This is a 3D model of the vehicle, which will be visible when the camera is close to it.
It's created using 3D modeling software such as Blender, 3ds Max, Maya or SketchUp.
The actual mesh file contains vertices (their coordinates, UV mapping, normals, and colors) and triangles.
Continuously connected parts of the mesh (called elements) which are closer than 5cm to 0 (ground) will be automatically detected as wheels. This is not relevant for ships, monorails, cable cars.
Triangle counts of some vanilla vehicles.
It's recommended to stay within reasonable triangle counts based on the size and detail of your model. You may look at examples of vanilla vehicles or assets by other creators for reference.
The absolute limit for a mesh is 65536 vertices.
Comparison between main and LOD meshes for the vanilla police car.
LOD stands for level of detail. This is the mesh visible from a distance. It must be as simple as possible.
If you don't provide an LOD mesh, the game will try to generate one automatically, which may have visual issues, so it's highly recommended to make a custom LOD mesh.
Example UV mapping using visible horizontal tiling on the bottom.
For the main mesh, you are allowed to UV map outside the 0-1 area (main tile), so you can tile the entire texture multiple times on a single face.
UV mapping for LOD mesh using automatic mapping in 3ds Max. No overlap and contained within the main tile - good for baking.
For the LOD mesh, the UV mapping must be within the 0-1 area (main tile) of the UV map, no tiling is allowed. This is because ingame all the LOD textures are combined into a single texture called an atlas, so having incorrect uv mapping will end up putting the texture of some other random vehicle on your LOD.
Pivot / Origin
The pivot point or origin represents the center point on the ground, on which the vehicle will drive. It's usually represented using a red/green/blue axis gizmo.
Make sure you are exporting a single object, which doesn't have any rotation or scale.
This can be done using "apply rotation & scale" in Blender, or "reset xform" in 3ds Max, and exporting only the selected object.
Vertex colors are automatically generated to determine wheels, which will spin based on the shader of the vehicle.
- FBX (2015 or older) (most commonly used)
- OBJ (doesn't support vertex colors)
These determine the color and material properties of your vehicle.
Texture sizes of various vanilla assets. See the resolution in the top right corner of the preview window.
All imported main textures must be the same resolution.
Powers of 2 is a standard practice in 3D graphics, which means resolutions such as 1024x1024, 1024x512, 256x512, 2048x128 etc. It is recommended to stick to this standard, otherwise, your texture may be corrupted by compression, which may be more visible at longer distances or grazing angles. The smallest allowed resolution is 32x32.
If you don't provide LOD textures, the game will try to bake them using the UV mapping your LOD mesh has, and that may cause visual issues, so it's recommended that you create your own LOD textures using baking.
Example diffuse texture for a vehicle.
The main color and texture of your asset.
It will look very bright, contrasty, and saturated in the game, so make sure to reduce the saturation and limit the brightest parts to a medium/light gray below 140 RGB.
If you don't import a diffuse map, it will default to white.
Example alpha texture for some railings and metal beams.
Using lighter values for the invisible parts will decrease the chance of small details like railings disappearing completely.
Transparency, white means opaque or visible, black means transparent or invisible. Gray values may affect how it looks from a distance or at an angle.
Semi-transparency is not supported, you need to use the rotors shader for that.
If you don't import an alpha map, it will default to fully opaque or fully visible.
Determines which parts will be affected by color variations. White means fully affected and black means not at all.
The diffuse will get multiplied by the color variation, that means the resulting color will look darker than the original diffuse.
For emergency vehicles (police, ambulance, firetruck) this determines where the siren is. The sirens are marked white, and everything else is black.
If you don't import a color map, it will default to full color, but the "use color variations" setting must be enabled for the colors to appear.
Example illumination map for a vehicle.
For the default vehicle shader (used by cars, trucks, bicycles, scooters, buses, trams), this defines headlights and turn signals. The turn signals are 0 (black) the headlights and taillights are 255 (white), everything else is 128 (medium gray).
Example illumination map for a train.
For the train shader, this defines always-on lights (headlights/taillights) and lights which are only on at night (windows). The always-on lights are 255 (white) and the night lights are 0 (black), everything else is 128 (medium gray).
For the ship shader (used by ships, monorails, cable cars), this defines lights which are only on at night (windows). The randomly changing night lights are brighter or darker than 128. If they are much darker or brighter than 128 - they will never go dark. Everything else is 128 (medium gray).
For the aircraft shader (used by helicopters, blimps, planes), this defines lights which are only on at night (windows) and always-on diffuse contribution illumination. The window lights are above 128 and the diffuse contribution illumination is below 128. Everything else is 128 (medium gray).
If you don't import an illumination map, it will default to black.
Transitions between different specular values produce artifacts on the normal map and vice versa, even if a normal map is not imported.
Reflectivity, white values will become "windows" where the fake interior floor will be visible. It's possible to control this fake floor using a script.
The specular highlight from the sun is very big and bright, so you might want to use very low (0-10%) specularity for surfaces facing upwards, like roofs.
If you don't import a specular map, it will default to no specularity.
Example normal map for rocks.
Problem: normal maps appear incorrectly if the asset importer mesh rotation feature is used.
Problem: default normal map value is 0.5, which isn't possible by using 127(left) or 128(right). Image shows the same flat normal map on faces with different UV rotation/flip.
Also sometimes called a bump map, adds fake depth or form by affecting how the lighting appears.
This can be made from the diffuse or a height map (brighter colors will look extruded out more) using a normal map generator online, a photoshop plugin like xNormal, or standalone software such as CrazyBump.
The normal map generator should be set to +X +Y, which means no color channel inversions are required. Read more in the normal map article.
High specularity and normal map don't work well together because of the compression, so you might want to paint over shiny parts with a solid color before generating a normal map or paint over these parts 128,128,255 on the final normal map.
If you don't import a normal map, it will default to a flat normal map - no bump.
Use a lossless format like .PNG.
The game supports other formats as well, but there is no reason to use another one, it doesn't matter how much your texture is compressed or even if it's completely solid or complicated, the game will convert it to a DXT format, so the final size won't be affected by anything other than resolution.
Make sure the texture is 8 bits/channel because a 16 bits/channel image can't be imported. Do not use the "Smaller File (8-bit)" feature in the Photoshop Export As window, as that creates an indexed color image, not an 8 bits/channel one.
Source files of an example vehicle ready for import.
The mesh can have any name, but it's not recommended to use spaces or underscores, as the name for the lod mesh name will be meshname_lod.
The textures must have the same name as the mesh, but with the texture type identifier after it, so the result will be names like meshname_d.png and meshname_lod_d.png
Files ready for import.
You should place the mesh and texture files in the import folder located here:
The AppData folder is hidden by default, you can access it by copying and pasting the path into the file explorer, or pressing Windows + R and typing in appdata.
The template you choose will determine many things about your building:
- AI and corresponding stats (like capacity for cargo, or passengers for a plane)
- max speed
- light effects and their position
- Item class (defines service, for example industrial - farming for the tractor)
- use color variations
- shader, material properties (color variations)
Importing a mesh in asset importer.
After you choose your mesh, depending on how it was exported, you might need to set the correct scale and rotation, scale 100 and rotating 3 times around X-axis are common necessities.
- max speed
- use color variations
You can change the positions of light effects.
You can add other vehicles as trailers which are attached to your vehicle, this is used for cargo trailers, train/tram cars.
You can change the 4 color variations.
You can add additional meshes as sub-meshes, which appear only when certain conditions are met, for example - the vanilla bus has a left hand traffic sub-mesh, and the forestry trailer has a loaded trailer sub-mesh.
Train trailers can display different sub-meshes based on the cargo type they are carrying using this mod.
Flags are required and forbidden conditions, which determine when the sub-mesh shows up, and also when the main mesh is hidden.
There are many flags and their use is not always obvious so their descriptions might be incomplete or not relevant in all cases.
Restricts the sub-mesh to only appear when the vehicle is parked.
Active for all non-parked vehicles.
Likely active for all spawned vehicles.
Active for vehicle trailers which have been inverted based on the invert probability of the trailer. Usually used for randomly inverted train passenger cars and the last trailer of a train - the inverted train engine.
Unknown. Usually active for vehicles going to a target, such as trucks exporting, importing, returning to facility, or trains going to the next station.
Unknown. Usually active for garbage trucks collecting garbage.
Likely used for firetrucks. Also used for blimps to display different ads.
Active for police cars responding to an emergency. Likely also used for ambulances and firetrucks. Also used for blimps to display different ads.
Unknown. Likely active while the vehicle is waiting for its path to be calculated.
Active for train engines stopped at a station, taxis stopped to pick up a passenger, and emergency vehicles which have arrived at the emergency.
Active for train engines which are about to leave, but haven't started moving yet.
Active for train engines arriving to a stop before they are fully stopped. Also active for taxis carrying a passenger.
Active for a train or monorail engine which is going backwards.
Active for planes which are in the process of taking off. Also required for the left pole of a trolleybus.
Active for planes which are flying in the air.
Active for planes which are in the process of landing. Also required for the right pole of a trolleybus.
Active for vehicles which are going back to where they came from - such as garbage tracks returning to their facility or trucks which have imported their goods and are leaving the map.
Unknown. Likely active while a vehicle waits for where to go next.
Active for vehicles which are for importing goods, even when they are returning to facility.
Active for vehicles which are for exporting goods, even when they are returning to facility.
Active for vehicles which are in the process of parking.
Active for vehicles which the played has renamed.
Active when a vehicle is driving on a network which activates this flag, such as a gravel road.
Active for cargo trains which are being loaded with cargo.
Unknown, may be related to vehicles despawning when stuck in traffic.
Active for vehicles which are "background traffic" driving from and to map outside connections.
Active when a vehicle is driving on a network which activates this flag, such as tunnels.
Active when a vehicle is driving on a network which activates this flag, such as slopes.
Unknown, related to bicycles.
Active for all vehicles when playing on a left hand traffic maps.
ModTools scene explorer and console.
Various things can be changed with the use of ModTools scene explorer Ctrl+E or running scripts in the console F7, or specific mods.
Many vehicle settings can be changed using Extended Asset Editor by Acc3ss Violation
Speed, Suspension & More
See more advanced speed and suspension related properties in the ModTools article.
AI defines what kind of vehicle it is and how it behaves. It can be changed using Asset AI Changer by Snow_Cat & cerebellum.
Contains information about what type of vehicle it is. It can be changed using Asset ItemClass Changer by Snow_Cat.
You can use this script to change the parameters of the fake floor which is visible in fully specular windows.
When loading a trailer template, the sub-mesh UI doesn't show up. To fix this, open the scene explorer, go to Tool Controller > ToolController > m_editPrefabInfo > m_placementStyle and set it to automatic, save and load the asset, the sub-mesh UI should show up. Once you add the sub-mesh, change m_placementStyle back to procedural and save your asset.
The flags for the main mesh and sub-meshes are oversimplified in the UI. The main mesh conditions are actually just like for any sub-mesh, and the regular flags and parked flags are separate fields. You can change them using this script.
Save asset window.
The filename input is on the bottom left, this is what the actual file will be called. It's not recommended to use spaces, dots, or special symbols.
The asset name visible ingame.
There are 2 different folders you can open by clicking the folder icons:
On the snapshot image, bottom right corner. Use this one to replace the snapshot, you can replace it with a 1x1 px image to save on the asset file size. This image will only be visible in the content manager. It will also default as the Steam preview image, but you can change that separately when publishing.
Thumbnail & Tooltip
Below thumbnail, on the right side. Use this one to change the thumbnail (109x100) and tooltip (492x147) of your asset.
Once you change the main thumbnail, the hover/active states will update automatically.
Local Assets Folder
CRP files in the local assets folder.
Once the asset is saved, the .crp file will appear in the local assets folder:
The AppData folder is hidden by default, you can access it by copying and pasting the path into the file explorer, or pressing Windows+R and typing in appdata.
Share button in content manager.
Once you have saved the asset and reloaded the game, you can publish the asset.
Go to the content manager > assets and find your asset, then click share.
Title and Description
You can change these on the Steam Workshop later.
Steam Preview Image and Content Folder
Publish window and content folder.
There is a folder icon again on the snapshot image, bottom right corner. Here you can change the Steam preview image, which is the thumbnail visible on steam. The largest size the image will be visible is 437x437 (on the front page) but it will get upscaled to 512x512 by Steam so that's the size you should use.
There is also the content folder, which is where the actual asset file is. You can paste multiple .crp files here if you would like to upload a pack of assets.
On the Steam Workshop page for your asset, you can:
- add it to a collection
- add images and videos
- add contributors and links
- add required items and DLC
- change visibility to friends only or private
To update your own item, you must subscribe to it first, then it will show up in the content manager. It won't be the same as a local asset, as it will show an "update" button.
When you click update, click the folder icon, and now you can change the Steam preview image and put your new asset in the content folder. If updating a pack, remember to put all the assets inside the content folder.
You can also add more assets to make it a bigger pack.
Comparison between local (top) and workshop published (bottom) prefab names shown in ModTools.
This is not something you can change.
It's the hidden internal name used to refer to your asset in savefiles.
It's the reason why a local asset is not the same as a workshop published asset.
For local assets: filename.Asset Name_Data
For published workshop assets: SteamID.Asset Name_Data