Orac|

Seriously considering becoming a hermit, joined

"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."//

Report RSS So somebody asked how to mod. It was too long to reply in a comment.

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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.gamefront.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.

Comments
kraddrol
kraddrol

Alright thank you. I'll probably have some rudimentary stuff down by next week. I have already played with the .ini files before and have worked with the map making. It's very nice to know about the .mix .shp and .vxl files.

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Orac| Author
Orac|

Glad to be of service.

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kraddrol
kraddrol

Ahhh one more Query: Any idea how to make Tiberian Sun work with Windows 8. Today I just realized it doesn't work with it because of the lack of 16 bit support. I called microsoft and they closed mid-call.

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Orac| Author
Orac|

Hmmm, there seems to be widespread issues with this.
I can only suggest the fixes suggested in this topic: Ppmsite.com
But without knowing anything about your machine, there's not much that I, or anyone else, can suggest.

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kraddrol
kraddrol

Well Orac, I was able to get Tiberian Sun running on my computer. I have to have it in Windowed mode and have downloaded a bunch of files that each fixed an issue. Anyways, my friends and I have solidified the story line we are using for this mod, and have decided we won't add many, if any, new units, just edit the current ones a bunch. If there is an email or pm I can reach you at, I have some questions regarding if I need to add factions and how to do so.

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Orac| Author
Orac|

ModDB's private messaging system seems fine. Although I hesitate to consider myself much of an expert on the internal workings of TS's code.

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kraddrol
kraddrol

All I need to know is if I need to, and how to add a Faction. And I can't seem to find the pm option here on Moddb.

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Orac| Author
Orac|

The little envelope button in the top control bar, between your username and "updates".

As for adding factions, SuperJoe has compiled some very complete and useful tutorials on the subject. Although his work was based on that of others, he kinda redefined things.

Ppmsite.com
Ppmsite.com
Ppmsite.com
Ppmsite.com
Ppmsite.com

Of course, all this requires a reasonable familiarity with the game. I for one will not be doing any of this because I'm on the graphical side of the TO team :P

But even I can pretty much follow these tutorials and the way they mess with the controls for factions in TS.

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Orac| Author
Orac|

Actually, ignore the first one. It's not a particularly good technical tutorial. I'll see if there's a better one which actually explains the functions of the rules.ini faction controls and tags. If you're not already aware of them.

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Morpher
Morpher

Orac homework, without using tutorials send me a rules.ini for a working 3rd and 4th faction ingame.

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