Minetest in-game woolen mesh creator
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Woolen Meshes (wesh)

An in-game mesh creator for Minetest

Developed and tested on Minetest 0.4.16 - try in other versions at your own risk :)

If you like my contributions you may consider reading http://entuland.com/en/support-entuland

WIP MOD forum thread: https://forum.minetest.net/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=20115

Canvas recipes

All recipes can be configured in /custom.recipes.lua, which will get created the first time the mod gets run and will never be overwritten.

W = any wool block
I = inner ingredient (see list below)


wesh:canvas02 (steel ingot)
wesh:canvas04 (copper ingot)
wesh:canvas08 (tin ingot)
wesh:canvas16 (bronze ingot) - wesh:canvas gives you wesh:canvas16, kept for compatibility
wesh:canvas32 (gold ingot)
wesh:canvas64 (diamond) read notice after the screenshot

Canvas recipe

The largest canvas size may likely create meshes too complex to be rendered if you try to grab too many nodes.

For that reason, there is an optional limit for the amount of captured faces. That limit can be freely altered or disabled in the capture dialog. If you don't alter that limit the game should always generate working meshes.

How to use

Place down a Canvas block, you'll see that it extends beyond its node space marking a cube (available in sizes 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32)

The following screenshots shows a sample of how the canvases look when placed in the world (you can read the size on the top face), held in hand and in the quickbar (last slot):

Canvas sizes

Here is the example using the canvas with size 16 marking its capture space:

Empty canvas

In this space you can build anything you like by using colored wool blocks or most of the built-in blocks shipped with minetest_game:

Building inside the canvas

Once you're done with your build, go to the Canvas block and right click it: you'll be asked to provide a name for your mesh (you can type any text in there, with uppercases and any symbol).

Here you can also decide whether or not to generate a backup matrix which you can later import to recreate the build, you can also specify what variants you want your mesh to be available in.

Backup matrices are additional files that record your build's colors. The mod doesn't use them as of now, and even if it did, it would only allow you to rebuild your creation using wool blocks. These files can be safely omitted if you're not worried about rebuilding your creations (that is, if you don't dismantle them or if you don't care about recapturing them).

This capture interface also gives you access to the Manage Meshes and the Giveme Meshes interfaces, which will be covered later on in this documentation:

Request for name

When you confirm the name for your capture (you can cancel it by hitting the ESC key) you'll get a confirmation in the chat:

Save confirmation

Upon saving a few temporary files will be created in the /mod_storage/wesh_temp_obj_files subfolder in your world's folder:

  • the .obj file will contain a model with your build scaled down to fit exactly one block
  • the .obj.dat file will contain the original name you have chosen for your mesh, along with some other data (read the section about using custom textures below)
  • if you have selected the Generate backup matrix, you'll also find a .obj.matrix.dat file which will contain a serialized version of your build which you can import later on (it only records your build's colors and importing them will result in only wool blocks getting placed at the moment)

The above files are saved there only temporarily because mods don't have writing permission in their own folder while the world is running. In order to use your new meshes in the game you need to restart the world.

During world startup the mod will move all the temporary files to the /models folder and will load them.

You can't have two meshes with the same name (during the saving process the mod checks both the temporary meshes that haven't been loaded yet and those that have been already moved to the mod's folder).

By default, four versions of each mesh will be available (which you can toggle in the interface for each capture):

  • plain versions: they use flat colors averaged from the colors of each wool block, with a bordered variant

Plain version

Plain bordered compare

  • wool versions: they will use the actual textures used by the wool blocks, with a bordered variant

Wool version

Wool bordered compare

Sample of natural terrain capture:

Non wool capture

Collision boxes will be built automatically depending on the extent of your mesh:

Auto collision box

Up to 8 collision boxes will be created according to the mesh geometry allowing you to create stairs, slabs, frames, carpets and so forth, collision boxes will be merged into larger ones when fitting:

Auto collision box 2

Such new blocks can't be crafted but you can obtain as many as you want by clicking on the "Giveme Meshes" button of the capture interface, which will show you something like this (remember that you need to restart the world for new meshes to appear there):

Giveme mesh

The above names can be used with the /give and /giveme commands as well

If you're playing in creative mode all such meshes, including all canvases, show up if you filter for either wesh or mesh:

Creative search


Three separate privileges are available:

  • wesh_capture limits the ability to create new meshes
  • wesh_place limits the ability to place created meshes in the world
  • wesh_delete limits the ability to delete meshes from disk
  • wesh_import limits the ability to import builds from .obj.matrix.dat files
  • wesh_fill limits the ability to fill the canvas with arbitrary nodes (including air)

All of those privileges are granted to singleplayer by default.

Since canvases can be crafted and since the canvas interface allows players to get meshes for free, creative mode isn't necessary in order to use this mod.

Managing Meshes

Temporary meshes (the ones captured in the current playing session, waiting to be moved to the mod's folder) can be deleted right away from "Manage meshes" interface: there will be NO confirmation when deleting temporary captures!

Delete temporary now

Meshes that have already been moved to the mod's folder can't be deleted right away and need to be marked for deletion:

Mark for deletion

Pending deletions can be canceled:

Cancel pending deletion

Deletions when playing on multiple worlds

When meshes get marked for deletion that information will go into the mod's storage associated to that specific world - this means that in order for deletions to happen you need to exit the world and enter the same world again.

Those deletions will not be performed until you enter that world again.

All meshes will be finally stored in the mod's folder - this means that all worlds will end up sharing the same meshes. If you delete any mesh in a world it will disappear for all worlds.

Dealing with matrices

Matrix files record only the colors of your build and as such will only use wool blocks to rebuild your creations when imported in normal mode. Other modes are explained here below.

When importing a matrix file it must match the size of the canvas you're currently interacting with. If the size doesn't match, the mod will display a message in the chat saying that and will do nothing. I plan on improving this by storing the size of the matrix itself in the filename.

You can combine different matrices together by importing them into the same canvas in sequence.

You can select three different modes to import the matrices:

  • Both Invert and Mononode unchecked: the matrix will be built normally according to the original colors
  • Invert: the negative version of the matrix will be filled with whatever node you enter in the textarea
  • Mononode: uses the entered nodename to import the matrix instead of the original colors

Mononode can be checked or unchecked in Invert mode, it makes no difference.

Import matrix

You can also completely fill the canvas space using the Fill/Empty Canvas button with whatever node, including air.

Fill canvas

Finally, matrices can be accessed and rebuilt immediately, without the need for restarting the world. This means that you can use this feature to blueprint something and rebuild it with wool blocks right away as many times as you want, then go to Manage meshes and delete such temporary capture to avoid adding any new meshes to your library.

Here are some examples explaining how to use some of the above features.

Specifying custom properties

In the .obj.dat file of each mesh you'll find something like this:

return {
    description = "Your mesh name",
    variants = {
        plain = "plain-16.png",
        plainborder = "plain-border-72.png",
        wool = "wool-72.png",
        woolborder = "wool-border-72.png",

(please consider that the number 16 here above indicates the size of the texture, it has nothing to do with the size of the canvas you use to capture your build)

The variants used in each .obj.dat file depend on the ones you select in the interface at capture time.

Default variants are stored in the file /default/nodevariants.lua which gets copied over to /custom.nodevariants.lua when starting up the mod if no such file exists.

Those variants will be the ones shown in the capture interface.

In order to add a new variant simply add a line with your texture name and make sure you save such texture file in the /textures folder of the mod. You can also remove the lines you're not interested in and the mod will not generate those variants.

You can do the above operation either on the /custom.nodevariants.lua file (it will affect all new captures) or in the .obj.dat file associated to each mesh (will affect only that mesh).

For example, here we remove all but the plain version and add a custom one:

return {
    description = "Your mesh name",
    variants = {
        plain = "plain-16.png",
        my_texture_plain_name = "my-texture-file-name.png",

The above doesn't depend on variants available in nodevariants.lua - as long as you're using a different key name and an existing texture file you'll be fine.

Have a look at wool-72.png to see where each color goes, or use the included textures-72.xcf file (GIMP format) which has layers for adding the borders as well.

You can as well override any property you would normally pass to node_register(), such as walkable, groups, collision_box, selection_box and so forth. The only property that doesn't get really overridden but just mangled according to the variants is the description one. You shouldn't even be overriding tiles cause they will be built according to the variants property (property which is specific to this mod's .obj.dat files).

A couple considerations:

  • the bottom-right transparent area is never used
  • the used texture for each face will actually be a bit smaller (in the wool-72.png file the squares are 18 pixels in side, but the texture will only use a 16x16 square inside of it)
  • you're not forced to use any particular size for your texture as long as it's square (I guess, let me know if you find any problems)

Changing default colors assigned to nodes

The file /default/nodecolors.conf contains the modname:nodename = color associations for all the nodes that get loaded in a minetest_game world. This file will be copied over to /custom.nodecolors.conf at startup (if no such file exists); in /custom.nodecolors.conf you're free to alter existing colors and to add new nodes, just make sure you stick to wool colors cause any invalid color will be replaced by air.