SHIFTERMOD tute - 3D models from 3DSMax3.1 to Tribes2

By TerroX

This file explains how to alter animation of a vehicle, using the MPB as an example. This tutorial is not allowed to be reposted or modified (see end) - I want more hits on my site obviously...

Download the model you want to play with from shifter modelling forum (eg.. Vehicle/MPB) you may not be able to find the models, but they are there - the old 'official' T2 download website went offline years ago. If you dont have the DTS export plugin get that too (Max 3.1, Max 4, Max 5). For general questions about getting started with DTS exporting, go to

Open the .max file (eg. MPB), you will see missing texture errors (might be a good idea to extract them to textures/skins to learn more, don't need to though).

Look at Utilities/DTS Exporter

Note: The main problems you will have are with the dtsScene.cfg file, you can spend hours screwing with it to try and fix up your missing meshs.

The 'Missing Multires.dlm' error is normal, it is because the AutoDetail plugin was used to make the mode, it is not free and you don't have it.

Save your .max file in a folder, put a DTSscene.cfg next to the .max file (.cfg files are text files, it has all the settings and defines nodes for export)

Export model as .dts to base/shapes using same name as exsiting .dts shape in Shapes.vl2 (eg. vehicle_land_mpbase.dts) - this is to test it works. It will take a while for things like the MPB (about 30 seconds) if there is no error messages yay. If you have errors, give up now.

Unhide a helper such as Deploy and notice the two keyframes - animation is between them (eg. it deploys between those frames when you move the animation slider back and forth)

Change some animation so you will notice the difference ingame (with animation button pressed dumbarse). You have to move the dummy that the mesh is connected to (eg. G_SlideL_100 is linked to DumSlide), do not animate a mesh connected to a dummy or you will have "Illegal Transform" errors (I did a few hundred times, but it could have been from Ticking the 'collapse transform' parameter UNTICK IT!)


Export model as .dts to base/shapes using same name as exsiting .dts shape in Shapes.vl2 (eg. vehicle_land_mpbase.dts)

Load T2 in LAN mode and host a map, try out the vehicle

If it worked you've just made your first crap vehicle

If the vehicle is missing parts it has something to do with your dtsScene.cfg, fiddle with the parameters for a few hours, then delete the .cfg file and use the one that comes with the .MAX file... If you have meshs not under the Start hierarchy then you're a silly bugger - Don't mess with the Link Structure!!, learn it! (here is my mpb.max file after fiddling)

TerroX's rude rules
Never distribute tribes 2 models/scripts/textures/sounds/maps unless they are in a working .vl2 format which can be put anywhere in your /base/ directory. It's so easy - so learn it. Basically, put your folders of things in a folder and zip the main folder, rename .zip to .vl2 and open it with winzip - DELETE ALL .dso (compiled .cs file) file and .ML (mission lighting) files. Don't include any .cs files from your prefs dir or you will fuck people up with your own prefs files. Basically only include files you have modified and no .dso files and the world will love you. If your mod needs it's own directory to run, don't double up with shit and try to use as much .vl2 stuff as possible, no one wants all your uncompressed shit on their hard drive.

All that goes for maps/mods/scripts too, test them with a few people first - there are thousands of people who love testing new stuff (most mod makers know this by now). BETA means it "might" work.

PS: Do not copy this tute, do not repost it, do not edit or rehash it - I wrote it, I own it (I do believe that this is beyond the reach of the EULA.txt because the exporter is not part of Tribes 2, so Sierra can't flog this). Link to it by linking to or, the link will always point to the current site - don't think no one will notice

Have fun, post questions/comments in the forum and I will answer them with more detail than by email. If I have made mistakes in this tutorial then TELL ME! It will be fixed up within 1 day.

Thanks go out to some people at mod forum, Garage Games modelling forum, Trinity Armaments, Dark Knight and PlanetTribes Scripting forum - I worked at exporting for weeks, failing, searching for info, failing...

Other projects the author is involved with.
- HERC Shifter mod - (big mechs destroying bases)
- Team [4o4] - The most hated HTML error code. Tribes 1 & 2 clan

All the Tribes 2 shit is owned by Sierra, they allow us to modify it, but they own it. Still mean
s you can't copy other peoples stuff, but dont think you can sell anything to do with Tribes.