Maya/Configuration

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You can access the options by choosing the option box (Option box.gif) next to either File > Open Scene or File > Export All rather than clicking the words.

Maya config boxes.gif

Then choose NetImmerse Format from the File Type drop down box. If you have installed the NIF plug-in correctly, the options should appear below.

Maya options.gif


Contents

Common

These settings apply to both import and export.

Maya common options.gif

Use Name Mangling to Preserve Original Names

This will cause characters which are invalid for Maya names to be replaced with hex equivalents on import, and translated back to the original character on export. Disabling it will cause all invalid characters to be changed to underscores on import and names will be exported with no changes.

Texture Search Paths

This lists the paths that the plug-in will look for textures in addition to the location of the NIF file. Each path will be searched and, if the texture is not found in any of them, only its file name will be saved in the resulting Maya file texture node.

To add a path, either type one into the text box or press Browse and choose one. Once you have it the way you like it, press Add to insert it at the top of the list.

If you want to remove a path, highlight it and press the Delete key.

You can also double-click a path to copy it back into the text box.

Paths can also be relative, for example most Freedom Force NIF files have their textures stored in a folder called "textures" within the folder that the NIF file was found in. If you start your path with ./ it means "The path where the NIF file was loaded from" and you can add on from there. So to find hose Freedom Force files, you would use: ./textures

Similarly, you can use ../ to mean "The parent folder of the one where the NIF was found." You can use several of these in a row to move up multiple folders.

This list is also used on export if the Texture Path Adjustment mode is set to Automatic.

Import

These settings apply to importing and opening NIF files.

Maya import options.gif

Attempt to Find Original Bind Pose

NIF files do not store their original bind pose, but sometimes a reasonable substitute can be calculated by trying to line up the bones with the pre-deformed skins. Checking this activates this option. Clearing it will cause the NIF file to import in whatever position it is actually in.

Try to Use Original Normals

Usually Maya will automatically calculate the normals of a polygon, but it optionally supports the setting of "user normals." This type of fixed normal does not seem to work well with skins, but may allow you to retain the original normal information from the NIF file exactly if successful.

Ignore Ambient Color

Most NIF files with textures have their ambient color set to white. This causes there to be no shading on the model when rendered with Maya. Enable this if you plan to render a NIF with textures. NIF files without textures, however, may lose important lighting information if this is enabled.

Combine New Skins with Existing Skeleton

This is useful when using the Import, rather than Open command. If you have already opened or created an IK joint hierarchy, this option will cause the import command to search for names in the NIF file which match the names in the joint hierarchy, and use the existing joints instead of the ones in the original file. If the original skeletons aren't compatible, this may distort the imported file or simply do nothing.

Import nodes with the following in their name as joints

Usually only NiNodes flagged as skin influences will be imported as IK joints, but this will cause any with the given sub string somewhere in their name to be imported as IK joints as well.

Export

These options apply to the Export All command. Export Selection is not yet supported.

Maya export options.gif

NIF Version

This determines what version of NIF files is created by the export process. If an invalid version string is specified, the default of 4.0.0.2 is used; the lowest NIF version that Niflib supports.

Game Specific Version

This is used only in Oblivion so far. Set to 10 or 11 for this game. For all other games set to zero. May be useful in the future for other games.

Export White Ambient if Texture is Present

Every NIF file from a game I've seen has a white ambient component if there is a texture present, but Maya's default is black. You can get some interesting effects by setting the ambient color to something other than white, but they will look very different from all the other objects in the game.

Arrange Triangles in Strips

This will option arranges the triangles within meshes into efficient strips. This may cause problems in some games, but generally increases performance.

Rename mesh chunks with materials with Morrowind body part names

This option will scan the material names for Morrowind body part names, such as "Right Ankle" or "Left Upper Arm," and re-name corresponding meshes to the proper Morrowind body part name, such as "Tri Right Ankle" or "Tri Left Upper Arm." This is useful if you have a skin that is intended to cover many body parts, and you'd like to keep it in one piece. You can tag different parts of the mesh with identical, but differently named, materials to determine which faces will become each body part.

Generate Oblivion Tangent Space Data

Oblivion NIF files have some game-specific data packed into the file. This command causes this extra data to be calculated and included in the exported NIF file. Has no affect for other games.

Maximum Number of Bones Per Skin Partition

Skin partitions hold skin information optimized for hardware-assisted skinning. Depending on the shader version, there are different limits on the number of bones that can be in each partition. 4 should always be safe, but a limit similar to the other files in the game should provide the best performance. All official Oblivion files seems to use a max of 20. On the other hand, Civ4 provides two versions of each file, one with 4 bones per partition for backwards compatibility, and one with up to 16 bones per partition for more recent video cards.

Texture Path Adjustment

Most games have strict requirements about the texture image paths that must be used in the NIF file. These options give you control over what paths are written to the file being exported.

Automatic based on texture search path selections

When this mode is enabled, the plug-in will try to intelligently guess what the path should be. If the beginning of your texture path starts with one of the texture search paths, the plug-in will strip that part out. So say one of your texture search paths is C:\Textures and one of the file textures in your Maya scene has a path of C:\Textures\buildings\house.dds. Using this option, the resulting path in the NIF file would be buildings\house.dds.

If none of the search paths match the beginning of the file's path, then only the file name will be exported. So continuing the example above, if you did not have C:\Textures in your texture search paths, the resulting path in the NIF file would be house.dds.

Export file name only

When this mode is enabled, all folders will be stripped from the path, and only the file name will be written to the NIF file.

Export full path

With this mode enabled, the entier path, including drive letter, all folders, and the file name, will be written to the NIF file.

Prefix file name with the following

This mode allows you to specify a prefix in the following text box which will be added to the beginning of the file name after all folders have been stripped away.

For example, if you've been working a texture called texture.dds and its in your My Pictures folder, but your game needs them to be prefixed with textures/characters/male/, you can type that into the box and the resulting path written to the NIF file will be textures/characters/male/texture.dds.

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