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This Blender add-on adds support for the MDL file format used by Neverwinter Nights for 3D models.

This document refers to NeverBlender v2.8 and its supported Blender Version 2.83 and 2.93.

Installation


NeverBlender can be installed like any other Blender add-on:

  1. Open the User Preferences editor by going to Edit » User Preferences.

  2. Select the Add-Ons from the sidebar on the left.
  3. Click on Install and select the downloaded zip file.

The add-on will now be installed, but not automatically enabled.


  1. The installed add-on should be shown - otherwise type in NeverBlender in the search box at the top right corner
  2. Enable it by turning on the checkbox next to its name.

NeverBlender can only load ASCII MDL files. In order to enable loading of Binary MDLs, you'll need to specifiy an external (de)compiler. When a binary MDL file is detected NeverBlender will run the decompile command and load the generated ascii MDL, see below.





Add-On Preferences


General

Displacement Mode

This setting determines how NWNs heightmaps are used in Blenders Materials. They can either be used as Bump Maps (faster, always visible) or Displacement Maps (slower, not visible unless the mesh has a subdivision surface modifier). This settings has no effect on exported models.

Dummy Settings

This settings determines how Dummies (NWNs version of Emtpies) are displayed in Blender. They mark special locations for the engine, e.g. Spell VFX targets. As there can be quite a lot of them, you may want to lower their size.

Import

Placement

Placement of models, when importing multiple models

  • Spiral: Places models in a spiral pattern
  • Line: Models are exporting in a straight line with 10 units distance (10 meters in NWN)

Mesh Validation

Uses Blenders mesh validation on imported Meshes. While this ensures the meshes are avlid it also removes two sided faces, i.e. two faces using the same set of vertices.

Colors

Specify which colors from the MDL are imported. Theengine itself, doesn't actually use all of them:

  • 1.69 uses Diffuse and Ambient (also true for models without renderhint in NWN:EE)
  • New Shaders in NWN:EE only use Diffuse (requires a renderhint)

External Decompiler

NeverBlender can only load ASCII MDL files. In order to enable loading of Binary MDLs, you'll need to specify an external compiler. When a binary MDL file is detected NeverBlender will run the decompile command and load the generated ascii MDL. The following decompilers are available:

  • CleanModels EE: Most up to date and fully supports the new features in the EE. You need to select the command line version cleanmodels-cli.
  • NwnMdlComp EE: Partially updated to support some of the new features of the EE. You can download the latest version from here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/974481/#Comment_974481 or Direct Link. Be aware that it doesn't support all new parameters of the EE (missing support for normals and tangents). Windows only.
  • NwnMdlComp: Old version, pre EE. Does not support any features of the EE. Windows only, requires the registry keys of the pre-EE Installation to work properly (Deluxe or Platinum Edition or physical disks). Not recommended.

In order to add a decompiler:

  1. Tick the checkbox: External decompiler
  2. Select the path to the downloaded binary/executable.
  3. Next click on the small circling arrow button in the field below to auto generate the command used to call the compiler. This command is platform dependent and can be generated for CleanModels and NwnMdlComp (On Linux systems, it will add wine, when using a Windows exe)

Export

Diffuse Reference

Specify how to reference diffuse Texture in MDLs.

Wirecolor

Whether to use wirecolor. When enabled Blender objects color will be used to hold wirecolor. This is ignored by NWN.

Binary Smoothing Groups

Smoothing groups will be exported as powers of two.

Export Metadata

Unused at the Moment.

MTR Export

Control whether to export MTR files at all and how to reference them in exported ASCII mdl files.


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