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Converting 3d model from Mafia 2

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[UPDATED] - 24 Oct 2020

In this article I will describe the process of converting models from Mafia 2 into 3ds Max. Converted models have a skeleton and are ready for animation.

Show list of changes (24 Oct 2020) »

- re-built M2CharMC / M2ObjMC tools with latest version of compilator.

Show list of changes (27 Jan 2012) »

- I updated the program M2CharMC and M2ObjMC and now they are NOT IDENTIFIED AS VIRUS. You can download the updated links.

Show list of changes (29 Dec 2010) »

- added english language.

Show list of changes (30 Nov 2010) »

- added direct link for OpenCOLLADA [download] [page] - found a model that is extracted is not correct, it is:
<install path>/mafia ii/pc/sds/hchar/franca.sds
for its conversion you need to use the original dumper from DerPlaya [page], and open model in XSI, or in latest version of Blender.

Note: The article is designed for users familiar with working in 3ds Max and does not cover such things as, for example, texturing objects, setting up materials, etc.

For the conversion process, we need the following tools:

  • 3ds Max (i use 2008 х64) should work on versions: 7-2011
  • M2CharMC v0.7 (model extractor from *.sds) Author: Tosyk [download]
  • M2ObjMC v2.6 (model extractor from *.sds) Author: Tosyk [download]
  • OpenCOLLADA (3ds Max plugin to open *.dae files) [download] [page]
  • ExSDS v0.3 (*.sds unpacker) Author: CJay [download]
  • Gibbed Illusion Tools (tool kit) Author: Gibbed [download] [page]

1. Unpacking the game archives. Install the game Mafia 2. If the installation is done by Steam service, then on the hard drive should already be unpacked steam-archives. Before using the disk versions of the game, you must first extract the files. Game archives are located at

<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\

and they have the *.sds extension. In these archives are all resources.

2. Model conversion. Game models are in

<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\hchar\ - characters
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\cars\ - cars
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\fmv\ - objects and characters (from the cutscenes)
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\traffic\ - pedestrians
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\wardrobe\ - objects in the closet
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\weapons\ - weapons
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\player\ - main characters
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\city\ - objects of the city

It is quite possible that the models are also present in other archives, but I wrote only about the most important of them. To convert the models and textures, I wrote 2 tools that facilitate the model conversion process. Each of the two programs extracts the model from *.sds files and converts it into a format *.dae.

  • M2CharMC v0.5 (character converter)
  • M2ObjMC v2.5 (game object and car converter)

Converters are based on two programs:

  • Mafia2ModelDumper (model dumper) Author: DerPlaya [page]
  • mesh2rdm (game model converter) Author: Rich Whitehouse [page]

Note: Why not use the original program? Because after the conversion with Mafia2ModelDumper *.dae-files is not impossible to properly use in 3ds Max.

For example converting I took two files.

<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\hchar\joeciv.sds
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\cars\shubert_taxi.sds

joeciv.sds contains the character Joe (the summer version). shubert_taxi.sds contains a model of the car Shubert (version of a taxi). So, drag-and-drop joeciv.sds (or several files) on the M2CharMC (m2char_mc_v0.5.exe) and after a short conversion process near the source file (in my case it joeciv.sds) will be a two files:

  • joeciv.JOECIV.Hips.L0.dae - high-poly model
  • joeciv.JOECIV.Hips.L1.dae - low-poly model

Note: You can open *. dae files  in 3ds Max. However, the built-in importer cope with the format is not the best way, so I recommend using the OpenCOLLADA importer.

After importing joeciv.JOECIV.Hips.L0.dae (I chose the high-poly model) in 3ds Max you will see:
In the same way, but the with M2ObjMC program convert shubert_taxi.sds. Import model in 3ds Max. In viewport you'll see:
3. Texture conversion. Textures are packaged in *.sds files along with the model and the extracting with ExSDS tool. Interface:Files extract with command Operations -> Extract All. Recoverable files are in *.dds format.

4. Also. For this game currently released 7 DLC:

  • Vegas Pack
  • War Hero Pack
  • Renegade Pack
  • Greaser Pack
  • Made Man Pack
  • Jimmy's Vendetta
  • Joe's Adventures

Format of archives in the DLC is the same as in the original (*.sds), but these files are encrypted. From them we can extract a model, but can not extract texture. To decrypt files, use Illusion DecompressSDS, part of the Illusion Tools from Gibbed. The program is console only and does not have an interface. To decrypt the *.sds you need to drag the source *.sds file on Gibbed.Illusion.DecompressSDS.exe.

In the resources of this game is hard to find eye for characters, since they all shared. They may be located in the most unexpected *.sds files, so I am publishing an archive of the most common eye textures. [download eye texture].

For cars as well as for the characters were used shared textures, as well as models (wheels), they are placed in the archives:

<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\cars\cars_universal.sds
<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\cars\cars_universal2.sds

For some files *.sds can find a copy, but with "_z" suffix , for example, for file shubert_taxi.sds this copy is called shubert_taxi_z.sds. Suffix "_z" means "winter ",most likely this file contains the variations of winter textures.

Found a model that is extracting is not correct, it:

<install path>\mafia ii\pc\sds\hchar\franca.sds

or its conversion you need to use the original dumper from DerPlaya [page], and open model in XSI, or in latest version of Blender.

5. Rendering. 3ds Max and shaders.

Comments (99) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I’m having issues with the DLC characters. I tried decrypting and decompressing the .SDS files, but no matter what the .dae always has a broken skin modifier and no UVW maps, so the model is practically useless.

  2. which file and from which DLC you trying to convert?

  3. I get an error with M2CharMC and M2ObjMC.
    I cant extract them

  4. vidusmonster, just turn your antivirus off and it will work

  5. Hi, when i try to download M2CharMC v0.3 and M2ObjMC v2.3, Nod32 virus allert windows dialogs pops up, may i be worried? Could you check thoose files?
    thank you!

  6. Hi Matt,
    don’t worry, it’s just type of programs, not a virus at all.
    i’m working on making new type of those programs

    just turn off your Nod32 while you downloading/using those tools

  7. Hi Tosik,
    thanx for your speedy answer, i’ve tryed to turn off Nod32, but nothing happens (files are correctly downloaded, but i can’t open it or execute it). I’m on Vista, do you have any advices?
    Thanx a lot!!!

  8. those tools without UI, you need to put it in folder with *.sds files and run it
    please read tutorial carefully

  9. I know, i mean that nothing happens when i try to extract the files. Nod32 ais switched off, but no files being extracted. Anyway, thank you, i’ll find a solution!

  10. Update:
    I’ve tryed to extract the file on a pc wich have windowsXP on board, and no antivirus installed, but when i try to extract the file .exe contained in the archive, windows automatically delete the file, considerating that as “potentially dangerous, deleted”.
    Same story on windows Vista and windows 7.
    I’ve also tryed to execute the file directly from the archive (i know it’s necessary to put it into the sds directory, it was just a try), but nothing happens, except in winrar, when a popup say “unable to execute”.
    I really need you help and your patience.

    sorry if i’m wastin room from your blog;D

  11. matt, i think your windows have some kind of protection without antivirus, and this protection system blocking my exe tools when you executing them

    i know the problem with virus detection in my tools, but i don’t know which protection system you have

    find a way to disable your protection and you’ll get the models i supposed 🙂

  12. Tosyk is there a way to use the M2CharMC v0.3 and M2ObjMC v2.3 tools to repack the changed DAE files? To use the new or changed object/model in Mafia 2?

  13. thanks for these amazing tools, i have one problem tho..when i export using your tools..the dds, are not readable in photoshop..i’ve had to use the “exsds” then resave them into my preferred format..just thought you should know..

    also when i go to unpack and i know this has been mentioned, but when i go to unrar the files, my av automatically deletes them..using avast..

  14. I imported the files into max 2011 but the UV’s are missing, anybody got the same problem ?

  15. Hello, thansk for this good help, it works. Only Problem is all textures are very little sized an washed? wher can i find the right textures?

  16. MaxMaron, what do you mean “washed”?
    just pick texture with “_mipmap” word in the name.

  17. @Tosyk Hmm, ok this is better… maybe i will make some new highres textures for interior.

  18. Thanks bro! It works well.

    I use DDS Converter 2.1 to convert all .DDS textures (from ExSDS step) to .PNGs files.
    OpenCOLLADA importer does not create the right materials in 3DS MAX. At least does not attach the right textures to each material. Just a “material0SG.png” instead of the right map files. Am I doing something wrong?
    Thanks in advance

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