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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:
king of ages
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 06:09 PM EDT (US)     1 / 83       
That was fast for a mod thing. Seriously, I would worry about feedback and bugs for right now.. mod the full version when it actually comes out.

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 09-08-05 06:34 PM EDT (US)     2 / 83       
This is great! I hope our modders read it, because there're so many posts here since the demo has been released.

Also you forgot something: Option to repeat the last process (without having to check/confirm the settings for the process).

And about the new home for the file: AoE3H will have a DL section .

All in all, it's great that you developed this powerful tool in such a short time ! Many thanks!

MosheLevi
Scenario Contest Winner
posted 09-08-05 06:54 PM EDT (US)     3 / 83       
Can you write a mod that increases the population limit?

What about increasing the resource gathering speed and
lowering unit/building cost?

The Pillager7
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 06:58 PM EDT (US)     4 / 83       
Wow, the game doesn't come out in 6 weeks and we may already need a downloading section.
Chief_Thunder_
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 07:16 PM EDT (US)     5 / 83       
all I've gotta say is... wow the game DEMO has been out for like a day or so, and you've allready made AOE3ed... Ykkrosh, you're amazing. Does AOE3 have all the potential with trigger scripting (writing your own trigger code) that AOM did? I remember when TwentyOneScore first discovered all that... that was sweet.
King Jared
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 08:04 PM EDT (US)     6 / 83       
Neat! *snaps picture*

Your Divine Overlord
KING JARED
Aw, hell, I dunno, she had some tig-ole-bitties, d'int she?
big.vitt@gmail.com
Ceres629
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 09:07 PM EDT (US)     7 / 83       
WTF man already you released an AoE3 editor?

Wow you are amazing!

Byzantine2793
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 09:12 PM EDT (US)     8 / 83       
write a mod that m akes tomahawks show upo then it wpould be much better
Wijitmaker
Skirmisher
posted 09-08-05 11:26 PM EDT (US)     9 / 83       
Besides topping the thread (already burried to page2 - sheesh)...

Quote:

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

If HG doesn't host it, you could host it at WFG - we have ample bandwidth - and you could modify the page/zip anytime you want.

achilleas
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 02:52 AM EDT (US)     10 / 83       
great program!

Though after i exctract the files and edit them how do i put them back? :P (or am not able to do this ?)

The_Assimilator
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 06:14 AM EDT (US)     11 / 83       
I have one question Ykkrosh, Deos the program remember the DDT formats, and does it automatically select the formats when converting BACK to DDT? I beleive i explained my reason behind asking for this feature when i explained to you (In another thread) how much i HATE DDTs, because AOMed DIDN'T remember the DDT formats and therefore modders had to convert the files into the different formats manuelly, and most of the time, particularly with icons, picked the wrong formats so the textures were screwed up.

[This message has been edited by The_Assimilator (edited 09-09-2005 @ 06:15 AM).]

Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 09:11 AM EDT (US)     12 / 83       

Quote:

Option to repeat the last process (without having to check/confirm the settings for the process).

Is that just for the file-selection default locations? (I can't think of any other settings that the programs have )

Quote:

Can you write a mod that increases the population limit?
What about increasing the resource gathering speed and lowering unit/building cost?

Those are probably in the file data\proto.xml (not in any BAR) - you can change the house build-limit, etc.

Quote:

Does AOE3 have all the potential with trigger scripting (writing your own trigger code) that AOM did?

I believe so - play a campaign scenario, then see "My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires III Trial\Trigger\trigtemp.xs" which is the XS code it generates from the trigger data, and then just work out what to insert in the parameter fields to execute arbitrary code.

Quote:

Though after i exctract the files and edit them how do i put them back? :P

You can't, but shouldn't need to - if you extract e.g. "Art\ui\ingame\ingame_ui_01.ddt" from art2.bar and edit it, then you can copy it into <game installation location>\art\ui\ingame\ and the game will use it instead of the one in the BAR.

Quote:

Deos the program remember the DDT formats, and does it automatically select the formats when converting BACK to DDT?

Yes - it'll convert the DDT file into a name like Art\ui\ingame\ingame_ui_01.(0,1,8,1).tga (where the "0,1,8,1" is the data that AOMEd wanted you to remember), so it knows what to do.
AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 09-09-05 09:15 AM EDT (US)     13 / 83       

Quote:

Is that just for the file-selection default locations? (I can't think of any other settings that the programs have :P)


Yes, just a button "Repeat Last Operation" or so, which does exactly the same as it did in the last process.

This only makes sense for the conversion program though .

It would be very useful because sometimes you have to do the same thing over and over, for example when you create a texture.

Argalius
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 09:18 AM EDT (US)     14 / 83       
Ykkrosh, you're the man, really you're the man! I'm going to try it out right now.

And is it possible to edit things like fountains (I don't know if they are included) but I mean the sfx things I think they are called. Like fire etc.?


|| argalius.elpea.net
|| Cherub at AoE3H
|| In honor of FlipBizcut
|| Mod: The Age of Crusades
achilleas
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 11:11 AM EDT (US)     15 / 83       
"Though after i exctract the files and edit them how do i put them back? :P
You can't, but shouldn't need to - if you extract e.g. "Art\ui\ingame\ingame_ui_01.ddt" from art2.bar and edit it, then you can copy it into <game installation location>\art\ui\ingame\ and the game will use it instead of the one in the BAR."


I extracted the file SpanishSFGatherFruit.wav from Sound.bar, edited it and put the edited file in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires III Trial\Sound\ and the game still uses the one in the .bar file.


Also have u noticed the Male and Female settler voices although different, have the same file name.

[This message has been edited by achilleas (edited 09-09-2005 @ 11:16 AM).]

Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 11:57 AM EDT (US)     16 / 83       

Quote:

It would be very useful because sometimes you have to do the same thing over and over, for example when you create a texture.


Aha, that makes sense - I need to rewrite the converter's [lack of] interface to allow a TGA/BMP choice anyway, so I'll add a "repeat last" button to that.

Quote:

is it possible to edit things like fountains (I don't know if they are included) but I mean the sfx things I think they are called. Like fire etc.?


Like particle effects? Art1.bar has files like forest_fire.particle.xmb, which you can convert into XML (named forest_fire.particle, but you can use a normal text/XML editor to edit them).

Quote:

I extracted the file SpanishSFGatherFruit.wav from Sound.bar, edited it and put the edited file in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires III Trial\Sound\ and the game still uses the one in the .bar file.


Hmm... If I do exactly that, and tell a Spanish female settler to gather fruit, it plays my edited sound - I can't think why it wouldn't work for you

Quote:

have u noticed the Male and Female settler voices although different, have the same file name.


Like SpanishSFGatherFruit.wav vs SpanishSMGatherFruit.wav? They look like different names to me
AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 09-09-05 12:12 PM EDT (US)     17 / 83       

Quote:

Aha, that makes sense - I need to rewrite the converter's interface to allow a TGA/BMP choice anyway, so I'll add a "repeat last" button to that.


Great ! Place that button directly in the "top-level" UI of the Converter (I mean don't hide it in any sub-menus or so), because then we'd only need one click, and that'd be really great .

Oh, and that button would of course mean that the operation overrides the last result.

[This message has been edited by Grün (edited 09-09-2005 @ 12:14 PM).]

Argalius
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 02:20 PM EDT (US)     18 / 83       

Quote:

Like particle effects? Art1.bar has files like forest_fire.particle.xmb, which you can convert into XML (named forest_fire.particle, but you can use a normal text/XML editor to edit them).


Yes, I meant paricle effects, but I can't really use the XML file, I want to be able to edit the animation itself... (or is that just impossible...)

And I just found out that EVERY models is a .gr2, which is bad really... (not for quality, but modding it is). So getting a .3ds (or something) to .gr2 is high priority I think.

And another question, is it just me or is there one model for every unit and the animations are then made with bones or something? But then again, where are the bones stored also the .gr2?


|| argalius.elpea.net
|| Cherub at AoE3H
|| In honor of FlipBizcut
|| Mod: The Age of Crusades
nate825
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 02:55 PM EDT (US)     19 / 83       
Great job on the AoE3Ed Ykkrosh! I have a question though. I extracted the ages.xml.xmb and edited it, but when I put my edited copy into the data folder and ran the game, it brought up an error that said "Initialization Failed". What could be the problem?

[This message has been edited by nate825 (edited 09-09-2005 @ 03:14 PM).]

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 09-09-05 03:23 PM EDT (US)     20 / 83       
You didn't edit it correctly .
Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 03:40 PM EDT (US)     21 / 83       

Quote:

Yes, I meant paricle effects, but I can't really use the XML file, I want to be able to edit the animation itself


Assuming I'm not misunderstanding, the particle animation is defined by those XML files - it contains all the information about number of particles, initial velocity, forces, etc, and the actual motion of the particles is calculated at run-time by the game.

Quote:

is it just me or is there one model for every unit and the animations are then made with bones or something? But then again, where are the bones stored also the .gr2?


Some .gr2 files store just the object's mesh and its bone structure; other files store just animations. (The Granny Viewer lets you load several files, so you can open one model file and several animation files and then play all the animations.)
Some animations (like human_death_generic_a.gr2) are shared between lots of models, so there's not always a pair of files per unit; but everything except for static objects (like buildings (except the collapsing versions)) seems to use at least two files (one for mesh, one for animation).

They're a bit complicated, but at least I can load .gr2 meshes into 3ds max:

which looks reasonably nice

Quote:

"Initialization Failed"


Perhaps you made invalid changes? It may be worth trying it without editing anything, just extracting the .xmb then converting to .xml and back again. If that still fails, it's my fault
achilleas
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 03:44 PM EDT (US)     22 / 83       
oops, am sorry, must visit a doctor :S
nate825
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 04:07 PM EDT (US)     23 / 83       
I tried it without editing anything and it worked. So then it must of been something I did, like puting a number in the wrong place. I'll work with it.
The_Assimilator
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 04:26 PM EDT (US)     24 / 83       

Quote:

They're a bit complicated, but at least I can load .gr2 meshes into 3ds max:

3DS opens Granny files????!!!!

And here i am with perthetic Gmax.

A couple of other questions:

1. Whats the other type of animation file and where is it? Render.bar or Art.bar1/2/3? And Can we edit them?

2. It seems that the anim files are now .xmb/xml, not the standard .txt files were used to. Where are they? I looked through the data.bar but couldn't find them.

Ykkrosh
Skirmisher
posted 09-09-05 05:14 PM EDT (US)     25 / 83       

Quote:

3DS opens Granny files?


It doesn't - I just converted the .gr2 into a MAXScript file that builds the mesh inside 3ds max (and that would work just as well in gmax)

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?)
They're probably less human-readable than AoM's animation files, but they should be possible to edit anyway.
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