Feeding the comunity dogs that want to help graphics-wise

Ok i have spent a couple of hours on the forums looking for a more “low brainer” method of understading how i could customize my own graphics.

Personally i’m a photoshop artist, and i want to know how i can CREATE and USE custom-made graphics for this project.

i see that the format for graphics is .DEF files, but haven’t found (maybe i’m too blind) how those are made.

because at this moment, most of the graphics used are the ones from the old heroes 3.

and for this project to become totally independent of the old heroes3 - and thus, (hopefully), free, and without breaking any copyright legislations, it would require that EVERY graphic be replaced by a custom-made free equivalent, including towns, sprites, monsters and whatnot, animated or static (something that i am willing to do and help-with quite eagerly)

Therefor I humbly ask of you good folks developing this great project that you post a sticky with how the graphics format for static and animated objects should be - aka gold piles, buildings, buttons etc, so that anyone and everyone is able to understand and contribute/make them.

That is, i’m talking about image size, image transparency/cutout options, image pallete, number of frames for each animation, order of frames and what they are associated with (aka attack, defend, etc) and whatever else information you think might be vital for a good clean output.

I mean most people will start out making something in photoshop - let’s say i want to replace my gremlins with a stupid looking stick-figure man i just made with my tablet.

now that stick-figure will have to “behave” like a gremlin if put in certain situations - he will need attack anims defend anims idle anims take damage anims etc

ok so i go and do those frame by frame untill i think i have covered all the sequences.
He will probably have to be on a “blue” background that gets cut out by the game engine.

So I wind up with a .psd in hand, ready to export in whatever format.
So my question is…NOW WHAT? i could go and export it to pcx or even to avi or gif but what do i do with those. I mean how do i get from a ready made PSD that covers all the animations to a .def file -
this thing needs some explanation for the “neophytes”.

Also, on the long run, if you want for this project to ever truly “break free” sorta say, you will need as much support from the community and volunteers as you can muster, but for that to work some stuff will have to be lowered to a more “retard” level.
The animations should be easily and readily accessible to modify by anyone that desires to do so, therefor (at least the way i envision it), every piece of graphics should be made available for editing/replacing somehow.
That means telling us noobs how we can extract the stuff from the old heroes 3 databases, and
also adapting the project for supporting file-tree based immediate modifications.
(as in i go to data/monster/goblin/attack.whateverfileformat?.def?.pcx?.gif? and replace the default frames there with the ones i just made, go in game and see how my stick man looks, and maybe tweak it if necessary.)
But to do so, One would need the knowledge of the steps required to do the things stated above, which is atm missing.(someone make a tutorial pls.)

Also file-tree based should be the sounds directory too, I have a composer friend that would most likely help with music and SFX, like the monster sounds in combat.

Hope of hearing from you soon with some feedback.

Welcome to the forum!

The are two types of graphics. Single, static bitmaps (stored as .PCX’s in h3bitmap.lod) and animations (one or more frames) stored as .DEF’s in h3sprite.lod.
All H3 graphics must use 8BPP palette, where first 8 colours are replaced with transparency and last 32 with current player colour (that affects only interface .DEF’s). *

DEF files can be created with such program as Def Tool (available here: wog.celestialheavens.com/en/download/utilities/ ). You have there also a Def Preview that allows viewing .DEFs and exporting their graphics.

Well, it’s quite demanding task to create a thread with all important info on H3/VCMI graphics. I’m sure it’ll be eventually done but now, my answers here will have to be enough.

It doesn’t need necessarily to be blue, it has to be the first colour in palette (it’s always used for full transparency).

Use Def Tool to export H3/VCMI compatible animation. Set the “Type” to $42 (Creature) and the program will list all the needed sequences (they are moving, mouse over, standing, getting hit, defend, death, (unused), turn left, turn right, turn left, turn right, attack up, attack straight, attack down, shoot up, shoot straight, shoot down, 2-hex attack/spell attack up, attack/spell attack straight, attack/spell attack down, start moving, end moving). Add your graphics to the sequences, set desired options and export file to .DEF. Then you can name it as one of original H3 DEF’s place it in /Sprites/ subfolder and run VCMI - original graphic will be replaced by yours.

[We are also considering adding simpler ways of storing creature animations but it rather won’t be soon]

VCMI doesn’t need specific count of frames in any sequence - you can use as many frames as you need.

You can use ResEdit acidcave.net/download/Resedit.rar ] to extract H3 .lod archives and look how all the graphics looks.

Sounds are being added, the first version with sound support will be 0.72. We can provide a folder that will allow overwriting original sounds from heroes3.snd archive without editing it (as /sprite for h3sprite.lod and /data for h3bitmap.lod )

I doubt if “breaking free” could be real even in a few years perspective. VCMI still lacks a lot of features and they won’t be finished soon (and it’s our main priority). Amount of graphics that would need to be replaced is really huge.
But… who knows?

If there will be some finished graphics or other materials, ready for VCMI support, I’ll do my best to provide it.
If you have any further question, don’t hesitate to ask. :slight_smile:*

I somewhat disagree here. I see no point in redoing the same old castles with new free graphics (if that’s what you meant). IMHO it’s a lot better to use new castles like Wogs Bastion or the ones from HoTA. Besides it’s better to be creative and do something new then redo the castles we have been seeing for 10 years already and are dead tired of playing with them…

If at some point HoTA team :
heroescommunity.com/viewthread.p … enumber=37
finishes their 3 castles we will have a good start for vcmi … That is if they would agree to my proposal here
heroescommunity.com/viewthread.p … genumber=1
and shared those with VCMI. Right now I’m waiting for their first beta release and then I try to talk again with them …

A part from that VCMI would still need all the terrains , grass, desert, snow, dirt etc. that are used in h3 … some new menus , new icons for common things like skill icons, resources … Common map objects like Mines windmills etc etc … That’s a good place to start IMHO.

BTW doing creatures animations is easier when one uses Blender or 3dsmax and 3d models. AFAIK all new units for HoTA or the new Bastion desert town are done like that.

OK small problem… the links on that site are busted

wog.celestialheavens.com/en/download/utilities/ the def maker and the def viewer are busted links, even tho the other stuff works.

Tried looking around the web for alternate downloads but all i find is .def files from other programing languages, which have nothing to do with heroes.

so if anyone still has those tools mind uploading them somewhere on a freeware site like rapidshare for example - would greatly appreciate it.

I should have checked, my fault.
I’ve looked for H3 tools I have and p them into this package: vcmi.antypika.aplus.pl/H3_tools.zip
It hopefully contains all needed (and unneeded) tools.

You may be also interested in little tool I once wrote:
vcmi.antypika.aplus.pl/DefSorter.exe (needs .NET framework)
Put it in the folder with files extracted from h3sprite.lod (tons of *.def *.msk *.msg) and run. Program has interface in Polish but it’s intuitive (nothing is more intuitive then only one available button :stuck_out_tongue: )
It’ll move defs to the subfolders depending on their type (spell, creature, etc…). Then it’ll be slightly easier to overcome that mess. :wink:

I fully agree. HotA may finish 3 castles (or at least has finished reportedly one) and there is also Bastion and several other projects (mostly dead and unfinished but some work has been done). It should be enough for a while.