H1 Blender level guide - Exporting
This guide assumes you have already gone through level creation - beginner and level creation - advanced or have the end result file ready. You will also be expected to know how to handle level directories which you can find here.
Now that we've created a level, we can start going through the necessary steps for export. This page will describe all the options you can find in the export menu for exporting a level to .JMS
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We will be starting by finding the export menu for our Blender exporter. Find the File menu in the toolbar on the top left and open it to reveal the contents. In the menu you will see a few options but the only option relevant to you is the menu option labeled
Export. To export our geometry as a
.JMS file you will want to select the option labeled
Halo Jointed Model Skeleton (.jms):
An export menu should appear on your screen after clicking
Halo Jointed Model Skeleton (.jms). It should look something like this:
Use the default settings for a proper level export. Generate asset subdirectories is optional.
After you have set the settings you've wanted you can start browsing for a directory to dump the files into. The directory we will be choosing will be the following:
(HEK Install Path)\data\levels\test
If you were to export it now with the Blend filename being tutorial, the output filename being tutorial, and
Generate Asset Subdirectories was enabled then the final output would be this.
(HEK Install Path)\data\levels\test\tutorial\models\tutorial.JMS
Generate Asset Subdirectories was disabled then it would be
(HEK Install Path)\data\levels\test\tutorial.JMS
Just hit the button labeled
Export JMS to finish the job.
Now that you've exported your level you can compile the results in tool and see your hard work pay off. Now get out there and make something awesome for you and your friends to criticize until none of you are comfortable showing your work to each other.
Lets break down each of the options found in the menu.
Game Version option lets us choose our target game:
A CE-specific box that will let us set the filename for our
JMS from the menu easily without having to rename the file manually. Using either of these options will overwrite whatever the user inputs as the filename:
- Permutation - String: Type in a name for the model permutation here. This string will default to
unnamedif LOD is used but permutation is not filled in. See the GBXmodel permutations section for details on permutations' purpose in Halo.
- LOD - Dropdown: Select a level of detail to use for the file here. If the LOD is set to none but permutation is filled in then LOD will default to
- Generate Checksum - bool: Whether or not we generate a checksum based on the order of the JMS skeleton. Checksum will be written as zero if disabled.
- Generate Asset Subdirectories - bool: Whether or not we generate the relevant subdirectories wherever we export our file. If this option is checked then the output will become
Output directory + blend filename(folder) + model type models/physics(folder) + filename.JMS. If it is exported to an already existing valid folder setup then it will reuse that directory by replacing the existing JMS no matter what level it is written to. All that matters is that the parent folder name matches the blend filename and that it contains a valid subdirectory such as
physics. If this is unchecked then it will just write the JMS to as is to wherever the user sets the output to without generating folders.
These options will allow you to exclude or include specific geometry types from your scene in the final export. Let's go over the options now:
- Export Hidden Geometry - bool: Whether or not we export geometry that is hidden from the viewport. Nodes are exported regardless of visibility but any other geo in the scene will be excluded from the final JMS if hidden and this box is unchecked.
- Export Render Geometry - bool: Whether or not we export render geometry. Any geometry that is not a node and does not use the collision geometry prefix(@) is considered render geometry. If there is no render geometry then no JMS will be written
- Export Collision Geometry - bool: Whether or not we export collision geometry. Any geometry that is not a node and does use the collision geometry prefix(@) is considered collision geometry. Collision geometry is exported to a separate JMS file and
_collisionis added to the filename unless the settings in file details have been filled in. If there is no collision geometry then no collision JMS will be written.
- Export Physics Geometry - bool: Whether or not we export physics geometry. Any geometry that is not a node and does use the physics geometry prefix($) is considered physics geometry. Physics geometry is exported to a separate JMS file and
_physicsis added to the filename unless the settings in file details have been filled in. If there is no physics geometry then no physics JMS will be written. In CE this is only used for markers since that is all that is used for physics.
These options are mostly intended to help you automate how you want to handle geometry on export and the resulting files:
- Apply Modifiers - bool: Whether or not we apply modifiers that exist on the object on export. This option does not affect the geometry in the scene permanently so it's a great way to add a mirror modifier to your scene and exporting it without permanently applying it to your object.
- Triangulate - bool: Whether or not we triangulate faces in our geometry on export. This option does not affect the geometry in your scene permanently.
- Clean and Normalize Weights - bool: Whether or not we remove vertex groups that have a weight value of 0.0 and ensure that all vertex groups add up to 1.0.
- Use Edge Split - bool: Whether or not we automatically add an edge split modifier to all objects in the scene before export. While the modifier addition is permanent, the results from the modifier aren't and only affect the exported JMS.
- Use Scene Export Settings - bool: Whether or not we automatically add an edge split modifier to all objects in the scene before export. While the modifier addition is permanent, the results from the modifier aren't and only affect the exported JMS.
This box will only appear if the user has enabled
Edge Split in
Scene Options. See the following link to get documentation on what the settings here do:
This box will let you scale your geometry on export. This setting does not permanently affect your scene. Your choices are as follows:
- Default(JMS) - int: Export position values for object are 1:1 with Blender. No modifications here.
- World Units - int: Export position values are multiplied by 100 units.
- Custom - int: Export position values are multiplied by a custom value.
Now that we've gone over the settings in the export menu lets go over the scene settings menu that can be used with the
Use Scene Export Settings option. You can find the scene settings menu by navigating to the following section of the blender menu as seen in this image:
Let's go over some of the settings here real quick.
While the options in the export menus and the filetype setting menus controls what game the file is written for, this option controls what settings you see throughout
Blender. The toolset adds some features to certain places in
Blender to aid with exporting for certain titles such as a hinge type for
Halo 2 physics constraints.:
This box only has a single option.
- Expert Mode - bool: The export mode bool here controls whether or not you see advanced settings in the toolset. Currently this only affects whether or not you see version control for exported files. If this is left disabled then files use latest by default.
We will be leaving this as is.
Now lets open the JMS settings dropdown to reveal the settings used for the exporter. Set any settings you want used each time you export and make sure to have
Use as Default Export Settings. You can turn this off or on in the export menu as well by checking
Use Scene Export Settings enabled. Any settings you have in your scene settings will be saved to the blend file. See the game version section for details on what each option does. They are the exact same.
Thanks to the following individuals for their research or contributions to this topic:
- General_101 (Writing this guide)