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The Modder Resource Centre - Updated!


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#1 berelinde

berelinde

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 04:13 PM

The Modder's Resource Centre


A. Essential Tools and Information

WeiDU: The most widely accepted tool for compiling game dialogue, patching strings and scripts, modifying and extending and altering in-game text files for IE-based (Infinity Engine) games, as written and provided by Westley Weimer. Most mods today use "WeiDU installations", so this is a must-have. There is also a version available for the Macintosh OS and Linux.

While WeiDU is indispensible for modders, a few additional tools are available to make specific applications more user-friendly.
  • Text Editors: Text editors enable the modder to edit raw game text files or write mod text files, e.g. D and BAF files. Notepad is a text editor, as is Text Pad and VIM. ConTEXT and Crimson Editor are other text editors that have useful WeiDU highlighters available.

    ConTEXT WeiDU highlighters: ConTEXT supports "file-format highlighters" designed specifically for WeiDU. These highlighters, designed by Idobek, are available from the WeiDU site or from the Gibberlings 3.

    Crimson Editor WeiDU highlighters: Crimson Editor supports "file-format highlighters" designed specifically for WeiDU. These highlighters, designed by cmorgan based on Idobek's work with ConTEXT highlighters, are available from the Gibberlings 3.

  • DLTCEP: This is a graphic user interface (GUI) for WeiDU (originally written by the Dragonlance TC team) which also acts as a game file editor and browser for all IE games. A beta version is available here, and the discussion forum is located at the Gibberlings 3. Example uses for DLTCEP: making a CRE, modifying an item, obtaining map coordinates.

  • Near Infinity: Originally created and developed by Jon Olav Hauglid, now maintained by devSin, this is a combination file editor/browser for all IE games, which operates in a Java Runtime environment.

  • Infinity Explorer: Written by Dmitry Jemerov, and again applicable to all IE games, this is a file browser. Although it lacks any file editing facilities, a lot of people prefer Infinity Explorer for browsing dialogues.

  • GameApps: GameApps contains a number of useful tools written by Theo de Moree, know to many as TheoTeamBG. Aminy these tools, you will most notably find the Infinity Engine Tileset Manager useful for creating areas, and utilities for file resource conversion, such as MOS2BMP and TIS2BMP.

  • IEEP - Infinity Engine Editor Pro: Although this tool has now been surpassed by DLTCEP this is still a tool that those new to modding might wish to take a look at. It has several utilities merged into the one application such as spell making, store making and item making. This tool does need VB6 drivers installed to make it work. VB6 can be downloaded here.

  • Shadowkeeper: a commonly used savegame/character file editor.
B. Essential Game File Information

There is a definitive source for this - the IESDP (Infinity Engine Structures Description Project) site.

The site itself describes this as "an effort to research the workings of the Bioware Infinity Engine®, and act as a collective resource for those interested in such workings". It is essentially as full a listing of the contents and structure of Infinity Engine files as exists anywhere. IESDP is a site dedicated to explaining the Infinity Engine from a modders/developers point of view. It has been around in various incarnations for several years, and has lots of information on almost everything, from scripting triggers/actions to file formats, to area filename lists, and more besides. You can download the contents of the IESDP project from the website, or use the site itself as a reference point.

IESDP also has its own FORUM. Igi is its current maintainer.

C. Graphical Editors and Tools
  • The GIMP: An open source graphic editor, similar to Adobe Photoshop. Unlike MSPaint, Gimp is capable of working with layers and animations, and as such is priceless for a modder who wants to add new graphics to the game.
    Note: Don´t forget to download its runtime environment package on the same site, prior to first installation.

  • Other proprietary editors include Photoshop products, among others.

  • IETME: IETME stands for Infinity Engine Tileset Map Editor. IETME allows for graphical creation of areas, from pre-set tiles. Area creation includes door, containers, wallgroups, spawn points and overlays.

  • BAM Workshop: Bam Workshop 1 is a graphics program, for editing and creating BAM files. Please note that v1.1.0.7 is considered more stable.
D. Sound Editors and Tools
  • Audacity: This is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds, and is extremely useful when recording custom sounds for mods. It can import/export WAV, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 files, and many more sound formats, and enables easy playback and recording/editing.

  • Ogg Vorbis: This is free, open source software that allows you to compress and decompress OGG files.

  • acm2wav: A small but very useful program that converts BG music *.acm files to wave (.wav) format so that they can be played/edited in any proprietary sound editor.
E. Additional Resources
  • Infinity Engine Modding Resources wiki article: Hints, tips, guides, code examples and more.
  • PocketPlane Modlist and Links: fairly current listing of mods, tools, and resources.

  • Modder Prefix Registry: Modders can register their prefixes to minimize chances of conflicts with other mods. Maintained by the Blackwyrm Lair.

  • NiGHTMARE's Quest and Storyline Altering Modlist: Modders can check here to find out what mods are already altering quests or the main storyline of BG2.

    Any serious modder wants to know if his/her idea has been included already in existing mods. NiGHTMARE, in a commendable attempt to prevent this, has been compiling a list of mod content which could potentially interfere or overlap with another. The sorts of things NiGHTMARE has in mind is:
    • Expansion or alteration of an existing quest/story (e.g. betraying Renal)
    • New quest/storyline which provides an alternative to an existing quest/story (e.g. a new route to Brynnlaw)
    • New quest/story which involves existing BG2 characters (e.g. the kidnapping of Aran Linvail's daughter)
    • New quest/story which involves characters from pnp (e.g the Council of Six)
    • Anything else quest/story related that seems likely to be repeated by another mod
    NiGHTMARE requests that people email him with this kind of information at nick@frad.org. His current list (which contains SPOILERS for other mods) can be found here.
  • World Transition Project: Community Assets provide animations, soundtracks, areas and tilesets from several CRPGs for download. Initiated by Chevar, it appears to be maintained by Sir-Kill.

  • Forgotten Realms Timeline: This tool might be useful in placing certain FR events in context. Compiled by Vilkacis.
F. Tutorials

There are many tutorials available for different elements of IE modding - and many different collated index threads for them as well. The sole purpose of this list is to provide links to the locations of these tutorial sites, and index threads, where avaialable. The tutorials provide a broad range of support for modders with diverse interests. Each user is encouraged to explore the linked pages, and find the tutorial best suited to his or her needs.Recommended Tutorials for New and Aspiring ModdersG. Communities

IE Modding Communities provide valuable support, encouragement, and advice for modders, beginner or experienced alike. Here are a few of the IE Modding and Gaming Communities on the Internet.

This list is provided for convenience, and is not comprehensive. A more complete listing, with summaries for each link, can be found at the Pocket Plane Group.H. RSS

RSS is a new way to deliver live content and keep the IE community updated with the latest news and events. This is the result of the successful collaboration of many IE modding sites to provide the Infinity Engine Modding News feed. For more information on RSS itself, go here. You will need an RSS reader, although Mozilla Firefox has one inbuilt.

Useful information from Gibberlings Three concerning RSS and its use can be found at:
Infinity Engine Modding News
What the hell is RSS anyway?

"Imagination is given to man to console him for what he is not; a sense of humor, for what he is." - Oscar Wilde

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#2 berelinde

berelinde

    Troublemaker

  • Modder
  • 4916 posts

Posted 20 October 2007 - 04:16 PM

Shed's original Modder's Resource Centre was becoming a bit out of date, so rather than subject it to a series of edits, it's just been unpinned. It can still be found here.

"Imagination is given to man to console him for what he is not; a sense of humor, for what he is." - Oscar Wilde

berelinde's mods
TolkienAcrossTheWater website
TolkienAcrossTheWater Forum