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Last Resort Guideline for Submissions

1 year 6 months ago - 1 year 6 months ago #1292 by Slippery Jim
Last Resort Guideline for Submissions was created by Slippery Jim
We are always open to having people submit content to be included in the Last Resort mod but please read this guideline first before beginning work. This mod is a huge task so help is very appreciated!

We are looking for people who should already have experience with Swat 3 mod/map making. Knowledge of Photoshop or other equally complex photo editing software is a must. Microsoft Paint won't get the job done. Knowledge of 3D programs such a 3D Studio Max, Maya, Blender, etc would make you invaluable to us if you are willing to work on new officer skins .

A Note About Final Approval:

I am protective of this mod and reserve the right to reject additions to the mod if I feel they aren't up to a certain quality. I have been working on this mod for about 10 years (very part time) and pay for expenses out of pocket. I know I have pissed off people in the past with this on occasion and I regret doing so. Our goal is to attempt to re-create the artistry of the original Sierra developers but in a higher resolution. Hopefully you will be okay with me having final approval of what gets added. I may make suggestions on how to improve your work (or other people in the forums). Please be open to constructive criticism.

- Slippery Jim

Borrowed Game Textures:

We are trying our best to avoid using textures from other games since we do not want any sort of legal issues. If you do use a texture that isn't yours please heavily modify it.

Content Help Needed:

  • Replacement Map textures and skyboxes that are higher resolution.
  • Replacement suspect/civilian skin textures that are higher resolution
  • Weapon improvements that max out the polygons and/or texture sizes
  • Replacement "classic" Swat uniform skins with highest polygons and textures possible

Texture Sizes:

With Swat 3 the textures have to be .BMP 24-bit files but with the Last Resort mod they can be 1024x1024 pixels maximum size instead of just 256x256 pixels. Of course we should choose the largest size only if it really warrants it. We are still trying to keep the system requirements fairly low. Some textures don't require a large dimension to render clearly in game depending on the size of the object they are applied to.

The 32-bit transparent textures (.TGA files) are still limited to maximum 256x256 pixels unfortunately.

Remember that textures for Swat 3 follow the power of 2 rule. Valid sizes for the Last Resort mod are as follows: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024. You can have a texture that is 32x1024 pixels for example or any combination of the sizes listed.

Replacement Map Textures:

If this is something you would be interested in doing we don't want people duplicating work and wasting time and effort. You should pick a map that someone else is not already doing the upgrade on. Please view the list of Swat 3 maps and post your interest in working on that map.

As mentioned before the philosophy of the mod is that we are trying to recreate the textures as closely as possible to the originals but in higher resolution. They don't always have to be visually identically as long as they capture the same feeling/mood. You can view a collection of textures here that I have already completed to get a feeling of how much I replicate or stray from the original texture.
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1 year 6 months ago - 1 year 6 months ago #1294 by Slippery Jim
Replied by Slippery Jim on topic Last Resort Guideline for Submissions
My process for making new map textures:

Step 1: The first thing I usual do is run a map in Swat 3 in 1920x1080 and take notes on paper which textures look fuzzy/blurred.

Even though some textures are small they might appear clear in the game because of how little the texture gets stretched. A good example of this might be a floor tile. The floor tile texture may only be 32x32 pixels but it might still look good in the game and doesn't need replacement. A wall poster that is 256x256 pixels though may look horrible in game because it gets stretched a larger amount. It may benefit by upgrading to the next size up of 512x512 pixel.

Priority is replacing the worst textures in terms of fuzziness. It is all a judgement call of what looks bad.

Step 2: Next I create a sub folder in the the Swat 3 mods folder. For instance if I am working on Mission A I might name this folder "MissionA_upgrade". The name doesn't really matter. For now it is just to identify to yourself what the contents area. You will activate this mod folder just like any other mod using the mod manager (hopefully within Last Resort Launcher).

Step 3: I then copy all of the mission's original textures into that mod folder. You could keep the originals in a different folder but I like having just one folder. Keeping the original texture filenames is a must with our replacement textures so having just one folder helps with this.

Step 4: Once I have located a texture I want to create a replacement for I load it into Photoshop. Most of Swat 3's bitmap textures are stored in 16-bit colour mode to save space. I always switch it to 24-bit colour mode to achieve the best quality.

Step 5: I resize the original texture to my final desired size. This resized original texture becomes only my reference image that I like to keep in the background while I work. Simply enlarging the original texture doesn't help us. All you are doing is enlarging a pixelated image. You will need to add new higher resolution elements to create a replacement texture that looks good on modern computers.

Step 6: Layers are your friend in Photoshop. As mentioned in the step above I like the keep the original texture in the bottom layer. A lot of times I will create multiple layers that consist of different photo elements to create one final new texture. I always store the file in Photoshop .PSD format so I can go back and tweak the layers. Getting the proper brightness and colour saturation on the texture can be tricky in Swat 3 since the world is meant to render as dark and gritty. You will find yourself going back to your saved .PSD file and tweaking it many times before you might be happy how it looks in the game.

A final note: Swat 3 re-uses many textures in different maps. Most of the time they use unique names for the textures by modifying the first letter of the texture. You may find that "a_door1" (Mission A door texture) is the exact same texture with the game as "b_door1" (Mission B door). The developers saved time by creating a pool of common textures. This complicates matters for us on the Last Resort mod in the sense that we may end up duplicating hard work. For instance I may make a new "a_door1" texture and not even realise that say Copy-Cat has already created a new lovely "b_door1" (that really is the same texture).
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