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Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

General original series discussion (Seasons 1-4)

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Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby TheAppleFreak » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:31 am

I've had a rather grand idea for a Code Lyoko project for a while now, to bring to life the best and worst of the CL fanfiction in glorious Picturevision. I just happen to be a crap 2D artist, but if I'm provided the assets, I can make things not look so much like crap in the Source Filmmaker.

I also just so happen to have a copy of Code Lyoko: Quest For Infinity lying about for my hacked Wii, and a PC powerful enough to run it in the Dolphin emulator. These Wii games are stored in ISO files, which my computer might just be able to understand. If I can get to the models, then I might be able to do some work with them!

This will be a recurring series that will last at least a few nights as I learn how to convert the Wii models to Source Engine models. All of the 3D work is something I will be learning as I go along, so I will stumble, I will make mistakes, but it'll be a learning experience. Interested? Read on!

I've had a Wii for about six or seven years now. It's been a wonderful little machine, but its time has come with the release and subsequent acquisition of a Wii U. This Wii, though, has a few different mods and hacks applied to it, which makes it an invaluable tool for me as I think of fun stuff to do with it (Wii laptop, I'm looking at you).

Ever since getting the Wii U, I stuffed my cables and everything away in storage, planning on doing this project later. As luck would have it, I forgot where the cables were and only found them tonight, right before the room where they were was going to be renovated. Might as well squeeze a bit more use out of her before I officially decommission her.

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The game itself was a gift quite a while back. I think I got a CL shirt with it, but that's been lost to time for a while.

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"But Apple," you might ask, "this looks like it's going to be a production! Why not just go on the internet and download the ISO for yourself?"

As evidenced during the Episodes 2 and 3 livestream that I did on the 5th, I have crap internet, and I actually want to get this project done relatively soon. And let's face it, when the stats look like this, I'm not very enthusiastic to download from the internet when I can get it relatively hassle free from what I already own.

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So a production it is, then. I've done Wii rips before, so I already know exactly what the tools of the trade that I'll need are. Everybody, meet my external hard drive.

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This thing has seen tours of duty as an Xbox 360 HD, then as a secondary hard drive for my computer once I stripped it naked, and finally as a very quick and extremely dirty Xbox 360 portable hard drive. Now, it's time to get it working with the Wii Backup File System and the wonderful USB Loader GX on my Wii itself.

Mounting the drive on my computer was relatively easy.

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I could have gone internal, given the drive is mounted in a bay for that PC, but I don't know whether there are any easily accessible SATA power plugs that I could use. Either way, I digress; the drive mounted in Windows successfully and posed no further issues.

To use an external with a Wii requires the drive to be formatted with the Wii Backup File System, which can be done via a wonderful little utility called the WBFS Manager.

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I quickly gave my HD a format to NTFS and hit the big ol' Format Drive button in the Manager. But what's this? It failed to format? Oh no!

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A quick Google search later, and I find myself in the Disk Management section of Windows, marking the drive as Active.

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And voila! It formatted successfully!

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Having no more use for it, I shut down my computer and hunt for an unoccupied TV. Since the impending renovation shut down my usual center of operations, I settled in on the TV in my parents' bedroom. They didn't mind whether I used it or not, as long as it was back to the way it was before I started.

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As soon as I realize the wireless Sensor bar that I got for dorming in college isn't on, I set to work and load up USB Loader GX. But alas, my effort with my external leads to no avail as I am greeted with this error message.

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I assume that the Wii wasn't putting out enough energy to power the drive, and it didn't detect it. Additionally, since I couldn't run down and get my other USB to SATA adapter with a dedicated PSU, I was stuck. Until, I remembered I had an 8 GB SD card lying in my Raspberry Pi. The day was saved!

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Of course, it couldn't be easy for me to get this working with the Wii. Windows didn't recognize the ext4 and ext3 partitions that Linux used on the drive, and simply formatting it left me with only 70 MB of usable space because of /boot. But, since I deal with this stuff almost every day, I knew just how to deal with it.

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Once that was done, I went back to my Wii, opened up CleanRip, and configured the process. I wasn't very sure how it would all work, though; even though I'd imagine the program could very easily load into RAM and take over from there, it began complaining about missing some files that I couldn't download via Wifi.

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Luckily, it accepted my 8 GB SD card and began ripping QfI! Due to the inherent limitations of the FAT32 file system, I had to split it into chunks to get it to properly rip. It's annoying, but necessary.

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Now, I really was nervous about ripping it with CleanRip. Back when I had first tried experimenting with ripping my library of Wii discs, this program kept hanging multiple times on the same discs and couldn't reliably create usable ISO files. Additionally, my Wii had been experiencing disc read errors for a little while up until tonight, when I gave the necessary blood sacrifice and cleaned the laser. I didn't want the Wii to hang at some point in the process and waste a night that I could be using to look at pictures of cats.

Half an hour later, the rip finishes without error. I quickly revert the TV setup to how it was before, and pop the SD card in my laptop. Sure enough, everything looks like it checks out.

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I look at the dumpinfo file and it correctly identifies the game as Codelyoko US, which I guess is a start. Loading up the first ISO file in Dolphin, however, yields only a black screen. I was expecting this, though, and merged the two files into one.

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When I load this file into Dolphin, I get lights and sounds! It worked!

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Next, I'm gonna crack open the ISO and probe at its insides, maybe to begin learning its secrets...
I really gotta fix up this theme
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Part 2: Apple pokes around the ISO

Postby TheAppleFreak » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:35 pm

12 hours have passed since I got my ISO properly ripped and ready for me poking around in. This becomes my journey into a can of worms that I've never really delved deeply into, but who knows? Maybe this will be easy.

Loaded up my copy of Dolphin (it's a Wii and Gamecube emulator, in case you haven't heard of it) and the two ISOs are in there.

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I verified that the 4.4 GB ISO works properly, so I'm just going to get rid of the other two ISOs to free up the combined 4.5 GB of space that they take up. Simple, easy. After that, I go into the filesystem browser and take a look at the contents of the ISO.

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Judging by this display, my best guess is that what we're looking for is somewhere in the data folder in Partition 1 (Partition 0 just seems to contain the .wad files used by the Wii disc menu). But, I'm curious as to what the .cfg files say for the characters and the monsters. It's been quite a while since I've actually played QfI, so it'll be an interesting experience either way.

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Taking a look inside characters.cfg, it doesn't look too complicated. Just XP costs, damage modifiers, and all of the like. Nothing too out of the ordinary, except these three lines at the bottom...

characters.cfg wrote:# todo...
#CHAR_EDDY
#CHAR_JULIEN


So this suggests to me two things:
  • The developers were planning on having Eddy and Julien join the fight on Lyoko, but scrapped the idea when either Moonscoop told them that it is a bad idea or they realized it made the game sound like a bad fanfic
  • There was going to be Earth combat and exploration, rather than everything being confined strictly to Lyoko (and they would help out as PCs)
But, what can I say? 'tis speculation on my part.

And now to take a look in the data folder. One folder looks promising in this directory, /PLAY/, but on further examination I find out that it just contains a bunch of numbered folders (L100, L101, L102, etc) with four files in each folder (in /L100, those files are L100.cp2, L100.GCN, L100gfx.pc, and L100tin.pc). Every other folder in /data/ has the same structure with differently numbered directories... except /overlay. Just about every file in this folder is a .tga file, which Irfanview can read. Unfortunately, no thumbnails, so I have to manually scroll through everything...

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...those eyes are going to haunt me in my sleep. Oh well, maybe there's a render of the models in here that doesn't look like crap...

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...on second thought, maybe I shouldn't use these models for production work in the SFM. These look like something I'd see in TF2's DirectX 8 mode. Guess I'm going to be making the HWM models by myself, using these as reference.

However, I am quite amused by this little .gif that I found within the files:
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But, now I've got work. Part 3 will probably come later tonight or tomorrow.
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby LyokoMan95 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:43 pm

As soon as I get a chance I will join in your effort. (I too have both the game and jailbroken Wii).

EDIT: My disk is being ripped right now!
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby TheAppleFreak » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:17 pm

LyokoMan95 wrote:As soon as I get a chance I will join in your effort. (I too have both the game and jailbroken Wii).

EDIT: My disk is being ripped right now!

Excellent! I'm gonna need someone to trawl through the disc to see if I can find stuff. I just need to figure out how to read those archives in /data; I don't know what can decipher the L### folders. Using my knowledge of Mac OS X packages as a base, I'm gonna take a guess and say that to the game, each L### folder appears as a single readable file, not as a directory with four separate files in it. Unfortunately, I don't know how to read them.

Now, if we can't get into the actual files, there's another method using an application called 3D Ripper DX that we can use in conjunction with Dolphin that will rip any models currently being rendered by Dolphin. It'll require a hefty PC to run it, but luckily I just so happen to have one that can do it :)
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby LyokoMan95 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:24 pm

I'm able to play the videos using the thpplay tool found at http://www.amnoid.de/gc/
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby TheAppleFreak » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:44 pm

I had found that tool yesterday. There's an awful lot of placeholder videos on the disc, and I'm pretty sure there's one or two of them from the video pre-production.
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby TheLQ » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:53 pm

TheAppleFreak wrote:I had found that tool yesterday. There's an awful lot of placeholder videos on the disc, and I'm pretty sure there's one or two of them from the video pre-production.


How does stuff like this make it into the final, several hundred thousand copy, release disk?
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby LyokoMan95 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:32 pm

Someone managed to rip the models to sketchup. You can find them on the 3d warehouse.
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby TheAppleFreak » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:01 pm

I had actually seen that, and used the Aelita model in a project that I submitted for a banner contest to /r/codelyoko. The issue for me is that I've had atrocious luck with Sketchup for exporting models to other formats; I can get them into .dae files and (with some fighting) .pov files, but not into the .smd files that Source uses. Additionally, none of those models have rigs attached to them, which becomes problematic when trying to use them.
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby LyokoMan95 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:45 pm

XSI Mod Tool (essentially the official modeler of Source) can import .dae. I'm thinking about trying to rig Odd in Blender.
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby TheAppleFreak » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:38 am

Update: I've been working on the Earth locations in the interim, and I quickly pushed out a proof-of-concept virtualization effect for use in the yet-to-be-modeled scanners. I think it came out not half bad.



I also need to see if I can increase the thickness of the outline on the models...
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Re: Code Lyoko: Quest for Source Models

Postby LyokoMan95 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:36 am

By the way, I've checked the files of all versions of the the game (Wii, PSP, PS2) and file structure is for the most part exactly the same.
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