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Using Halo 2 Tool to Export Level Geometry

The Halo 2 Tool structure-new-from-ass command converts level geometry that has been exported from 3ds Max and stored in an .ass file into an optimized .scenario_structure_bsp file that the Halo 2 engine can understand and quickly render. Additionally, if a .scenario file for the level doesn't already exist, Halo 2 Tool will create one that incorporates the new .scenario_structure_bsp. Existing .scenario files remain untouched.

When the level geometry is changed within a modeling program, it must be exported to an .ass file and then reimported to a .scenario_structure_bsp file to show up within Halo 2 Map Editor. Because most Halo 2 level editing involves the .scenario file for a level and not the structure bsp, work should not be lost when revised geometry is reimported.

Note: Some level designers keep multiple versions of their level geometry while experimenting with different ideas. To do this yourself, simply export the geometry from the modeling package into a separate .ass file located alongside your level's main .ass file, and then import it with the structure-new-from-ass command. Afterward, use Halo 2 Guerilla to temporarily link the resulting .scenario_structure_bsp file into the "structure bsp" field of your level's .scenario file and give the changes a try.


C:\<Halo2ArchitectDirectory>\H2Tool structure-new-from-ass <structure-path> yes

<structure-path>: Name and location of the .ass file on the disk that Halo 2 Tool will convert into a .scenario_structure_bsp file. This parameter can be relative ("scenarios\multi\...") instead of absolute (C:\...") as long as Halo 2 Tool is run from inside a valid Halo 2 directory structure.


The following examples demonstrate the use of either an absolute or a relative path for the <structure-path> input parameter. Both will result in a .scenario_structure_bsp file that is placed in the C:\Halo 2 Work\tags\scenarios\multi\gladiator\ directory.

C:\H2Tool structure-new-from-ass "C:\Halo 2 Work\data\scenarios\multi\gladiator\structure\gladiator.
ass yes

C:\<Halo2ArchitectDirectory>\H2Tool structure-new-from-ass scenarios\multi\gladiator\structure\gladiator.ass yes

Results Using Halo 2 Tool

If successful, Halo 2 Tool will create a .scenario_structure_bsp file in the \tags folder of the .ass file's base directory, setting up any additional subdirectories needed along the way. If a .scenario file for the level doesn't already exist, a new one will be created and placed alongside the .scenario_structure_bsp file. At this point, the raw geometry is now a Halo 2 level and ready to be edited in Halo 2 Sapien or Halo 2 Guerilla.

Even when the .scenario and .scenario_structure_bsp files are successfully created, material and geometry errors may have appeared during the conversion process. Material errors generally occur when Halo 2 Tool cannot match the name of a material used in the .ass file to any of the Halo 2 .shader files it has on record. Geometry errors vary, but they usually involve either missing or overlapping triangles that result in an unsealed level. A level with material and geometry errors is still able to be viewed, edited, and playtested, but all issues should be resolved before the level is published.

In all cases, errors and other notable events encountered during the conversion process are reported on the command-line screen. Afterward, a journal of these events is available in debug.html, found in the base directory of the .ass file that is being imported.


Courtesy of Halo Maps website
Halo 2 Vista Maps