Is Blender the tool that I need for my task?

Good day,

I would like to know if Blender is the program that I need for my task.
Hopefully somebody can give me some answers or pointers.

Over at Hookedgamers.com custom maps and scenarios are created
for the game Sid Meier’s Railroads.
Up till now I have done some simple editting in the 2d graphics of the game,
but editting 3d graphics would allow us to actually add completely new industries
to the game, which is a huge difference.

The existing 3d game graphics are split up into 4 different files.
For example the grainfarm consists out of these files:
grainfarm_diff.dds, grainfarm_emsk.dds, grainfarm_norm.dds, grainfarm_spec.dds.
Each file shows a different part of the graphic.
They seem to show shapes, textures, shades and colors (guessing here).

What I would like to do is use elements from the existing graphics like walls, roofs,
floors, etc to create new buildings.
Can Blender do this for me? I am told that I probably need Nifskope as a converter
for the dds files.
If at all, how will Blender handle the existing graphics? Ideally I would like it to recreate
the 3d building for me so I can edit it. But that’s probably wishful thinking.

Also, and this is more of a question for NifSkope, I’m curious if that program can
convert a file that Blender produces to the 4 different elements that the Railroads
game needs…

As you can can tell, I’m completely new in this area so any help and insight in
how Blender handles things is very much apreciated. Thanks.

Greets,
Bushdoctor.

I don’t know anything about dds files, but it looks like one is the model, and the others are the texture maps. the one labelled ‘nor’ for example, is the bump map, and the one named ‘spec’ is the specularity map. nor and spec maps are not a necessity, but help to make your texture appear more real. they tell it where to be shiny, and where to be bumpy, and where to reflect, etc. these maps are usually created in a 2D program like GIMP, or photoshop. They are generally applied to the object using UV mapping, which is something you will have to learn if you want to make game models. Blender has tools to unwrap, as well as paint your model ( texture paint ), all within the program. It also, of course, can make the model itself. So, you can do just about everything in blender, but as to the conversion to dds, I am not sure what app you would use.

Um, all those are textures. That’s what .dds files are. UT2004 exports the same stuff. Looks like youy’ve got a diffuse/color map, a specular/shiny map, a normal/bump map, and emsk might be an emission / self illumination mask? (for windows that glow at night or something)

If you grab the nvida plugins for photoshop you can then open the files directly IN photoshop, haven’t tried with gump yet.

And yeah, if you create new models in blender, and then convert those dds to tga or png or something you can load them into blender and lay the UV out on them as a guide, and then when you import them into the game you can figure out how to assign the game-default textures to your new mesh and the mapping will work right.