Introduction by Ruin
avey2904 was kind enough
to write up a list of Frequently Asked Questions by most
skin modders. I think most of your answers can be found here.
Avey's Skin FAQ
What are RSB's?
These are the texture files of Ghost
Recon. RSB is an acronym for Red Storm Bitmap. These textures
include anything from
Character skins, Map textures, Kit Icons and Weapon Textures.
How can I see them?
There are multiple ways of seeing the RSB's outside of Ghost
Recon. You can use the RSB Editor that comes with Desert
Siege (DS) and Island Thunder (IT). This program is located
in the X:\Extras folder on your Disk. (Where X is equal
to the drive the CD is in). RSB Editor is very simple and
lets you see, not edit, RSB files. The other way is to
purchase either Jasc's
Paintshop Pro (PSP) or Adobe
Photoshop (PS) (both have free trials
which are available here) These programs let
the user both see and edit RSB files when the correct plug-in
What is a plug-in?
Plug-ins are software programs that add features to main
programs like Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. As you have probably
already guessed we need a plug-in to view RSB files. This
file can be found on the Island Thunder disk. Please bear
in mind that the plug-in found on the IT disk is more up-to-date
than the one found on the Desert Siege disk. Don't worry
if you don't have Island Thunder, you can download the
Will this plug-in work for Paintshop Pro?
Yes. The plug-in is compatible with both Photoshop and Paintshop
What do I do with this Plug-in?
This step couldn't be any easier. All you have to do is put
the file in your plug-ins folder. For Photoshop your directory
should be something like this: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop
7.0\Plug-Ins. Just place it inside there, start up your
graphics software and load up an rsb. The same goes for
Paintshop Pro, just place the plug-in inside your PSP folder.
How do i make a skin?
After you have met the following requirements above you can
start making custom skins for Ghost Recon. A basic knowledge
of Photoshop would be advisable to anyone planning on making
a new skin. Go over to the Recon
Section of the site to
find more detailed tutorials or just follow these direct
Basic Guide to creating new Skins
Ruin's Tutorial for making a new Sniper
Whenever I try and loadup my skin, GR crashes?
This may be due to numerous reasons like the game couldn't
find the model file (the CHR file could be in a different
mod folder that isn't activated) or there may have been
an error in the ATR file. Take a look at ike.log (load
it up in a text editor) in your root GR directory (Typically
C:\Program Files\Red Storm Entertainment\Ghost Recon) and
look at the last few lines of the document which should
tell you why the game has CTD (Crashed to Desktop). If
you cannot work out the answer then head over to the forums and
post a question there.
Why buy all this expensive software when I can just download
Converters convert RSB's into file types that most basic
graphic programs can read like Bitmaps. These converters
have been tried by most people at various stages of 'modding
history' and have caused more bad than good. Basically they
destroy the Alpha Channel and the textures are hard to get
back into GR. Because of this Ghostrecon.net does neither
host nor link to a converter file.
What are ATR files? What do they do? How do I edit them?
ATR files, or Actor Files, are what the game reads when it
wants to load up a particular actor. For example, each
regular rifleman will have an ATR file and so will every
enemy as well as civilians or hostages. These ATR files
provide vital information for the game. They provide the
name of the actor, his speciality (Rifleman, Support, Sniper
or Demolitions), and his skills. (Weapon, Stamina, Leadership,
Stealth). The file also 'links' to other types of files.
For example, it tells the game which face texture to load
up as well as what model the actor will have.
the files couldn't be easier and there are two ways of
going about it. Firstly you can use IGOR; the game editor
that came with Ghost Recon. It is found in the root directory.
(Typically C:\Program Files\Red Storm Entertainment\Ghost
Recon). Load it up, and select tools at the top of the
program followed by Actor Editor. This is fairly self-explanitory
but if you are having trouble take a look at The
ATR section of El_oso's IGOR for Dummies
The other method is to load up the ATR file in a text
editor like Wordpad for example. (Notepad works as well).
also self-explanitory and is just a case of replacing what
is already there with what you want to add.
What is GR Skinner?
This program allows the user to decide which texture goes
over which part of a model. The
Original version was designed
just to reskin characters but the 1.1
patch let the user
reskin weapons and maps. Using the skinner basically streamlines
the process of skinning a character by skipping Hex-Editing.
Using the program couldn't be easier; just pick the part
of the body you want to reskin and press the 'browse' button
to select another texture. In simpler terms, this program
dictates what texture goes on which model.
What is a CHR? How do I make them? Can I make them with
CHR files are player models. Every Actor in Ghost recon (Enemy
Included) has to have a CHR file. This is basically just
a model file type that GR can read. You can only make them
Studios Max as this is the only program that GR supports
for 3D design. Unfortunately you can not make them with the
skinner utility as that only puts textures on models, it
doesn't create them. For more information on making new characters
Piggyson's Exporting Tutorial
What is 3dsm?
Max is the only program that is supported for Ghost
Recon in the field of 3D design. This can include new maps,
Rifles and Characters. Please note that 3d Studio Max is
not required to skin characters. It is only required to make
the shape of a particular character. For more help on Character
modeling for Ghost Recon please try Piggyson's
Ghost Recon site and Ruin's
Can I use work from other mods in my own? What if it's personal?
My advice would be get in contact with the author of the
modification. Ask him/her if it is okay for you to borrow
texture x or model y. In most instances authors will permit
you to take there work if you have made contact with them.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EVER TAKE ANOTHER PERSONS
WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION.
If the mod is for personal use only then I see no harm in
'compiling' a few mods together. If this mod is only going
to be used by yourself then that would be fine. If you and
a few others were going to play Multiplayer with the mod
I would advise that you make some effort to contact the authors
of the mods used.
How do I make
my Character have a different skin for each different Terrain?
This is quite simple to do. If you look through the Origmiss, Mp1 (DS) and Mp2
(IT) you will find that there are only actor (ATR) files in the original Origmiss
folder. This is because there is no need to have different ATR files for IT and
DS. They all follow a very simple ‘extension’ rule.
If you look at a rifleman actor file you will find that it uses ‘ica_us_rifleman.chr’ as
the character file. The rifleman, in this case, would use that particular model
file in all ‘woodland’ type maps. (Basically all the maps that shipped
with the original Ghost Recon). The .ATR file does not directly tell the user
what file it uses for the desert and the jungle maps. If we look in the MP1\Character\Allied
folder we can see that this folder contains more model files that have practically
the same name as the ones found in the Origmiss folder. The only exception is
that it has ‘_desert’ on the end of the file name. So when you load
up a desert mission on Ghost Recon this is what model the game will load up.
Basically the game refers to the actor file, sees that it needs to load up ‘ica_us_rifleman.chr’ and
then tries to find a file with the exact same name but with ‘_desert’ on
the end. This rule also works exactly the same for IT maps but with a ‘_cuba’ extension.
This way you can have your ghosts equipped for woodland, desert and jungle combat
Does this work
for other files?
Yes, it does work for other types of files but not all unfortunately. This
method works with faces that the Ghosts use. If you load up the icg_wht_cmo_02.rsb
file you will see a soldier with a chinstrap on. This is all very well for
the woodland environment where the Ghosts wear a helmet but not for the jungle
where the ghosts wear boonies. Now if you load up icg_wht_cmo_02_cuba.rsb you
will see that it is the same ghost but without a chinstrap. This is the file
GR would load up when in the jungle. This would also work with camouflage on
the face. By adding the different extensions the faces can have different camouflage
for desert, jungle and woodland. Sadly, this is where the extensions stop working.
You can’t add ‘_cuba’ to a model/gun file to make that rifle
only show up in the jungle, unfortunately.
Can I make my
own extension up like, ‘_urban’?
Well, technically it can be done because RSE do it every time a new expansion
pack comes out but it would be unsuitable for a number of reasons. Firstly,
it would take quite a lot of skill to hack into the ghostrecon.exe file and
edit that. This would most probably be unstable and cause a lot of technical
problems. Secondly, the hacking of the gr.exe would be outside the mod folder
and therefore would be overwriting a file. Basically, it’s more trouble
than it’s worth.
All in all I'd say that avey2904
is dead on. The only thing I can add regards other modder's
What he has said is true,
but I recommend out of respect for the modder and their work
that you always ask permission no matter the reason for using
their work. Even if you're the only one using it. It shows
that you respect their work and their wishes. Nine times
out of ten they (the modder) will say yes if you go to them