How to convert game models into papercraft

A paper model ripped from 3D data from Command & Conquer

We sure think it's uber awesome to be able to convert game characters and 3D model data directly onto papercraft sitting on your desk. You might not realise this, but many of the gaming paper models floating out there on the world wide web are ripped directly from in-game data.

Take this for example:

Jan from used 3D models directly off a Super Mario game to create these cool iconic dices.

Here's how you can do this
, a tutorial written Fico86 from our forums. He runs a blog on Command & Conquer paper models, so remember to head on over to C and C Papercraft to show him some lovin' that he deserves.

The following tutorial was written with respect to ripping models from Command & Conquer, but you can apply similar principles to selected games.

What u will need:

- the game itself installed on ur computer.
- Big importer or Xcc Mixer (anyone will work, this is to extract the models from the .big or .dat files in ur game folder)
- 3ds max (this one might be a bit difficult to get tongue.gif)
- w3d importer plugin (A 3ds max plugin that allows u to import .w3d files into 3ds max and convert as any other format. The link will also tell u how to use the plugin with 3ds max)

Now a bit on file types:

- .big or .dat -the files that contain all the game assets. think of them as zip files...
- .tga or .dds- Both of these files are pictures that Generals* uses to give the models in the game color or a skin.- There are also some loading screens and buttons and other things in these formats.
- .w3d- this is ur 3d data file. this, together with its corresponding .dds file is what u need to extract to get ur model.

* Generals refers to Command & Conquer Generals

Step 1, extraction of data:

Run the FinalBig editor, or the XCC mixer, whichever u downloaded, and use it to locate ur game folders. For Generals look for W3D.big, ZH is W3DZH.big and Renegade* is always.dat

In there u can extract the models u want, looking for them is hell, cos there is so many of then, and none are properly labeled, but the names give hints, and the FinalBig editor also gives some distorted preview. So u can use those as guide.

After u found and extracted ur model, u will need the texture files to go along with them. For Generals and ZH the textures can be found in the texture.big and textureZH.big respectively. For Renegade it’s also in the always.dat file, with the models.

This first step is the one that requires some tweaking on your part, as the method for extraction differs from game to game. After you've got it sorted out for the game you want to extract files from, the rest of the steps are the same.

Some ways to extract models from popular games:
To extract World of Warcraft Models, click here
To extract Half-Life 2 Models, click here

* Renegade refers to Command & Conquer Renegade.

Step 2, converting of models:

Once u have extracted the data from the game files, u have to use 3ds max and the plugin to import into 3ds max, and from there either u can edit it in 3ds max itself, or convert it to edit it in some other prog.

Step 3, editing the model:

Once u get the data, u have to edit it such that it is recognized correctly by Pepakura Designer, and opened correctly. I personally will convert the model into .3ds in 3ds max and import it in Google sketchup, where I edit the model. This part I cant tell u how to do, cos each model is different. The trick is to make the model be as much as how ur final papercrafts will be. So that means all the hidden lines and faces have to be deleted, new joints have to be formed where necessary, and the faces have to split into different parts to make then buildable. This usually is the toughest part. Once u are satisfied, u can export it into .kmz format and open it in paperkura.

Step 4, getting ur final template:

Once u open the .kmz in pepakura*, if u are familiar with it, u can set the settings, and open up the model. Don’t hope to get a clean set immediately, u would still need to fiddle here and there, open some edges and close other, add flaps remove flaps. And don’t be surprised that sometimes u get some parts short or excess. This happens because haven’t edited the model properly, so u have to go back to sketchup**, and fix it again. And finally u should get something buildable in pepakura, u can print it out or export it. And somethings can never be fixed either in sketchup or pepakura, u have to resort to an image editing software to fix things up.

* Pepakura refers to Tamasoft's Pepakura Designer software.
** Sketchup refers to Google Sketchup

Damn that sounds difficult, but the end results are fantabulous as we have seen. This method does not work with all games but only a selected few. Alot of models builders have found their own resources and ways to rip models off games including Gamecube games, the Final Fantasy series and more, so it's definitely possible.

Every game differs slightly in the ripping method, so do some experimentation, understand the principles and work from there step by step.

If you need help, ask Fico86 on our forums!


yudistira said...

hei bro, what about another game, is the software diferent, to get 3d model from other game,

nice tutor

Aoimizu said...

Wow... AWESOME...!!! MARVELous..!!!

Anonymous said...

to work arount the 3ds max problem, gmax with the renx plugin is an alternative, the only problem however is that gmax/renx can only export p3d, w3d, or save as .gmax

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