This is just a quick guide of how to get started with modding Jedi Academy. Or rather, a list of guides and resources to get you started. These can be found in this tutorial forum on your own, but this is the best way to start, from the easiest to more complicated. Start simple and work your way up.
Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy run on the same engine, so most of what you learn here will translate to both games. Only a couple things are slightly different in the assets and mapping side. If you dive into the coding side, there will be many more differences.
If there are topics not covered here that you wish to learn, my best advice is to download a similar mod and look at how they did it. File and folder structure are what you need to look at for simple mods.
Both games use PK3 files for assets. If you have downloaded a mod, it was hopefully a .pk3 file that you put in your base folder. You may have noticed that the game's base folder has 4 pk3 files already: assets0-3.pk3.Those are where all of the game's assets and configuration files are located. Learn about pk3 files here:
Basics of NPCs
NPC is an acronym for Non-Playable Character. In the JK games, that means characters like stormtroopers, mercs, Tusken raiders, etc. Enemies and friendly characters that aren't the player. The concept of editing or adding NPCs is very easy, especially if you've done any coding before. Both games have the same system, however in Jedi Outcast, all NPCs are listed in the npc.cfg file. In Academy, they are listed separately in .npc files. Learn about them here:
In the modding world, skin is the term given to the textures of a 3D model, like a character or weapon. Skinning means changing or creating your own textures for a model. It's as easy as opening one of the textures in MS Paint and drawing on it (as a simple example). You can learn how at these tutorials:
- Inyri's guide to how to compile a skin
- Milamber's skinning guide
- Rooxon's quick re-color tutorial
- Omicron's skinning tutorial #1
- Omicron's skinning tutorial #2
- MUG's guide to skinning
- Super long skinning tutorial
Most people would say to move to modeling after skinning, as a natural progression of knowledge, but I think mapping is easier to learn than modeling, personally. The biggest thing that will set you back with mapping is the program used to create maps: GTK Radiant. It's not the most user friendly program, and it's still very dated compared to modern tools. I already made a list of good guides. I recommend starting with RichDiesal's guide.
This can potentially be the hardest to learn, simply because it takes a long time to gain the skill to create something worthwhile. It takes lots of practice if you've never done it before. I recommend starting with the free program called Blender, mostly because it's free, but also because there is a plugin that makes it easy to import and export .glm files. Otherwise the main program used is 3DS Max, which you can get the student version for free, as well. A term you will come across is often is "frankensteining" or "kitbashing" which essentially mean taking parts from models and combining them into one model. It's a great place for getting to know how modeling works.
- Rooxon's Basic Saber crafting tutorial (3DS Max)
- Rooxon's Advanced Saber crafting tutorial (3DS Max)
- Maui's Frankensteining tutorial (Blender)
- Milamber's modeling tutorial
- Boothand's modeling tutorial
Coding is difficult. You're not going to be able to read one or two tutorials and know how to achieve what you want. It takes time to learn. In the early days of JK2 and JKA, the only code we had access to was the multiplayer source code. In 2013, Raven released the source code to the whole game, of JK2 and JKA, so you can essentially do whatever you want to the game (essentially). I'm no coder, so any coders that want to give me good resources to list here, please do so.