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29-Jan-99 by JM

     Getting Started

Cars in Carmageddon 2 are formed out of individual car models, each with their own "skin". The Skin of a car forms its colour and finer details. A texture is a single graphic file that forms the "skin" of an individual part, such as a wing (fender). When each part of the car is covered with a texture - usually a different one for each part - it forms the skin for the whole of the car model. New and different car skins made by Carma fans can be found all around the net. There are a great number of skins for each original car model in Carma2, all rendering a seemingly different, yet remarkably familiar new car out of the original models.

When you wish to create a skin for your brand new car model - or for an original C2 model - you need to know the exact names of the texture files that the model uses for its skin. The original textures of the C2 cars - as of yet - can't be extracted into editable form (TIFF). What you need is the original car template. A template holds the original texture files and their names, making the creation of new textures quick and easy (Lie!).

Templates for all the C2 cars (and pedestrians) can be found in our Car Templates section. From there, pick the car you want to edit. Then, let's get started!
    Preparing for Editing

I chose the Eagle 3 car for texturing. I downloaded and extracted the Eagle 3 template into its folder "DATA\CARS\EAGLE3\TIFFRGB". It is important to place the textures into the right place, or the game can't find them.

The next equally important step is to extract the rest of the car files from the .TWT file. For this, I used this quick and easy TWT extraction utility, the TWT Suite. I opened "EAGLE3.TWT" and extracted it into "DATA\CARS\EAGLE3", under the Carmageddon II folder (naturally). By default, there are no folders for cars under "DATA\CARS" so, since I was going to extract a file called EAGLE3.TWT, I made a folder called "EAGLE3". I now have an "EAGLE3" folder under "DATA\CARS", and a "TIFFRGB" folder under the "EAGLE3" folder.

Once the contents of the .TWT file are in the car's folder, and the car's corresponding textures in their TIFFRGB folder, we need to do two more things. To test that all is as it should be, we must either move or rename the original .TWT file so that the game wont find it. So, since I was fiddling around with "EAGLE3.TWT", I'll rename it to "EAGLE3.bak.TWT". Since the game can't find a file called "EAGLE3.TWT", it will automatically search for the corresponding folder, under "EAGLE3\" it will find the files needed; models and graphics.

Now we should test out that all is correct. Start the game using CARMA2_HW.EXE (hardware accelerated mode). Select to play the red Eagle Mk.3 (default car) and start a race. Everything should look normal (although, the rear lights might look more detailed than usual, and the bumpers gray), if so, you've done everything right. Finally time to do some editing!

    Painting your own Texture

Load up a graphics program like Adobe Photoshop 4 or 5 (Paint Shop Pro 5 also goes), open one of the Eagle3 textures from where you just extracted them into.

I opened a file called "EBONNET.TIF". A clever Photoshop user will notice that the TIFs have thumbnails stored into them, which indicates that Carmageddon II was made using Photoshop. The next thing you should do is bring the size up a tad. The current size is 32x32, which is way too small for painting, but optimal for preserving memory in the game (afterall, there are 3D boards that have only 2 Mbs of memory, try fitting huge textures into that!). Resize your image into something from 64x64 - depending on how large an area it covers in the game - up to 256x256. I made mine 64x64.

A quick stroke using the airbrush and alas! A cool 'new' texture. Now, save the texture over the original file. A professional program (like Photoshop) will ask you if you want to save the file as IBM PC or Macintosh standard TIFF, and if it is to be LZW compressed. Any option will do, and the compression does not lower the quality of your image, so select LZW when possible.

Try out your new texture by running the game again. If the texture shows up in the game, congrats! You have just made a breakthrough in personal editing history, this is where it all begins...

DOH! The bleeding (literally) texture is all wrong! "What did I do wrong?" you say. Well, for some reason, the person who originally designed the Eagle3, left the texture mapping (covered in the 3D editing section later) so that some textures are inverted. This is not a problem when there's no text or the like on a texture, and can't be seen when using a vertically or horizontally neutral texture. So what we have to do is flip the texture around in our graphics proggie.

In Photoshop, select Image -> Rotate Canvas -> Flip Horizontal, and in PSP Image -> Mirror. Now save again and the texture should work just fine, even without looking. But you can never be too careful so make sure by running the game again if you like. Another thing you might have to do once you see your texture in the game is rotate it, this is done by selecting "Image -> Rotate/Rotate Canvas -> N° CW/CCW;".

To date, the .PIX files in Carmageddon II cannot be opened. PIX files are the TIFF files converted into a format that the game can understand. Carma2 does this conversion on its own, which is a true blessing and quite an improvement over the painful PIX editing times of C1. After you have ran the game the first time, you will notice that a "PIX16" folder has appeared in your car folder. The PIX files for 3D accelerated mode (16-32bit) are stored in there. If you want to protect your precious skin from prying eyes, do not include the TIFFRGB folder in your zip (that you'd spread on the net), put the PIX16 instead; the car works in the game but nobody can edit your skin.

The existence of the PIX16 folder (with correct content) renders the TIFFRGB folder useless. The TIFFRGB folder is only needed while working with a project, after that you can either toss it or move it.
    Editing Specific Textures

Some textures are more complicated than others, and some are just plain confusing. One of these textures is the rear lights texture. Like you might have noticed, the rear lights are animated, but in a genious way, Stainless have done a couple of lines of extra code and saved memory by incorporating all frames of the animation into one bitmap. In this case; EABACKALL.TIF

The real trick here is to keep the places of the original blocks intact. Do not let the blocks overlap or they will not look right in the game. The magic in Carma2's way of handling textures when using multiple separate blocks is that no matter how big (up to 256x256) the bitmap is, it is always split the right way, four ways in this case. I've seen many game engines in my time and most of them have insisted on cutting blocks in "pixels" instead of "percentage", meaning that if a texture was 64x64 originally, resizing it to 128x128 would leave the game showing only one eighth of the texture instead of a quarter.

The headlights are also animated, but unlike the tail-lights, separate textures are used. The "lit" texture is of no use whatsoever. It is a ghost from the past that was supposed to be used when the player turned the headlights on in the game. It would have been a beautiful effect sure, but sadly it was dropped by Stainless due to lack of time. All of the headlight textures are 32x32 in size.

Head lights are pretty easy to produce as such, but remember that they share the wing object with another texture, so the background colour scheme should correspond to that of the shared texture in order to create a seamless skin for the wings. Like the tail-lights, the same texture is used for both sides, so text and symbols do not fit into these textures since they are reversed (mirrored horizontally).

The wheels too form their own area of texturing. The name of the Eagle3 wheel graphic "EWHEEL6.TIF" suggests that the original designer of the car had numerous tires designed, some good and some less successful, from which he picked the best one to be used on the Eagle3. Or, it's a telltale sign of blood, toil, sweat and tears (most probably).

Designing a good looking wheel is one thing, making the bastard balanced is possibly even harder in the virtual world than in reality. The tactical spots in wheels are the thin layer of pixels that is used for the Tread, the Centre and the Rim or Wheel (metal part), which defines the diameter of itself and thickness of the Tyre. When you want to design your own wheels, make sure they are symmetric and perfectly balanced, or you'll get the Colin McRae Rally effect (just play the game and look at the tyres! Muhaha).

  • The most difficult to master and most demanding texturing trick to perform is the appliance of transparency or translucency of a texture. Like we all know, some textures are tranclucent or have transparent "holes" in them, whilst most textures are solid.

    Creating a window texture or a ghost texture (tranclucent) demands a bit more than usual from the software and requires some skill from the user, but I'm sure you can manage.

    Like I mentioned earlier, C2 was made with Photoshop. Thus, being resourceful types, the blokes at Stainless decided to use Alpha Channels for defining where a texture is to be transparent, translucent or solid. Back in the simple 256 colour days, this was done by simply defining color value 1 (first shade in the 256 palette) to always show as transparent, which was easy, and primitive.

    To my knowledge, Alpha Channels can only be handled with Photoshop, so PSP users will have to wait for this feature to be implemented.

    Open a texture you wish to make transparent. I'm going to use the texture that I edited earlier, EBONNET.TIF.

    Once you have it open in Photoshop, select from the Layers Tab and click on Channels.Then click on the new channel button on the bottom part to create a new channel. A new channel called "Alpha 1" will pop up. Your texture should now appear black, which is caused by the new Alpha channel being selected.

    Now, pick the Pen tool, a colour; WHITE for solid, BLACK for transparent and GRAY (or anything between 1-100%) for translucent.
    Click the EYE icons in the Channels tab to select a channel to view the image through the colour channel of your choice. Selecting the Alpha channel and another channel will make it easier to draw the transparent spots onto the Alpha channel.

    Once you have finished the spots you want to have a transparency/translucency effect, save your TIFF over the original file again. It doesn't matter what channel is selected when you save.

  • Well, that just about covers the car texturing. To avoid repeating myself, these tutorials have a certain order in which they are to be read, so the texture stuff you have learnt now and from reading the Getting Started tutorial is automatically presumed to be in your knowledge. The next tutorial covers Pedestrian texturing.

  • Special thanks to Russel Hughess at Stainless Software for the help!
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