Modpack Editor Guide by Wok

Introduction

Creating custom mods for Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, using Ykkrosh's mod editor, is fairly simple, as long as you know what you are doing. This tutorial provides an overview of the editor and also descriptive instructions on using it. It is also aimed at people with no past modding experience and no advanced computer knowledge, so anybody should be able to follow it. Enjoy!

Contents

Tutorial: Information: Other Items:

Part 1 - Your Goals

It is impossible to start modding without knowing precisely what you want to do. And it is also impossible to know what you want to do without knowing what you can do. There are several things you can alter with the Mod Editor, some of them useful, some of them not so useful. Before you begin choosing your goals, here is a list of what can be edited with the Mod Editor:

  • Unit Graphics: The animations that units have (walking, attacking, etc).
  • Unit Sounds: The sounds that play when you give units commands.
  • Unit Icons: That little photo of the unit at the bottom of the screen.
  • Scripts: The default AI and Random map scripts that are stored by the game.
  • Interface: From the startup screen to the control panel in the game, it can all be changed.
  • Terrain: Fairly self-explanitory; terrain can be modified.

They are the limits of the mod editor, but if you are an experienced programmer, any game data could be changed (in theory). Now, let's assume that you want to edit a whole unit, since it is the most common type of mod.

Onto the main part of the project, creating the actual data that you will put into the game.

Part 2 - Data

Before you can make a mod, you need some sort of data to change. This can be a new graphic, sound, script etc. I strongly advise that you make/collect all of your data before you start compiling your mod. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, it is a lot easier to do all of your modding in one quick go. If you are new to the editor, it may be difficult to re-open a project and know what is going on. Also, it is a lot easier to get really into your project if you create all of the data at once. If you keep taking breaks then your project will be completed slowly, if at all (Just some pointers here; I'm not trying to order you about).

Now onto the part that makes the majority of mods never get finished, the graphics.

Part 3 - Graphics

If you are making a standard unit mod, you will need to make some graphics. A lot of graphics. The chances are you will get bored with your first few attempts at a mod, because the graphics are boring to make. In this tutorial, I will use the example of MS Paint, because everybody has it and because it is what I myself use. It would be a lot easier to have a 3D program like poser or blender or 3D Studio Max, but I would be unable to help you since I do not have experience with any of those products.

Okay. You have your program and your idea in your head but where do you start? Before you do, it's time for a mini graphics overview.

The Mini Graphics Overview

You cannot just fly in with all arms waving and expect to make graphics that will work with the game. You must understand how and what you must change, how the graphics for SWGB are stored, and how they work.

There are 4 main data files for SWGB. They are called DRS files because they end with a .drs extension (Just don't ask me what it stands for :-p). The four are GRAPHICS, SOUNDS, GAMEDATA, and INTERFAC. Of course all of the graphics are in the graphics.drs and all the sounds are in the sounds.drs, but the interfac.drs contains images like unit icons, the start up menu and game control panel. The gamedata.drs contains all of the AI and Random Map scripts, and the game palletes (.bin files). We want to edit the graphics.drs. But then, you had probably figured that out by now. Contained inside the graphics.drs there are thousands of smaller .slp files, which contain the information for a particular unit. This information includes the graphics, anchors, etc. We want to edit the graphics inside the .slp, but unfortunately, a .slp is not a graphics file that can be opened in paint, or any other common graphics program. Step in the mod editor :).

To import an SLP into the mod editor, you first need to extract the SLP from the larger DRS. To do this, download the DRS Viewer(by Ykkrosh) from the utilities section of this website. Open the program and open the GRAPHICS.drs. You should see a huge list of numbers. Each number that you click on shows a graphic.

To help you find the slp you want, download the SLP Listing (by JamesMartigo) also from the utilities section. To extract the .slp from the GRAPHICS.drs, click on the "Extract" tab and select "Extract This File."

Choose where you want to save it. Now you can go back to the mod editor. Click "add," at the bottom of the left bar, and select your .slp. Then select "Convert To SLX." An slx is the broken down version of the .slp, where you can view and edit all of the data. Click "Show Graphic," to bring up a new window. It should have two images. One of the unit in the .slp and a weird picture with different coloured areas. We can ignore this second picture for now. Now, to edit your graphics, go to the directory where you saved your .slx, and you should see two images for each frame, and the .slx file. One of these images is the .slp image that you want to edit, and the other one is the weird image I mentioned earlier. You can still leave the second image alone, but you need to edit the first image. Either open them in paint and draw your new image, or paste your old frame into the image if you have already made them. Then, apply your mask colours. Don't know what a mask colour is? Don't fret, I'm about to explain all.

The Mini Mask Overview (very mini)

Masks are a way to make special 'effects' in your image, like translucent shadows. Every mod requires masks to make the background invisible though, so you have to learn it :). Basically, in the mod editor, you assign each effect to a particualar shade of colour. When you use this colour in your .slp, that effect will be applied in the game. The default colours are: red (255, 0, 0) for translucent shadows, and magenta (255, 0, 255) for the background. You can change these selections, but you are best to leave them alone (Unless your image will contain either of these colours). So, apply these colours to your images, and you will be well on your way to completing the mod.

Part 4 - Compiling And Anchoring

Right, now you have edited your graphics, go back to the mod editor and open the .slx again. You should see your new edited frames instead of the old ones, and the same weird picture next to it.

This weird picture is called the data bitmap. I don't understand it fully, but all you need to know is how to make a new data bitmap for your new frames. To do this, click the "Automation" tab at the top of the .slx window. then click "generate data". You can usually leave the settings as they are. Click "apply to animation" and the data image will change to resemble your new frames. You have now almost finished the mod. But first, you need to set your anchors. Anchors (called center points in this program) determine where a unit is in relation to its center circle in the game. You can set the anchors by holding down the center point arrows in the .slx window. For units, the anchor (center point) needs to be in between the object's feet. Once we have done with the anchors, the editing is complete. To compile the graphics, click "Convert to .slp" and save the .slp where you like. Select which .slp you want your new one to replace. You can now choose whether to add an icon for your mod. Adding an icon is a lot simpler than adding graphics. All you need to do is to make/find an image, re-size it, and load it into the mod editor. Then you tell it to replace the frame number of the .slp that it's in. For example, if your unit is a Galactic Empire Building, check the corresponding boxes and find what frame number it is inside the .slp, then type that number inside the box. Now all you need to add before your project is ready to compile is a readme. You cannot make a .mpi without a readme! Simply click "add" and choose a text file. You can edit in the editor and save it. Then, to finish your mod, click the "project" tab and then choose "compile as .mpi". You have just made your very first mod! Congratulations!

How To Edit Sounds

This is just a simple step by step for changing unit sounds. It assumes that you have read the rest of the tutorial and are familiar with the editor:

  • Open the mod editor
  • Click "add" in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Select the sound that you wish to give to your character.
  • Select the number of the sound to write over.
  • Add a readme file by clicking "add" again
  • Compile the mod by clicking Project/Compile As MPI
  • Run the game :)

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, for a short FAQ to answer common problems. I will add more as more questions are asked.

Help! When I try and use the editor it says there is no RICHTX32.OCX file! What should I do?

Try going to google (http://www.google.com) and searching for the file. If/When you find it, put it in your C:\WINNT\System32 folder. (It's that folder for XP, I'm not sure about other OSs) This also applies to any other missing file, including COMDLG32.OCX

When I try and compile my .slx into a .slp it says that the data bmp could not be found. What shall I do?

For this one, you need to go back to the .slx window and select the "Automation" tab. Click "Generate Data" and apply to the entire animation.

When I finish and compile my mod, the unit's selection circle is not by his feet. how can I fix this?

Do sort out this problem, you need to apply anchors. In the .slx window, you can set a center point for the unit. This is where the selection circle will be in the game, and will make sure that the unit is in the correct place. For units, you need to place the anchor in between his feet.

When I open the Mod Installer, it says "Runtime Error - 53 - File Not Found". What does this mean?

In the latest version of the mod installer (the one compatible with CC), there is a file that is unique to CC that you need to have to use the installer. If you don't have CC, then you could try downloading an older version of the installer. However, the older versions are slower and can cause computer freezes. Be warned!

Note == If you want me to add a question to the FAQ, reply and I will add and answer it.

Modding Downloads

To get the modding programs and downloads, download the SWGB Design Kit, by Admiral Ra. It contains many programs and files, including the following, that will be vital to your modding career:

DRS/SLP Viewer By Ykkrosh

Very important if you want to edit an existing unit in the game. The SLP/DRS Viewer lets you view and extract graphics from the game.

SLP Listing By JamesMartigo

The SLP listing is a document containing the number of each SLP within the GRAPHICS and INTERFAC(E) drs files. It includes units from Clone Campaigns and comes in .html and .txt forms for those of you without excel.

Mod Editor By Ykkrosh

If you don't have this program, you can't mod. It's quite simple. Download it and read my tutorial and you will be modding in no time :).

Mod Installer By Ykkrosh

This program takes your custom-created .mpi files and installs them into the game. Another vital piece of modding equipment from Ykkrosh!

 

Thankyou for reading my tutorial, I hope it has helped you and I hope you will be creating top quality mods soon for everyone to enjoy.

~ Wok



Contact the author, Wok at walk_the_wok@hotmail.com.