Rendering and Shaders
NOTE: The Converter replaces the MAX script plugin for exporting units. The converter can accept FBX files from most 3D tools.
Valid map slots to be used are Diffuse, Specular Colour, Glossiness, and Bump (which is the normal map). The exporter should correctly handle baked materials. The maps are available in the game shaders in the following order in samplers [0-3].
Diffuse Normal Specular Gloss
Hold LMB - rotate camera Hold RMB - pan camera Mousewheel - zoom (+SHIFT for faster) RETURN - reset camera L - cycle through lights SPACE - toggle camera light F1 - reload shaders A - toggle animations F8 - single step animation P - reseed shader random values (shield variation, etc)
SHIFT+Click on texture button to clear texture from it
If there is a suitably formatted animation file in the same folder as the mesh then the animations will be shown in a list. The chosen animation will be looped. If you hold SHIFT when clicking an animation it will then loop both that animation and the last animation chosen without SHIFT down, blending between them. This is for blend testing mainly and should generally not be used - once turned on it cannot be turned off without restarting the tool.
The batching processing allows for multiple files to be loaded, optionally have the current textures applied, and then saved out. Both FBX and S4F files can be processed. Once processed the files are exported to an S4F with the same name (so if processing an S4F file, then original file will be over-written). By default the currently applied textures in all 4 slots are applied to the model once loaded. If you hold down SHIFT when clicking the Batch Processing button then this will not happen and the model will simply be imported and then exported as an S4F. If you hold down CONTROL when clicking on the Batch Processing button the model will be imported, optimised (as per the Optimise button at the bottom of the panel, removing unused nodes) and re-exported as an S4F.
If a CONFIG.TXT file is found in the same folder as the EXE, it can contain the following:
Must be at the top of the file, optional. Points to a folder where a CORE/SHADERS folder exists, allowing you to point the tool to the shaders being used by (e.g.) your game data.
For tools which do not have standard texture naming or placement you can set up automated searches for normal or specular textures. Use the following format:
FINDNORMAL <postfix> FINDSPEC <postfix>
Where postfix would be something like _normal where textures are named (e.g.) main.dds, main_normal.dds, etc.
Multiple texture paths which are searched in order for any textures
[TEXTURES] PATH <texturePath> PATH ...
Multiple lights can be set up, each light must be a triplet of direction, colour, and ambient
[LIGHTS] DIRECTION <vector> COLOUR <hex> AMBIENT <hex> DIRECTION ...
An example CONFIG file is
[TEXTURES] PATH C:\DATA\BATTLE\UNITTEXTURES PATH C:\DATA\TEXTURES [LIGHTS] DIRECTION 0 -1 0 COLOUR FFFF0000 AMBIENT FF003300 DIRECTION 1 0 0 COLOUR FFFFFF00 AMBIENT 0
The system loads and uses some specific default shaders for specific types of rendering from CORE/SHADERS. These are:
screenrgba.txt font.txt grey.txt screenrgba_solid.txt
The above shaders are used for standard UI object rendering and font drawing, and will generally not be changed by the user.
lit.txt - draw standard lit objects (lit via normals) prelit.txt - draw prelit objects (vertex colour stored in vertex data) normal.txt - draw objects with normal mapping (vertex data includes tangent space info) lit_skin.txt - draw as per lit.txt but with hardware skinning normal_skin.txt - draw as per normal.txt but with hardware skinning
These shaders are generally the ones that you will customise to your specific workflow and texture setups.
Custom shaders can be used in two ways. Either include a new shader in the base SHADERS folder and use the tool to apply it to the applicable meshes. This however can be fiddly if you have combined shader types (e.g. skinned/non-skinned) and requires you to create versions in the 1 folder for shadowing.
A simpler approach is often to use the Style system. To create a new style you add a numeric folder to the SHADERS folder (note that style 1 is always used for shadow generation). So for example, if you wanted a specific type of normal-mapped skinned shader you would create a new folder, say 5, and copy in your default normal_skin.txt shader file. You then alter the 5/ version as desired. Then you can use the numeric buttons in the tool to apply a style to a given model and save it out. Note that if a shader cannot be found in the style folder then the system will fall back to using the default version.
Shader input data
When writing shaders, the following vertex shader registers can be assumed to be filled
- world matrix c0
- view matrix c4
- projection matrix c8
- WVP combo c12
- light data (dir, colour, ambient, fill colour) c16
- world Normal matrix c20 [DEPRECATED: Use c0 and ignore/zero translation elements]
- shadowmap lighting trx combo c24
- camera position vector c28
- camera look vector c29
- C30 is sometimes used to store 4 pseudo random (integers as floats) numbers constant for a given instance of a mesh (e.g. per unit currently)
- c31 fogging. xyz are the RGB values, w is start + (65536*end). Decoding example below.
- c32 assume all past here are bones
registers 16,28,29,30,31 are duplicated into the pixel shader. As well as some others.
- text colour when rendering fonts c0
- shadow projection matrix c4
- shadow texture half pixel size c20
- modal data for pixel shaders c32 (implementation specific)
Fogging Decode Example
float4 fog : register(c31) ; ... float start, end ; float a, dist; end = round(fog.w/65536.0) ; start = fmod(fog.w, 65536.0) ; distV = In.drawPos - gEyePos.xyz ; dist = length(distV) ; a = dist ; a -= start ; a = a/(end-start) ; a = saturate(a) ; outputColour.xyz += a * fog.xyz ;
To apply post processing you need to create .txt files in DATA/GFX with the following format ID <id> // must be [1,255] zero is invalid
// first pass  SHADER <shader file> TEX0 <texture file> // optional, allowed 4 textures // optional additional passes , etc up to 8 passes allowed
The ID is used to determine where the post processing happens. It can be applied to a UI object on its root object using a POSTPROCESS <id> tag. NOTECurrently all post processing happens to the entire screen, so be aware when applying to UI objects.
For the Tile flavour, there are special ID values which cause their Post Process to be applied. They are + 99 - applies the post process globally after all UI has been rendered (does not affect the mouse) + 100 - applies the post process to the battle view.
Generally flavours will keep values above 99 for system and automated use.
Post Process shaders are applied across the entire screen, and so their shaders will look very similar to the screenrgba.txt shader vertex shader. When the pixel shader is applied, you will find the previous screen render contents in the the first sampler, followed by the 4 custom textures for the post process pass, if applicable.