Orac|

Seriously considering joined Sep 30, 2008

"Just the place for a Snark!"" the Bellman cried,/ As he landed his crew with care;/ Supporting each man on the top of the tide/ By a finger entwined in his hair.// "Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:/ That alone should encourage the crew./ Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:/ What I tell you three times is true."//

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10 comments by Orac| on May 5th, 2013

Kraddrol wrote:Orac, I have a few questions regarding your modding of Tiberian Sun. A couple of friends and I are interested in modding Tiberian Sun and would like to know how we could get started doing it. We have experience with programming and art developement, but aren't sure how to start modding. Do we need any special tools? Do we need to start at a certain area? We are planning for a total conversion mod, if possible with little to no prior modding experience.

OKaaaaay.  A TC is a big commitment, but lets assume you're in it for the long haul.
1) An introduction to filetypes:
- .mix
- .shp
- .vxl
- .tmp
- .ini
- .map (or similar)

Mixes are the archives which contain all the files used by the game.  You can open, extract from them, and edit them using the XCC Utilities (Xhp.xwis.net).  There are various rules about what goes into which mix, but I'll get to those later.

Shps, "shape files", are the 2D stuff in TS.  That's buildings, infantry, GUI, etc.  They're composed of a set of frames which are bundled into .shp files.  They can be edited with SHP Builder (Ppmsite.com).  Buildings and infantry are both easiest to produce in 3D, then be rendered down to TS perspective.  There is a script for this, but it's oooooold.  DonutArnold's template is much more useful (Ppmsite.com).

Vxls, "voxels", are the 3D-ish stuff in TS - the vehicles.  They can tilt and rock, and are a reasonable approximation of 3D models, at a much reduced resolution.  They are possibly the most straight-forward graphics to create once you have an understanding of the Voxel Section Editor (Ppmsite.com).

Tmps are terrain tiles.  They're all the ground in TS.  The format is also used for some of the embelishment stuff like trees (but they're edited as SHPs).  Terrain is assembled with the TMP Builder (iirc, included in the XCC tools) or TMP Studio (Ti.ppmsite.com).  Obviously it's easiest to actually produce the terrain in another program like Photoshop, GIMP, 3dsMax or the like.

INI files are the config stuff for TS.  The most important ones are probably rules.ini (all the unit stats and such) and art.ini (frequently invoked by rules.ini, and unsuprisingly containing all the stats for artwork).  They're editable in notepad.  There are plenty of hardcoded things a weirdness though.

Maps are...  maps.  They're pretty straightforward as things go, and are editable in the venerable (old and buggy :/) FinalSun (Commandandconquer.filefront.com).  Maps can easily be broken by alteration to terrain (and the inis governing terrain).

There are a few other file types which I'm ignoring here for simplicity's sake.  .vpl, .pal, .vqa, and a few others which are of niche interest.  And there's .aud, which is sounds.  I know very little about them.

There are a bunch of useful tutorials and a reasonably helpful community at Project Perfect Mod - (link to tutorials: Ppmsite.com).  Everything I've said here is summed up here too: Ppmsite.com.

As for starting at a certain area, a good understanding of TS' ini format and its conventions is probably required.  Having team members to cover 3D and 2D work certainly helps if you want to do any visual alterations.  have an explore of the mixes and look at how TS is laid out on that level.

I would suggest starting by trying to get a building, an infantry, an SHP vehicle and a voxel vehicle fully functional and in game.  Then the rest of the project is just iterating on that process with creativity, and then balancing the results.  Also, experiment first, ask questions later.

Good luck.

,.. I should probably have a step 2).  Well, once you've got the filetypes down I can walk you through how to actually make vxls and shps.  Code is slightly outside my purview, and I'm a bit shaky on the specifics there.

So yeah...  Good luck.  You will need it.

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Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 16)
kraddrol
kraddrol May 4 2013, 2:04pm says:

Orac, I have a few questions regarding your modding of Tiberian Sun. A couple of friends and I are interested in modding Tiberian Sun and would like to know how we could get started doing it. We have experience with programming and art developement, but aren't sure how to start modding. Do we need any special tools? Do we need to start at a certain area? We are planning for a total conversion mod, if possible with little to no prior modding experience.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Orac|
Orac| May 5 2013, 12:33am replied:

I tried to reply here, but there was a lot to cover. It's a blog post up there now. Best of luck, and feel free to ask for help. I may not have time to be useful, but I always have time to drop a link or two.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Héllalujah!
Héllalujah! Oct 18 2012, 11:03am says:

Hello there =D =P XD

+1 vote     reply to comment
Orac|
Orac| Dec 9 2012, 4:32am replied:

Hello months later! DX

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gamingroach
Gamingroach Feb 28 2012, 5:24pm says:

Seems like you've become a one-man-army modder?
From Voxeling to 3D work...alot has changed has it? unless you're the last one standing in the Tiberian Odyssey staff.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Orac|
Orac| Feb 29 2012, 3:16pm replied:

Heh, a bit of both. When things go slow I step in and move things along. On the other hand, I just like making stuff.

You've become a bit of a one-man-army yourself, from what I've seen :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
Gamingroach
Gamingroach Feb 29 2012, 11:09pm replied:

Heheh, yeah I like making stuff too. But not serious at it, just another hobby :D. In that case I'll keep an eye out for new stuff you have for show :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
Orac|
Orac| Mar 1 2012, 1:30am replied:

Here's hoping I can keep it up! University starting tomorrow. Computer Graphics stops being a hobby and starts being my job.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Orac|
Orac| Oct 29 2011, 8:33pm replied:

Just finished all the Nod vehicles! :D
So happy!

+2 votes     reply to comment
warmasterpit
warmasterpit Nov 3 2011, 3:38am replied:

nice:D

+2 votes     reply to comment
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