Introduction: How to Extract and Clean Starcraft 2 Models for 3D Printing
I'm making this tutorial because I've seen that some sites are selling 3d models ripped from games for an high price.
This, other then being illegal (they are selling a model made by another company without their permission) is also immoral, since extracting the model is really simple and they are taking advantage of the users.
Extracting and using the model for your personal use is not prohibited, but not explicitly allowed, so is kind of a gray area.
The common opinion is that if you do not share or profit for the model, you should fall under the 'fair use' case of the copyright law, and so there should be no problem.
The important thing is to NOT sell or share the models you extracted!
Step 1: What You Need
To extract the models you need:
- The game
- A tool to extract the raw model from the game
- A tool to convert the extracted models
- A tool to adapt the extracted models for 3D printing
1) The Game - Starcraft 2
Normally you should buy the game, but here we are lucky!
In the last few years Blizzard introduced the Introductive Edition License.
In short, you can download the full game, but access only some parts of it; but for us is enough!
You can download the game here: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/
2) Tool to extract the raw models from the game - CascView
CascView is an essential tool to extract the models from the game, since they are encrypted in a proprietary Blizzard's way.
You can dowload the program from here: http://www.zezula.net/en/casc/main.html
Or you can use the version I attached to this instructable
Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite, that will allow us to edit the models and export them in a compatible way.
To import the files extracted with CascView you will need a plugin, m3addon.
You can download Blender here: https://www.blender.org/download/ (i'm using version 3.78b, but it should work in any future one)
You can download m3addon here: https://codeload.github.com/flo/m3addon/zip/master... (It download the latest version) or you can use the attached one
Personally I prefer to use tools3d because is just a on-button-fixer that does not require another installed program, so I'm going to explain this using it, but Meshmixer also works really well, if you know how to use it.
You can use tools3d here: https://tools3d.azurewebsites.net/
You can download Meshmixer here: http://www.meshmixer.com/download.html
Step 2: Extract the Files From the Game
I'm not going to teach you how to install the game, so just skip to the extraction part!
Open CascView.exe, select "Game Storage" or "Open Storage" (I'm going to use "Game Storage" since it automatically look up for installed games. If it does not find anything for you, you should use "Open Storage" and manually look for the folder SC2Data in your Starcraft 2 installation folder)
Select the game you wish to load and let the program open all the folders, this may require some time.
Now, you can extract ALL the files, but we are talking about a lot of Gb of data and you need only a tiny fraction of them, so I discourage from doing it.
What we can do is find the model we need and only extract it.
This can be done using the "Search File" function in the "Tools" tab
I'm going to search for the models of the Hyperion (the same sold by the shady site I mentioned) and the Hive model that i put in first page
We need only the models that ends in .M3, not M3A or M3H
As you can see, while finding the Hive was really easy (it was literally "Hive.m3") we found a lot more Hyperion models, since it's used a lot more.
Here we just have to push our luck and try some, trying to understand their names (for example all the models with the name of other places, like "SM_HyperionCorridorProps.m3", or name with actions, like "SMX1_HyperionWarpIn.m3" probably are not what we are looking for)
I was pretty lucky and found it at the second try, the name of the model was: "SM_HyperionExterior.m3"
I also extracted the model "Hyperion.m3", that is a low resolution version.
You probably already figured out, but to extract the model from the search you can just select the model and press F5, or right-click and press extract
By default the models are going to be extracted in the /Work folder placed in your Desktop
Step 3: Importing Your Model in Blender, Cleaning and Exporting It
Now we have our files:
We need to import them in Blender
DO NOT unzip m3addon-master file, but place it in a location you can easily reach (like the desktop)
Install and open Blender.
Now press Ctrl+Alt+U (or just go to File -> User Preferences -> Addons) and select "Install from File..." on the bottom.
Now select the "m3addonmaster.zip" file and select "Install from File" in the top right.
Now it should allow you to 'tick' the plugin, as you can see in the screenshoot.
Tick it, and then press "Save User Settings"
Now go to "File -> Import" and select "Starcraft 2 model (.m3), now pick the exported .m3 file we got with CascView
Et voilà! The files now are imported!
But... Wait, while the Hive is good, the "SM_HyperionExterior.m3" and the "Hyperion.m3" are full of strange stuff! What happened?
The models are not made for 3d printing, so they have a lot of structure for animation, movement and more!
We need to carefully remove what we need.
To do this, carefully select and delete what we do not need using the box in the top right (as you can see in the screenshoot)
REMEMBER TO DELETE THE CUBE THAT BLENDER MAKES BY DEFAULT AT THE STARTUP
When you have cleaned the model (should take no longer than few minutes at max) you can export it in .stl using "File -> Export -> Stl (.stl)"
Now we can close Blender and do the Final steps!
Step 4: Fixing Your 3d Model for Print
IMPORTANT: In the previuos step I showed you the file "Hyperion.m3" because I wanted to show you how some model may need some cleaning, but from now I'll use "SM_HyperionExterior.m3" since it's an higher quality model!
Those models are no good for 3d printing, they have intersection and a lot of more stuff that our slicer will not like.
To fix this I'll use tools3d, but as previusly mentioned, you can use meshmixer or any other software you already have confidence with.
It's pretty easy, just upload your file in .stl and download the repaired .3mf file
If you have Windows 10 you can easily convert the .3mf file in stl, using "Save as" in the Windows 3D builder.
Or just use the already mentioned Mashmixer to fix the model in first place.
Step 5: Print Your Model!
Now you have your 3d model ready to print!
Just import the .stl file in your slicer of choice and enjoy it, without having paid a scammy site!
Just pay the usual attention to the model
Check the infill, the supports, and if the model is too hard to print (like the Hyperion I used in this tutorial), you would have to cut it in single pieces and glue back them together