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#580593 Quick question about editing .tra files

Posted by cmorgan on 26 August 2015 - 10:23 AM in Mega Mod Help

You need to pay attention to encoding (ascii for regular non-EE games), and avoid using MS Word/markup; the best way to avoid having things mess up .tra files is to edit them with a code editor like Notepad++, JEdit, Crimson, etcetera.

#580441 NearInfinity

Posted by cmorgan on 11 August 2015 - 03:16 PM in IE Modding Tools

Heh! (By the way, thank you for expanding this tool - it is greatly appreciated. Things like the dialog tree structure, the ability to work on legacy BG all the way through BG2:EE, etc - I almost never use the actual editing tools, but just the ability to look at what is there and see how it is constructed, finding offsets, etc. - I have found it easier and easier to use to solve what I am trying to solve. So thank you!)

#580240 Love talk guidelines

Posted by cmorgan on 07 August 2015 - 11:01 AM in IE Help

I have a whole forum as a "blogging the code" exploration here: http://gibberlings3....p?showforum=159 but it turns out I should probably put up some kind of index if it is going to be useful other than through standard googling for specific issues. There are also tons of specific topic tutorials here, at www.gibberlings3.net, and at pocketplane.net.


Branwen (Kulyok's, not Wounded Lion's) is coded with comments in the code that explain what is going on. Several other mods use the same kind of detailed commenting, but hers gives simple clear comments aimed at beginning modders; not all of them do. Mine tend to be overly wordy; aVENGER_RR's Rogue Rebalancing has very detailed commenting, but not expanded on - basically labels what is changing, not necessarily why/what. Jastey's has comments that can help, but they tend to be in German :)


Numbers are way less important than you are weighting. Keto has no real romance track, and I think less than the number of friend talks you are talking about, and she is incredibly memorable. If you have a story arc for your romance that makes sense, that will give you a sense of how many talks you want to write. Chances are, "less is more, then expand" will be more helpful to you. (Most mod NPCs have significantly more talks and ith much more content than either the Canonical BioWare™ or BeamDog™ characters).


Example (plot points) :


Lady Chatterly and PC Romance Track

[INITIAL INTEREST] 1. you are interesting.

[DEVELOPMENT]    2. I wonder why you are interesting... you are not my usual type.

                                3. Hey, do you find me interesting?

                                4. Why do you find me interesting?

[CHOICE TO COMMIT TO ROMANCE] 5. Who else do you find interesting, and can I chop them up into little pieces and feed them to the fishes?

{beak point if npc is not interested in multiromance or pc says no then exit plot}

[DEVELOPMENT]     6. So, we are together. What do you think of things?

                                 7. I think I love you.

[RESOLUTION]         8. I am going to rock your world now.

[CODA]                     9. That was fun. I am glad we are together.



Some folks write the story, then try to turn it into a mod - others see a series of conversations (either sequential or non-sequential) with a goal of exploring either the NPC's or PC's backstory - but the closest kind of writing that I have found is basically a big "choose your own adventure" book, where the story has plot points like a screenplay, but at the end of the scene the reader is asked to do somehthing that sends them to a different series of plot points.



I run down the basics of The Great Vampire Caper in http://gibberlings3....showtopic=17039 . But to tell you the truth, the best way to really learn what is going on is to look at how several (not 1 - you want 5 or 6) mods handle it, starting with NI or DLCTEP and the Anomen or Jaheira files.

#580179 Continuous Jaheira

Posted by cmorgan on 05 August 2015 - 06:04 AM in BGT-WeiDU

tl; dr - Definitely not trolling - apt analysis. Direct parallel - Shep vs <CHARNAME>. They even have the same plot-mandtory "game over on player1 death" - a pretty universal BioWare concept, and one of the few things that give players some sense of actual consequence for actions.



the "too long" part -


ME[1,2,3], DAO, etc. have one basic premise that the player is at the center of the game. In ME[1,2,3] a regular combat can only end in a reload by a player death; your "team" can die in combat and then be up and ok, but if Shep/FemShep dies, reload is prompted. There, like in BG, is patently silly to have Player1 replaced by an in-game NPC. For BG, they are not the Bhaalspawn... in game terms, in plot term, and in story terms, Player1 survivies to fulfill destiny, or the game is pointless - "Jaheria has a hidden secret - she is actually Neo/Shephard/Bhallspawn, and the game up until this point is really a trick!" [The Dallas TV show syndrome - recast an entire season as a dream so that the plot can actually continue after the writers have written themselves into an untenable situation]. The only way it makes sense is if the player1 situation can be reolved at the end of combat with ressurection - but even then, the whole point is that the essence of Bhaal is *released by killing a bhaalspawn*. So no matter how you justify it, you can't have player1 die in BG/SoA/ToB.


BUT in ME[1,2 and to an extremely limited extent 3] if a quest requires a "joinable" NPC or a plot "non-joinable" NPC death, the game consequences are carried through with a clone of the bit-player's plot, a new quest giver, and a slight tweak to the existing sub-plot. This means that the overall gist of the game is relatively immune from Plaer Choice™. It means that the player is re-cast from the lead in an interactive movie, to a script director in an interactive movie. The actor's choices have consequences for the way the story plays out, but the same basic "scenery" elements ae brought to play for each and every actor in places where player choice matters long-term; "forced choice points" that are needed to advance the story remain in play even if the player does something like wipe out a plot-needed character.


SO, the crux of the matter is why change the story elements that were put into place in the first place. We modders have answered that question -  because the ruleset is not a satisfactory replication of 2E rules; because there are bugs that were never addressed; because there is a subplot or experience that will enhance the regular story; because the modder in question feels the self-empowering need to insert their demi-god MarySue/Stu and have a story where Harry Potter is a bit-player foil to Ron or Hermione rather than Harry; because the game world needs more scenery and differnt ways of interaction; even simply "because we can". But from a storytelling standpoint, the story can only be warped and changed in specific ways before it is not the story, but a completely new one. We are not talking about just massive hi-jacking of plot like Saerileth and Chloe, where the Goddesses are the real players and "player1" is basically along for the ride left to marvel in the wonder that is a 15 year old etra-planar Paladin - we are talking about changing an *imperative to plot development* element, because we can.


So, if you completely rewrite the story plot points removing Khalid's death, you now have a completely different movie for Jaheira, and any other mod that expects that event to occur (which is any story mod out there - unless it is a fixpack or ruleset or item mod, it expects that point). Ditto Imoen's involvement. Doable? Probably - with enough time and effort, you could even rewrite BG to have a completely different cast of characters, and an altered storyline that has no Bhaalspawn plot at all. You could even use the basic engine and set up a completely different game - AND WE HAVE!! "Total Conversions" like Classic Adventures!


Is that a bad thing, that we technically can completely change the experience and plot and redirect atention from individual NPC story development in favor of a "Jaheria dies and is replaced by her Twin Sister Aheiraj, but she is clobbered so a random blue cloaked NPC named Heiraja steps in..."? Well, for some players, it is completely ridiculous, and they would never play a mod that warped the core experience of the game that way. (By the way, that same statement has been used about the Fixpack, BGT, and even adding NPC mods to an install). For other players, it would be the best thing since Betty White (she came along before Sliced Bread, so the old catchphrase needs updating).


In this day and age of http://www.goodreads...ritten-classics "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", and the lack of a large and engaged modder base, it is hard to say no to any idea in concept. So if a modder really wants to rewrite the game this way, it is their time and energy, and the reward will be the time and energy spent and the addition to their own game. After all, ME is still a playable popular game, even though they "cheat" by dumping individual NPC development and backstory and importance by creating


{ J aheria | A heiraj |  H eiraja | E irajah | I rajahe | R ajahei | A jaheir  - creeeeepyyyyy! :)


For me, I'd rather play with well-developed new NPCs, or new quests that relate to the main plot. But I am not you. I think it is tough put a value judgement on these things any more.

#580154 BiG World Setup (an attempt to update the program)

Posted by cmorgan on 04 August 2015 - 09:25 AM in Mega Mod Help

OK, all fixes integrated, including Roxanne's finding of some problems with the final solar talk - all credit for the update goes to Argent77. The official v7 of Tyris Flare is now up in the regular downloads section at G3 for Windows, OSX., and linux. Since IE Newsfeed is still messed up, here is the link for the official stuff:



G3's Tyris Flare NPC , by Grim Squeaker, has been updated by Argent77, and is now available for your BG2:SoA, BG2:ToB, BGT, and BG2:EE games. Meet Tyris Flare, a red-haired amazon who can kick ass and hurl fire! Sound familiar? That's because she used be in Golden Axe! But now she's lost in the Umar Hills and looking for the love of a good (or bad) Bhaalspawn. This latest version of Tyris has a couple of miscellaneous fixes, updates WeiDU, and is now available for Linux and for install on BG2:EE thanks to Argent77. Enjoy.




I tested it on Windows 10 using BG2:EE. No worries. Cool stuff.

#580124 Solafein death variable search - besides SOLA

Posted by cmorgan on 03 August 2015 - 02:47 PM in IE Help

That sounds right - not old skool "Best Practice", where you try not to take the top of the stack in favor of vanilla, but you are doing what amounts to a mod (Sandrah) of a mod (whatever npc mod interacted with) of a mod (BGT) of a mod (Mega/BiG/BWP) of a game, so you have to get creative :)

#580120 Solafein death variable search - besides SOLA

Posted by cmorgan on 03 August 2015 - 01:05 PM in IE Help

Nope, no worries - it is on topic, as it is dealing with the various incarnations of Solaufein, and dealing with them!


The simplest fix for detecting what we want to add to is MOD_IS_INSTALLED. It does expect the mod folder and requested component to remain stable, which *usually* doesn't change over time, but for most mods and modders this is a great way to go. For Crossmod Banter Pack, we are using it to detect materials that have no unique materials to detect, extending existing canonical NPCs without adding something unique and unchangeable





Unfortunately, if multiple mods are expected to be included/detected/screened out, that means multiple OR and ELSE statements. So we retain old skool "unique items" or "unique .cres" but mostly "do both the dialogue files we add content to both exist", and rely on the banter engine to not call those banters as valid, as it expects the InParty and CD_S_NV to both be true in oder to fire the banter.


So... the only condition under which this might be a problem for another mod is if the added (useless) banters interfere with weighted states in that file. I took a look, and we have no problems. If someone installs a future joinable NPC with "sola" or "solaufein" using the SOLA.dlg we are fine because we do what Roxanne does: check for a banter file and create it if it doesn't exist, and add all our content to that one - if it exists, we toss ours on unweighted. Suprisingly, the only mod that might may need to keep an eye out for install orders is... Roxanne's! :shifty: Crossmod is usually a last-after-all-npcs, but Sandrah NPC is a "last of the last of all mods added onto a Mega/BWP install".  I don't have a BWP installed right now that even remotely covers the contents in your mod, Roxanne, and my bet is there will still be no issue, but just to check, you might want to peek at the file. Check to see what the weighting is - if it is just random banters you are adding, nothing matters at all, but if you are expecting a quest related dialog being fired off the Baner file instead of the Joined file, then that might be something to look at.

At least you know which mod might be doing something in that file. Worst case scenario, you just weight your materials adding to the banter file to put them at the top of the stack, and make sure thy are fully conditioned, and you are all good.

#580088 Solafein death variable search - besides SOLA

Posted by cmorgan on 02 August 2015 - 05:39 AM in IE Help

Well, good information and good ideas. I will see what we can do, but the easy answer is not to worry too much about it. The banters are set to fire if the associated death var returns true for both InParty and CD_S_NV. The OCD in me wants to fix this, but the realist in me says do due diligence and then move on. This npc and Drizzt are the only ones that have this king of trouble- both popular as characters and some parts/mods coded before we had a community approach.

#580057 Solafein death variable search - besides SOLA

Posted by cmorgan on 01 August 2015 - 07:04 AM in IE Help

Thanks - I will go take a look!

#580043 Continuous Jaheira

Posted by cmorgan on 31 July 2015 - 05:59 PM in BGT-WeiDU

Well, to each their own choice :) Perhaps I should restate -


"for the past 10+ years, modders have worked with and added to BG, SoA, and ToB assuming that 1. parties are 6 (5+PC), Imoen is mandatory for BG2 plotline, The Game Ends When PC Dies, Many Players Divide NPC Pairs, Sarevok Is A Bad Guy, and Khalid and Dynaheir are toast at the beginning of BG2 - so they have written their plots, banters, side commentaries, extensions, quests, and all content related materials with that in mind. If you are creating these new things, you are expecting other mods to look silly while yours makes sense". For most things, modders can adjust pretty easily - 10 NPCs in a party, or stuff like that - extensions of existing content. Other stuff, like things that expect Jaheira to be a widow in BG2, mean comprehensive rewrites of both canonical and mod-added content, and ... heh.


Again, I am not saying "don't do this" - I am saying that if you want to erase all the crazy plot holes, it is like chasing your tail. An endless loop.


Your tail to chase, of course - and it can be a lot of fun doing things like creating "Continuous Jaheria" or fixing and making a better "Continuous Imoen", making the game keep going after Player1 has dies (that *really* screws with mod-added NPC's, as there is no DV check for the Player1D stuff - unles the trick is to basically min-hp Player1 and keep him/her technically "alive" while showing him as dead. I wonder what happens when a PID is triggered by a shell-scripted NPC as Player1? Hmmm.... that sounds like a fun thing to test out...)

#580028 Continuous Jaheira

Posted by cmorgan on 31 July 2015 - 06:45 AM in BGT-WeiDU

It is FR. Someone comes along and raises the dead. Tazok, anyone? Keeping Yoshimo mod? Smiling Imp's Joinable BG1 NPC's in BG2? Lots of the mod-added NPCs are built around the unchangeable plot points by necessity as well as by choice. But players are very used to the inconsitencies.


The reason to not deal with this is because you have to entirely rewrite BG2 if you try to keep internal consistency between the games reflecting each possible ending that a player could generate. The most obvious one is Imoen. Some players execute her almost immediately in BG1. So... rewrite BG2... without Imoen. And break internal consistency with all of the NPC and romance mods out there, because if there are two absolutes in BG2, it is that Player1 will survive until the end (game over on Player1 death causes reload to complete the story) and Imoen is a permanent part of the BG2 plot.


I'm not saying that Vlad's idea isn't a good one, a logical one - I am saying there is a reason why most folks accept the plot holes, because this is a fantasy that requires a structural plotline.


And from a functional standpoint, the two most commonly reported player activities are 1. multi-romancing and 2. walking Khalid (or any member of a pair) into a building while the rest of the party waits outside, dropping him, and going outside, so that the regular "pairs are inseparable" triggers fail, so that they get the party slot opened and still keep the one member of the pair they want.


Consider this - the real answer to the bhaalspawn saga is simple. Mellisan searches out each bhaalspawn, hires the Shadow Masks or another assassin's guild, sits back, and wins. Of course, the entore game would have ended in the first cutscene of BG... with the added image of a knife being stuck in the Armored Figure's back and him falling off the tower, too. We probably are better off creating more opportunities to allow players to justify the plot holes than try to fix them.

#580003 Looping Dialogue Problem in Watcher's Keep in ToB

Posted by cmorgan on 30 July 2015 - 05:27 AM in Mega Mod Help



This at first glance looks like the vanilla .dlg - I will go recheck. But for some reason  


IF ~Global("HistoryTalk","GLOBAL",0)~ THEN REPLY #62788 /* ~Fair enough.  But how did you get here in the first place?~ */ DO ~SetGlobal("HistoryTalk","GLOBAL",1)
~ GOTO 5


is either not setting the global, or not registering the global in the next pass through the state. Modders put several blocks between a global set inside a dialog and referencing that global in the same dialog for that reason - and usually avoid the problem by either using EXTERN to another file or just not referencing the global inside the same dialog.


I... don't know offhand what would cause a global like this not to eventually set and register...


...unless the .bat is picking up the original file and not the interjected-into file in override.

#579975 Solafein death variable search - besides SOLA

Posted by cmorgan on 29 July 2015 - 08:10 AM in IE Help

Looks great!
Side note - Jastey's Solaufein is German-only, and uses C#Solaufein as a dv, but most importantly has independent banter file and J/P/X files, so no worries on that one. Her mod will be independent of the multiple attempts to put S in the game.
I actually just moved our code to behave more like yours.

You don't need the extra stuff for SoA only installs, because yours requires ToB to be installed, so you are all good :)

#579968 Solafein death variable search - besides SOLA

Posted by cmorgan on 29 July 2015 - 04:21 AM in IE Help

Ah, got it.. thank you - so the Solafein is probably a typo; check against the UDSOLA[01-02]. I will poke Jasty and see what she says/has dealing with Solaufein as well, thanks!
I can help on the banter file; Crossmod Banter Pack builds and adds the banter file if it doesn't exist
As Solaufein was the first (or one of the first) mods it has approaches that were based on existing knowledge and workarounds, things for him are decidedly "non-standard". I will look at the code, but I bet it will be fine to add the banter to either file; the conditions to trigger probably do need to be for either SOLA or SOLAUFEIN (hence the OR(2))
// Giving Solaufein a banter file
		IF ~25FILE~

PRINT @8 /* Adding Solaufein's SoA banter file... */
APPEND_OUTER ~crossmodbg2/crossmod_0_debug.log~ ~Adding Solaufein's SoA banter file...~
<<<<<<<< CrossmodBG2/Inlined/BSOLA.d
COMPILE ~CrossmodBG2/Inlined/BSOLA.d~
As yours is a "last in install order" mod too, Roxanne, you could modify that code and use the banter file; it only builds the banter file if it doesn't already exist.

It also confirms that we only know of two dvs for this NPC: may need to split that APPEND into two lines...

#579951 Solafein death variable search - besides SOLA

Posted by cmorgan on 28 July 2015 - 08:46 PM in IE Help

Ok, I am trying to run down what mods deal with Solaufein as a joinable NPC.

Standard Weimer Solaufein and jolyth's Solaufein Flirt Pack use "SOLA" as the DV. But I am seeing both Solafein and Solaufein used in existing mods as death vars as well; usually with an OR(2) to catch both sola and the alternate.

Does anyone know what other Sola mods there are out there that might use dv's other than SOLA?

#579846 BiG World Setup (an attempt to update the program)

Posted by cmorgan on 26 July 2015 - 04:34 PM in Mega Mod Help

This is what happens when you are an old man - You are Tower of Deception, right? Good mod!

#579835 BiG World Setup (an attempt to update the program)

Posted by cmorgan on 26 July 2015 - 12:16 PM in Mega Mod Help



I am having memory problems - I just made Vlad into the wrong dude - my apologies - between this and swapping Safana with Shar-Teel this morning, i am having a red letter day - going to stop pontificating and go back to my own stuff and mess that up instead :D


*  "conceptual" incompatibility is a real thing, so a good use of even tools like this is to pick and choose smaller groups of mods that work to form a cohesive game rather than trying for everything all at once.




* on both "technical" and "conceptual" compatibility, the modder is the one who should be making the choice. It is their content that they are letting other folks use.


We have different approaches on that last one - I say "if it was created solely by me take it and use it how you want because the fun was in creating it", and he is specifically asking that in order for someone to use his mod, he would like "payment" in the form of direct feedback.


I say that is modder choice. So for whatever reasons he cites, I say don't include it as a "standard" mod. People who get the mod from him can add it as an expert mod if they have gotten a copy from him. For the same reason, I really hope you folks don't include Improved Anvil Lite - that is an unauthorized use of someone else's work.


I think there is a solution, though it is bound to make Lollorian's life hell - have an incompatability check that warns a user that they can't install both the "Currently Available" NeJ2 (the most stable and technically compatible old version) and the "private reserve" one. Then just support the one that you choose, Lollorian.


Hey - I am very supportive of what you folks are doing, because I think you are having fun and opening up content to new folks. You are certainly providing feedback and bug reports to modders, which is awesome - you are adding language support - the list of things that are positive with this are HUGE.


But just so you know - modders in general incredibly wary about efforts like this. Lol had to basically rebuild Ninde's ending to tie in with TDD. In the old days, doing that to someone else's work without permission of the respective authors would result in a serious flame war - and get you perma-kicked off of SHS, G3, and PPG to boot. "You don't mess with someone else's work - only with BioWare™ stuff" is the Big Iron Curtain in the i.e. community - and the new BeamDog forums codified that into this next generation of modding here : https://forums.beamd...opyright#latest . The person who decides what is and isn't "messing with their work" is... the modder who created it. Not the folks using it - the person who wrote it.


So when folks are working and a modder asks for specific handling of their material, it really is good form to stick to what they want. All a user has to do is ask, and provide feedback. Sounds like a very cheap return for over a decade of someone else's sweat, frustration, and hard work. 


Edit: another good thing that has come out of all of this BWP/Mega./Multi/BWS/MonsterMash stuff is a much larger set of known mods that do dthe same thing. So if Vlad does that "Keldorn Third Path" thing, we will have Saerileth, Berelinde's Paladin third path, the standard ones, and another Keldorn pathway. Sounds like fun to me, but I think Lollorian may have just lost half of his hair!

#579811 BiG World Setup (an attempt to update the program)

Posted by cmorgan on 26 July 2015 - 06:37 AM in Mega Mod Help

Check those puppies carefully, Lollorian, before going on - I remember there being some serious overwriting of resources. Pretty much TCs. The newest versions may have solved some of that. I suggest dropping the NeJ biffing mod completely - that was designed for a time when Generalized Biffing did not exist, and you don't want a mod trying to compress into .bif in the middle of a mega install...

#579752 General discussion

Posted by cmorgan on 24 July 2015 - 10:00 PM in Almateria's Restoration Project


#579717 The 'official' BWP Fixpack thread

Posted by cmorgan on 24 July 2015 - 05:18 AM in Mega Mod Help

Nice work on the Ninde/TDD dialogue stuff - rebuilding the TDD within her file and then looping back to s21 is a workable solution. I would never have tried to reconcile two very different approaches this way, but things look good - just may need to drop a line to the Ninde forum to make sure no one adds this as a fix for Ninde's files, as without TDD you are right - things will not  go so well if TDD is not istalled :)

#579490 NearInfinity

Posted by cmorgan on 18 July 2015 - 03:47 AM in IE Modding Tools

Not for this user. I appreciate having a full-featured, actively maintained and extended tool. But then again I run an i7 with 12GB ram.

#579425 State of the BG2 mod

Posted by cmorgan on 16 July 2015 - 01:08 PM in Valerie

My (useless) two cp is write what feels right for your character, and if your concept has changed, mercilessly slash anything you want and leave it cold and dead on the cutting room floor. All the film folks do tons of footage that never sees the light of day, novelists write, scrap, and rewrite chapters and scenes - even fanfic writers revise and edit (sometimes).


You don't lose anything by writing something and not putting it out for other folks. You gain something by having fun writing. Whenever you think your NPC is experienced enough or is smart enough to realize hanging out with the potential Next God Of Murder is a bad idea, shut that puppy down hard and *walk* *away*.


You can always add content back in or repurpose/rewrite it for v2, if you really like the story.

#579390 Imoen Bladesinger

Posted by cmorgan on 15 July 2015 - 07:44 PM in BGT-WeiDU

TU is Turambar's prefix, according to the Community Modder Prefix list al BWL. So most likely it is from his/her tweaks and fixes mod, possibly for NTotSC. I think that is an SHS mod, but I am not sure. It might be in the misc mods section.

#579382 State of the BG2 mod

Posted by cmorgan on 15 July 2015 - 04:33 PM in Valerie

Fiann speaks for a whole ton of folks out there, I bet... lots of mods with all that stuff. Not so many for folks who just want to play the game and have a simple companion :) Glad to see you are back; hope you have some fun writing!

#579271 Crossmod install failure with Ajantis and Tsujatha

Posted by cmorgan on 13 July 2015 - 03:56 PM in Faren

Also, let me know if you both want this moved to Crossmod. I am probably moving most of my stuff into that work, as it is getting tougher to deal with multiple mods. (Any way of coding it so we don't have multiples of the same banter would be cool - if the globals set are the same, it means only one of them will play, so from a user standpoint there is no problem with one being installed by a legacy version and a second identical one being installed by Crossmod.. But from an "add a bunch of extra blocks to search through" load-the-engine point of view, less is more.)