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Age of Empires III Heaven » Forums » General Discussions » AoE3Ed - Preview Release
Topic Subject:AoE3Ed - Preview Release
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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).

posted 11-12-05 10:50 PM EDT (US)     76 / 83       
(id: CheeZy monkey)
posted 11-12-05 10:58 PM EDT (US)     77 / 83       
wth indeed

sounds like microsoft is trying to get windows 2000 users to buy windows XP even though its the same thing minus the new graphics. But all pros have their windows xp theme on classic instead of one of the 3 different colors (blue, green, and silver) it provides you with.

CheeZy ex-HG Angel
WildFire Games - Artist, Lead Scenario Designer, Game Designer for 0 A.D.
"But really, stop fighting and listen to CheeZy when he says use good grammar." - Phantom_rider.
----Stuff I've Made----
posted 11-12-05 11:11 PM EDT (US)     78 / 83       
I cannot believe that some of you are actually that addicted to Windows 2K. It's almost become a life or death situation for you. "No matter what anyone does, I will bow to W2K, and it will rest on my bossom in my grave"---that's the impression I get here.

Listen, there is nothing you can do about it. If you are unwilling to purchase Windows XP, for not only AoE3, but for other purposes as well, it only goes to show that AoE3 did not really mean all that much to you in the first place.

When I'm very interest in a game, I go to great lengths in adjusting/readjusting/upgrading my comp. That is if only that game is important enough to me. Obviously, AoE3 wasn't that important to you. And there is nothing wrong with that.

~Lysimachus - Former HG Angel for Rise & Fall Heaven || Was RaFH Game Info Admin || Proud Member of HG since 1998
posted 11-12-05 11:48 PM EDT (US)     79 / 83       
The problem comes when the game could easily run on Win2k, but M$ is forcing players to upgrade to XP to play the game. This isn't one of those things where you have to just update your drivers or go out and get a new video card. The game can run JUST FINE on an OS M$ promoted a scant few years ago.
posted 12-27-05 06:37 PM EDT (US)     80 / 83       
Heh, don't know if this has been said or noticed, or even if it's true, but I'm guessing that AoE3ED is just a modified AoMED?

Still, great work, Ykkrosh. You've been keeping us HeavenGames modders supplied with useful programs for years, and I know I'm grateful!

Proud Member of Liquid Fire Studios
posted 12-28-05 00:25 AM EDT (US)     81 / 83       
posted 01-03-06 01:10 PM EDT (US)     82 / 83       


Heh, don't know if this has been said or noticed, or even if it's true, but I'm guessing that AoE3ED is just a modified AoMED?

It isn't - it's a complete rewrite, in a completely different language, with a completely different UI toolkit, and a completely different design philosophy: AOMEd was made for experimentation with unknown file formats and extensibility (hence its support of files from FF7, ROTT, etc), whereas AoE3Ed was just made for people to use (since I had already solved the problem of reading the files).

(Actually, there was a modified version of AOMEd which could understand AoE3's BAR and XMB files; but only for a few hours while I was seeing how the file formats had changed, so that doesn't count )

posted 01-03-06 02:28 PM EDT (US)     83 / 83       
I would say this was blanant and un sly advertising...

... If I didn't need that so much. Gimme!

-=» ESO2 name = Liquify «=-
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it." - George Orwell (1903 - 1950)
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