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Smacker FAQ

Author: Craig "UggBoot" Urquhart

What is Smacker?
Smacker is by far the most popular codec (compression / decompression software) used to make video game cutscenes. It is used by Jedi Knight and over 900 other video games.

What are cutscenes?
These are the video clips you see between levels in Jedi Knight and Mysteries of the Sith.

Can I use Smacker to make cutscenes for Mysteries of the Sith?
No, only Jedi Knight uses Smacker, Mysteries of the Sith uses LEC's own software. Even though those cutscenes were made as levels, they are still just videos. They are not run by the game engine!

Where do I get Smacker?
RAD Game Tools are the makers of Smacker and other multimedia codecs. Smacker files are made with their freeware program Smacker Tools (1.5MB). Note: The Smacker Tools seem to have been replaced by The Rad Video Tools, which include Bink and Smacker.

What else do I need?
The images (or an AVI movie clip) you want compressed into a Smacker file, and maybe a sound file to mix in with them. You can render the images using any 3D animation program, the most popular ones being TrueSpace and 3D Studio MAX.

What size rendering window should I use?
I recommend 640x300, the size of the Jedi Knight cutscenes. You can have any size window, but the result will either be off-center or clipped since Jedi Knight places the top left corner at about (0,80) on 640x480 screen.

What if I don't want to make an animation?
The Star Wars 3D Modelling Alliance (defunct, but you can see a gallery here: Star Wars Modeling Alliance Gallery) has over 100 short movie clips to download, just make sure you get the author's permission before using them in your level. Most are AVI format but a few are MPEG which Smacker cannot use. Another problem is that all the clips are smaller than 640x300 and while Smacker can change the window size, it doesn't resize the graphics.

Where do I put the Smacker files?
In your Jedi Knight directory, create a Resources/Video directory. Jedi Knight will only look for Smacker files in that directory. Do not put them in the project directory as JED will include them in the GOB file, even if they are not used.

How do I Include Smacker files in a level?
Open JED's Episode Editor and in the Sequence List place the cursor where you want each cutscene to appear, then press Add. If you can make sense of the example list shown below, you should be able to edit the other fields. Remember to press Update before moving to another line, otherwise your changes will be lost.

Figure 1 - Sequence List From JED's Episode Editor

Why does Jedi Knight skip a Smacker cutscene?
Jedi Knight cannot find it. First, make sure the correct Smacker file is in the Resources/Video directory, then compare the file name to the one listed in JED's Episode Editor.

Why do I get an error message in Jedi Knight?
This happens when Jedi Knight tries to access a Smacker file from a GOB file. Move the Smacker file from the project directory to the Resources/Video directory.


Note: These links have all expired and some point to malware. They have been switched to wikipedia links where possible.

TrueSpace TrueSpace is An excellent learning program for 3D modelling.
3D Studio Max 3D Studio Max is the industry standard, but is far too expensive for most hobbyists. However, if you want a job as a 3D modeller you had better learn it!
Crossroads Crossroads is freeware and will convert between most graphics file formats. Very useful since TrueSpace 1.04 doesn't support 3D Studio 3DS models.
Star Wars 3D Modelling Alliance Here you can download movie clips and detailed 3DS (3D Studio Max) models of nearly every vehicle, actor and building that appeared in the films. (DEFUNCT, link points to gallery, sorry!)
The Comlink The only place to go when looking for Star Wars sound files, it is easily the largest collection on the internet. (DEFUNCT)

I'd like to thank Jonathan Clark and Darkness Falls for their Smacker Tutorial. It was very helpful in getting me started with cutscenes and is a good tutorial in using the Smacker Tools program.