Custom L4D/L4D2 Survivors

Hello all, hoping for some help on a project of mine.

I have recently decided I wanted to create a custom character model for replacing one of the survivors in L4D/L4D2. I’ve spent a few days picking away at the process and I’m stuck on one part I can’t find any information regarding. That specific part is setting up the model’s bones. To be able to import the model I’m trying to do, I need a bone structure setup in the standard T pose. Since the L4D bones out of the decompiled models are not in the same T pose I need, I cannot just simply place my mesh over the existing bones.

My T posed model

L4D2 T posed model

During my time picking at the process of completing this project. I have been able to successfully decompile a model from L4D, import into Milkshape 3D 1.8.4, Max 8 and/or XSI Mod Tool (6.01 and 7.5), modify it, export it, and recompile with no issues at all. For example Zoey from L4D, brought her into L4D2 modified slightly without issue.

So with the above knowledge I have been attempting to get my model into the game. The problem lies in either creating the bone structure from scratch, rigging it to the mesh from scratch and then skinning it for bone weights myself or utilizing an existing bone structure and rigging it to the mesh from scratch then skinning it myself, or using Max, or XSI to do some automatic enveloping for the mesh/bone/skin process. The end result in any program, whether I use the existing bones, created from the ground up or even the “Guide” within the Valve tools in XSI… Is that it results in something along the lines of this.

These screenshots are from the HL Model Viewer in the L4D2 SDK (Also results the same ingame).

Not every method of weighting the vertex and bone creation will result in the above image, some are DRASTICLY worse, some are better. The closest I’ve been able to achieve is having the model in the right position, with all the joints (shoulder, knee, elbow, etc) being twisted by x y z -90 180 0 or something really close to that.

Now, I’ve followed multiple tutorials on this whole process, I’m including the links below… (just a source for working custom models, to see what they should be when done) (another source for finished models to see if I’m missing anything) (another finished model for reference)

There may be other things that I’ve followed off of’s forums, but ultimately I can achieve everything, but the bones part. Is there something I just simply don’t know? Missed a key step at some point?

Below I’m including the reference .smd file, the .qc file and anything else I found useful to help with this process. I’ll also note that I don’t have the mesh skinned to the bones in these models, because I’ve since scrapped what I had fully compiled (because of the deformed results). The bones are also not named appropriately to work with the L4D animations yet.

It might be something wrong with the decompiled SMD you’re rigging to.

and here are the decompiled L4D1 survivors which work since I’ve done a few replacements with them

[editline]13th October 2010[/editline]

L4D replacements are a pain in the ass sometimes, I know how you feel

Thank you Henry, that link for is the other tutorial I had followed, but could not find the link for.

What exactly do you mean by the decompiled SMD I’m rigging to? Just to clearify, I can decompile, modify, and recompile just fine from any of the survivors in L4D 1 and 2. The problem comes when I bring my mesh into the picture and attempt the rigging. To verify the mesh isn’t the issue, I can make a model from scratch (cylinders, and spheres to do a mock of the general shape of arms/legs/etc) and attempt the rigging with the same results. Also the same results come from taking any model I have (even existing survivors) and attempting to redo the rig on their same bones.

I’m also including a .smd where I did a simple custom bone structure (really just excluding fingers). I’ve only done the bone weights on the right leg to see if it was working at all. If you use the same .qc file to compile this, the result is as shown below…

It would be very beneficial to just know what is wrong with the bones. I’m convinced it is the only thing that is wrong… Another reason for this is, if I take say Zoe’s decompiled bones, and place them in with my mesh of Jill, then follow the same steps I did for my own rig above… Do just the right leg with weights and such. It works perfectly fine, no problems… The problem again is though, the L4D bones don’t match my mesh, not even close…

When you decompiled it, it might have fucked up an important bone or something required for an animation that made it not fuck up. Only thing I can think of, otherwise I have no idea.


When you made your Chris (S.T.A.R.S.) ragdoll from RE5 ( ), what was your base for the bone structure? Was it from scratch, if so, what program?

He’s on the citizen skeleton.

I did these guys, however.

Try importing the skeleton of the L4D characters I gave you, see if that does anything.

[editline]13th October 2010[/editline]

Oh wait it’s for Rochelle, right? Hm. I’m also convinced it’s something with the bones.

If I take my mesh and put it on Zoe’s bones, it works fine (to an extent). The problem there is the T pose isn’t the same, more specificly, her body is just shaped differently in general, arm length, space between the legs, torso height, pretty much all of it. Resulting in something that lacks… Goodness? Hehe… Even with bone weights setup for the mesh on Zoe’s bones, it distorts Jill to fit to Zoe’s form.

Slight update… The last model I posted 3 posts ago… had the bones made in Milkshape 3D. I decided I should attempt a from scratch bone structure via 3DS Max 8.

It can be downloaded below…

Both fail to achieve anything usable. I’m seeing it has to do with the rotational orientation of each bone in the .smd. If I import my Milkshape 3D made bones into Max, it shows they’re all rotated the wrong way (at a -90 or +90 on various axis depending on the bone, which matches up to how it compiles and shows in the model viewer afterwords when compiling the Milkshape made bones… I.E. the knee bone is -90 0 0 and once compiled it matches that).

I cannot see why the Max made bones are failing. If I export, and then import it still looks solid, not rotated wrong. Still hoping for more input on this. Has anybody successfully made a custom player model with a FROM SCRATCH bone set? If so please let me know what program and the jist of the process. If not, then is there a way to move/position the bones of an existing character (zoey, rochelle, etc) to fit a mesh that isn’t anything like the original and have it work ingame?

Oh, I know what’s happening. The bones are twisting. It’s not rotated in the actual bones, but the game rotates it for some reason. Happens to me sometimes except with the hand bones. Bloocobalt knows how to fix it because I don’t.

[editline]14th October 2010[/editline]

I want Outbreak pack pl0x.

Nah jk, its up to you to upload or if not, sorry for Off-Topic, its just that the outbreak models are smoking hot

I’ll second the release of Outbreak models Ghillie!

Henry: Seems to make sense to me. I’ll give it a shot. If I can pull off even just 1 joint looking normal, I’d be happy at this point. I’ll be posting with any progress I make. Also out of curiosity, did anybody release RE5 player models for L4D1 or 2 yet? I’ve seen some by MrLanky, but I was hoping for all the variations of the models, even though I know that’d take forever, I still want it :smiley:

Alright, so I guess I’m very confused at this point. I was digging around more, because I was unable to make any progress with my own custom bones. I came across a Chris S.T.A.R.S. model from RE5 somebody put into L4D2. After decompiling it, I can see that they made a custom bone structure from scratch and it works just fine ingame compared to my bones. Visually there is no difference in mine compared to his, whether I open it in Milkshape, 3DS Max 8, XSI Mod Tool 7.5, 6.01 or anything else I can get my hands on.

Where is the magic setting, variable, line of code, or whatever it may be that I am missing? If anybody is willing to take the time to look at my Milkshape or Max skeletons and tell me what is wrong I’d appreciate it.

I’ve put dozens of hours into this process and fail to believe it’s something extremely complex at this point, based on everything I’ve attempted is not working and has something to do with the rotation/direction each joint is facing. Perhaps something as simple as proper instructions of how to create a working skeleton (for a player model) from scratch in Max, Milkshape or XSI.

yours to fix of your model try hushed up site will find that you want