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Siege Max Update v1.5

Team Elemental

Readme for gmax importers for Dungeon Siege

The files in this archive are zipped with their paths relative to the gmax folder. This
should put them in right places when you unzip.

The import scripts were originally created by Lance at the Elemental Project, and the
initializer script to set them up by Biddle at GPG. These worked for all ASP,PRS and SNO
files shipped with the original version of Dungeon Siege. But when anything was exported
from SiegeMax, it used a file version (4.0) later than the importers would handle. This is
no problem for anyone working on a DS1 mod, as they would either have the base DS1 files,
which would import without problems, or the gmax files themselves for the newer material.
Art Packs are also available for much of the DS1 material, so you don't need to import

The problems started with Legends of Aranna, as the addition mesh and animation content
would not import with the importers as they were. Xaa and I (and I think MCarp for the
SNO importer) had to add some code to recognise the new file versions. This worked for
LoA, but around the release of DS2, there were changes we could not account for. The
versions in this archive still have problems that will require extra work to get around.

1. The bones will normally import in the correct locations, but may be rotated. This makes
the animations apply with a corresponding rotation on each bone, and turn the mesh into a
pretzel. If a rotation does occur, it will be a 90 degree rotation that can be "undone" by
repeating the import another three times - i.e. export the result to a temp file and
re-import/export it three more times.

2. The vertex weighting information in the ASP files was changed at about file version 5,
and we never worked out the new format. The only workaround is to re-weight the skinmesh
onto the bones manually, but this is always required after any edits to the mesh, so it's
something you'll be doing after any remodelling of the mesh anyhow. If you're building new
animations for existing characters, then a simple weighting of 1.0 to the nearest bone, with
0.5 at the joints will provide a "low fidelity" weighting to serve as a basis for your animations.
You will need to re-test the PRS files with the original ASP after you get them working by
launching the viewever from gmax. I.e. export the PRS, load the original mesh and then select
your new animation.

3. The XP expansion, DS2 and BW have all added file versions. All of these have the bone and
vertext weighting issues above. However, the majority of characters in DS2 use the same skeletons
as the DS1 farmboy and farmgirl (so they could carry over the animations), so the art packs for
DS1 remain valid sources of skeletons and animations for the DS2 figures (although the meshes
were updated). This is true for the elves and dryads, as well as the humans.

4. In Broken World, some characters were re-created with extra bones to support lip movement,
and limited facial expressions. These are mainly NPC's but the BW Dwarf is also one. There is
no compatibility with the DS1 dwarf. You may be able to import the DS2 dwarf, but all the above
issues apply.


Some other observations:

The armor meshes (body, boot, glove or helmet/head) use the same skeleton as the character mesh.
This means that you can use a DS1 farmgirl skeleton to make a new helmet for a DS2 Dryad, as they
are identical. Once you have untwisted a skeleton by repeated import, save a copy to use for new
armor, or use one from an Art Pack where you can.

And below is Lance's original readme text.

Siege Max Update v1.5
Team Elemental
March 2004


To install, unzip to your gmax directory, overwriting
all the files when it prompts you. For example, if
gmax is installed at c:\gmax, run winzip and "Extract to:"
c:\gmax, with "Use folder names" enabled.


Importing is much like unscrambling an egg. No guarantees
are made that you are able to import, then export something,
and retain the integrity of the artwork. The most problematic
unscrambling is with animation. For examples, with bones,
the original dimensions can never be fully recreated, because
on export, a bone (fins and all) is converted to 7 simple

SNO Import only currently supports version 7 siege nodes.
ASP Import only currently supports versions 1.3 up to 5.
PRS Import only currently supports version 3 animations.
This means, that Siege Max exported art assets probably
cannot be reimported. Though, why would you need to anyhow?

The scaling is correct. Drop a refobj next to an imported
model if you don't believe me. GPG's scaling is 1 unit =
1 millimeter. So a 2 meter tall droog comes out to be 2000
units. Yes I know, the grid get clipped by the far plane
when you're zoomed out that much. What you can do, is shrink
it down while you work on it, then blow it up right before

There is no quick way to set vertex weights in maxscript. But
if GPG wants to throw me a copy of gmax dev that'd be awesome
*hint* *hint*. Anyhow, when you have 'skin mesh' on, it has to
go through every single vertex and set the weights. I've turned
redrawing off for the duration of this action, so it might
appear that gmax has locked up. Just be patient. As long as
you can move your mouse cursor, the import should still be
working. Also note that the more verts in the model you're
importing, the longer it'll take. If you trying to import the
dragon, go out for some air and come back in like 5 minutes
(seriously). Sorry about this, but I've had this problem for 2
years, and I haven't found a way around it w/o stepping outside
maxscript, and using DLL plugins.

There are no guarantees that things will be "export-ready" right
after import. There is unutilized data read, and unknown data
that's skipped over. Keep in mind that creating custom artwork
still requires a good amount of your own elbow grease. If things
aren't working, and things don't want to re-export, keep in mind
that it's just a bunch of verts, faces, and texture coordinates
wrapped around some bones. You'll still need to read GPG's
tutorials. You'll still need to be comfortable with gmax. And
you'll definately still need to have artistic talent to manipulate
things into an "export-ready" setup. Remember guys, import/export
is nothing similar to open/save!


If you're getting an "INTERNAL EXCEPTION CAUGHT" message when
you try to export or preview, make sure you have a material that's
pointing to existing .PSD files.

Version History:

* fixes a bug with the sno modifier
* added ability to import sno geometry
(does not create door nor logical node info)

* added a GripMarker primitive object, with
support for weapon_grip and shield_grip markers
* added ability to import asp geometry and bones
(does not create any stitch info yet)

* redid calculations for bone creation
* tweaked a variety of asp importer things
* added ability to import prs animations and notes
(does not work with tracers yet)


Team Elemental
R&D Department
"We push more polygons before breakfast than most people do in a day"

tools and patches: 


HardLess's picture

Hey guys,

Someone has the link to this file ? I'm unable to found it on the web :S


I fixed the link HardLess