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Models are ordinary, textured, static or animatable 3D Meshes. They make up a big part of every visible entity in the game. The builder consolidates models, along with other files, into a complete visible package which is then seen in the game world.

A Model is an Art Resource.


A Model is made up of a collection of files which define its shape, material, and other important information. These are created using external modelling applications such as 3DSMax or Blender which then export information into a game-readable Format. Models can be static, or animated.

The only editor that makes direct use of them is the level editor, but things like creatures and placeables will make use of them indirectly via 2DA definitions.

One model may be used in many different places and contexts. Changing a single model can cause multiple changes in a game world.

Note: A Model is an intermediate resource, which are used as part to design entities you see in game. To create or change the design of existing entities, based on existing Models, go straight to Design.

Basic Integration

MSH File (Mesh Data) Diffuse Specular Normal Tint
MAO Material File

↑↓ MMH/PHY Model File ↑↓

ItemVariations.XLS (2DA) APR_base.XLS (2DA) Placeables.XLS (2DA) Model (ResourcePalette)
Cloth_var., Longbows_var., etc. Creature: Appearance Placeable: Appearance Level Editor
(M)2DA_base.XLS worksheet ref
BITM_base.XLS worksheet ref by ID
Item: Base Item Type Creature "*.utc" (ResourcePalette) Placeable "*.utp" (ResourcePalette)
Item: Itemvariation
Item "*.uti" (ResourcePalette)
Game (as Armour/Cloth/etc) Game (as Creatures/NPC's/etc) Game (as interactive Level Layout) Game (as static Level Layouts)

These are the basic dependencies a model got with the Game, in its forms, where each entry links directly to the next. The Level Editor gets direct access to any Model, where the others are listed in 2DA's. Where the 2DA's are the place to begin listing any new Items.

File Formats

Models are principally defined using the following two file formats: MMH and MSH

A Model's Material is defined in a MAO file which includes a list of Textures, in DDS format, used in the material.

Bioware made models are stored in the Dragon Age file system's ERF files. They all share a Naming Convention.


Modding / Creation

Creating or Modding a Model can be done in multiple ways. A common activity in modding is retexturing an existing model. However, entirely new Models can also be created. Custom model import is possible by placing the MMH and all custom files referenced by the MMH into your module's override folder. These files would include any custom MAO files with their associated DDS files and the MSH and PHY files.

See the table above, to work out which dependency is needed to gain the desired endresult. When the goal is to create a Sword, the dependency for a Model has to made with the ItemVariations.xls in a 2 way connection. In this case, the Itemvariation inquires the Filename and you give the Model the Filename. Bear in mind that such example isnt easily applied to anything, but each 2 items have to have the connection somewhere.

Many hardcoded conventions apply, which is best found out individually. On other pages, or by learning.

In any case, once the new Model is available to be applied in the Toolset and for the Designer, you should get carried on over to the Design Portal. This also accounts for any Resource already in use by the Single Player campaign.



See Related Tutorials for workflows.

Related Tutorials

See also

  • Art --Dragon Age Game Art
  • Model list --For a list of Models placable in the Level Editor. Static Models.