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  • Tutorial: A Short Guide to Editing LRR Textures

    • aidenpons
    • Written By aidenpons
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    (Alternative title: Using GIMP: The Basics)


    Unlike Lego Racers, editing LRR textures is pretty easy. But if you try and do it in Paint the game will explode. So I thought I'd put this together.


    1. What is and isn't a texture anyway?


    Textures are pretty pictures that are applied to objects so they're not one solid colour lump. Other people more experienced in this department can tell you more.


    However, not all colours in LRR are indeed textures. For instance, while the front of the raider's face may be a texture (Minifigures\Pilot\Pface.bmp), and the top of the raider's head may be a texture (Minifigures\Pilot\Ptop.bmp), the back of his head is not a texture and is just solid colour applied in the model, the .lwo file.

    These need to be edited with Lightwave (some information here) or by a hex editor using methods I don't understand.


    Fortunately, biomes in particular don't use that (except for their first person models), so if you want to make a new biome the world is your oyster. 


    Other strange places textures also appear in LRR are for glows and lights.


    What this means for you is that if you find a texture in the game files you can edit it.


    2. What are LRR's textures?


    LRR's textures are always in .bmp format. The good news is that this means you can take a look at them with any image viewer, The bad news is that there are lots of types of .bmps that behave differently. LRR's ones in particular are "Indexed." This means instead of specifying RGB for every single pixel, it has a palette of 256 colours which makes up the image. Each pixel is then one of these colours.


    If that went over your head don't worry, because we can handle all of this with a couple of clicks.


    3. Editing Textures


    I highly reccomend GIMP for this. Insanely powerful (if very confusing to use) and more importantly has a bunch of really handy buttons that make doing some things a load easier. This guide will partly be an introduction on how to use GIMP :P (I know I'm using an outdated version of GIMP. :P  I need to update it, but everything should be functionally identical as I've done this process on this old and a newer version. The buttons may move around in future versions, but the buttons should still exist).


    3a. Example One: Recolouring the Scorpion


    Let's say I want to recolour the Scorpion. (For how to enable the Scorpion in the first place, see this). If I wander into Creatures\Scorpion there are a whole bunch of .bmps hanging around there. I happen to know that the A000_swalk###.bmp files don't actually do anything for the large scorpion, so we can ignore those. Firstly, make a backup of everything inside the folder. It will inevitably be handy at some point in time. Just a folder labeled "orig" works fine for me, and I just copy paste everything in the folder into that.

    If I open scorp.bmp in GIMP I get... well... the image. What a surprise. :P




    Let's zoom in a bit shall we? Ctrl+mousewheel should do that.


    However, if I try to paint it purple or something (those are the buttons on the window Tool Options) it won't actually paint the colour I want and will instead come up as some black or dark red. Hey, I wanted purple! This is because of those indexed thingies I mentioned above.

    The fantastic reason why I reccomend GIMP is because if I click Image -> Mode -> RGB I can turn it into an RGB not an Indexed image, which allows me to paint all the purple I like!




    Alternatively, instead of trying to be artsy I can hop into Colors -> Colorize, which allows me to blanket recolour something all I like!




    It's super straightforward to use, auto previews, and is really handy for this kind of stuff.




    It works particularly well for the Scorpion because it's so monochrome, being just varying shades of red. You'll get decent results if you tried to recolour the Slimy Slug, they'd just need more manual editing.


    So now that we have our Purple Scorpion if we try to save it here and now LRR will break. This is because it's still an RGB image and LRR doesn't like those. So back into Image->Mode, but this time Indexed, and a big scary dialog box will pop up with a ton of settings I don't understand.




    The good news is that you should be able to leave absolutely all of them as default. At least, that's what I did, and it worked :P




    Now we can File -> Export As -> and GIMP usually picks up that you want to export as a .bmp, which is nice of it. Upon clicking the Export button, another box pops up. Unlike the previous box, which we ignored and left everything as default, we're going to need to expand the Compatibility Options section and tick Do not write colour space information. I have absolutely no clue what this does but if you leave it unchecked your textures will end up looking silly in the game. Hit Export and that's the file done!




    If we do this for all our textures we will end up with a nice purple looking scorpion! ... well, except the interior of the claws. Unfortunately those are handled inside the .lwo file and as such you'll need Lightwave or some hex jiggery to edit them. Still, everything else should be nice and purple.


    3b. Example Two: Making Water Erosion Textures


    GIMP has a really handy functionality of "layers" which make this an absolute piece of cake. Biomes textures are under World\WorldTextures\YourBiomeOfChoiceGoesHere : you can define this location in the .cfg (look for Textures { around line 1890). If I open the ground tile (ROCK00.bmp) it will... well... open. What a surprise. :P


    Now, there are many ways to skin a cat: namely, to get another image in as a separate layer. My personal favourite is dragging-and-dropping from an Explorer window, but you can also File -> Open as Layers and also probably do a whole bunch of things I don't know about. So if I drag Rock45.bmp into GIMP (the water texture)... the image looks like an absolute mess. Again, this is the shenanigans of indexed textures playing up, as Rock45.bmp is using Rock00.bmp's palette causing the general stupidity we see. So delete that and start again.

    This time after we import ROCK00.bmp we'll go to Image -> Mode -> RGB. Now if we drag-n-drop Rock45.bmp over we get... well... just the water texture. This is because the water texture is sitting on top of the ground texture, and since there's no transparency, all we see is the water texture. This is because of the magic of layering!




    Do you not have the Layers window on the right? You can get it back from Windows -> Dockable dialogs -> Layers.


    The "eye" on the right controls whether a layer is hidden or not (which can be handy), and you can drag-n-drop layers around in this list. You can in fact do almost anything you want (folders of layers!): as is the nature with GIMP the difficulty is working out which buttons you need to press. Fortunately with this example we won't be needing much complicated.


    Now, in order to try and create an erosion texture, we'll be using GIMP's Eraser tool. Unlike Paint, which just deletes the square, Gimp's eraser has options for soft edges, non-squares, and again almost anything you could possibly want, but you just need to work out which button you need to press.


    It's important to know that whatever you're doing, GIMP does it on whichever layer is currently selected. So if your changes aren't showing up, chances are you actually selected the layer below and are doodling on that one, not the one on top.


    So with that in mind, if we try to start "erasing" some of the ground to let water start to peek through...




    ...we... just... get white....? Undo: hit Ctrl+Z, we don't want that!

    This is because these images don't have any transparency information: they can't be transparent! Fortunately, there are a couple of handy clicks in GIMP which will make all our worries go away! Namely, right-click the layer and select Add Alpha Channel. Now it can be transparent!





    And if we start doodling the ground will be 'erased' to reveal the water behind.




    When you're happy with your new creation, you'll need to do the same stuff as before: Image -> Mode -> Indexed to turn it into an indexed BMP so LRR can handle it, then Export, and then you'll need to tick the box Do not write colour space information just like before.


    And tada! When you rig everything else up correctly in Lego.cfg (probably make a new biome under Textures { , and specify that biome to be used on a per-level basis with TextureSet) you'll have water erosion textures in LRR!




    Getting rid of the smoke is now doable using Community Edition. Guide on this coming soon ;)


    3c. Things I Don't Know About


    I am very much largely incompetent in the graphical department and I know that you can create images larger than the original resolution. Doing this in GIMP is very straightforward (Image -> Canvas Size or Scale Image), but actually getting LRR to accept these textures is something I haven't toyed with. There's a little information over here. I should think that creating larger biome textures works fine, larger menu textures just make the menu element larger, but larger size textures on models may cause things to start looking very silly. I just don't know: play around! That's how I got this far.


    4. A Quick Note on Transparency


    If you're working with models, it's likely you'll need to mark some parts of the texture as transparent. Of all the ways, this is done in the filename. A###_rest_of_filename.bmp, where ### indicates the index (remember how LRR images are indexed images? yeah, this points to a specific one of them) and marks it as transparent. Cirevam has more information with pictures here.




    And that's it for this! This is a very basic guide, but it's one that didn't exist, and maybe it's helpful.

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