Author Topic: tools for modding?  (Read 6430 times)

djs4000

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tools for modding?
« on: October 14, 2014, 04:16:14 pm »
Hey guys,
I started working on a vb.net app that scrapes values from the core.cpk xml's to more quickly update the wiki. It's pretty basic, and real life has me tied up so progress has been slow, but it got me thinking: Would a tool that lets you browse, edit, and add objects of the game and then save the changes as mod file would be useful? What tools are you modders using currently to place your assets in the game and make changes?

Lurler

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 07:16:33 pm »
Well... we have a tool similar to what you described, but because we made a lot of changes to the structure of XMLs it no longer works :) It's in C#, though.

Hammish

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 11:49:46 pm »
Sounds like it could be useful for smaller modpacks, really, and especially with people who are just getting their feet wet.  They could obstensibly design a new item and then look at the .XML afterward to see exactly what tags their choices/selections changed, and learn from there.

I'd probably work it as two apps or portions of an app, though.  One for extraction/compacting into mod format, and one for editing. 

Lurler

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 01:45:59 am »
Ah, not exactly. Our tool is only for viewing aggregated XML data, as you described in the first post. We used it to balance different items.
Maybe we will finish it eventually to be able to share with you guys... but definitely not right now :)

Hammish

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 08:37:58 pm »
But.. two separate people made the replies, Lur. ;)

Sorry, should have specified for mine, I was referring to the functionality that djs mentioned putting into his, with regards to compiling modkits automatically.  Thinking about it, though, it could be build to have some cool function if you added the ability to put in entire trees easily.  So if I wanted to export, say, just BTC weapons, I could just have it export out the four weapons folders and any associated files.

If one REALLY wanted to get fancy, they could build in an XML parser that would detect any non-stock associated files and auto-include them.  For example, for BTC weapons I would need to include the new textures, some new projectile sprites, and some new engine trails.

Lurler

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2014, 03:13:06 am »
Ah, sorry, I meant to say "as was described in the first post".

Now, to reply. Well, the thing is... yes, it would be better to have a specific dedicated tool to do all that, but since it's not essential for us, it's not likely that we will create one ourselves, so there isn't much we can do. But if someone were to create one we'd definitely support/promote it.

djs4000

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2014, 09:41:53 am »
My idea would be to create something like the unit editor for starcraft 2. You would open the core files and it would list all the stats of everything in the default xml's and any changes you made would then be saved as a separate mpk file with copies of any imported art assets.

jeeplaw

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 09:16:39 pm »
Has anyone created an xml editor or js editor just for modding?

Lurler

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2015, 11:36:00 pm »
Has anyone created an xml editor or js editor just for modding?
As far as I know - no.

Schattenjaeger

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2015, 06:53:18 pm »
The one thing I'm having trouble with is making/creating the .mpk-extension file for my attempted mods. I'm not doing anything epic, just trying to do some balancing, and I can unpack the files by converting copies to .zip (by literally renaming the file to .zip extension), but can't seem to get them back to .mpk the same way. Nor can I find any obvious programs to do the same thing. As such, I'm basically stumped. From the discussion it doesn't sound like there are any .mpk builder apps in the wild, so how do the rest of you do it?

loudent

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2015, 07:04:32 pm »
but can't seem to get them back to .mpk the same way.

If I could take a guess its probably because you still have one of the files in the zip open or a file manager that has one of the directories open

Quote
it doesn't sound like there are any .mpk builder apps in the wild, so how do the rest of you do it?

I freely rename the .mpk and.cpk to .zip (although my file manager knows enough to treat them as zips anyway).

to be fair, I never actually started with a zip. I think the first thing I did was copy the core.cpk file over, deleted everything in there and renamed it to <whatever-my-first-mod-was>.mpk and went from there. (sometimes renaming the .mpk to zip for convenience.

Nowadays, when I start a new mod I copy over my existing .mpk files and work from there (renaming to .zip while editing and then back to .mpk)

askew1

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2015, 02:48:57 am »
...I can unpack the files by converting copies to .zip (by literally renaming the file to .zip extension), but can't seem to get them back to .mpk the same way... so how do the rest of you do it?

You can create zips on both windows (Right click->send to->compressed folder) and OSX (Right click->compress). There is a nuance though that most people don't get.

1. If you right click a folder, you will get a directory at the root of the zip file with that folder name.
2. If you select a bunch of files and folders and then right click, you will get those files and folders at the root of the zip file.

Method 2 is what you need to do when creating the zip file. Select the header.xml, content folder, and data folder and right-click them. Then rename it to mpk.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 02:52:46 am by askew1 »

MenschMaschine

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2015, 06:35:21 am »
Shattenjaeger wrote "it doesn't sound like there are any .mpk builder apps in the wild, so how do the rest of you do it?"

After an update, i copy, then unpack core.cpk using 7zip to the backupfolder in my archive
(7zip can unpack pretty much anything, as long as the file is structured as a (by 7zip) supported packed file,
regardless of the file-extension).

Then i copy over those files i want to change to the folder of my current modversionfolder, edit them and
use method #2, creating a zip-file which i then duplicate, rename to .mpk and copy to the mod-folder of the game.

The problem with mehod #1 is that you end up with an additional folder in the archives structure, which the game
then cannot process, because it does not fit anymore into the virtual filesystem as it should.

---
There is also a third option, in which you open the packed file with a compression program that includes a basic filemanager,
delete everything you do not need, change the file you want to change in an external editor,
then save (preferrably to a new location) and close the archive again.

Instead of directly editing the file within the archive, you can also keep the compressionprograms filemanager open,
edit the file externally, save it, then drag and drop it into the place in the filestructure of the archive,
then save (preferrably to a new location) and close the archive again.

---
Small correction :)
"Select the header.xml, content folder, and data folder and right-click them. Then rename it to mpk." should be something like
"Select the header.xml, content folder, and data folder and right-click them to pack them, then rename the created archive to mpk."
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 06:39:22 am by MenschMaschine »
No Berries!

jeeplaw

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2015, 01:24:35 pm »
I think it would be extremely beneficial if AT could release a mod editor that would enable simple functions like: add unique npc, add faction, add item, etc and have that utility affect the required xmls. It's really a pain in the ass to add things like npc's and factions in and troubleshoot to make sure you got all the required xml's updated :D

loudent

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Re: tools for modding?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2015, 02:06:55 pm »
I think it would be extremely beneficial if AT could release a mod editor that would enable simple functions like: add unique npc, add faction, add item, etc and have that utility affect the required xmls. It's really a pain in the ass to add things like npc's and factions in and troubleshoot to make sure you got all the required xml's updated :D

Considering the opportunity cost that creating such an editor would run, I'm not sure it would actually be beneficial in the long run . I believe their focus is on a content pack to, hopefully, increase the popularity of the game. Stopping that to create a mod editor might mean they have to stop working on the game entirely and move on to other projects.

Of course, what you're asking for doesn't have to be developed by ATS, there's nothing preventing a third party from creating it.