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Virtools

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Chinese version / 中文版: Virtools/zh
The splash screen of Virtools Dev 3.5, the most common version used to edit Ballance NMO files

Virtools is one of the major development tools used to create Ballance. Developed by Virtools SA (later acquired by 3DVIA), it is a powerful 3D content creation toolkit. For map makers and modders, it can be used to create or modify Ballance configuration files and maps. Development and maintenance of Virtools has ceased, and the software is no longer available for purchase since 2014.[1]

The toolkit was once called Virtools Dev. It was renamed to Virtools upon the release of version 4.0.

Technological Information

Virtools consists of the following parts[2]:

  1. an Authoring application
  2. a Behavioral Engine (CK2)
  3. a Rendering Engine
  4. a Software Development Kit (SDK)

Virtools is not designed to create 3D models[3], but it could be forced into doing so.

In-depth hacking of the games may involve all parts above, but for most map makers and modders, having only the authoring application should suffice.

Brief introduction to different versions

Virtools Dev 2.1

The version used originally by game makers to create Ballance. You need this version in order to make use of the behavior plugins found in Ballance. Unfortunately this version is no longer available on the Internet.

Virtools Dev 3.0

This version can be used to create or modify Ballance NMO files. According to the feedbacks from some mappers, Virtools 3.0, compared with 3.5, gets better perfomance on Windows XP; however, due to unknown reasons, this version gets stuck at the licence interface on most systems.

Virtools Dev 3.5

The version used by most mappers. It's also the highest version that can be used to modify NMO files without making the resulting files non-loadable by the game.

Virtools 4.x

Virtools SA is acquired by 3DVIA prior to the release of this version. It gains the ability to import and export 3DVIA's 3DXML format, has better shader support, and comes with a lot other improvements. A revised version (4.1) was released in addition to the initial 4.0 release.

Virtools 5.0

The final version of Virtools. It has many useful functions, but NMO files modified on this version can't be loaded by Ballance. It's been proved that, by re-saving files modified by Virtools 5.0 in Virtools Dev 3.5, the files can return loadable by Ballance.

In addition, multiple fan-made games (including Ballance Remix and World's Hardest Game 3D) were made with Virtools 5.0.

Related pages

Notes and references

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20140627101633/http://a2.media.3ds.com/products/3dvia/3dvia-virtools/
  2. Virtools_User_Guide.pdf p. 13.
  3. "You cannot create models in Virtools Dev; Virtools Dev is not a modeling application." Virtools_User_Guide.pdf p. 13.