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How to create a model using the Quake Model Editor

This series of tutorials will take you through the basics of creating, skinning and animating a model for Egoboo.  Let’s start off by familiarizing ourselves with the freeware Quake Model Editor.

The Quake Model Editor can be found in the modeler directory under Egoboo.  Fire it up. A new model will be started by default.  The screen will look something like this:

There are four divisions of the screen.  The upper right hand is the 3D view.  The upper left is the top down view.  The lower left is the front view.  Finally, the lower right is the side view.

Along the bottom of the screen on the left you will see two mode buttons.  They are ‘Vertex’ and ‘Face’.  Vertex mode allows you to select and manipulate the points that your model is composed of.  Face mode does the same with the flat surfaces on your model.   Remember these modes, I will be talking about them later in the tutorial.

Beside the mode buttons are the windows that tell your cursor position.  Above the mode buttons on the left hand side of the screen is the frame arrows.  These will be used during the animation process to move between frames.  Above that are the ‘fit all’ and ‘fit selected’ buttons.  They let you fit your model in the view windows, just in case you move it off screen or something.

On the upper left you will see four tabs.  When you click on these tabs you access different modes that you will use when modeling.  From left to right they are; Create, Modify, Bones and View.  Let’s talk a little about them.


 This is the tab you use to create the model. 

 The ‘Create Vertex’ button allows you to make a point in space, or a vertex.  These vertices are what you build your model around.

 The ‘Build Face’ button will allow you to draw lines between vertices to create triangles, the most basic of polygons.  The triangles are also called faces.  The entire model will be made up of nothing but triangles attached together.

The buttons that are grayed out are not implemented in this build of the Quake 2 Model Editor.  They do nothing.  Don't worry about them.


Here you select, move and generally modify the model.  Move, Rotate and Scale do pretty much exactly what you would think.  They manipulate the parts of the model that you have selected.

The X, Y and Z buttons allow you to lock down the various axes.  This will prevent accidental manipulation in a direction you don’t want.

Weld selected will combine selected points.  Be careful with this, I have screwed up many a model this way.  Remember, there is no undo feature in the modeler.

Mirror will take the selected vertices or faces and mirror them.  It’s usually smart to lock down the axes that you don’t want it mirrored along.

Del. Selected will delete what is selected.

Effect frame range will allow you to manipulate more than one frame at a time.


Bones were planned for the program but didn’t get implemented.  Bones are an easy way to animate models by attaching parts of the model to a ‘skeleton’ and then just moving the skeleton.

There are many programs you can use that will allow you to animate with bones.  They cost money though; we’re here because the Quake Modeler is free.  Perhaps if you find you like modeling, you can pick up a professional grade modeler at some point in the future.

The only thing we will be using on this tab is the Align button.  The align button will align new parts of the model to existing parts as they animate.

I will go into more detail on this later.  It's kind of complicated. 


This section makes it easier to figure out what’s going on with your model.  First are the usual ‘select’, ‘move’, ‘rotate’ and ‘scale’ buttons.  The buttons below are the ones we’re concerned with here.

Hide selected will hide the vertices or faces that are selected from view.  You won’t be able to manipulate them while they are hidden.  This is very useful for getting finished parts of the model out of the way.

Hide unselected does the same thing with everything that isn’t selected.

Unhide all will make everything you have hidden visible again.

The play camera button will play through your animations, so you can see what they look like.  It will play through the animation frames that you have selected in the window below at the frame rate selected.

The ‘I’ button beside play cam allows you to interpolate the animations so they look smoother.  It makes things look nicer, but it’s not how they’ll look in the game.  I don’t recommend relying on it.

Look through the menus on top and check out the help file.  I will cover the things in the menu as we use them.  A lot of them should be familiar enough to you already from basic windows application that I don’t need to go over everything.

Also, there are keyboard shortcuts for a lot of things.  Dig around and see what you can figure out for yourself.  I’ll be going over what is needed as we create the actual model.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to have a basic knowledge of what you could do.  You may figure out a better way to do something that what I tell you.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Just make sure you save often.

Now, before we get started making models there are some things you should know.  Egoboo models can’t have more than 128 vertices; so keep your models simple.  Don’t try to detail every little nook and cranny of your model.  A lot of detail can be added with the skin.

If you want your creature to be able to hold anything, you will have to add grips.  Grips are special vertices that are added to the model last.  It tells Egoboo where to place the weapons (or whatever is being held) and what the objects orientation is.  If your creature isn’t going to hold anything, don’t worry about it.

If you are creating a weapon, the very last vertex will be the ‘spawnlast’ vertex.  This is the point on the model that blood and other particle effects shoot from.

Plan your model ahead of time.  Draw sketches of what it will look like.  Know what animations you will need to create.  I recommend reading through the models.txt file in your text directory of Egoboo.  It contains a lot of useful information about the types of animations and other little bits of info.

Also, remember that you may need to make the AI scripts and sound effects for your creation somewhere down the road.  I won’t be covering those in these tutorials, but they will need attention at some point.

Okay, so now you know the editor inside and out… well, at least you’re off to a good start.  In the next tutorial, we’ll create a model.

Cheers for now,