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symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
edited August 2018 in Tools & Plugin Developers
NeverBlender is an add-on for the 3D graphics program Blender. Blender is free, open-source and supports various platforms.

The NeverBlender add-on adds support for the mdl file format used by NWN for its 3D models.


  • Geometry: Trimesh, Danglymesh, Skinmesh, Animesh
  • Walkmeshes: Doors (dwk), Placeables (pwk), Tiles (wok/ aabb)
  • Multiple uv maps
  • Multiple textures
  • Smoothgroups (auto conversion to and from sharp edges)
  • Animations
  • Normals & Tangents
  • Vertex Colors
  • MTR files
  • Basic emitter support (import, export & edit, but no rendering/ display)
  • Tools to generate a Blender armature (skeleton) from MDL pseudo-bones (meshes)
  • Tools to create pseudo-bones (usable by NWN) from an armature
  • Support for Blenders NLA Editor to organize animations
  • Open set files and mass-import tile models
  • Export and Import multiple models at once


Post edited by symmetric on


  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    edited October 2018

    Current Versions

    Blender 2.7: NeverBlender 27-233 (2018-09-07)
    Blender 2.6: NeverBlender 1.29 (2018-02-28)
    Post edited by symmetric on
  • T0R0T0R0 Member Posts: 86
    Truly Awesome !
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    If you ever come back to this thread Symmetric, I'm trying to use Neverblender for animating placeables and I really don't knwo what to do.
    I tried following the Do it in Blender! tutorial but it's from 2016 and nothing matches anymore. I tried opening the tutorial model in Blender and, exported, it doesn't work ingame, so there's nothing to be learned there.

    On the other hand, I appreciate what you did with the walkmesh and dummy helper, would it be possible to get such a generator for basic animations?
    That's probably asking for much, but who knows :)
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    Ugh, I totally forgot about that, sorry. So, NeverBlender 1.2 needed each animation to be in a separate scene.

    That's not the case anymore. In 2.7.x the animations are all in a single scene, keyframes are all on a single timeline. To separate them, each Aurora Root/Rootdummy contains a list of its animations with start frame, end frames and animation name.

    Basically you create the keyframes wherever you want (in terms of frames). Then go to the animations panel, add a new animation and specify start/end frame and name. Everything else can be left on default.

    You can add/remove animation with the buttons on the side of the animation list. There is also a small clapperboard symbol which sets the bounds of the timeline to the currently selected animation, so you can play/loop over a single one.

    Once I find the time I'll create a proper tutorial for creating simple animations similar to the placeable tutorial.
    Adding all available animations for an object type (placeable, door, etc) makes sense, yeah. Good idea.
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    Geez, you were fast :o

    Adding animations per object would be fantastic but even a small tutorial would be much appreciated tbh. I'm trying to make a simple coffin and spent the whole day banging my head to the wall.

    Cheers :)
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    edited October 2018
    No problem. I actually completely forgot how it was done in 1.2 and had to look it up, haha.
  • TondenTonden Member Posts: 219
    edited October 2018
    I would love to see some video's showing how to do a lot of the simple things for NWN with Blender for people who are just starting out.

    I would love to see a quick simple way to texture say a wall without having to unwrap it.

    How are .......

    - Aurora Base
    - Dummy Nodes
    - Lights
    - Animations (like chimney smoke)
    - Walkmeshes

    .... all made in Blender

    short quick to the point video's showing things like these could go a long way helping someone to learn how to use Blender for NWN.

    Thanks for your time.
  • zordren3742zordren3742 Member Posts: 207
    edited October 2018
    In Object mode you select ADD at the bottom of the 3d view and in the drop down you select EMPTY, any empty without a parent is a Aurora base. In blender a Empty is a dummy node. Lights are also in the add menu. Stuff like chimney smoke are not normal animations, they are particles from nwns particle system also sometimes called emitters. You cannot see nwns particles system in blender, all you can do is change the settings of a emitter with the TEXT EDITOR. you can then export the emitter out as a MDL, put it in a hak and then check your changes in-game. I have not worked with walkmesh's yet.
    Post edited by zordren3742 on
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    Tonden, you might want to check out low poly generic tutorials, but unfortunately, animations and emitters are different when it comes to NWN and indeed require some help but I'm sure Symmetric will provide something in a near future.

    You may want to follow the outdated tutorial about Neverblender, it's not accurate anymore but still holds some value.
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    I can only offer you this at the moment:

    I don't know when I will get to finish part 1 or add new parts. My last attempts at making videos were foiled by loud neighbors ;)
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    Symmetric, could you eventually post a blender file with an animated crate, or anything with a simple animation for that matter, so we could see exactly what dummies you used and what animation codes from the blender object properties?
    That would be sweet :smile:
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    I'll whip something up.

    For future tutorials I might just switch to a Blender 2.8 alpha build so I don't have to redo all the screenshots.
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    Heh, you're brave, I dread switching to 2.8, it's already kind of hard making my way through 2.79 TBH, these modern softwares are like mazes.
    Thank you for taking the time to follow up :wink:
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    I managed to create an opening/closing placeable, here is the blender and model files with the animations if this can be of some help to anyone.

    The problem is the animation codes are not easy to find.
    From what I could test so far, we have:
    default: plays when no other animation is playing, windmill type.
    open: plays when the placeable is turned on and not performing any other animation.
    close: contrary
    open2close: plays during the transition phase when using a placeable
    close2open: contrary
    There may be more.

    Since you're lurking in here Symmetric, could you tell me what you think about the following topics:

    1° Is it possible to export a model from Blender created with cycles (or eevee?) because I only get null bitmap references when not using Blender render.
    2° Is it possible to use moving textures, I mean those who repeatedly scroll on an axis, I did that back in the days for lava and such.
    3° Is it possible to use animated textures? I once designed a placeable with 16 (4x4) images and the engine displayed each image as a frame like an animation. I couldn't find any hint about how to achieve that nowadays.
    4° How do you get a mesh to always face the camera? That's also something I was using very frequently.
    5° Emitters. Yeah, can of worms, I know, but what would you recommand to design emitters for NWN nowadays? I lost all my stuff after 15 years, no clue how it's done by Beamdog, what software they use, what import plugins, whatever. We don't hear much from their design team as far as I know, they publish their finished work but are very secretive about their development framework, aren't they?

    That's quite a lot of questions, please forgive me. On the other hand, I'll be happy to give a hand in writing some tutorials for noobs like myself when my PW will be online, I'm in a rush now before the mobile version comes out.

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 8,227
    @Japualtah Your comment was caught by the forum's spam filter. I have restored it and verified you so that this should not happen again.
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    edited November 2018
    This page contains is a list of doors, placeable and tile animation.
    1. Renderers:
      • In 2.7: Only Blender Internal, Cycles textures need to be baked to images.
      • In 2.8: Eevee nodes, everything is nodes in 2.8 actually - one cannot not use them ;) I'm currently working on that.
    2. Moving Textures are possible with animeshes. You'll need to enable another AddOn: "AnimAll" - it comes with Blender, you only need to activate it in the user preferences. It enables the option to select the UV vertices and keyframe them all at once by Hitting "i". You'll need to set the meshtype to animesh in the Aurora Mesh Properties (where you can set it to Skinmesh, Danglymesh, etc)

    3. & 4. & 5. That's all done with Emitters.

    Actually (in the EE), for 3. and 4. it might be better writing custom shaders as that would offer much better performance - plus emitters glow, that might not be desirable. But that's even more complicated than simply using Emitters.

    Anyway: Emitters are not displayed in Blender, no way to do that at the moment. With the new NeverBlender Versions you can manipulate Emitters by adding a particle system to a mesh: Neverblender adds a Aurora Emitter Panel with all the parameters NWN supports.
    At some point the Blenders particle system will be migrated to use nodes as well (right now that only works partially) and we can display and edit emitters properly in Blender.

    BUT: A lot of people simply open the mdl with files with a text editor and edit the emitters there.
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    Thanks for you answers, I can't say I clearly understand what you say but you're pointing me towards the right direction, experimentation will overcome the difficulties in time.
    I can't wait for the new neverblender 2.8, it's awesome having someone keeping up with the 3D software evolution like you do, kudos for that!
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    Small bug symmetric, your emitter export spells 'update fountain' instead of 'update Fountain' with a capital F, which prevents the exported emitters from working. It's irrelevant though, I now remember writing my emitters by hand in the past as you said, but since you're writing the 2.8 scripts, you might want to know.

    Because of you and my favourite youtuber B) I switched to 2.8 too and I like it, unfortunately Neverblender doesn't seem to be working anymore (or I missed a step) so I'll be waiting for you to finish your scripts.
    It doesn't look very easy, I also read some documentation about OSL and GLSL, it's a job on its own (I take it you're a professional developer), I can't see me writing custom shaders anytime soon, I've already enough on my plate!

    Thanks to your previous response, I've managed to do pretty much everything I needed, cheers!
    Nearly fully back in business, thank you for your support ;)
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    Thanks for the bug report. I'll patch that asap. But yeah, the addons all need an update in order to work with 2.8 - there are simply too many changes.
  • anastielanastiel Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 244
    symmetric said:

    Current Versions

    Blender 2.7: NeverBlender 27-233 (2018-09-07)
    Blender 2.6: NeverBlender 1.29 (2018-02-28)
    Hi i have dude, work for 2.78?
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    sorry, only 2.79 (there were some API changes since 2.78)
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    Hi Symmetric!
    Is it possible to animate an emitter along a path with your export scripts?
    I tried my best experimenting to no avail, as soon as I add a constraint to follow a path, animations stop.

    I also would like to hear about your progress with the 2.8 scripts, can't wait :)

  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    edited November 2018
    I'm assuming it works in Blender but doesn't export (otherwise I recommend watching this).
    This type of animation is not based on keyframes, which is the only way to animate things in mdl files. So after you have your object set up in Blender you'll need to bake it into keyframes. To do that select the object: Select "Animations" in the tool menu and click on "Bake Actions". Make sure that Visual Keying is enabled. (necessary because actually the path contains the animation and not the object itself)

    You can choose start/end frames and "Step". Step=1 means you'll get a keyframe at every frame, that's likely way too much. Step=5 mean a frame every fifth frame. You'll need to experiment with that setting and maybe clean up the frames by hand.
    (Note: In a similar fashion you could bake physics simulations into keyframes as well)
    EDIT: Oh, and make sure to get rid of the constraint after baking or you'll have "double" animations. (can be done automatically in the bake function if you tick the checkbox)

    For 2.8 I still need to work on materials and textures. Everything else seems to be working - until it breaks with the next patch :wink:
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    That makes sense, will try, thx.

    Good luck with the scripts!
    Are you still working on NWN modules/PWs atm or just being helpful? That seems to be a lot of work :)
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    Just being helpful :) . At this point I can't be giving up on it. I'm in way too deep and way too stubborn :wink:
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    For some reason I knew you were going to say that.
    Rest assured many greatly appreciate your job mate ;)
  • JapualtahJapualtah Member Posts: 165
    edited January 2019
    Take 3...

    Symmetric, would you be kind enough to help me with a weird transparency problem I have with an aquarium placeable: I can see trough the glass, the ground and creatures show up, but not the kelps unless they are set to static. If static, they don't - obvisouly - wave anymore, which is annoying.
    Do you know what's causing that?

    Happy new year B)


    Post edited by Japualtah on
  • symmetricsymmetric Member Posts: 57
    I can't help you there, sorry - it might be an engine limitation/quirk. I don't know how to set that up properly (if possible at all), maybe @Zwerkules or @LaputianBird can help, they have much more experience.

    Those viewing case placeables from the CEP have the same issue I believe, as do those placeable water tiles.
  • NK1990NK1990 Member Posts: 70
    So I just started my journey learning how to export .mdl files and importing them again with NeverBlender to blender. I hit a bump on the road as the .mdl files for the vainlla weapon pieces was exported in binary, and the importer of neverblender can not decompile it. I used NWNExplorer to export by the way. I then found a Decompiler/Compiler software I could not get to function because it was missing some registry info from the game. I then figured I could export the ascii text from the NWNExplorer and copy it over the encrypted text in exported .mdl file, and it worked perfectly. Now my question is what ways are there to compile the .mdl file back again ?. I have looked around for awhile but the decompiler software was the only thing I could find. Please if any of you have another way, do tell, thanks.
  • TarotRedhandTarotRedhand Member Posts: 1,177
    Have a look at these -
    Mind you, the question has to be why do you want to compile the models anyway? With modern computers the difference in speed is minimal and compiled models are sometimes larger than uncompiled ones. Unless you have a really time critical reason, I wouldn't bother.

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