NeverBlender is a plugin for Blender that allows for exporting of Bioware .mdl files compatible with Neverwinter Nights.
This particular web page is mostly just for historical interest, as the software is no longer actively developed by me and some other people have taken reins. The stuff below is mostly just historical material on NeverBlender that was manually imported from the original site.
As of last I checked, new versions of NeverBlender for Blender 2.6x+ have been released on Neverwinter Vault. As the Blender Python API has changed significantly since last I checked, I unfortunately don’t know much about how this new version works, so please direct all questions to the new developers instead.
I’ve removed the original downloads, because they absolutely don’t work on modern Blender versions anyway. The historic code that I and a couple of other people wrote on Blender.org is now still available on.
—Urpo Lankinen, 2016-12-12
NeverBlender is a “project” (I use the term very very very very very loosely here!) that aims to get Blender cooperate with Neverwinter Nights, or perhaps the other way around.
First of all, a note
I’m not very confident with my skills regarding this project - I lack skills in modeling, Python coding (in fact, Python interpreter fights me actively due to my Perl Coder Karma) and, heck, even in NWN on every area. I may not able to make the Perfectest NWN Model Exportator Script Ever Done. Nay, that may not happen. So please, do not come here with High Expectations. This thing may take a LONG time to finish. People who need to get stuff done NOW should stick to modelers that actually work right now! Duh!
Note, however, that despite of all this insecurity about my skills, the thing is, it actually works. Some things just cannot be explained easily, it seems.
What is part of this “package”?
nwnmdlexport.py is a script that takes meshes from Blender and spews out a Bioware .mdl file (and, if necessary, a .pwk). Also included is a load of modules. I tried to keep it in a single file but failed. Sorry.
At the moment, it’s almost usable except that it has more quirks than I have had nervous breakdowns due to the Python language. =) It exports a single mesh or multiple meshes, does support texture coordinates through Blender UV editor facilities (I’m thinking of supporting wirecolors and shading options through Materials…), it “optimizes” the vertex and texvert lists, supports positions, categories, tilefades, PWKs, and odious Blender crashes. All NWN-related properties are editable through a Text (ie, you make a new Text called ‘nwnprops’ that has NWN-specific details on everything). Thinking of making that GUIable, not sure.
It has been confirmed to work in Windows version of Blender (It may work in *NIX too, I see no reason why it shouldn’t - I test it mostly there because I have the toolkit, model viewer and hak editor there…)
Refer to the above-mentioned manual. You probably need some level of Blender know-how to know how to heck to use it.
Why it’s updated so slowly?
The most important features work. And I’m busy with other things. If you want to help with this, do!
It doesn’t work on WinXP and Blender 2.36!
Sorry, right now, I don’t have Windows around. I cannot check how well this thing works or does not. I am truly sorry. May I suggest either a) bother people on some Blender forums or IRC channels (I hear Elysiun’s board and IRC rules), or b) Figure out what’s actually wrong with it, send me a patch, and we’ll get it up?
This is a bloody nightmare to install on Windows.
I concur. Once I get my Windows partitions back up, I think I’ll figure out how to make an installer for this thing.
Why another modeller? Why don’t you just get GMAX?
Didn’t want to learn yet another modeller. So there. Besides, Blender is the One True Modeller.
Why there’s no animation support in exporter?
Because I didn’t understand how the Actions in Blender work. =) This stuff will be implemented through Actions anyway (not through Scenes as previously advertised) with the action cues (footsteps etc) similar to the nwnprops in style.
Note, however, that this is different from what the importer does at the moment, because I never specced this thing in a sensible way. sigh
The importer is dog slow / doesn’t work in Windows / just plain crashes in post-2.28 Blender
Don’t know, man, it wasn’t my idea to get a new, “100% comptatible” Blender Python API and release it when I went to a vacation. =) Yann’s importer code is so infinitely clever that I have absolutely no idea what it does and how to fix it. Hopefully someone smart who actually needs that importer will comment on it…
To me, it looks like in 2.28, FileReader class is no longer bundled with Blender. I could be profoundly wrong, though. I know that, for some obscure reason, in Linux with all Python libs actually installed, it won’t still work.
The dog-slowness is apparently a feature.
I have code to contribute, can I send it in?
Sure. Let me see it. Better yet, it’d be nice if you have any idea of any of the subject matters to ask me to add you to our development team at Blender Projects. But random contributions are always welcome.
MdlViewer and the game show the model just fine, but NWN-J3D viewer and (insertopensourcetoolhere) blow up!
Sorry, I was sleeping at the wheel. Fix is in CVS - the filedependency property should probably go before the “newmodel” line (or you can just delete the filedependency line), and the last line of the model should say “donemodel” instead of “endmodel”. (As you can see, NWN .mdl syntax is highly consistent. =)
How do I get the bleeding edge CVS version?
Just hit enter when asked for password.
Most Recent News!
NeverBlender sleepeth… help appreciated! [26 January 2005, 3:31 pm]
NeverBlender seems frozen right now because I can’t commit anything to CVS. I’m often busy with other things, AND there’s also the fact that I can’t upload my SSH keys to project site and the admins seem just as puzzled as I am. deep sigh Meantime, I’d appreciate it if someone who knows something about writing exporters in general would take the source and see how to implement the “export Actions to MDL animations” thing. People who are interested about improving neverblender can contact me preferrably via private message through Bioware’s NWN site (user name WWWWolf), or e-mail me at email@example.com.
Importer fixed [15 May 2005, 3:32 pm]
This has been asked A LOT recently for some reason. I finally got off my butt and fixed the importer so that it works with modern Blender releases. At least the geometry importing seems to work just fine to me… Check out the unspeakable horror now from the CVS! (or the snapshot above)
Umm, folks, seriously? [22 August 2005, 2:29 am]
Good news: I actually touched the exporter code, and it may be likely that finally, we may have some kind of animation exporter out there in near future! It may output garbage, it may be full of bugs, and I may never understand how the hell Blender’s action system works, really, but it will do something! Bad news: The Python API is officially weird, or maybe Blender is too flexible for this stuff. There’s no link whatsoever between Actions and Objects, it seems. As a result, it seems impossible to satisfy my own requirement of No Nwnprops Items The Program Should Know About Already. So, it all boils down to this: due to the fact that the API can’t do everything, you users need to do some funny little exercises of your own if you want to get stuff animated. More bad news: All of my code is really, really awful. I need someone who has written some Blender/Python code to take a look at the code. Preferrably someone who might actually do some new work on the program. Really. I’m sure there’s tons of ewwww-worthy stuff there. Lots of stuff that needs improving. My problem is that I get headache from double underscores and my Perl programmer’s Laziness means that I try to avoid working on code that doesn’t make sense. Also, I’m getting the feeling nobody is using the program for anything. Has anyone actually USED the thing on anything? All I hear from users is “how do I get this thing to work?” so most of my job with this thing has been writing new stuff for the installation guide. =( Also, I don’t know damn about low-poly modeling in general and NWN modeling in particular, I just write this code that spits out these model files. I’d be terribly curious if this thing is actually usable for any real-world stuff. So, an informal survey: if any of you has used this for anything, please tell me - firstname.lastname@example.org. Message subject may be anything as long as it contains “NeverBlender”.
Here are some sites that I have found useful over the time of trying to dabble with the serious art of um… making… uh… 3D stuff for… er… NWN. Yeah.
NWN modding resources
- Should add something here eventually.
- NNW .mdl Format Description - the aim of NeverBlender is that you don’t need to have headaches about this stuff, but this might still be informative.
- Custom Content Guide - Good instructions on how to get the models to show up properly in toolset and game.
Tools that might help
- Knife - for cutting a mesh along given plane. Might be useful for slicing tiles…
Generic modding tools
- OpenKnights - aiming to bring the NWN toolkit to non-Windows platforms.
- posix-hak - command-line HAK tool.
- TlkEdit - The best 2DA/TLK/GFF editor I’ve ever seen. In Java.
- Blender.org - The main Blender page.