|Getting Started -
Know Thy Computer!
These developer pages are
going to go on and on about files and assets that
you'll need to provide, or edit, as you make your
plans. If you don't know what a file or a folder
is, then you should find out a bit more about
your computer before attempting to craft an
The FIRST thing
you'll want to know about your computer, is just
where you installed Rocket Club. I'll be
referring to the "RC Folder" a lot. If you accepted
the default installation, it will be at "C:\Games\RocketClub" Otherwise, I leave it to
you to know where it is.
Inside of your
Rocket Club folder are other folders, but the one
we are most interested in is called
"Assets". Everything you create for
Rocket Club will be an asset of one type or
another, and will live in the assets folder. It
won't live their directly, it will live in your
VERY OWN PRIVATE subfolder of the assets folder.
That folder is given the highly exciting name of
'your serial number, expressed in hexadecimal'.
Hence, if your
serial number were 4B237865, then your assets
would all live in this folder: RocketClub\Assets\4B237865.
Personal Asset Folder
Kinda chokes you
up inside, doesn't it? Seeing your number up in
lights like that. Please note that if you have a
Golden Soul (Sometimes referred to as a Golden
Star in the Rocket Club context, but the same
activation codes work for WoS and RC).. anyway,
say you have the id GS 1000. You might think your
asset folder would be called "1000" or
perhaps "00001000" since you noticed
that all asset sub-folders must be exactly 8
characters long. But you would be WRONG. You show
signs of decimal thinking, to quote Star Trek. If
you were GS1000, your asset folder would be RocketClub\Assets\000003E8. You should invest in a
good hexadecimal calculator asap..
In any case,
this is what we'll be referring to as Your
from time to time. You only own the
contents of your own asset folder, so if you want
to play with other people's assets, be sure to
MAKE A COPY and put it in your OWN asset folder,
and RENAME IT appropriately and play with the
copy and not the original.
tip: BACKUP YOUR ASSET FOLDER REGULARLY. It's easy to make a
mistake and you could quickly lose a lot of your
In fact, you
will probably want to develop your assets in a
completely separate folder, and then copy them to
your asset folder when they are ready to be used
by other people.
Folders and Files
and Assets, Oh My!
asset folder are even more folders. One folder
for each asset type. These are:
(hold's your 3D geometry model files,
exported as .txt files)
(holds graphic textures to be applied to
(holds the blueprints of individual
objects you have designed)
Again, you might
find it educational to make a copy of someone
else's stuff (the Assets/00000001 folder is filled with my
stuff, the only assets which ship with the game.
You can feel to copy, or directly link to these
assets with some expectation that they will be
available to everyone at all times)
number is also your Designer ID and is
what credits you as having created a particular
asset. The idea is for your serial number to be
UNIQUE, so try to avoid sharing serial numbers,
Golden Souls, etc. Just as you would do NORMALLY
(I see you out their, mister GS thief! Shoo!)
shared using 'peer to peer' technology. When you
warp into a Star System, or encounter a new
player or object.. the assets you need are
automatically downloaded to your PC. Likewise,
when you warp into a star system that has never
seen you before, it will ask you to upload your
assets to it. This is all done automatically in
the background, of course.
Over time, every
star server gets a copy of every popular asset.
Every asset file is tagged with it's designer's
ID and can only be stored in that designer's
personal asset folder. RC is not Kazaa. Don't
use copyrighted materials without permission in
Birth of a New Object
Say you want to
design a cool little spaceship object.
You make a PLAN
file for it which is the overall description of
the ship. The PLAN indicates that it is a
spaceship as opposed to a monster, calls out the
model file(s) it uses, and the texture files it
needs, along with a bunch of other bits.
All told, let's
say your ship needs three assets, which are then
stored in your asset folder like this: (here we
assume you are serial number 4B237865)
Note that your
serial number is part of the actual filename.
This seems a little redundant to the fact that it
also lives inside a folder with your serial
number as its name, but it is how we keep
everything straight in the peer to peer universe.
For example, the game will refuse to overwrite an
asset in YOUR asset folder if you run into some
other player who claims to be willing to supply
one. So your assets SHOULD be safe from being
overwritten by accident.
If you try to
stick someone else's file inside of one of YOUR
asset folders (but it still has THEIR serial
number in its name), weird things might happen.
Leave their asset where it was and just call it
out by name in your PLAN file.
Also note that I
used 'viper.txt' for two different assets. This
was to illuminate that PLAN assets are stored in
a SEPARATE FOLDER FROM MODEL assets, etc. These
two files would NOT be 2 copies of the same file.
a PLAN file has entirely different stuff in it
than a MODEL or TEXTURE file has.
you have some way of BUILDING an item from a
plan, other people will start getting copies of
your assets as soon as they encounter them in the
universe. This is very similar to Skin file
propagation in WoS except that in RC it is
actually reliable and works through most
firewalls (and, of course, is completely secure -
inasmuch as nothing executable is transferred and
nothing is allowed to arrive to or be sent from
outside the Rocket Club folders.)
Kind of a Designer Are You?
In general, try
to credit anyone you borrow from. In most cases,
a little credit from you is the only recompense
these people get. And now that YOU'RE a designer,
too, you'll be wanting people to give YOU a
little credit, as well!
I figure Object
Designers will fall into 3 basic levels:
full service designer, who makes their
own 3D models, their own textures to
paint on top of the models, and their own
PLAN files to describe new objects for
the universe. This person will need to
invest $25 to buy a copy of MilkShape
talented 2D artist who makes textures to
be painted on existing 3D models, and
makes PLAN files to describe new objects
for the universe. The person needs a
paint program of some sort.
talented product developer who makes PLAN
files to describe new objects for the
world based on pre-existing Models and
Textures. This person only needs a text
Clearly there is
more variety than that, since we have sound
assets to make, Monster AI scripts and who knows
what else. I just felt like pointing out the
re-use of assets using this table. The only thing
which absolutely has to be NEW for a new object
is its plan file. The plan can call out any
number of pre-existing assets (from other
people's asset folders). But the plan must live
in the asset folder of its designer.
Editors You Will
You will depend
on several tools as you design assets for Rocket
Club. Much of what you will do will be in the
form of text files which you can open with the
editor of your choice. Textures are image files
which you can manipulate with the image editor of
your choice (note, unlike WoS, RocketClub is a 24
bit color game, so you have a variety of formats
available to you. However, you still want to keep
files as small as possible so as to minimize file
model editor. I have selected MilkShape as the preferred model
editor for Rocket Club. A free demo is available,
but the tool requires a license after a certain
amount of use. Hence it will be costing you $25
to become a full-fledged Level I RC object
designer (and then I am going to still hope
you'll donate $25 to get a Golden Soul... um
Star... so this is getting expensive already!)
cool in many many ways, but one of those ways is
that it has a built-in AVI movie generator. You
might think this is so you can make movies of
your models walking around, and perhaps it can do
that as well. But the real reason it is there is
so that you can make your own 'tutorial' movies
where you give spoken instructions (on the sound
track of the movie) and the images are the
MilkShape program with the mouse moving around as
you do stuff. This was a brilliant idea. As a
result there are tons of tutorials out there
explaining how to use MilkShape. This is great
news since 3D modelling is a pretty arcane
If you have some
other way of generating compatible model files,
that's your business (they are, after all, 'just
text' so you could make them by hand if you
wanted. But man, that would probably be a big
Now, I say they
are text files, and yet once you get your copy of
MilkShape you will notice right away that
milkshape files are actually binary with the file
extension .ms3d That is the format you need to be
able to EDIT the file with milkshape, and you
should keep all your models around in some folder
with this format.
But to be used
by Rocket Club you have to 'export' your model as
a text file (This function is built into
Milkshape, which can export to a zillion game
formats, so you can make models for half life,
etc. Select 'Milkshap Ascii' from the export list
and let the file have a '.txt' extension)
Rocket Club uses
the MilkShape ASCII exporter as that felt
like the most common ground (and meant that you
could make one manually, someone could easily
make something that generated the same format
you have any interest in learning about making 3D
models, and can't afford 3D Studio Max (thousands
of dollars) and don't want to steal illegal
copiez of it (good for you!), I strongly
recommend MilkShape, and you should tell your
folks it will prepare you for a lucrative career
later in life. Just don't let them see that naked
mole rat monster model you've been working on!
Texture Editor. I suggest MapZone (free) for generating
interesting texture 'tiles' (images which can be
laid end to end and not show an obvious line
between them) for your models. MapZone definitely
fell through a crack from an alternate universe,
being both simple and complex at the same time.
Then I suggest Gimp (free) as a
way-too-powerful image editing program, which
amongst other things lets you add an alpha
channel to your images (important for the
particle system). See table above for links.
Unlike 3D models where Rocket Club *only*
supports the MilkShape Ascii file format, you can
use any image editors you like, so long as the
final output is something RC can use, like jpg or
OK, you now
officially know little enough to be dangerous!
Remember: BACKUP YOUR WORK and ONLY MODIFY COPIES OF OTHER PEOPLE'S WORK.
Time to have