The free 3D Ripper captures some DirectX 8 or 9 game as they play, and then turns the captured “frame” into a file that can load up (via a supplied .3dr plugin) with 3D Studio Max (v9 and v2010). It doesn’t support the latest DirectX 10 games. It needs to be run in Administrator mode, and seems to work best when sitting in the Windows system-tray working in global “game-sniffer” mode.
I gave it a try with Spore… it worked fine, but then Windows 7 jumped in thinking that the program has crashed (it hadn’t) and shut it down. Durh. And the Spore executable can’t be added to the Data Execution Prevention exceptions, since Spore has to have DEP enabled to run. So it seems Spore models can’t be ripped, at least by someone running Windows 7 (XP is probably the best option and seems to be what 3D Ripper was designed to run on).
3D Ripper worked fine with The Saboteur but didn’t produce a usable model (I guess this recent game is using DirectX techniques that are too new?). The Far Cry 2 Editor wouldn’t launch with 3D Ripper enabled. So, from my limited tests, it seems 3D Ripper only works for ripping models with some games rather than with all DX9 games.
If you just want the textures in games, however, it’s a different matter. Textures are extracted perfectly. I had an amazingly huge haul of 600 textures from a single capture of a single frame in Luc’s Room in The Saboteur, for instance. Here are just a few of them…
It also gave me a load of Spore textures before the pseudo-crash happened…
It runs on DirectX 8 or 9. It’s fairly easy to set up. Just follow the instructions, run it on global mode, and then load the game. Once the game is loaded and running, press F12 for a capture.
Once you have your texture haul, you may want to enable native thumbnail viewing of .dds texture files in Windows Explorer, using the free open-source Thumbview expansion pack. Although, amazingly, Photoshop won’t open a .dds image file (durh) — you have to install a free plugin from Nvidia.
Of course, you won’t be able to use these textures on models or characters you sell. Just for your non-profit personal 3D movies, and for learning how games build their assets. And don’t forget to give a big credit to the developers.