It is the year 2938. The long wished-for encounter of the X Universe and the Earth holds both joy and sorrow for the people. Despite flourishing trade, the clash of the diverse races, cultures and life forms creates new tensions, mistrust and open conflict that need to be overcome!

Post tutorial Report article RSS Feed Editing Terran Conflict - The Very Basics

Some weeks ago I decided to write a tutorial about the basics of general editing Terran Conflict with a focus on the modding-part as this is my 'speciality' (aka I cannot do scripting nor MD-programming ^^' ). This tutorial really covers only the most basic things you need to know and is written for total beginners who've yet to even touch the X modding-tools. Though even more experienced modders may find the one or other thing they didn't know.

Posted by enenra on Feb 1st, 2009
Basic Starting a mod.

Editing Terran Conflict - The Very Basics
The guide for new beginners...

  • Introduction (Skip this, if you're not interested in my blabber)
  • What ways are there to edit Terran Conflict?
    • Scripting
    • The Mission Director
    • Modding
  • The tools
  • Setting up a modding environment
  • The files in the directories
    • cutscenes
    • dds
    • director
    • f
    • L
    • maps
    • objects
    • profiles
    • s
    • shader
    • t
    • tex
    • textures
    • types
  • Closing words

Editing Terran Conflict - The Very Basics (PDF)
Editing Terran Conflict - The Very Basics (ModDB)

1. Introduction
Attention, second well recruits!

Actually, I decided to write this tutorial not necessarily because I am such a great guy (which is certainly true as well ), but mainly because I got tired of newbies asking the same basic questions again and again and getting shot down for it by three other users and one moderator which tell the newbie to go and read the stickies. The thing is, there may be many great tutorials around and some of them even easily accessible, but for the biggest part, a total beginner has to collect the most basic informations himself. Sure, there are tutorials, but they are either too advanced for beginners which don't even know what a script and what a mod does, or they are hidden so well that about half of the time which could be used to get into editing TC is needed to actually find the tutorial.
Well, enough rant ( ). I plan to expand this tutorial later as much as possible to include the advanced parts of modding as well, but I can't guarantee anything. I tend to loose motivation in a matter of seconds... But I'm optimistic as I got through with this basics tutorial without taking all too long.

I hope it helps our new modding generation.

enenra aka DSE

(Disclaimer: If anything in the tutorial sounds funny or even offending it is most likely due to my not exactly flawless english, which is not my native tongue. Or it could be me trying to be funny but not getting it across properly. Being offending is not my intention - really - I'm sorry if it seems like that. Please send me a notice if you find anything that may get across like that.)

2. What ways are there to edit Terran Conflict (TC)?
Here comes the mission briefing.

There are different ways to edit TC. Each has its possibilities, advantages and disadvantages, things which are possible and others which aren't possible.

  • Scripting:
    Scripting is basically programming. It relies entirely on the resources provided by the game itself. Scripting has many possibilities, is however the most difficult way to edit TC if you don't have any previous experience in programming (like me ).
    Scripting is mainly used to modify the behaviour of objects in the game and relies on the ingame Script Editor (SE) for everything. There are external script editors as well, but not yet bug free, though usable.
  • The Mission Director (MD):
    The MD is a new tool developed for TC. In spite of its portation to X3 Reunion (X3R) the full possibilities of the MD can only be used in TC. The MD is comparable to the SE but focusses on missions. Despite that, it can be used for a broad variety of other tasks as well which makes the MD in some cases to the replacement for the SE. Programming with the MD is labelled as "easy" by Egosoft and many Scripters. This is not entirely true. The MD is easy in comparison to the SE, but anyone with no idea of either of them will still find programming with the MD difficult.
    A main difference between the SE and the MD is that there isn't a program to write MD missions. To program the MD, you need a XML-Editor. And no - the notepad isn't what I call a good XML-Editor...
  • Modding:
    It would seem that modding is the easiest way to edit TC, which is, however, only partially true. The basics are easy to comprehend and the amount of changes you can do are huge with that basic knowledge. To be able to use all the advantages of modding, however, you need a broad knowledge of the workings of TC and quite some experience.
    Modding concentrates on editing existing objects in TC and / or adding new ones. As opposed to Scripting it is possible to add new objects to the game but to a large part it's impossible to modify the behaviour of those objects in the game. As a result, modding is normally used in combination with Scripting.

3. The Tools
No recruit, hold it the other way around!

To edit TC in the right way, you'll need a set of tools at your fingertips...

  • XML-Editor:
    The most important thing would be a proper XML Editor which is needed for every form of editing TC - be it scripting, modding or the MD. The notepad is not an option!
    I recommend the use of Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition (MVWD) as long as its name is the list of its functionalities. And it's free. Download it, install it and associate the .xml-file extensions with it. You'll be using it - a lot.

For Scripting you'll need this as well:

  • The Script Editor:
    This is the most important tool for every scripter. As it is a part of TC, you don't have to download it anywhere. The only thing you have to do is to activate the SE which works like this:
    Start TC, load the savegame you will be scripting in. Change your name - the pilot name - to 'Thereshallbewings' (notice the capital 'T'). Be especially careful with the double 'l' and of course don't type the 's. Press Enter (the game will freeze for some seconds), check your pilot name. If the name reads now like it was before you typed in 'Thereshallbewings', it worked and the SE is now available. You'll find it in the global command console.
  • Whimsy's External Script Editor: | I am lazy...
    This is one of the External Script Editors currently available but as far as I'm informed the one who's still being updated. It is - as the name suggests - an external program which makes it possible to script without having to run TC in the background. Considered very useful by scripters I can't really give you an evaluation of it as I never used it.

To use the MD you don't need any additional Tools.

For Modding you need many tools but this depends on what you want to mod as well.

  • Doubleshadow's X3 Editor: | I am lazy... an absolute must have for every modder. Little is possible without it. Download it and everything around it (Runtime Librairies etc.) but don't install it yet.
  • Doubleshadow's X3 Mod Manager: | I am lazy...
    Like the Editor this is an absolute must have for every modder. Download it and everything around it but don't install it yet.

This is what you need for the basics of modding. If you, however, want to dive into the advanced possibilities, like graphical modding, you have to get these as well:

  • Doubleshadow's DBOX2: | I am lazy...
    This great little application is what will bring your models into TC and the TC models into your 3D-modelling application. Download it but don't install it yet.
  • Doubleshadow's X2 BOD Compiler: | I am lazy...
    This little thing is used to decompress and compress the TC models. Download but don't install it yet.
  • 3D-Modelling Application:
    The best would be 3DsMax 8 or higher. The problem is that those are expensive. If you don't have 3DsMax, you need another 3D-modeller. The best choice would be GMax, the free counterpart to 3DsMax. Of course you can use any other 3D-modellers as well. The only condition is that they have to be able to export in a format which GMax can read. If you're not using 3DsMax, you have to download and install GMax, even if you're using another application to edit models. This is because DBOX2 only works with GMax and 3DsMax. If you use GMax, you have to download doubleshadow's YAGG as well. Without YAGG, DBOX2 doesn't work with GMax.
  • 2D-Application:
    Of course, Photoshop would be the first choice in that matter, but as it is expensive as well, I recommend using Gimp 2.0 which is free and can produce results nearly as good as Photoshop - with the proper PlugIns.
    Regardless of which application you use - it has to be able to import .dds-format textures as well as export them. For Photoshop users, using the NVIDIA Tools is recommended.

4. Setting up a modding environment.
Believe me, you are going to live longer like this...

To be able to mod efficiently, it is strongly recommended to set up a separate directory for it. Never ever mod the original files directly! I myself created a directory I named "modding" in the \Program Files\EGOSOFT\-folder (your TC installation is located in \Program Files\EGOSOFT\X3 Terran Conflict\ ) - I advise you to do the same as it is convenient to have the installation folder near your modding folder. Also you should create a shortcut on your desktop to the EGOSOFT-folder so that you don't have to navigate through all those folders to get to your modding area. Now go into your modding directory and create a new folder named "x3tc_extracted". This is where we're going to extract the game files into.

Now it's time to install all those tools and applications.

  • We'll start with doubleshadows X3 Editor: First install the C runtime libraries, the Visual Basic runtime libraries and the Developer's Image Librarie you downloaded before. Then install the X3 Editor to wherever directory you like. After the installation, switch to the directory you installed the X3 Editor and create a shortcut to the .exe . Now put that shortcut in your modding-folder. After you've done that, start the X3 Editor and click on "settings". First, specify which language you want the Editor to use. Note that this doesn't affect the UI of the Editor but only the texts (descriptions, names) imported from the TC files. Then specify the paths to the TC directory and .exe if the Editor didn't do this himself already. We don't have any Custom Programs so we're leaving that field blank. What you do with the Graphic settings isn't really important for the modding process and as such you're free to set them to what you want. The fields in the 3D Viewer tab stay blank as well as it has yet to be adjusted for the use with TC (afaik).
  • The next step is the installation of doubleshadows X3 Mod Manager. Install it to the directory you prefer, then let it associate with CAT files. That is important as it will be easier to open the TC data files this way. After the installation, you're able to access the X3MM via the X3 Editor so a shortcut isn't necessary.
  • Now install the XML-Editor you downloaded earlier. This may take some time - especially the MVWD as it has to download quite a few updates. A registration may be necessary as well, but as the program is free, this shouldn't pose a problem.
  • The next step is the extraction of your TC data files which can get a little tricky because of the new compression used in TC. Start the X3MM and go to "Settings". In the General-section, check whether the path to your game folder is correct, select Terran Conflict in Game Version and type the correct path to the TC mods folder. Now go to the point "Extracting" and activate the two boxes. Then check the "Other files" list.
    That list should look like this:

    pbd -> bod
    bob -> bod
    pbb -> bob
    pck -> dds

    If one of those isn't there, add it.
    Note: In TC, a new .pck-compression is used for various files which have - when extracted - different file extensions. The problem is, that we can only select one way of extracting those .pck-files. In this case, we extract them to .dds-format, which is used for most of TC's textures. Later we're going to need the X3MM to extract the pcks as xml-files, however, so we'll need to change this setting later.

    Now open the with the MM. An important thing to know is, by the way, how TC's data files work: There's always a 01.dat and a . "dat" stands for "data" and "cat" for "catalogue", which essentially means that the .cat-file shows the application how to read the data-file which contains - as the name suggests - the actual data. It's important that the .dat- and the .cat-file have the same name. Otherwise they won't work. Note as well the numbering of Egosoft's data files: It starts with 01 and goes up. If you haven't patched your TC at all, you should have data and catalogue files from 01 to 03 . Every patch adds another one (e.g. the first patch adds the 04.dat/cat , the second patch the 05.dat/cat etc.). Not that hard to understand but crucial in some cases, especially when installing a mod as a so called "fake-patch". Installing a mod as a fake-patch means that you don't place the mod in the "mods"-folder but rename it to the next higher number in the normal TC directory where Egosoft's data files are located. This simulates another patch (that's why it's called "fake-patch"). The advantage of this method is, that you are still able to install a mod with normal means (activating it in the TC starting screen). The problem is, that if Egosoft releases another patch, the mod installed as a fake-patch will be overwritten.

    Well, back to the extracting: Klick on the arrow in the right of "Extract" and select "Whole catalog". Set "...\Program Files\EGOSOFT\x3tc_extracted" as path so that our files will be extracted there. This will take a while. After the MM is done, close the window and open with the MM. As this data file doesn't contain any files compressed as .pck, we don't need to edit our setting yet.
    Note: Only three types of files are compressed as .pcks: .dds (textures), .xml (various files used for different purposes) and .txt . TXT-files, however, are always extracted in the right way, so we don't have to pay attention when extracting them with the X3MM.

    Extract the 02.dat into the same directory and in the same way like the 01.dat before. If the X3MM asks whether he should overwrite existing files, press "ok" (though that shouldn't happen just yet).
    Note: It happens that Egosoft data-files contain the same files. Especially the patches. This doesn't matter much because the rule is: The data-file with the highest number is preferred. If it contains a file that appears in a data-file with a lower number, the file in the .dat with the lower number is ignored. That is why you always have to overwrite the old files when extracting new data-files to your x3tc_extracted-folder.

    After the extraction is complete, close the 02.dat and open the 03.dat . Notice the many .pck-files in this data-file. Most of them need to be extracted as .xmls so we're going to change the settings of the X3MM to this:

    pbd -> bod
    bob -> bod
    pbb -> bob
    pck -> xml

    After you've done that, extract the data-file like before into your x3tc_extracted-folder.

    Now open the 04.dat . Notice that this data-file contains files for the dds-folder as well as files for other folders, both compressed as .pck . The files in the dds-folder need to be extracted to .dds-files, the other .pck-files need to be extracted to .xml-files. Because our settings make the X3MM extract pck to xml, we're going to extract the files which need this form of decompression first, e.g. we now select everything except files which names start with "dds\..." and select under "Extract" "Selected files". Extract them as usual above the other files in the x3tc_extracted-folder and agree to overwriting files. Now change the form of decompression in the settings of the X3MM again so that pck-files are extracted to dds files and select only the files with "dds\..." at the beginning of their name. Extract them as usual (and of course, agree to overwriting files - I'm not going to mention this anymore. ).

    Now open the 05.dat and change your settings back to extracting pck-to xml-files and extract the 05.dat like we've learned before.

    Do the same to all other data-files but make sure they are Egosoft data-files and not fake-patches. Also always make sure you extract pck-files in the right way like we learned before!

  • If you want to get into graphical modding, then now is the time to install your 3D-modelling application as well as your 2D-application. If you don't want to, ignore this part.
  • The next step is the installation of DBOX2. Start the installation and set the correct path to the directory of your 3D-modelling application. Then install. Now select the correct paths to your extracted data, in our case "...\Program Files\EGOSOFT\modding\x3tc_extracted". The path of the Components-file is "...\Program Files\EGOSOFT\modding\x3tc_extracted\types\Components.txt". The Importer Compatibility is to be set to X3, "Create Material" should be activated (don't worry if you want to work with X2 models as well as those settings can be changed later as well). Next are the Exporter settings: If you use GMax, fill in the correct path to YAGG in the "Path to GMax grabber" field, if you use 3DsMax, leave those fields blank. Set the Compatibility to X3.
  • Also important is to place the X2BODCompiler.exe in a directory you'll find it again. I placed mine in "...\Program Files\X2BODCompiler\". Now go to your "...\x3tc_extracted\objects\v\"-folder and double-click on the file "10541.bob". Associate this file extension to the X2BODCompiler.
    Note: bob-files are compressed .bod-files. We cannot work with .bob-files so we have to decompress them to .bod-files, which is what the X2BODCompiler does. If the file extension is associated correctly with the X2BC, you only have the double click on the .bob-files to decompress them to .bod-files. The useful thing is that this works with multiple files at once as well so it'll cost us much less time to decompress many .bob-files. Also note that it may happen that the X2BC asks you whether he should overwrite an existing file. Here it's the same as with the data-files only that it's not about the number but about compression or no compression: The compressed file is always preferred. This means that you should always overwrite those .bods with the .bobs .

5. The files in the directories
Now let's take a look at its bowels...

Now, after we have set up our modding directory and have all the necessary applications ready, I'm going to explain how Egosoft's data files (and with that every mod) is structured and what file influences what in the game. This will be a long theory lesson - be prepared!

This part of the basics tutorial is structured like the insides of a data file to make things easier to understand. This means that every following dot represents a folder in your x3tc_exctracted-directory.

  • cutscenes
    General: Not much to tell you about this, actually. This folder contains all the cutscenes (ingame videos (like when the screen is suddenly covered by hexagons and something is shown)) in the XML-format.
    Naming: The naming should be quite clear. The cutscene.xsd is a file which gives your XML-editor instructions on how to use the .xml-files in this folder.
    Use: These files are to be used with your XML-editor. Refrain from using the Note- or Wordpad.
    How they work: Those .xml-files are written in a format used by the Mission Director. This means that those cutscenes are played by the use of the MD ingame.
  • dds
    General: Yes, there are many files in this folder. All those files are to say in an easy language "the colors on all the physical things in the game", so called textures. All of them are in the DDS-format.
    Naming: The naming is quite a mess in this folder. Some have proper names, some just a number. I can't help you much with those which are simply numbered. But I can with all others, as most of them possess a system which can be understood with some knowledge I'm going to provide to you now:
    First, were going to analyse the extensions on the names. Not the format-extensions which are all .dds, but the abbreviations after the "_". There are XXX different ones:

    Quote:_diff (Diffuse Map) : This means, that this file contains the color map. Patterns on ships, the rocky structure on asteroids - all of them have this extension.
    _bump (Bump Map) : This is the extension for the map which gives the texture in the game its 3D appearance. It contains the shadows and highlights for the diffuse map.
    _low_bump (Bump map) : These files actually contain the same informations like the files tagged with "_bump". The difference is the way the same informations is stored. This map is used when the graphic settings for textures aren't set to high and results in less texture quality for better performance.
    _light (Light Map) : This means that this file contains all the parts of ships and stations which "shine". Windows for example.
    _spec (Specular Map) : This marks files which contain the informations about the strength of the reflection on the diffuse map. This file is also used to define the specular color (the color of the reflection) of a model in the game.
    _occl (Occlusion Map) : Files with this extension contain the info needed by the game to define the strength of shadows on ships. In TC, only terran stations and ships use this map which results in the stronger shadows on the side of the model, which doesn't face the sun.

    Note: There are actually more of these extensions, but those may be in the data-files because of some tests the Egosoft guys did... usually they don't bother to remove unused material as the space it uses up is negligible. I don't know what those other extensions mean.
    That's it for the extensions, but there are way more parts of the names which are standardised. The usual way a texture is named is like this:

    Quote:(unique_)([RACE]_)([OBJECT SIZE/TYPE]_)([SPECIFIC PART]_)([EXTENSION]).dds

    (unique_) : If this is placed at the beginning of a texture name, it means that this is a texture that can only be applied on the object defined in ([OBJECT SIZE/TYPE]_).
    ([RACE]_) : This defines the race of the object's texture. This texture is not used by any other race as long as they don't use the ships of other races (like pirates in some cases)
    ([OBJECT SIZE/TYPE]_) : This defines the object class or its size. Expressions used are for example "asteroid", "planet", "M3" or "large".
    ([SPECIFIC PART]_) : This defines the specific part of a model the texture is applied to.
    ([EXTENSION]) : I explained those above.

    Of course, not every texture uses all those components in their name. Some consist only out of the object size/type.
    Use: You can either import them into your 2D-application or apply them with your 3D-application on your models.
    How they work: Textures are applied on a 3D model and give it their color. They can't modify the shape of an objects but they can appear to modify it. Textures can be used to make a model look more complex than it is, resulting in a better look with less impact on performance than if those details would be modelled. More specific explanations won't be covered in the basics tutorial.

  • director
    General: This is the MD-programmer's domain. Here, all the missions are stored. In the subfolder "images", you'll find different pictures supposedly used by the MD.
    Naming: I can't tell you much about this. The missions seem to be enumerated which explains the number at the beginning of their name. All of the missions are in the XML-format, all files in this folder that aren't in the XML-format contain tools for MD-programmers.
    Use: Missions are written by using a XML-editor. Simply open the XML files with MVWD or whichever you use.
    How they work: Explaining the workings of the MD-missions would take up multiple tutorials in itself. I won't and am not able to do that. Let's just say that the code contained in those .xml-files make all those missions appear in your game, though the mission director can be used for many other things as well.
  • f
    General: Can't tell you much about this. This folder is mostly ignored by modders as the only thing that can be done here, is to look at the different fonts used in TC. I don't know of anyone who played around with this. If you want to mod here, you'll have to find our what works and what not by yourself.
    Naming: The ABC-format contains the fonts, the image-files seem to contain a screenshot of the fonts.
    Use: No idea.
    How they work: Well, those files contain the shape of the fonts used by TC.
  • L
    General: This folder contains several .obj-files. By all means, do NOT touch them! It's been forbidden by Egosoft. The subfolder "true", however, contains the files which define the different gamestarts.
    Naming: In the subfolder "true" you'll find a gamestarts.xml and a tutorials.xml as well as several pictures. LoadScrBOT.jpg contains the loading bar showed at the bottom of the screen when loading a savegame, LoadScrTOP.jpg obviously the bar at the top of the screen. xuniverse logo_HD.jpg contains the background picture shown when starting up the game.
    Use: Open the .xml-files with your XML-editor and the pictures with your 2D-application.
    How they work: Not much to tell you here. The gamestarts.xml defines which gamestarts are avaiable in the game as well as what you have to accomplish to make them appear and what you possess when you start your game with that gamestart. The pictures are those which are shown when browsing through the gamestarts ingame. The tutorials.xml seems to define which gamestart is listed in the tutorials-category.
  • maps
    General: This is the folder where files are stored which have to do directly with the galaxy map.
    Naming: All of the files in this folder are .xml-files and have their own name. It is possible to add your own map in this folder, giving it the name you want it to have.
    Use: Open these files with your XML-editor. All map files - in the un-altered Egosoft data files only the x3_universe.xml - can be used with doubleshadows X3 Editor as well. Actually, it's not really a good idea to try it without the X3 Editor. To load a map file, start the X3 Editor and go to the Galaxy Editor, then load this file. Well, actually I just noticed that it's possible to load the other files in this directory with the galaxy editor as well. Makes things a lot easier, believe me... I want to bang my head at the nearest wall when I think about how many hours I wasted editing some of these files manually.
    How they work:
    x3_universe.xml : This is the file in which all data on the TC map is stored... every object placed in a sector. But mapping is as well stuff to fill multiple tutorials so I won't go into the details.
    WareTemplate.xml : Very important file. It contains the informations about primary resources, secondary resources and products of every factory. If you place stations with the ingame galaxy editor, you can load a station's informations about products etc. with a simple click from this file.
    x3_universe_debris.xml : This file contains all the debris asteroids placed in the universe with their coordinates. With them in a separate file, it's easy to remove them all.
    XDemo.xml : Actually I'm not sure whether you have this file as well. But it's not really important anyways. This is a map file which contains the sectors available in the demo.
  • objects
    General: This directory is huge. It contains all models used by TC and some more. There are many subfolders:

    Quote:cut : Contains the old cutscenes and pre-defined environments (like the city-chase-scene from X3)
    effects : Contains models for the different effects used by TC (engine-effects, explosions, the menu displays, the weapon bullets and more)
    environments : Contains models for different environment objects (asteroids, debris, the sector backgrounds, planets and more)
    Interface : Contains more various models used by TC's interface (some may be unused)
    intro : Contains only one file which seems to define TC's main menu.
    others : Contains more various models.
    ships : Contains all ships flying around in the universe and some additional who don't. Also various weapon dummies (in the "props"-folder) and some more other models. Originally this was quite a "clean" folder. Since TC it's a total mess and you have to search for ships of one race in about ten folders .
    special : Contains the subfolder "gates" and with that some models for jumpgates, though probably not all.
    stations : Contains obviously all station models.
    v : This is the old folder where all models were stored (prior to X3:R). Here, you can still find relics from old X-games - even some old garbage from X-BtF.
    weapons : Contains the model for the terran mine (the exploding kind) and in the subfolder "missiles" all models for the missiles in TC.

    Naming: The good news: There are only two types of files in here: .bob- and .bob-files. The bad news: There are many different ways to use them.
    Note: bob-files are compressed .bod-files. We cannot work with .bob-files so we have to decompress them to .bod-files, which is what the X2BODCompiler does. If the file extension is associated correctly with the X2BC, you only have the double click on the .bob-files to decompress them to .bod-files. The useful thing is that this works with multiple files at once as well so it'll cost us much less time to decompress many .bob-files. Also note that it may happen that the X2BC asks you whether he should overwrite an existing file. Here it's the same as with the data-files only that it's not about the number but about compression or no compression: The compressed file is always preferred. This means that you should always overwrite those .bods with the .bobs .
    The models in this directory are named very differently but it's not really hard to figure out the pattern (aka I'm too lazy to write it down, go and find it out for yourself! :P). The only important thing is to note the extension "_scene". This means that this is a scene-file and not a normal model (a so called "body").
    Note: A so called "scene" is a file which may have the same file extension ( .bod) like a normal body, but it does a totally different thing. A scene can be compared to a construction plan. It tells your 3D-application, which bodys (normal .bod-files) to load. An example: There is no body for the Argon Nova which contains everything needed to make it fully functional. There is, however, a body which contains the model of the Argon Nova. There is as well a scene which has the same filename as the model of the Argon Nove but with the extension "_scene". In that scene is written, where the model of the Argon Nova has to be placed and where to place the engine effect as well as where to place the weapons. In a scene, there can also be animated objects, like a spinning wheel (or whatever) which can't be done with a simple body.
    Use: .bob-files have to be extracted with the X2BODCompiler. BOD-format-files can be opened and edited with the notepad or wordpad, though this is pointless for bigger changes. The best way to edit scenes and bodys is to start up 3DsMax or GMax, activate DBOX2 and the import them.
    How they work: How BOD-format-files work isn't really part of the "basics". Also, I explained already quite a lot things above.

  • profiles
    General: This is the place where different keyboard settings are saved, I suppose.
    Naming: The one file located in here is a .xpf-file. I have no clue on how to open it.
    Use: No idea.
    How they work: I believe this is where keyboard layouts are saved but I really can't be sure. No idea on how it works.
  • s
    General: "s" stands for "sounds" and as the name suggests, this is where all the sound effects used in TC are stored. You won't find any soundtracks here, though, as those are placed somewhere else.
    Naming: They have specific numbers and are all in the WAV-format.
    Use: You can open them with most music players (WMP, WinAMP).
    How they work: Not much to tell you here. They play their sounds on command.
  • shader
    General: In the "shader"-directory you'll find many files. They are all placed in subfolders, named after the shader quality, I suppose (shader 1.0 to 3.0). They are for basic modding not really interesting.
    Naming: All the files in the subfolders are .fb-files which seems to be the general format for shaders.
    Use: No idea.
    How they work: Shaders produce special effects in the game. They usually are applied on textures as far as I know.
  • t
    General: The files in the "t"-folder contain all the texts used in TC from descriptions over the old BBS-news-texts to sector names.
    Naming: Their naming structure is simple but important in many ways. The "0001" indicates, that this is a language file used by Egosoft. The "-" means nothing, it's just used to separate the first part from the second. Then there is he "L" which most likely means "language", followed by a "0" and two cyphers which define the language used in the file.
    Note: Those two cyphers are generally used to define the language of a t-language-file. There is "07" for russian, "33" for french, "39" for italian, "44" for english, "48" for polish or czech (not quite sure about it) and "49" for german.
    There is also a conversions.xml and conversions.xsd - I'm not sure what they do but after a quick glance into the .xml-file I suspect it defining the spoken texts around the mission briefings. The .xsd-file is - like I wrote before some times - telling your XML-Editor how to work with the .xml-file.
    Use: Open them with your XML-Editor or with the Text Source Editor included in the X3 Editor.
    How they work: Telling you how their structure works would fill another tutorial so I won't. Let's just say that TC loads all its texts from t-language-files, be they included in Egosoft's data-files or simply placed in the t-folder in your X3 Terran Conflict directory.
  • tex
    General: Most important about this directory would be that this is the old texture folder (the new one is the dds-folder). The textures in here may still be in use but as far as I know, it's not possible to add more textures in here and make TC load them. Note that all textures are in the subfolder "true" located.
    Naming: Some have just numbers, some extensions I explained before. All of them have the JPG-format or the TGA-format.
    Use: You can open the images with your 2D-application.
    How they work: Like normal textures. The difference is only that they aren't compressed into the DDS-format.
  • textures
    General: Can't really tell you much about this directory. To me it seems like a testing area of some sort. I never encountered any model using the textures stored here. Most likely this is because all the textures in here exist either in the "text"-directory or in the "dds"-folder as well.
    Naming: Like in the "tex"-directory but no .tga-files.
    Use: Open them with your 2D-application.
    How they work: Like normal textures, though they are most likely not used ingame.
  • types
    General: The "types"-folder is probably the folder in which you're able to edit the largest amount of things about the game. Explaining all of their functions would fill another tutorial. I'll probably do that later.
    Naming: IIRC, originally the only files in this directory were the files with a "T" at the beginning of their name. Now there are many more but all of them are .txt-files except for one: the hq.xml.
    Use: All files can be opened with the notepad, though I recommend using your XML-Editor for the hq.xml and the X3 Editor for all files with a "T" at the beginning of their names. This is probably the most basic function of the X3 Editor - simply start it and then open the TXT Editor, then one of the T-files.
    How they work: This won't be covered in this tutorial as they have too many functions.

6. Closing words
Congratulations, you are now allowed to call yourself 'apprentice'.

Yeah, that's it for this tutorial. This should conclude all the basic knowledge needed to get into modding. I understand that this tutorial actually didn't cover any practical use of these informations but only the theory. But that wasn't the goal of this tutorial. I plan (and this really is an italic 'plan') to write more tutorials to cover the aspects of graphical and text-based modding - but as said before, I tend to loose the motivation halfway so don't take it for granted.
The informations provided here, however, should make it possible for you to understand most of the other tutorials available on the net.

Post comment Comments
SSwamp_Trooper Feb 7 2009 says:

Page 4 - As for the 2D application I recommend it is a free image editor which I use to edit the games images and create those on my websites such as the X3TC PUI site.

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Kaerar Aug 25 2010 replied:

Personally I'd recommend GIMP as it has supported DDS plugins from nvidia too, especially important if intending to include new models.

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coffeesoft May 22 2014 says:

Many thanks to share this information with us, nice job.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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X³: Terran Conflict
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