Modeling guides

Home Forums Modding Modeling guides

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #14190

    At  this point I’m working my way up to about 10% hope that they might actually fix this game and it could go somewhere. So I’d like to start reading up on modelling and how to do it. Preferably using 3D Max as that’s what I have available to me.

    I saw the video tutorial on how to get the model into the game, but he starts off with “if you want to learn to model there are other videos” and leaves it at that. So, I’m looking for some tutorials, hopefully specific to TF that give some basics of this. I’m pretty quick with this kind of thing (and google), so I think I can start to figure it out once I have somewhere to start. I remember reading that the models height should be 5.91m to reach the wires and the tracks are 1.5 m wide?

    Is there a way to open the existing in game models to look at them as a kind of “basis” or template that one could look at to get an idea how things are put together?

    As I’m in Korea, I intend to model a significant amount of Korean trains and buses, perhaps even some buildings if those go well and the game really takes off.


    By the looks of it I guess it’s my video you watched. And you’re right, that tutorial would’ve dragged out way too long for modeling alone.

    The modeling part is the easy part, believe it or not. All though it can take a good amount of time to make the model, it’s still the easiest part because getting the model into the game can be what’s gonna leave you hairless when things don’t work out and you don’t know what to do about it.

    I doubt there’s any 3D Max + Train Fever specific “this is how you model, this is how you convert the model, and this is how you get it to work in the game” kind of tutorials – much like my tutorial wasn’t LightWave specific, except that the tools I used may be named something else in other 3D apps.

    I understand you want a 3D Max to Train Fever specific tutorial, but in all honesty, you’re better off starting to learn 3D Max in general. There’s not really anything special about the way models are made for Train Fever alone, more like a general guideline for games and game engines.

    So where do you start?

    Get going with low poly modeling. That’s what you should aim at. Make trains or other vehicles with as few polygons as possible (I think about 10.000 polygons per model is mentioned in a blog post on the main site).

    The next part is making a UV map and texture the model. And that’s about all the work that is done within the 3D app itself, except for measurements for the game engine to know the bounding box and possibly position of doors or other elements.


    To sum it up in a process tree:

    1. Research your model (photos, technical data, blueprints).
    2. Plan ahead – will the model have animated doors? Make those objects separate from the main body.
    3. Make the model to real world measurements (low polygon object). Adjust things like the track width and wire height as needed – such as making the wheel position slightly wider and stretching the pantograph.
    4. Optimize if needed, like skipping some details that won’t show that good, or aren’t necessary for the in-game view because of the viewing angle or zoom level.
    5. UV Map the model.
    6. Texture it (Color map, normal map, reflection and specular maps).
    7. Save to the appropriate format the model converter of your choice accepts.
    8. Start looking into other assets or mods for the game, learn how things are set up and start working with your model. Take note of measurements (height, width, lenght etc) for bounding boxes, animate the doors and so on.
    9. Make a test-game, set the model to be free and be available right from the start so you can keep testing it until you’re happy with it – then adjust cost of purchase and running costs.
    10. Test in-game. Adjust texture maps or model files as needed. Adjust the different asset files needed (such as timing for door animations, position of bogies and so on).
    11. Test the final version a few hours or days, share with friends or others you count on to give you feedback to make the release of your mod as solid as possible.
    12. Release the mod.
    13. Enjoy the feedback, and listen to the users if they have suggestions. Take the final call whether you’ll adjust or change based on the feedback you get.


    I’m actually planning to make a tutorial series where I create a mod – but all in LightWave – as that’s what I use. The model itself won’t be LightWave specific, but the modeling process, the tools I use and the steps to get to the end result will obviously be different from Max. But take it from me: watching someone create something in a different app won’t necessary be a bad thing. It may enlighten you about ways of dealing with tasks or problems in a new way. I actually watched a 3D Max tutorial on making a steam locomotive recently.. Gave mee plenty of ideas!


    But for the record: LightWave is only $995 these days. That’s a complete modeler, animation and rendering package at one heck of a price. On top of that, there’s a plugin I use for modeling which is of tremendous help, LWCAD.. If you should chose to go with it, I’d be happy to answer any LightWave related questions.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by olahaldor. Reason: Added links to the tools I use

    Thanks for the info.

    As you’ve made some models, do you think you could toss up the obj file or something of the model (however you made it) just so someone could have a look at the raw 3D model as a reference for the kind of thing we’re shooting for. I see the models in game, but I’d like to see what some of the intermediate steps look like.



    You can read about the process I used here.

    That’s pretty much a very different way of modeling than you’d normally do for something that is less aerodynamic, such as a steam locomotive or a more boxed type of vehicle.

    Another idea can be to look at car modeling tutorials, where to grab some edges and extrude to make the silhouette and shape of your vehicle.

    Another way can be to start with a basic box and add edge loops where needed to break the box into the shape that’s needed.

    I’m rendering a short animation of the steam locomotive I’ve modeled during the past few weeks – I’ll show it in this thread when I’m done. I think it can be brought over to TF with some work to reduce the polycount. It mainly consists of a few geometric shapes

    • A cylinder for the boiler.
    • A box for the drivers compartment.
    • More cylinders and boxes, bent into shape for wheels, rods, pistons etc.
    • A custom curve for the chassis – that’s about the most advanced shape on the entire model.


    Hey cross, if you want to view the default vehicles in max, you’ll need this;

    Train Fever Converter (BR146)

    This is also what you’ll need to convert them back to use in the game. You’ll want to take note of the orientation of the vehicle. That means what direction it faces forward. Most models being made, when looking in the Top down veiwport, have the front of the vehicle facing upwards. This game does it differently. The vehicles I imported were turned to the right. Can’t tell you why.

    What you’ll want to do is create a working folder somewhere like in the scenes folder of max. NEVER edit a default vehicle without copying it somewhere first. This will avoid many problems that can arise from mistakes. Also, familiarize yourself with folder structure TF uses and where everything is placed. This will help when you’ve made something so you’ll know where it goes.

    Also, you want to open the default vehicle files to see what it contains. This will help you more to learning what the vehicles uses as for textures and how to place the reference to them. I’m sure notepad would be sufficient but I like and use NoteTab Pro. It has more options for me.

    There are other things you’ll need to know but for now, this should do. I can’t answer all questions at once. This is pretty much how I learned, by taking apart other models to how they’re done and editing them.

    The converter is easy to use. It uses a .bat file to run the commands. This is what I use to convert default vehicles to import into max – TFC_BR146.exe /make “” MESH OBJ. You would place the filename between the quotes. The .msh file holds the info for the vehicle, the .msh.blob is the model itself and can not be edited in notepad.

    So for starters, goto the res folder of TF and search for ‘nohab’. This is a rail vehicle and fairly easy to manipulate and will tell you what files is used and where they are. Next, you’ll want to create the same folder structure in your max ‘scenes’ folder to work with. What I do is, after searching for nohab, you should see one folder named nohab and 13 files. I use WinRar and selected all 13 files, not the folder, it will be included anyway, then use winrar to create a .rar to my desktop but you have to make sure that it creates the folder structure. Mine did it automatically but to be sure, before compressing them, goto the files tab and make sure it shows ‘Store Full Path’ under ‘file paths’. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to change it. After they are compressed, find the .rar file you just made and extract them to the scenes folder to work with.

    After you extract them goto the model folder and convert the .msh to .obj and import it into max. Once imported, find the train_nohab.tga in the textures folder and apply it to the model. If you don’t know how, for now just drag it over the model and let go. It should place it onto the vehicle and you should see it with the texture applied to it.

    Hopefully I didn’t forget anything but this should help you on your way to modelling. Max is a huge program and has many many features to learn. I’ve been using it for a few years now and still haven’t learned it all. I’m self taught as well so I can’t answer all your question but can help with what I’ve learned.

    Good luck…

    EDIT If you need specific help with something and I’m not around, you can message me at the German site since this place doesn’t have a way to pm someone. Frickin lame assed forums here. I look here every few days but getting less because I stopped playing this unfinished game that’s in public beta.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by Tattoo.

    How relevant it is to this subject is up to you to decide. But this model can be made lowpoly and be used with TF with some work.

    I also encourage you to use a more fleshed out text editor such as the one mentioned above, or Notepad++



    Looks more like you’re just showing off to me..


    Thanks guys. I got some days off coming up, I’ll start looking at this in more detail and see about making an attempt at something. If I get the hang of it fairly quick, I’ll be heading off to (and find) a railway museum here for some detail on older trains. I know Korea had trains going back to 1897-1899, which I expect might have been imports at that time as it was put together by an American, not sure how he would have gotten a heavy train over here.. I guess he could have had it built here, but not sure they would have had the technology at the time.


Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • The forum ‘Modding’ is closed to new topics and replies.