After looking at how things are made, I've found might be interesting for ppl to know how game works and to get undertanding behind all this model shenanigans. Also maybe if more ppl will undertand it, then we can call out for relic. But I'il speak about it in the end.
To not give anyone false hopes. No, its not possible to put any custom assets into the game. Mainly because there is no way to make proper SGA arhive, let alone edit existing ones.
What is SGA arhives and mod tools:
This is bassicaly game archive containing all the files game uses. With mod tools right now we are able only to edit low-level code of the game.
The only custom thing we can put in the game again are UI elements and UI code. Be it portraits, icons, ability icons and so on.
Adding custom images is done via image burner tool which effectively turn images into the format game will understand and pack them if need be. Format is called rgt.
Can we operate and get our hands on RGTs?
Yes we can. We effectively can get access to every single RGT texture and convert it to readable format, be it DDS\TGA\PNG\JPG. And we can turn it into the RGT back from these formats.
I belive relic officially released a templates textures for every single vehicle in the game, which are included with CoH2 Tools data, for ppl who want to create custom skins.
This means: we tecnically have working RGT converter, to make textures for CoH2
Fan fact: Data tools are also include inf model example with raw files. And its a rifleman model.
Why we are able to create custom vehicle skins but not inf skins
To put it simply, creation of SGAs containing custom vehicle textures are very predetermined. Before creating it with mod tools, we select every single vehicle skin pack has and then we pack them into SGA.
In other words, its just allowed by Relic to create custom skins. They specifically created pre-made parameters, which will put all the files in a correct folder, matching path vechile will use to find skin location.
Tecnically there is no difference, in the basics of how vehicle and inf textures works. Aside from the fact, that I belive inf dont have camo parameters.
Also it means that we cant have lets say SGA containing attrib files\custom UI code and vehicle skin in one mod. They are all separated due to how mod tools works. Thats why usually total overhaul mods are using skippack, wincondition and main mod files.
Now to interesting stuff
How CoH2 models work
Basically, using mod tools archive viewer we can open any SGA (but not edit it) and see what it contains.
And i'il drop eliw00d explanation of what they are for better understanding
.abp is Animator BluePrint
.rga is Relic Game Animation
.rgm is Relic Game Model
.rgo is Relic Game Object
.rgt is Relic Game Texture
Unfortunately, there is no way to export them to other formats.
I'il use soviets as an example:
IMPORTANT: most of the files can be edited via simple notepad++, editining their name\path\texuture usage\path to textures and so on. This means that, for excample, to create preexisting inf model which uses custom skin (without edits to the model itself) we dont need any 3D knowlage nor we dont need special programms to do so. All can be done in the text editor.
Can we get models to work in 3D programms?
Yes, we can. I was able to get obersoldaten model:
Using toold made for vCoH(!), they are still working with coh2, even preserving motion data and rig of the model (bassicaly all models parts are following model bones, and its called rig).
IMPORTANT: This means that coh2 model format and the way the game works isnt even different from the one used in vCoH. So
Can we get models from 3D programm into RGM back?
Good question. Probably yes, but I didnt test it, since I've spend hell of a lot time trying to find version of model importer, becase all the tools were posted on the relicnews site which is long gone. But judging by old eliw00d video:
It is possible, at least most likely. I dont know what method he used to put vCoH models to CoH2 and if it requred any edditing in 3D programms. He might aswell just drag and droped them and they worked. In any case, fast is its mostlikely will work.
So in conclusion what we have:
1) We HAVE working programm to create and edit textures.
2) We CAN look for and export files from game SGA.
3) We CAN create custom reskined inf models without even editing them in 3Ds max or blender.
4) We CAN get models working in 3D programms and edit them.
5) We most likely CAN export them back to the format game will undertand.
1) We CANT modify the SGAs, and SGAs we can create are very limmited and ristricted to specific pre-made things.
En excample of how easy it would be
Lets say we want to create obersoldaten with different poopy skin, like this one I made in 5 mins for lulz:
Basicly what could have been done. In both ArtHighXP1.sga and ArtWestGerman.sga, we would need to duplicate folders related to Obersoldaten (2 folders in total) and call it lets say "OPsoldaten", then using notepad we just need to change path in files from Obersoldaten to OPsoldaten and pack SGA back. Thats it. Custom skined model is ready. Its that easy.
Now my words to relic
I mean, we have a lot of rumors regarding why it ability to add custom stuff was disabled. Some say due to the fact it might be exploited, some due to the fact that relic wanted to sell DLC, some say its LELIC.
But it really doesnt matter now, game is living off the community, creating content and spending their time.
I want to make it clear, I'm asking for proper mod tools. I'm asking for the ability and upgrade to workshop and how files work. What I'm asking for, allow community dev team to at least give YOU files YOU will put in YOUR arhives YOURSELF.
Its not hard, its not requared anything special, since you Relic are able to create skin SGAs, Map SGAs they are all working in the same way.
Objectively all is requared from you, Relic - have willingness to allow community to do it, without need of creating new tools and programms. Everything else can be done by the community, you just need to pack it into the game later on.
And hell, you went for upgrading your anti-cheat, creating x64 bit version, both tasts are MUCH harder then what we are asking for.
I would really like to ask @JohnT_RE what is the official relic statement about all of this, maybe they just disabled it and forgot about it later.
And I really want to ask the community to be at least a bit vocal about it, untill we will have some sort of an answer from relic. Because, they might indeed maybe its much more simplistic then we think and we just need to ask, but with understanding how all of this works.
I've tried to make it as simple as possible, if I made any mistakes feel free to correct me and I'm sorry in advance if I made them.