3DMax Object Creation Control Part 4

3dMax Object Creation Tutorial

Written by SCHWAA 

The object of these tutorials is to show you how to make an object specifically for Thief II – The Metal Age using 3D Studio Max and Photoshop.I will not go into great detail on how to run 3D Studio Max or Photoshop. You should be familiar with the basics of these programs before you start. I will however explain a few parts of the programs that I use to model. These aren’t nescessarily the best ways to model, just how I prefer to do it.
This will be a multi part tut.

  • Part One will consist of the basics that I use to model, nothing exciting, we will just create a cube and modify it. If you already have a good handle on the 3D Max interface then go ahead and skip to Part Two.
  • Part Two will delve a little deeper into serious modeling, I decided to create a simple object that everyone could use, a goblet.
  • Part Three

will be about complex model texturing. I will use a simple sword model in this tut.

  • Part Four

converting a 3DS file to a Bin file. ========================================================== 

Part Four: Converting a .3DS file into a .BIN file

The purpose of this tutorial is to help you import custom objects into Thief2. You also needN3DS2E.EXE and BSP.EXE. These programs convert a .3ds file into an .e file and then into a .bin file. The bin file is Thief’s object file.
Once you have a .bin file and the corresponding .gif texture files getting them into Dromed and Thief is pretty easy. 

  • 3DS FILES-requirements.
  • E FILES-How to create.
  • BIN FILES-How to create.
  • IMPORTING OBJECTS-How to import bin files into Dromed.
  • PROBLEM SOLVING-These are things that have gone wrong for me. 

    3DS FILES-To convert 3ds files they need to be UV mapped. If you source the files from somewhere and you’re not sure, you can import them into one of the mentioned programs and check it. If you don’t have a program for it (Anim8tor is FREE) then you can try converting it into a .bin anyway. You’ll probably create an .E file but when you go to convert it into a .bin you’ll find out if it’ll work or not.

    If you get an error message, one is “who built this?”. This file will probably not work.

    The textures need to be in .gif format and adjusted with the THIEF COLOR PALETTE.

    OK, now that you’ve got a .3ds file of an object make a folder (C:\Thief2\custom object) and place it in there along with N3ds2e.exe and Bin.exe. Open this file and then go to the computers Start Menu. Scroll up to RUN… which is the shortcut to a DOS Window (I have WindowsME, I haven’t tried this on any other operating system though. basically you need an open DOS window.). The open command is command. Type this in the window (after you open your custom object folder). This will bring up a DOS prompt in which you can type. It should already have the path in it (C:\Thief2\custom object). Type this into the window:

    N3ds2e sword.3DS {Fig.1} 
    There needs to be a space and “sword” is the object file name. If all goes well the prompt will once again have a blinking cursor after the path name and you’ll have “sword.E” file in the folder. Now for the next step..E FILES

    Once you have the .E file you can enter this into the DOS prompt:

    BSP sword.E {Fig.1} 

    This, if all goes well, will leave a blinking cursor after the pathname again. You will now have “sword.bin” which is ready for Dromed! If it says something like “who made this?” then you have a problem..BIN FILES

    If you made it this far you’re almost there. The .bin file needs to be placed in you Thief2\obj folder. If you don’t have one already then make one and inside of it make one called txt16. Inside txt16 place the texture map .gifs for the object.


    Now you have a “sword.bin” file in Thief2\obj and a .gif(or more) in Thief2obj xt and Thief2obj xt16. With these in place you can open Dromed and create a new object! If Dromed is already open close it and reopen (don’t forget to save), it won’t read the files otherwise.

    Open the object hiearchy>weapons>swords>sword and hit ADD. Type in the name of your sword (mysword) and this will give you a new model with all the original sword atributes. The only thing left is to pick mysword>EDIT>Shape>ModelName and type in “sword” (the name of the .bin file). Add any other properties that will make the object more realistic, things like ADD/Metaprop/Materials/Metal and ADD/Schema/Material tags/Material Metal.

    Hit Create-you know the rest. Sometimes it can be hard to create an object in a 3d program and get the dimensions right so you might have to adjust them in the Dromed window and also under Model>Controls>dimensions in the object hiearchy. Although it is best to create them the right size in your 3d program, this way you’ll have more acurate shadow casting properties and less work in Dromed.


    Common errors that show up in the DOS Prompt:


  • “Who Built This?”– if you see this command then your object is probably too complex or has some wierd polygons in it, the best fix for this is practice in low poly modelling. I got this error alot when I started making models for Thief but haven’t seen it in along time.
  • DOS seems to freeze after spitting out alot of commands- it’ll probably finish, but it means that your object is REALLY complex, try optimizing more in MAX. Of course its always best to optimize before you texture the model, if you optimize too much afterwards it’ll probably mess up your texture.
  • “Oh MY!”– I just got this for the first time yesterday, working with VHots (door handle attachments- but that’s another tut at a later date). It’ll spit out an empty .bin file, something will need fixed in MAX, in my case it was a door handle name.Common errors that show up in Dromed:


  • Hollow Log does not match texture width, height – your texture is not scaled correctly, make sure it is in rounds of 32 (i.e 32×32, 32×64, 64×64, 64×128, 128x 128, 256×256 – any combo of these numbers will work, you might as well not go below 32 because the detail won’t be very good).
  • Bounding box of object is offset from object – recenter your object in 3DMAX on the center of the grid.
  • Object can’t be seen – the object is WAY off center, its probably hanging out in a wall somewhere, recenter in MAX.
  • Object is HUGE – You probably scaled it to feet in MAX, thus 12 feet = 120 feet in Dromed. If you want a 12 foot model in Thief make it 12 inches in Dromed.

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