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Age of Empires III Heaven » Forums » General Discussions » AoE3Ed - Preview Release
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Topic Subject:AoE3Ed - Preview Release
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Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 05:56 PM EDT (US)         
Edit XMB files! See the fabled Learicorn! Marvel at some funky blue stuff!

This is the initial preview release of AoE3Ed, the successor to AOMEd. It should be enough to let curious people poke the demo's data files, though it doesn't do a lot else. Some previous modding experience is recommended. No artificial colourings. 97.4% less Perl.

The main features are split into two excitingly named programs:
* Archive Viewer - open BAR files; view previews of many of the data files (text, XML, XMB, DDT, WAV) contained within; and extract them for editing.
* File Converter - XMB<->XML, DDT<->TGA.
Their usage should be fairly intuitive; if not, you may wish to suggest improvements or just wait for a non-preview release.

There are various things that should be done and could be done, detailed below in a rough order of priority. If anyone considers a feature to be important, let me know and I'll possibly think of it as a higher priority. If you consider a feature to be really hugely important, bribes (perhaps of interesting topological surfaces or graphics cards) may help.

Suggestions of higher-level modding tools (like, for example, an HC-customisation-mod editor and installer) would also be of interest, for some indeterminate time in the future. Additionally, reports of whether the final AoE3 release will include anything to help modders would be useful, to avoid duplicating work.

Download the latest version here (1.1MB, est. 10 months by RFC1149-compatible pigeon).

----

Medium priority:
* Documentation.
* Find a new name, or at least abbreviate in informal situations to something like '3ed' which doesn't require so much bouncing on the shift key. (Any suggestions?)
* Find a permanent home (or at least as permanent as a web site can be) for the program, so people can get useful information without having to search through forums with inadequate search functions
* DDT<->BMP, because sometimes that's easier than editing the TGA alpha channel.
* Easier alteration of DDT subformat settings.
* See how AoE3's mipmaps were made, and reproduce a similar effect. (Consistency is more important than quality, although consistent quality would be nicest.)
* SCN editing - particularly converting trigger data to an editable format. (Is AOMEd's XML style nice enough? (but fixed so that it doesn't get confused by new conditions/effects))
* SCN uneditability (while still allowing the scenario to be examined in the editor, if at all possible)
* Make the source code available. (How many people would be interested in this? (It's all C++, and the non-UI parts are in their own library that could be used in other projects, which may save people a little effort.))
* Make the DXTC alpha compressor perfect when possible. (It should already do perfect RGB (when possible, i.e. when doing DDT->TGA->DDT), but I've not had time to fix the alpha, and so it messes up swizzled normal maps.)

Low priority:
* Convert GR2 to an editable format. (Partly fairly easy (e.g. for static meshes), but probably useless without the next item.)
* Convert back into GR2. (Slightly trickier, since I don't have any documentation or code for Granny, and have to just guess how its interface works.)
* Weird DDT formats that some people might care about (particularly cubemaps for skies).
* Document the file formats. (If the source code is released, would anyone care much about human-readable specifications?)
* Get rid of Xerces (or at least statically link it), because it's big and ugly and I really don't like it. (I haven't found anything else that's cross-platform and does DTD validation, though.)

No priority:
* Compatibility with pre-Win2K. (Does any AoE3 modder still do work on Win98?)
* Optimise S3TC compressor for specular+normal maps, since it's currently designed to work with visible colour. (Is anyone going to have the tools and skills to do decent normal-map work? And uncompressed BGRA DDTs should work better anyway, unless the 4x size difference really matters.)
* Weird DDT formats that I hope nobody cares about (particularly those with palettes).

AuthorReplies:
nate825
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 05:29 PM EDT (US)     26 / 83       
Well I got a success with modding the civ.xml.xmb! I made it so that if you were Spanish, you would start with 100000 gold, wood, and food. I also changed how many settlers you start out with. I also edited the the homeditylevels.xml.xmb and the ages.xml.xmb. Thanks to the AoE3Ed it made it possible. Now Im gonna see if I can find a file or something that deals with the population limit and change it. Wish me luck!

[This message has been edited by nate825 (edited 09-09-2005 @ 05:33 PM).]

MosheLevi
Scenario Contest Winner
posted 09-09-05 06:37 PM EDT (US)     27 / 83       
It will be great if you can create a mod to increase the
population limit to 300 or even 400.

I was wondering - can you create a MOD that gives defenders behind walls get some kind of protection (e.g. 50% reduced point damage) from small firearms?


This would help with a defensive type game.

The_Assimilator
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 07:13 PM EDT (US)     28 / 83       
In AOM's game.cfg and .con files were listed three civs that weren't in the final build, they had been commented out and their was no other reference to them what so ever. they were probably Alpha stage or Beta stage civs. I wonder if AOE3's game.cfg and .con files have anything similar?
Argalius
Skirmisher
posted 09-10-05 06:49 AM EDT (US)     29 / 83       

Quote:

Animations seem to all be in art1.bar as .xml.xmb files, containing stuff like:

<animfile>
<definebone>HS Bone Hoof Back Rt</definebone>
...
<attachment>
RiderAttachment
<include>units\cavalry\light_cavalry\learicorn_cavalry _rider.xml</include>
</attachment>
...
<anim>
Walk
<assetreference type="GrannyAnim">
<file>animation_library\cavalry\horse_canter</file& gt;
<tag type="FootstepLeft" footprinttype="Horse">1.00</tag>
<tag type="FootstepRight" footprinttype="Horse">0.70</tag>
</assetreference>
<component>ModelComp</component>
<attach a="LearyDust" frombone="ATTACHPOINT" tobone="ATTACHPOINT" syncanims="0"/>
<attach a="LearySparkles" frombone="ATTACHPOINT" tobone="ATTACHPOINT" syncanims="0"/>
</anim>
...
</animfile>

(hmm, why is that "& gt;" in there?)


The "& gt;" is probably a ">", but something went wrong with the conversion or something. But how in the world can we change this... This is somehow similar to the info you'd find in the anim files for AoM. But maybe the real information for the animation can be found at "animation_library\cavalry\horse_canter".

|| argalius.elpea.net
|| Cherub at AoE3H
|| In honor of FlipBizcut
|| Mod: The Age of Crusades
Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-10-05 12:44 PM EDT (US)     30 / 83       

Quote:

The "& gt;" is probably a ">", but something went wrong with the conversion or something.


I'll blame the forum software - it's probably trying to stop me having long words with no spaces, since if I write a load of "i"s with no spaces it produces "iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii i", and it's buggy when trying to insert spaces into [code] contents (which is pointless since it disables line wrapping in there anyway)

Quote:

maybe the real information for the animation can be found at "animation_library\cavalry\horse_canter"


Yep, Art1.bar's animation_library\cavalry\horse_canter.gr2 is the skeletal animation data. (In AoM, that kind of data was stored inside the BRG files with every unit.)
Argalius
Skirmisher
posted 09-10-05 12:58 PM EDT (US)     31 / 83       

Quote:

Yep, Art1.bar's animation_library\cavalry\horse_canter.gr2 is the skeletal animation data. (In AoM, that kind of data was stored inside the BRG files with every unit.)


This is rather usefull, because now we can use an existing animation for our new units.

Do we know how the physics are made btw? I saw some descruction textures, but that doesn't make the model fall apart... Is this stored into the .gr2? So, let's say a model is made of different pieces which then blow apart on impact?


|| argalius.elpea.net
|| Cherub at AoE3H
|| In honor of FlipBizcut
|| Mod: The Age of Crusades
Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-10-05 01:53 PM EDT (US)     32 / 83       
Buildings (and ships, etc) have a normal x.gr2 model, plus x_deathModel.gr2, x_deathAnim.gr2, x_damaged.gr2 and x.dmg.xmb files.

The deathModel has lots of missing chunks (so it's after the building has been blown apart), and the deathAnim makes it collapse into the ground, as a pre-calculated (not real-time physics) animation.

The damaged model is split into lots of separate chunks (that fit together almost perfectly, unlike the deathModel), which is used for real-time destruction. The .dmg.xmb file defines all the separate parts - which particular mesh to use, which bone to stick it to, and associated effects (particles, splashes, sounds, etc). I assume the game just calculates the bounding box of each damage part, and uses that for the physics simulation.

Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-11-05 11:54 AM EDT (US)     33 / 83       
...and a demonstration of the different models. Someone must have had a fun time cutting up hundreds of buildings.
AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 09-12-05 07:17 AM EDT (US)     34 / 83       

Quote:

The "& gt;" is probably a ">", but something went wrong with the conversion or something.


It's indeed a forum error, it happened to me once, too.

Nice animation, Ykkrosh .

So you're already able to load .gr2s into 3dsmax/gmax without bugs ?

Argalius
Skirmisher
posted 09-12-05 11:19 AM EDT (US)     35 / 83       

Quote:

Someone must have had a fun time cutting up hundreds of buildings.


Indeed, and it's also a nice addition for us modders... grr

|| argalius.elpea.net
|| Cherub at AoE3H
|| In honor of FlipBizcut
|| Mod: The Age of Crusades
MosheLevi
Scenario Contest Winner
posted 09-12-05 08:29 PM EDT (US)     36 / 83       
Ykkrosh,

Can you make a MOD where units cannot shoot through walls?

Or even better, only defenders can shoot through walls
when they are standing right behind the wall?

Corran Horn
Skirmisher
(id: CorranHorn)
posted 09-12-05 10:56 PM EDT (US)     37 / 83       
Ykkrosh! You're awesome! It's been so long since those SWGB modding days, haha! Good to see you're still the genius with this stuff, good job.

Corran Horn
archangel@bresnan.net
"I bow to no one and I give service only for cause."
-Boba Fett
Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-13-05 11:40 AM EDT (US)     38 / 83       

Quote:

So you're already able to load .gr2s into 3dsmax/gmax without bugs ?


Only in trivial cases (and I'm not going to look at the non-trivial ones soon, since I have too many other things to do )

Quote:

Can you make a MOD where units cannot shoot through walls?

Or even better, only defenders can shoot through walls
when they are standing right behind the wall?


If "you" means me specifically, then no, since I have too many other things to do . If "you" means people in general, then it may be possible, or may not (which may be more likely), but I don't know.

Quote:

It's been so long since those SWGB modding days


It hasn't even been four years since I started that, but it does seem a long time ago - time doesn't fly when you're looking at hex dumps
The_Assimilator
Skirmisher
posted 09-13-05 03:33 PM EDT (US)     39 / 83       
I thought ES said this game would be MORE MODDABLE than AOM, but as far as the models go, this isn't true. We carn't edit/create .gr2 files without Granny 3D and i don't think any of us has the money to buy a liscense.

Are .gr2 files the only models the game uses? or are there other formats we can use to edit/create models?

Because if not then it looks like we will be stuck with just texture/proto/anim mods, but no new models.

neinnunb
Skirmisher
posted 09-13-05 04:00 PM EDT (US)     40 / 83       
Very cool

Is there a way to convert .3ds models into AOE3 using AoE3Ed?


Creator of Eastern European Castle mod pack
Wijitmaker
Skirmisher
posted 09-13-05 04:55 PM EDT (US)     41 / 83       
I haven't seen you around in forever neinnunb! Hope 3dmax is treating you well

Unfortunately no, there isn't a way to get models into the game. They are all saved as .gr2 files. There is a rudimentary way to get them into 3dsmax, but once you get them in you can't get them back out as a .gr2 file.

Probably isn't going to happen unless someone purchases a Granny SDK for Ykkrosh. Or ES gives the community some sort of dev tools. Either of which are highly unlikely.

neinnunb
Skirmisher
posted 09-13-05 09:49 PM EDT (US)     42 / 83       
Hi Wijitmaker. Glad someone remembers me.

Creator of Eastern European Castle mod pack
Sloth_Boy
Skirmisher
posted 09-13-05 10:43 PM EDT (US)     43 / 83       
ykkrosh, how would i go about importing gr2 into maya?

(you tell me that and ill give you a link to download maya 7.0 (full version))

Sloth_Boy
Skirmisher
posted 09-13-05 10:45 PM EDT (US)     44 / 83       
i think you'd be everyones hero if you somehow wrote a script that converted granny to say maya and 3ds
The_Assimilator
Skirmisher
posted 09-14-05 07:40 AM EDT (US)     45 / 83       

Quote:

wrote a script that converted granny to say maya and 3ds


^ Then back again.

ES PLEASE GIVE US SOME TOOLS TO WORK WITH THE .GR2 FILES IN THE FINAL RELEASE!!! Thank you!!

[This message has been edited by The_Assimilator (edited 09-14-2005 @ 07:42 AM).]

neinnunb
Skirmisher
posted 09-15-05 08:44 AM EDT (US)     46 / 83       
What I understood from the dev chat was they will release a 3ds plugin post release. I do hope that is the case:

"<Bigdog> We're shipping similar stuff to what we've shipped before... ... There will be some docs, the editor, etc. But, our 3DS MAX exporter, for example, isn't going to be on the CD. ... We will have a post-ship team for the first time, though, so I expect there will be releases of more of our tools after the game ships than there has been previously"


Creator of Eastern European Castle mod pack

[This message has been edited by neinnunb (edited 09-15-2005 @ 08:51 AM).]

Wijitmaker
Skirmisher
posted 09-15-05 04:16 PM EDT (US)     47 / 83       
I don't think its going to happen for the CD/DVD or as a post pack/patch. Granny is a commercial product specifically liscensed by ES to develop AoE3. I'm pretty sure their agreement didn't include sharing Granny's tools with the public. See here:

http://aoe3.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forums/display.cgi?action=ct&f=1,24258,60,10

Quoted from ES_DeathShrimp:

He meant that we ship the scenario editor and tools like that, but not our Max exporter or other tools that are plug-ins to commercial products.

[This message has been edited by Wijitmaker (edited 09-15-2005 @ 04:18 PM).]

Viruzz
Skirmisher
posted 09-15-05 08:27 PM EDT (US)     48 / 83       
Yeah I'm interested in the source. Wrote a bar editor on my own as well. Nice that you changed over to C++
AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 09-16-05 09:21 AM EDT (US)     49 / 83       
ES disappointed me I must say .
Argalius
Skirmisher
posted 09-18-05 06:39 AM EDT (US)     50 / 83       
I thought I could live with it, but it's starting to get annoying. Why does the file converter close every time you converted something?

|| argalius.elpea.net
|| Cherub at AoE3H
|| In honor of FlipBizcut
|| Mod: The Age of Crusades
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