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Modifying Alpha Files

Modifying Alpha Files

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Published by LauraHenson
A quick tutorial on how to modify Alpha files that I made for Zoo Tycoon Wildlife.
A quick tutorial on how to modify Alpha files that I made for Zoo Tycoon Wildlife.

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Published by: LauraHenson on Mar 31, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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By Laura ‘Tamara’ Henson
Have you ever wanted to make an animal for zoo tycoon 2 but for some reason could notmesh the model? There still may be a way to modify the animal by modifying its Alphafiles. For all intents and purposes the alpha file turns part of a model invisible. It workson thin areas of the Nif file like the teeth, hair, crests, and feathers.Examples of modifying the alpha file have enabled me to…
change a lion into a ThylacoleoRemove the crest from a secretary bird tomake a Guadalupe CaracaraChange the shape of a peacock’s tail tocreate an Australian Brush Turkey
2Changing the Nif files is not hard as long asyou have the right tools. For this tutorial Iam going to use Adobe Photoshop andMicrosoft Paint. Photoshop is an expensivepainting/picture editing software and may bereplaced by an inexpensive alternateprogram like Gimp as long as said programcan open DDS files. Paint on the other handcomes free with Microsoft Windowsoperating system.Most alpha changes only need Photoshop(Gimp etc) and Paint but you may also findthe program ConvertCCT.exe very usefulfor the more complicated alpha changes,such as the example I am going to walk youthrough in this tutorial. Here are the stepsneeded to turn a Przewalski’s Wild Horse(like the one above, OK so it’s not a mule)into a Mustang (like the one to the right).
Przewalski’s Horse to Mustang Alpha File Conversion Tutorial
1. The first thing we need to do is to collect the files we need, in this case theHorsePrzewalskisWild dds and Nif files from Program Files/MicrosoftGames/Zoo Tycoon 2/x100_000.2. Now drag the HorsePrzewalskisWild_M.dds file to the ConvertCCT.exe icon.
33. Two new images should now appear. One is a bitmap copy of the horse’s skin and theother is a black & white bitmap file labeled HorsePrzewalskisWild_Adult_M_opa.4. The opa file is the alpha file that is already on the horse’s dds file. For the mustangwe want to keep the tail apha but need to get rid of the upright mane. To do this Iopen both bitmap files in Paint. I then go to the opa file and choose Edit/Select All/Copy. I then go to the skin bitmap and paste the opa on top of it making sure that thetransparent background button is on.5. Your Paint image should now look like thepicture on the right. Save the skin andclose the opa Paint image.6. While in paint color in every part of theskin you want to delete. In this case it isthe mane. In some cases the skin may bevery dark in color and in these cases whiteor some other contrasting color can beused instead of black. In this project I willuse black and color in the entire mane. Iwill then rotate the image until it matchesthe original dds file’s layout. The result

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