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Offline Espadon

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Modding Guide
« on: February 02, 2009, 11:01:56 pm »
I write this with the intent of not only helping to answer questions that new modders may have, but also as a reference for more experienced modders. That said, most of this is written from my own experience and there will be many instances where there are other methods to achieve success; I cannot guarantee to cover all of them, so forgive me if I neglect some methods.



Beginning the Mod

Before any work is started, a plan of how to progress with the mod should be effected. Some prefer to start with the gosteks, then progressing onto weapons, then sounds, and lastly the WM; some with weapons and the WM, then gosteks, followed by sounds. Others prefer to work on weapons, WM, and sounds in parallel, in sets. There isn't any best order to work in, but for all intents and purposes here, I'll start with the gosteks, then progress onto the weapons graphics, and then finally to sounds and the WM. I'll also go over interfaces and utilities.

Occasionally one may see co-op mod projects; while this is fine, it's recommended that one choose the members with some discretion; also, while most co-op mods divide labor by subject [such as member A doing the weapons, member B providing the sounds, and member C doing the balancing], some mods attempt to involve several members doing one aspect [most often the menu-graphics]. While this is fine, it can lead to an inconsistency style or quality-wise, and so is best avoided unless style variation is the specific intent.

What's a gostek? What's a WM?
A gostek is the name for the player skin in Soldat.
WM is the abbreviation for "weapons mod," which refers to the file weapons.ini and [to a lesser degree] weapons_realistic.ini. These files control the actual behavior of the guns in-game.


Before anything, make a copy of the folders:

Weapons-gfx
Guns
Txt

And place them inside the folder Soldat/Mods/[Your Mod]

Now make folders:

Interface-gfx
Sfx

And place the folder Guns in Interface-gfx.
Then copy all the sounds to modify and place them into the folder Sfx in [Your Mod] and copy Weapons.ini into [Your Mod].



As more files are modded, also make copies of their folders into [Your Mod]. For example, if I modified some Object textures found in Soldat/Textures/Object-gfx, I would put the modified versions in

Soldat/Mods/[My Mod]/Textures/Object-gfx

The reason for doing this is that it makes the final packaging of the mod much less of a hassle. Trying to figure out which sounds were modified and which ones weren't and find out that some weren't included in the end is aggravating to say the least. Using the Mod directory ensures that only the necessary modded files are included and will save the downloader from wasting time and bandwidth on unnecessary files.



Gosteks

Gosteks are arguably one the most confusing aspects of modding. They can seem intimidating because not only are they labeled in Polish, but also that few parts are recognizable at all. However, once the process of referencing the alignments and orientations of the parts is finished, gosteks are not as tough to make as often perceived.

Tip: While making weapons-gfx -2 versions is often just a matter of simply copying, pasting, and flipping, Gostek alignments can be different and will need to be made slightly different for the "-2" version in order for it to look similar to the other side in-game. Notable examples include ramie [upper arm] and biodro [pelvis].

For convenience, I've created a diagram with all the basic normal [non -2] gostek parts placed in their standard orientation to give an idea of how the parts fit together. The arrows indicate 'down.'



My personal experience is it's easier to work on a gostek from a gostek 'index,' so that one can easily check value consistency. In general, gosteks should be kept relatively light.

                   
      [Example of a basic 'index']



Interface Guns [ Menu Guns ]

Most everyone judges a mods based on the menu-weapons graphics. Oftentimes, people measure the quality of the mod purely based on the interface graphics alone.
Menu-graphics are what appear on the weapons selection menu and on the death console [the display of kills on the top-right corner].

Soldat/Interface-gfx/Guns

The execution of menu guns tends to be a hotly debated issue. Shrinking down pictures of weapons is valid, but can result in blurry, grayish images unless they're treated in an image manipulator such as Photoshop, GIMP, or PdN. Different styles can give the mod a particular atmosphere/feel.
Menu weapons should be around 42x16 in dimensions. Longer, and the weapon will fall off the kill log or mash into the text in the menu, taller, and the different menu weapons will start stacking.
Format-wise, Soldat will accept both BMPs and PNGs. However, Soldat resamples PNGs badly and a 'plastic foil' effect around the weapon can be noticed especially around non-blurred edges when the image is displayed in the kill log.



In-game Weapons

Too often actual in-game representations of weapons are neglected in favor of menu guns. Resizing menu-guns to in-game size very rarely works. For this reason I recommend perfecting in-games before any work is done with menu guns to help make sure that gameplay is enjoyable.

Soldat/weapons-gfx

folder and usually each weapons has these sub-parts:

[weapon-internal-name].bmp (pointing rightwards)
[weapon-internal-name]-2.bmp (vertically flipped version of the one above, Soldat pivots the graphic by the upper-left corner to make it point leftwards)
[weapon-internal-name]-clip.bmp (clip of the weapon; clip is rendered as on top of the weapon)
[weapon-internal-name]-clip2.bmp (vertically flipped version of the one above, Soldat pivots the graphic by the upper-left corner to make it point leftwards)
[weapon-internal-name]-shell.bmp (One graphic for both orientations)
[weapon-internal-name]-fire.bmp (One graphic for both orientations)
[weapon-internal-name]-bullet.png (this is a PNG in the default Soldat weapons-gfx. Bullet can be BMP or PNG, but Soldat will prioritize PNGs)

While most weapons follow this format, some weapons are a bit different; the Ruger lacks the -clip and -clip2 graphics, as does the Spas. The clip graphic for the M79 does not drop like the other clips do; the Desert Eagles clip graphic will be created only once on the weapon but will create two duplicates when the clip drops in-game; etc.

For in-games, there is also the choice between BMP and PNG formats. BMP is still the recommended format for most graphics though, as PNG creates a 'plastic foil' edge where there 'flat' areas. However, the effect doesn't manifest itself where there is Alpha Transparency, such as tapered objects like muzzle flashes and bullet graphics.

Generally, keep weapons-gfx under 22x7.



Objects

Objects for the most part are the textures used for kit box power-ups. All can be found in

Soldat/Textures/Objects

These textures can only be BMPs and despite natively being 16x16, can be any size. Soldat will resize the textures to fit.



Sounds

Sounds form the other half of a mod. Sounds are found in

Soldat/Sfx

Sounds are mostly self-explanatory, and ones that can't be identified by sound or name usually don't matter too much in the context of the mod. Places to find sounds can be found in this thread. For mods based off of existing games, it may be a bit harder to find actual high quality sounds, especially if actual game files can't be ripped from, such as with console-only games.

Some things to note are:

Fall and Fall-hard are not only used for when the player falls, but also when the player meets the polygons when flying up, such as the vertical tunnel in ctf_Equinox. Because of this, a 'thumping' noise isn't necessarily desired.
Chainsaw-r is the sawing sound and it will repeat itself as long as the fire button is depressed, so substituting a gun in the saw slot may have some issues with the firing sound.
Chainsaw-m is the ambient 'on' sound when the saw is running.
Chainsaw-o is the 'empty' sound that starts when the saw is reloading and will repeat itself every time the fire button is pressed while reloading.
Chainsaw-d is the initial sound of the saw turning on.

Sounds are often processed using the freeware Audacity, although Sound Recorder in Windows XP and earlier will also work in a pinch.



Text

In-game names can be altered by modifying the file

weaponnames.txt

in the

Soldat/Txt

folder.

Going further, actual gameplay text can be changed by creating a custom Language file through

Soldat/Txt/Languages

The easiest way is to copy English.ini and English.txt and then renaming and modifying them to taste.



Weapons.ini

Lastly is the Weapons Mod, abbreviated as WM. The WM is edited by opening the file

weapons.ini

and editing the values in there. Follow the instructions in the file and it will be quite easy. Some weapons have special intrinsic traits that cannot be modified
o Desert Eagle shoots 2 of all entities
o Barrett's scope is built-in and tied to the entity fired (thereby the camera will be affixed to the object fired; if the Barrett shoot grenades, the camera will follow the arc of the grenade until it blows up or the player releases from crouch or prone)
o LAW crouch-to-fire
o Knife "throw" function
o Knife, Statgun, and Chainsaw entity-kill timer. These three weapons will kill the bullet after a certain period of time and so weaponspeed will affect the effective range of these weapons. For the Knife and Chainsaw, the bullet entity is also only 'activated' after a certain period of time, so there is always only a specific range where damage occurs.
o Knife swing speed, Shotgun reload speed and fire rate disregard values in the WM since they are tied to the actual animation.
o Shotgun will only fire Shotgun pellets
o Explosives damage is dependent on damage values for the explosive type [LAW, nade, flame arrow], not the weapon.
o Cluster nade damage cannot be modified.
o Kills are credited to the bullet entity and not the actual gun that fired. Therefore, an MP5 shooting arrows will be credited as a Rambo bow kill and not an MP5 kill.

Bullet Entities:

 1 - plain bullet
 2 - frag grenade
 3 - shotgun pellets
 4 - m79 grenade
 5 - flame
 6 - punch
 7 - arrow
 8 - flame arrow
 9 - cluster bomb
 10 - bomblet
 11 - knife/chainsaw
 12 - LAW missile
 13 - knife
 14 - M2 bullet

In the current version of Soldat, there is also a separate WM settings files for when Realistic mode is turned on called

weaponsrealistic.ini

This file should essentially be a copy of weapons.ini, but if any changes are to occur when Realistic mode is turned on, then tweak the values in weaponsrealistic.ini.



Playtesting

Once done, [Your Mod] can be run by executing the program Start.exe and selecting [Your Mod] and then clicking "Run Soldat Modded."

Playtesting is important, but can also be exceedingly repetitive, with constant reloading of Soldat to check if graphics or sounds are satisfactory in game. WM balancing doesn't warrant a restart of Soldat though, since the command

loadwep

Can load an updated WM in the middle of gameplay. Commands can be inputted by opening the console by pressing [ / ].



Miscellaneous

Interfaces can round out a mod to help create a more immersive experience. Regular unregistered interfaces can be found in

Soldat/Interface-gfx

Registered users can use custom interfaces found in

Soldat/Custom-interfaces

And these are can be created with Interface Maker. Like most other graphics, PNG files are also accepted. However, Interface Maker doesn't read PNGs, so alignment can be done with BMP 'dummies' that have the same dimensions as the actual PNGs.

Do note that modded interfaces do not go into the Mods/[Your Mod] folder. Soldat only reads interfaces in the primary Soldat/ directory.

Mod managers have become popular recently. With mods becoming progressively larger and weapon selections more broad, mod managers/mixers [coined "configurators"] such as Ivahn's have become nearly standard fare. Unfortunately there hasn't been any updated versions compatible with PNGs, which is something to watch out for.

Mod Launcher by Serial Killer provides an alternate to the default Start.exe launcher by also including a PNG-compatible preview of the modded weapons.

Other utilities:

Gostek Viewer by Anna
Gostek Edit v0.2b by FoZ - ZIP - RAR
Mod Swapper by Stealth870
Soldat Mod Manager by mar77a
Soldat Mod Mixer by edak
Soldier Preview by BManx2000
POA Editor by szevvy - This is an advanced tool for modifying actual animations. Be aware that modifying animations can prevent online play.



Final Presentation

Mods are usually packed in .zip, .rar, or occasionally in installer .exes. Creating a .zip package can be as simple as selecting [Your Mod], right-clicking, and selecting Send to -> Compressed (zipped) Folder. If the mod also has Custom Interfaces or Maps that are outside of the [Your Mod] folder, a dummy Soldat/ directory can be created. Interfaces and anything modified in the Soldat/ directory go in here, as does Mods/[Your Mod]. Then select all and zip as described above.

Post mods with some screenshots showing off the highlights. Most will include a screenshot of the menu guns and one or more of gameplay. Screenshots can be uploaded to a image hoster like Photobucket.com or Imageshack.com.
Similarly, the mod package should be uploaded to a file hoster like Filefront.com or Box.net
Don't forget to describe what the mod changes, any specific notes like what files the mod will replace and if any backups should be made. Also, make a note of where to unpack the mod to, whether directly into Soldat/ or into Soldat/Mods.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 10:19:05 am by Espadon »
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Offline -Skykanden-

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 07:52:03 am »
Perfect

I think that is ok that you posted no shading tutorials because everyone has his own style.

Is it sticky?

Offline croat1gamer

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2009, 09:56:14 am »
Be aware that modifying animations can prevent online play.
i think that you can use modified animations in online games, but i dont know exactly cause the most of mine tries have failed, i think lord ivahn should know it (mecha soldat mod)
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Offline Serial K!ller

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 02:10:55 pm »
Here's a usefull list of all sfx files and what they are used for ingame you can add as a link: http://wiki.soldat.nl/Modding_sfx

List of gostek Files : http://wiki.soldat.nl/Modding_gostek
« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 02:25:23 pm by Serial K!ller »

Offline PaFel

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 02:16:28 pm »
It's very overall guide if I've got to say so and it's not that big ;D. I hope you'll update it with the info that can come up in some posts.

One thing that amazed me is that you wrote about that interface-gfx can't be used too make good weapon-gfx. For weapons in standard size (like for e.g. are made by me) can be easily done by resizing into 30% size of int-gfx and then filled with the colour pixels from the int-gfx in places where black lines are.

You haven't wrote anything about the maximum size of parts of gostek and weapons-gfx (for gostek it's as I good remember 48x48 and for weapons-gfx 64x64.

You haven't wrote anything about sparks-gfx.

Why you wrote that rest of sounds except weapon sounds are not very important? I'd say that in good mod the good sounds of steps, flag capture and all that stuff makes better feeling of climete of mod than weapon-sfx.

Nothing about bots? Any little word about ranny graphics? Explanation how to plan makin' interface to make it well-lookin'? Short touturial about how too make good placement of parts of guns in weapons-gfx (magazines can make a lot of trouble sometimes)? Nothing about how to prevent bigger problems or some strange situations when modding weapons.ini?

Not that I don't like what you write or something. It's just constructive criticism :). This guide still needs a lot work to make it reall usefull, more gfx showing some things and all that stuff.

Btw: I started to write something like this some time ago but I was describing every folder and files so it was quite long but I didn't end it cause of my... lazyness ;D.

Btw: Anims can be used online when changed but it really depends of it's type and what you've changed.

Offline Henito Kisou

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 02:31:36 pm »
You haven't wrote anything about the maximum size of parts of gostek and weapons-gfx (for gostek it's as I good remember 48x48 and for weapons-gfx 64x64.
In-Soldat message is wrong, because real limits are:
Quote from: Soldat - Manual
- Fixed weapon and gostek graphic restrictions (weapons no larger than 64x64, gostek 16x16).

Offline PaFel

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 02:40:27 pm »
In-Soldat message is wrong, because real limits are:
Quote from: Soldat - Manual
- Fixed weapon and gostek graphic restrictions (weapons no larger than 64x64, gostek 16x16).

So I haven't remember it well ;D.

Offline Espadon

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 03:57:27 pm »
One thing that amazed me is that you wrote about that interface-gfx can't be used too make good weapon-gfx. For weapons in standard size (like for e.g. are made by me) can be easily done by resizing into 30% size of int-gfx and then filled with the colour pixels from the int-gfx in places where black lines are.

In general people who used resized interface gfx to make ingames haven't been that successful: SAC is a prime example. You can make it work the same way you can resize actual images for menu guns, but isn't it then kind of ironic that most modders seem to be against resizing for menu guns yet feel that doing it for ingames is okay?
I'll take it off the day I see resized ingames looking better than what I can do.

Why you wrote that rest of sounds except weapon sounds are not very important? I'd say that in good mod the good sounds of steps, flag capture and all that stuff makes better feeling of climete of mod than weapon-sfx.

You're right, but weapon sounds are the most common sounds. Putting that as priority is so that people won't feel pressured to mod everything. These days mods are expected to all be bigger than the last, and I think that's been one of the turnoffs. Other ambient sounds and fine touches are definitely great to have, but in the grand scheme of things, aren't as big of a deal as having a plasma gun sound like a AUG.

You haven't wrote anything about the maximum size of parts of gostek and weapons-gfx (for gostek it's as I good remember 48x48 and for weapons-gfx 64x64.

You haven't wrote anything about sparks-gfx.

Nothing about bots? Any little word about ranny graphics? Short touturial about how too make good placement of parts of guns in weapons-gfx (magazines can make a lot of trouble sometimes)? Nothing about how to prevent bigger problems or some strange situations when modding weapons.ini?

Btw: Anims can be used online when changed but it really depends of it's type and what you've changed.

Yeah need to add those yet. There really are a lot of things to cover and the guide has big shoes to fill @_@

One thing I do want to stay away from are tutorials, especially menu gun tutorials. I'll leave that up to you guys, since those are techniques and they tend to be a bit biased depending on each person's own style. I'm really against the whole infatuation with menu gun graphics, since I've downloaded too many mods that look pretty good at first but turn out to be total crap gameplay-wise.
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Offline Lord Frunkamunch

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Re: The Big Modding Guide
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 04:05:54 pm »
In general people who used resized interface gfx to make ingames haven't been that successful: SAC is a prime example. You can make it work the same way you can resize actual images for menu guns, but isn't it then kind of ironic that most modders seem to be against resizing for menu guns yet feel that doing it for ingames is okay?
I'll take it off the day I see resized ingames looking better than what I can do.

That has less to do with resizing for weapons-gfx being inferior and more to do with the fact that the type of people who do it are typically content with leaving them half done. It works fine, but it just has a bad reputation via association with lazy modders (see also: why I'm fine with resized interfaces)

You might want to go through the guide and dumb down the language a little, especially in the weapons.ini section. Seeing as it's meant for new modders, it should be very easy to understand. There were a few parts after you say "Some weapons have special intrinsics that cannot be modified" where I doubt I would have had any idea what you were talking about if I didn't already know.
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Offline Espadon

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Re: Modding Guide
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 04:08:01 pm »
D: You're right. I probably have to dumb down words like 'entity' too.
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Offline Hair|Trigger

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Re: Modding Guide
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 01:42:13 am »
Ah..  you really managed to complicate the hell out of modding ><

why not some guides on weapon shading and such..  I think more pictures would make this much easier to read also.

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Offline Espadon

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Re: Modding Guide
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 03:40:18 am »
why not some guides on weapon shading and such.. 

One thing I do want to stay away from are tutorials, especially menu gun tutorials. I'll leave that up to you guys, since those are techniques and they tend to be a bit biased depending on each person's own style. I'm really against the whole infatuation with menu gun graphics, since I've downloaded too many mods that look pretty good at first but turn out to be total crap gameplay-wise.
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Offline PaFel

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Re: Modding Guide
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 09:32:42 am »
Shading guide would be sensless 'cause everyone has own style.

Offline Darkxr7500

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Re: Modding Guide
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2011, 09:36:23 pm »
To:Espadon

stfu idiot looks at first, I make a mod of mario bros, thanks to the great idea of ​​Stan Marsh though you change things I get very good weapons mod just wondering if anyone has the mod Stan Marsh because I have trouble making the effect of (star power of mario in minigun) and second I saw no the date when the subject was published

I have it finished by 85% and said that I lack the respective sounds of each weapon,  gosteks and weapons that are completed and learn to shut your fucking mouth if you do not know which required that data

note my English is not very good and if it mocks want to see you speak my language and you do not know learn to stfu
all have hidden something at some point in our live

I will kill you and you can not do anything about it

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Re: Modding Guide
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2011, 04:20:48 am »
Wrong thread, you mean this one. I do not see why you have to make such a fuss about it, and I don't think insulting Espadon will lead to anything but you receiving a warning or even a ban, because you are just that stupid.

And yes, your English is quite sucky. So what? Who cares if it is not your mother tongue? Mine is German, and Espadon is from Asia. Get some proper education if you care that much.

Offline echo_trail

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Re: Modding Guide
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2011, 05:53:49 pm »
Thanks for saving us all, DC.
I fucking miss all you cunts!