutorial - Fedora
Procedures for Exporting Working SMDs from Blender by misterdevious
Ambient Occlusion in Blender
XSI Beginner Tutorial (from Valve)
XSI Ambient Occlusion (using rendermap)
Decompiling/Recompiling source .smd files
Recompiling TF2 Models (including team colours)
Swizzle's Texturing for TF2 Guide
Swizzle's Brush stroke guide:
Making Kill icons by NeoDement
Making Backpack Icons by Shugo
How to Hex Hats by Blaholtzen
Valve SDK docs (for all documentation):
TF2 Style Guidelines:
Using testitem in game to test your items
My model exported and compiled fine but I can't see it in game or Model viewer
If you have exported and compiled correctly and there is geometry data (select wireframe from the dropdown box in HLMV) then your polys are probably inverted. This is more common in blender. Select the faces you can't see and invert normals
Pink/Black checker pattern on my compiled model
The engine can't find your vmt and or vtf files. Check that your smd exported from your modelling package is assigned to the correct texture name, your vmt and vtf are named and located correctly, your qc points to the correct directory, and your vmt points to your vtf.
My Jigglebones are funky
Play with the numbers, test and play with the numbers some more. Use pitch/yaw/roll constraints and damping to stop your model from "spazzing out".
Common Compiling Errors
Error opening cprogram files\...\model_name.mdl! (Check for write enable)
The compiler can't create folders for you, so make sure all the folders and subfolders exist and are spelled correctly in the qc.
ERROR: cannot find bone ValveBiped.Bip01_L_Toe0 for bbox (or hbox)
If you're making a weapon or hat this isn't a problem, hbox and bbox are used for bullet collisions and simple npc navigation, and really aren't needed. Just remove any $hbox lines from your qc.
ERROR: c...\model.qc(1): - could not load file 'C:blah\blah/model.smd'
WARNING: Leaking 1 elements
As it says, could not load the spicified file - make sure that the file is in the correct location and has the correct name
A few miscellaneous tips:
Have model viewer open when you compile - this will ensure that the content and dll's are up to date.