Modding

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Editor Information

At the moment, we are using editors with some GUI interface - Most of it is coded in WPF - so you get text boxes, combo boxes and other things for general organization. If you REALLY have to edit with a text editor, you can... Most of the modable file formats are in XML. Here are the tools we have at the moment:

Starmap Editor

has a drag and drop type of interface and some other functionality for hooking up node lines/provinces/starting positions/terrain chunks and the like. The ability to mod in new "terrain" in the strategic map (such as new stellar phenomena and their effects) won't be available before the second expansion. [1] Art and planets are fully configurable in the map editor - so you can design cool looking stuff and have the planets arranged however you want. You'll have to wait for things to effect other things on the starmap. [2]

Effect Editor

for creating explodey stuff and lazers - this is a pretty technical app and you would need to build your assets afterwards with the asset pipeline (which we'll most likely be including).

Module Editor

for changing bonus' to ships from attached modules.

Scenario Editor

for in game triggers and win conditions.

Ship Editor

for (one lucky guess) ships!

Tech Tree Editor

for editing techs costs/feasibilities unlockables - If you wanted to actually change the tech tree, you would need to modify the source art files, so for the first little while you might want to start only editing the existing tree instead of changing the actual tree. The tech editor has it's major strengths in being able to unlock sections/weapons/modules. You pretty much just add in a tech and then go to the appropriate equipment editor and add in the technology(or group of techs) you want to use to unlock it. [3]

Weapon Editor

....

Release Timetable

Release is completely dependent on time and resources to make sure they are usable reliably by the public. [4] Obviously, all these tools are DEV TOOLS and not really put through a rigorous testing process or anything - so they crash and have their quarks if you use them incorrectly. If there's anything REALLY bad I can always try and keep them updated in future patches or add easy to add functionality. I'm sure there'll be a wishlist in a few months. [5]

Hard Coded Data

  • Camera position is hard coded. This includes the camera in the Main Menu battle.
  • AI is hard coded - but we might put in some things to the scenario editor that allows objectives for the AI player on the strat map.
  • UI ID's are hard coded so building a whole new UI won't happen., but re-arranging, re-skinning and aligning things is easy.
  • Some of the finer points of Factions, such as whether or not a faction uses node lines or gate travel is hard coded, but could eventually be moved into the factions files. [6]
  • Doing things like editing the production bonus and such is hard coded - I'd like to change this at some point tho - so if I get around to changing that system I'll try and add it into the editor as well. [7]
  • Bonuses from Techs are also hard coded, but the good news is that they are all in the same place, so when rimbimbambo get some time he'll be able to expose them in the common assets. [8]
  • Admiral Portraits are hard coded, but there are plans to change that in the future. [9]

Avatars

Nominally .tga files, Avatars to run it through the Kerberos asset pipeline. The tilde is their way of knowing if an asset has been built or not. They haven't released the tool for that yet, but it is coming. [10]

Badges

Nominally .tga files, Badges need to run it through the Kerberos asset pipeline. The tilde is their way of knowing if an asset has been built or not. They haven't released the tool for that yet, but it is coming. [11]

Grand Menaces

You will be able to add triggers that spawn specific GMs, but editing the GMs will be a little harder.

Actually the trigger system I have in the scenarios could support that, but as you probably already know, the scenarios aren't hooked up yet till we put some more time into them. [12]

Maps

All the star maps are in XML, though there is a CSV import function in the map editor so that you can import star positions. The node line tags inside terrain blocks are more for editor management. If you want to generate node lines with code or a text editor, I would put them all inside the root node. [13] If you leave details about stars out, they will be randomly generated, so you can set up stars to have ideal planets or specific solar configurations. [14]

Models

We use FBX formats for the models, so anything that edits FBX files should be ok. They will also need to be run through our pipeline - which involves texturing your models with a texture library.

Building weapons involves having art for the turret base, the turret housing and the barrels for each weapon size. I think there are defaults so if you don't want to fill things in you don't have to. [15]

If you want to make modifications to the Tech Tree branches, you would have to do it in the model file and then match the nodes correctly in the tech editor. [16]

Saved Game Editing

It is possible to edit the saved games. For more information, please see the Game Save page.

Ship Sections

Hardpoints for mounts are determined in the Section Files. A Modder would have to set up a node in their modelling program of choice, and then select the node that they want to use from the section editor. [17]

Ship sections use nodes to attach to other sections so modders can connect sections in any shape they want just by designating the proper nodes. [18] A full ship can be either 1, 2 or 3 sections, but 3 is the maximum due to UI constraints. [19] It is possible to limit certain sections to only attach to certain other sections. For the most part, large single section ships just have a mass of nodes for modules and a modder will have to pick which nodes do which in the section editors. [20]

For a breakdown of the meaning of the known elements of a Ship Section File please view Ship Section File.

Sound

We are using XACT for sound - so replacing wav's is really easy - you can also do some sound design if you want to mess with attenuation and other things (like engine thrust sounds). [21] There's a good chance Kerberos will release the xact project when the mod tools come out.[22]

If you want to make new .xwb files, you can use the Xact3 utility included in the DirectX SDK. To extract the existing sound files, use unxwb.exe found in the XWB/ZWB files unpacker 0.3.4 from the following site: Luigi Auriemma Research page

StarSystemVars

StarSystemVars.xml controls the random distribution of the stuff within a system, ranging from the size of the star, type of the star and number\type of orbitals. It may also be able to control the size distribution of the planets. For more information, please see the Star System Vars page.

Strat Modifiers

There is a huge number of what we call stratModifiers which are things that are race specific. you can declare them in the factions files so you would be able to change bonus' for factions very easily. There's also a large number of generic globals that we've exposed. [23] For more information, please see the Strat Modifiers page.

Total Conversions

On the total conversion question - I'm pretty sure adding new factions is feasible... some of the finer points - like whether or not a faction uses node lines or gate travel is hard coded in some places, but we'll work on pulling that out of the code and moved into the factions files. Replacing art shouldn't be such a big deal as long as you are using the old art files as a reference and keeping the key node names the same. [24] No new drive methods can be added, but we did add flags so basically you'd have a choice between node travel, bore travel, gate travel, the Liir mechanic, and just straight up 'get there'. [25]

Weapons

The weapon damage tag (<PbDamage>, <EffectiveDamage>, <MaxDamage>) is applied to the structure ratings of ships. [26]

Population damage, and by extension all damage, is calculated per shot.[27] So for a weapon that fires in a burst, like Heavy Plasma Cannons, each of the three "bullets" do the listed amount of Population damage.

Signature is used for sensors - Generally a larger signature means you will show up on sensors easier.[28] The Signature line in the weapons files are added together when those weapons fire, so when 5 Bursters each with a signature of 1 fire, the total signature from those weapons is 5. [29]

Critical Hits

Here are all the variables to do with criticals: [30]

In the common assets file -
<CritHitPercentages> - Dictates the percentages that a certain type of critical hit will happen for each section or station.

In the weapons files -
<CritHitBonus> - A bonus percentage to cause a critical hit - Critical hits are only possibly applied when a weapon strikes a spot on the ship that has no armor left on it's armor panel.
<MalfunctionPercent> - An additional roll for when a turret malfunctions that determines if the turret is completely destroyed and applies damage to it's parent section.
<MalfunctionDamage> - The amount of damage applied to it's parent section if the above roll is successful.
<CritHitRolls> - The number of changes a weapon has to apply a critical hit when it strikes an enemy ship.

If MalfunctionPercent is negative, the negative modifier for malfunction is applied to the base malfunction value for the crit hit. This along with other modifiers like racial tendency, are then totaled and yes, if still negative, a malfunction will NOT occur. [31]

References

  1. Mecron in Forum Post
  2. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  3. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  4. Mecron in Forum Post
  5. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  6. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  7. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  8. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  9. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  10. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  11. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  12. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  13. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  14. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  15. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  16. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  17. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  18. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  19. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  20. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  21. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  22. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  23. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  24. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  25. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  26. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  27. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  28. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  29. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  30. rimbimbambo in Forum Post
  31. Mecron in Forum Post
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