Getting Started

Make sure that you know the basics by first following the Basic Modding Tutorial and then the Basic Retexturing Tutorial. Secondly, I'm assuming a certain level of basic knowledge about 3d modeling. If you're a complete beginner, I recommend looking up a few tutorials on low-poly 3d modeling and UV mapping for the 3d modeling software of your choice.

If you're looking for a free 3d modeling program, I suggest using Blender in combination with the Wavefront OBJ Importer/Exporter (download on this page)

Creating your 3D Model

Once again, I'm assuming that you already have basic knowledge about low-poly 3d modeling and uv mapping - the purpose of this tutorial is to import a finished model into the game, not to teach 3d modeling itself, on which there are enough good tutorials out there. Nevertheless, these are a few guidelines you might want to use when creating your models:
  • Measuring Units: the game itself uses meters as its basic measuring unit - although personally I've found that when I use real-world dimensions I have to multiply them by 1.3 to make them look scaled correctly in-game.
  • Polygon Count: Naturally, since it's a game, your polygon count should be as low as possible. Since the game uses LODs, you may be able to get away with a little more detail at the highest zoom level.
  • Texture Mapping: Watch out for texture seams that stretch across smoothing groups, which will result in glitches in-game

Exporting your 3D Model

In SimCityPak, 3D models are imported in the Wavefront .OBJ format. Most 3d applications can export to this format. Make sure that your exported model contains at least the following elements:
  • Normals
  • Texture coordinates

Materials are not needed - textures are imported separately.

Importing your 3D Model

In SimCityPak, find the RW4 model that you want to replace. Go to the mesh section and click the 'Import .OBJ' button. Find your file and import the mesh. Changes in the mesh are not directly updated in the view, so don't worry if you still see the old model (you can switch between the sections). Click the 'Save' button in the RW4 view. Also note that the texture coordinates in the 3D view are often a little inaccurate compared to what you exported - it will probably look OK in-game. Save your package and load the game - you should now see your new 3d model.

Don't forget to also create LODs for your new models - at each zoom level, you need a version of the model with lower detail.

Last edited May 28, 2013 at 6:52 AM by oppie, version 12

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