So I tried to post a tutorial on my blog and found its been bought out by Google and wants a Google ID to open, with no chance to use my original credentials oy... Anyways, here is a simple tutorial on doing some basic DAG stuff - or 'clipping', if you prefer - using WorldEd. Much like my previous tutorial on creating and meshing new models, this is not anything I particularly discovered and is very rudimentary, more for me to look at myself since I only do this sort of stuff every couple of years and generally have to re-learn from scratch. So what is a DAG? I believe it stands for 'Depth Art Geometry' and can be thought of as what we do to the background maps to give them depth, that is, to interact with our 3d models (players, monsters, chests etc) as though they are fully fledged 3d environs and not the stitched collection of JPGs we know them to be. Here's an example I just made for IWD: So you will observe an open door, clipping Lydda's form nicely. The door is of course a 3d model, animated to open and close, and the PC is of course a 3d model. They interact accordingly - the one at the front is drawn, the one at the back is clipped and if they don't block each other, they can go right through each other. BUT - you will notice the column in front of both, clips both. So what is that? Isn't that one of our painted JPGs? How is it clipping a pair of 3d models - and precisely, at that? This is where DAGs come in. So, to get a clear idea of what they look like, consider the picture below. Can you guess what room it is? If you said, “Jinnerth the tailor’s room”, I’ll allow it. (The correct answer, of course, is Frank’s house). That wireframe image represents the 3d model that overlays (underlays?) the ground jpgs. It is a genuine 3d model, and using the various white dots you can see (I’ll explain how in a minute) you can rotate it along all 3 axes, or stretch it to suit. Where does it come from? These files are found in the data/art/clipping folder. “But Ted, you sexy modding behemoth, I don’t have a data/art/clipping folder in my Co8 installs? Nor even in the dodgy third party ones like 0rion or Temple+ I keep installed for laughs!” True, but why were you worrying about these lesser mods, when you can find THE WHOLE ToEE clipping install in KotB? The reason all this is in KotB I will get to at the end – it’s important – but for now, you can get clipping data there, or (and I recommend this) you can extract ToEE1.dat and work from that. If you just do a mod over the Co8 one, or a ToEE mod in general, it should draw the necessary clipping from this dat. Otherwise – again, I will deal with that at the end. For now, you might be asking, “what good are models of rooms I am never going to use?” Good question, and yes, while you can rotate and stretch those models to size, you can’t clip or crop them – you use them all or nothing. What good is that? Very little! But luckily, when we peruse the clipping folder, as well as the various buildings of Hommlet (and everywhere else), where everything has been done and saved as one file, we find a few maps where all the individual models have been saved, well, individually. I recommend the Welcome Wench ones, (Map-3-InnCellar, Map-3-InnFirst and Map-3-InnSecond) and the traders’ barn (Map-4-TradersBarn). Popping the first of these, we see: As well as very specific (and thus, not very useful) models like the stairs, we see various models of chairs, boxes, pillars and kegs that can be turned, stretched, rotated, resized and other synonyms of turned and stretched. Let’s start with a simple pillar. So, open up WorldEd and look for this: So that’s the Environment tab, and we want the button under the tree that looks like 3 sharks swimming in a line (or something from a weather map). No idea what that image represents, and please don’t tell me in the comments, I don’t care. For us, it’s the DAGs. The eagle-eyed will notice an identical button underneath – this does much the same thing, but accesses SKMs. If you know what that means, you can figure it out – otherwise, I have never used it (presumably it allows access to models like the weapons, armour, doors and other models in the game besides the clipping stuff). Once you have pressed the DAG button, go down to ‘select’ and click that. It will bring up a browsing menu, a la Windows Explorer. These clipping buttons are the only ones in WorldEd that do that, that I can think of. Navigate to your (extracted!) ToEE1.dat, and choose data/art/clip/Map-3-InnCellar (or whatever you want), and, for the sake of this exercise, choose the pillar. The drop-down menu you can see will subsequently allow you to access models already called upon – again, more on this later. O – one more thing. Make sure that all the clipping is visible! Go to the View tab at the top left of WorldEd and select Clipping, then tick every box. (What the different boxes do, is either self-evident – Handles turns on and off the white control dots, for instance – or can be ascertained by experiment. For a n00b, turn them all on). Now, with the DAG button depressed (cheer up, little DAG button!) and a DAG selected in the Select box, just click on the screen and your DAG will appear! Click again, and another will appear – you have to change to the pointer button (top left of button pad) to manipulate it, while the red ‘no go’ sign next to that will delete as usual. This image should hopefully show what those white control dots will do. To use them, click on the relevant dot then drag the button until the desired effect is reached. So, as per the pic: The right-most dot, clicked and dragged, will stretch this particular model sideways (do this several times to really make it fat). The left-most dot, clicked and dragged, will rotate the model around a vertical centre-point (like a stripper around a pole – and I genuinely wish I could come up with a better analogy than that, but I can’t right at this moment. Let’s be tolerant of our hard-working entertainers). The top-most dot, clicked and dragged, will stretch the model upwards, into the z axis – or, if you drag it down far enough (or often enough), will first shorten the model to nothing, then extend it below the z axis, should you want to for some reason. This is one of the only consistent effects: this dot always lengthens along the z axis, it seems. The bottom-most dot, clicked and dragged, will rotate the model around a horizontal centre-point (can’t really say if it’s the x or y axis). Not very useful for this model. The middle dot, clicked and dragged, will physically drag the model around (also consistent for every model). And finally the dot at 11:45 from there, which you can’t even see in a lot of the examples, I can’t even get to work for this one. So there. In other models (long ones like walls) it is, as expected, a way of rotating the model around the third access (x, y & z). Essentially, though, you have to actually play with these to get a feel for what they do: not least because the results I just described are for a vertical model like this pillar. Some horizontal models work much the same way – I also did a bed, (see next pic), and got identical results even down to the one that didn’t work, likewise with a box (the latter is great for filling in walls). Note that sometimes the rotation, like the second bed example, goes over the dot when you drag, and then you can’t use that dot any more unless you resize the model in some other way to expose it! This can be really get-your-hands-dirty stuff, resizing things away from other models then trying to juggle them into place, for instance. Now - other (primarily) horizontal models, like beams and walls I tried, can have a very different result: a testament, no doubt, to my lack of fundamental knowledge of 3d modelling. I am just describing what to do to get a good result when modding with WorldEd. And let me stress – this is not Blender or Paint3d or something: this is a simple tool for manipulating models in a 3d environ that will only ever be viewed by one specific camera angle, so its uses are limited indeed. BUT – we are modders. We are used to working with such restrictions, bending them to our wills, sidestepping them where necessary, and creating wonders. What are the actual uses for this? Well, for starters, lets look at another one of those columns in IWD. By taking our simple square pillar model, stretching it out horizontally, and then again stretching it vertically – voila! We can easily create a 3d clipping model for the column. So now, your character model will grey out when you run across the column, giving the appearance of being behind it.