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There are currently 55 users playing Freelancer on 46 servers.
May. 17, 2022

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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Beginner tutorial to Freelancer modding by SWAT_OP-R8R
What is changeable

How to install the SDK to enable easy editing of ini files (pre-decrypted)
How to use bini in order to decrypt and edit ini files
How to make a mod in flmm
How to make your mod into an flmod file for others to download and use
Which files contain what?

Finding the right entries for what you want in the files

What is changeable in this game???

You can change:
-The stats of ships
-The location where ships are sold
-The stats of equipment
-The location where what equipment is sold
-The location where wich commodity is sold for what price
-The location of bases, tradelanes, jumpgates etc.
-The Stats of asteroid fields, nebulas and similar stuff
-Patrols (who patrols where, new patrol pathes etc)
-Basically everything about the universe that is information
-Names and Info-text of stations, equiment etc. (You need Visual C or something similar to do this )
-You can add new ships, equipment, stations etc (everything mentioned above)
-3D models
-Textures
-Icons/graphics
-Missions
-Ingame cinematics
-Savegames
You can't change (yet):
-Character animations
-Ship collision boxes
-new effects
-Anything that is related to the actual game engine. We don't have the sourcecode of the game, so we can't change what is hardcoded.
-Random Missions - either new types or other
Don't be expecting us to teach you how to make a new storyline. You CERTAINLY need to be able to crawl before taking part in an olympic marathon!

So which files will I edit to do something then?

Well - once you have installed the SDK so that you can open files at will - then this may just help you. Sure is confusing and large - but you have to start figuring out things from now on. Modding does take a small amount of ability in the very least!:

Which files do what?

Equipment, weapons, commodities
equipment/weapons_equip.ini - this file contains all the raw data for weapons on how they fire, how much damage and stuff
equipment/weapons_good.ini - contains data on how they look in game, the price, and stuff (visible icons at dealer etc, price at dealer)
equipment/market_misc.ini - deals with selling weapons and equipment at the bases in game
equipment/st_equip.ini - shields and thrusters stats, regens, drain rates etc.
equipment/st_good.ini - goods file again, what is sold at bases, its kind of the package up. Links the weapon stats to the images and price you buy (same as for guns)
equipment/market_misc.ini - they are stated again here for selling
equipment/select_equip.ini - filled with an assortment of things, mainly this contains the info for commodities - like volume they take, what they are, information about them
equipment/goods.ini - contains the info on all commodities - like price, what is a good deal, what is a bad deal etc etc etc.

Ship Related

equipment/goods.ini also contains all info on ships prices, what they are sold with and more (called packages).
equipment/market_ships.ini - where ships are sold (upon which bases)
ships/shiparch.ini - contains all rough data on ships for stats, and links it to ships models and stuff
ships/loadouts.ini - contains all info on NPC ships loadouts for the game
ships/loadouts_special.ini - same but for capships etc
ships/loadouts_utility.ini - same but for the transports etc
Ships directory contains all ships models.

Systems and bases, and everything within!

universe/universe.ini - contains all base and systems references. ALL need to be declared here.
universe/systems_shortest_path.ini - links between systems and stuff - NEED to declare route in here to make jumpgates work
universe/shortest_legal_path.ini and shortest_illegal_path.ini - same again, but specific for jumpgates/jumpholes routes mainly
universe/systems folder - contains ALL systems folders which in turn contain system and base files.
solar/solararch.ini - contains data on all base models, and planet models in game. Basically anything in a system NOT a ship/star/nebula is in here. Asteroids aren't here either
solar/loadouts.ini - contains info on what base models have mounted and stuff, including weapon platforms
solar/asteroids/all files - contain info about the asteroid fields, contents, loot and more
solar/nebula/ same again, but about nebulas this time.
audio/contains the music and sound effects of the game.
missions/contains all files to do with encounters and NPC's for missions and normal game.
random missions/contains all info about random missions pay, loot and more stuff.
Missions/mbases.ini - contains information about NPC's on bases, including their names, whom they are etc, rumours (via ids numbers), secrets, bribes on offer, whether the NPC's/ The BASE give out missions, and the level of those missions

NPCs ships, missions and behaviours

missions/npcships.ini - contains information about the ships that the NPC's fly, linked directly towards the loadouts.ini file, and also the faction_prop.ini file. Basically - npcships.ini file links these files together for the faction_prop.ini file to use as "encounters" and stuff: Also holds the npc ships difficulty level.
Shiparch.ini
Loadouts.ini (or loadouts_special.ini etc)
pilots_population.ini
formations.ini
shipclass.ini

The others interlink kind of

missions/Empathy.ini file - contains info about how the factions react to YOU when u do mission for a faction etc, and shoot them/please them, as well as how all toehr factions respond to you doing it for one faction etc.
Missions/faction_props.ini file - contains info about the formations, names, voices, legallity, scanning of cargo as contraband/wanting it, ships to fly etc, and the factions names, how they are reffered to (voices) and more. EXTREMEMLY closely linked to NPCships.ini
missions/lootprops.ini - contains info about the drop rates of stuff by npcs
missions/news.ini - contains the ids links to text for bases as news items.
missions/ptough.ini - money and level area
missions/formations.ini - formations and their "design" - basicalyl the ships positions in formations, and where the player joins them

random missions folder:
rmlootinfo.ini - stuff dropped by npc's when killed in random misions
diff2money.ini - mission (random) payouts to difficulty levels
Killablesolars.ini - types of missions given out by the NPC factions. The ones with faction name appearing in the lines for them are giving that mission type. Don't worry if you don't understand, you gotta learn to walk before doing a marathon!
The rest you needn't worry about at this time. Its not important
Cockpits folder - contains all cockpits for ships - basically contains the turret cam info, and rotation speed etc.
Thats more than enough for 99% of modders.

To make systems, your universe folder contains the systems folders. each system has its own folder, along with the system file inside that folder.
So:
Universe/systems/li01/li01.ini ;contains information about liberty system New York
Universe/sytems/Rh01/Rh01.ini contains all systems inofmation for new berlin.
Okay, inside these folders (systems folders) they have a bases folder, whre the file for bases are contained. These files only contain links to the "rooms" of the base, which are contained inthe rooms folder (inside bases folder). The rooms foler contains links to the backgrounds, music played, character position (by points on the CMP for base) and other things. It also contains the links for the buttons inside the base etc.
Going backwards, the audio/sounds.ini contains the links to sound files (sound effects) for the game. The music.ini file contains the music links.
The FX folder contains the files that deal with the effects of stuff. The main effects.ini file deals with the weapons, wormholes etc etc etc.
Beam effects are the actual stuff SEEN in the game by the guns, but you MUST have them referenced inthe effects.ini file to work.
explosions.ini file is also in here, and obviously contains links to the effects for different types of explosions used in the game.

Posted on: 2011/4/12 10:30
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
Not too shy to talk
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Minimize mod Reload and Simplify error identification in mod dev

1. install freelancer

2. Install your WORKING mod with FLMM

3. Run a search on the Freelancer folder searching for filenames that include "flmmbak" and delete them (up to 8000+files or so).

4. Making a "mod-base":
Make a rar archive of the Freelancer folder now with your mod loaded inside, and drop it in a folder you call "my mod on Freelancer folder Reload".

5. Start making sub-mods by copying the parts of your mod that you wanna work on and setting them up in FLMM as small mods.

Now you can Reload your mod without having to install FL and without Re-FLMM'ing ur mod, just unzip the rar (or winzip) to replace the "microsoft games/ freelancer" folder when it gets corrupted.

Error checking is easier, just unload your sub-mod and check if it was creating the error

or make a sub mod replacing the part of your mod that you think is creating the error.

When you get to finish your mod paste the sub-mods onto ur Mod-base.

Admin sub-mods:
Make a mod of the Universe.ini where you replace all lines saying:
"visit = 0" with "visit = 1"
this makes all systems visible from start, you could name it "admin.show all systems" .

Remember to delete the Restart.file located here:
my games/Freelancer/acts/singleplayer
Allways delete this after loading mods.

SUB-MODS FOR THE WIN!!

Ras

Posted on: 2011/4/12 10:31
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
Not too shy to talk
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•Back to Good Modding practice
Windowed mode
Run FL in Windowed mode helps working on stuff while playing:
1- On your desktop right click on the freelancer shortcut and chose properties.
2- In the line "Target" just add " -w" after the command that's already there.
Its supposed to go like this:
"C:\Program files\Microsoft Games\Freelancer\EXE\Freelancer.exe" -w

Ras

Posted on: 2011/4/12 10:32
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Heres the Ini file Hierachies so u can see what influences what, this may all seem a bit complex but just go slow and start by modifying one little thing then the other and it will get easier...

Good luck and remember.......Patience....patience...patience oh and patience.

Ras

Attach file:



jpg  Ini file Hierachies by Rasauul.jpg (92.34 KB)
899_4da41ee3a7a6d.jpg 1193X812 px

Posted on: 2011/4/12 10:42
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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S'pose i better weigh in on this one.. lol

I only have one piece of advice and it comes from many years of tinkering inside this little game we all love..

"Be prepared to fail"

this don't mean you will.. or should.. just something you should have in your head when you start, Freelancer can throw some unforeseen things in your face.. alot & until your 100% comfortable with all your data tree's and overall structure of whats needed where you'll loose a fair whack of your sanity unless you.. prepare to fail first.. then when stuff works, great joy does it bring.. but when it don't your prepared to get stuck into "why" without the oppressive weight of failure hanging over your head (and sometimes seriously clouding your mind).

You've come along at a good time too... way more information is available these days than a few years ago, and some awesome extensions/hacks and other goodies are around as well.. truly a glorious age to mod Freelancer.

Best of luck

Posted on: 2011/4/12 12:14
Open in new window
http://freexlr.forumotion.net - FL-XLR MOD http://www.smfweb.com/forums/MERCHQ - [MERC]
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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It's been awhile since I've modded FL (getting back into it myself, actually, ) but I can agree with Xarian_Prime. To become better, you will first be broken. I remember many times booting FL only to have it either CTD immediately upon opening a new menu, or mid-game when I happened to actually do something. Makes you fear the CTD and cross-fingers.

But the more you fail, the more you learn. Yes, you learn with success too, but not in the same way. Learning when failing makes you more cautious and less code-happy until you gain what you consider enough confidence to dive into deeper ends, and from there, with confidence strapped to your belt you can achieve many things, .

Rather than purely listing my opinion on knowledge you need I will just give tips (albeit generic, still handy and from which I've learned):

Tip #1: Save a ton of tutorials and if some seem like they will fit in with your current mod, try to implement it. The more you implement things on the coding-side the more confidence you will get poking within FL's depths. There's quite a few here at The-Starport and there are more within their Freelancer Archived site (http://www.the-starport.net/archive/). From engine trails to making factions, try to archive anything and everything. Who knows how much longer the information will be around.

Tip #2: Rather than dive into a serious mod that you really want to make, make a mod you can use as a testbed. Try out tons of tutorials and see if you can get them working. As each works, implement into the mod you like. This helps avoid disillusionment and keeps your eventual goal alive, rather than having your ideal mod crashing constantly because of new, untested implementations.

Tip #3: Patience is a virtue. If you aren't patient, take breaks when your code isn't working (make a comment/file somewhere saying where you're at so you don't forget). Listen to music while modding to try and take some edge off, maybe. That way you are relaxed enough to tackle it again later, rather than getting so worked up that you throw in the towel.

Tip #4: Don't view failure as an issue. View it as a challenge, . Brainstorm ways to try and correct any issue, try them and cross them off as you go.

My post might not have been the most informative, but it's my limited insight into enjoying modding and hopefully it'll guide you to also enjoy it.

Posted on: 2011/4/12 13:47
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Quote:

Centurion_ wrote:
Lets say that I want all the systems gone, so no more New York or New Berlin or yet again Tokyo or London. How can I do that to have a 'clean and empty' universe in which I can test stuff? What do I need to delete (or modify)?

And can someone make me a brief list of what I need (in matter of tools) ?


Deleting all the systems shouldn't be so hard using Freelancer Explorer! Theres a special feature for that!

Posted on: 2011/4/12 14:25
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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And it's the best way to crash your mod.

DO NOT USE THAT FEATURE IN FREELANCER EXPLORER.

Posted on: 2011/4/12 15:22
"Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It's unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don't have to try."
-Peggy Noonan
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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since your planning what appears to be a Total Conversion one thing i would suggest you do is download a copy of a freelancer sdk either: 1.3 , 1.5, or JFLP sdk (they are all available in the downloads section of this site). These provide decompiled mostly clean and bug fixed ini files, and in the case of JFLP also includes decompiled THN scripts so that you can easily edit them in any text editor. JFLP also includes a few fixed/adjusted dll files as well.

something i always do also is create a fresh fl folder. what i mean is go to (typically): C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\

make a new Folder call it whatever you like EG: Freelancer-2. Copy everything from the Freelancer folder into this your new one. then useing one of the sdk's you downloaded extract it to your Freelancer folder overwriting any file when asked. then your:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Freelancer

install will be clean and have all the ini files human readable ready for you to build your mod.

The Freelancer-2 folder you created acts as a backup copy of your freelancer install just in case something untoward happens and you need to restore from it for some reason.

but before you start actually modding the game, start poking around the ini files, check them out to see what is what. And use the wiki here or posts in the forums under the 'shipyard' section of the forum to guide you through what some of the stuff in the ini files do.

-----

When it comes to system editing/creation it is always a good idea to know how to create and edit them using nothing but notepad. learning how to do this will help you understand how FL works in a large way.

there are a ton of good tools you can use as well to help you do certain things. FLDev is a good program to use to lookup/edit ids information in dll files.

While i would not use FLExplorer to do any of the intricate system editing it is a good tool to use to create basic system layouts, add new entries to your mod's dll resource file.

you may also want to get yourself a copy of the UTF editor Version 1.4 (check the downloads section) this allows you to edit the mat/cmp/3db/txm files in a easy to understand manner.

other tools you will need:

Milkshape 3d (+ CMP Exporter and Mat Exporter)
obj -> sur convertor for creating decent sur collision meshes.
HardCMP for editing/adding hardpoints to freelancer cmp/3db models.
FLModelTool is a great tool for rescaling sur files, cmp models, and correcting some issues in both that can occur from the cmp exporter for milkshape.

i know i probably missed a few that others may suggest but this should get you started.

Posted on: 2011/4/12 15:45
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Quote:

FriendlyFire wrote:
And it's the best way to crash your mod.

DO NOT USE THAT FEATURE IN FREELANCER EXPLORER.


Yeah, I remember I tried it once... Anyway, I didn't try it on this specific version! Right, don't use it until I try...

Posted on: 2011/4/12 16:03
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Quote:

rasauul wrote:
Beginner tutorial to Freelancer modding by SWAT_OP-R8R
What is changeable
...
*snip*


A little education, History 101 if you will

http://www.the-starport.net/archive/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=30021




Posted on: 2011/4/12 16:32
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Quote:

Chips wrote:
A little education, History 101 if you will



Currection: Fleducation.

Posted on: 2011/4/12 16:46
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Quote:

Chips wrote:
Quote:

rasauul wrote:
Beginner tutorial to Freelancer modding by SWAT_OP-R8R
What is changeable
...
*snip*


A little education, History 101 if you will

http://www.the-starport.net/archive/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=30021





lol, so OP took your tutorial and then reposted it under his name?

Posted on: 2011/4/12 17:05
aka chaosgrid
http://www.freelancerserver.de
https://www.moddb.com/mods/fwtow
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Nice.

Posted on: 2011/4/12 17:06
"Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It's unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don't have to try."
-Peggy Noonan
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Re: Is it hard to mod? What basic knowledge do you need to have?
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Quote:

w0dk4 wrote:
lol, so OP took your tutorial and then reposted it under his name?


Why do you speak bads about him?

Posted on: 2011/4/12 17:18
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