I'm a longtime modder who has been on and off the scene for almost a decade. I started modding in 2000 starting off with Westwood Studios' Command and Conquer series. My first ever mod was a solo effort dubbed "Soviet Revenge" for Red Alert 2. Quickly after producing my first mod I met a team of the most skilled individuals I have ever worked with and lead development for a Red Alert 2 total conversion named "Warhammer 40k - Red Alert." With over 42,000 downloads this was by far the most successful and full-fledged mod I have been a part of. After the end of that mod and the decline of Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 as a modding platform I've made minor mods for other games. My most current mod was Final Fantasy Tactics: Rebirth, a modification of the PSOne game Final Fantasy Tactics.
Man oh man, I've fallen off the beaten track and haven't updated this blog in three weeks. Sheesh, being busy is putting a crimp in my plans. Anyhow on next to this week's topic:
(Click logo for a link)
Project 64 is an emulator that allows you to play 64 games on your computer. For those of us like me - who never played Zelda 64 or many other games it allows us to check those games out. Also Zelda - Ocarina of Time is considered the greatest game of all time via Gamerankings.
Check out this link for evidence:
Continuing my tradition of weekly blog posts - this week to you I present the modding of Infinity Engine games. The Infinity Engine was a game engine developed by BioWare for use in their isometric RPGs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The four most notable games that utilized the Infinity Engine were Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale.
Modding RPGs has always been an iffy procedure because users typically want to run many mods at one time. Modding from this time period generally meant (for most games) that mods were not co-compatible (able to be installed concurrently). Fortunately the Baldur's Gate community figured out a way to distribute mods in a scripted executable that modifies other files based on markers - resulting in mods that could be installed concurrently. Using this format many mods that alter completely different aspects of these games can be installed.
One of the most dear things to my gaming hobby is modification of older games from cartridge based systems. In particular I’m talking about the 8-bit to the 64-bit era of gaming. Those systems would include the NES, SNES, Genesis, Dreamcast, Saturn, N64, and PSX/PSOne. One of my favorite type of games from those eras was the side scrolling “beat ‘em up.”
This genre is largely neglected and dismissed now, and indeed many times co-op is not included with games at all – a veritable travesty. However on occasion I do stumble upon attempts to modify these older games (sometimes referred to in those communities as ROM hacking).
One of these modification projects actually ended up going far beyond a typical small modification and spawned a full on PC remake of a Genesis classic Streets of Rage. Featuring all the characters from the entire series, more enemies, more levels, multiple branching paths, and a slew of other
features plus their own mod tools this may be the most impressive and extensive project I have ever witnessed (in regard to 16-bit games).
If you have ever played the Streets of Rage series before then you would do yourself a favor by checking this game out. Made by BoMbErLiNk this polished remake of an old classic game comes full with character profiles, a separate downloadable soundtrack, mod tools, and a manual. In effect this is a perfect example of what a modification project or indie game should have at release. You can view the game and download it at Streets of Rage Dot Net.
So I just got this game called Minecraft last week. I must say, without a doubt this game has rekindled my love for video games. Intuitive, innovative, and addicting this game is the most fun I've had with a video game since Mass Effect 2. However where RPGs are compelling because of the storyline (typically), Minecraft's gameplay is just unbelievable.
For those of you who don't know Minecraft is quite literally a sandbox game where you build stuff and explore. Build whatever you want; however you want. There is also a survival aspect (a minor part of the game) which is also entertaining.
These few simple crafting and physics rules which dominate this game somehow make a whole so much more than the sum of its parts. Having said all that though - the game's graphics are certainly more old school and you may want to re-freshen your landscape from time to time.
Enter The Painterly Pack. This project seeks to allow users to make their own custom texture packs from a ton of available options. It very much reminds me of the Baldur's Gate Community modular/compatible mod system (where you pick the components you want to install). Simply use the customization feature on the site to create your own texture pack and install it using the in-game texture pack installer and you are good to go. No need to unzip any files!
This pack far exceeds everything else I have seen online for Minecraft texture packs. Their website does not have tons of ads like all the other texture packs and they don't spam you with messages asking for donations. Definitely head over to their website if you are looking for Minecraft textures - there is no need to go anywhere else.
Until next week - happy modding!
- Paul Street
Apparently I've been on this site for almost a decade and have yet to make a single blog post. That alone may be a feat in itself; however I've decided its high time I start make a few blog posts. I'll try to do them once a week at the beginning of every week. For this first blog post I'm going to go over some of the resources you may need for modding Final Fantasy Tactics. My most recent mod - Final Fantasy Tactics Rebirth utilized many tutorials and sites extensively.
The first thing you will need is an emulator and an ISO of Final Fantasy Tactics. Fantasy Anime has an excellent guide on how to acquire all these programs. After you have become familiar with the process of emulation and can run an ISO; save states, screenshots, etc. Then you are ready to start modding.
The first and most important site that you need to become familiar with is:
It's a great site with a ton of resources and some friendly personnel. If you have questions they have both a chatroom and a forum, both which have a considerable amount of traffic.
One of the first things you'll need to download is FFTPatcher (most recent version is 0.478 at the time of this post). This nifty suite of programs has the ability to edit jobs, items, abilities, encounters and just about everything else you can think of. Tactext changes in-game text, Patcher changes mechanics/values, ShiShi imports/exports sprites, and ASM changes coding and mechanics. These programs are almost self-explanatory to use however you can always check the Help & Tutorial sections of the forums for more information. You can even download custom sprites from FFHacktics. Import them with ShiShi and then use this guide for fixing the formation and portraits.
With all the changes you have made to an ISO you can either distribute the ISO whole or make a patch file called a PPF. Here's an admittedly awful sounding and looking guide to creating your own PPF (it works but I hate watching it).
That's about all you will need to make a complete Final Fantasy Tactics mod. A surprisingly small amount of overall software and coding expertise is needed to create a mod thanks to the tools available.
Until next week - happy modding!
- Paul Street
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