Rome : Total War Basic Modeling, Part 1

By Private Clark

In this tutorial you'll learn how to make simple models from scratch in 3dsmax. We'll be making a custom short sword and a shield with a full texture (RTW ones are quad). finally (I have not added this part yet) you'll learn to UVW map your new items and then add them to existing RTW units.

If you've made a mistake but want to continue, or want to see my finished product you can download my max and texture files here.


  • 3dsmax, yes I know it costs 3.5 grand but unfortunately I don't know any other modeling program that can import .CAS files. Anyway, I wouldn't know how to use those other programs so this tutorial would be useless.
  • Basic Knowledge in 3dxMax. You'll need basic knowledge of 3dsmax for this tutorial, check out Subrosa's tutorial to acquire the basics.
  • Adobe Photoshop. Yes, you better be prepared to cough up the dough if you want to edit RTW. Alternately you could try Paint Shop Pro X2 or The Gimp.

PART I: Creating the Models

Step 1: Start off by opening 3dsmax and creating a cylinder, don't worry about the size, now click the tube tab and click on "Cylinder", give your cylinder these measurements. Finally, use the drop down menu and click "Editable Poly".

Step 2: We are now going to give it a curved shape, to do this, we'll move the vertices. Switch to top view and select these vertices:

Step 3: Move these up slightly. You've probably understood whats going on: once you've moved those up, select the circles inside the exterior one you just moved and move that up a bit, continue until you have this :

Now select the outer circle and move that down a bit, then switch to the Scale tool, and scale it in a bit, this will give it a nicer lip.

Step 4: You should now have something like this, a nice shield, right click on it and go into "Convert To: > Convert to Editable Poly".

Step 5: We are nearly done with the shield, the point of this shield is so that it will have a full texture because RTW takes a quarter of the textures and uses symmetry to duplicate the texture on the rest of the shield, thus, you could not for example, put a portrait of a god on it. All that is left is UVW mapping this shield. Later, I will show you how to add a texture to this shield inside your units texture.

Go into the Drop down and select UVW Map, you'll get a rectangular plane, drag this down to the base of the shield:

Step 6: Once you've done this, right click on the model and convert it to an Editable Poly once again.

Click again on the tube tab and select the drop down menu, this time select "Unwrap UVW Map".

Step 7: Click on the new bar that says "Unwrap UVW Map" and select "EDIT" in the menu below. You'll get a checkered screen with a wireframe image of your shield. When you are texturing your shield, you will put this wireframe model over the texture in your image file.

Step 8: Save your model as a max file, we'll use it later.

Now for the sword, the sword is much more complicated...because I added more detail, but its simple to make.

Step 9: Go to File > Reset, you should now have a new file. Start out by creating a box with these dimensions:

Then use the drop down menu and select "Edit Poly", this will allow you to move around vertices and such.

Step 10: Select these vertices and move them apart a bit (using the scale tool)

Now, on the side, select "Quick Slice" and make a cut right here:

Step 11: Drag a box around these 2 red dots, You must use a drag-box, otherwise it will only select that vertex, and not the ones behind it! and using the move tool move them up about halfway.

Step 12: Now drag a box around the top right vertex and click on the magnet icon, on the top bar, this turns on snaps. Using the move tool, snaps will let you position the vertex exactly on top of your bottom one:

Your sword now has a sharp edge, don't worry so much about details, in game, you wont see them. You should now have something like this:

Step 13: To add a little variety to your sword, take those vertices you cut earlier and with the scale tool bring them closer together:

Step 14: Now to add the point at the end. Again using the "Quick Slice" tool, make a cut around here:

And, again with snaps, place all you verteces together to form a point, be sure to check all the angles, you might have missed one:

Drag a box around the tip, you should have several verteces there, click the "Weld" button, this combines them all into one vertex. Move this vertex to about the middle of the sword height, so it doesn't look like the tip is angled up. You should now have this:

Step 15: Now for the hilt. Create another box with the dimensions : Length 2, Width 12, Height 4. (I somehow cut off part of the image in Paint :()

Step 16: Now for the decoration, add a cylinder about this size:

Clone this cylinder and place it in the other side:

you should have something like this:

Step 17: Time for the handle. Create a cylinder again and rotate it 90 degrees:

Edit it so that it has 6 sides, 1 height segments, and 1 cap segments. Drag a box around the upper half verteces and move them down to the level of the sword bar thing. Repeat with the bottom half. Scale the handle so that it fits nicely.

Step 18: Clone on the cylinder things and move it to the base of your handle, scale it to fit.

Here is your finished product:

Step 19: Convert everything to editable polys right (Convert to > Convert to Editable Poly). Now, select the blade and select "UVW Map", it should be fine the way it is, so convert it again to Editable Poly and then select "Unwrap UVW Map". You should get this:

You've got some weird deformed thing, scale it into a shape like the sword blade, then drag it far from the center. This is because when you combine all the objects together to form the full sword, you'll have a mess of wireframe images, if you drag it away from the center however, they'll all be separated.

Step 20: Repeat with the 3 decorative cylinders, don't forget to drag them away from the center in different spots. For the handle however, you'll need to edit the UVW map. When you click the "UVW Map" you'll notice that the plane is not horizontal but vertical, right click on your handle and click "Gizmo" then rotate it 90 degrees and scale it so that it envelops the whole handle:

Step 21: Finally save your file. Part II will show you how to actually apply the textures and adding these to existing units.

Continue To Part 2