I've been a bit concerned with the animated backdrops of The Movies: Stunts & Effects and I'm trying to create an tutorial to create own animated backdrops. The principle is the same as when modifying sets. The meshes themselves can't be changed, but only the textures.
The following is required:
- Graphics program (for example Adobe Photoshop or GIMP) with the associated DDS plugins (and / or a DDS converter)
- Reshoot to export S&E files
Step 1: Unpack with Reshoot
To get an overview of the existing animated backdrops and their names (they all start with "bd_f_"), you can list them with reshoot with the following command (see reshoot Tutorial):
reshoot -l bd_f_*.msh
A total of 17 meshes of the existing animated backdrops should now be listed. As an example I would like to edit the animated hyperspace backdrop and just give it a different color, namely red instead of blue. When using reshoot, you can see that it is named "bd_f_hyperspace.msh". So unzip the corresponding mesh with the associated files:
reshoot -e -r -d C:folderofyouchoise bd_f_hyperspace.msh
If you have done everything right, you should now find the following 7 files in the "folder of your choice":
- datameshes d_f_hyperspace.msh
- datameshesextrainfo d_f_hyperspace.inf
- data exturesmp_for_hyperspace.dds
- data exturesmp_for_hyperspace_rim.dds
- data exturesmp_for_hyperspace_darts.dds
- data extures ackdrops d_f_hyperspace.dds
- data extures humbs ackdrops h_bd_f_hyperspace.dds
(The number of unpacked dds textures can vary depending on which backdrop you unpack)
Step 2: Edit the unpacked textures
Now you can get started and you can edit the unpacked dds textures (in this case 5 textures) as one pleases. (In this example, I simply changed the colors from blue to red.) To do this, you have to convert the textures in a graphics format that can handle masks or alpha channels (with Adobe Photoshop or GIMP).
The following 5 dds hyperspace textures must be edited:
- "data extures ackdrops d_f_hyperspace.dds"
This is the normal backdrop (without an alpha channel), which can also be used in the game in scenes where no animated backdrops are possible.
- "data extures humbs ackdrops h_bd_hyperspace.dds"
This is the thumbnail that is displayed in the game as a preview
- The 3 other textures that begin with "mp_for_hyperspace..." are the animated areas of the backdrops, in this case light arrows, clouds, and a hyperspace kernel. Here you should make sure that the masks or alpha channels (black is transparent) are kept when you save to dds format.
After editing all 5 textures, you save them in dds format under a new name. My animated backdrop is called "red", so I call the textures as follows:
- data exturesmp_for_red.dds
- data exturesmp_for_red_rim.dds
- data exturesmp_for_red_darts.dds
- data extures ackdrops d_f_red.dds
- data extures humbs ackdrops h_bd_f_red.dds
Step 3: Rename
Next you also need the two unzipped files
Datameshes d_f_hyperspace.msh and
The new name of the animated backdrops, so simply rename it in:
Step 4: Edit the msh file using the hex editor
Finally, open the mesh file (datameshes d_f_red.msh) with a hex editor. The new names of the changed dds files must now be entered into the hex editor (simply overwrite the old ones). Then save and finish.
Now you only have to copy the files into the games directory (into the appropriate folder) and you have a new animated backdrop.
I hope this was all right and not too complicated!