I recently discovered the X-Wing: Ground Assault fan-made expansion. I knew immediately that I wanted to make my own minis and give it a try, so I started searching for 3D models. I found a few that I liked and designed my own bases, then it hit me. I’m already gathering all of the 3D content, why not make a digital version first? I have been tinkering with X-Wing on Tabletop Simulator and knew it would be the perfect platform.
After learning how to create custom content, I realized a couple of things. The bulk of the models that I had found were too complex to be imported and they weren’t textured. I started my search over again. I began looking at older Star Wars games that would both be textured and low resolution. Empire at War and its expansion included most everything that I would need.
I had to take a crash course in modding EAW in order to get the data in a useable format. I used several different programs to view, extract, and convert the models/textures from a proprietary format.
I was extremely happy with the results, but soon realized that I had another problem. There was no way for me to extract the animation data. Humanoid models are typically posed with their arms outstretched by default, so I had to find a way to easily rig and pose the infantry units.
Luckily, I found a Blender extension called Rigify that can generate a skeleton for you and automatically attach it to nearby vertices. With just a little bit of manual cleanup, I was able to rig the infantry units and put them into somewhat believable poses. Fortunately for me, they look fine at the extremely small scale they appear in Tabletop Simulator.
The other components were pretty simple in comparison. I modeled the bases myself and extracted the card and tool images from the Ground Assault PDF. The dice/tokens/etc were imported from the X-Wing module I was already using. Finally, I made custom Snowspeeder bases using a program called Strange Eons with the X-Wing plugin and then I sliced and diced one for the AT-AT since it’s a custom size.
I really enjoyed working on this project and learning all of the different skills I needed along the way. Most importantly, it feels really good to contribute back to the community since I’ve been able to utilize so many free tools and modules built by others.