The TRPG 5.005 Help List FAQ

VI. Dis Making

A. Introduction.
      This section is here to supply you with the knowlege needed to be able to make your own custom dis files for TRPG using the Tribes Tools Pack programs.
      Zed is the primary tool for making the dis's, but you will need other tool use and knowlege to get your own custom textures on your dis's and to get your dis's into yout TRPG maps.

B. Making Texture Volumes.
For now, you will not need to make texture volumes unless you are making new ones for use with ZED with new custom textures.
DOWNLOAD the ZED-Compatible version of the RPGtex5dml.vol here in a .zip archive.
If you download and use this .vol, you should be able to use it wil ZED with out having to make your own DML (a pain in the butt to do!) so thank me for makin' it ;-) Anways, you can skip section C. of this FAQ and go to section D.
How to set up ZED for the RPGtex5dml.vol file:
Pallete File:
Material List File: RPGtex5.dml
Pallete Volume File: C:\Dynamix\Tribes\base\lushworld.vol (if your Tribes was installed to the Dynamix\tribes directory)
Textures Volume File: C:\path\RPGtex5dml.vol (this file!)
More later...

C. Making DML's.
  Tribes uses DMLs to describe materials (include information such as the type of shading to use, material type, transparency, translucency, friction, elasticity, and of course textures). These materials are used by Tribes to determine appearance, footstep sounds, traction, and how collisions with DISes (Dynamix Interior Shapes) affect "bouncy" projectiles (such as mortars and grenades). Matilda (one of the tools that was made publicly available by Dynamix) is made specifically for editing DML files. The DMLs are needed by both Tribes and ZED, but not by WorldCraft (One of the things the WorldCraft conversion tools do is to create DML files for the textures used.) ZED expects the DML to be the one specified and to be in the same volume as the textures. However, RPGtextures.vol as included with TRPG doesn't even have a DML, which is probably the cause of the error Lidge is running into. Anyway, here's the procedure for creating a DML with Matilda:

    1) For existing textures contained within volumes, use a volume extraction utility (If you have the volume tools provided by Dynamix, you can use VTList.exe to view contents and Extract.exe to extract contents, although I'd recommend downloading a utility with a GUI, such as WinVol, if you're not used to using DOS.) to extract all of the textures you plan to use to the same directory (I recommend using all the textures and making a sort of master DML, as it will be more useful to you. Besides, ZED makes a smaller DML that includes only the materials used with each DIS anyway.). Also, move any new textures you make to this directory. I can't remember whether the palettes were included with Matilda or not (It's been too long since I got it for me to remember for certain, but they're probably not.). If you don't see any palettes (files with the ppl extension) other than sample.ppl (a nearly useless palette) in any of the Matilda subdirectories, then extract the palettes from the base Tribes World volumes (alienWorld.vol, desertWorld.vol, iceWorld.vol, lushWorld.vol, marsWorld.vol, and mudWorld.vol) to the same directory (The palettes don't really have to be in the same directory, but it does help keep everything organized. Also, technically, you only need one of the palettes, but it's better to go ahead and extract them all.)
    2) Run Matilda.
    3) Choose new from the file menu.
    4) Specify a detail level of 1 (default) and click the OK button.
    5) Go to the palette menu, and choose to set the current palette (should be the only item in the menu). Choose the palette you want from whatever directory you extracted them to (I recommend the "" palette.)
    6) Choose the save as option from the file menu, and save the DML in the same directory as the textures using whatever name you want (You may think it's odd to save at this point, but it prevents a nasty, yet somewhat ironic, exception from occurring when Matilda tries to load textures.)
    7) Close Matilda, then run it again and open the DML saved in step 6.
    8) Select the material (should be null) in the list, and click on either the palette button (if you want it to be a single color) or the texture map button (if you want to use an image file, which MUST be a Pheonix bitmap ("pbmp")-a converted bitmap). Now, adjust the properties to whatever you want them to be, depending on what the material is going to be (At the very least, set the material type. It's used in determining which footstep sounds to play.) If you clicked the palette button, go to step 9. If you clicked on the texture map button, go to step 10.
    9) Choose the color you want for the material from those displayed by clicking on it. Then, click the OK button and proceed to step 10.
    10) Click on the select bitmap file button, and select the image you wish to use from whatever directory you extracted the images to. Hopefully, you did as instructed in step 6 & 7, as it serves only one purpose - preventing a bug that would cause Matilda to hang at this point (Matilda expects the textures to be in the same directory as the DML file that uses them. If they're not, it encounters a fatal exception and hangs. Now for the funny part... if the DML doesn't exist in any directory due to not having been saved, a possibility that Matilda doesn't account for, the textures and DML can't possibly be in the same directory, causing Matilda to hang. This little bug has probably caused quite a few people to give up on using Matilda, although the problem's easily avoided.). Anyway, click on the OK button, and go on to step 11.
    11) Alright, now you'll notice there are no more materials defined. If you need to define more materials, click the append new button, and repeat steps 8 through 10 for each one. You may want to save after defining every few materials. Once you've got all your materials defined, choose the save option from the file menu.

  The above will lead to the creation of a DML without any null materials, although you can include null materials if you want. They're sometimes used to pad a DML (such as in human1.dml, the master DML for base Tribes, which is padded so that it has EXACTLY 256 materials).

  Now, if you want to use the materials you've just defined with ZED, you'll need to package the DML you just created, along with the textures you used, in a volume using one of the volume tools provided by Dynamix (vt.exe with the -dml option for packaging a DML and the textures it needs into a single volume) in DOS. Following are the general form of the command and an example (The example assumes that the textures and DML are in C:\TribesEd\Matilda\Textures\TRPG, that vt.exe and cw3240mt.dll are in C:\TribesEd\Volumes, and that you named the DML RPGTList.dml. Also, as you can probably see from this example, I prefer including the extensions... otherwise if you have multiple executable files in a directory with the same name but different extensions, such as and vt.exe, it'll execute the one with the first extension alphabetically. That shouldn't really be an issue here, but it's still a good practice to include the extensions. After all, if you ALWAYS include them, you don't have to worry about it.):

General Form
vt -dml[#bmp_path] volume file 

cd C:\TribesEd\Matilda\Textures\TRPG 
C:\TribesEd\Volumes\vt.exe -dml[.] RPGTxtrs.vol RPGTList.dml 
  The above example would create the file RPGTxtrs.vol in the C:\TribesEd\Matilda\Textures\TRPG directory.

    Now, to actually make use of it all, you'd run ZED. If you're creating a new file, you'll get a dialog asking for a file name, palette file, material list file, palette volume file, and textures volume file. Use whatever file name you want. For the palette file, specify the same palette you used in creating the DML (such as ""). For the material list file, specify the name you saved the DML as (such as "RPGTList.dml") based on the above example. For the palette volume file, specify the location of the volume containing the palette (If you extracted it from one of the World volumes, just specify the location of that World volume, such as "C:\Dynamix\TRIBES\base\lushWorld.vol" for the "" palette.). For the textures volume file, specify the location of the volume you just created that contains the DML and textures (such as "C:\TribesEd\Matilda\Textures\TRPG\RPGTxtrs.vol" using the volume from the above example). You can also change the ones in use for an existing file at any time by selecting the load palette / material list option from the tools menu, but keep in mind that each DIS can only have ONE palette and ONE DML. If you change either, it'll affect the whole DIS (For example, switching DMLs will affect every shape that has a material set, which can cause you to have to reset every shape's material.), so it's a good idea to stick with the ones you choose for a given DIS.

Added Notes by Lidge; SAVE FREQUENTLY

D. Using Zed.
-this section is available via the left main menu. The links poin to the correct parts of the Zed manual to help you out.

E. Voling Dis's.
This section is not yet finished, though it is pretty easy if you've ever voled a couple files before.

E. Register Dis's.
Open registerUserObjects.cs in the scripts.vol file (you'll need to unvol it!)
--note-- You could also just add your objects to autoexec.cs instead to save you the voling troubles
Add the following lines to add your dis:
missionRegDis(MyDiss, House13);
MyDiss is the group your custom dis is in. House13 is the actual dis name.
MissionRegObject( Phantom, "PhantomTree1", MissionCreateObject, PhantomStrangerTree1, StaticShape, PhantomStrangerTree1 );
That is an example of a static object, like the PhantomTree1 that's shown here.
more explaination may come later... tired.