Introduction: How to Extract and Clean Starcraft 2 Models for 3D Printing

Picture of How to Extract and Clean Starcraft 2 Models for 3D Printing

Hi everybody!

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.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

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

Picture of What You Need

To extract the models you need:

  1. The game
  2. A tool to extract the raw model from the game
  3. A tool to convert the extracted models
  4. 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

3) Tool to convert the extracted models - Blender + m3addon

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

4) A tool to adapt our models to 3D Printing - Meshmixer or tools3d or any tool you already use

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

Picture of 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

Picture of Importing Your Model in Blender, Cleaning and Exporting It

Now we have our files:

    • Hive.m3
    • SM_HyperionExterior.m3
    • Hyperion.m3

    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?

    Easy!

    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

    Picture of 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.

    If you do not have Windows 10, you can use THIS site to convert the model, or THIS other service to fix it.

    Or just use the already mentioned Mashmixer to fix the model in first place.

    Step 5: Print Your Model!

    Picture of Print Your Model!

    Congratulation!

    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

    Comments

    brv967 (author)2017-03-15

    I don't suppose you have the STL files you create for the models do you?

    As you've already done the work (great ible by the way) thought it would be foolish not ask :)

    greenbriel (author)brv9672017-03-21

    The man just taught you how to fish and you're still asking him for a fish! ;)

    brv967 (author)greenbriel2017-03-21

    I loaned my copy of Starcraft 2 out whilst i was upgrading my pc, it didn't come back :(

    Farrit (author)brv9672017-11-15

    Good news! Starcraft 2 is now Free! :D

    greenbriel (author)brv9672017-04-24

    Hahaha, fair enough :) Have a good one.

    Jhyrachy (author)brv9672017-03-23

    You can redownload it from battle.net for free, even on a new account

    Jhyrachy (author)brv9672017-03-15

    I have, but sharing them would mean that this tutorial will be closed in an heartbat

    gravityisweak (author)Jhyrachy2017-03-15

    Maybe not. One could argue that as long as you are passing along free information for free, then there is nothing wrong with it. On the other hand, terms of service for installing any game specifically say not to reverse engineer any part of the program. In their eyes they probably consider extracting game files to fall under that description. Although I remember in the old days of Half-Life, the 3d model files were simply sitting inside a folder in the game directory. Anway, nice instructable. There are a lot of games out there where people would like to have items from the game. Now it's completely possible!

    Jhyrachy (author)gravityisweak2017-03-16

    It's all about where you are.

    Here in europe RE for education and personal use is legal (example: you can rip your own dvd), but you can't share it or download the dvd, even if you own it.

    It must be ripped from your own copy.

    brv967 (author)Jhyrachy2017-03-15

    Ah, yeah that would suck.

    rostfrei (author)2017-03-15

    Thank you so much for this really easy to follow tutorial!

    Masurrao (author)2017-03-15

    Would this work for other games? LEGO Marvel Superheroes?

    Jhyrachy (author)Masurrao2017-03-15

    Sadly no.
    This only works for blizzard games.

    We should see hoe LEGO Marvel Superheroes save the models and check if there is already a way to import them, or if there is need to RE the models

    Masurrao (author)Jhyrachy2017-03-15

    I have gotten a model out of it, but it was crazy complicated and the model came out warped.

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