Spore Collada Export

If any of you have the game spore there is a great new feature that comes with the 1.05 patch. After installing this patch if you open up the console (ctrl-shift-C) and look at the help menu there is a new command “colladaexport”. If you use this command inside a creature editor or outfitter your creation will be exported to “My Documents/My Spore Creations/Creatures” as a collada (.dea) format 3d model.
After finding this i immediately wanted to try it out. I exported a model and went and tried to import it into blender with the collada 1.4 script. After a moment a error came up the said “Error, see console for more info”. I looked at the console a saw a bunch of goboly guck that i didn’t understand. So i googled the problem and found a few forum posts on how to do it.
So here is my tutorial.

This tutorial assumes you have a good knowledge of blender and textures in blender.

This Is the creation that i will use, the geckon If you see geckon in the tutorial file name it will be replaced your creation name when you export a creature.

So the first thing we must do is export your creation to a collada format 3d file. Open up the console inside spore by pressing ctrl-shift-C and type in “colladaexport”. Then it will print the directory that it exported to, it should be “My Documents/My Spore Creations/Creatures/(Creature Name)”. After that you can exit out spore. Since you can not import the collada file directly into blender you need to convert it to a different format. The tool that works well for the is the AutoDesk FBX Converter. You can download it here. The FBX Converter works by Converting a file into a halfway .FBX file. Then Converting the FBX file into the final file.

After downloading and setting up FBX Converter run FBXconverterUI.exe. You will see two main panels, The panel labeled “source files” and the panel labeled “destination files”. As the names say the left panel is the files that you will be starting out with and the right is the files that it will convert the source files into. To load your spore collada into the program click the add button the navigate to your collada file. after selecting the file you will see something like this.

Leave the Destination setting how they are and press convert. After it is done converting press the remove all button. FBX Converter just converted your .dae into a .fbx and placed theat fbx in the same dir as the dae. But we cant import a .fbx into blender so one more step is needed. We need to convert the .fbx into something blender can import. Repeating the steps we used to load the collada from spore in to the converter load the .fbx instead. We need to select what file type we are going to convert the .fbx to so in destination format select OBJ (autodesk). Deselect the Triangulate and Bake Deformations boxes and hit convert. Now you have a .obj in the same dir that you started out with. You can now open up blender, pull down the file menu, pull down the import menu from there and select Wavefront (.obj). Find your .obj file we just made and select it. Leave the settings how they are and press import. Your Creation should have just popped up. rotate it and scale it to you liking and press the set smooth button in the edit area.

Now we should have a creature with a nice gray color to it, but it doesn’t look like the one in the game without a texture. Spore should have made three TGA files for the texture with the collada file. There should be a few materials already on the model, delete those. After you delete the starting materials create a new one from scratch. Add three textures to the material. The first texture is going to be the color for the model. Select the first texture and set its map input to UV. Leave the map to on COL. Now in the texture buttons set the texture type to image and load the file Geckon_diffuse.tga (the image should be in the same dir as your model). This is the color texture for the model. Make sure to uncheck the Use Alpha button. Now we have some color to the model but it doesn’t look super good if you render it. For the second texture also set map input to UV but in the map to section uncheck COL and check NOR, set the NOR slider to a value of 3.5 . Load the image Geckon_normal.tga. This will give the model some depth by effecting the surface normal if you render it now. Now for the last texture. On the third texture also set the map input to UV. Set the map to to Csp and load the image Geckon_specular. This last texture will affect the specular (shiny) value of the model.

Now that we have all the textures applied we can do one last render for the final version.
If you render it now it will look something like this.

That looks pretty good.
If you want to animate the model you will need to rig it your self since when you convert the collada to a .OBJ it removes the bones from the model.